English—Literature Emphasis

English—Literature Emphasis


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.

The English Department provides small, student-centered classes, innovative educational methods, and close faculty-student interaction. Majors in the Literature Emphasis may also opt to add state teaching endorsements to their program of study. Western’s English Department is part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Beyond the Classroom

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 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.

Careers and Graduate Studies

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.

The study of literature, writing, linguistics, critical theory, and visual media also prepare English graduates to pursue a variety of careers in law, business, government, professional writing, publishing, and education.

Employers of Recent Western Graduates:

  • 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

Sample Jobs

  • 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

Requirements and Course Details

To learn more about this program, including grade requirements, a course listing, how to declare the major, and more, see the Program of Study Details.