students binding books

Ball State’s major in English studies offers diverse gateways into the study of language through courses in literature, linguistics, creative writing, and rhetoric/writing.

  • You’ll develop advanced skills in writing, reading, interpreting, and understanding the cultural significance of a wide variety of texts.
  • Literature courses help you to interpret complex texts and to empathize with other people and cultures.
  • Linguistics offers an understanding of how languages function structurally and how they both shape and respond to the cultures around them.
  • Rhetoric and writing courses help you write for various audiences.
  • Creative writing helps you use language as a medium for imagination, insight, and artistry.

What Can You Do with an English Major?

We’re asked this question all the time. Our answer: A lot. You will learn skills that transfer across hundreds of possible careers and industries—some of which may not even exist yet. Our graduates go on to work in marketing, publishing, non-profit fundraising, speechwriting, as well as in countless other fulfilling occupations.

Explore Careers

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What It’s Like to Major in English Studies

You’ll increase your powers of reading comprehension, analysis, interpretation, research, synthesis, and writing.

Many of the classes you’ll take ask you to read complex texts (classic and contemporary literary works, works on theories and methods in linguistics or rhetoric) and to write in ways that synthesize and build on their ideas. These skills, you will find, are essential in your other course work and in the professional world you enter when you graduate.

See "Major Requirements" below for some of the specific courses you'll take.

You’ll build knowledge in close collaboration with your classmates and faculty members who are innovative teachers and respected, published scholars. Your professors bring to the classroom the excitement and curiosity with which they conduct their own research and mentor students in the goals, methods, and practices of their fields.

Because this concentration draws upon all the subdisciplines in English, you might work with any member of our faculty.

Read profiles of our faculty.

You’ll turn your analytical and writing skills toward the kind of activities you’ll pursue in the workplace after graduation.

Just a couple of the ways we do this include:

You’ll gain a broad grounding in the multiple sub-disciplines of English:

  • Literature
  • Rhetoric and Writing
  • Creative Writing
  • Linguistics

You will also pursue nine credits of electives, which will give you the chance to pursue your own interests.

Promoting Change

English faculty and students are express their dedication to social and educational justice in many different ways—and you can help. You can work on a young-adult literature magazine that addresses diversity—or the lack thereof. You can learn to teach English to speakers of other languages. You can mentor young writers.

Major Requirements

This program is designed to provide a foundation in the full range of subjects within English studies: literature, rhetoric and writing, linguistics, and creative writing. It is for those of you seeking a varied set of critical and analytical skills and with diverse interests in reading and writing.

To earn a bachelor’s degree in English studies, you must complete the University Core Curriculum and 36 credits of coursework in English studies.

Four semesters (or the equivalent) of a modern or classical language at the college level are required.

Total Credits

120

Courses

A few of the classes you will take include:

  • English 210 Introduction to English Studies
  • English 230 Reading and Writing about Literature
  • English 285 Introduction to Creative Writing
  • English 220 Language and Society
  • English 444 Senior Seminar

For a complete list of requirements and course descriptions, consult our Course Catalog.
View Catalog

Paying for Your Education

Department Scholarships

In addition to the dozens of scholarships the university offers its students, our department gives awards to acknowledge the excellence and achievements of our own majors and minors. Learn more.

Ready to Apply?

Are you interested in pursuing this major? The first step is to review Ball State’s admissions criteria and apply as an undergraduate student.

Want to Learn More?

One of the best ways to understand why Ball State stands out is to come see it for yourself. You can schedule a visit through our Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Make sure to tell them you’re interested in our program. Or if you’d like to speak with someone in our department directly by phone or email, please contact us.