Undergraduate Program Overview

Practical, creative, versatile, and engaged.

Through an exciting array of courses in literary and cultural studies, creative writing, rhetoric and composition, and linguistics, English majors and minors develop skills, perspectives, and knowledge for a lifetime. The English curriculum at Marquette prepares undergraduates for many career paths in a wide range of fields. English is an ideal choice for students who wish to gain broadly applicable, transferable skills in writing, textual analysis, and critical thinking while cultivating a deeper understanding of the ways in which literature and language work. Students who wish to study English may choose from three majors and four minors and may also participate in the Honors in Humanities Program and the Accelerated Degree (BA/MA) Program. Descriptions of these programs can be found below. For more information or to declare your major, contact Dr. Steve Hartman Keiser, Director of Undergraduate Studies.


Our Majors at a Glance

Descriptions of English Majors and Minors

For extensive course work guides, please click on the respective major(s) and minor(s).

  • The Literature Major / Minor studies major periods, authors, and literatures written in English with an emphasis on literary-historical and cultural analyses.
  • The Writing-Intensive English Major / Minor studies both literature and writing with emphases on rhetoric and composition, creative writing, and/or workplace writing.
  • The English Language Arts Major studies literature, language, and writing to prepare for a teaching career at the primary or secondary level. This secondary major is designed for students whose primary major is Education.
  • The Creative Writing Minor studies both literature and creative writing with opportunities to focus on poetry writing, fiction writing, and creative nonfiction, at both introductory and advanced levels.
  • The Literatures of Diverse Cultures Minor concentrates in comparative race and ethnic studies through coursework in areas such as African American literature, Native American literature, postcolonial literature, and women’s literature.

Side-by-side Comparison of Majors and Student Learning Outcomes

Honors in Humanities Program

English majors who wish to pursue a faculty-mentored Honors research project can participate in the Honors in Humanities Program. The program aims to help students develop their research and writing skills, while fostering interdisciplinary dialogues across the humanities at Marquette. The program consists of three 1-credit seminars (HOPR 2954H, HOPR 3954H, and HOPR 4954H), which introduce students to research methods in the humanities and support students while they are writing their projects; a set of “paired,” upper-level courses focused around a common topic, both chosen by the student, one in English and one in another department; and an Honors Thesis (English 4999H). 

Once admitted to the program, students become members of the University Honors Program and can apply for Honors research funds and study abroad scholarships. Upon completion of the program, students receive a notation of Honors in their major on their transcripts. The Honors Thesis satisfies the Capstone requirement for Literature and Writing-Intensive English majors. 

Students can write theses that examine literary texts or they can undertake research in rhetoric and composition or linguistics or pursue creative or community-engaged projects. The projects make excellent writing samples for graduate school and professional employment; they also enable students to develop crucial research and writing skills useful in any number of careers.  

For a list of recent Honors Senior Theses, see our Undergraduate Research page.  For more information about the program, see the Honors in Humanities page.


Additional Information

Meet our Majors!  (Check out these videos by current students.)

Why Major in English?

Find out more about the essential writing, critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and interpersonal skills that our majors gain.  Learn, too, about career opportunities and placements for English majors!

Beyond the Classroom

The English Department offers many opportunities for enrichment, service, mentoring, and community beyond the classroom, including writing internships, study abroad, faculty and alumni mentoring, Sigma Tau Delta (the English honor society), the Marquette Literary Review for creative writers, MASA-NCTE (the intercollegiate Milwaukee chapter of the National Council of Teachers of English) for future educators, an active alumni/ae group (FAME), and an ongoing program of social and cultural events.

Accelerated Degree Program (BA/MA Program)

The Accelerated Degree Program (ADP) in English is designed to allow students to earn a BA degree and an MA degree in English in five years rather than the six years normally required to earn both degrees. Undergraduates participating in this program are granted early admission to the Graduate School and are allowed to take up to 12 credit hours of graduate-level courses during their senior year; these graduate courses can also count towards senior year major requirements.


Undergraduate Resources