In addition to preparing students for the advanced study of language and literature, majoring in English is excellent preparation for professional study in law, linguistics, library science, higher education administration, and public relations. Trained to read carefully and write clearly, students go on to a wide variety of careers in which language and research play an important role, including journalism, editing and writing, and elementary and secondary teaching. Moreover, many students have chosen English as a second major in recent years, using it to extend and strengthen their preparation for medicine, business, and a variety of other fields.
English majors enjoy a rich variety of research, writing, and internship opportunities both on and off campus. Writing and editorial positions on the online student newspaper and the annual literary magazine are available, and the department helps place students in off-campus programs in Great Britain, New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. In the past several years, majors have completed off-campus internships with the MacNeil Lehrer News Hour, CNN, Rolling Stone magazine, and NBC News.
The department encourages qualified and interested majors to consider writing an honors thesis in English during their senior year. Successful completion of the thesis results in graduation with departmental honors in English.
Outstanding English majors are invited to join the Joseph J. Irwin Society, the English Department honorary.
The English Department sponsors a series of programs each year which bring distinguished writers and critics to campus for readings, lectures, and meetings with classes. Campus visitors have included Maya Angelou, Gwendolyn Brooks, Allen Ginsberg, Joy Harjo, Terrance Hayes, Maria Howe, Galway Kinnell, Li Young Lee, and Gary Snyder.
Students who earn a 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement (AP) exam in English literature and composition will receive credit for English 151 (Introduction to Literature), which counts toward both the major and minor in English. Students who earn a 3 on this exam or have taken the Advanced Placement exam in English language and composition should consult with the department chair.