The Department of English intends that its students will form strong communication skills, establish research methods, develop flexibility in facing complex situations and increase their awareness of the humanities tradition. These ideas suit both the liberal arts major and the practical, pre-professional student. Success in the marketplace is tied to the ability to analyze, understand and restate written material. Such success requires habits of investigation, a fluency with documents and speeches, and the self-assurance to handle unfamiliar materials. Thus, in its offerings, the department serves the traditions of language and literature, while it responds to the needs of today's students.
The English department offers a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in English as well as a B.A. and a B.S. in English education.
B.A. and B.S. in English – These degrees require 42 credits in English courses beyond first-year composition. The B.A. degree requires two years of a foreign language or the equivalent competency; the B.S. requires a minor outside English. Students can emphasize course work in literature, writing studies, or a balance of the two, but the department does not offer degrees in literature or writing exclusively.
B.A. and B.S. in English Education – These degrees require 36 credits in English courses beyond first-year composition and 35 or 38 credits in education courses. The B.A. requires two years of a foreign language or the equivalent competency. The B.S. degree in English Education with a Communication Option leads to certification in both English and speech. English teaching majors should contact the School of Education or the English education advisor for additional requirements.
English Minors – Minor sequences are available for literature and writing studies. The two minors require a minimum of 21 credits in English beyond first-year composition. See here for more information about both the Literature and Writing options
Literature – This minor gives students the opportunity to read widely in literature, develop analytical skills and hone writing skills. Courses include six credits in survey courses, literary analysis and elective credits in literary studies. English majors cannot earn a minor in literature.
Writing Studies– This minor gives students the opportunity to write creatively and professionally, to read a wide variety of texts and to explore emerging communication technologies. Courses include Introduction to Writing Studies, five writing classes, and one linguistics or literature class. One of these remaining six must be at the 400 level. English majors cannot earn a minor in writing studies.
Transfer credits with grades of D are not accepted for English major requirements. All B.A. and M.A. English degrees require two years of one foreign language (or the equivalent of second- year competency).
Traditional careers in English studies, such as teaching, fluctuate in demand from year to year, but the abilities to think critically, to synthesize information, and to write and speak with precision, clarity and effectiveness are valuable in any career. Thus, many companies look for employees with English majors or minors. Technical writer has a projected 10 year job growth of just over 17 percent. English majors can also find employment in traditional media outlets (newspaper, television, radio), but increasingly they can find employment in growth areas like the video game industry and web development.
Recent graduates have found teaching positions in the Fargo area, North Dakota and Minnesota. Former and current students are employed in writing intensive and/or training positions; some start their own businesses. English graduates sometimes seek professional degrees (law or medicine) or graduate degrees in English immediately after earning a B.A. or B.S., or they choose these options as career changes later in life.
The Department of English faculty is well-balanced and versatile. Professors have doctorates from diverse and well-respected universities, including Arizona, City University of New York, Duke, Louisiana State, Louisville, Nebraska, New Mexico, Purdue, and Washington State. Lecturers have terminal degrees and other advanced degrees from universities such as Hamline, Indiana, MSUM, NDSU, and Texas Christian. Many faculty members deliver papers regularly at national and international professional meetings and publish in scholarly journals, journals of creative writing and literary reference works. Many faculty members have won awards for their teaching, service to NDSU, and their research and publications.
Learn more about our academic Faculty here!