At Penn State, our majors explore the imaginative and practical uses of English through courses in literature, writing, rhetoric, and language. They develop perspectives on human nature and cultural values through American, British, and other English literatures; they learn how to gather, analyze, synthesize, and communicate information; they gain mastery over their language. These skills help English majors find careers in such fields as publishing, business, industry, government, and teaching. English majors often go on to postgraduate study not only in English but in such areas as law, business, medicine, education, or other liberal disciplines.
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, including internships with the Hemingway Letters Project. 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.