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Last updated August 20, 2020

Welcome! We are glad you are considering a major in English.

Our graduates are leading successful and fulfilling lives. We look forward to helping you build an experience here at Morningside that will allow you to achieve your aspirations.

We invite you to bring your intelligence, energy, leadership, creativity, and sense of responsibility to your study of English. We advise you to take courses and participate in departmental extra-curricular literacy activities that will help build a bright future for you. Our aim is to get to know you well, teach you well, and advise you well. We will challenge you, but we will also support you.

We are known as a friendly department for good reason. Our office doors are open so that you can drop by and see us during office hours to answer your questions or talk about any aspect of your Morningside experience. You are welcome to hang out in the department lounge area or use the reading room to study.

Best wishes for a wonderful college experience from your English Department:

Dr. Leslie Werden, Chair and Faculty Member
Dr. Jennifer Peterson, Faculty Member
Dr. David Elder, Faculty Member

What Can I Do With an English Major?

You are welcome to join the ranks of the many Morningside English majors who have gone before you. What are they doing? What can you do with an English major? The English major, one of the most valued liberal arts degrees, means that you have excellent communication, research, and critical thinking skills—valuable in any profession.  There are many directions you may go with an English degree alone, whether you emphasize English Teaching, Writing, or Literature.  This list indicates only some of the careers our English majors have followed:

  • Secondary Teaching and Administration
  • Elementary Teaching and Administration
  • College and University Teaching and Administration
  • Teaching overseas
  • Law
  • Librarianship
  • Print and Television Journalism
  • Public Relations
  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Playwriting
  • Magazine editing
  • Ministry
  • Children’s Book Writing
  • Government work
  • Theatre
  • Writing and Editing Websites
  • Freelance Writing (Poetry, Nonfiction, Fiction, Technical Writing)
  • Work with Nonprofits
  • Social Services
  • Human Resources

Many of our alums in different fields would be happy to talk with you about their professions. We would be glad to make a connection for you with them. 

We recommend that you work with your adviser to build an impressive resume of courses and experiences here at Morningside. We also recommend that you consult Stacie Hays in Career Planning to explore career possibilities and work on practical matters such as writing a strong resume and interviewing effectively.

Who Will Teach Me?

The faculty members of the English Department—Steve Coyne, Christina Triezenberg, and Leslie Werden—are all experienced teachers and advisers, and we are all published writers. All of us have PhDs, and we update our teaching skills regularly through various professional development activities. We have our own different personalities and styles of teaching, but we all firmly believe in good advising, student-centered teaching, and providing you with both challenge and support.

Click here to find out more about the English faculty, including some of our interests.

Course Requirements

The requirements for a major in English are described in the College Catalog the year you entered Morningside. (If there is a curriculum change during your time at Morningside, you may opt for the old curriculum or the new one, but you cannot pick some requirements from the old and some from the new.)

We expect you to take charge of your education by working with your adviser and using the tools on the Morningside Advising Website and the Campus Web to make a four-year course plan and follow it. You may want or need to make changes as you progress through your education, but you will need to take responsibility for careful planning. You can graduate in four years (or less, in some cases), but not without planning.

Click here to see a list of courses.

Visit the Academic Advising site for helpful forms and advising FAQs.

How Can I Enhance My English Major?

Imagine you are a graduate school application review committee or an employer. What qualities and experiences will impress you in a résumé? Certainly earning strong grades in a range of challenging and relevant courses is part of what will make you stand out. But getting involved in some of the many extra-curricular activities Morningside and our English Department offer will demonstrate your leadership skills, ability to work with others, and drive to succeed in your chosen field. Also, these activities provide a different but valuable kind of learning. Some of our students work on-campus or off-campus. Work can provide valuable learning, too, but make sure you are not working so much that your academic work suffers.

Here are some fun English activities that will enhance your learning and leadership, and also let you get to know other English majors.

  • Sigma Tau Delta National English Honor Society
  • The Kiosk creative writing and art magazine
  • Friday is Writing Day
  • Spring Green Theatre Trip
  • Visiting Writers Series
  • Tutoring in the Writing Center
  • Internships
  • May Term Travel Abroad
  • Study Abroad
  • Presenting Papers at National or Local Conferences

Click here to go to our Activities page and learn more.

What Can I Expect to Learn as An English Major?

Morningside College cares about student learning. To that end the college has a clear mission statement and vision statements. The goal is the development of the whole person through an emphasis on critical thinking, effective communication, cultural understanding, practical wisdom, spiritual discernment, and ethical action. The Morningside College graduate is equipped for both personal and professional success. In addition, each department has its own outcomes for student learning. The English outcomes are based on what our professional organizations (such as the Modern Language Association and the National Council of Teachers of English) recommend as important aspects of English study. A well-prepared graduate in English:

A well-prepared graduate in English:

  1. Understands that writing is a creative and thoughtful process and uses the process in developing writing projects through the stages from vision through revision to publication.        
  2. Demonstrates flexibility as a writer, writing in a variety of forms and adjusting language use for different audiences and purposes.          
  3. Applies knowledge of English language structure and history, language conventions, media techniques, figurative language, or genre to create, critique, or discuss texts.              
  4. Understands that literacy comes in many forms and demonstrates wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, and appreciate texts drawn from a diversity of literary periods, genres, cultures, or media that have contributed to the tradition of literature in English.            
  5. Understands the importance of historical and cultural context in interpreting and appreciating texts and in illuminating his/her own cultural or spiritual beliefs and practices as well as those of others.       
  6. Understands the critical principles and vocabulary of prominent methods of reading and interpretation as well as the principles behind the construction of literary periods and genres.               
  7. Uses a variety of information resources and technologies to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge in ethical and responsible ways.          
  8. Participates actively as a knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical member of a variety of literacy communities: in the classroom, in the department, and in the larger communities of the College and the region.

The courses in the English department have syllabi that will detail the outcomes for that particular course. Not every course in the English department will contribute to every English outcome, but the required courses, together, will lead you to have a breadth and depth of experience in the major literacy areas that will give you the skills, knowledge, creativity, and habits of thinking you will need to be successful.

Advising and the Portfolio Process

How will you know that you are achieving the college and English department outcomes? 

Your adviser will work with you to put together an electronic portfolio that will be a record of and reflection on your learning. This portfolio will be an artifact that shows your accomplishments, something of which you can be proud. We will also talk with you in a senior exit interview shortly before graduation to find out what suggestions you have for improving our program.

English Majors and Graduate School

Morningside College English majors have been accepted into a range of graduate schools over the years, including very prestigious programs, and they have generally done very well. Your Morningside education has given you many advantages that university students often don’t have—not the least of which are classes based in the liberal arts and emphasizing discussion and close relationships between students and faculty.

Fields in which graduates can earn master’s and doctoral degrees include English literature, creative writing, writing and rhetoric, film studies, linguistics, teaching English as a second language, English education, journalism, editing and publishing, library science, law, American studies, popular culture studies, cultural studies, theatre, comparative literature, advertising and marketing, business management, and more.