Become an English Major
At Penn State, we offer a robust and diverse English major curriculum devoted to the practice of reading and writing as “impassioned skills” required by many different professions and sought by many different types of employers, today.
The English major immerses students in the history of the English language in all of its cultivated and technical sophistication, as well as in those “big ideas” that animate life and make it worth living. Good books also lead to good jobs, and following graduation from Penn State, our English majors use their training in careers as attorneys, public relations directors, foreign service specialists, and entrepreneurs, as well as professional writers and teachers.
Majors can choose from courses in all the major historical periods and genres of British and United States literature; in the work of individual authors (Shakespeare, Milton, and others); in three genres of creative writing; and in topics in rhetoric, African-American literature and culture, visual culture and media, ethnic studies, gender and sexuality studies, literature and science, and literary and cultural theory. We have recently added new courses in the graphic novel, modern visual culture, culture and sexuality, Asian American literature, and new media to our curriculum. Students can study rhetoric, technical writing, or Latina/o studies for an 18-credit minor, while 15-credit emphases are available in creative writing, African-American literature, rhetoric, and publishing.
The Department of English maintains the longest-running honors program in the College of the Liberal Arts, as well as one of the largest internship programs. It sponsors the undergraduate literary magazine Kalliope and a number of creative writing awards. Students can study abroad, supervised by department faculty members, for a summer in London or a summer in Ireland — or as exchange students at the University of Cape Town, CIEE Prague, University of Leeds, Victoria University of Wellington, University of Sussex, the University of the West Indies, University College Dublin, and IES New Delhi. Off-campus study closer to home is provided by courses in the Adventure Literature Series.
For more information about our major, follow the links on this site or contact us directly at the address below.