The English major at Ohio State invites students to create their own intellectual journeys. Our flexible curriculum grounds students in the fundamental skills of the discipline – close reading, persuasive writing, critical thought, and imaginative engagement – while also offering opportunities to delve deeply in their particular areas of interest. From medieval monsters to medical humanities to Marvel comics, Ohio State English majors study a wide range of subjects, and students are encouraged to go beyond the conventional bounds of the discipline, to embrace diverse perspectives, to approach their studies in varied ways.
English majors choose from one of five concentrations in the major:
- Literature, film and popular culture studies
- Writing, rhetoric and literacy (WRL)
- Creative writing
- Folklore studies
- English Pre-Education (for students pursuing teaching careers in middle or high school).
English majors choose a concentration based on their academic and personal interests as well as their short- and longer-term career goals. Students may begin their English major coursework without declaring a concentration, and they may switch concentrations without delaying their progress towards a degree.
To find out more about the English major and the five concentration areas, please see the concentration overviews and major sheets below. In addition, our undergraduate advising team is always available to discuss these concentrations with students and to provide information and guidance.
The Literature, Film and Popular Culture Studies concentration gives students a strong foundation in literary history and invites them to consider other types of cultural production. Trained to analyze diverse cultural objects and to create persuasive arguments about their meanings and values, students study “texts” such as Toni Morrison novels, Shakespeare film adaptations, Alison Bechdel’s graphic novels, and television series like Orange is the New Black. Whether you’re interested in contemporary Latinx comics, popular depictions of vampires, or environmental humanities – or all of the above – this concentration will help you explore your current interests and discover new ones.
If you like English classes but wonder if there’s more to it than reading and writing about literature, consider the English major concentration in Writing, Rhetoric and Literacy (WRL). Students in the WRL concentration study how people use texts to persuade, inform and create communities, and they consider how social and material contexts enable and constrain how and what people communicate. By taking introductory and advanced coursework in rhetorical theory, workplace writing, digital media composing, and research methods, WRL students become well-rounded experts in how writing works across diverse contexts.
The Creative Writing concentration is for students who want an intensive curriculum focused on developing their creative writing. In this concentration, students work closely in small class settings and in private conference with publishing practitioners of the craft. Our six core creative writing faculty — along with dozens of MFA GTAs and one affiliated faculty member specializing in screenwriting and story engineering — teach upper-level undergraduates in the primary genres of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. Students graduate from this concentration with a robust portfolio and a refined creative voice in their genre(s) of choice.
Folklore is vernacular art – culture that people make for themselves. It can take many forms, and it promotes a wide range of responses: folklore is despised as old-fashioned, banned as dangerous, preserved as precious heritage, mass-produced for tourists, and called on to legitimate both wars and social justice movements. In this concentration, students study diverse folk practices from various locations and time periods, and they are trained in various methodologies, including ethnography. Folklore students become excellent observers and communicators, as well as knowledgeable cultural interpreters.
Students who have a passion for literature and education should consider the English Pre-Education concentration. Intended for students who plan to pursue further study and eventual licensure in Integrated Language Arts, Adolescence to Young Adult (Grades 7-12), this concentration gives students in-depth knowledge of the subject matter that they will teach. Once students complete this concentration, they typically seek admission to either (a) an M.Ed. program in Integrated Language Arts with licensure, or (b) a post-baccalaureate program in Integrated Language Arts with licensure. The English Pre-Education offers an excellent foundation for future teachers in both their graduate work and in their own classrooms.