An English degree is about more than the book. English majors learn to see complex problems in their full richness and don’t take the first answer, or the simplest answer, as truth. In our courses, numerous kinds of texts – from medieval poems to postmodern novels, adapted screenplays to literary criticism itself – appear as windows into the cultures and conditions in which they were produced. English majors develop habits of mind attuned to the reasons why people do what they do and write what they write. Our majors are engaged, empathetic people pursuing a creative, critical, and useful degree.

Program Highlights

The English major includes an array of subjects ranging in literary history to film and visual culture, creative and nonfiction writing, rhetoric and literacy, and the digital humanities. We focus on the big picture and the details: close reading skills and critical analysis, how literacy and language change over time, and how social and historical movements are represented in texts. Reading, writing, active listening, discussing, presenting, and debating are foundational activities in our classrooms. Your first courses will prepare you to understand major historic, cultural, and literary time periods, including surveys of World, U.S., and British literatures and a wide range of elective courses. Upper-division classes call upon you to dig deep into specific authors, historical moments, themes, theories, and writing styles.

Most English classes are held in Moreland Hall – a historic building in the heart of campus, across from the Memorial Union. English majors have access to several study abroad opportunities, from studying post-colonial literature in Cape Town, creative writing in Rome, or Shakespeare in Sydney. Our students also have access to the Smith Media Lab for video projects, podcasts, and other creative endeavors.


Faculty in the School of Writing, Literature, and Film are a prolific and distinguished group of scholars, teachers, and creative writers.  Faculty members publish books at top university presses and creative publishing houses. In keeping with the land-grant mission of Oregon State, they also write for popular venues such as the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Washington Post, and other news outlets. They've started new podcasts, served as expert commentators for venues such as the New Yorker, published open-source literary projects, arranged international musical collaborations, coordinated creative responses to world events, and even appeared on Jeopardy! For their scholarly and creative work, they have received Oregon and Connecticut Book Awards, Fulbright Awards, and even a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Photo Society. Our faculty mentors therefore bring a wealth of experience to their teaching, providing students with a Liberal Arts experience within a Research-One University.

"What is Alliteration?": A Literary Guide for English Students and Teachers


Professor Tekla Bude answers the question "What is Alliteration?" for the Oregon State Guide to English Literary Terms video series, one of many public outreach initiatives within our School.

A Literary Community

SWLF is home to the undergraduate Creative Writing Society, a friendly organization aimed at creating a community of writers from all backgrounds, genres, and majors. SWLF also hosts three lecture series – the Visiting Writers Series, the Literary Northwest Series, and the Critical Questions Series – that bring renowned visitors to campus. The Stone Award for Lifetime Literary Achievement, the largest prize given to a writer by a university in the west, has been awarded to Joyce Carol Oates, Tobias Wolff, Rita Dove, Colson Whitehead, and, in 2021, Lynda Barry. Courses center around the work of the Stone Award recipient, who also visits OSU to deliver public readings and to meet with students.

About Words: Episode 1 - Keith Scribner



In today’s highly competitive job market, adding a professional internship experience to one’s degree is attractive to potential employers who often are seeking job candidates with a more versatile and “seasoned” background. While the vast majority of internships are unpaid, the value of an internship experience is significant. The knowledge and experience attained and the internship’s notation on a resume may make the difference in landing a particular job. In recent years, English majors and Writing minors have interned with a wide variety of sponsors:  OSU Marketing and Web Communications, OSU Press, INTO OSU, Nike, the Seattle Mariners, King 5 TV in Seattle, Calyx Books in Corvallis and Portland Monthly, to name a few.

Students in our Fall 2022 ENG 340 "Literature of the Coast" course visit the Hatfield Visitor Center to learn about scientific storytelling in museums.

The Four-Year Graduation Guarantee

The School of Writing, Literature, and Film guarantees that students can earn a BA in English in four years. Thanks in part to this guarantee, our School graduated 48 talented undergraduates for the 2019-20 academic year. The four-year graduation guarantee ensures that our students know how they’re progressing through their degree, what courses they can take, and what opportunities are available.

Alumna Karli Rumberg (2017) completed her Masters of Education at Stanford University and now teaches at Presentation High School in San Jose.


Graduates from our BA in English go on to exciting careers in a range of different fields:

  • Victoria Genovese (2013): Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Mississippi State University
  • Alan Duran (2014): Immigration Attorney in Medford
  • Rachel Sandstrom Morrison (2015): PR Manager at Wild Roots Spirits
  • Darryl Oliver (2015): English Instructor at La Salle College Preparatory Academy in Pasadena, CA
  • Fredrik Knudsen (2015): Documentary Film Creator of the "Down the Rabbit Hole" Video Series
  • Megan Haverman (2016): Project Manager at FINE Brand Agency in Portland
  • Joshua Valentine (2016): Masters of Library Science student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Austin Webster (BA 2017, MA 2019): PhD student in English Literature at UCLA
  • Cecilia Curiel (2017): English Instructor in Shanghai, China
  • Danielle Palatin (2017): PhD student in English at the University of Illinois-Champaign
  • Ethan Heusser (2018): MFA student in Poetry at the University of Iowa
  • Devin Curtis (2018): Media Specialist at Vanderbilt University
  • Garrett Kitamura (2018): Law student at the University of Virginia

  • Sydney Sullivan (2018): PhD student in English at the University of Arizona

  • Justin Bennett (2019): Intern at U.S. Congress / Peace Corps Education Volunteer in Rwanda

  • Brandt Bridges (2022): ESL Instructor in Madrid, Spain


(Total Credit Hours: 54)

Required courses
Select four 200-level ENG courses (16 credits)
Pursue the 300-level sequence (18 credits): 
  • ENG 301 Ways of Reading

  • ENG 302 Writing About Literature

  • ENG 304 Career Prep for English Majors

  • ENG 345 Intro to Literary Criticism and Theory

  • Select one additional 4-credit 300-level ENG, FILM, or WR course

Select five 400-level ENG, FILM, or WR courses in the following areas (20 credits)
  • One pre-1700 course option
  • One 1700-1900 course option
  • One 1900-present course option
  • One projects-based course or thesis option
  • One 400-level elective


(Note: For students who declared English BEFORE Fall 2021, please go to the following link for the older course of study).

Learning Outcomes

  • Write effective arguments about a variety of literary and cultural texts.
  • Use information literacy and new technologies to plan and conduct research appropriate to initial and advanced study in English.
  • Recognize and interpret a wide variety of texts and genres (may include visual, material, inter-cultural texts), using a range of theoretical and interpretive strategies, including close reading.
  • Demonstrate the role of context(s) in production, reception, and transmission of literary and cultural texts (across periods, histories, geographical/national spaces, and cultural differences).

2020 Oregon State Ecampus Awards

Congratulations to English Instructor Clare Braun, who won the 2020 Oregon State E-Campus Innovation Award! We're proud that SWLF is an important contributor to the #5 E-Campus program in the nation!




Are you considering an English Major or Minor in the School of Writing, Literature, and Film?  If so, please contact Liddy Detar, our Advisor for English Majors and English, Writing, and Film Minors.  We look forward to seeing you in Moreland Hall soon!