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English

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As a department, we engage with texts and ideas as imaginative, open-minded individuals who contribute responsibly to diverse communities in a changing world.

 

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Undergraduate programs

English

An English major is a humanities degree with strong emphasis on reading and writing. Students are challenged to think deeply about what they read and observe, organize their thoughts, and develop arguments. Communication, creative thinking and problem-solving skills make them attractive to employers and graduate schools.

Areas of study

Education

This major prepares students to become dynamic English Language Arts (ELA) teachers who can meet the needs of adolescent learners at both the middle and high school levels. Faculty guide students through rigorous coursework in fields such as literature, writing, linguistics, and ELA pedagogy. Students receive personalized mentoring throughout multiple field experience and student teaching semesters. English education majors who meet the necessary criteria graduate with a license to teach grades 4-12 in the state of Wisconsin.

Undergrad major Teacher license View a sample plan for Education

Language and Literature

The English language and literature minor provides a foundation in English Language Arts-related topics and is especially relevant for students who plan to teach in the middle grades or overseas. It addresses issues of literary analysis, linguistics, writing instruction, and literature with particular attention to young adult literature.

Undergrad minor View a sample plan for Language and Literature

Literary and Cultural Studies Emphasis

The literary and cultural studies emphasis focuses on developing critical modes of inquiry, foundational and transferable skills in writing, and innovative research focusing on the study of culture and the human condition. Cross-disciplinary conversations hone students’ abilities to analyze diverse personal, cultural, ethical, and global perspectives, and to find creative solutions to complex problems.

Undergrad major Undergrad minor View a sample plan for Literary and Cultural Studies Emphasis

Medical Professions Emphasis

The English major: medical professions emphasis combines courses from English and biology to prepare students for careers in healthcare while they also complete some of the pre-healthcare coursework, practice their writing skills, and study the human condition through narrative. These skills are essential for health-related careers focused on writing and communication.

Undergrad major View a sample plan for Medical Professions Emphasis

Writing & Rhetoric Studies Emphasis

In the writing and rhetoric emphasis students are empowered to examine and shape the world through writing. They develop high-demand written communication skills, gain experience working in teams, learn digital writing technologies, and address diverse audience needs.

Undergrad major View a sample plan for Writing & Rhetoric Studies Emphasis

Professional & Technical Writing

Undergrad minor Certificate

Professional and technical writing is written communication within an organization for a specific purpose, typically aligned with the organization’s goals. Professional writers can translate complex information into easy-to-digest prose. This writing may appear in technical documents, newsletters, reports, press releases, emails, messaging apps and more. 

Creative Writing

Undergrad minor

Creative writing is a process of creating written works including fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, screen writing, stage writing or play writing. Creative writing starts with the generation of an idea. It continues with composing, revising, and publishing creative pieces.

Linguistics

Undergrad minor

Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. We are used to studying language from a humanistic perspective. Linguistics applies scientific methodology to language with the goal of understanding how human language works — cognitively, biologically, physically and socially.

English Connections

Since 1998, English graduates have surpassed STEM majors in acceptance rates to medical school, and English has become the 7th most popular major on medical school applications.

Interested in pursuing a career in health and medicine? Check out the English Major: English for Medical Professions emphasis.

In the 2018-2019 academic year, English graduates boasted a 79.42% acceptance rate into law school, surpassing political science and legal studies applicants.

The values and skills English majors develop set them up to be prime researchers, critical thinkers, and social servants. For those interested in a career in nonprofit work, the English major is an excellent place to refine skills prior to entering the field.

"Metacognition," or thinking about how we think, is a concept in English developed in the field of Writing & Rhetoric that blends with the field of Psychology. In a major dedicated to thought and brain functions, where one must rely on what their patient tells them to make proper conclusions and diagnoses, metacognition can prove to be an immensely useful tool.

Summer 2024 Courses

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Writing and Rhetoric major and Communications minor Whitney Tabbert shares how her classes and professors in the English program gave her the necessary personal and intellectual devices to grow her career after graduating.

Featured courses

  • Creative Writing
    ENG 305 | 3 credits
    An advanced course which emphasizes the writing of poetry, short fiction, and analytical-evaluative writing about each of these genres. The course is taught by a practicing and published fiction writer or poet and is intended as the basic course in the creative writing English minor. It is also for those students interested in writing short fiction and/or poems. Prerequisite: ENG 110 or ENG 112. Offered Fall, Spring.
  • Literary Journal Production
    ENG 320 | 3 credits
    This is a workshop-style course in which students assemble and publish Steam Ticket, a nationally-distributed literary journal that attracts submissions from international authors and artists. Each student serves in positions such as Fiction Editor, Poetry Editor, Copy Editor, Managing Editor, Social Media Strategist, Staff Photographer, etc. Students gain real-world experience in publishing, titles to include on resumes, and exposure to contemporary trends in literature. Emphasis will be placed on interdisciplinary and multicultural content and participation. Repeatable for credit - maximum six. Only three credits may be applied toward any individual major or minor. Prerequisite: 300 level writing course. Offered Spring.
  • Writing for Stage and Screen
    ENG 317 | 3 credits
    Students in this course achieve a broad introduction to the art and craft of writing screen and stage plays. Course readings will include models in each genre and exercises designed to stimulate creative processes. Critical assignments will challenge students to recognize and articulate principles of stage and screen drama. Creative assignments will challenge students to create their own original works in each genre. Each student will provide a script for review by the full class in a workshop setting, and the course will provide opportunities for staging, video production, or dramatic reading of students' works. Prerequisite: ENG 200-level course. Offered Every Third Semester.
  • Creative Nonfiction
    ENG 343 | 3 credits
    An advanced course which emphasizes the personal essay, memoir, and other forms that blur the distinction between fiction and factual writing. While creative nonfiction may be informative, it may also be personal and lyrical. Students will study voice, prose style, and techniques of structuring content. Prerequisite: ENG 110 or ENG 112. Offered Every Third Semester.
  • Writing for Stage and Screen
    ENG 317 | 3 credits
    Students in this course achieve a broad introduction to the art and craft of writing screen and stage plays. Course readings will include models in each genre and exercises designed to stimulate creative processes. Critical assignments will challenge students to recognize and articulate principles of stage and screen drama. Creative assignments will challenge students to create their own original works in each genre. Each student will provide a script for review by the full class in a workshop setting, and the course will provide opportunities for staging, video production, or dramatic reading of students' works. Prerequisite: ENG 200-level course. Offered Every Third Semester.
  • Technical Writing
    ENG 308 | 3 credits
    An advanced writing course designed to introduce students to theories and practices of writing and designing technical information using various media and technology (i.e. digital, print, audio, video, etc.), through such genres as infographics, podcasts, white papers, technical instructions, documentation, and others. Students will work independently and collaboratively to address the needs of diverse users by ethically and accessibly communicating technical information. Through this work, students will also learn project management strategies and be able to respond successfully to rapidly-changing contexts. Prerequisite: ENG 110 or ENG 112; sophomore standing. Offered Annually.
  • Literature and Environmental Action
    ENG 387 | 3 credits
    A study of literature of many genres written by nature and environmentalist writers, both traditional and contemporary, all serving as models for students' essays and projects. Prerequisite: three credits in 200 level English courses. Offered Alternate Years.
  • Grant Writing
    ENG 314 | 3 credits
    This course provides students with an opportunity to develop knowledge of theories and practice in philanthropic grant writing. Students will work in teams to help clients fundraise for social change, investigating political, social, and cultural aspects and practices of grant writing within the context of local organizations. Students will develop skills in identifying sources of grant funding, engage in various research methods, analyze stakeholder needs, and learn to rhetorically respond to requests for proposals. The course will also explore grant-related writing genres and conventions such as planning documents, needs assessments, letters of inquiry, project descriptions, and requests for proposals. Prerequisite: ENG 110 or ENG 112. Offered Fall.
  • Introduction to Linguistics: Sounds and Words
    ENG 331 | 3 credits
    This course is an introduction to linguistics focused on articulatory phonetics, phonology, and morphology. Some attention is given to language acquisition and language variation at the levels of phonology, morphology, and the lexicon. During lab students practice phonetic transcription, morphological analysis, morphophonological analysis, phonological analysis, phonemic analysis, and distinctive feature analysis. Lect. 2, Lab 2. Prerequisite: ENG 110 or ENG 112; students cannot earn credit in both ENG 331 and TSL 340. Offered Fall.
  • Pedagogical Approaches to Young Adult Literature
    ENG 341 | 3 credits
    This course focuses on pedagogical approaches to using young adult (YA) literature as a tool for understanding adolescent experiences in the Secondary English classroom. It is designed for teacher candidates who want to learn how to integrate YA literature into their future classrooms. Students will read a variety of texts in multiple genres, exploring the breadth and richness of YA literature in terms of form, style, and cultural diversity. Students will learn the intricacies of text selection and strategies for facilitating discussions. They will also learn how to incorporate technology to encourage higher-order thinking, how to align curriculum to the Common Core Standards, and how to use YA literature strategically within a traditional curriculum that favors canonical texts. Prerequisite: three credits in 200 level English courses. Offered Annually.
  • Creative Nonfiction
    ENG 343 | 3 credits
    An advanced course which emphasizes the personal essay, memoir, and other forms that blur the distinction between fiction and factual writing. While creative nonfiction may be informative, it may also be personal and lyrical. Students will study voice, prose style, and techniques of structuring content. Prerequisite: ENG 110 or ENG 112. Offered Every Third Semester.
  • Publishing in a Digital Age
    ENG 327 | 3 credits
    Practice in and critical examination of publication design, including research, writing, editing, layout, design, theory, software, and digital imagery. Prerequisite: ENG 110 or ENG 112. Offered Fall.
  • Studies in Film and Literature
    ENG 348 | 3 credits
    This course is an introduction to the study of film and film criticism with some attention to the history of the medium and its relation to literary genres. Prerequisites: three credits in 200 level English courses. Offered Annually.
  • History of the English Language
    ENG 330 | 3 credits
    A survey of the historical development of English language structure and usage in the Old English, Middle English, Early Modern English, and Modern English periods. Prerequisite: ENG 110 or ENG 112. Offered Fall.
  • Introduction to Linguistics: Sounds and Words
    ENG 331 | 3 credits
    This course is an introduction to linguistics focused on articulatory phonetics, phonology, and morphology. Some attention is given to language acquisition and language variation at the levels of phonology, morphology, and the lexicon. During lab students practice phonetic transcription, morphological analysis, morphophonological analysis, phonological analysis, phonemic analysis, and distinctive feature analysis. Lect. 2, Lab 2. Prerequisite: ENG 110 or ENG 112; students cannot earn credit in both ENG 331 and TSL 340. Offered Fall.
  • Language, Power, and Inequality
    ANT 375 | 3 credits
    This course will examine how our ideas about language intersect with differences in power and social inequality in the United States. These ideas include how we think people "should" speak, who speaks the "best," and which language varieties are valued. Focusing on the role of institutions and their effects on minority language speakers, we will explore issues such as language subordination, stereotypes of US regional dialects and accents, "mixed" languages, "mock" languages, political correctness, and multilingualism. This class will also examine how our ideas about language are used to construct and reflect social boundaries, which can affect people's social and political opportunities. Offered Occasionally.
  • Writing for Management, Public Relations and the Professions
    ENG 307 | 3 credits
    An advanced writing course designed to introduce students to theories and practices of workplace writing through genres such as personal brand statements, application materials, correspondence, memos, proposals, reports, press releases, and others. Students will work independently, collaboratively, and ethically to address the needs of internal and external audiences. Through this work, students will also learn project management strategies and be able to respond successfully to rapidly-changing workplace contexts and stakeholders. Prerequisite: ENG 110 or ENG 112; sophomore standing. Offered Fall, Spring.
  • Writing in the Sciences
    ENG 309 | 3 credits
    An advanced writing course for students in the sciences. The course will focus both on the role writing plays in the conduct of scientific work and on the rhetorical and stylistic conventions of the various scientific disciplines: in short, on the relationship between writing and scientific knowledge. Taught through an inquiry process, students will be led to develop their composition skills and understanding as they discover the procedures and conventions of their individual disciplines. Not open for credit in the English education major or minors except for credit in the professional writing minor. Prerequisite: ENG 110 or ENG 112; sophomore standing. Offered Annually.
  • Digital Content Writing, Strategy, and Experience Design
    ENG 310 | 3 credits
    This course is designed to develop rhetorical knowledge of and practice in digital content strategy, written content creation, and user experience design for professional organizations across multiple platforms, including websites, social media, blogs, and other professional digital spaces. Students will develop skills in content strategy and user experience/user interface design for professional digital ecologies/networks, including those within mobile and desktop interfaces. The course will also introduce students to tracking and measuring data analytics, integrating search engine optimization, and developing content strategies to optimize professional and technical writing across digital platforms and situations. Prerequisite: ENG 110 or ENG 112; sophomore standing. Offered Fall, Spring.