English majors hone the writing, reading, speaking, and critical thinking skills that are essential for life beyond the university. Graduates with English degrees have the flexibility to compete in a rapidly changing economy and to adapt to working with emerging technologies and new media.

In fact, employers frequently cite good communication, writing, and research skills as top criteria when looking to hire new employees.For example, a recent MetLife survey tell us that over 300 Fortune 1000 Executives rated skills such as critical thinking and the ability to write clearly and persuasively above higher-level knowledge in science and math!

As an English major, you’ll read some of the best works of literature ever written and explore both the classics and the cutting-edge. You’ll receive one-on-one advising from a faculty member who knows you and your interests. You’ll have the flexibility to choose courses from the range of fields that make up English Studies of the 21st century: from literatures and creative writing to business and technical communication, linguistics & teaching of English to speakers of other languages (TESOL), and film studies. In these courses, you'll become a strong writer and critical thinker with the skills to succeed in many different career fields.

Take a closer look:

Do you have a hard time putting a book down? Are you fascinated by the diversity of today’s interconnected world? In the words of a celebrated writer, “The purpose of creative literature is to elevate the human experience to a higher plane of regard.” Regard means both seeing something clearly and valuing it properly; in this quotation, that ‘something’ is our lives. The best literature gives the best insights, presenting representative human experiences in ways that access their meaning and their mystery. Come regard the wide range of literature offerings in our department—as wide as the world of human experience—and, through the teacher-guided readings these courses provide, sharpen your regard for your own and other lives.

Are you interested in editing, project management, technical writing, grant writing, web design, user experience design, etc.? You will gain these and other practical and marketable skills by taking classes in Business and Technical Communication (BTC), which are also part of our professional certificate in BTC.

Or do you want to explore the know-how of poets, novelists, and screenwriters? Would you like to take part in writing new chapters in the cultural story of North Carolina and beyond? The Creative Writing faculty will teach you how to write well and with style (which, by the way, is important in any career path you take!). You will learn how to move readers to action and how to write in a way that is both informational and engaging.

Are you fascinated with language and would like to know where it comes from, how it works, and how it lives and dies? How manmade languages like Klingon are created? Linguistics is the scientific study of human languages. You can study how children create a grammar, how writing and speaking intersect, how languages vary from place to place, where languages come from…and if you want to travel after graduation, add learning how to teach English to native speakers of another language and earn a professional certificate in TESOL while doing it.

Did you know that most college students spend nearly half of their day--a whopping 11 hours--consuming visual media like TV, films, streaming content, video games, banner ads, advertising, and more? The Film Studies classes will equip you with the tools needed to navigate the increasingly complex and blurred divisions between media content and real life. Most people understand the media around them at face value and consume the images they are fed without understanding what they really mean,but the Film Studies minor offers you a glimpse at the proverbial man—or woman—behind the curtain.

ECU Advantage

ECU's Department of English takes career planning very seriously. Among the experiences that prepare you to enter the 21st century workforce are: internships within and outside the department, undergraduate research, lecture series, study abroad, and a professional seminar for rising juniors and seniors.

English is home to three award-winning journals: The North Carolina Literary Review, Tar River Poetry, and Explorations in Renaissance Culture. Our majors interning with these journals gain valuable editorial and project management experience. Interning outside the Department, our students have worked for Pitt County Arts Council, Stop Human Trafficking Now of Eastern NC, United Way of Pitt County, Cornerstone Leadership Academy, Irons Law Firm, among others. Working under the editor of Technical Communication Quarterly, students edit and publish a journal of undergraduate research, The Lookout. English majors also regularly write for student journals like Expressions and The Rebel, and for ECU's student newspaper, The East Carolinian.

Those loving research have interned with digital humanities projects such as the Donne Variorum and the Digital Donne project. In collaboration with faculty mentors, students do original archival research using such resources as 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.

Our various lecture 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 poet laureates Natasha Trethewey and Philip Levine, among many others. Broadening your horizons and learning to become global citizens, you’ll have the chance to study abroad in places like England, Ireland, Poland, and Czech Republic.

And you can join the English Club, Creative Writing Club or Film Club, informal gatherings of students who go on field trips (e.g. to the American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA), sponsor events, and meet regularly for discussion of topics from vampires to video games. You'll meet like-minded people who are as enthusiastic about the various aspects of English as you are!

Among the job titles held by our recent graduates are community outreach coordinator (for a non-profit organization), content marketing writer (for big data outsourcing vendor), English instructional coach (for a technology company), proposal writer (for a global logistics company), quality document control administrator (for a pharmaceutical company), multimedia designer (for a public relations and communication company), engagement manager, technical writer (for systems and networking companies), social media coordinator (for a trade association), research analyst (for a secure cloud-based management systems company), as well as fiction writer, singer-songwriter, TV producer, and journalist.

What You Will Study

Program Coordinator: Lida Cope (2207 Bate Building; 252-328-6411; englishug@ecu.edu)

Minimum degree requirement is 124 s.h. of credit as follows:

1. General education requirements - 40 s.h.

(For information about courses that carry general education credit see General Education Program.)

    2. Demonstrated foreign language proficiency through level 2004 - 12 s.h.

    (For information about the foreign language requirement see Special Requirements for the BA Degree and Placement Testing, Foreign Language.)

      3. Core - 12 s.h.

        Choose 3 s.h. from:

        • ENGL 3070 - Shakespeare: The Histories
        • ENGL 3080 - Shakespeare: The Comedies
        • ENGL 3090 - Shakespeare: The Tragedies
        • ENGL 4091 - Shakespeare: Topics
        Historical Survey I: Literature to 1700

        Choose 3 s.h. from:

        • ENGL 3000 - History of British Literature to 1700
        • ENGL 3600 - Classics from Homer to Dante
        Historical Survey II: Literature after 1700

        Choose 3 s.h. from:

        • ENGL 3010 - History of British Literature, 1700-1900
        • ENGL 3020 - History of American Literature to 1900
        • ENGL 4340 - Ethnic American Literature
        Language Study–Creative Writing, Linguistics, Rhetoric and Composition, or Technical and Professional Communication

        Choose 3 s.h. from:

        • ENGL 2815 - Introduction to Creative Writing
        • ENGL 2830 - Writing and Style
        • ENGL 3030 - Introduction to Rhetorical Studies
        • ENGL 3040 - Introduction to Professional Writing
        • ENGL 3830 - Introduction to Play Writing
        • ENGL 3835 - Persuasive Writing
        • ENGL 3840 - Introduction to Poetry Writing
        • ENGL 3850 - Introduction to Fiction Writing
        • ENGL 3860 - Introduction to Nonfiction Writing
        • ENGL 3870 - Introduction to Editing and Publishing
        • LING 2700 - Introduction to Language Studies
        • LING 2710 - English Grammar
        • LING 2720 - Invented Languages
        • LING 2740 - Language in the USA
        • LING 2760 - Afro-Caribbean Language and Culture
        • LING 3700 - History of the English Language
        • LING 3720 - Writing Systems of the World
        • LING 3730 - The Structure of English: Phonology and Morphology
        • LING 3740 - The Structure of English: Syntax and Semantics
        • LING 3750 - Introductory Linguistics
        • LING 3770 - Language and Cognition
        • LING 4730 - Language and Society
      4. Electives - 24 s.h.

        Qualified undergraduates may take 5000-level ENGL courses as electives.

        5. Senior writing portfolio.
          6. Minor and general electives to complete requirements for graduation.
            For more information about this degree visit the university's academic catalogs.

            Careers With This Degree

            Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

            • English Language and Literature, General
            • English Language and Literature, General
            • Grant-writing, fund-raising, and providing outreach
            • Developer, Curator of information for Social Media
            • Developer, materials and textbooks for language arts cour
            • Public Information Officers for businesses/municipalities
            • Technical Documentation for Industry
            • Teacher, English or English to Speakers of other languages
            • Problem Solving related to language and pattern recognition

            Career Opportunities

            ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

            NC Tower

            This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

            • Self-employed;
            • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
            • Work outside of North Carolina.

            US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

            This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

            Degree-specific internships

            For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.