KU's English Department is at the core of the humanities, highlighting the "human" through our individual, one-on-one interactions with our students, our emphasis on community and global engagement, and our abiding interest in our shared humanity through the stories of others. We seek to challenge the mind and to engage the imagination of our students, to teach them to ask questions and to seek for answers.  We encourage them to grapple with the complexity of a culturally and commercially interconnected world and the global networks and processes of cultural exchange. We believe that words and ideas will shape the world. We teach our students life-long skills, so that they learn to write clearly, creatively, and effectively—discovering themselves even as they lay a solid foundation for professional success. We offer three tracks in the undergraduate English major: 1) literary studies, 2) language, rhetoric, and writing, and 3) creative writing.

KU's English Department has several core strengths that cross tracks and periods: Global and Cross-Cultural Approaches; Literature, Rhetoric, and Social Action; Diversity Studies; Language, Literature and Science; and Popular Expressive Forms. See our faculty in specific fields and areas of specialty.

Our department is renowned for its tradition of excellence in teaching. In the last ten years, faculty members in the department of English have won ten Kemper Fellowships for Excellence in Teaching, the most prominent teaching award at the University of Kansas. In addition, we have won two Chancellors Club Teaching Professorships, a Career Achievement Teaching Award, and a wide variety of other university teaching and advising awards. In 2003, our department received the Center of Teaching Excellence (CTE) award for Department Excellence in Teaching at the University of Kansas. In addition, in 2010 we were awarded a CTE Teaching Development Award.

At the KU English Department, students work closely with nationally-renowned writers and researchers (see our books here). Our faculty have won national awards that recognize excellence in research, including (since 2009 alone) four NEH grants, a Smithsonian Institution fellowship, an American Philosophical Society Franklin Research Grant, and a Newberry Library fellowship, among others. In the past five years, English Department faculty members have also received major research funding from the University of Kansas, including four Hall Center for the Humanities Research fellowships and four Keeler Intra-University Fellowships for interdisciplinary work. Undergraduate students can work one-on-one with faculty mentors in the Honors Program, McNair Scholars Program, and Dean's Scholars Program, as well as through independent Directed Studies. Advanced graduate students have the opportunity to work collaboratively with faculty members as research assistants.
Learn more about our Undergraduate and Graduate Programs.

The University of Kansas Department of English is proud to welcome alumna Lacy M. Johnson for the annual John F. Eberhardt Memorial Lecture in what promises to be a powerful evening. “Speaking Truth to Power: on The Other Side, Courage, and Voice” Thursday, April 23, 2015 7:00 p.m. Malott Room, Kansas Union There will be a book signing following the presentation. Lacy M. Johnson is a Houston-based artist, curator, professor, activist, and is author of THE OTHER SIDE (Tin House, 2014), which is a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography and an Edgar Award in Best Fact Crime, and was a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writer Selection for 2014. She is also author of TRESPASSES: A MEMOIR (University of Iowa Press, 2012), and is co-creator of the location-based storytelling project [the invisible city]. She worked as a cashier at WalMart, sold steaks door-to-door, and puppeteered with a traveling children’s museum before earning a PhD from University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program. As a writer and artist she has been awarded grants and fellowships from the Houston Arts Alliance, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, Kansas Arts Commission, the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts, Inprint, and Millay Colony for the Arts. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Fourth Genre, Creative Nonfiction, TriQuarterly, and has been anthologized in The Racial Imaginary (edited by Claudia Rankine et al.) and Literature: The Human Experience. She currently teaches interdisciplinary art at University of Houston. Co-sponsored by Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies and the Ermal Garinger Academic Resource Center at the University of Kansas


2015 department writing awards instructions and submission form.


English department student award winners, Spring 2014


English PhD student Candice Wuehle wins a Chancellor's Fellowship Award.

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