The English and Writing Major
The English and Writing Program offers courses ranging from Shakespeare to Rhetoric, from Creative Writing to Advanced Composition, from Native American Myths to Linguistics. We hope students leave the program with a well-rounded education that not only broadens their knowledge but their worldview as well.
We also feature classes that encourage students to engage the community, including courses such as Technical Writing and Grant Writing. There is also the Supervised Practicum, which helps students gain practical experience in fields they might consider pursuing after graduation.
Plotting your major path is essential to obtaining an English and Writing degree in a timely fashion, so don't forget to pick up a copy of each term's course offerings from the main office. These forms will help you plan your academic path towards earning an English and Writing degree.
How to Declare an English and Writing Major
Declaring a major in English and Writing is a two-step process. The first step is to apply for premajor status. Students may do this at anytime, although it is advisable to wait until the end of the freshman year. Upon submission, students will be assigned a department faculty advisor.
The second step is to apply for major status. Before applying, students must complete the program prerequisites, hold a 2.75 GPA in English and Writing classes, and complete 75 credits hours. They will need to meet with their faculty advisor prior to turning in the major application, which requires an advisor's signature. At this time, students will also select one of the program concentrations described below.
To get started, visit the English and Writing office in Central Hall 261 and ask for either a premajor or major application. The English and Writing receptionist or Division Assistant Joanna Steinman can help you with any questions you may have.
There are four concentrations: Creative Writing, English Education, Literary Studies, and Special Studies. Each explores a different facet of writing or literature. They all begin with the same Core Courses and most of the same Prerequisites. Please see the on-line catalog for specific course requirements.
The Creative Writing Concentration is designed to give students a working acquaintance with contemporary directions in poetry, fiction, and cross-genre writing, as well as provide them with a solid background in influential concepts of modern poetics and narrative theory. A primary goal is to maintain a balanced emphasis on theory and practice and to supplement creative exercises with assigned reading in representative traditions.
The English Education Concentration combines literature, writing, and linguistic studies to give students a strong knowledge base in language arts. Designed to prepare students for a graduate teaching licensing program in elementary or secondary education, the English Education curriculum includes courses in pedagogy and practicum credits for field experiences. Please note that students may apply for the graduate teaching licensing program from any of the five program options.
The Literary Studies Concentration offers students the opportunity to study the complex relationship between language and life, combining the pleasure of reading literature with the challenge of mastering writing, editing, critical analysis, and research skills. The program is designed to prepare students for graduate studies in literature and other related fields, as well as for a lifetime of thinking and learning.
The Special Studies Concentration is designed to allow students to develop an individualized program which meets their specific goals in the department. Student will work with an advisor to develop an individualized program based on courses available in the department.
Registration Tips and Tricks
Once you decide to pursue an English and Writing degree, visit Division Assistant Joanna Steinman, who will assign you a faculty advisor. Please see the Section above entitled "How to Declare an English and Writing Major."
- Meet with your faculty advisor at least once each year to make sure you register for the required classes and to help you develop your Academic Advising Plan. The Enrollment Services Center will automatically place a hold on your registration if you do not complete an annual Plan. Turn in your completed and signed plan in the English and Writing Program office to avoid such holds. Meeting with your advisor at least two weeks in advance of registration will also ensure you do not encounter such troubles.
- Before registering for classes, always check your SISWEB account for holds on your account that will keep you from getting the classes you need. Division Assistant Joanna Steinman can help you identify the source of any holds and assist you in removing them.
- Always register for classes as soon as you can. Courses fill up quickly and dropping a course is easier than adding one later in the registation period, or even worse, after the term starts.
- Priority for registration is given according to the number of accumulated credits; however, only completed course credits count, not credits for the courses you are currently taking. Consult the Enrollment Services web page for the current preregistration timetable.
- Looking for the add/drop form [PDF], or SOU General Education Requirements worksheet?
- Located on the first floor of Britt Hall, the Enrollment Services Office is open from 9:00-4:00 Monday through Friday. You can reach them at (541) 552-6600.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Master of Arts in Teaching Program
What English and/or writing courses should I take if I want to apply to the MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching) program?
- The English and Writing Program Office has a handout, the Revised List of Required Courses for Language Arts Secondary Teaching License, which lists these classes.
If I haven't completed these requirements, can I make them up while I'm in the MAT program?
- No. This was once possible (back when the program was referred to as the "5th year program"). In the MAT program, it is no longer possible to pick up courses in your subject area once you are in the program. In other words, you need to complete the required English classes before beginning the program.
Is it true that I have a better chance of getting into the MAT program if I pursue the English Education concentration?
- No. You have just as good a chance with the other concentrations. The English Education concentration is the most direct route, because of its particular required courses. However, students in other concentrations can also take those courses, either within the required course load or as electives. We also offer the English Education minor, which would satisfy these requirements. For more information, please see your advisor or contact Chair Diana Maltz, firstname.lastname@example.org.
What kind of classroom experience should I have?
- You need two documented experiences of working with young people in an academic setting, under the supervision of someone who can write you a letter of recommendation. The MAT program no longer accepts other experiences with children as your primary reference.
Must this classroom experience be in the form of a practicum for credit?
- No, although such practica are available on a limited basis for those who wish to pursue them.
What opportunities are there for volunteer work in schools and when should I do it?
- The best time is Spring of your Junior year or Fall of your Senior year. To find out about volunteer possibilities, contact the school's secretary, who can direct you to the person in charge of volunteers. Often students from the area work with former teachers in their former schools.
What other things should I do?
- By your Junior year, you should go to the Education Department (Ed/Psych Building, room 142) and pick up the application to the MAT program. Make a checklist for yourself of the things you have to do and when. It is particularly important to note when standardized tests are offered.
What kinds of recommendations are important?
- References from people who can evaluate you as a teacher are more important than letters from people who evaluate you as a student. Letters from other people who can evaluate your interactions with young people are good (the volleyball coach, etc.) but only to supplement evaluations of your work with young people in an academic setting.
Are there other things that can help me?
- Experience with diversity is one of the things the program looks for. In addition to your coursework, and proficiency in a Foreign Language (which will be required soon anyway), experience abroad, and/or with the Guanajuato program is helpful.
Are there advantages to getting a teaching license in Oregon?
- Yes. With an Oregon license, you'll have an easier time getting jobs in California, Washington, and Idaho. If you go to one of those other states for a license and come back to Oregon, you'll have to do more to get an Oregon license.