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As an English major with a literary studies emphasis, you'll study classic and contemporary literature while building practical writing skills in areas that interest you.

Why should I study literary studies?

You'll explore stories through the disciplines of reading and writing while cultivating skills of analysis and connection useful in any career. You'll develop:

  • intellectual capacity for critical thought
  • emotional capacity for sympathetic understanding
  • aesthetic capacity for appreciating beauty
  • moral capacity for ethical action
  • creative capacity for effective communication

What can I do with this degree?

When you earn a B.A. in English with an emphasis in literary studies, you'll be prepared to attend graduate school or work in publishing, journalism, education, marketing, and more. Our alumni have built careers as:

  • Editors
  • Journalists
  • Marketers
  • Teachers
  • Web developers
  • Attorneys
  • Project managers
  • Human resource professionals

What skills will I develop?

  • Literary analysis and research
  • Communication
  • Creative thinking
  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Presenting
  • Revision, literary critique, and publishing
  • Literary craft techniques
  • Contexts, critical approaches, and methods for interpretation

You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in the R.E.A.L. Experience—a program specifically designed to help you gain the relevant, hands-on experience employers desire—so that when you graduate, you’ll be as impressive in practice as you are on paper.

What unique experiences or opportunities will I have?

Learn cross-culturally

Study other cultures in the classroom or experience them by studying abroad. Options include:

  • World Literature (Japanese or Central and South American)
  • Travel Writing
  • The J-Term Textura trip, which gives you the opportunity to practice photojournalism and create a culturally insightful magazine

Learn from accomplished faculty writers

  • April Vinding in Ruminate; her most recent book, Triptych
  • Marion Larson in The Journal of College and Character; her most recent book, From Bubble to Bridge: Educating Christians for a multifaith world. 
  • Scott Winter's most recent book, Nebrasketball: Coach Tim Miles and a Big Ten Team on the Rise, won a 2016 Nebraska Book Award
  • Mark Bruce, in his recent anthology, The Anglo-Scottish Borders and the Shaping of Identity: 1300-1600, worked with distinguished scholars from diverse institutions like the University of California, Berkeley; Cornell University; Auburn University; the University of Oxford; and the University of Nottingham.

Overall, in the last four years, English department professors have published 4 books, 4 book chapters, 34 creative pieces, 20 scholarly pieces, and given 71 professional presentations. As a result of these professional successes, our professors are well-connected with the writing and publishing communities both locally and nationwide—such as Angela Shannon, who serves on the board at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. These connections help to provide students with top internship opportunities where skills can be developed further.

In a recent survey of 200 department alumni, 85 respondents have an M.A. or are currently pursuing one; 15 have a Ph.D. or are currently pursuing one; and 6 have completed law school.


students majoring in the department

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