Welcome to the English Department!

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  • Jess Ohnikian Headshot
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  • Kim McGrath Headshot
Why English?

With over 500 undergraduates, 80 graduate students, and more than 70 full-time and adjunct faculty, we are a large and dynamic community dedicated to building knowledge in the field of English Studies. Whether your passion lies in Literature, Rhetoric & Writing, Creative Writing, or other specialties in the discipline, we'll help you hone the key skills—persuasive writing, deep reading, critical thinking, and clear speaking—that are essential to professional success and informed citizenship in today's world.

Our curriculum prepares you for life in other ways, too. Studying English will not only stimulate your imagination but also enrich your understanding of how words and texts, in all their complex forms, play a central role in revealing and constructing the world we live in. Moreover, as an English student, you'll learn to cultivate personal resources—among them empathy, self-reflection, and ethical awareness—that can help you lead a meaningful, examined life.


We offer a range of programs for students to explore. Our updated undergraduate B.A. encourages students to expand their knowledge of different areas within English studies. We also offer eight minors, which are open to English majors and non-majors alike. Our M.A. graduate program features tracks in Literature; Creative Writing; and Writing, Teaching, & Criticism. At all levels of study, we maintain small class sizes that foster interactive discussions and personalized student learning. Our B.A. majors are encouraged to pursue internships, and study abroad, while our M.A. students may apply for funding through graduate assistantships. All students consult with an academic advisor to plan out their program of study, and many work with individual faculty on research and creative projects. To learn more about our curriculum and programs, please view our department Mission Statement and our Undergraduate Learning Outcomes.

Culture & Community

The English Department sponsors a vibrant cultural life that includes a renowned Poetry Center, readings by notable authors, two student literary journals (Daedalus and Literati), an English Club, an English Alumni organization, and numerous student awards and scholarships. Our students and faculty are also actively involved in the university’s ongoing sustainability efforts. All of these opportunities enable students to expand their learning experience beyond the classroom and collaborate with others who share their passions.


Our outstanding professors blend innovative, student-centered teaching with nationally recognized scholarly expertise. In addition to publishing in a wide range of specialties and venues, members of our faculty direct the WCU Poetry Center; edit College Literature, a leading scholarly journal housed at WCU, and Research on Diversity in Youth Literature; and direct the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project, the Writing Center, and the West Chester Center for Book History. We also enjoy historically close ties with WCU's Women's & Gender Studies Program, Youth Empowerment & Urban Studies Program, and Frederick Douglass Institute.


To the question "What can you do with an English degree?" we say: "What can't you do?" Our graduates enjoy successful careers in publishing, journalism, education, management, law, marketing, advertising, social media, human resources, and business. Many seek advanced degrees in English, law, information & library science, and other fields. Whatever career path you pursue, English will prepare you for any profession that values the kind of interpretive analysis, creative problem-solving, and polished communication central to the discipline of English Studies.

Writing Instruction

The English Department takes pride in serving as the university's primary resource for the teaching of writing. Through our rigorous First-Year Writing program (completed by all students at WCU), Writing-Emphasis English courses, Business Writing classes, and tutoring services provided at the Writing Center, we empower thousands of students each year to become better readers and researchers and more sophisticated wielders of the written word.

Interested in declaring the English major or adding one of our eight minors? Thinking of applying to our MA graduate program? Please contact us. Can't find the information you're looking for on our website? Please let us know.


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English Faculty Reading Picks

This annual list offers book and media suggestions from individual faculty and staff of the WCU English Department. There’s something here for every reader!

View Our Current Picks
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