The English studies major offers students the flexibility to follow interests in literature, linguistics, and creative, technical, and professional writing. The curriculum joins the strengths of a traditional humanities education with the career outcomes today’s students seek. English majors develop strong communication skills, multiple research strategies, flexibility in responding to complex situations, and effective project-management skills. Career success is tied to the ability to understand, restate, and analyze complex ideas and texts for multiple audiences. Such success requires habits of investigation, the ability to critically analyze sources of information, and the self-assurance to handle unfamiliar materials and situations. The department offers multiple opportunities to develop these skills both in the classroom and outside the university, while working with and for authentic clients.
For individuals who
Have an interest in literature, language and writing. Appreciate seeing perspectives through writing. Enjoy articulating ideas through writing.
Flexibility to follow multiple interests, including linguistics, creative, technical and professional writing. An arts degree that can be used to pursue further education, like law school or counseling.
- Technical Writing
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. Departmental offerings include:
B.A. and B.S. in English – These degrees require 45 credits in English courses beyond first-year composition. The B.A. degree requires functional proficiency in at least one language other than English, typically 14 credits of course work in that language. The B.S. degree requires a minor. The flexibility of the single major in English studies means that students can emphasize course work in literature, linguistics, writing studies, or a balance of these.
B.A. and B.S. in English Education – These degrees require 39 credits in English courses beyond first-year composition and 34 credits in education courses. The B.A. degree requires functional proficiency in at least one language other than English, typically 14 credits of course work in that language. The B.S. degree in English education with a communication option requires 20 credits in communication courses and leads to certification in both English and speech. English education majors should contact the School of Education or the English education advisor for additional requirements.
English Minors – Minor sequences are available for literature, creative writing, and writing studies. The minors require a minimum of 21 credits in English beyond first-year composition.
Creative Writing – This minor offers students the opportunity to take seven courses in a sequence designed to develop analytic abilities, writing skills, and an understanding of the student’s own creative process.
English - Literature option – This minor gives students the opportunity to read widely in literature, develop analytical skills, and hone writing skills. Courses include Literary Analysis, literature survey courses, elective literature and film courses, and one writing course.
English - Writing Studies option – This minor provides students with the opportunity to write creatively and professionally, and to explore emerging communication technologies. Courses include Introduction to Writing Studies, elective writing courses, and one upper-level literature or linguistics course.
The English Studies Major
The Department of English offers a five-course core curriculum focusing on professionalization. These courses provide every student the opportunity to: devise a career compass to guide them through their English major; to develop skills in textual analysis, and academic, professional, and civic writing; to prepare for the work world with interview skills and job packets; and to pursue an undergraduate research project that explores an authentic research question with a faculty member’s guidance. In addition, this flexible degree encourages students to choose courses in areas that meet their interests and support their career goals.
Graduate Study – The Department of English offers a doctorate in Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture, and a Master of Arts degree in English.
Community/Student Involvement Opportunities
The Department of English offers many options for co-curricular activities that add value and dimension to English majors and minors. Students develop leadership and planning skills by taking part in English Club and the English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta. They practice spoken English with international students through Conversational English Circles, and they create and edit an annual literary magazine, Northern Eclecta. The department office suite includes a collaboration and creativity space for undergraduate students, where students can meet to study or work on projects, or share lunch and conversation with other majors. English classes often work with a range of local non-profits, and English majors are encouraged to pursue internships, co-ops, and field experiences, and regularly find opportunities in local industries, non-profits, and government offices.
Traditional careers in English studies, such as teaching, and professional and technical writing, are currently in high demand in our region, and 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. The demand for technical and professional writers has been growing, and many companies, non-profit organizations, and government agencies hire English majors. English majors also acquire project management skills and the ability to work as members of a team, which make them desirable employees. Former and current students are employed in writing intensive and/or training positions; some start their own businesses. Some English graduates seek professional degrees (law, library science, ministry, or medicine) or graduate degrees in English immediately after earning a B.A. or B.S.; some choose these options as career changes later in life.
High School Preparation
Beyond the core curriculum requirements necessary for admission to the University, students should have an English preparation that includes both frequent reading from most literary genres and extensive writing experience.
The Department of English awards more than $8,000 in scholarships each year. English students regularly are awarded Fulbright fellowships, and participate in the university Honors Program in higher than average numbers. Contact the department for details.
- Hal and Alice Dickey Memorial Scholarship – awarded to a sophomore, junior, or senior.
- Professor Ralph Engel Scholarship – awarded to a major who has completed at least 21 credits at North Dakota State University.
- Marjory Archer Haggart Memorial Scholarship – awarded biennially to a sophomore or junior.
- G. Wilson Hunter and Phyllis Krantz Hunter Scholarship – awarded to a sophomore, junior or senior.
- Madeline S. Gittings Endowed Scholarship – awarded to two or three students each year.
- Mart and Lois Vogel Award for Excellence – awarded to one or two upper-class students.
- Richard L. Johnson Scholarship – awarded to a graduate student pursuing literary studies.
- Rooney Scholarship – awarded to a graduate student.
- English Faculty Award – awarded to one or two students with 15 to 45 credits.
The Department of English faculty is dedicated and versatile. Professors have doctorates from diverse and well-respected universities, including Connecticut, Louisville, CUNY, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Washington State, Nebraska, Kentucky, and Purdue. Non-tenured faculty and staff have advanced degrees from universities such as Texas Christian, Iowa, Minnesota State, Northern Illinois, North Dakota State, and South Dakota. Faculty members publish regularly by writing books, journal articles, and book chapters; and they deliver papers at national and international professional meetings. Many faculty members have won awards for their teaching, service, research, and publications — regional, national, and international awards, as well as those from North Dakota State University.
The English department offers a gateway course, Introduction to English Studies (ENGL 167), and two general categories of courses throughout the curriculum.
Introduction to Writing Studies (ENGL 275) introduces students to creative, academic, and professional writing. Students can then choose courses in these areas that meet their interests. Upper division classes offer students the opportunity to create web sites, make videos, and explore other communication technologies. Classes include the reading of literature, of scholarly and popular essays, and of professional documents in print and on the web.
These classes include lively discussion of literary texts, historical periods, and contemporary issues as illuminated by, or represented in, the course material. Literary studies courses involve frequent reading and writing assignments and the opportunity to present orally. Classes include Literary Analysis (ENGL 272), survey courses, period courses, multicultural courses, interdisciplinary courses, major figures courses, genre courses, film courses and topics courses.