Department of English, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
English is one of the central liberal arts degrees. A background in English provides graduates with a sound basis for pursuing a variety of careers including law, business, education, publishing and government, as well as graduate work in language, literary and cultural studies, and critical writing. English engages students in diverse literary heritages, as well as fosters the development of sophisticated abilities in critical analysis, creative inquiry, reflective reading, and effective communication and expression.
Why Consider a Literature Emphasis in the English Major?
The English Literature major focuses on the study of literatures in historical and cultural contexts and includes course work in literary theory, creative writing, and composition and rhetoric. Some students may opt to develop a writing concentration within their literature major, taking writing courses such as composition, creative writing, and professional and technical writing. There are also opportunities to pursue English Education, including endorsements. Students in the upper-division courses are expected to interpret and analyze literature in thoughtful, organized, and clear essays that are free of mechanical errors. If you think you need help with your reading and writing, we strongly encourage you, in addition to your work in English courses, to consult the Hacherl Research & Writing Studio and other university resources.
The literature emphasis offers students the opportunity for both breadth and depth in the study of literature and culture. In the “Literature and Culture” courses (ENG 307-311 and ENG 317-321), which are the core of the major, students gain a sense of historical scope as they explore literatures from a range of periods. In addition, majors take required courses in writing as well as critical, cultural, and rhetorical theory. All of these courses provide a solid foundation for intensive study of specialized topics in the upper-level electives and in the senior seminar.
The English – Literature Emphasis major leads to a baccalaureate degree without teacher certification. To receive a recommendation for state of Washington teacher certification, students must also complete the teacher certification program offered by the Department of Secondary Education as one of the following:
- A part of the undergraduate baccalaureate degree
- A post-baccalaureate program
- A part of the Master in Teaching program
See the Secondary Education section of this catalog for program admission, completion, and teacher certification requirements. Students seeking teaching certification are advised that the careful selection of English courses within the English - Literature major and the addition of one 5-credit English course are necessary in order to meet requirements for the English Language Arts – Secondary Endorsement. Students must meet with the secondary education academic advisor in the English Department to complete a plan of study.
Undergraduate Program Coordinator
Law | Business (including public relations, sales and marketing) | Education (teaching or administrating) | Author, broadcaster, artist, entertainer | Government | Editing and Publishing | Graduate work in Literature and Creative Writing | Graduate work in Composition and Language
How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):
Schedule an online appointment with the English Department’s Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Elle Starr, to declare this major. You can visit chss.wwu.edu/english-department/advising to schedule your meeting. The prerequisites for declaring the major are 60 credits completed and ENG 202.
Though the English Department cannot guarantee immediate enrollment in the major or access to any specific class, we matriculate students into the major on a rolling basis as space is available and offer a wide variety of topics each term.
Advising Tips: Students are strongly encouraged to meet with the Undergraduate Program Coordinator, Elle Starr, early in their careers at Western. Students should declare their major by the start of their junior year.
English Language Arts - Secondary Endorsement:
Students seeking teacher certification are advised that the careful selection of English courses within the English Literature major and the addition of one 5 credit English course are necessary in order to meet requirements for the English Language Arts — Secondary Endorsement. Students must meet with a secondary education academic advisor in the English Department, Steven VanderStaay, to complete a plan of study.
A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major or minor courses, and supporting courses for majors and minors.