The English major at Earlham explores the power of literature to shape the world, including a specific focus on literature and social justice.

In the program, you’ll encounter a broad diversity of voices, both those that have been canonical for centuries and those that have been silenced throughout much of history. You’ll take classes that focus on specific genres (e.g. poetry, drama, or the novel); theoretical approaches to literature; and themes of peace and justice, including race, gender, sexuality, class, colonialism and environment.  

The major includes both past and present writers, from the United States and Great Britain as well as a wide range of other English-speaking countries.

Student studying a book in class
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of English majors from recent classes were working or in grad school within six months of graduation.
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Top jobs for recent graduates were in education and community/social services.

Recent graduates have become Fulbright scholars and teachers or have gone into graduate programs in English, journalism, literature and social work.

Readers, writers and thinkers encountering the world

Earlham English students study off-campus, successfully pursue post-graduate fellowships like the Fulbright and Watson, and use their degree as a foundation for careers based in communication and research.

Study in London

Many English majors spend a semester studying in London, England. On a recent experience, Earlham students developed digital multimedia guides about The Lonely Londoners, Voyage in the Dark, and The Emigrants.

Gain hands-on publishing experience

The Crucible, started in 1956, is a student-run literary magazine that publishes works by Earlham students. Its student-staff gain invaluable experience in editing and publishing.

Professor leading class

Our faculty

From Shakespeare to American nature writing to the African diaspora, faculty interests span a wide variety of time periods and literary voices, offering students both depth and breadth in their coursework.

Program details

The English major will prepare you to think critically, analyze texts and communicate effectively. Our alumni have built careers as novelists, poets, teachers, librarians, journalists, lawyers and people working in both the nonprofit and business worlds.

As a liberal arts college, Earlham offers multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary majors and minors in which students cultivate deep and specific knowledge and experience. Equally important, the College expects every student to develop broad, general skills and proficiencies across the curriculum.

As part of their general education, students complete six credits in each academic division of the College: humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and visual and performing arts. In addition, students meet requirements for first-year courses, analytical reasoning, perspectives on diversity and wellness.

Learn more about general education at Earlham.

To earn a Bachelor of Arts in English, you must take the following courses:

Introductory courses

These courses are appropriate for first-year students. Students can select one (1) of the following courses:

  • ENG 203 Women and Literature
  • ENG 204 African American Literature
  • ENG 205 American Literature and Ecology
  • ENG 206 Literature and Identity
  • ENG 207 Literature and Film
  • ENG 208 Contemporary Literature

Required courses

  • ENG 302 Foundations of Literary Study
  • ENG 401 Junior Research Seminar

Content courses

Choose six of the following upper-level literature courses, with at least one course in each category: peace and justice, theoretical approaches, and genre.

English 350, 351, 353, 358, 373, 378, 379, 380, 382 and 463 may each be taken more than once if the topics are different.

If you desire, you may take the following in place of one of these content courses:

  • Another related course taken at Earlham or abroad, pending departmental approval.
  • ENG 481 Internships, Field Studies and Other Field Experiences

Peace and justice

  • ENG 309 Prophetic Black Women
  • ENG 350 Contesting America
  • ENG 351 Class and Ideology in Literature
  • ENG 353 Topics in Peace and Justice in Literature
  • ENG 358 Gender and Sexuality in Literature
  • ENG 364 Postcolonial Literature
  • ENG 463 Topics in African American Literature

Theoretical approaches

  • ENG 369 Contemporary Literary Theory
  • ENG 373 Topics in Literary Theory


  • ENG 359 Shakespeare
  • ENG 378 Romances, Epics and Quests
  • ENG 379 The Novel
  • ENG 380 Drama
  • ENG 381 Topics in Literary Period
  • ENG 382 Topics in Genre and Narrative
  • ENG 383 Understanding Poetry
  • ENG 386 Reading and Writing Short Fiction
  • ENG 387 Reading and Writing Poetry

Senior capstone

  • ENG 488 Senior Capstone Experience

View a full list of English courses and their descriptions.

Yes! To earn minor in English, you must:

  1. Complete one of the following:
  • ENG 203 Women and Literature
  • ENG 204 African American Literature
  • ENG 205 American Literature and Ecology
  • ENG 206 Literature and Identity
  • ENG 207 Literature and Film
  • ENG 208 Contemporary Literature

2. Complete ENG 302 Foundations of Literary Study

3. Complete three content courses.  One from each in Peace and Justice, Theoretical Approaches, and Genre.

View a full list of English courses and their descriptions.

In addition to off-campus study programs and research experiences with faculty in places like London and Tibet, English students have also participated in a variety of internships. Recently, students have interned at the Indiana Review as a submissions intern, at GenNow as a media and writing intern and at Writers House as an editorial intern.

Through our 3+1 Education Program, you can earn a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) and teaching license—all in just nine semesters.

You’ll leave Earlham with two degrees, licensed to teach grades 5-12 in Indiana. (And it’s easy to transfer your license to other states—many of our graduates do!)

Learn more about our 3+1 program.

The English major is for students who enjoy reading literature from a wide variety of perspectives, examining that literature through different lenses and using it as a pathway to understanding human society.

In our English program, you’ll develop strong analytical and communication skills, making you an excellent candidate for graduate school programs and careers in education, research, law and communications, among other fields.

Next steps