English professor goes over term papers with students in her office

English (B.A.)

English studies is a proven gateway into any number of professional paths. Here at Bloomsburg, you'll gain critical analysis skills; cultural awareness through diverse literatures; an understanding of the power of language and how it functions; the use of language creatively for exposition, persuasion, and artistic effect; and, perhaps most important, the ability to adapt to what comes next. 

Degrees & Offerings
  • B.A.
Department
College
Program Contact
Chair of the Department of English, Professor, Director of Interdisciplinary Studies
Department Secretary
illustration of Carver Hall

Explore your passion for the written word.

We offer four major tracks designed to prepare you for a wide array of careers or graduate study: literature, creative writing, professional writing and digital rhetoric, and secondary education with an English emphasis. We also offer minors in literature, creative writing, technical and professional writing, and linguistics. In addition, we maintain the interdisciplinary minors in gender studies and in ethnic studies in the United States.

English students experience curricular enhancement opportunities such as field trips that connect the texts that they read to the material world, such as performances of Dracula or Othello on the theatrical stage or encountering jousting at a medieval festival. We believe that literature is rooted in real world experiences, past and present. Students most enjoy our upper-division courses dedicated to niche, in-depth study, whether that’s a more traditional course dedicated to Shakespeare or a course that samples literature thematically, such as “Monstrous Mothers.”

Courses and Curriculum

The Literature Track offers in-depth study of literary periods, styles, and genres, as well as linguistics and writing courses. It's perfect for students with interests in digital and print publishing, law school, marketing and public relations, and English graduate study. With its strong emphasis on developing students' strengths as creative critical thinkers and effective writers and on providing a strong foundation in the humanities, this concentration prepares students for careers in the wide range of fields.

Learning Objectives

  • Communicate effectively in multiple modes
  • Read in multiple contexts
  • Recognizing and apply modes of inquiry
  • Read analytically
  • Recognize of the power of language

Literature faculty teach a range of courses in their specialties, including lower-division survey courses and upper-division close study courses. Literature faculty also create dynamic special topics courses that encourage students to examine literature outside of traditional chronologies and geographies.

Literature track students take courses that represent five main goals:

  • develop skills in writing and rhetoric
  • experience a range of literature from different periods and regions
  • gain knowledge of literary and textual forms, as well as traditions of inquiry
  • acquire analytical reading skills
  • learn to appreciate the power of language and literature

The Literature track offers significant flexibility for students to pick courses which most interest them. Rather than a prescribed list of required courses, the literature track offers multiple options within categories of study.

Have you ever dreamed of creating a strong character like Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, whose multi-book adventures are complex and exciting? Have you ever wanted to build a world as creative and detailed as the one in your favorite video game? Have you always written poems, but never showed them to anyone?

Then creative writing is the concentration for you.

Students in our creative writing program study contemporary literature and participate in writing workshops in several genres of their choice. This concentration of the English major also gives you necessary skills for numerous jobs with a writing emphasis like social media manager, ad copy writer, and corporate storyteller. Creative writing students work to achieve four primary learning objectives:

  • Demonstrate familiarity with a range of literary/critical traditions and cultural viewpoints
  • Explain how form, genre, and the history and structure of language relate to the craft of creative writing through critical analysis of varied genres
  • Write original and inventive creative works, and
  • Compose in a range of artistic and professional genres, including new media, showing how creative writing skills can be deployed in a variety of professional opportunities

Creative Writing Checklists

Practical Learning

  • Students in the creative writing track benefit from a scaffolded program which requires them to take a literature genre course before they take the corresponding creative writing course in the same genre. This methodology allows them to fully understand the genre before attempting their own creative projects and underscores the importance of writing as a craft.
  • Students in the creative writing track have the opportunity to work with the Warren Literary Journal. As editors, they work on content selection, layout, and design of each issue. This opportunity offers invaluable practical experience in the world of publishing.
  • The creative writing program at Bloomsburg University has been hosting the Big Dog Reading Series for over 15 years. This reading series brings published writers to campus for workshops and readings. Students have the opportunity to engage one-on-one with these creative professionals, as well as also experience the power of their work as presented in their own voices. Students are encouraged to engage in Q&A’s to deepen their own understanding of being a creative writer.
  • Other professional development experiences include The Voice (BU newspaper), Writing Center (WALES) consulting, and in-house social media content development internships.

Creative writing faculty are all published writers, with active scholarly agendas that repeatedly see acknowledgement through literary prizes and ongoing publication.

Creative Writing Careers

Hannah Karena Jones

“The creative writing workshops taught me to read critically, hit a deadline, finish a story, give and receive constructive criticism, and revise. Happy to say all that work paid off: I've worked in book publishing for eight years and I signed with a literary agent in 2019!" — Hannah Karena Jones '11, Author and Senior Managing Editor at Running Press Publishers

Creative Writing Opportunities

Take advantage of many opportunities to attend conferences, give readings, edit and publish your own work in the Warren literary magazine.

Writing is something you can do for a lifetime; professional writing is an area of study that integrates language, design, and technology, preparing you for our changing world.

The Professional Writing and Digital Rhetoric Track offers in-depth study of technical and professional writing in print and online. It's perfect for students with interests in writing for business and industry.

With insight and expertise, our English faculty will support and develop your critical thinking and analytical skills as you learn to write and design documentation in our quickly evolving world. As an interdisciplinary track, you will have an opportunity work with other world-recognized faculty in areas like instructional technology and art studio. The experiential learning emphasis of the concentration prepares you for real work situations, developing and honing skills that are in demand in our rapidly shifting online/remote workplace.

The concentration is taught and supported by faculty across the department, through courses in literature, rhetoric, and documentation design, as well as discipline specific writing courses across the university. This track maintains strong connections with programs like digital forensics and a 4+1 master’s instructional design program at BU. All work provides students with a robust foundation that prepares them to work in positions as non-profit managers to national defense contractors.

This track focuses on these specific goals or objectives:

  • develop skills in writing, rhetoric, and disciplinary conventions
  • demonstrate proficiency in a range of software related to document composition
  • acquire an awareness of the power of language through textual analysis; and
  • design feasible/usable long-term projects based on the needs of actual clients or commissioning identities.

This track promotes internships that move student beyond the classroom, taking them on a journey from backpack to briefcase.

The Secondary Education English Track is offered in conjunction with the Department of Teaching and Learning to prepare students to teach English in grades 7 through 12.

Minors complement a student’s major to increase their areas of knowledge and improve their competitiveness on the job market or for graduate study. With planning, students can easily add one or more minors to their major without delaying their graduation date. Students may also major in one of the English department tracks and pursue one of our other minors, such as majoring in creative writing and minoring in technical and professional writing. Typically, minors require 18 credit hours to be counted towards graduation. 

Other minors chosen by English majors in the past include foreign language, women's studies, theater, business, communication studies, psychology, anthropology, philosophy, and political science. Choosing a minor may be a beneficial credential when looking for a career after graduation.

We offer a wide array of more than 30 courses that teach students to think critically, read analytically, and communicate effectively. Students interested in literature can choose between American, Non-Western, European, and British texts; while student writers express themselves in the form of fiction, nonfiction, scriptwriting, and poetry. We also offers courses in linguistics that allow students to study the history and structure of language.

We ask that majors in our concentrations — literature, secondary education, creative writing, and professional writing and digital rhetoric — begin an ePortfolio early in their course of study, update it at least yearly, and complete and refine it in the senior year. For the literature, creative writing, and professional writing majors, the ePortfolio is a graduation requirement; for the secondary education concentration, the ePortfolio will be a part of some required courses and will be a graduation requirement for those who graduate in Fall 2020 and later.

The ePortfolio is intended

  • to bring additional coherence and continuity to your English study experience; we want to encourage you to understand your own development as readers and writers; by including artifacts produced outside the English department as well as inside it, we ask you to consider how your major field of study interacts with your learning in other areas.
  • to encourage you to begin thinking early and often about career options and further education, and to assist you in preparing for these goals; the finished ePortfolio should be a diverse repository of your best college achievements, drawn both from coursework and from extra- and co-curricular activities; for career preparation and applying for positions, the ePortfolio will demonstrate what you've done and can do.
  • to extend and enrich the environment for advisement; academic advisors will help you update and diversify your portfolios, and can suggest helpful additions.
  • and to provide the department an opportunity to see how well we are meeting our objectives.

ePortfolio Guidelines for your concentration:

Creative Writing
Literature
Professional Writing and Digital Rhetoric
Secondary Education English (for those graduating Fall 2020 and later)

Bloomsburg Initial - B -  inside a keystone shape

Bloomsburg Because

Scholarships

Eligible English majors are encouraged to apply for a number of university scholarships for the coming academic year. In addition, once a year an announcement is made for entries for writing awards.

English Scholarships

  • Helen and Ervene Gulley Memorial Scholarship
  • Margaret Bittner Parke Scholarship
  • Catherine Oplinger and Clark R. Renninger Memorial Scholarship
  • Cecil Seronsy Scholarship
  • Louis F. Thompson Scholarship

Writing Awards

  • Peters Award for Creative Non-Fiction
  • Fuller Fiction Award
  • Baillie Award for the Critical Essay
  • The Savage Poetry Award

Internships

Students with more than 60 hours are strongly recommended to look into an internship. Opportunities include the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, Town Hall, the Chamber of Commerce, and the BU Foundation office. Internships provide you with hands-on responsibility that better prepare you for the work force.

BU’s Writing and Literacy Engagement Studio (WALES) offers internships to students who demonstrate superior writing and proofreading skills. If you enjoy writing and helping other people better their writing, then WALES may be a good place for you. Training is provided, so no previous tutoring experience is necessary. If you're interested, contact Writing Center director Ted Roggenbuck.

Professional U is also offering the following:

  • Geisinger Children's Miracle Network Telethon
  • Harrisburg (more than a dozen government offices and projects)
  • Highlights for Children and other children's literature projects
  • Hershey Medical Center, Student Affairs
  • Northeast Pennsylvania Business Journal
  • The Daily Item newspaper
  • Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble
  • Bloomsburg University Foundation, Inc.
  • Bloomsburg Town Hall
  • Bloomsburg Chamber of Commerce

Professional Engagement

Students in the Literature track take three required courses that begin introducing them to career prospects, the culmination of which is English 488. In this course, students build portfolios, develop resumes, workshop cover letters, practice interview, and practice job search strategies before graduation.

Many English majors participate in several professional development opportunities, including The Voice (BU student newspaper), Writing Center (WALES) consulting, The Warren (Literary Journal), and in-house social media content development internships.

The Husky Difference

English majors enjoys a lecture in his creative writing class
Affiliation
BU enjoys an agreement with Rosemont College for their MFA in Creative Writing and MA in Publishing, ensuring streamlined program admission with a 3.0 GPA. Students with a 3.5 GPA receive 25% reduced tuition.
English students complete an in-class writing assignment in Bakeless Center
Literature Courses
These classes strive to offer representative content, engaging with authors from all walks of life, including LGBTQ, BIPOC, economic diversity, and non-Western traditions.

Careers

English majors from all four of our concentrations normally find rewarding and important employment within a year of graduating. Our secondary education majors usually find a position at a public high school but may go on to other careers after a few years. The cluster of skills developed in courses for the English major — critical and accurate reading, analysis, research, and face-to-face and written communication — gives you a head start over other majors in communication for business, government, and non-profit organizations.

Potential Job Opportunities

  • social media manager
  • technical writer
  • public relations specialist
  • lawyer
  • grant writer
  • librarian
  • editor and content manager
  • human resource specialist
  • English teacher
  • fundraiser

Top Skills Employers are Looking For

  • critical thinking
  • teamwork
  • written and verbal communication
  • critical and accurate reading
  • research and analysis

Husky Unleashed

Katie Cassidy

My independent study means a lot to me because it’s focused on the dialect in my hometown, and we will hopefully be contributing quite a bit of research to what we know to be a rather understudied area.

Katie Cassidy
English Literature
Christina Francis

I love to watch students exercise the type of analytical reading we encourage within the department. There’s nothing better than witnessing them draw out a moment of significance from the text that they might not have recognized at the beginning of the semester, or even more broadly from their first to last class within the department. You can see their faces register the pride of that accomplishment.

dr. Christina Francis
Associate Professor of English Literature
Tina Entzminger

I love helping students discover what human beings are capable of, in terms of artistry and ideas, through literature. To me, the most magical moments in a literature class occur when we share our informed interpretations and, together, synthesize new meanings. Literature and other art reflects who we are as individuals and society, but it can also shape who and what we are.

Dr. Tina Entzminger
Professor of English Literature
Anna Jaskiewicz

One of the things I enjoyed most about the English major program was the ability to express myself to my professors and peers. The openness and depth of our classroom discussions afforded me an opportunity to practice professional and respectful argumentative skills and lead me to develop exceptional collaboration techniques. Both of these skills have carried me far in academia, the workplace, and my personal life.

Anna Jaskiewicz '20
English Literature and Professional Writing/Digital Rhetoric
Christina Francis
Tina Entzminger
Anna Jaskiewicz
Katie Cassidy

Program Contacts

Mark Decker

Mark Decker, Ph.D.

  • Chair of the Department of English, Professor, Director of Interdisciplinary Studies
Michael Martin

Michael Martin, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor English/Director of the Professional Writing and Digital Rhetoric Program

Applying to this Program

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