Are words really powerful? We believe they are.
Undergraduate students in the Department of English at Eastern Illinois enjoy maximum flexibility, with more choices of areas of study than at many similarly sized universities. Students who wish to teach English at the secondary level major in English Language Arts. Students with other career plans can choose from the emphases in Creative Writing, Professional Writing, or Literary and Cultural Studies. Students who want to mix and match among the emphases choose English Studies. For more information on each program, scroll down to “Undergraduate Programs.”
The department supports student success in many ways: with scholarship dollars (in spring 2016, we gave out over $50,000 to continuing English majors), with opportunities for individualized research and creative projects, with an annual student conference, with a student-written and student-run literary magazine, and with courses that connect English studies with topics such as social justice, media, law, popular culture, personal identity, science, the environment.
Look around the English Department at EIU and you won’t see lecture halls. We keep classes small to allow for close interaction among students and faculty.
Who teaches our classes? All classes required in the English major at EIU are taught by full-time faculty members with PhDs. These active writers and scholars keep up with new developments in the areas they teach, and they bring that knowledge to their classes.
Read what students have to say about interacting with faculty.
English at EIU supports all the traditional areas of study within English. Students are not required to declare a minor, but many do.
Find more below.
In addition to all the other study abroad programs offered at EIU, faculty in English lead two popular summer study abroad programs, to Harlaxton College in Grantham, England (50 miles south of London), Costa Rica and to South Africa.
EIU English graduates work in a wide variety of areas, including writing and editing, other communications jobs, law, public relations, college student services, advertising, careers in nonprofit agencies, and jobs in the corporate sector, especially marketing and human resources, teaching English abroad, and of course teaching at the high school or college levels.
Many alumni also pursue graduate education, and in recent years our graduates have been successful in obtaining funding from competitive colleges and universities. Currently, our alumni are graduate students in fields including literature, creative writing, library science, and new media studies at the University of Colorado, New York University, Purdue University, University of Tennessee, University of Illinois, Kent State University, DePaul University, Southern Illinois University, and EIU.
Check out some examples of what you can do with an English Major here.
Finally, our alumni who pursue creative writing have had significant success, publishing their work in respected publications such as Poetry, Spoon River Quarterly, Harper’s, Ms. and Story.
The English major with an emphasis in literary and cultural studies offers solid preparation in critical reading, writing, and research for students who love literature, while remaining flexible enough to serve the needs of students with various post-graduation plans, including law school, library school, and graduate school in English. Click here for more information on this program.
The English major with an emphasis in professional writing combines classroom instruction with practical experience to teach students how to communicate effectively in professional environments. Through client-based projects and an internship, students will build a professional portfolio that demonstrates their writing, editing, design, and research skills to prospective employers. Click here for more information on this program.
The English major with an emphasis in creative writing allows students to develop their craft in the major literary genres: fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and drama. The program is designed to serve students who are committed to developing as writers whether they plan to pursue graduate study in creative writing or to apply their creative and writing skills in other fields. Click here for more information on this program.
The English major with an emphasis in English Studies offers maximum flexibility for students who want a broad background encompassing all areas of English Studies, or who have specialized interests and want to design their own English major. Click here for more information on this program.
EIU's English Language Arts teacher licensure program has consistently been recognized as among the best programs for preparing English Language Arts teachers, not just in the state of Illinois but nationally. The National Council of Teachers of English lists EIU’s program as an “exemplar program for training Secondary English Teachers.” Click here for more information on this program.
Dr. Suzie Park was awarded the 2015 Provost's Undergraduate Research Mentor Award for the College of Arts and Humanities and the 2015 Rodney S. Ranes Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award for Eastern Illinois University. Dr. Park, on the far right, is pictured with the students who nominated her: from left to right, recent English M.A. graduates Terri Coleman and Stephen Nathaniel, and English undergraduate Molina Klingler.
Campbell's areas of teaching and research are Renaissance and seventeenth-century literature with specialization in the works of continental and English women writers. She is the author of Literary Circles and Gender in Early Modern Europe (Ashgate, 2006) and the editor and translator of Isabella Andreini’s pastoral tragicomedy, La Mirtilla (Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 2002).
With research interests in translation studies, Romantic and Gothic literature, and the intersections between literature, philosophy, and science in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, C.C. Wharram is director of The Center for the Humanities at EIU. His most recent essay, on the intersections of humanism, translation, and the nonhuman, was published in Educational Theory in October 2014. He edited a special volume on “Teaching Romantic Translation(s)” for Romantic Circle Pedagogies (July 2014).
“My English major equipped me with essential critical thinking skills. Through my English studies I learned to consider different ways of thinking and interpretation, which I’m able to transfer to daily events and classroom experiences.”Ben Marcy (2006)
"Every single day I have to communicate with a wide variety of audiences and knowing the appropriate tone, length, format, etc. to use all came from my classes. I use my research skills almost daily. Knowing how to investigate literature, follow leads to the right information and then compile a lot of information into a concise document all came from a writing course I took sophomore year.”Noel Lucero (2011)
"The number one piece of advice I would give English majors now is to never stop trying to improve yourself. I think it is easy for people to get stagnant with anything they do and not constantly try to improve. I think developing this skill will serve them well as a student and as a teacher."Leonard Grodoski (2010)
"Law school assignments were huge reading assignments where I had to decipher and interpret complex cases. I think having an English major gave me an advantage over other law students who had majored in engineering or a more technical degree where they weren’t used to doing the amount of reading and interpreting as an undergrad that I had done.”Christen Smith (2009)