English Literature

In 2018 College Magazine ranked Purdue’s English Department 3rd in the U.S., and with good reason: our students get good jobs. By reading and writing about literature, you will learn the kind of adaptive thinking, empathy, and creativity that the current job market demands and that global citizenship requires. What is more, the study of English promotes ethical thinking, curiosity about other times and places, and the ability to imagine alternatives to the status quo.

As an English major, you will read and write about authors who have shaped the consciousness of the English-speaking world over the millennia, such as Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, John Milton, Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, Zora Neale Hurston, William Faulkner, J. R. R. Tolkien, Sherman Alexie, Toni Morrison, and Salman Rushdie. By doing so, you participate in the preservation of human aesthetic achievement for future generations, and you also practice critical reading and writing skills necessary to negotiate a complex world.  You learn, for instance, about perspectives on the human condition from authors whose life experiences are completely different from your own, which leads to a greater ability to empathize and interact with others (a highly valued skill in today’s workplace). 

Ultimately, reading and writing are forms of considerable power. As the British Romantic poet Percy Shelley once put it, “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the World.” As an English major, you will learn how to exert your rhetorical power responsibly in whatever world you find yourself. 



Points of Pride

  • Individualized Attention: Small class sizes mean you will get to know your professors and classmates.  
  • Publishing Internships: Two of the top journals in literary studies (MFS: Modern Fiction Studies and Arthuriana) are at Purdue.  Both offer opportunities for undergraduates to be involved in the world of scholarly publishing.
  • Study Abroad: Develop an international perspective while earning degree credit.  Recently, faculty members have taken students to London, Paris, and Venice. 
  • New career preparation course, "Beyond English," which helps students translate the worth of their degree to the world beyond the university.  It provides them with tools to articulate their achievements as they prepare for their professional and adult lives.
  • Our courses enable all students, from English to Engineering majors, to grapple with questions of representation and human existence, all the while imparting the skills that they will be able to use in any career they choose!

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Plan of Study

Degree in 3

2018-19 English, BA

2018-19 English Literature Concentration Plan of Study 

2017-18 Plan of Study

2016-17 Plan of Study

2015-16 Plan of Study

2014-15 Plan of Study

Department of English

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907 (765) 494-4600

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