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Willamette's English degree for undergraduates


Degrees Available: Bachelor of Arts

Join a diverse community of writers and readers through the English department at Willamette University. Learn more about our creative writing concentration and our literature concentration.

Major in English at Willamette University

Are you passionate about literature, writing, and language? Do you dream of immersing yourself in the works of renowned authors, exploring the intricacies of the English language, and honing your writing skills? Willamette University offers an English degree for students to dive into their passions and expand their skill set.

Willamette's English department provides students with a foundation in literary analysis, critical thinking, and effective writing. With small class sizes, students can discuss and analyze complex subject matters with peers who are passionate about English. An English degree equips students with a versatile skill set, paving the way for diverse careers such as journalism, screenwriting, law, and public relations. Our academic program will prepare undergraduate students to become better writers, readers, and critical thinkers.

You can also get hands-on experience through independent and collaborative research projects by working alongside key faculty members. Students can also contribute to the Collegian newspaper or the campus literary magazine to further their experiential learning. Willamette also offers students a Writing Center to help the community discuss their writing in a comfortable and supportive environment.

English students can get more involved through readings and workshops by visiting writers through the Hallie Ford Literary Series. Branch out and visit the Oregon Shakespeare Festival or Fisher Poets Gathering, iconic events accessible in the Pacific Northwest. There's an abundance of opportunities to maximize your educational experience and utilize your English degree actively throughout your academic journey.

Secure a Bachelor's Degree in English

We designed our program to provide students with a well-rounded education in English literature, language, and composition. Whether you're passionate about African-American literature, poetry, Chaucer, Latinx literature, or something else, we offer several class options to inspire. You can explore our English course options to learn more about the curriculum we offer. While we offer a Bachelor's degree in English, students deepen their knowledge in specific paths by exploring our available concentrations.

  • Creative Writing
    To enhance your understanding of writing, students can choose to broaden their English degree with a creative writing concentration. Creative writers will expand their training through literary analysis, artistic expression, and engagement. If you're interested in a writing-focused career, Willamette's creative writing concentration can ensure you're prepared for your next step.
  • English Literature
    Immerse yourself in a wide range of texts when you choose to focus on the English Literature major. While this concentration includes writing-based classes, its main focus is on analyzing works from iconic authors and playwrights. It's a great way to learn more about plays, contemporary works, fiction and nonfiction writing, and other traditional English courses. If you're looking for an English literature degree, this concentration will help you with your academic journey.

Regardless if you choose to pursue creative writing or English literature, our faculty will provide you with valuable feedback and mentorship. You can experience one-on-one time with faculty through a research project, or even get advice for your Senior Thesis. Studying English at Willamette will prepare you for a variety of careers - not just professional writing or creative writing. You can chat with faculty and career advisors to help you decide how to navigate the English degree for your future.

Willamette is one of the best colleges for English Majors

Willamette University proudly holds recognition as one of the best colleges for English majors in the Pacific Northwest. Our English program has garnered a reputation for its academic rigor, dedicated faculty, and supportive learning environment. Our university believes in fostering strong relationships between students and faculty through real-world learning. Whether you have a question for a professor or you're eager to get involved, you'll find a supportive English department.

As a student in our English program, you will benefit from small class sizes, allowing for more meaningful discussions. Our English program is passionate about telling stories, fostering ethical arguments, and understanding the impact of language in regard to history and popular culture. That's what makes us one of the best schools for English majors.

Furthermore, Willamette's location in Salem, Oregon, offers a vibrant literary community and numerous cultural events. From visiting authors and poets to literary festivals and workshops, you'll have ample opportunities to connect with the broader literary world. You'll gain valuable insights into the professional realm and make important connections along the way.

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

What can you do with our English degree program?

English students focus on critical thinking, written communication, research skills, creative thinking, and so many other applicable skills. In today's job market, each of those skills is more in demand than ever, allowing students to pursue a variety of career paths. We'll help you secure relevant experience through internships, research opportunities, and even extracurricular activities. If you're looking to work in digital media, become a school teacher, or pursue law, our English major program will prepare you for success.

Why choose Willamette for your English Major?

While other universities and colleges offer an English major degree, there are plenty of reasons to choose Willamette University. As a liberal arts school, we focus on preparing English majors for a variety of career paths and skill sets.

  • Location
    Nestled in the vibrant city of Salem, Oregon, Willamette University offers an idyllic campus that combines the beauty of nature with the conveniences of urban living. Imagine studying literature under the shade of towering trees, with the sound of chirping birds as your background music. Plus, Salem's artistic and cultural scene provides endless inspiration and opportunities to connect with the local community.
  • Campus
    At Willamette, we believe that your learning environment should be as inspiring as the subjects you're studying. Our campus is a place where creativity thrives. From the picturesque Mill Stream to the stunning architecture of our historic buildings, every corner of Willamette is designed to spark your imagination. And with small class sizes, you'll have the chance to engage in meaningful discussions with passionate professors and fellow English enthusiasts.
  • Real-World Experience
    We don't just believe in learning from books; we believe in real-world experience. That's why Willamette integrates hands-on learning opportunities into our English program. Through internships, community-based projects, the Collegian newspaper, literary magazines, and research collaborations, you'll get a taste of the professional world while honing your skills. Gain practical insights, build your network, and develop the confidence to step into the job market with a competitive edge.
  • Alumni
    Our English program has a proud lineage of successful alumni who have made their mark in diverse industries. Whether it's publishing, journalism, education, or even entrepreneurship, our graduates have excelled in their chosen paths. As a Willamette English student, you'll have access to a powerful network of alumni who are ready to guide, mentor, and open doors for you as you embark on your own journey.
  • Opportunities
    At Willamette, we believe that the best opportunities are the ones you create for yourself. Our English program offers a rich variety of opportunities for you to explore your interests. Dive into literary analysis, creative writing, cultural studies, or any other aspect of English that interests you. Immerse yourself in student-run literary publications, writing workshops, and public speaking events. With a flexible curriculum, you can tailor your English major to align with your unique passions and career aspirations.

Minor in English at Willamette University

If you're pursuing a different major but still want to explore your passion for English, consider minoring in English. Our English minor program allows students to analyze and critique literature while still studying other subject matters. You can learn more about the requirements to minor in English.

By pursuing a minor in English at Willamette, you'll acquire valuable skills that can enhance your overall academic profile. Employers across various industries highly seek effective communication, critical thinking, and analytical skills. Adding a minor in English demonstrates your ability to think critically, communicate persuasively, and analyze complex texts. It's clear to see why employers are eager to hire professionals with those skills.

Our English Faculty and Resources

Our English faculty members consist of distinguished scholars and experienced educators who possess a strong passion for their discipline. They bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the classroom, creating an intellectually stimulating environment for students.

In addition to our dedicated faculty, our English program offers various resources to support your academic and career goals. Our library contains an extensive collection of literary works, scholarly journals, and digital resources to aid your research and exploration. Willamette University also hosts writing workshops, career development seminars, and networking events to help you connect with professionals in the field and explore career opportunities related to your English degree.

Take the Next Step

Our English program is here to guide you every step of the way. Whether you're interested in pursuing a Bachelor's degree in English or minoring in English, we offer an academic experience that will equip you with the skills and knowledge you need to succeed. Discover how Willamette University can help you turn your passion for English into a rewarding and fulfilling academic and professional career.

Apply to Willamette Today

Willamette University


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