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William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, James Joyce, Toni Morrison — writers employ art and skill to give us a window on the breadth of the human experience. You can focus your exploration of that experience from two angles as an English major at Marquette. The literature major studies the major periods, authors and kinds of English literature from the beginnings of the language to the present. The writing-intensive major focuses on creative, journalistic and critical writing. There are two English majors at Marquette — English literature and writing-intensive english.

Rub shoulders.

The Marquette Writing Society 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, 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 areas such as cultural studies, environmental studies, women’s and multicultural literature, as well as in traditional areas such as medieval and Renaissance literature, Romanticism, and modernism. Two faculty are also award-winning novelists.

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.

As an English major, you can think, speak and write your way to success, learning to reason critically, argue cogently, and read and write clearly. (Former Walt Disney CEO Michael Eisner, who never even took a business course, was an English major.)

Live better through English.

In active service learning through classes or internships around town, you’ll put your English major to use by helping kids in Milwaukee Public Schools get more out of reading. Or maybe you’ll just live confidently with the knowledge that your computer doesn’t know what it’s talking about when it comes to grammatical errors.

Suggested curriculum

Major courses are bolded.


  • Rhetoric and Composition I & II
  • Growth of Western Civilization I or II
  • Individual and Social Behavior Elective
  • Science and Nature Elective
  • Introduction to Theology
  • Foreign Language I & II
  • History Elective
  • Natural Science Elective


  • Survey of English Literature I & II
  • Shakespeare's Major Plays
  • Advanced Composition (for writing-intensive English majors)
  • Mathematical Reasoning Elective
  • Philosophy of Human Nature
  • Foreign Language III & IV
  • Literature Elective
  • Math, Logic or Computer Science Elective
  • Two Social-behavioral Science Electives


Pre-1800 American or English Literature

  • Survey of American Literature
  • History of the English Language
  • English Elective
  • Writing Elective (for writing-intensive English majors)
  • Diverse Cultures Elective
  • Theory of Ethics
  • Theology Electives
  • Philosophy Elective


  • Individual Authors Elective
  • Two English Electives
  • Two Writing Electives (for writing-intensive English majors)
  • Senior Experience
  • Electives


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


Application status

Learn how to verify the status of your application through your Checkmarq student account.

To ask a question or get information, call (414) 288-7302. Or ask a quick question via our contact form.