School of Arts and Letters

English (Bachelor of Arts)

Mission/Vision Statement:

The IU Southeast English Department offers programs in writing and literature that foster students’ intellectual growth, creativity, collaborative skills, technological expertise, multicultural awareness, and engaged citizenship. The department is devoted to an innovative curriculum that preserves literary and rhetorical traditions while encouraging lifelong learning. We teach students, both as readers and writers, to see working with texts as an opportunity to engage with history, philosophy, and culture and as a means of participating responsibly in a diverse and challenging world.

Our curriculum equips students to succeed in a variety of educational and career paths, from going to graduate school in Literature or Rhetoric and Composition, pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing, or embarking upon careers in fields ranging from social media to law. For students interested in more traditional career paths, particularly those leading to teaching and to graduate school, IU Southeast offers a scholarly environment that exposes students to the literatures of various periods and cultures, the discipline of literary criticism, and the different theories and methods associated with the study of writing. Similarly, students planning to pursue careers as writers can build portfolios that showcase a range of writing experiences, including technical writing and writing for the web. The flexibility and complementary strengths of the English Department faculty have enabled our students to combine courses in economics, management, human relations, and organizational theory within their English majors, making them more attractive to businesses, public service institutions, and nonprofit organizations.

All English majors take core classes that include surveys of British and American literature; an introduction to literary criticism and such methods of interpretation as gender criticism and reader-response theory; and an introduction to rhetorical theory and history. After completing the core, majors may concentrate in either Literature or Writing. Many choose to concentrate in both, making them especially well rounded as English majors and giving them additional skills and opportunities for future work and study. The Literature concentration guides students through a wide range of literatures in English, including multicultural literatures, literatures in translation, major author studies, and research-intensive coursework. The Writing concentration introduces students to the evolution and use of the English language, and then provides majors with experience in several forms of writing, including academic professional and technical writing, creative writing, and public and digital writing. The capstone courses in both Writing and Literature allow students to introduce their work to public audiences by presenting at conferences, publishing, and applying their skills in workplace settings.

English majors also have many extracurricular opportunities to put what they have learned to practical use. For example, majors earn course credit by joining the staff of the IU Southeast Review, which publishes fiction, poetry, book reviews, essays, and photography. They can edit the IU Southeast Undergraduate Research Journal, which publishes research articles by students across campus. And they can write for and edit the Voice, the annual magazine of the School of Arts and Letters.

The English Department sponsors a campus-wide writing contest each year in which many English majors participate; contest winners are honored each year at the department’s Gala. In addition, the student-run English Club has organized such events as writing workshops, poetry readings, and presentations from published writers.

Such experiences both in and out of the classroom lead English majors to succeed both across campus and beyond IUS. In recent years, students majoring in English have been named the Outstanding Alumnus for the School of Arts and Letters and the winner of the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa Award. English majors also excel in the Southern Indiana-Greater Louisville community, regularly taking high places in the Metroversity Writing Contest and recently winning the Literary Leo competition. Many majors go on to competitive graduate programs both locally and abroad, for example at IU Bloomington, Tennessee, Kentucky, and even the University of Sheffield in England, one of the top programs for Philosophy in the English-speaking world. Others use their skills to build careers. In recent years, we have seen our majors enter the fields of teaching, publishing, business and industry, advertising, government, law, communications, and public relations.

Much of this success can be traced to the communal atmosphere, the small class sizes, and the one-on-one interaction with professors, all of which make their years in the IU Southeast English Program a high point for many graduates. One recent graduate wrote, “The professors in the English department remember my name after completing their classes, which shows how small class sizes really make a difference.” Another wrote, “I chose the major in English at IU Southeast because it was affordable; I stayed because it is amazing.” Another notes the value of a degree in English in any career: “The most important part of my time at IU Southeast has been learning how writing can be used to problem-solve almost any dilemma.” Students who have gone on to graduate school have been equally enthusiastic; said one, “My undergraduate education has prepared me for the graduate level equally well as many of my peers who came here from flagship state campuses.”

For additional information about the individualized, interactive opportunities available in English at IU Southeast, please see our website at

Student Learning Goals – English Majors:

  • Write effectively for specific purposes and audiences;
  • Identify and use appropriate source materials;
  • Read literary texts representing a variety of historical periods and genres, including both canonical works and works from writers not studied until more recently;
  • Interpret texts using different forms of literary criticism, including those that emphasize aesthetics as well as those that focus on historical contexts;
  • Analyze, interpret, and assess the aesthetic, argumentative and/or ethical value of information in various kinds of texts;
  • Use computer-based and web-based technologies effectively, appropriately, and ethically for a variety of audiences and purposes;
  • Implement writing and reading beyond the classroom, for example in the workplace, for personal development, or for civic involvement.

School Policies: All courses and prerequisites fulfilling the requirements for the major must be completed with a grade of C or higher.

Scholarships/Awards: The Carol Bishop Scholarship is awarded annually to an outstanding student who concentrates in Literature and has taken at least two Literature courses at the 300 level or above. The award has existed since 1996 and has lately entailed substantial sums of money. 

Degree Requirements

See “General Requirements for Undergraduate Degrees at IU Southeast” and “General Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts Degree.”

General Education Component

Note: This is not a re-statement of the University’s General Education Requirement but a list of specific General Education courses which are also requirements or pre-requisites for course work in the school/major.

Dept. Course Number Title Credit Hours Minimum Grade
ENG-W 290 Writing in the Arts and Sciences 3 C

Core Requirements for a Major in English (required of all majors)

Dept. Course Number Title Credit Hours Minimum Grade
ENG-L 140

Introduction to English Studies

(Not Required for students who begin in

Fall 2018 and beyond)

3 C

Any 100-level ENG-L course

(Required for students who begin in

Fall 2018 and beyond)

3 C



Critical Practices  3 C



Rhetorical Practices

(Required for students who begin in

Fall 2018 and beyond)

3 C
Two courses from the following:
ENG-L 297 English Literature to 1600 3 C
ENG-L 298 English Literature from 1600-1800 3 C
ENG-L 299 English Literature from 1800 3 C
Or substitute approved by department.
Two courses from the following:
ENG-L 351 American Literature, 1800-1865 3 C
ENG-L 352 American Literature, 1865-1914 3 C
ENG-L 354 American Literature since 1914 3 C
Or substitute approved by department.

ENG-L 140 (Introduction to English Studies), and ENG-L 371 (Critical Practices), are recommended before students take the American and British literature survey courses (ENG-L 351, 352, 354, 297, 298, 299).

Literature Concentration

In addition to the requirements for all English majors, English majors with a concentration in Literature must choose 15 credit hours of electives from courses designated ENG-L. Twelve of the 15 required credit hours must be taken at the 300 level or above.

Note:  Students are encouraged to take ENG-W 290 before taking an upper-division elective.

Students may take any course designated ENG-L at the 300 level or above to complete the 15 credit hours of required electives. Students should consult the course descriptions and semester-specific course schedules for more information on Literature electives.

Capstone (generally taught in the fall semester)

Dept. Course Number Title Credit Hours Minimum Grade
ENG-L 460 Seminar: Literary Form, Mode, and Theme 3 C


Writing Concentration

In addition to the requirements for all English majors, English majors with a concentration in Writing must complete the following:

Dept. Course Number Title Credit Hours Minimum Grade
ENG-W 206 Creative Writing 3 C
One of the following two courses:
ENG-G 205 Introduction to the English Language 3 C
ENG-G 301 History of the English Language 3 C
One of the following two courses:
ENG-W 350 Advanced Expository Writing 3 C
ENG-W 420 Argumentative Writing 3 C
One of the following five options (Applied Learning Requirement):
ENG-W 315 Writing for the Web 3 C
ENG-W 331 Business and Administrative Writing 3 C
ENG-W 364 Art of Magazine Editing for Publication and Production 3 C
ENG-W 395 Individual Study of Writing when taught as The Art of Magazine Writing (Beginning Fall 2018 this course is replaced by ENG-W 426) 3 C
ENG-W 426 Writing Nonfiction for Popular and Professional Publication 3 C
COAS-S 399 Internship (in writing or writing-related work that has been approved by the Writing Concentration Faculty) 3 C
Any 3 credit hour elective designated ENG-W at the 300 level or higher.  Students should consult the course descriptions and semester-specific course schedules for more information on electives in Writing (minimum grade of C required).


Dept. Course Number Title Credit Hours Minimum Grade Co-Reqs or Pre-Reqs
ENG-W 490 Writing Seminar 3 C Writing concentration majors must complete A) W290, B) W350 or W420; and C) at least one other writing course (ENG-W) at the 200 level or above before enrolling in W490. W290 should be taken in the sophomore year.

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