College of Arts and Sciences


A major in English at WIU provides students with a solid foundation in critical thinking and writing. Students work closely with faculty examining a wide variety of texts, exploring classical and contemporary works, and writing for creative, professional, and academic purposes.

English Majors become strong analytical readers and writers, gain skills in editing and research, and focus on a departmental commitment to social justice. English Major is one of the most versatile degrees you can receive in WIU. It prepares students for a wide range of professional careers or graduate programs and English Education majors are prepared to enter the teaching profession as soon as they graduate.

The English Department at Western Illinois University offers two undergraduate major options (Literature and Language and English Education), five minors (Creative Writing, Film, Literature and Language, Professional Writing, and Queer Studies), and the M.A. English Program with a focus on literature, writing studies, and cultural studies. Our programs offer small class sizes, award-winning teaching and research faculty, and a commitment to student organizations and community.

Want to learn more about a degree in English at WIU? Contact us today!

Ready to join us? Apply today.

Are you a high school student interested in taking a Dual Enrollment course in English? Visit our Dual Enrollment Page to sign up for English 180 next semester. 

English Department Statement on Anti-Racism, Diversity, and Inclusion

The English Department at WIU joins other English Departments across the country to support the Black Lives Matter Movement and call for the end of systemic racism in our country. We take a stand against racism in all its forms and support efforts to dismantle systems that disproportionately affect Black, Latinx, Asian, Indigenous, and other marginalized peoples. We support the lives of our Black students and colleagues, and we are committed to end police violence and brutality, white supremacy, and all forms of racism.

Our commitment to social justice in our teaching, curriculum, research, and service is not limited only our department, but also to the campus community at large.  While English is often a site of social justice work, we acknowledge the complicated history between English Studies and issues of white supremacy, colonization, and devaluation of the voices of writers of color.  We are committed to making changes in all of our classrooms (regardless of delivery mode) to do the anti-racist work that is needed at this time.  We are committed to consciously advocating for inclusion and celebrating the diversity of individuals in our community.  We are committed to recognizing the ways in which racism and marginalization impact our students, faculty, and staff of color by listening to their needs, and working to create a more inclusive and supportive environment.

Action Plan

This academic year, we are working as a department to change our curricula, department requirements, and departmental offerings.  We are examining our biases, listening to the experiences of our students of color as they are willing to share them in order to better understand their academic and personal journeys, and responding by committing to changes in our teaching and curriculum to better meet the needs and recognize the experiences of our students.  As a department we are committed to:

  • Organizing opportunities for all English faculty and staff to participate in anti-racist pedagogical training.
  • Revising our curricula to engage with an increasing number of texts that represent the historical, social and cultural experiences of different racial and ethnic groups, and other marginalized populations in the U.S.
  • Acknowledging white supremacy and the historical marginalization of racial and ethnic groups in academia and working to dismantle its continuation.
  • Creating ways for faculty and staff to examine how their unconscious biases and microaggressions inform their teaching practices and work with all marginalized students.
  • Valuing the diverse experiences and language practices of all of our students and supporting their expressions of voice and identity in their academic and nonacademic work.

We are working on specific, structured changes and recommitting to our social justice mission and goals during the 2020-2021 academic year.  We will share our progress in September 2021, including the changes we have made and our new plan for continued anti-racist justice work in the 2021-2022 academic year.

We encourage students and other members of the community who what to work with us to make and shape these changes to contact members of our department.

Professional Organizations

The following professional organizations in English Studies offer support and guidance for anti-racist work:

  • MLA Statement Deploring Systemic Racism
  • NCTE Statement on Anti-Racism to Support Teaching and Learning
  • CCCC Statement on Students’ Rights to their Own Language
  • NCA Officer Letter in Solidarity and Sympathy
  • IWCA Position Statement on Racism, Anti-Immigration, and Linguistic Intolerance
  • CWPA statement on antiracist initiatives