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Academic Master Plan

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College of Arts & Sciences

Office of Dean - College of Arts & Sciences
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg PA 17257
(717) 477-1151

Department of English

Dauphin Humanities Center 128
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA
(717) 477-1495
Department Website

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Office of the Provost
OM 308
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
(717) 477-1371

The School of Graduate Studies
Shippensburg University
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257
Phone: (717) 477-1148
Fax: (717) 477-4016

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English majors develop the skills to think critically and creatively, to analyze and interpret complex information, and to present their analyses through clear and effective writing.

English at Ship

Studying English at Shippensburg University prepares students for any kind of career that involves textual analysis, information and content management, critical thinking, clear and convincing writing skills, and an appreciation for creative expression. More than preparing for a profession, studying English allows students to work closely with accomplished faculty in a field that is at the heart of a liberal arts education. Students have opportunities to meet with distinguished visiting writers, editors, filmmakers, and scholars. The study of language and literature at Ship provides students with skills that never go out of fashion, skills that continue to develop, nourish, and preserve the legacies of human cultural expression now and for the future.

English majors study English, American, and World literatures; the English language; and all levels and genres of writing. They gain extensive experience analyzing fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, film, and critical theory. In addition, students can study the history and structure of English, then apply that knowledge in advanced literature or writing courses. They become proficient in research methods and online technologies. Many majors also choose to supplement their degree with a double major, with teaching certification, or with a minor in another academic discipline.

Students become proficient in online research methods, digital literacies, and multimodal learning. The Department of English has a computer lab, located in Dauphin Humanities Center, specifically equipped for writing instruction and web design. Our students develop their skills in writing and research through a rich array of online resources available through the university's learning management systems and its academic databases.

The degree programs in English at Shippensburg are accredited and/or evaluated by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP), and the National Council of Teachers of English.

Admission and Degree Requirements

High school students interested in studying English should read as much literature as they can and write whenever the opportunity presents itself. Students who develop a passion for literature will be better prepared to succeed in this program. Take time to study languages other than English, since knowledge of other languages and cultures reinforces an understanding of the English language.

English majors at Ship follow a varied curriculum that includes courses in writing, the history and structure of the English language, and literature—all designed to develop the critical thinking, research, and analytical skills that are essential for the study of English. Our program features historical breadth and depth, with courses ranging from Medieval and Renaissance periods through the Modern and Post-modern eras, as well as a wide range of culturally diverse courses in Women's Literature, Queer Studies, Ethnic Literature, and African-American Literature. Each semester, faculty offer Special Topics seminars in their areas of scholarly expertise. Students in our teacher certification program also take a range of courses in literacy and pedagogy. 

Careers in English

Upon graduation, our students follow a variety of post-graduate educational and professional paths. Many embark on careers in publishing, communications, marketing, government, administration, and related fields. English majors who pursue teaching certification use their specialized training to find teaching positions across Pennsylvania and throughout the nation. Others earn graduate degrees in English, creative writing, law, and other professional specialties at prominent research universities. Some former Ship English majors, like best-selling writer Dean Koontz or New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen, achieve national reputations.

Get Involved

Ship students undertake individual projects via undergraduate research grants, independent study, and on- and off-campus professional internships, or present their work at regional and national conferences. They work closely with faculty to design, edit, and publish our premiere literary magazine Reflector and our journal of outstanding undergraduate writing, Write the Ship.

There are a variety of internships for English majors through area businesses, publications, and organizations. Recently, students have served as interns for Volvo North America, the Red Cross, McCall's Quilt Magazine, the S.H.A.P.E. Gallery, the Franklin County Literacy Council, the Chambersburg Arts Council, and the Philadelphia Police Department. Internships are arranged by the student in cooperation with a faculty member. All students majoring in English with secondary certification student teach for 16 weeks in grades 7-12 throughout the central Pennsylvania region.

English majors at Ship who excel in their studies are invited to become members of Sigma Tau Delta, an international English major honor society that organizes and participates in a variety of service projects and literacy events throughout the year, including sponsoring a high school writing contest in area schools. We also have a student affiliate chapter of the National Council of Teachers of English, providing valuable professional development opportunities to students majoring in English with secondary certification. A number of English majors also serve on the editorial staff of SU’s literary magazine, the Reflector, and join the Creative Writing club.