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Degrees Available: Bachelor of Arts

Join a diverse community of writers and readers and prepare for a life of achievement, contribution and meaning.

Whether you want to change the world via creative writing, a business venture or advocacy work, our English program will help you make a powerful statement.

In small, discussion-oriented classes, you’ll build a foundation in close reading, literary theory and the history of English-language literature. You’ll choose an academic track in literature or creative writing, and you’ll augment your knowledge with elective courses ranging from Shakespeare, to African-American literature, to feminist film criticism.

Along the way, you can gain hands-on experience by pursuing independent or collaborative research projects, writing for the Collegian newspaper or the campus literary magazine, and working at the Writing Center. 

Feel like branching out? Attend readings and workshops by visiting writers through the Hallie Ford Literary Series. Take field trips to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival or Fisher Poets Gathering. And work with students at Willamette Academy and Chemawa Indian School.

Ultimately, you’ll become a better writer, reader and critical thinker. The skills you develop will prepare you for careers ranging from journalism to screenwriting, from law to education, and from government to wide swaths of the private sector that place a premium on high-level communication skills.

Featured Alumni


E.M. (Ellen) Lewis '94

  • Award-winning playwright, teacher and librettist
  • A male actor portrayed Lewis and reenacted real experiences she had in “The Gun Show,” which ran at Willamette in 2017
  • Lewis’s play “Magellanica,” which premiered in 2018, won rave reviews in The New Yorker

Gabriel Tallent

  • Debut novel “My Absolute Darling” drew praise from Stephen King, who offered to write a promotional blurb
  • Tallent worked at a ski resort in Salt Lake City and with a student trail restoration program in the Northwest after graduating
  • Credits poetry classes and colloquium at Willamette as turning points in his writing education
Willamette University


Willamette University
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.