David Rankin, Ph.D., Chair
The English Department offers an English major leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree or, on the graduate level, to a Master of Arts. The department also offers English as a minor field of study with either a traditional emphasis in literature or an emphasis in writing. Teacher certification in English, Language Arts, and Reading for grades 4 through 8 or for grades 8 through 12 is available in conjunction with the West College of Education.
What Do English Majors/Minors Study?
Of course, we study how to write, how to reach people with different needs, from on-line shoppers to C.E.O.’s, from legislators to literary critics, from police officers to poets.
But we also study what is written, recognizing that every story is a virtual reality. Each expresses its author's view of how the real world works, and by entering the created world we learn real-life lessons about heroism, passion, jealousy, temptation, triumph, defeat, rebellion, acceptance, and love.
And no matter what happens to the characters, we always get out alive. So we’re able to apply our growing knowledge of what it means to be human to understanding our own experience and to achieving our own hopes and dreams.
What Can You Do With An English Degree?
Anything you want, with the exception of fields that require specialized training in the sciences. Consider that a manager’s greatest assets are communication skills and the ability to "read people like a book."
Consider also the significant edge that excellent writing and critical thinking skills offer for further study of law, business, public administration, social work, librarianship, public history, and the ministry, to say nothing of better performance and promotion on the job. English can also lead directly to careers in journalism, technical writing, publishing, advertising, and public relations.
English majors can also teach English, in high school and, with master’s or doctoral training, in college. The rewards of teaching are unique and have to do with the special fulfillment that comes from helping students achieve and grow.