Department of English

How can you build a better world if you can’t imagine one?

In the English Department, we offer small classes staffed by experts with a passion for discussing the most important issues of our times (and past ones, too) raised in poems, novels, plays, TV, movies, and comics. We teach exciting courses in argumentative writing, critical thinking, and ethical dialogue—all skills employers and professional schools desire from new graduates. Our major, minors, and graduate programs include distinctive offerings in environmental humanities, comics and cartoon studies, medical humanities, disability studies, digital humanities, and the study of race and ethnicity.



What you can do with a degree in English

The future looks bright for English grads, with many employers reporting that a humanities education is just as relevant for the modern job market as any STEM degree despite a perceived “Crisis in the Humanities”. In fact, a 2018 study by the Association of American Colleges and Universities polled 501 business executives and 500 hiring managers. The study found the top five priorities in job applicants across all job fields were:

  1. Ability to effectively communicate orally.
  2. Critical thinking/analytical reasoning.
  3. Ethical judgement and decision making.
  4. Ability to work effectively in teams.
  5. Ability to work independently (prioritize, manage time).

Majors and minors in the English Department receive extensive training in writing, speaking, and critical thinking skills that extend the values of a traditional liberal arts education and provide vital preparation for business and professional careers. The experience of our graduates proves that English is an excellent background for medicine, teaching, management, publishing, advertising, and advanced technology fields. While the number of paths available for your future careers may be daunting at first, by identifying an area of interest and working to gain the right skills, experiences, and credentials to enter that field will help your time working towards your English degree set you up a fulfilling professional career.

Matthew Hannah

How English Opens the Door to Your Career

"During my time as a graduate student in English, faculty allowed me to explore eclectic interdisciplinary possibilities, attending seminars and workshops in the Knight Library to develop skills in digital humanities. My dissertation advisor provided me with support and encouragement to write an experimental dissertation applying sociological theory and network analysis to literary studies, which opened the door for opportunities to advance the mission of digital humanities at UO as a postdoctoral fellow and pursue careers in the field of DH. I would not be successful in my current work as an assistant professor of digital humanities at Purdue University without this early encouragement at Oregon."

—Matthew Hannah, English PhD, 2016

Our Degree Programs

Undergraduate and graduate programs in the English Department feature courses in traditional fields and techniques as well as distinctive offerings in environmental humanities, comics studies, medical humanities, disability studies, digital humanities, and the study of race and ethnicity.


composition program
Composition Program in the Department of English

Faculty in the Composition Program teach lower- and upper-division writing to more than 7,000 students per year in more than 100 classrooms per term. Required of all UO students, our foundational writing courses are taught by award-winning teachers comprised of both graduate employees (GEs) who have completed an intensive year-long training and experienced instructors from writing-related fields.

Experts in the Field
Learn from Experts in the Field

We have world-class faculty experts bringing the innovations of their research into the classroom. English Department faculty are passionate about storytelling, making strong, ethical arguments, and debating literary arts of all kinds. We have noteworthy strengths in comics and cartoon studies; the study of race, ethnicity, (post)coloniality and indigeneity; and in the environmental humanities. Our faculty foster a lively culture of independent and collaborative research through our senior thesis option, our chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, and our small seminar programs. Our faculty are eager to offer supportive mentorship, helping students to find their way into rewarding career paths.

Real World Experience
Get Real-world Experience

We offer a variety of ways to expand your learning about English into the local community and across the world. We have community literacy classes that feature internships with a wide variety of community partners, including K-12 schools, the Serbu Juvenile Justice Center, the Boys and Girls Club, the Center for Teaching and Learning Reading Clinic, Nearby Nature, and Mt. Pisgah Arboretum. Our Galway program combines an unparalleled location for the study of the Irish past and present with a rich array of classroom speakers, field trips in the west of Ireland, and opportunities to sample the delights of Ireland’s premier film festival and arts festival. This program offers a variety of courses in history, music, theatre, literature, and Gaelic.

Scholarships & Funding

In addition to university-wide opportunities for funding and scholarships, the English Department offers three essay prizes to its undergraduate students. Master’s students are eligible for Graduate Employee (GE) positions in the English Department after their first year, and first-year doctoral students may be chosen for one of four fellowships that can supplement a GE appointment.

Undergraduate Scholarships
Graduate Funding

Academic Support

Our faculty advisors are here to help undergraduate students map out a path through the English major based on your goals and connect you with the rich culture of student groups in our department. We offer The Writing Associates Program, which provides both tutoring and internships for English majors, as well as a network of alumni mentors who can discuss career options. In addition to advising, support for graduate students comes through classes focused on professionalization for the academic job market and on writing for publication, and via our comprehensive, annually-published graduate student handbook.

Undergraduate Advising
Support for Graduate Students

Give to the English Department

The English Department depends on gifts from donors to enhance our academic programs for English majors and graduate students. Only with gifts from friends and alumni can UO English preserve excellence.

Donations are used to support a variety of academic projects such as: undergraduate scholarships, visiting speaker series, faculty fellowships, faculty and graduate student research awards, and faculty recruitment.

A number of exceptionally generous friends of the department have created permanent endowments to support specific programs and initiatives. If you would like your gift to support a specific activity, please indicate your preference in a note to the Department Head, Mark Whalan.

What We Do With Your Gifts

  • Capstone Seminars for junior and senior English majors
  • The Fund for Excellence in Graduate Studies (to support first-year graduate students while they train to become teachers)
  • Travel to academic conferences, libraries, and job interviews for graduate students
  • Lectures by visiting speakers
  • Symposia and conferences hosted by the English Department
  • Prizes for distinguished undergraduate writing
  • Awards for outstanding graduate student teachers of composition

Give to the English Department

English News and Events

December 5, 2022
Turns out that even in space, politics feel just like they do at home. Partisan tribes living on a moon of Jupiter shout at one another in the sci-fi world of Invisible Things, the new novel by Mat Johnson, an author, screenwriter, and Philip H. Knight Chair at the University of Oregon.
October 17, 2022
Life rarely follows a linear narrative. It zigs. Sometimes it zags. Just ask Lidia Yuknavitch—teacher, lecturer, and best-selling author of Thrust and soon-to-be feature film, The Chronology of Water—whose fierce and fragmentary form of storytelling took root at the University of Oregon.
June 3, 2022
UO faculty member Emily Simnitt is one of three people nominated by Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and confirmed by the Oregon Senate to serve on the Higher Education Coordinating Commission.

All news »

Curious About Taking a Service Year (Panel)
Curious About Taking a Service Year (Panel) Feb 1 Erb Memorial Union (EMU)
Casual Career Chats: STEM
Casual Career Chats: STEM Feb 1 Erb Memorial Union (EMU)
Mexican Studies in Queretaro Study Abroad Info Session
Mexican Studies in Queretaro Study Abroad Info Session Feb 1 Anstett Hall
Screening and Discussion of "The March"
Screening and Discussion of "The March" Feb 1 Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMA)
Winter Career & Internship Expo
Winter Career & Internship Expo Feb 2 Erb Memorial Union (EMU)
Turkish Coffee Hour
Turkish Coffee Hour Feb 2 Yamada Language Center
The Digital Transformation Lab: Business Processes
The Digital Transformation Lab: Business Processes Feb 3 Lillis Business Complex
Information Session: Portland Internship Experience 2023
Information Session: Portland Internship Experience 2023 Feb 3
The Wolves
The Wolves Feb 3 Miller Theatre Complex
The Wolves
The Wolves Feb 4 Miller Theatre Complex

All events »