About the Department of English

The English Department at Elon offers students diverse courses and opportunities through two majors: English, and Professional Writing and Rhetoric.


English majors study groundbreaking literature from The Canterbury Tales to When My Brother Was an Aztec; they write and publish poems, stories, and literary nonfiction; they learn to teach high school English and English as a second language; and they use the creative and critical-thinking skills developed in their coursework in internships and community service.

Core courses for the English major include writing (above the first-year level), literature, and English language study. Students in the English Major may specialize in one of four concentrations — Creative Writing, Literature, English Teacher Licensure and a self-designed option. A double concentration in the English major allows students to combine areas of interest.

After graduation, our majors are employed as credit analysts, marketing associates, librarians, graphic artists, ministers, web writers, lawyers, Geographic Information Systems specialists, flight attendants, Peace Corps volunteers, editors, technical writers, mental health counselors, high school teachers, journalists and occupational therapists. For others, graduate school has provided opportunity for advanced degrees for graduates in literature, creative writing, rhetoric, teaching and the study of law.

Many students in the English Department complete internships with local corporations, nonprofit agencies and children’s magazines; others serve as a teaching assistants in upper-level courses.

Professional Writing and Rhetoric (PWR)

The Bachelor of Arts major in Professional Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) reflects a national trend in higher education, as well as a long tradition within the discipline of rhetoric, to more clearly connect the liberal arts to worlds beyond the walls of academia. Though distinctly not a pre-professional program, PWR prepares students to be successful communicators in their daily lives, especially in the workplace and within civic contexts. Majors connect course content to hands-on practice in internships, undergraduate research, and a capstone project, and they showcase their developing professional identity in an ePortfolio.

Internships are an integral part of the PWR Major. PWR students have interned in a wide variety of organizational settings across the country and abroad, including computer and high-tech firms, advertising agencies, non-profit organizations, publishing companies, law firms, political offices.

PWR Alumni pursue careers as writers, editors, and information designers in the non-profit and government sectors, publishing, science writing, law, marketing, and many other industries.

At Elon, English and PWR majors can do the following:

  • write for our award-winning literary magazine Colonnades
  • tutor in the Writing Center and serve as teaching assistants
  • engage with visiting writers and scholars
  • earn undergraduate research grants
  • present their work at local and national student research forums
  • become members of Sigma Tau Delta (the international English honor society)
  • earn internship credit by working at area, state, or national magazines.

A Note on The General Studies Literature Course Requirement

With the exception of film studies courses, ENG courses in the 2900-2790 and 3200-3790 ranges normally fulfill the General Studies literature requirement in Studies in Arts and Sciences.

English department courses in the 2000-2090 and 3000-3090 ranges (i.e., courses in language study, writing, and creative writing) do NOT normally fulfill that requirement.


Our faculty members are active in Elon’s international studies program and have taught study abroad courses around the world. Five department members are proud recipients of Elon’s top teaching honor, the Daniels-Danieley Award for Excellence in Teaching, and one department member has been named Elon’s Distinguished Scholar. Our faculty are practitioners, writers and researchers in addition to outstanding mentors for our students, who stay in touch with us long after their Commencement.