We challenge one another to find our true voices and become our best selves, with guidance from luminaries such as Sandra Cisneros, Toni Morrison, George Eliot, Chinua Achebe, James Joyce, Langston Hughes, Jane Austen, John Donne, Viet Nguyen and Will Shakespeare.
Time to light a fire? Come read and write with us!
You’ll study the works of great writers from around the English-speaking world and become a more confident and capable writer yourself. You’ll learn to read critically, write gracefully, convey your ideas more effectively, and listen to others more deeply and thoughtfully. The English major will develop your most essential intellectual and interpersonal skills. It is excellent preparation for a career in law, politics, business, communications, education, publishing, journalism, library science and information management, public relations, and corporate and nonprofit management.
The Department of English offers three academic concentrations in the English major: literature, writing and English secondary education, which is designed to help prepare students for teaching in secondary schools as well as graduate study in English education.
More ways to learn, on campus and beyond
Practical experience is built into the English curriculum. Our internships draw on Chicago’s vast cultural, communications and corporate resources. You can combine academic study with compassionate service to people in need, or complete your own, hands-on research or creative projects in close collaboration with faculty (and often with university funding). And if you want to take your education global, you can choose from among study-abroad programs on four continents. Local adventures also are very popular with our students, for those times when you just want to explore how your neighbors live and think.
If you’re interested in developing an original research or creative project, you can apply for special funding from the university. You’ll enjoy faculty guidance and support throughout the process and even get a chance to present your work at a campus expo in April. It’s all part of URSCI—the Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Investigations Program—a distinctly Dominican initiative. URSCI also funds student travel to academic and professional conferences across the United States.
Angie Flores ’17
Executive Assistant, The Poetry Foundation (Chicago)
“I was introduced to the Poetry Foundation in my creative writing class. My professor taught us about the magazine’s mission and rich history. Once I graduated, I applied to many different jobs at the Foundation and didn’t give up until I was hired. Now I give guests the same care I received as a student.”
We’ve had several students complete the program at the University of Oxford. You also can travel to Spain and Morocco if you’re interested in studying the literature and life of the al-Andalus.
In small classes, you’ll work side by side with talented faculty. Professor Daniel Anderson has published a book on the culture of sports in the Harlem Renaissance. Professor Maggie Andersen has written extensively about Chicago theater and serves as literary manager of the Gift Theater in Chicago. Associate Professor Gema Ortega has published articles on a variety of texts, including Toni Morrison's novel The Bluest Eye. The department is committed to engaging diverse perspectives in writing and to exploring ways in which literature serves the ends of social justice.
Our annual Tabet Lecture brings rising stars and nationally regarded poets to campus, such as Luis Urrea, Julia Alvarez, Stuart Dybek, and the 2019 Tabet Poet, Eve Ewing, who is writing Marvel’s new “Ironheart” series.
Jasminum McMullen ’18
Communications Specialist, Redfin Real Estate (Chicago)
“As an English major, I learned to prioritize information, research responsibly, and develop effective written communication—skills that contribute to my professional
performance. In addition, close contact with various texts created a foundation that informs my creative work and enables me to succeed in postgraduate study.”
Jasminum has also been awarded Graduate Assistant funding for a low-residency MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts.