Humans have been writing since the days of hieroglyphics. As a student in CMU’s English program, you’ll tap into and build your reading, writing, research and critical-thinking skills while developing a deeper appreciation for literature. You’ll have writing and networking opportunities with on-campus student groups and publications. If you’re interested in children’s literature, the Instructional Materials Center includes contemporary works and teaching materials, and the Lucile Clarke Memorial Children’s Library includes more than 7,000 old and rare children’s books. Whether you’re looking for a teaching or nonteaching major or minor, we’ve got the English program perfectly suited for you.
- Specialization in Creative Writing
- Specialization in Nonfiction Writing
- Specialization in World Literature
- Specialization in Children’s and Young Adult Literature
- Specialization in American and British Literature
- Specialization in Applied Linguistics
Points of Pride
The English Language and Literature department features a large faculty with backgrounds that include children’s literature, creative writing, English education, linguistics and world literature. Several faculty members have been honored with CMU’s Excellence in Teaching Award, and the department also features recent recipients of the President's and Provost’s Awards for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity.
Put Your Degree to Work
The ability to read critically, research thoroughly and write effectively are in high demand in most career fields; they are “soft skills” that employers prize. English graduates find a variety of career opportunities and often work as copywriters, editors, journalists, librarians, literary scholars, manuscript reviewers, research analysts, teachers and writers.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sample data
|Job||Median Pay||Job Growth through 2022|
|High school teacher||$55,050 per year||6% (52,900 more jobs)|
|Writer/author||$55,940 per year||3% (3,800 more jobs)|
|Technical writer||$65,500 per year||15% (7,400 more jobs)|
The course listings below are a representation of what this academic program requires. For a full review of this program in detail please see our official online academic bulletin AND consult with an academic advisor. This listing does not include the General Education courses required for all majors and may not include some program specific information, such as admissions, retention, and termination standards.
(Click on the course name or number for a complete course description.)
English Literatures, Language, and Writing Major
Total: 39 semester hours
Required Courses I
Introduction to Literary Analysis
Introduction to analytical techniques for reading and writing about literary texts from a variety of genres and historical periods, including fiction, drama, and poetry. Writing Intensive. Recommended: ENG 101 or ENG 103/193 or ELI 198 with grade of C or better. (University Program Group I-B: The Arts)
Literary and Cultural Theory
Intensive survey of theories of literature, interpretation, and culture that have been of historical importance to literature and cultural studies. Prerequisites: ENG 201 with grade of C or better; ENG 234. Recommended: at least three hours of literature courses at the 300-level or above.
Senior Seminar: Advanced Literary Analysis
Intensive analysis of one or more complex literary texts, including an exploration of historical and critical contexts. Writing Intensive. Prerequisites: ENG 334, 21 hours of ENG courses, and senior standing.
Required Courses II
Select one of the following:
The Nature of Language
Introduction to the study of language and social systems. Topics include linguistic structures, acquisition, varieties, and change. May be offered as Writing Intensive. This course may be offered in an online format. (University Program Group III-B: Studies in Social Structures).
Descriptive analysis of English syntax (sentence structure), syntactic variation across dialects, and social norms influencing what constitutes "Standard English." This course may be offered in an online format. Prerequisite: ENG 101 or 103/193 or ELI 198 with a grade of C or better.
Introduction to Linguistics
A survey of the field of linguistics, including discussion of sounds, word structure, sentence structure, meaning, acquisition, social use and historical change of language. Prerequisite: ENG 201 with a grade of C or better.
Required Courses III
Select one of the following:
Introduction to Creative Writing
The basic methods and techniques in creative writing, including, but not limited to, poetry and fiction. Writing Intensive. Recommended: ENG 101 or ENG 103/193 or ELI 198 with a grade of C or better.
Development of nonfiction writing skills through individual projects in diverse genres. May be offered in an online or hybrid format. Writing Intensive. Prerequisites: ENG 201 with a grade of"C" or better.
Writing technical documents common in business, industry, government agencies, and non-profit organizations, e.g., reports, proposals, and instructions. Emphasis on readability, accessibility, suitability, and usability. Writing Intensive. May be offered in an online or hybrid format. Prerequisites: ENG 201 with a C or better; 56 credit hours completed.
Required Courses IV
Note: In Required Courses IV, students must take at least one course in each of the following traditions:
A = American
B = British
C = World
Courses in Category IV.a. will be offered in sections designated as A, B , or C; for example, ENG 336 Topics in Early Modern Literature may focus on American literature (section 336A), British literature (section 336B) or World literature (section 336C). Students may not satisfy the requirements for Category IV.a by repeating the same course number with a different section (e.g., cannot use both ENG 336A and 336B). Repeated course numbers with sections may count as electives.
Courses in Category IV.b will not have specific A, B, and C sections: ENG 329 satisfies the A requirement (American); ENG 325, 328, 330, and 333 satisfy the C requirement (World); ENG 327 and 381WI do not fulfill A, B, or C requirements.
IV.a. Historical Periods
IV.b. Comparative Cultural and Literary Traditions
Select 12 hours of ENG courses, with at least 6 hours at the 400 or 500 level; no more than 3 hours of 100-level ENG courses may count toward electives.
Students may specialize in a particular area by choosing one of the following specializations, with at least 6 hours at the 400 or 500 level .
Specialization 1: Creative Writing
Specialization 2: Nonfiction Writing
Specialization 3: World Literature
Specialization 4: Children's and Young Adult Literature
Specialization 5: American and British Literature
Specialization 6: Applied Linguistics