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Bachelor of Arts in English | Undergraduate Degree Program

Bachelor of Arts in English

This program is designed to imbue you with sensitivity to the profound power of language. Learn to appreciate the ways in which creative writing can capture the essence of the human condition. Courses promote understanding, analysis, and evaluation of a wide range of authors, characters, themes, plots, and styles in world literature. By identifying the techniques and impacts of successful writers, you develop your expressive abilities, identify important personal issues, increase empathy for others, and discover your own voice and styles through the written word. The skills you gain as an English major, including the ability to write, analyze material and communicate effectively, are valuable in many different fields.

Career Opportunities Include

  • Law
  • Journalism
  • Publishing
  • Advertising
  • Editing
  • Education
  • Government
  • Technical writing

Education and Qualifications

As English degree holders may apply their abilities to a broad range of careers, an equally broad range of courses should be taken as part of a degree-seeking program. Interpersonal communication and writing skills should be given particular consideration, as employers are looking for individuals that can conceptualize and deliver a wide range of messages to their constituents and clients. Many careers open to English majors may require a master’s degree or other professional certification, such as teacher education training. In fact, our Master of Arts in Education programs are so popular that we have several concentrations to choose from, which include our online Masters in Educational Technology and online Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.

Careers in English 

While there are a wide variety of lucrative careers one may pursue with an online, accelerated degree in English, the field of technical writing is particularly booming. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, technical writers prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily. Most technical writers work full time. Although technical writers work in a variety of industries, they are concentrated in the computer and management, scientific, and technical industries.

A college degree is usually required for a position as a technical writer. In addition, knowledge of or experience with a technical subject, such as science or engineering, is beneficial. The median annual wage for technical writers was $74,650 in May 2020. Employment of technical writers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by the continuing expansion of scientific and technical products. An increase in Web-based product support should also increase demand for technical writers. Job opportunities, especially for applicants with technical skills, are expected to be good.

Careers in English may include:

  • Academic librarian
  • Advertising copywriter
  • Archivist
  • Arts administrator
  • Digital copywriter
  • Editorial assistant
  • Education consultant
  • English as a foreign language teacher
  • Information officer
  • Learning mentor
  • Lexicographer
  • Magazine journalist
  • Marketing executive
  • Media researcher
  • Newspaper journalist
  • Primary school teacher
  • Private tutor
  • PPC specialist
  • Proofreader
  • Public relations officer
  • Publishing copyeditor
  • Records manager
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Social media manager
  • Web content manager
  • Writer

English Major Courses

Introductory Courses (one required)

Contemporary Literature | ENG 10223 (3 credit hours)
Consists of analytical and reflective reading of contemporary (since 1945) American fiction, poetry and drama. Attention to developing techniques for critical reading and writing. Basic course for literature majors and study in the humanities and liberal arts.

Sports Literature | ENG 10423 (3 credit hours)

As one of the elective courses for the college-wide distribution requirements, this class aspires to provide students with an introduction to a variety of literary works from several genres of sports literature.  These works represent an array of sports traditions and literary genres, from basketball poetry to baseball novels to non-fictional works about football, raising questions about the cultural values expressed and critiqued by sports.  In the course of the semester, we will gain an understanding of selected literary texts, as well as an appreciation for the social and cultural forces that produced them.

Survey Courses

Ancient to Medieval | ENG 26023 (3 credit hours)
Engages in primary analysis and response to significant literature from antiquity through the Renaissance.

Renaissance to Romantics | ENG 27023 (3 credit hours) 
The second of the three English Department survey courses, this class aspires to provide students with an introduction to some of the major literary works and ideological movements of the Western world during the 18th and 19th centuries. In the course of the semester, we will gain an understanding of a variety of texts as well as an appreciation for the social, historical, political, religious, and ideological currents of each era.

Victorians to Moderns | ENG 28023 (3 credit hours)
Engages the student in primary analysis and response to significant literature from late nineteenth century Modernism through post-colonial and post-modern configurations.

Dedicated Writing Courses (one required)

Advanced Expository Writing | ENG 31023 (3 credit hours)
Refinement of expository writing skills through analysis of models and writing practice.

Creative Writing | ENG 32723 (3 credit hours)
Course development skills in writing drama, poetry and fiction. Develops critical skills and encourages students to develop tools to refine expression.

Theme-Based Courses (three required)

IDS: Reading Relationships | ENG 30223 (3 credit hours)
This course unpacks the theme of human relationships -- romantic, filial, obsessive, and otherwise -- through the reading of such works as Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine, and Andre Aciman's Call Me by Your Name, viewed through the lens of history and shifting cultural values.  Cross-listed with LAS 30223 IDS: Reading Relationships.

IDS: Baseball Literature | ENG 31100 (3 credit hours)
An examination of a variety of literary works written about baseball from its inception to the present, focusing on the ways they represent or call into question the social, historical, and political currents that produced them.  Readings may include Malamud's The Natural, Greenberg's The Celebrant, and the poetry of former Kansas City Royals pitcher Dan Quisenberry.  Cross-listed with LAS 31100 IDS: Baseball Literature.

IDS: Image and Text | ENG 33023 (3 credit hours)
Explores how image and text work together to make meaning in contexts such as illustrated literature, film, advertising, visual poetry, performance art, and graphic novels. Readings from fields such as visual cultural studies, semiotics, art history, film criticism, postmodernism, and psychoanalytic theory will illuminate the relationships between image and text, language and representation.

IDS: Environmental Literature | ENG 33523 (3 credit hours)
An examination of a variety of literary works from several genres, focusing on the portrayal of physical environments and the connections between these environments and human spheres of influence. This course will explore how human beings relate to the natural world, and how that relation influences the way we read texts and the world around us, Authors to be studied might include Leopold, Thoreau, Defoe, the Brontes, Wordsworth, Merwin, Snyder and Kingsolver. Cross-listed with LAS 33523 IDS: Environmental Literature.

IDS: Literature of Personal Discovery | ENG 49950 (3 credit hours)
Questions of identity and self-definition, from agonizing to liberating, in the work of such writers as Dante, Franz Kafka, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Kate Chopin, Simone de Beauvoir, Ralph Ellison and Anne Sexton.

Seminar Courses

Literary Criticism | ENG 40123 (3 credit hours)
Identifies major trends in the history of critical thought from Plato to Derrida. Seeks to discover the position of literary criticism and to apply various critical theories. Library research and writing. Prerequisite: 30000-level English course.

Seminar: American Literature | ENG 45023 (3 credit hours)
Analyzes major American literature with emphasis on genre, period or author, to gain understanding of the critical approaches necessary for a thorough investigation of literature.

Seminar in British Literature | ENG 45123 (3 credit hours)
Analyzes major British literature with emphasis on genre, period or author, to gain understanding of the critical approaches necessary for a thorough investigation of literature.

Capstone Course

Integrative Seminar in Criticism | ENG 49201 (4 credit hours)
Capstone course that guides student in development of an integrative project that demonstrates achievement of the learning outcomes in the English major. Course is organized around the major trends in critical thought and application of literary criticism theories within and across periods and genres.

Full Degree Catalog

University Accreditation

Ottawa University, as a whole, is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Specific degree programs within our institution have also been accredited by relevant bodies within the field:

We are proudly recognized for our commitment to student excellence by the following designations:

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