Undergraduate Programs

BA in English (the English major)

Visit the Undergraduate Catalog's English major page

English majors hone the writing, reading, speaking, and critical thinking skills that are essential for life beyond the university. Rather than providing a single, linear career path, the English major gives graduates the flexibility to compete in a rapidly-changing economy and to adapt to working with emerging technologies and new media.

Employers frequently cite good communication, writing, and research skills as top criteria when looking to hire new employees. A degree in English will help you develop these skills. In fact, an English major at ECU will help you to become a strong writer and critical thinker with the skills to succeed in many different career fields. Our graduates have gone on to careers in government, business, law, the non-profit sector, healthcare, journalism, library science, higher education, teaching, and social work, among many others.

In our program, you’ll read some of the best works of literature ever written and explore both the classics and the cutting-edge. You’ll take four core classes of the major, which will give you a solid foundation of reading, writing, and analytical skills. Beyond these core courses, you’ll take eight electives. To help you choose your electives, you’ll receive personalized, one-on-one advising from a faculty member who knows you and your interests well. You’ll have the flexibility to choose courses from among the range of fields that make up English today: literature, creative writing, multicultural and transnational literature, technical and professional communication, linguistics, rhetoric and composition, folklore, and film studies. 

If you’re interested in going beyond the classroom, you’ll have the chance to study abroad in places like London, Belize, and Ireland. You’ll also have the opportunity to develop your writing skills in the workplace in a for-credit internship. And you can join the English Club, an informal gathering of students who go on field trips, sponsor events, and meet regularly for discussion of topics from vampires to video games. You’ll meet like-minded people who are an enthusiastic about English as you are!

ECU’s English Department is home to three award-winning journals: The North Carolina Literary Review, Tar River Poetry, and Explorations in Renaissance Culture. Students working on these journals gain valuable editorial and project management experience. English majors also regularly write for student journals like Expressions and The Rebel and for ECU’s student newspaper, The East Carolinian. In collaboration with faculty mentors, students can do original archival research using resources like Joyner Library’s Stuart Wright Collection, which includes first editions and works from the personal libraries of southern writers like Randall Jarrell and Eudora Welty.

The North Carolina Literary Homecoming and the Contemporary Writers Series bring leading writers to campus to give readings and talks. In recent years, writers visiting ECU have included Salman Rushdie, Charles Frazier, Colm Toibin, Sherman Alexie, Colum McCann, and United States poets laureate Natasha Trethewey and Philip Levine, among many others. English majors have special opportunities to meet and interview visiting writers.

English BA Four-Year Plan (suggested, very flexible)

For additional information about majoring in English, please email EnglishUG@ecu.edu.