Major code BA5231
College of Arts and Sciences
Ellis Hall 360
Athens, OH 45701
Beth Quitslund, director of undergraduate studies/contact person
With its emphasis on understanding the power and influence of literature written in diverse times and cultures, the study of English lies at the heart of a liberal arts education. The English major at Ohio University provides students with breadth of knowledge in their discipline as well as the opportunity to focus more specifically on distinct subfields within the wide spectrum of English studies. A set of core requirements, including genre and literary history courses, are designed to give all English majors a strong foundational comprehension of how literature evolves and changes over time. In addition to this core, the English major offers students a choice of four concentrations for intensive study: literary history; creative writing; cultures, rhetoric, and theory; and prelaw. Students may elect to compete two concentrations if they fulfill the requirements necessary for these tracks.
Students choosing the literary history concentration engage in critical dialog with the traditions, conventions, and practices of British and American writing; through course of study, students discover how literature of different historical periods both represents the culture of its time and continues to mediate the ways in which readers experience their world. Along with developing a historical perspective on the different cultures of literary production, students perfect their skills at analytical reading and writing, thus preparing themselves to respond effectively to social, political, and philosophical questions and challenges.
The concentration in creative writing permits students to engage with genres of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from the inside out, by generating and revising their own work as well as exploring closely how published work employs techniques to particular aesthetic effects. In addition, the course work provides a theoretical lens for the practice of writing. All students in the creative writing track participate in workshops which focus on the students’ understanding and construction of different literary forms; to achieve these goals, workshops emphasize the study of texts by established writers as well as students’ experimentation with their own creative processes. In this small group environment, creative writing students gain experience as sophisticated authors and responsible critics.
Cultures, Rhetoric, and Theory
Students choosing the concentration in cultures, rhetoric, and theory examine a variety of cultural texts and contexts–such as literary, linguistic, visual, and digital–in relation to issues of power and inequality embedded in language, rhetoric, and literary expression. Using multiple theoretical lenses, students in this track explore concepts such as race and class; nation and ethnicity; internal migration and immigration; gender and sexuality; and colonialism, postcolcolonialism, and transnationalism. The cultures, rhetoric, and theory concentration encourages students to apply literary and rhetorical analysis towards an understanding of the institutions and ideologies shaping human experience.
The prelaw concentration entails the same course-work and the same deeply analytical perspective as the literary history track. However, students choosing the prelaw concentration also expand their awareness of the relation between law and culture by taking at least three courses in complementary disciplines, including African American studies, communication studies, economics, history, philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology, and women’s and gender studies.
Enrollment in the English major entails no requirements beyond University admission requirements.
Change of Program Policy
For students currently enrolled at Ohio University, transferring into the English major requires a 2.0 GPA. Students choosing to transfer into the English major should contact the director of undergraduate studies in the English department for assistance. Students who wish to add English as a major in addition to another major program should seek assistance from the director of undergraduate studies; students with a second major outside the College of Arts and Sciences will be responsible for meeting the degree requirements of both the English major and the College of Arts and Sciences.
External Transfer Admission
For students currently enrolled at institutions other than Ohio University, transferring into the English major entails no requirements beyond University admission requirements. Students should contact the director of undergraduate studies in the English Department for assistance.
Opportunities Upon Graduation
Having developed strong skills in critical analysis and writing, graduates of the program in English are prepared to pursue a wide variety of career opportunities. The literary history concentration prepares students for employment in administration, advertising, public relations, personnel management, publishing, teaching, and research organization and presentation. Upon graduation, many literary history students also secure admission to business school, graduate school (usually M.A. and Ph.D. programs in English), law school, publishing institutes, or schools of library and information science. Students graduating with a concentration in creative writing follow many of the same career paths as those with a concentration in literary history; moreover, creative writing graduates also secure admission to M.A., M.F.A. and Ph.D. programs in literature/creative writing, and work toward employment in higher education.
Graduates of the concentration in prelaw usually gain admission to law schools, both in-state and around the nation. Cultures, rhetoric, and theory graduates find themselves especially prepared for employment in institutions requiring employees to have an understanding of and sensitivity to multi-cultural or global issues and populations. These careers include employment in national, state, and local government agencies; non-profit community agencies; political action agencies; political action organizations; international corporations of non-governmental organizations (NGOs); academic administration; public relations; personnel management; teaching diverse or underserved communities (Peace Corps, Teach for America); and research presentation.