More than just a degree

What can you do with an English degree? The answer, as generations of Elon’s English majors know, is another question: What can’t you do?

As an English major at Elon, you will learn to write clearly, persuasively and effectively. You will learn to read critically, with an understanding of the patterns, meanings, purposes and techniques of communication. You will be exposed to new ways of analyzing information and expressing precise ideas. You will learn to think critically, analytically and creatively. The skills English majors master are prized by employers and recruiters in a virtually limitless range of careers.

Many Elon English graduates proceed to postgraduate studies in English, creative writing, library science, journalism, education, law and other disciplines. Others move straight into professional careers in writing, editing, technical writing, business management, corporate communications, advertising, public relations, journalism and teaching. Whatever path you choose, Elon’s English program will give you the tools to succeed.

“I am graduating with a true passion for literature, writing, and the arts.  I am able to talk about just about everything in a more articulate way, and I have knowledge on literature that can relate to just about anything. (You want to talk about race, let’s talk about Natasha Trethewey or Nella Larsen. Class? Phillip Levine or August Wilson. Sex in society? Susan Glaspell, Claudia Emerson, or Caryl Churchill).”

Rob Shapiro, '13


A balanced curriculum 

Elon’s English program is designed to provide both the fundamental building blocks of the study of English and a targeted focus on each student’s particular talents and interests. 

All English majors study the three principal areas of the discipline — literature, language study and writing — through five core courses above the freshman level. Each student builds his or her own curriculum on top of that foundation, selecting a path in one or more of four concentrations: literature, professional writing and rhetoric, creative writing or English teacher licensure.

Learning by doing

The Elon education is built on the concept of engaged learning; the university has a national reputation as an institution that prepares students for life beyond college by encouraging them to learn by doing. For English majors, that means many opportunities to “do” English: to write and publish; teach; conduct historical, cultural or other research and present findings at local, regional and national conferences; work alongside professors on research projects; and complete internships both at Elon and with organizations and institutions off campus. Recently the work of three students was published in Albion Review, a national literary journal for undergraduates.

Students also write, edit and publish Elon’s literary magazine, Colonnades, gaining useful experience in all the aspects of the process of getting words into print. The Center for Undergraduate Publishing and Information Design (CUPID II) in Alamance Building provides a unique laboratory where students can experience the scientific and technical writing process. Finally, English majors can enhance their own writing ability while helping their fellow students through tutoring at Elon’s highly regarded Writing Center.


Many English students gain valuable real-world experience through internships, working on projects with their professors, learning the ropes in magazine editorial offices or applying their skills in the context of a business office. Recently, English majors have interned at such places as:

  • Uwharrie Charter Academy
  • Alamance Magazine
  • Sinclair Broadcasting Group
  • The Greenville Upcountry History Museum
  • Bolt Public Relations
  • Vanguard Attorneys

On campus, teaching internships give juniors and seniors a chance to be a teaching assistant in a lower-level English class and receive experience working with a professor and students in a classroom environment.

First-rate faculty

At Elon, English majors learn from and work alongside a dynamic faculty that blends professional experience, academic training, creativity, dedication and a passion for teaching. Elon’s English faculty includes experts on Arthurian studies, medieval literature, Shakespeare, Latin American authors, Native American writing, African-American literature, gender studies, technical writing, creative writing and teacher education.

Highly regarded authors and researchers, our faculty members know how to negotiate the worlds of professional writing, publishing, teaching and editing. More important, they know how to convey that knowledge to you. Several English faculty have won Daniels-Danieley Awards for Excellence in Teaching at Elon. 

Study abroad

Elon is a national leader in study abroad opportunities, and English majors are among the most well-traveled students on campus. Students may travel to London for a semester-long immersion in the world of London theatre, art, society and religion. Students also can participate in winter term programs in Africa, Ireland, France, Italy, Argentina, Mexico, Japan, Australia and several other destinations. 

Honors and scholarships

English majors may be eligible for the Honors, Leadership or Elon College Fellows programs. Elon College Fellows explore the arts and sciences and participate in a winter term trip to Washington, D.C., before focusing on a specific course of study in arts and humanities, social science, or math and science. Visit the Elon Fellows programs Website for more information.

English majors are also eligible for membership in Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor society.

Prominent speakers

Each year, Elon brings guest writers and scholars to campus to conduct workshops, visit classes or deliver readings and talks. Recent visiting writers have included Augusten Burroughs, Jill McCorkle, Junot Diaz, Kenji Yoshino, Billy Collins, Jim McKean, Michael Parker, John Balaban, Jennifer Grotz and the late Frank McCourt.

Elon Core Curriculum

Elon provides a dynamic and challenging undergraduate curriculum grounded in the traditional liberal arts and sciences. The core curriculum requirements form the core of an Elon education and give you more than knowledge of the sciences, sociology, psychology, literature and the arts: they equip you with a broad set of skills you will use for a lifetime, allow you to open your mind and solve problems, and help you appreciate other people and their ideas while clarifying your own values.

After graduation 

Many English graduates go on to pursue further study at some of the nation’s leading institutions, including:

  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Arizona
  • Columbia University
  • University of Mississippi
  • Florida State University
  • New York University
  • University of Maryland
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Hollins University.

Elon English alumni who opt not to go directly to graduate school have found employment in a variety of fields, including teaching, journalism, higher education, technical writing and the Peace Corps.