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The English Major affords students a rich educational experience in the history, theory and appreciation of literature and in the craft of writing. Courses encourage students to develop skills in textual analysis and critical thinking, as well as expertise in understanding the vital role of artistic expression in society and culture.

In lower-division courses, students improve essential skills needed to understand and interpret literature and to express their ideas in writing. Emphasizing poetry as well as prose, these courses invite students to read literature within a variety of social, cultural, and ethnic contexts.

Upper-division courses encourage a sense of literary history and tradition as well as an understanding of adaptation and change in cultural and literary conventions, from the early medieval origins of English to the present diversity of expression by users of this global language. With the freedom afforded by upper division electives, the student is invited, for example, to explore U.S. ethnic and world literatures to undertake the study of non-canonical works, to examine different genres and historical periods, or to nurture a specific interest through a series of related classes. The Senior Project option provides a further opportunity for in-depth study in the student's chosen area.

As one of the core disciplines of university education, the English major values both the pleasures we derive from literature and challenges it brings to the ways we think about our cultural, political, and personal lives. This grounding in written expression, literary analysis, and cultural criticism provides excellent preparation for careers in fields such as law, business, government, education, or communications, as well as graduate study in literature or writing.