College of Arts and Sciences

English Literature and Language

English majors read the classics of literature, graphic novels, film, ancient and contemporary poetry, non-fiction, and new media like online games and interactive fiction. Broad, inventive, careful reading helps English students become critical thinkers who understand literary forms as well as historical and cultural traditions.

By learning advanced methods of interpretation, and considering the implications for social justice, our majors approach cultural questions with subtlety and insight. Students who study English practice writing constantly, critically, and creatively, learning the craft of invention, revision and style.

Unlike other majors which focus on profession-specific skills and content, English majors learn approaches and methods relevant in many contexts. This gives English students the flexibility often demanded by today's employers, providing excellent preparation for a wide range of careers, or for graduate study in English, law, education, or other areas.

Courses and Requirements

English Requirements

Sample Degree Plan

Undergraduate Catalog


Our department is constituted by a brilliant faculty, all of whom are committed to creating the kind of learning environment where students can learn and grow both personally and professionally. These faculty members (working on the cutting edge of literature, language, and culture) are top researchers in their individual fields and publish very large amounts of research each year, sharing their interesting research in courses and individual study. Indeed, students are often able to work closely with faculty in their research, and thus have firsthand knowledge in the wider development of various areas in English studies. All of our faculty are dedicated teachers often recognized by Western for excellence in teaching. See: Literature Faculty

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Career Paths to Consider

Our majors find that their degrees are extremely marketable: the list of career possibilities are endless. In the New Economy, people trained to read critically and write clearly are in demand everywhere! English Literature majors can choose from a variety of occupations, including the following:

  • Abstract Writer
  • Advertising Copywriter
  • Author/Screenwriter
  • Bibliographer
  • Biographer
  • Book Critic
  • Business Manager
  • Copy Editor
  • Creative Writer
  • Editor
  • English Teacher
  • Grant Writer
  • Human Resources
  • Interpreter/Translator/Linguist
  • Legal Assistant
  • Legislative Aid
  • Librarian
  • Literary Agent
  • Novelist
  • Paralegal
  • Playwright
  • Poet
  • Politics
  • Press Secretary
  • Proofreader
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Publisher
  • Reporter/Newscaster
  • Researcher/Research Assistant
  • Speech Writer
  • Student Affairs
  • Technical Writer

B.A. in English is also an invaluable preparation for those planning to further their education in areas such as law, medicine, library science, student affairs, or business.