Undergraduate Major

English Major (BA)

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 Students

Program Overview

English is the study of 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.

Program Options

Loading... requirements for the English major.

Pre-Law Option for the English Major

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 Michael Cocchiarale, department chair, for details.

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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.

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The Textual Scholarship Certificate recognizes sustained and in-depth investigation of the textual qualities of literary works, including attention to genetic criticism, editorial theory, and the material and economic realities of literary production.

Students who complete 12 semester hours of a foundation in textual approaches as well as more sustained work on a textual scholarship project will receive the certificate. The program includes hands-on experience in coding for digital editing, as well as the opportunity to cultivate a personal scholarly or editorial project.

View our Loading... for requirements for the Textual Scholarship.

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.

Gain an edge on your career by receiving your bachelor’s and master’s degree in only five years. Through a unique partnership with Rosemont College, English and creative writing majors can get a jump start on their graduate degree in the fields of creative writing or publishing.

To participate, you can apply for admission to Rosemont after you have completed your sophomore year at Widener. Students with a 3.0 GPA are guaranteed an interview for admission. If accepted, you will then take graduate courses at Rosemont during your junior and senior year at no additional cost.

Students who are admitted to the accelerated program and meet the academic requirements will receive a tuition discount on the graduate tuition while completing master’s degree coursework at Rosemont.

For more details, please contact Professor Michael Cocchiarale at mfcocchiarale@widener.edu.

As an English major, you can easily pursue a second major. Here are a few natural pairings that compliment an English degree.

English and Communication Studies

Combine your interest in literature and writing with real-world experience that will prepare you for exciting employment opportunities.

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English and Creative Writing

Combine practical writing skills and the confidence to engage your wildest imagination with the exploration of ideas and perspectives through literature.

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Admission Information

Applying to Widener is easy—and free! Simply complete our Widener Application or the Common Application. You'll also need your official high school transcript and either an admissions essay or your SAT/ACT scores. We're a test-optional school, so there's no need to submit both.

Know you're interested in applying to Widener but unsure if you're ready to zero-in on a major? You can apply as an Exploratory Studies student with an undecided major. This program will help you start your college journey on the right foot while you explore which undergraduate program is the right fit for you.

When to Apply​

We accept applications on a rolling basis—there are no hard deadlines. Apply when you're ready and we'll take a look as soon as we receive your app. 

Key dates to keep in mind:​

  • October 1: FAFSA opens for the next academic year (Widener's school code is 003313)​
  • November 1: Early Action deadline and decision notifications begin​

What to Expect After Applying​

Once we receive your application and all materials, you can expect to hear back from us quickly. Along with your application decision, you'll also find out about any merit-based scholarship awards. You're automatically considered for merit scholarships as soon as you apply—you don't need to apply separately.

Learn more about the application process

If you apply before November 1, you are considered an Early Action applicant which comes with benefits like:

  • Receiving your admissions decision by Thanksgiving
  • Early consideration for merit-based scholarships
  • Early notification of financial aid offers, including need-based awards
  • Priority enrollment for summer registration—where you sign up for classes!

All applications are non-binding, so why wait? Apply today!

Our admissions team will help you make the most of college-level credits earned after high school. We maintain strong partnerships and articulation agreements with numerous local community colleges and also accept a wide range of course credits earned at accredited colleges and universities.

Curious about how many credits may transfer? Email your transcripts to transfer@widener.edu and our transfer coordinator will personally review your coursework as an unofficial credit evaluation. Applicants are given priority during busy seasons, but you don't have to apply to work with our transfer coordinator. 

Transferring doesn't have to be a guessing game—share your stats and we'll take it from there! 

Learn more about applying as a transfer student

Widener University serves as a "second home" for students from around the world. We are located just outside of Philadelphia and close to New York City and Washington, D.C.—offering many unique professional and personal opportunities to explore.

Want to know what it's like to be an international student on campus or need assistance navigating English proficiency requirements? We're here to help, and our international admissions director will support you through the application process. 

This support doesn't end with admissions—our International Student Support team will serve as a valuable resource throughout your Widener journey—meeting Visa/immigration requirements, getting acclimated to campus, and much more.

Learn more about applying as an international student

Program Highlights

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.

On-Campus Publications

Students gain real-world experience by working on a number of different online and on-campus publications.

Explore the World

Broaden your horizons by studying away - either abroad or domestically.

English Student & Faculty

A Second Family

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.

English Philadelphia

Philadelphia Connections

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.

English Study Abroad Textual Scholarship

Cutting-Edge Learning

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!

English Networking Opportunities

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.

Clubs & Organizations

English majors have the opportunity to join various clubs and organizations across and outside of campus to expand their network, including the Blue & Gold club, the Sigma Tau Delta - English Honor Society, and many more.

Faculty

Our professors invest in your success through close mentoring and continual feedback. Get to know our English faculty.

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.

Outlook & Outcomes

Potential Careers

  • Community outreach and nonprofit work
  • Publishing
  • Theatre and the arts
  • Archiving
  • Web production

Recent Employers

  • Elsevier
  • NBC Sports
  • Make a Wish
  • Doctors without Borders
  • The Rosenbach Museum & Library

Exceptional Graduate Success

Over 90% of English graduates are employed in a relevant career field, or are pursuing post-graduate study.

Source: Annual survey of Widener graduates within six months of commencement.

Student Stories

Cloe DiFlumeri poses alongside two individuals during an internship at Museum of Arts and Sciences.

"There’s so much overlap with my majors. They’re interdisciplinary so they allow me to explore my passions, but I love the different perspectives they all bring."

Cloë Di Flumeri

Class of 2023

Take the Next Steps

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.

Get in Touch