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English at EIU

The English Department offers two majors and four minors for undergraduate students, offering students flexibility in their areas of emphasis. In all our programs, students experience what makes Eastern special: small class sizes (usually between 15 and 25) taught by faculty who hold PhDs in their fields and who are active scholars and publishing writers.


The EIU Department of English has revised its undergraduate majors and minors to offer students more choice and flexibility.

We now offer five areas of study: 

Highlights of the revised programs include:

  • More conscious career planning
  • More choice in course selection
  • New courses on topics including digital writing and literary editing and publishing
  • An updated approach to literary history
  • A thematic approach to literary studies
  • An option for maximum curricular flexibility for students who want it

The new programs aim to better serve the diverse academic interests and career goals of English majors, who go on to careers in teaching; writing and editing, including new media; law; librarianship; management, both in commercial and non-profit settings; and many, many other areas.

Core Curriculum

Students in all Emphases of the English major take a group of common core courses.  The core introduces key concepts including the study of language, textual analysis, and an orientation to British and American literary history. The core also helps students develop their research and writing skills and plan and prepare for careers. New features include:

  • A 21st-century approach to literary history. A two-course sequence in Transatlantic Literary History offers an overview of British and American literary history in relationship to each other. This approach views literary history beyond national boundaries, a growing trend in literary studies. 
  • More conscious career planning. The freshman-level course English Major Forum and senior-level English Studies Career Development (recommended) are designed to assist students with academic and career planning and preparation for the job market after college.
  • Going public. The junior-level seminar emphasizes both research skills and the public uses of humanities research, exploring the ways what we do in English studies connects to regional, national, and international issues, and how we can share our work in public forums. 

High-achieving students in all majors may also be eligible to participate in departmental honors.

Students who began college prior to Fall 2015 may choose the new program or continue to follow the requirements of the old program, if they wish.

Requirements for a B.A. in English:

Requirements for a B.A. in English Language Arts (secondary teacher licensure):


Revised minors have also been developed to support the revised majors.

Related Interdisciplinary Minors

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