Welcome to the English Department

Whether your time with us involves the study of literature, creative writing, digital media, rhetoric, or the history of the English language, our program is designed above all to help you develop the practical skills, critical consciousness, and creative insight with which to meet the pressing collective and individual challenges of our age—challenges that demand the kind of outside-the-box and qualitative thinking developed in the discipline of English Studies.

If you’re here because you’re interested in the English major and exploring what we have to offer, you’re likely someone who appreciates that language, stories, and storytelling are some of the most important ways that human beings make sense of their experience and change their world. At the same time, you’re probably wondering what kinds of careers are opened up to graduates with a BA in English. Below are answers to some FAQs when it comes to considering whether Puget Sound English is right for you.

What kinds of courses do you offer?

Our courses provide you the opportunity to become an informed and innovative reader of a variety of print, visual, and digital texts—from medieval romance to graphic novels, from Shakespearean drama to Bollywood film, or from Afrofuturism to social media. You also have the option of pursuing a creative writing emphasis within the major; our workshops are designed to hone your craft in a variety of genres, including poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and playwriting. Courses offered in theory and cultural studies ask you to consider the history and workings of non-literary texts, the publishing industry, theories of identity, hip-hop rhetoric, constitutional law, and more, or to explore the politics inherent to language usage and forms of literacy. Broadly speaking, we tend to emphasize the interconnectedness of English Studies, not only with respect to the incorporation of craft and analysis in many of our courses, but also by paying attention to the ways our discipline influences and is influenced by an array of social perspectives and fields: Our faculty very often serve in a number of other campus programs that greatly enhance our offerings in English, such as African American Studies, Asian Studies, Environmental Policy and Decision Making, Gender and Queer Studies, Honors, Humanities, and Theatre Arts.

What experiential learning opportunities are there for your majors?

We recognize that your education occurs outside the classroom as well. Students in our writing internship seminar, for example, contribute to, and gain experience in the working world of local businesses. Our creative writing faculty host student readings and present their own work in the community. We also invite students to participate in the editorial and design processes of our award-winning literary and arts journal, Crosscurrents, which features outstanding student creative work every semester, while our student-centered Campus Book Club provides an opportunity for our majors to engage and lead discussions for members who join from a number of disciplines. Our annual end-of-year celebration, Wordstock, features awards for creative writing, essays, and student citizenship, as well as a selection of presentations by students enrolled in our senior seminars. The English department also sponsors visiting artists, writers, and other professionals who offer specialized seminars and workshops for our students. Recent visitors include the science-fiction writer Ted Chiang; Barcelona-based artist Ricardo Cavolo; the performance poet and activist Jared Paul; Hollywood screenwriter Matthew Aldrich; memoirist Elissa Washuta; and Patrick Linder, who translated an English degree into a successful business career.

What can I do with an English degree?

Our graduates go on to pursue graduate programs and careers in teaching, law, journalism, publishing, business, library and archival work, digital gaming, human resources, the non-profit sector, archaeology, and much more. The communication (verbal and written), analytical, and creative, critical thinking skills that you develop as an English major are highly valued in a wide range of private and public employment sectors.

For more information and data on workforce demand for the skills developed in a Humanities discipline like English, including employment and salary data, see the Study the Humanities Toolkit page on the National Humanities Alliance Foundation website.

Where can I get more information?

To get a better sense of who we are and what we do, check out the links on this page to our detailed Fall or Spring Course Descriptions, our Upcoming Events, a list of our Faculty and their areas of expertise. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

John Wesley, Chair