Undergraduate Program Overview

Practical, creative, versatile, and engaged.

Through an exciting array of courses in literature, writing, linguistics, and cultural studies, 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. With three distinct majors to choose from, English is an ideal choice for students with many interests and a desire to gain broadly applicable, widely transferable skills in writing, textual analysis, and critical thinking while cultivating a deeper understanding of the ways literature and language work Students who declare English may choose from among the following three majors. For further information, please 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 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.
  • 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.

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 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 more information, see the Honors in Humanities page.

Additional Information

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

Overview of Course Classification

Beyond the Classroom

The English Department offers many opportunities for enrichment, service, mentoring, and community beyond the classroom, including writing internships, 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.

Undergraduate Resources