Engage with the realistic and fantastic when you major in English. Working with texts from ancient to modern times, you'll gain critical communication skills as you explore the rich diversity of human experience.
English is the study of the life in its diverse written forms and expressions. You'll engage with new cultures, ideas, and perspectives daily when you major in English.
Small, discussion-based classes form the core of your studies. From The Odyssey to contemporary fiction, you'll hone critical thinking, speaking, and writing skills crafting scholarly essays, oral presentations, video essays, and more. Enhance your degree with a digital humanities concentration or textual scholarship certificate—the only one of its kind in the country for undergraduates.
You'll put creative knowledge to work through independent research projects, participation in on-campus publications, civic engagement opportunities, and professional networking events. And with Philadelphia only a short drive away, you'll have constant access to a world-class literary-arts scene.
Upon graduation, you'll hold a marketable skill set, unique creative approaches, and a developed empathy primed for a meaningful and interesting career and life.
English is a traditional major for pre-law students. English students considering the study of law may pursue the Loading... offered by the College of Arts and Sciences. Students seeking further information on this program and on preparation for law school should contact pre-law advisor Professor Suzanne Mannes.
3+3 Widener Law Option for the English Major
In addition to the pre-law option, students with a high level of academic potential interested in majoring in English with law school as their ultimate goal may be eligible for the “3 + 3” program with a Widener law school. See Professor Janine Utell, department chair, for details.
Digital humanities is a rapidly growing, interdisciplinary field that incorporates new tools and methodologies for pursuing modes of inquiry and producing forms of scholarship and engagement in the humanities. It seeks to apply humanistic reasoning and research to important questions related to technology, such as social sustainability, big data, and privacy. Work in digital humanities includes public humanities, data mining/visualization, web design, textual analysis, educational technology, and ethics and technology. The concentration in digital humanities is open to all humanities majors.
Loading... requirements for the digital humanities concentration.
Students who complete 12 semester hours of ENGL 401 Textual Scholarship will receive a certificate in textual scholarship that confirms an exceptional level of expertise in a field that is distinguished for undergraduate English majors. In addition to developing the skills and earning the experience described in the course description for ENGL 401, students who complete the requirements for the textual scholarship certificate also have demonstrated a sustained commitment to the completion of a serious scholarly project that involves both extraordinary undergraduate research and intensive experiential learning.
Students majoring in English can obtain secondary certification in English by completing the secondary education track. Students must also follow the instructions and requirements in the Center for Education section. Students may seek certification in more than one field; however, this usually requires more than eight semesters. Students who wish to become certified in more than one area should work closely with their faculty advisor when planning course schedules.
View the Loading... requirements for the English secondary education certification.
You'll read and write as an English major, but you'll also do so much more. Whether completing a praxis course at Philadelphia Stories magazine or leading a workshop at the Chester Writers House, you'll grow your own skills as you grow your literary community.
Students gain real-world experience by working on a number of different online and on-campus publications.
Mentorship is a top priority for the English faculty. From day one, you'll receive attentive and inclusive mentoring through one-on-one advising with a faculty member. Beyond that, professors' doors are always open to help identify and cultivate your talents and connect you with alumni mentors and internship opportunities.
From researching in premier libraries like The Rosenbach to attending readings at literary hubs like The Blue Stoop, you'll constantly be engaging with the world-class arts and culture scene of Philadelphia. Countless internship and civic engagement opportunities abound in the city, as do opportunities for graduate work.
Widener offers one of the only undergraduate programs in textual scholarship in the nation. Through hands-on learning, you'll study how texts have come to be and how they've come to be transmitted. Textual scholarship students have traveled to England to work first-hand with William Wordsworth's texts—you could be next!
Professional Networking Opportunities
You'll become part of a rich network of humanities students by working for publications like The Blue & Gold news site or The Blue Route, Widener's nationally recognized online journal of undergraduate writing. You'll also have the chance to attend the AWP conference, a national gathering of over 12,000 writers and writing programs.
Our professors invest in your success through close mentoring and continual feedback. Get to know our English faculty.
"I want my students to feel nurtured by a professor who cares about their well-being, challenged by a professor who insists they ask hard questions, made a little uncomfortable by a professor who refuses to give the 'right' answer, and excited by a professor who is always looking for something new."
"My teaching focuses on fostering the development of creativity, intellectual curiosity, and critical thinking skills; creating a culture of scholarship that students will carry beyond the university; and encouraging students to consider their roles in their communities and to join these communities in meaningful ways."
"Inside or outside the classroom, I’m keen to hear what students think. I love advising students on our literary magazines and preparing them for national conferences, where they can shine as leaders in their field. Their enthusiasm—their understanding of the vital importance of a liberal education—forever energizes me."
"I love the interdisciplinary aspect of GWS--we move from analyzing a novel to looking up statistics on intimate partner violence, to discussing psychological and feminist theories, to applying all that back to the novel. It's the best way to learn and grow—after all life is interdisciplinary!"
Faculty are constantly adding new courses based on student interest and current events. From Graphic Narrative to Literature of the Immigrant Experience, there's always something new to explore.
Double Major and Minor
The English degree offers you flexibility to pursue another field of study through a double major or minor. Creative writing and communications are popular options, as well as biology for those interested in science writing.
Your Inside Track to Success
Your Inside Track to Success
With strong critical writing, speaking, and thinking skills plus engaged experiences like internships, civic engagement, research projects, and travel opportunities, you'll embark on your career path with creativity, attentiveness, and cultural understanding.
When comparing costs, we encourage you to look beyond sticker price. Because Widener is a private institution, we’re able to offer financial assistance that brings our exceptional education within reach.
Our financial aid team takes the guessing game out of applying for financial aid. To determine your financial aid package, including scholarships and grants, apply and complete the financial aid process. You might be surprised at how much we can offer in assistance.
Next steps to apply
Applying online has never been easier—and it’s free! We also accept the Common Application. Take the next step toward joining the Widener Pride.