English program

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Prepare for your future.

The English Department at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse prepares students as professionals and global citizens through the study of literature & culture, writing & rhetoric, and English education.

Coursework features dynamic discussions with peers and professors about enduring real-world issues. Deepen your writing, reading, and critical thinking skills as you explore complex problems from multiple perspectives and develop creative, ethical solutions. Gain career-relevant experiences through internships, client and community service projects, and undergraduate research.

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

Jobs for English majors

Our English graduates prepare for their futures in a wide variety of exciting professions, including public relations, marketing, K-12 and higher education, law, medicine and event planning. Alumni are furthering their careers at businesses, nonprofits, schools and universities regionally and across the nation. We offer scholarship awards totaling more than $5,000 to qualified students every year, place our students in a wide variety of internships, and many of our students are successful in applying to competitive graduate programs across a broad range of disciplines.

What distinguishes UWL's English program?

Choose your path

The English major allows for flexibility in selecting one of several emphasis areas. Students can choose a major, add a minor or double major. This allows for English majors and minors to develop interdisciplinary expertise and boost their marketability. Minor options within the English Department include: creative writing, linguistics, and professional and technical writing. The department also offers a professional and technical writing certificate. Learn more about options in the English program.

Hands-on opportunities

Students learn through course-embedded client service projects with community organizations, and course-embedded research projects. English students have received grants for various projects and have presented their research at UWL and regional and national conferences. Students have also published creative works in local and national publications.

Learn in-demand writing skills

Writing is part of the skillset employers want. A 2021 report from The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) indicates that 90 percent of surveyed employers said that writing, critical thinking skills, and collaboration are important.The English Department is a writing-in-the major program, which means that students will learn and develop valuable writing skills throughout their major.

Learn through internships

Local businesses and magazines, as well as La Crosse’s two large medical facilities, regularly seek UWL English students for internships. Students can earn academic credit, while gaining real-world experience in areas such as publishing, news reporting, magazine writing, social media writing, science writing, grant writing, graphic and website design and more. 

Get paid to be a writing tutor

Advanced English majors have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience as paid peer tutors in the UWL Writing Center, which offers the campus community assistance with writing assignments and projects. 

Earn scholarship dollars

The English Department offers eight competitive scholarships specifically for English majors, and awards more than $5,000 to qualified students each year.

Make faculty connections

The English Department maintains small class sizes, and no English courses are taught by graduate students. The English department faculty are committed to one-on-one contact in the classroom and in advising. English faculty have been honored for UWL, UW System, and national awards for teaching, inclusiveness, research, creative endeavors, service, and community engagement. 

Build independence and teamwork skills

English students learn to prioritize and manage their time, as well as work effectively in teams by building interpersonal skills and the self confidence to express ideas. These skills align with what employers consider to be “very important” for college graduates to be successful, according to a 2021 AAC&U report

Study abroad

Students can gain a global perspective by studying literature and writing in Scotland, England, London, Ireland or Australia.

Areas of study


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.

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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.

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Language & 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.

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Literary & 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.

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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.

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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.

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Sample courses

ENG 317 Writing for Stage and Screen 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.

ENG 308 Technical Writing 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.

ENG 387 Literature and Environmental Action 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.

ENG 314 Grant Writing 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.

ENG 331 Introduction to Linguistics: Sounds and Words 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.

ENG 341 Pedagogical Approaches to Young Adult Literature 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.

ENG 343 Creative Nonfiction 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.

ENG 327 Publishing in a Digital Age 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.

ENG 348 Studies in Film and Literature 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.