English, BA | University of Portland

English, BA

Why Major in English?

The English program provides students with courses of study that will develop both academic and creative writing, an understanding of language, and a critical engagement with literature. To achieve these objectives, English majors are expected to develop and refine their writing abilities and critical understanding of language and literature through extensive reading and discussion.

All students who desire to major in English will be required to complete 28 upper division credit hours of English courses approved by the department chair, and demonstrate satisfactorily their possession of the basic skills of literary criticism through completion of ENG 225. After being accepted as English majors the students will, in consultation with their advisers, decide upon a program of studies best suited to their needs and interests, whether in preparation for teaching, advanced study, professional writing, or other vocations in which their liberal education may prove an asset. In their senior year, all English majors write a senior thesis as a capstone experience.


Our English majors develop finely honed skills in analytical reading, varied forms of writing, and web and library-based research. Their study of past and present literary texts equips them with a broad-based awareness of history, human character, and social and religious traditions. This combination of skills and understanding enables them to recognize and handle the new century's opportunities and problems. Thus an English major prepares students for careers in many areas of business and not-for-profit enterprise, as well as the pursuit of graduate study in English and the humanities, creative writing, education and the law. Other majors become teachers, or, in the years just after graduation, participate in such challenging and rewarding volunteer programs as Holy Cross Associates, Jesuit Volunteers, Teach for America, and the Peace Corps.