Major in English (B.A.)

Major in English (B.A.)

The Department of English offers a major leading to the B.A. degree. English majors may choose one of three tracks: Studies in Literature, Secondary Licensure in English Language Arts, or Studies in Writing. Each track requires courses across specific groups to encourage a breadth of study. Advisers will help students plan their curricula according to students’ professional interests.  

  • Studies in Literature traces the development of British, American, and world culture and thought, from the earliest years to the most recent. This track leads to many career possibilities where the ability to read closely, interpret productively, think critically, and speak and write persuasively are essential skills.
  • Secondary Licensure in English Language Arts prepares students to teach grades 9 – 12. Students interested in teaching English in grades 5 - 8 should fulfill the specified requirements for middle school licensure in English Language Arts. Students from other subject areas may choose to fulfill the requirements for educator licensure in English Language Arts as an additional endorsement.
  • Studies in Writing includes internship opportunities in professional writing, and editing on campus or with local businesses, companies, and organizations. Students may receive credit and, in some cases, payment for these internships. Interested students should consult the college coordinator of internships. 

A Certificate in Undergraduate Study in Creative Writing is available for students in English or other majors.

Department Requirements

The GPA in the English major and minor is calculated by using all and only those English courses at NIU numbered 110 or higher, specifically excluding Foundational Studies in English composition (ENGL 103, ENGL 203, and ENGL 204). These foundational courses are not counted toward the maximum of 50 hours allowed in a single department, as described in “Special Requirements in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.”

English majors and minors must take ENGL 200 and ENGL 300 A, ENGL B, or ENGL C. These courses form the basis for the literary approaches and writing proficiencies needed for English Studies and should be taken as early as possible.

Students with a major or minor in English must demonstrate competence in the fundamentals of English grammar by successfully completing ENGL 207 or by passing the Grammar Exemption Exam (GEE). Teacher licensure candidates in English cannot be exempt from ENGL 207 through the GEE. Students who pass the GEE will be required to substitute another English course at the 100-400 level, taken at NIU or elsewhere, to complete the 39 required credit hours in the major or the 18 credit hours required in the minor. Failing the GEE necessitates that a student successfully complete ENGL 207. 

View English Program Major Requirements in Undergraduate Catalog (link on right).