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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Humanities Department
Course Prefix and Number: ENGL 397
Course Title: Science Fiction and Fantasy
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description: Readings from a broad spectrum of science fiction and fantasy literature. Prerequisites: ENGL 112 and a previous 200-level or higher English course.
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): ENGL 112 and a previous 200-level or higher English course.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Occasional offering.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

One approach is to survey the history of American science fiction:


One or more volumes of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

One of the books from Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

I, Robot
By Asimov, Isaac (Spectra)
Category/Comments - Golden Age
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
By Heinlein, Robert A. (Orb Books)
Category/Comments - 50s/60s
A Canticle for Leibowitz
By Miller, Walter (Spectra Books)
Category/Comments - 50s/60s
The Dispossessed
By LeGuin, Ursula K. (Eos)
Category/Comments - New Wave
The Forever War
By Haldeman, Joe (Eos)
Category/Comments - New Wave
Virtual Light
By Gibson, William (Spectra Books)
Category/Comments - Cyberpunk
Parable of the Sower
By Butler, Octavia (Aspect Books)
Category/Comments - Contemporary and “Hard” Science Fiction
A Princess of Mars
By Edgar Rice Burroughs (Del Rey)
The Once and Future King
By T.H. White (Ace)
The Hobbit
By J.R.R. Tolkien (Houghton Mifflin)
The Compleat Enchanter
By L. Sprague DeCamp (Gollancz)
Lord Foul's Bane
By Stephen R. Donaldson (Del Rey)
The Dragon Riders of Pern
By Anne McCaffrey (Del Rey)
A Wizard of Earthsea
By Ursula K. LeGuin (Spectra)
Course Objectives
  • To introduce the genre of science fiction literature.
  • To explore the significant conventions of science fiction literature.
  • To contextualize the genres of science fiction in a broad body of literary conventions.
    Measurable Learning
  • Analyze thematic principles of science fiction literature.
  • Assess topical concerns of science fiction literature.
  • Explain the chronological development of the genres.
  • Demonstrate through oral and written exercises practical criticism of science fiction archetypes.
  • Demonstrate command of basic appropriate literary terms and elements.
    Topical Outline:
  • Introduction to the genres of science fiction literature. The course can be organized around thematic principles, topical concerns, chronological development of the genres, etc.
  • Departmental policy requires a minimum of 6,000 words of student writing.
  • Exposure to numerous works of science fiction
  • Consideration of the principles of the genre
  • Consideration of thematic issues
  • Writing assignments and exams appropriate to the course content
    Culminating Experience Statement:

    Material from this course may be tested on the Major Field Test (MFT) administered during the Culminating Experience course for the degree. 
    During this course the ETS Proficiency Profile may be administered.  This 40-minute standardized test measures learning in general education courses.  The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 30

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: Pamela McClure Date: November 16, 2007
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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