The Undergraduate English Major
Why Study English?
Because reading and writing shape the world.
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.
A commitment to teaching and learning.
Our department is renowned for its tradition of excellence in teaching. The vast majority of our undergraduate classes have 20-35 students, and much of the class time is dedicated to active engagement with texts and ideas. In the last ten years, faculty members in the department of English have won ten Kemper Fellowships for Excellence in Teaching, two Chancellor's Club Teaching Professorships, a Career Achievement Teaching Award, and a wide variety of other university-level teaching and advising awards. The department as a whole received the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) award for Department Excellence in Teaching at the University of Kansas.
A variety of career and life paths.
English students at all levels graduate to a variety of careers, including law, teaching, scholarship, publishing, library science, and journalism--as well as medicine, politics, design, and any number of other fields that value clear communication, interpretive skill, and critical and creative thinking. Regular, research, and service-learning internships are all available for English majors to help them toward their career, service, and educational goals.
Engaged and innovative scholarship.
KU's English Department has several core strengths that cross tracks and periods, including Global and Cross-Cultural Approaches; Literature, Rhetoric, and Social Action; Diversity Studies; Language, Literature, and Science; and Popular Expressive Forms.
In the KU English Department, students work closely with nationally-renowned writers and researchers. Our faculty have won national awards that recognize excellence in research, including grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Philosophical Society, and the Newberry Library, among others. English Department faculty members have also received major research funding from the University of Kansas, including the Hall Center for the Humanities Research fellowships and 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.
The English major prepares undergraduates for engagement with the world through language by helping them
- to cultivate the craft of writing in a variety of rhetorical contexts,
- to read and interpret a broad range of texts,
- to develop and sustain critical arguments, and
- to produce independent research.
The major is crafted to ensure students' familiarity with
- written forms and genres;
- a range of literary histories and writers;
- multiple regional and historical contexts of literature and language;
- the theories, methodologies, and terminology of English Studies; and
- the relationship between literature, language, and the larger culture.