Students majoring in English receive a comprehensive background in British and American literature. The introductory course, "Introduction to Literary Studies," acquaints students with various theories of literary criticism and helps them learn how to apply them and how to write analytically about literature. The upper-level courses allow students to study writers from the major periods of both British and American literature. Special topics courses allow students to explore topics of personal interest. A senior capstone course gives students the opportunity to reflect on their studies and to formulate a comprehensive picture of what they have accomplished.
Students interested in writing and language can take courses in linguistics and the history of the language as well as courses in advanced composition, technical writing, and creative writing. Students can also participate in writing workshops, and upper-level students have the opportunity to participate in writing internships with local organizations and businesses.
In many ways, English is an all-purpose major. It does not limit you to a limited set of professional choices. Instead, it provides you with skills and abilities that have recognized values across a broad range of careers and professions. Leaders in business and industry have long recognized the value of being able to analyze complex situations, to research and synthesize ideas, to produce unique solutions to problems, and to communicate effectively. These skills learned by English majors are highly marketable and can be applied to virtually any career.
Of course, some English majors want to teach English at the college level, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English will prepare you for graduate school. You will also be prepared to work in the publishing industry as a writer or an editor. Those who enjoy working with people and traveling could work as a sales representative for a publisher of college English textbooks. In addition, English is a preferred major for those wishing to go to law school.
English is not an easy major. We will challenge you to analyze, to critique, and to express yourself clearly. But we will guide you along the way. Advising is required of all English majors, and we encourage you to work closely with your advisor throughout your program of studies. The department also hosts a Moodle site for English majors to enhance communication between you and the department chair as well as between you and the other English majors.