Undergraduate English Programs
Undergraduate Studies in English
The Northwestern English department offers majors and minors in two main areas of study: literature and creative writing. The department is proud of its excellent teaching reputation in both fields. In recent years, English faculty members have won numerous teaching awards from Northwestern University, Weinberg College, and the Associated Student Government, and our faculty and teaching assistants are regarded as among the best teachers on campus. Both literature and creative writing students work closely with faculty mentors in seminars, independent studies, and honors sequences, and regularly earn college- and university-wide recognition for their accomplishments.
The English department takes a broad view of literature, seeing it as encompassing fiction, drama, and poetry, as well as other kinds of text, such as film, archival documents, and media productions. The literature major gives students great freedom of choice in course selection while requiring that they familiarize themselves with literary histories and traditions. In the creative writing major, students gain a broad foundation in poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction before specializing in one of these three disciplines. Students in both majors bring their distinctive strengths to the department’s small and vibrant 300-level literature courses, which examine texts from a variety of perspectives, from formal to historical to philosophical to psychoanalytic, while engaging with theoretical discourses such as critical race studies, gender and sexuality studies, disability studies, and eco-criticism. All majors are pushed to hone their critical thinking, research, and oral and written communication skills in preparation for a wide range of careers in teaching, publishing, law, medicine, and business. Past majors have also published poetry, short fiction, creative non-fiction, journalism, and novels, and have been admitted to some of the top doctoral and MFA programs in the country.
To keep up with department news and events of interest to undergraduates, please email the Undergraduate Program Assistant to join the department listserv. The department’s facebook group hosts more informal discussions of literary topics, in addition to compiling information about events across Northwestern and in the wider Evanston and Chicago communities of potential interest to English majors. You are welcome to join us!