The English major at Purdue is based on extensive coursework in literature, language, and writing, and it is designed to make undergraduates sophisticated readers of a variety of texts, to build critical thinking skills, and to adopt excellent writing practices. The English major is ideal for those who want to become writers and editors, or who wish to pursue graduate school (in law or education, for example, or English). While there are three required courses of all English majors, in most cases students have the opportunity to choose from a range of courses when planning their schedules each semester. The department regularly offers courses in American, British, and world literatures; in history of the English language and linguistics; in film studies; in ethnic and postcolonial literatures; and in many other traditional and newly emerging fields related to English.
Points of Pride:
- English students learn many skills that employers find desirable. The ability to communicate effectively and with grammatical accuracy, both in written and oral forms, is highly valued by employers, as are the strong editing and re-writing skills honed in required coursework. English majors are also known for having the ability to present a clear and logical argument, to analyze and interpret data, to document carefully, to think creatively, and to understand human motivation in diverse ways.
- The Department of English sponsors several student organizations to involve students in a variety of activities, including the Student English Association, the Sigma Tau Delta Honors Society, and the Professional Writers Club.
- Undergraduates in English publish their own literary magazine, The Bell Tower, each year, and advanced undergraduates have the opportunity to volunteer for Sycamore Review, a journal edited and managed by the MFA Creative Writing program. Many undergraduates in English also volunteer for the staff of Purdue's student newspaper, The Exponent.
- The Department of English co-sponsors the Books and Coffee series in which faculty, staff, and students meet weekly in February to enjoy coffee and tea and listen to a professor talk about a recent book.
- The Department of English holds a Literary Awards competition and celebration every spring. Students can submit their best writing—creative work, essays, and nonfiction—to be considered for awards in a wide variety of categories, and a major author comes to campus to speak with students about writing and to give a reading of his or her own work.
- The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) offers a vast library of resources ranging from style guides to instructional material to assist Purdue students. OWL also is an international resource with a Web site that receives nearly 85 million hits a year from more than 125 different countries. Advanced undergraduates can apply to be peer tutors in the Writing Lab.