The Department of English prides itself on the diversity of its course offerings and on its small lecture and discussion classes. The department offers a full range of courses in seven areas:  literature, creative writing, screen studies, linguistics, teaching English as a second language, rhetoric and writing studies. The number of students in any English class rarely exceeds 30; and in first-year composition the enrollment limit is 19. The maximum number of students in a graduate-level class is 12.

An undergraduate English major may select from five options:  the traditional literature-based option emphasizes literary appreciation and analysis and allows ample opportunity for discussion, independent thinking, and writing. English majors can also add a teaching certificate to this option by completing the required education courses as electives. The creative writing option includes fiction writing, poetry writing, and creative nonfiction, with emphasis on interactive workshop classes in which students hone their skills. The third option, screen studies, focuses on the study of the history, theory, and aesthetics of cinema, television, and new media. And the fourth option, rhetoric and writing studies, is for majors who seek careers in which their writing skills will be applied to the task of generating and exchanging ideas in professional settings. The fifth option is a pre-law track for students planning to go into the legal professions.

Many English majors pursue careers directly related to their major, such as those in teaching, editing, or publishing, or they may decide to go to graduate school in order to teach in a college or university. Other students find that an English major is excellent preparation for law school or for careers in the ministry, government, business, counseling, social work, or library science.

The Department of English actively participates in the University Honors Program. Students who qualify for Honors are eligible to enroll in restricted courses and to write a Senior Honors Thesis. The department offers Honors courses at all levels, including an Honors seminar on a different topic each year.

A Bachelor of Arts in English requires 45 hours of lower- and upper-division English courses. An English minor requires 18 hours of English, at least nine of which must be upper-division (These hours do not include Freshman Composition.). The department also offers minors in Creative Writing, Linguistics, Professional Writing, and Screen Studies. Undergraduate students majoring in English or in another discipline may also wish to earn a Certificate in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).