English

Engage with diverse literatures and contexts to develop your critical thinking and writing skills as an English major at Wilkes. Concentrations in digital humanities, literature, writing and education will prepare you for a wide range of careers.

Program Snapshot

Program Type Format Credit Hours
Major, Minor On Campus 120 (18 for minor)

Why Study English at Wilkes?

The close-knit community and co-curricular activities are hallmarks of the Wilkes English department.

As an English major, you spend a significant amount of time reading and writing. To thrive, you will need not only concentration, but conversation. No writer writes alone! Our faculty share their expertise and creativity, and welcome yours in and out of the classroom. You’ll be a vital part of the Kirby Hall community, the English Department’s home on campus.

You can hone your writing, editorial and leadership skills outside the classroom through co-curricular activities like:

What Will You Learn as an English Student?

  • Through an examination of American and world literature, you’ll develop critical thinking skills that will serve you in your professional and personal life. You’ll learn to effectively communicate your thoughts through exercises in academic, creative and workplace writing.
  • You’ll build an appreciation for and understanding of genres, including fiction, poetry, drama and nonfiction.
  • In our digital humanities courses, you’ll analyze and create literary and non-literary digital texts to enhance your experience in the remote work space.
  • Choose one of four concentrations that best suit your education and career goals:
  • You can also minor in Creative Writing to develop your creative imaginations or Workplace Writing to prepare for opportunities outside of the classroom.
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Program Highlights

Workshops with Guest Artists

English majors have access to intimate writing workshops and conversations with rising and established authors through the annual Allan Hamilton Dickson Spring Writers Series. Past guests include Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Dave Eggers, Alice Sola Kim, Phil Klay and Valeria Luiselli.

International Membership

You can become a member of Alpha Gamma Alpha, our award-winning Sigma Tau Delta chapter. This international honor society lets you exhibit your academic achievements and have the opportunity to present at conferences, network at conventions and earn scholarships.

Real-World Experience

Earn valuable hands-on experience in leadership roles with The Inkwell and The Manuscript Society.  Develop skills as a consultant and workplace writer in the University Writing Center.  You can also earn scholarship funds for your commitment to editorial positions. If you want to venture into off-campus opportunities, you have access to a variety of local and remote publishing and workplace writing internships.

Ӱֱappwas a place for me to foster my intelligence and critical thinking. Keep your options open. Don’t be afraid to go off road and see what happens.

Brianna Schunk '20 - English and Individualized Studies
4

concentrations (digital humanities, literature, writing and education)

90%

of English majors get full-time work in a related field with their bachelor's degree Asterisk

4+1

BA/MA in Creative Writing program offered

Asterisk indicates based on self-reported survey data.

Explore Our Courses

Do you wish to...

  • Explore the rhetorical and linguistic strategies used by legal, government and media experts?
  • Discover the roots of English drama starting in the 10th century?
  • Analyze the conflict of rational and irrational that permeates Gothic literature?

Our diverse course offerings provide an abundance of opportunities to study every and all aspects of the English language.

Featured Upcoming Courses

Taught By: Mischelle Anthony
Tuesday/Thursday 3:30 - 4:45 P.M.

This senior seminar will examine literature of the American working class, broadly defined, from the 1800s to the present. Some questions we’ll consider with each text:

  • How does economy intersect with agency and precarity?
  • How do race and gender intersect with socioeconomic class?
  • What effect does the socioeconomic class of character and audience have on genre?
Major Assignments
  • In-class Presentation
  • Midterm
  • Research Essay (12-15 pages)
  • Seminar Presentation
Tenative Reading List
Nonfiction
  • Mrs. P.D. Manvill, Lucinda; Or the Mountain Mourner (1807)
  • Maggie Nelson, On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint (2021)
Fiction
  • Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron Mills
  • John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath (1937)
  • Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)
Drama
  • John Gay, The Beggar’s Opera (1778)
  • Clifford Odets, Waiting for Lefty (1935)
  • Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman (1949)
  • Stephen Sondheim, Sweeney Todd (1979) [The People’s Periodical, 1846]
  • Tony Kushner, Skeleton Crew (2014)
  • Stephen Adly Guirgis, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven (2019)
Film
  • John Sayles, Matewan (1987)
  • Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon (2023) [David Grann, 2017]
Taught By: Dr. William Chad Stanley

As a course in Studies in Film and Literature, ENG 398 will involve the close and careful study of a range of texts within and beyond traditional literature.

For this section of ENG 398, we will be focusing thematically on cinematic, visual, and literary representations of warfare. In relation, we will consider matters of historical contexts of film/literary production, representation, and reception. In each case we will also consider film as a technology, as a medium, as a communication, as an emplaced social/public experience, and as a private experience (emplaced or portably emplaced).

In the process of our work, ENG 398 will cover a basic introduction to the theories, methods, questions, and concerns of film studies, helping students develop a vocabulary of cinematic analysis and criticism, and providing an analytical base that is vital to work in actual film production or screenplay writing. Considering our various approaches to film studies, students will be able to work with the course materials (films and literary texts) in ways that most closely relate to precise and varied major programs of study.

As a course emphasizing writing and the written analysis of film and literature, students will be responsible for numerous in-class/take-home short writing assignments, two 5-page Cinematic Analysis Papers, one Annotated Bibliography, and one 10-page Cinematic Criticism Paper employing research in the areas of literary and cinematic studies. The course may also include a Final Exam. Notably, as film studies involve the study, analysis, and commentary on visual media, we will practice the inclusion and analysis of visual data—or “visual quotes”— and well as traditional textual quotes in our writing.

Courting Success

If you’re pondering a career as an attorney, consider pursuing an English major. A BA in English will give you a solid foundation of reading comprehension, compelling writing and analytical thinking.

Through Wilkes’ pre-law program, you’ll work with a pre-law advisor in addition to your advisor in the English department. The pre-law program provides guidance on law school preparation and admission, as well as access to guest speakers and law school visits.

ӰֱappEnglish majors consistently earn some of the highest scores on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) as well as admission and full scholarships to highly ranked law schools.

Explore the Pre-law Program

Careers & Outcomes

English majors often pursue careers in writing, publishing, education or law, but a variety of industries and corporations need the creative and analytical skills English majors bring to the table.

Job Titles

  • Secondary or Middle-Level Educator
  • Attorney
  • University Professor
  • Managing Editor
  • Senior Editor
  • Content Writer
  • Public Relations Representative
  • Grant Writer
  • Health Care Manager

Employers

  • Google
  • Wyoming Valley West (PA) School District
  • Winchester (VA) Public Schools
  • Berkshire Hathaway Guard Insurance
  • Syracuse University Press
  • Elsevier Publishing
  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior
  • Web.com
  • Salisbury University
  • Think Company (PA)
  • Epic Games

Graduate Schools

  • Penn State Dickinson Law
  • University of Illinois
  • UCLA School of Law
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • Hofstra University
  • Rosemont College
  • Villanova University
  • New York University
  • Tulsa University

Spring Writers Series

The Allan Hamilton Dickson Spring Writers Series brings published authors to campus, providing the Ӱֱappcommunity and other literature lovers with access to readings and book signings.

English majors have a unique opportunity to connect with these professionals and gain insight into the creative process through small class sessions and writing workshops.

We’ve hosted writers such as Margaret Atwood, Zach Linge, Poupeh Missaghi and Howard Norman, who shared a diverse look at poetry, fiction and memoir.

Explore the Writers Series