English majors learn to read, to write, to think analytically-to become educated persons who make informed, enlightened judgments and articulate them persuasively.
What is English?
The English major offers in-depth study of English literature and language. Students in the program gain extensive grounding in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, film, and critical theory. In studying language, majors learn the history and structure of English, then apply that knowledge in advanced expository and creative writing courses to become highly competent college-level writers. They also become proficient in research methods and online technologies.
Many majors also choose a minor in another academic discipline, just as a number of majors from other areas elect to minor in English.
What kinds of careers can I expect?
Upon graduation, English majors follow a variety of post-graduate education and professional paths. English majors who choose to pursue teaching certification (B.A. with secondary certification) use their specialized course and field training to find teaching positions across Pennsylvania and in neighboring states. Some traditional English majors (B.A.) go on to earn their master's in English or terminal degrees in literary studies, creative writing, law, and other professional specialties at prominent research universities. Many English graduates embark on careers in publishing, communications, marketing, government, administration, and related fields. Some of our former Shippensburg English majors, like best-selling writer Dean Koontz or former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen, even achieve national reputations.
Are internships available?
There are a variety of internships for English majors through area businesses, publications, and organizations. Recently, students have served as interns for the Chambersburg Arts Council, Planned Parenthood, an elected state official, and one student worked for several summers as a public relations specialist for the Allentown Fair. There are also student teaching opportunities for education majors. Internships are arranged by the student in cooperation with a faculty member.
How should I prepare for an English major?
Read as much good literature as you possibly can and write whenever the opportunity presents itself. The student who is familiar with good writing will be better prepared to study literature than the student who is not. Take time to study languages other than English (Latin, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Japanese), since knowledge of a foreign language often reinforces your understanding of the English language.
What kinds of courses will I take?
As an English major at Shippensburg University, you have a varied curriculum including courses in writing and composition, the history and structure of the English language, and core courses designed to ensure you have a good foundation in literature, including the vocabulary and analytic procedures that are critical to the study of English. Course coverage ranges from Medieval and Renaissance periods through the Modern and Post-modern eras, including offerings in women's literature, African-American literature, and ethnic literature.
What is the role of the computer?
Today, word processing is the standard medium for composing and preparing manuscripts. The Department of English at SU has a computer lab, located in Dauphin Humanities Center, specifically designed for writing. Students from basic writing to advanced composition learn the fundamentals of writing, rewriting, editing, and proofing through the use of computers.
May students who are not English majors take English courses?
All Shippensburg University students take a certain number of hours in English as part of the general education requirement. Every student at the university has the choice of taking other English courses beyond the general education requirement. Before attempting to enroll in an upper-level course, you should check the catalog or speak to the instructor.
What student organizations exist in this field?
English majors at Shippensburg, who do particularly well in their studies, are invited to become members of Sigma Tau Delta, an international honor society for English majors. Meetings are often discussions, lectures, demonstrations, or readings with students, faculty, and guests. We also have a student chapter of the National Council of Teachers of English. A number of majors also serve on the staff of SU's literary magazine, the Reflector.
How is the program professionally evaluated?
The degree programs in English at Shippensburg are accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the Pennsylvania Department of Education, and by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.
Why study English at Shippensburg?
Upper-level students in English take small-group workshops and seminars and have opportunities to meet one-on-one with distinguished visiting writers, editors, filmmakers, and scholars. Some also undertake individual projects via undergraduate research grants, independent study, and on- and off-campus professional internships. In addition, majors work closely with the English faculty in designing, editing, and publishing our premiere literary magazine Reflector and in planning annual department activities such as our area high school writing contest and student-faculty field trip. Also, each year outstanding majors are elected to Who's Who, and several are invited to present their critical papers or creative work at regional English conferences.