The Washington State University Pullman Catalog

Department of English

The online catalog includes the most recent changes to courses and degree requirements that have been approved by the Faculty Senate, including changes that are not yet effective.

Department of English
Avery 202, Pullman campus

Chair and Professor, D. L. Potts; Regents Professor, D. Lee; Professors, N. Bell, T. Butler, D. Campbell, P. Chilson, R. Christopher, R. Eddy, D. Grigar, W. Hamlin, M. Hanly, D. Hellegers, T. Lewis, M. Mays, P. Narayanan, N. Shahani, C. Siegel, P. Thoma; Associate Professors, A. Boyd, M. Edwards, J. Hegglund, L. McAuley, A. Oforlea, W. Olson, J. Staggers, R. Whitson; Assistant Professors, J. Phelps-Hillen, P. Wilde; Scholarly Professors, M. Delahoyde, L. Levy, K. Robertson; Scholarly Associate Professors, V. Cozza, L. Hunter, L. Russo, M. Sciachitano, K. Watts; Scholarly Assistant Professors, G. Escalera, B. Fry, R. Goodrich, C. McGill, E. Siler, M. Thomas, L. Westerfield; Professors Emeriti, P. Brians, J. Burbick, W. Condon, P. Ericsson, T. Faulkner, D. Gillespie, L. Gordon, A. Hammond, D. Hughes, R. Johnson, W. Johnson, G. Kennedy, N. Kiessling, A. Kuo, R. Law, S. Linden, B. Monroe, T. Reed, S. Ross, B. Sitko, J. Taylor; Retired Professor, V. Villanueva.

Majors in English provide students with a broad critical and cultural understanding of literature and literary studies, and emphasize the writing and analytical skills that are vital to success in the university, in professional and graduate school, and in the workplace. The program of study is flexible and allows English majors to focus on particular areas of intellectual interest, to pursue electives, minors, certificates, and second majors in other departments, and to shape their academic careers in line with professional and personal interests. The curriculum is designed for (1) students who desire a broad education emphasizing language and literature, (2) students who wish to teach or to prepare for graduate studies in literature or rhetoric and composition, (3) students who intend to use the background and skills learned in the major as a foundation for careers in writing, editing, law, business, or public service and public relations. The curriculum provides majors the opportunity to complete their studies with a small discussion seminar, internship, or senior project in their area of emphasis.

Students who are preparing to teach English in the public schools of Washington should examine the summary of requirements for majors and minors listed in the Department of Teaching and Learning in this catalog, and they should confer with the College of Education concerning the requirements for certification.

The Department of English offers courses of study leading to the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and Doctor of Philosophy (English). The department participates in the interdepartmental program in American Studies leading to the degrees of Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy (American Studies). The department also administers the Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS), offering interdisciplinary courses of study leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree in its field. Students interested in this field should consult the requirements listed under WGSS. Students may also complete an English degree consisting, in part, of international literature, philosophy, art, architecture, and music courses from the Humanities sequence offered jointly by the School of Languages, Cultures, and Race and the Department of English, within the Literary Studies option described below.

English Major Options

Six options are offered for the English major, all leading to the degree of Bachelor of Arts in English:

Literary Studies is for students who desire a general liberal arts education emphasizing literature, critical thinking, and writing; and for those preparing for graduate education in English or literary studies. English is often selected as a major by students with double majors or minors in other departments.

Rhetoric and Professional Writing is for students preparing for careers in business, public service, law, or other professions requiring writing and reading skills. It is also suitable for those seeking careers in higher education specializing in rhetoric and composition.

Teaching is for students who seek specific training in the teaching of language and literature at the secondary level; it is coordinated with the Department of Teaching and Learning.

Creative Writing is for students interested in creative writing in various forms (poetry, fiction, nonfiction prose), in editing and publishing, and in careers drawing on related creative and professional skills.

Integrative English Studies is for students interested in integrating courses from the above three options.

Linguistics is for students interested in languages, types of linguistic structure, and theories of linguistic analysis.

Student Learning Outcomes

A graduate in English studies is a creative and critical thinker and writer. An education in English presents students with opportunities in:


  • Reading literary and cultural texts carefully and critically to demonstrate an understanding of equity, oppression, and diversity across time and contexts.
  • Producing a variety of creative and critical texts using appropriate technologies that contribute to literary and cultural discourses.
  • Developing abilities in critical reading, writing, and thinking necessary to communicate successfully with other audiences both within and outside the University.
  • Exploring the record of the human experience in language and valuing social and cultural differences.

For more information, please see:

Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is an interdisciplinary degree program offering courses in which students work together to explore the ways that race, ethnicity, sexuality, social class, nationality, age, and ability intersect to shape gendered experience, injustice, and social change. Using an intersectional lens, students gain expertise in analyzing gendered social roles and the ways in which they affect personal lives, artistic expression, work, social relationships, institutional structures, the production of knowledge, and national and international political and economic relations. WGSS offers a BA in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and minors in Queer Studies and Women's Studies. For more information, consult the separate entry for “Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.”

Preparation for Graduate Study

Students interested in a graduate program in English at Washington State University should pursue preparation in English courses generally approximating one of the first three undergraduate programs described above. Students with undergraduate majors in such subjects as philosophy, foreign languages, and history may also be accepted for graduate study in the department. Students preparing for degrees which require a foreign language reading competency should begin studying a qualifying language before entering graduate school. See the “Language Requirements” page on the Department of English Graduate Studies Web site for further details:

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