Hi. I realize this is late and you have already made your decision, but I’ll reply in case it’s helpful for you or future applicants.
The small size, in my experience, did impact opportunities and classes on campus. It’s been a few years since I graduated (not saying how many, it’s in the last 10 years!) but from the dept’s page, it looks like they’ve made some improvements in good ways. My biggest gripe was that they did not offer any courses on 19th century British lit after an older professor retired around 2010. Technically they were still in the catalog, but they didn’t teach them, and that’s such an important era of literature. They have since hired Dr. Gangnes, whose specialty area is 19th century Brit lit! I cannot speak for her or those courses, but I’m glad to see they have added her to the dept to address this gap.
They also now seem to offer a department monthly colloquia series, which seems pretty cool. When I was at Scranton, the department didn’t offer any activities like that. I also feel there wasn’t much discussion/support around career paths. Just a printed list they handed out breaking down what careers recent graduates were doing. Based on other changes they have made, it’s very possible they now offer more support, so perhaps a more recent English grad can chime in there.
I particularly recommend Dr. Friedman’s courses, like the Shakespeare and Women class he does every so often, though you’ll also learn a lot with Dr. Mendez and Dr. Whittaker. Dr. Beal is also lovely.
For me, opportunities through SJLA and other programs gave me a strong liberal arts background and exposed me to topics related to lit. I think if I came to Scranton explicitly for English and did not do SJLA/extra courses in philosophy/theology, I would have been disappointed in my experience. As it is, my extra opportunities at Scranton have informed my study of literature and my work since graduating.
If there is a particular area of study that Scranton’s dept doesn’t cover, I recommend looking into study abroad programs early on. Find a school that teaches what you want, then go for it. I studied at a large university with a massive focus on English lit, and the courses and opportunities there were incredible. (They also had dedicated events for career support for English majors!).
Best of luck in your studies.