English Major and Minors

A graphic of books on a shelf next to this quote from William Shakespeare's As You Like It: "And this, our life, exempt from public haut, finds tongues in trees, book in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything."

An English major prepares students to enter professions such as the law, social work, ministry, or medicine; to work in a variety of businesses, nonprofits, and governmental agencies; to teach in elementary or secondary schools; to pursue graduate study in English or other disciplines; and generally to enter life with an appreciation for God’s gift of the word.

Literature courses show how language enables us to investigate and shape our views of God, humanity, and the earth; writing courses of all kinds stress writing as a process of communication with readers and as an exploration of one’s own thoughts and feelings. Most of all, courses in English allow students to discuss the fundamental questions of human life and meaning, as well as to cultivate an appreciation of individual and cultural diversity.

Apply for the English major/minor

Through the English major, you will gain

  • Knowledge of British, American, and world literature.
  • Skill in literary criticism and scholarship.
  • Understanding of the relationship between literature and the Christian faith.
  • Proficiency in writing, whether critical or creative.
  • Experience of the central role of the imagination in living lives of compassion and service in a diverse, interconnected world.

Concentrations and Minors


The English Department offers two concentrations within the major: Literature and Creative Writing.

Students in both the Literature and Creative Writing concentrations must complete a shared core of courses that ground their understanding of literary history and the interpretive tools of our discipline.  Each concentration also has a second core requirement emphasizing craft and methodology. Upper-division coursework in each concentration then moves on to advanced competency in the field, leading ultimately to the English undergraduate degree.

Major requirements:

Click here to download a handy checklist for both concentrations.


In addition, the English Department offers three minors: Literature, Creative Writing, and Professional Writing. 

Minor requirements:

In order to apply, visit the Major or Minor Application in Banner. You are required to complete the major requirements in effect when admitted to the major.

Entering the English Major or Minors

You may enter the major or minors during your first quarter at SPU.  Entrance after your first quarter requires only good academic standing (2.0 or higher SPU cumulative GPA).  Consult the undergraduate catalog for complete information on how and when to enter and what you must do to complete the program.

Whale retrieval by a group of students and community members

A Skeleton Crew

Peter Moe, assistant professor of English and director of campus writing, leads effort to retrieve and reassemble whale skeleton

“The 16,000 lbs. whale was towed to Gig Harbor then hoisted ashore where students and volunteers spent seven hours flensing the whale (slicing the flesh and fat from the whale’s carcass). They buried the bones in manure so that nature could do the rest of the decomposing/cleanup work and leech oil from the whale’s bones.”

Read more about this project.