English is one of the central liberal arts degrees. A background in English provides graduates with a sound basis for pursuing a variety of careers, including law, business, education, publishing and government, as well as graduate work in film studies and media, creative writing, language, literary and cultural studies, and critical writing. English engages students in diverse literary heritages as well as fosters the development of sophisticated abilities in critical analysis, creative inquiry, reflective reading, and effective communication and expression.

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English at Western

The English department provides small, student-centered classes, innovative educational methods, and close faculty-student interaction. English faculty members have earned numerous awards for excellence in teaching, research, and writing; they are nationally and internationally recognized in creative and critical fields. 

Western’s English Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Creative Writing

Western’s Creative Writing program focuses on creative writing in fiction, drama, poetry, or nonfiction prose and includes coursework in literature to supplement the writing courses. Courses encompass and explore multiple cultural traditions, allowing graduates to cultivate skills in critical thinking, creative expression, close reading, persuasive writing, and effective speaking.

English Literature

The English Literature Emphasis major focuses on the study of literatures in historical and cultural contexts, and also includes course work in linguistics, literary theory, and writing. The program offers a diverse spectrum of classes ranging from antiquity to the twenty-first century and covering a wide variety of topics in literature, media, composition, and language studies. Courses encompass and explore multiple cultural traditions, allowing graduates to cultivate skills in critical thinking, creative expression, close reading, persuasive writing, and effective speaking. This is an ideal major for anyone seeking a well-rounded Liberal Arts education with a wide range of future employment options.

Majors in the Literature Emphasis may also opt to add state teaching endorsements to their program of study.

Explore courses

ENG 335 - Literary and Creative Expressions Across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America 

ENG 339 - Mythology and Literature 

ENG 427 - Queer Studies 

ENG 354 - Introduction to Creative Nonfiction Writing 

ENG 364 - Introduction to Film Studies 

FAIR 354V - Scriptwriting Workshop I 

Student experiences

Internships and Scholarships

The English department also encourages students to explore internship possibilities. Some internships are organized through and by English department classes. Students have recently completed internships at The Neighborhood Playhouse, LAW Advocates, Bellingham Alive, Sean Humphrey House, Growing Veterans, and the Lummi CEDAR Project.

Recent Student Internships:

  • Chuckanut Writers

  • Epicenter Press Inc.: Editing and Publishing

  • Excellence Northwest

  • SPARK Museum

  • Community Empowerment Network (CEN)

The professors in the English department have been the most inspiring to me during my time at Western. It’s really incredible the talent that these professors possess, in their writing and their teaching both. It’s clear to me that they teach because they love to inspire, and they truly have inspired me.

Hannah Newman

What can you do with English?

English graduates go on to work in many fields — they become teachers, lawyers, doctors, community, organizers, curators, editors, publishers, agents, art program directors, screenwriters, film directors, game designers, reviewers, essayists, novelists, scholars, poets, environmentalists, publicists, historians, musicians, and mountain climbers (among many other things). Every year many of our alumni return to campus to generously offer us their wisdom and experience.

The study of literature, writing, linguistics, critical theory, and visual media, prepare English graduates to pursue a variety of careers in law, business, government, professional writing, publishing, and education. Students in the English program have amassed an enviable record of placement in graduate programs and professional positions. Students wishing to further develop their skills in English should consider Western’s graduate programs.

Students in the English program have amassed an enviable record of placement in graduate programs, including recent admission to doctoral programs at Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Davis, University of Iowa, University of Illinois, University of Pittsburgh, University of Edinburgh, and Boston College. Students have also been admitted to masters programs in literary studies, education, business administration, and library science.

English careers

  • Social Media Coordinator
  • Videogame Plotting/Design
  • Web Content Creator
  • Editor
  • Journalist
  • Screenwriter
  • Copywriter
  • Research Analyst
  • Technical Writer
  • Advertising Copy Writer Public Relations Specialist
  • User Experience Expert (UX)
  • Usability Tester
  • Book Buyer/Seller
  • Web Content Developer/Writer
  • Human Resource Manager
  • Market Research Analyst
  • Special Events Coordinator/Speech Writer
  • Lobbyist
  • Grant Writer
  • Fundraising Coordinator
  • Legislative Assistant
  • Archivist

Employers of Recent Western Graduates:

  • Bellingham School District: Tutor
  • Blind Eye Books: Social Media Coordinator/Freelance Editor
  • Blue Sun: Managing Editor
  • Briefed Media: Technology Columnist
  • CareerPerfect.com: Editor/Writer
  • Coffee Town Press: Assistant Editor
  • Icicle Broadcasting Inc.: News Reporter/Producer
  • Jaded Ibis Press: Marketing Associate
  • OmniGamer: Senior Editor
  • Peace Corps: Teacher
  • Serendipity Literary Agency: Assistant Literary Agent
  • Uttana: Web Content Producer
  • Zulily Inc.: Copywriter
  • American Museum of Natural History, New York: Editorial Manager
  • Center for Independence: Project Manager and Fund Developer
  • Chop Suey: Marketing and Promotions
  • Cranbook Kingswood School: Instructor
  • The Crocodile: Talent Buyer
  • Everett Community College: Writing Assistant/Peer Tutor
  • Explorations Academy: Outreach and Admissions Coordinator
  • Fortive: Human Resources Generalist
  • Funko: Marketing Coordinator
  • Gearbox Software: Lead Writer
  • GEPIK: English Teacher
  • Logos Bible Software: Marketing Copywriter
  • Lummi Indian Business Council: Writer/Administrator
  • Microsoft: Content Developer
  • Oni Press: Managing Editor
  • Salesforce.com: Customer Relationship Manager
  • The Stamp and Coin Place: Social Media Coordinator
  • Starbucks: Site Content Manager
  • Surferseen.com: Videographer/Editor
  • Ticketmaster: Content Specialist Copywriter
  • Vicinity Web: Senior Writer
  • WWU Foundation: Program Assistant
  • Zharmae Publishing Press LLC: Managing Editor

Related Majors

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