Student studying on campus

Through an exciting array of courses in literature, writing, linguistics, and cultural studies, English majors develop skills, perspectives, and knowledge for a lifetime. The English curriculum at Marquette prepares undergraduates for many career paths in a wide range of fields. Some recent graduates have gone directly to work as writers, editors, legal assistants, teachers, and professionals within the business and nonprofit sectors; others have pursued advanced degrees in fields such as law, literature, library and information studies, and academic administration.

With three distinct majors to choose from, English is an ideal choice for students with many interests and a desire to gain broadly applicable, widely transferable skills in writing, textual analysis, and critical thinking while cultivating a deeper understanding of the ways literature and language work.

The Literature Major studies major periods, authors and literatures written in English with an emphasis on literary-historical and cultural analyses.

The Writing-Intensive English Major studies both literature and writing with emphasis on rhetoric and composition, creative writing, and/or workplace writing.

The English Language Arts Major studies literature, language and writing to prepare for a teaching career at the primary or secondary level. This major is designed for students whose primary major is Education.

Rub shoulders.

The Marquette English Department has hosted major writers — Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo, Nobel Prize winner Czeslaw Milosz, two-time Oprah Book Club veteran Jane Hamilton, Elizabeth Berg, Michael Perry, Benjamin Percy, Lan Samantha Chang, David Haynes and Charles Baxter, to name a very few.

Learn from the best.

As an English major, you will enter the classrooms of faculty known not only for their teaching talent, but also for their scholarly research and publication in interdisciplinary areas such as cultural studies, environmental studies, women’s and gender studies, literatures of diverse cultures, popular culture and childhood studies, as well as in periods extending from medieval and Renaissance literatures, Romanticism and modernism to postmodernism and twenty-first century literature. Two faculty members are award-winning novelists, and one is an acclaimed poet.

The cure for writer's block.

Need to get your paper just right — or merely started? Schedule an appointment with the Ott Memorial Writing Center, staffed by English professors and graduate students who assist students with every step of the writing process. Trained undergraduate tutors can also help.

Discover the practicality of English.

The English Department offers many opportunities for enrichment, service, mentoring and community beyond the classroom, including writing internships, faculty and alumni mentoring, Sigma Tau Delta (the English honor society), the Marquette Literary Review for creative writers, MASA-NCTE (the intercollegiate Milwaukee chapter of the National Council of Teachers of English) for future educators, an active alumni/ae group (FAME) and an ongoing program of social and cultural events.

Suggested curriculum

Major courses are bolded.


  • Rhetoric and Composition I & II
  • UCCS - Histories of Cultures and Societies*
  • UCCS - Individual and Social Behavior*
  • UCCS - Science and Nature Elective*
  • UCCS - Introduction to Theology
  • Foreign Language I & II


  • Survey of English Literature I & II
  • Shakespeare's Major Plays
  • Advanced Composition (for writing-intensive English majors)
  • UCCS - Mathematical Reasoning*
  • UCCS - Philosophy of Human Nature
  • Foreign Language III
  • Elective


  • Pre-1700 American or English Literature
  • Survey of American Literature
  • History of the English Language
  • English Elective
  • Writing Elective (for writing-intensive English majors)
  • UCCS - Diverse Cultures
  • UCCS - Theory of Ethics
  • UCCS - Theology*
  • Elective


  • Individual Authors Elective
  • Two English Electives
  • Two Writing Electives (for writing-intensive English majors)
  • Capstone Seminar
  • Electives

*Choose from list of approved UCCS (University Core of Common Studies) courses offered by the College of Arts and Sciences.


You might like the English major if you

✓ Possess strong communication skills

✓ Like English, history and/or social sciences

✓ Enjoy thinking and writing critically and creatively

What can you do with a major in English?

EnglishMarquette English majors work as writers and editors for newspapers and magazines, publishing companies, universities, advertising agencies and marketing and public relations firms. Though many students go on for graduate and doctoral studies in English, others choose law, business or journalism school. Graduates are also teaching at all levels — from elementary school to college — throughout the country.

Learn more about what you can do with a major in English.

Visit the department that offers the English major.

Contact us


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