Languages, Literature, and Culture

English Major: Emphasis in Literary Studies

As an Allegheny English student, you'll explore how literature and language shape, have shaped, and will shape the world within which we live. We'll prepare you for your future by cultivating deep thinking, insightful analysis, and compelling expression.

Your Four-Year Journey

Students often combine an English major with a minor in Biology, Education Studies, Environmental Science & Sustainability, Global Health Studies, or Neuroscience.

Our introductory courses, ENGL110-118, emphasizes close reading and the study of at least three literary genres. You'll engage in meaningful discussion and analysis with your peers and professors.

In year two, you'll continue to expand your analytical abilities as a reader and a writer in courses that cover at least two historical periods of literary history (e.g. realism and modernism) and the connections between them.

All 300-level courses incorporate secondary research and a consideration of literary criticism. You will refine your ability to ask relevant, independent interpretive questions of literary texts, encounter relevant examples of literary criticism, and be able to summarize and respond to arguments made by authors.

Typical fourth-year literature courses build on rigor and will include theoretical approaches to literature. You will continue to hone your skills as a close reader of literary texts, find and evaluate relevant published criticism, and apply critical methods to a focused literary topic. Your studies will culminate with completing a substantial research project that displays a sustained sense of historical and cultural context.

Career Outcomes


Of English students report employment within the first eight months of graduation (popular fields: writing/editing, education, publishing, advertising, public relations, and business).


Acceptance rate to graduate/professional school for English students — about 80 percent of our majors ultimately seek an advanced degree in a wide range of fields, including education, writing, literature, business, and law.

Anne McGowan, Alumna

English and Economics Double Major, Class of 2016

“ I have taken classes ranging from early British literature, to writings on the murder of Emmett Till, and even critical analysis of creative nonfiction. Not only has the dynamic curriculum challenged me to continually view the world from different perspectives, but it has also opened my eyes to the limitlessness of an English degree. ”