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Welcome to the Department of English
The purpose of instruction in the Department of English is to develop graduates who are proficient in analytical thinking, in critical reading of literary and nonfictional texts, and in a variety of writing modes. All graduates should be able to demonstrate their knowledge of features of language, interpretive approaches to literature in English from several periods, and the process of composing.
 
Courses offered by the department prepare students for reading and writing throughout the college curriculum, for communication in business and professions, for the advanced study and teaching of English, and for careers in professional writing, publishing, and related fields.

The Bachelor of Arts in English has a common core of courses in language, writing, literature, and critical theory. Students may choose to pursue the more traditional Literature Option, which prepares them for graduate study, professional school or any other number of professions, the Professional Writing Option, which prepares students for graduate study in writing along with a variety of careers as commercial or creative writers. The department also offers the Technical Writing Option, which prepares students for careers in technology fields that require documentation for technical, business, and consumer audiences.
 
The English Department is a vibrant and active part of the university community. The department sponsors a variety of Events and Activities, such as the English Majors Luncheon held each semester, annual creative writing and essay contests, and the Kanawha Review, a student literary magazine published annually. Please check the English Event and Activities page for ways to get involved!
 
In addition to the three different options for concentration, the department offers Certificate in Creative Writing and in Diversity Literature. See a full list of our certificates here.
 
The general feeling about majoring in English Literature is that when you are finished you have a limited scope for future employment.  However. choosing English Literature as a major DOES NOT mean that your only options are teaching or graduate school.  In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth.  English Literature majors are some of the most sought after graduates because you learn the traits companies want in their employees: good writing, critical thinking, and communication skills.  In other words, your opportunities with an English Literature degree are endless. Careers for people with Degrees in English include:
  • Actors and actresses  (Matt Damon, Katharine Hepburn , Alan Alda, Emma Watson),
  • Journalists and editors (Thomas Matthews,  Bob Woodward),
  • Television and radio broadcasters (Diane Sawyer,  Andrea Mitchell, Howard Cosell, Conan O'Brian) 
  • Lawyers and judges (Supreme Court Justices  John Paul Stevens and Clarence Thomas)
  • Politicians and Government Administrators (Mitt Romney,  Pete Wilson, Carol Browner)
  • Medical doctors and psychologists (Benjamin Spock, Harold Varmus, B. F. Skinner, Rollo May)
  • Business executives (Hank Paulson,  Anne M. Mulcahy, Steve Wynn)
  • Scientists (Sally Ride, Rachel Carson, Edwin Teale)
  • University Presidents (John Cavanaugh (Notre Dame), Angelo Bartlett Giamatti (Yale), Hazo Carter (WVSU)).
By no means is this a comprehensive list of professions or of people.  Simply put, majoring in English Literature opens up several different kinds of doors.
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