Department of English

Major in EnglishGraduate Programs in EnglishY1WritesTowers

Welcome to the English Department at NIU!  We offer courses in literature, linguistics, English education, film, ESL (English as a Second Language), and rhetoric as well as in creative, technical, and professional writing. Students in our department learn the analytical skills employers value, and they engage in conversations about critical issues. Our study abroad programs in Dublin and Oxford win rave reviews from participants, while internships present opportunities to gain professional experience. 

Upcoming Events:

      • February 4: Panel Discussion on Resumes for English Majors 

        The English Department's Recruitment and Retention Committee is hosting a panel discussion on Resumes for English Majors. Edward Heard, NIU Career Services Assistant Director, and Cathy Doederlein, NIU Humanities Internships Coordinator will present from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.


        Proposals due for Conference: Incarceration and social justice issues, although proposals related to women, gender and/or sexuality will be considered. For more information email wgs [at], call 815-753-1038, or stop in Reavis Hall 103


        Submissions due for USOAR proposals from undergraduate students for projects that will involve them in independent artistry or research, under the supervision of members of the faculty and staff at NIU.

      • March 27-28: MCLLM

        Northern Illinois University will host the 23rd annual Midwestern Conference on Literature, Language, and Media (MCLLM) on Friday, March 27, and Saturday, March 28.

        Faculty, graduate students and, for the first time in the conference’s history, undergraduate students will share their research related to this year’s theme, “Ctrl, Alt, Delete.” Presenters will explore the concepts of regaining control, revisiting alternatives or returning to previous states via deletion in conjunction with themes relevant to textual, linguistic and media studies.

      • April 6: Showcase of Student Writing

Department News:

    • Congratulations to Dr. Manahari Adhikari, NIU's latest PhD in English, for successfully defending his dissertation titled "Writing Against the Ethos of Individualism: A  Study in Contemporary Multiethnic American Fiction."

    • Lara Crowley’s essay, "Samuel Tuke's John Donne," will appear in the next volume of New Ways of Looking at Old Texts: Papers of the Renaissance English Text Society, a collection of essays published every five years by Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies.

    • Graduate student Jesse Conrad is the first recipient of the scholarship in Jim Mellard's name. He will hold an internship with the journal Style this fall.

    • With sorrow, we announce that former professor James (Jim) Mellard passed away July 27, 2014. More . . .

    • Betty Birner proves that linguistics IS fun:

    • The First-Year Writing Program and its innovative use of peer advocates were featured in NIU Today:

    • PhD candidate Elyse Lamszus will begin her position as Assistant Professor of English at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL, in fall 2014.

    • PhD candidate Alison Lukowski will begin her position at Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, TN, in fall 2014.

    • Natalie Santiago Bidne, a candidate for the MA in Rhetoric and Writing, has taken a position with Officite, a Downer's Grove digital production and marketing firm that serves the medical industry.

    • MA graduate Ryan Eichberger will begin the PhD program in Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis in fall 2014.

    • Jay Marinan has published an article in the on-line journal PsyArt on autism and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo:

    • NIU graduate English program listed among top ten in the nation for career support!

      Congratulations to Bill Baker and Doris Macdonald, who will be
      representing the department on University Council beginning August

    • Scary News about an Alumnus
      Neil Tobin graduated from NIU with a BA in English with Honors. He is
      a copy editor by day and performs about the supernatural at night. Read
      his encouraging words about the liberal arts and an English degree:

    • Congratulations to Scott Balcerzak
      Scott’s article, "The Cinephilic Pleasures of DVD Commentary:
      Watching The Passenger (1975) with Jack Nicholson," appears in the
      latest issue of the Journal of Film and Video, 66.1 (Spring 2014).

    • Unity in Diversity Essay Contest Winners
      Congratulations to the 2013 Unity in Diversity winning essayists and their superb teachers!

    • Newman Featured as Top Chicago Poet
      Amy Newman was featured by CBS as one of the Chicago area’s top poets:

    • Jeffrey Einboden is signing a contract with Oxford University Press for
      a monograph titled "The Islamic Lineage of Literary America." His book
      will uncover Islam's formative impact on U.S. literary origins, tracing
      domestic genealogies of Arabic and Persian influence, extending from the
      Revolution to Reconstruction. The monograph is likely to appear in

    • Betty Birner in the Spotlight
      Betty Birner is this month’s linguist in the spotlight at the Linguistic Society of America:

    • NIU Today featured an article on Ildiko Carrington’s research about Nobel Prize winner alice Munro: 

    • Gulsat Aygen  published Chomsky on Anarchism/Anarsizm Üzerine Chomsky. Trans. Ed. Gulsat Aygen. Istanbul: Agora Publications, 2013.

    • William Baker published A Harold Pinter Pinter Chronology. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013,: xx+ [345]pp.

    • Scott Balcerzak published Buffoon Men: Classic Hollywood Comedians and Queered Masculinity. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2013.