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.

Loading... requirements for the English minor.

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.

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.


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.


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.


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

Jayne M. Thompson
Associate Teaching Professor of English

"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."

Annalisa Castaldo
Associate Professor

"One thing that attracted me to the fields that I teach is their interdisciplinary nature--studying literature involves understanding history, psychology and gender, Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies engages with race, class, politics, and literature, and it's impossible to study human sexuality without also studying religion, sociology, ethics, and psychology."

Michael Cocchiarale
Chair, English and Creative Writing

"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."

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.

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