Reading Leaves of Grass outside Reading Leaves of Grass outside Reading Leaves of Grass outside


English major at CMU

Discover the power of stories in our English major program. Whether you love reading or dream of writing your own stories, our English major is here to help you act on and grow your inspiration. You'll explore a variety of English literature from different places and times, and you'll see how language can teach us about the world.

Program Snapshot

Program Type: Full-Time
Location: On Campus
Program Length: 4
Credit Hours: 21

Why study English literature, language and writing

Literature taps into our deepest emotions and illuminates the human experience. As an English major, you’ll immerse yourself in the language, stories and ideas across disciplines.

Our flexible program allows you to design your own major. You can either follow a general program of English studies or focus on a particular interest, such as nonfiction writing, world literature or applied linguistics.

Whichever path you choose, you'll work closely with faculty who will mentor you, advise you and collaborate with you on research. Our faculty publish widely in the field, and bring expertise in everything form children's literature to creative writing to linguistics.

You’ll also have access to an exceptional resources, including our renown Lucile Clarke Memorial Children’s Library, housing over 7,000 rare and vintage children’s books. Additionally, our Instructional Materials Center offers a diverse selection of contemporary works and teaching materials to enrich your learning experience.

You can also expand your English literature studies by adding an undergraduate certificate in Creative Writing.

Highlights of the English major

As a student of English literatures, language and writing, you can:

  • Study with award-winning faculty and published authors.
  • Submit your poetry, fiction or nonfiction work to Central Review, our literary journal.
  • Apply for scholarships and competitions designed for students in the English department.
  • Find a community of writers by joining student groups such as Fiction Central, Poets Central​​, ​Word Hammer or the Writing Circle.
  • Hear from prominent poets and fiction writers who come to campus for readings and classroom visits.

Concentrations within English literature

Filter Concentrations within English literature by Location:
Focus on the English-language literary tradition with courses in the American novel, Shakespeare, old English, African American literature and more.
Explore sounds, word structure, sentence structure, meaning and language acquisition. If you have an interest in the building blocks of language, this specialization is for you.
This specialization introduces you to the rich catalog of literature for young people, including works of fantasy, poetry and international literature.
Develop your voice as a writer. Whether your passion is for fiction, poetry or nonfiction, this specialization immerses you in the practice of your craft.
Explore the intricacies of technical editing, expository writing, document design and more. A specialization in nonfiction writing develops marketable skills that translate to many professions.
Immerse yourself in stories and cultures from around the globe. By studying topics like folklore, myths and Native American literature, you'll expand your perspective.

What can I do with an English major?

An English major builds highly marketable skills that make you a competitive job candidate in many sectors beyond writing and editing. Graduates go on to rewarding careers in business, law, education, government, publishing, public relations, healthcare, nonprofit organizations, science and technology, among others.

Career Projected Salary
College Professor/Instructor $80,840
Communications Director $78,854
Technical Writer $79,960
Writer/Author $73,150
Public Relations/Communications Specialist $67,440
English Language and Literature Professor $74,280
Students and faculty sit outside on picnic blankets and read aloud.
Annual Leaves of Grass marathon reading

Each fall, we invite the community to join us from sunrise through the afternoon in the Fabiano Botanical Garden next to Park Library for our annual marathon reading of Walt Whitman's classic Leaves of Grass.

All are welcome to take turns reading or just listen and enjoy hearing others read!

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