Department of English

How can you build a better world if you can’t imagine one?

In the English Department, we are passionate about telling stories; making strong, ethical arguments; and debating the big ideas raised in literary arts and popular culture. Our small classes are taught by experts with a passion for understanding how language and representation shape history, identity, and experience. Students in English classes study and discuss texts of all kinds, including poems, plays, TV shows, movies, video games, song lyrics, essays, and novels. We teach argumentative writing, critical thinking, and ethical dialogue—all skills employers and professional schools desire from new graduates. Our major, minors, and graduate programs include distinctive offerings in environmental humanities, comics studies, medical humanities, disability studies, digital humanities, rhetoric and writing, and the study of race, ethnicity, and indigeneity.

31.5%
PERCENTAGE OF UNDERGRADUATE MAJORS WHO ARE FIRST-GENERATION COLLEGE STUDENTS
23
AVERAGE NUMBER OF STUDENTS IN AN UNDERGRADUATE CLASS
90%

PERCENTAGE OF SOPHOMORE STUDENTS WHO REMAIN IN THE MAJOR PROGRAM AFTER DECLARING

What you can do with a degree in English

Recent data shows an English major is a valuable credential on the job market. In fact, a 2021 poll of business leaders and hiring managers revealed growing demand for new employees with liberal arts training and skills. The most sought-after competencies included critical thinking, written and spoken communication, research skills, digital literacy, ethical judgment, and creative thinking – all areas in which an English degree offers excellent preparation. In a departure from previous studies, the fastest-rising demand among employers under age 40 was for culturally literate, community-oriented, and civic-minded new colleagues – values that align strongly with our work in the English Department.

The executives and hiring managers surveyed further indicated that they would be “much more likely to consider” hiring graduates who had completed apprenticeships, worked in diverse community settings, produced portfolios of their work, collaborated closely with faculty, and completed multiple writing-intensive courses. Read on to explore the unique learning opportunities available to students in our programs, from study-abroad experiences to capstone research projects, fieldwork, and internships.

Matthew Hannah

How English Opens the Door to Your Career

"During my time as a graduate student in English, faculty allowed me to explore eclectic interdisciplinary possibilities, attending seminars and workshops in the Knight Library to develop skills in digital humanities. My dissertation advisor provided me with support and encouragement to write an experimental dissertation applying sociological theory and network analysis to literary studies, which opened the door for opportunities to advance the mission of digital humanities at UO as a postdoctoral fellow and pursue careers in the field of DH. I would not be successful in my current work as an assistant professor of digital humanities at Purdue University without this early encouragement at Oregon."

—Matthew Hannah, English PhD, 2016

Our Degree Programs

Undergraduate and graduate programs in the English Department feature courses in traditional fields and techniques as well as distinctive offerings in environmental humanities, comics studies, medical humanities, disability studies, digital humanities, and the study of race and ethnicity.

composition program

Composition Program in the Department of English

Faculty in the Composition Program teach lower- and upper-division writing to more than 7,000 students per year in more than 100 classrooms per term. Required of all UO students, our foundational writing courses are taught by award-winning teachers comprised of both graduate employees (GEs) who have completed an intensive year-long training and experienced instructors from writing-related fields.

Experts in the Field

Learn from Experts in the Field

We have world-class faculty experts who bring the innovations of their research into the classroom. English Department faculty curate museum exhibits that tour the country; provide expert perspectives to journalists and policymakers; write bestselling books; win prestigious research fellowships; and work on international teams that tackle big problems, from digitizing and transcribing rare archival materials to better understanding how AI is changing our world. Our faculty foster a lively culture of independent and collaborative research and are eager to mentor students in their own scholarly pursuits through small seminars, our senior thesis option, and our chapter of Sigma Tau Delta.

Real World Experience

Get Real-world Experience

We offer a variety of ways to expand your learning about English into the local community and across the world. We have community literacy classes that feature internships with a wide variety of community partners, including K-12 schools, the Serbu Juvenile Justice Center, the Boys and Girls Club, the Center for Teaching and Learning Reading Clinic, Nearby Nature, and Mt. Pisgah Arboretum. Our Galway program combines an unparalleled location for the study of the Irish past and present with a rich array of classroom speakers, field trips in the west of Ireland, and opportunities to sample the delights of Ireland’s premier film festival and arts festival. This program offers a variety of courses in history, music, theatre, literature, and Gaelic.

Scholarships & Funding

In addition to university-wide opportunities for funding and scholarships, the English Department offers three essay prizes to its undergraduate students. Master’s students are eligible for Graduate Employee (GE) positions in the English Department after their first year, and first-year doctoral students may be chosen for one of four fellowships that can supplement a GE appointment.

Undergraduate Scholarships
Graduate Funding

Academic Support

Our faculty advisors are here to help undergraduate students map out a path through the English major based on your goals and connect you with the rich culture of student groups in our department. We offer The Writing Associates Program, which provides both tutoring and internships for English majors, as well as a network of alumni mentors who can discuss career options. In addition to advising, support for graduate students comes through classes focused on professionalization for the academic job market and on writing for publication, and via our comprehensive, annually-published graduate student handbook.

Undergraduate Advising
Support for Graduate Students

Give to the English Department

The English Department depends on gifts from donors to enhance our academic programs for English majors and graduate students. Only with gifts from friends and alumni can UO English preserve excellence.

Donations are used to support a variety of academic projects such as: undergraduate scholarships, visiting speaker series, faculty fellowships, faculty and graduate student research awards, and faculty recruitment.

A number of exceptionally generous friends of the department have created permanent endowments to support specific programs and initiatives. If you would like your gift to support a specific activity, please indicate your preference in a note to the Department Head, Mark Whalan.

What We Do With Your Gifts

  • Capstone Seminars for junior and senior English majors
  • The Fund for Excellence in Graduate Studies (to support first-year graduate students while they train to become teachers)
  • Travel to academic conferences, libraries, and job interviews for graduate students
  • Lectures by visiting speakers
  • Symposia and conferences hosted by the English Department
  • Prizes for distinguished undergraduate writing
  • Awards for outstanding graduate student teachers of composition

Give to the English Department

English News and Events

November 30, 2023
ENGLISH - Four of the seven Humanities Undergraduate Research Fellowship (HURF) recipients during the 2023 program were English majors. A HURF fellow is awarded a $2,500 stipend to explore their scholarly interests over 16 weeks, beginning in January, and receives support from a faculty advisor.
November 21, 2023
ENGLISH - In The Sisterhood: How A Network of Black Women Writers Changed American Culture, Courtney Thorsson, an associate professor of English in the College of Arts and Sciences, tells the story of a group of Black feminist writers and thinkers in a critically acclaimed book that has been called a model for literary histories.
September 1, 2023
ENGLISH, SOCIOLOGY, SPANISH, THEATRE ARTS - The Distinguished Teaching Awards recognize exceptional teaching that is inclusive, engaged and research-informed. This year’s winners are Jocelyn Hollander, Faith Barter, Alex Zunterstein, Kirby Brown, Robin Hopkins, Tannaz Farsi, Patricia Rodley and Michael Moffitt.

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Special Collections Research Fellows Speaker Series: Zoey Kambour, 2023 Martha Thorsland Baker Fellow
Dec21
Special Collections Research Fellows Speaker Series: Zoey Kambour, 2023 Martha Thorsland Baker Fellow Dec 21
Reading by Claire Luchette & Morgan Thomas
Jan10
Reading by Claire Luchette & Morgan Thomas Jan 10 Knight Library
Special Collections Research Fellows Speaker Series
Jan18
Special Collections Research Fellows Speaker Series Jan 18
New Media and Culture Certificate Open House
Jan22
New Media and Culture Certificate Open House Jan 22 Knight Library
Wine Chat: "The Sisterhood: How a Network of Black Women Writers Changed American Culture"
Jan25
Wine Chat: "The Sisterhood: How a Network of Black Women Writers Changed American Culture" Jan 25 Capitello Wines
Never Convicted, Never Prosecuted: How Traitors Wrote Their Way Out of Prison and Into Lost Cause Mythology
Jan30
Never Convicted, Never Prosecuted: How Traitors Wrote Their Way Out of Prison and Into Lost Cause Mythology Jan 30 McKenzie Hall
Winter Career & Internship Expo
Feb1
Winter Career & Internship Expo Feb 1 Erb Memorial Union (EMU)
Guest Worker: Lives across Borders in an Age of Prosperity, 1919-75
Feb13
Guest Worker: Lives across Borders in an Age of Prosperity, 1919-75 Feb 13 McKenzie Hall
Poetry Reading by Aaron Baker 
Feb14
Poetry Reading by Aaron Baker  Feb 14 Knight Library
Pierson Lecture
Feb27
Pierson Lecture Feb 27 McKenzie Hall

All events »