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Become an English Major

At Penn State, we offer a robust and diverse English curriculum devoted to the practices of reading, writing, analysis, and research – 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. Our graduates 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 digital media to our curriculum.

English majors can focus their coursework through concentrations in literary and cultural studies, creative writing, professional and media writing, and rhetoric and writing.

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 major universities from around the world. 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.

Contact Info

Shirley Moody-Turner, Director of Undergraduate Studies
Undergraduate Office,  Department of English 
The Pennsylvania State University 
434 Burrowes Building, University Park, PA 16802