Student Opportunities

The English Department has many opportunities for hands on experience to help you build your skills, gain valuable experience, and make friends and other connections.

The Leader | MiddleWestern Voice | Internships | Oxford Semester & Other Travel | Writing Contests | Honor Societies | Learning Center Peer Tutoring | Annual Alumni Career Panel | Professional Experiences | Special Awards and Funding | Additional Information

The Leader

The Leader, Elmhurst University’s award-winning student newspaper, has won national awards and routinely wins awards at the Illinois College Press Association’s (ICPA) annual convention, including the 2016 First Place for General Excellence among schools with enrollment under 4,000. The paper is entirely run by students with the guidance of an expert full-time faculty advisor: Students write and edit all stories, shoot and choose photography, and take responsibility for all editorial decisions. It’s a great way to gain real-world experience as a writer and journalist—and to help shape your classmates’ college experience.

MiddleWestern Voice

Students serve as editors for this full-color literary and arts journal, and take full responsibility for content, layout and design. A full-time faculty advisor provides consultation. Winning entries in our annual Carlson creative writing contest for fiction and poetry writing and the Lively Award for Creative Nonfiction are automatically published each year. [Many students see their academic work in print, too, in Investigations, the University-wide journal of student scholarship.]

The Gathering: An annual event that celebrates the release of latest edition of MiddleWestern Voice, students of the English, art and music departments gather to share and celebrate their work. English majors are encouraged to read their original fiction, poetry and non-fiction at this event, attended by peers, faculty, family and friends.


Through ENG 468 Internship or ENG 365 Media Practicum, students may take on internships, through the CPE, with The Leader, or with other organizations related to professional communication, both on campus and off.

Oxford Semester & Other Travel

English majors can study at Oxford for an entire semester through the Middlebury College-CMRS Oxford Humanities Program. Courses in literature, writing and history, among others, are available. You can still graduate on time in most cases and financial aid applies so that most students don’t experience much of a financial difference (with the exception of room and board, if commuting to campus). Other global travel opportunities abound, particularly during the January Term (J-Term).

Writing Contests

Carlson Creative Writing Contests: Prizes are awarded annually for the best fiction and poetry, as selected by the department of English faculty. These are in memory of Karl H. Carlson, former English Department Chair.

Lively Memorial Award: Awarded annually for excellence in creative non-fiction, as selected by the department of English faculty and the family of Dr. Janice Lively, in memory of her husband, Westley Lively.

Honor Societies

Each year the English Department invites excellent students to become members of the national English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta. Students in this organization sponsor the annual Alumni Career Panel.

Learning Center Peer Tutoring

Students interested in writing and teaching can gain valuable experience by training to become writing peer tutors in the Learning Center. Writing Peer Tutors are trained to help students across the campus on their writing assignments by providing feedback and assistance with the revision process.

Annual Alumni Career Panel

Sigma Tau Delta and the Alumni Office annually sponsor a panel of alumni representing five-six different professional fields who discuss their professions and how an English major helped them secure and successfully fulfill their positions. Students network and make connections with alums during this event.

Professional Experiences

Internships are encouraged for all English majors, and one upper level internship (Eng 468) can count toward the major requirements. Future teachers do classroom observations as early as sophomore year as part of their preparation for the semester of student teaching. Students in the writing track complete a field experience in writing as part of the capstone course, ENG 455. ENG 365 Media Practicum can be taken to get 1 semester hour of credit for editing or writing for any college student publication, and can be taken up to four times.

Closer to home, students sometimes present their own work or accompany faculty members to conferences such as the Midwest Modern Language Association and the Undergraduate Conference on English Language and Literature.

Special Awards and Funding

  • Outstanding Graduating English Major GPA: From a bequest of Pearl L. Robertson, given to the graduating English major with the highest grade-point average in English classes over a four-year period.
  • The Colin Pascoe Memorial Award: A tuition award for an outstanding first/second-year English and/or Philosophy major
  • The Swords Memorial Award: Travel grants for English majors and minors who study abroad, with first priority given to the Oxford Semester

Additional Information

The English faculty believe that writing and reading feed one another, so you will take courses in writing and literature for the Writing Track or the Literature Track or the Secondary Education Track for licensure to teach English. Diversity and multicultural perspectives are infused into our curriculum, with specialty courses offered on such topics as Race, Class & Gender, Women Writers, and LGBTQ Identities, among others.

Classes are typically discussion-based and all writing courses are scheduled in computerized classrooms and have online access. The Writing Center, located in the Frick Center, provides additional writing support for all students.

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