A liberal arts degree in English prepares you to read and interpret texts, think critically, and write effectively. Literary study also broadens your perspectives on human life and culture. An English degree can prepare you for a variety of different careers. Many students also use the B.A. in English as preparation for graduate study, either in English or in other areas like ministry, law, or library science.
The B.A. in English is a 36-hour major that requires coursework in British, American, and world literature, as well as literary theory, linguistics, and writing. It requires you to experience a broad range of literature, yet it allows you to select from a variety of courses.
General Course Overview
The four courses required of all majors are Literary Theory and Criticism, Linguistics, Shakespeare, and Seminar in English. Students take Literary Theory early in the major to learn the theories and methods that underlie literary studies. The Seminar in English, usually focusing on a single author, provides a capstone experience near the end of the major. It requires significant research and culminates in a long seminar paper.
Of the remaining eight courses in the major, one must be in American literature, one in British literature, one in world literature, and one in twentieth-century literature. Multiple course options exist to fulfill each of these requirements, so you can choose a course that interests you from each area. One advanced writing course is also required. The remaining hours may be taken as electives.
You may have heard that an English degree does not make you particularly "employable." To the contrary, some recent articles in both education and business journals have argued that employers actually do hire liberal arts graduates like English majors. Recently, a number of people have written about why employers seek English majors: here, here, and here.
If you are still concerned about having job-specific skills, however, you will have the opportunity to add a minor--or even a second major--to your program. Fields like communications, journalism, graphic design, women's and gender studies, marketing, or computer information systems could complement your English major and enhance your job prospects.
Many English students enhance their writing skills by writing for The Spectator, the campus newspaper. You may also submit your creative work to Motif, Concordia's annual creative arts journal.
The English Club sponsors various activities during the year. These include trips to plays or readings in Chicago, as well as on-campus social events and post-show discussions. The English Department also invites published writers to campus to read their work and conduct workshops with students each year. Each spring the students who are published in Motif offer a public reading of their work.