Major in English

Interested in Writing?

Each different profession requires a particular set of skills—statistical analysis, facility with computers, a knowledge of biology or finance—but every profession requires the capacity to read perceptively, think critically, and write clearly. Your knowledge in any discipline is only as useful as your ability to share it with others, whether online or on paper.

The ability to write in a concise and engaging way is often cited as the single most sought-after attribute in the professional marketplace. And beyond your professional life, there is the pleasure, insight, and encouragement to be found in reading and responding to great pieces of writing from across cultures and historical periods.

What Can Your English Degree Do For You?

A major in English is a gateway to careers in business, publishing, law, education, library science and many other dynamic fields. To direct your studies for the greatest effect, the Department of English offers its major tailored to different interests and careers, with emphases in literature or writing, or the teaching of English in secondary school.

Major Requirements

The English major consists of a minimum of 10 courses chosen from the 200, 300, and 400-levels. All majors complete:

  • ENG 220 Principles of Literary Study
  • At least one writing course above the 106-level
  • “Core” courses in the student’s chosen emphasis
  • A 400-level capstone course
  • Three 400-level elective courses determined by the emphasis selected

No more than one literature course at the 200-level in addition to ENG 220 may count toward the major.

Choose Your Emphasis

It’s a pretty safe bet that almost as soon as human beings began using language they began playing with it. From the cooking fire to the mead hall to the Globe Theatre and the New York Times Best Seller List, people have been telling stories, singing songs, and writing down the best of them to share and preserve their experiences and to understand themselves and each other better.

The Literature Track of the English major is designed to help students learn to respond sensitively and shrewdly to a wide range of written works from Ancient Greece to this year’s Pulitzer Prize winner and from every part of the world. Our respect for the diversity of human experience is woven into all our literature courses, where our students read authors from Amy Tan and Gabriel Garcia Marquez to Shakespeare and Sophocles. Courses focus on women’s writing, literary theory, ethical values in literature, and many other topics.

Required Courses

Students pursuing an emphasis on literature must complete six core courses:

  • ENG 220 Principles of Literary Study
  • One writing course beyond ENG 106 Composition II
  • ENG 451 Advanced Literary Study

One course chosen from:

  • ENG 321 British Literature I
  • ENG 345 Shakespeare

Two courses chosen from:

  • ENG 322 British Literature
  • ENG 351 American Literature I
  • ENG 352 American Literature II

Students also take three additional 400 level elective courses, to include ENG 468, Internship. No more than one 400-level writing course may be counted toward the Literature Emphasis.

Elmhurst’s writing concentration is designed for students preparing for careers in publishing, journalism, advertising, and other fields. Courses in this track include fiction and nonfiction writing, poetry, and more specialized courses in journalism and business writing.

Writing courses are taught in computerized classrooms with state-of-the-art software. In addition, students have plenty of opportunities to practice their art by writing for our award-winning school newspaper, The Leader, or MiddleWestern Voice, Elmhurst’s full-color journal of literature and the arts.

Required Courses

Students pursuing an emphasis on writing must complete seven core courses:

  • ENG 220 Principles of Literary Study
  • ENG 201 Composition III: Classical Rhetorics and Contemporary Discourse
  • Two core literature courses
  • Two writing courses at the 300 and/or 400 level chosen from:
    • ENG 303 Business and Technical Writing
    • ENG 305 Journalism
    • ENG 306 Journalism II
    • ENG 312 Writing Fiction
    • ENG 313 Writing Poetry
    • ENG 401 Composition IV
    • ENG 403 Advanced Professional and Multimedia Writing
    • ENG 410 Advanced Writing Seminar
    • ENG 412 Advanced Fiction Writing
  • ENG 455 Portfolio Development for English Writing Majors (Senior Capstone)
  • Three 400 level English electives, which may include ENG 468, Internship.

Recommended Course Clusters in Writing

The English writing emphasis offers students the ability to construct a challenging curriculum from flexible options. These options include coursework in journalism, creative writing, professional writing, and rhetoric and composition. Students may design their own curriculum in consultation with their advisors, or base their work on one of these clusters of recommended courses:

Journalism
  • ENG 305 Journalism I
  • ENG 306 Journalism II
  • ENG 365 Journalism Practicum
  • ENG 468 Internship Professional Writing
  • ENG 303 Business and Technical Writing
  • ENG 403 Advanced Professional and Multimedia Writing

One additional journalism course:

  • ENG 305 or ENG 306
  • ENG 468 Internship
Creative Writing

At least two courses from the following:

  • ENG 306 Journalism II
  • ENG 312 Writing Fiction
  • ENG 313 Writing Poetry
  • ENG 410 Advanced Writing Seminar
  • ENG 412 Advanced Fiction Writing
  • ENG 415 Literary Theory
Rhetoric and Composition
  • One journalism course
  • ENG 303 Business and Technical Writing
  • One creative writing course: ENG 312
    or ENG 313
  • ENG 401 Composition IV: Theory and Research
  • ENG 403 Advanced Professional and Multimedia Writing
  • ENG 410 Advanced Writing Seminar
  • ENG 415 Literary Theory

If you’re planning a teaching career, you can earn licensure for teaching of English. On this track, you’ll gain a working knowledge of British and American literature, composition theory and writing, —and gain valuable hands-on experience in schools.

A student seeking licensure should consult with advisors in both the education and the English departments as early as possible. For more information on teacher education at Elmhurst, see the Department of Education.

General Requirements

An English major leading to teacher licensure consists of a minimum of 10.5 courses including the literature core requirements. Students wishing to student teach are required to show a cumulative grade-point average in their major of 2.75. Students must also complete all other components established by the Department of Education to satisfy the State of Illinois licensure requirements.

Transfer students with a degree in English from another institution must take at least two courses in English at Elmhurst College at the 300/400 level and must earn at least a B average in those courses.

Required Courses

Courses required for licensure in English education:

  • ENG 201 Composition III: Classical Rhetorics and Contemporary Discourse
  • ENG 220 Principles of Literary Study

Core Literature Courses

  • ENG 321 British Literature I or ENG 345 Shakespeare

Two courses from the following:

  • ENG 322 British Literature II
  • ENG 351 American Literature I
  • ENG 352 American Literature II

To meet the State licensure requirements:

  • ENG 372 Multicultural/Postcolonial Literature
  • ENG 451 Advanced Literary Study (Senior Capstone)
  • ENG 401 Composition IV: Theory and Research
  • ENG 416 History and Structure of English
  • ENG 440 Teaching of English
  • ENG 370 Portfolio Synthesis Seminars (.25 credit)
  • ENG 315 Adolescent Literature (.50 credit)

One elective course selected to ensure the student has a total of 10.5 English courses, three of which must be 400-level courses, excluding ENG 440. Students must also take COM 113 Communication in Contexts (or equivalent), which satisfies the licensure speech requirement.

Students are required to pass the Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) to be admitted to the secondary licensure program, the appropriate content area test prior to the student teaching semester and the APT (Assessment of Professional Teaching) test prior to program completion.

Endorsements

Elementary and early childhood education majors may choose a concentration in English by completing 4.5 credits in English in addition to ENG 105 and ENG 106. The standard five-course minor can be used to satisfy English concentration requirements. Students wishing to complete an endorsement at the middle school level* must complete a total of 4.5 credits (excluding ENG 105 and ENG 106). Students working on teaching endorsements in English must consult the Department of Education and the Department of English.

*The Illinois State Board of Education requires that all candidates complete coursework for the present Middle Level Approval and have their Professional Educator License endorsement issued on or before January 31, 2018.

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