Department of English

Tara MacDonald, Acting Department Chair (200 Carol Ryrie Brink Hall 83844-1102; phone 208-885-6156; 

English majors develop skills in the fundamentals of English composition, creative writing, textual interpretation, and critical thinking. Students apply these skills across diverse areas of study, including linguistics and literacy, technical and business writing, literary criticism and theory, Anglophone and world literatures, film and cultural studies, expository and creative writing, and pedagogy. Students write extensively in all courses and gain speaking experience through oral reports, presentations, and class discussions. International students must have a TOEFL score of 560 or above.

The Department of English encourages students to plan their curricula according to personal and career goals. Aspiring writers emphasize creative writing courses; future teachers of English as a Second Language (ESL) study linguistics; pre-professionals take advanced writing and career-related courses. Those heading for graduate school in literature, linguistics, or ESL choose courses that prepare them for graduate study in their area. English majors who intend to teach English in secondary schools plan their program to satisfy state certification requirements (see "Secondary School Teaching Certification for Majors Outside the College of Education" in the College of Education section).

To enable students to focus on such interests within a coherent program of study, the English Department offers the choice of five emphases within the major: creative writing, linguistics and literacy, literature, professional writing, and teaching.

The Department of English offers two graduate degrees at the master's level: the M.F.A. and the M.A. Through course selection and choice of thesis topic, and with the approval of appropriate faculty members, students pursuing the M.A. may emphasize literary studies or studies in composition/rhetoric. Through course selection and choice of thesis topic, and with the approval of appropriate faculty members, those pursuing the M.F.A. may emphasize fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction. The M.F.A. also offers students the tools to work and teach as literary writers. Students planning to work for the M.F.A. or M.A. should be well prepared through the curriculum outlined below.

The graduate programs in English allow students to develop specialized skills in creative writing; scholarly research and critical writing in the field of literature; and linguistics. All areas of specialization prepare students to write publishable manuscripts, ranging from articles for peer-reviewed scholarly journals to full-length books for trade publishing houses. The graduate programs in English serve those who plan to teach English at the college level, secondary educators pursuing teaching certificates or credentials, writers and editors interested in editorial or publishing work, and those seeking employment in the private sector. All graduate degrees offered in English prepare students to pursue doctoral degrees in their respective fields.

For admission to the graduate program in English, the student must have a bachelor's degree with a major in English or equivalent preparation and should have an overall grade-point average of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) to be granted full admission. Non-native speakers of English must score at least 560 on the TOEFL exam.