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Majoring in English develops skills in communication, research, critical thinking and focused creativity. Students can improve their understanding of people and cultural knowledge, how language works and how to use it effectively in a variety of contexts.

Our award-winning faculty teach courses in American, British, and world literature, creative writing, professional writing, linguistics, film studies, humanities computing and popular culture, and our small class sizes encourage student and faculty interaction.

How will I focus my studies?

English students may choose to focus their studies in specific areas, including creative writing and professional writing. Both of these concentrations can help prepare students for a writing career or graduate studies.

Creative Writing

English majors who concentrate in creative writing study the craft of writing under the mentorship of faculty who are accomplished authors. Workshops focus on poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, and the course sequence culminates in a capstone that allows students to produce an extended body of original work. The creative writing program also hosts an active reading series and oversees the publication of Calliope, a literary journal edited and designed entirely by WVU undergraduates.

Professional Writing

Professional writers work in a variety of corporate and educational settings, including scientific and engineering firms, nonprofit and government organizations, colleges and universities, hospitals and clinical environments, as well as law firms. They do more, though, than simply translate complex, technical information into easy-to-read prose. Professional writers bring a variety of skills to workplace settings, from designing print and digital documents and managing large-scale writing projects to collaborating with co-workers in other professions on grants or proposals. Professional writers can assess the information needs of audiences from different languages and cultural backgrounds, and analyze how written texts circulate through the organizations in which they work. Professional writers possess the critical, rhetorical, and technical knowledge necessary to produce successful and effective communications.


The Department of English offers minors in English, creative writing, and professional writing and editing for all majors.

Nathaniel Peters, Gassaway, W.Va.

Major: English PWE and Political Science
Minor: Advertising 

NathanielAs an English student, Nathaniel Peters loves seeing literature come to life. “In my non-western literature class, we analyzed literature from Native American history and participated in the Peace Tree Ceremony. Without this opportunity, I would not have learned about non-western cultures. It was a mind-opening experience.” Expanding his knowledge beyond his comfort zone is why he pursued a major in English. “I knew English would give me opportunities to reach individuals outside of my own world. I wanted to learn how literature has the power to drive human behavior and thought. Language is the source of human interaction. Understanding and learning how to use it efficiently provides a skill that can be used across all disciplines of study and life

Learn more at the English site