Undergraduate Program English
English Bachelor's Degree and Minor Overview
A bachelor’s degree and minor in English will prepare you to tackle critical and complex issues, deepen your understanding of diverse cultural issues, and improve your ability to analyze and produce complicated texts. We prepare our students for careers in writing and teaching, as well as professions requiring high levels of literacy and critical thought, including law and business.
The degree in English provides a foundation in literature, rhetoric, composition, and critical theory. You will study text and writing that represents many cultures and historical periods and learn critical approaches to texts and issues that enable you to interpret and compare positions, to read closely, critically, and with empathy. You will gain skills by conducting your own research, weighing evidence, and writing with insight and expertise with guidance from our dedicated expert faculty.
- A flexible degree with electives that encourage exploration in writing, publishing, and literature
- Hands-on experience through an internship advising course
- Online, hybrid, and evening classes
- Courses that work with our in-house literary magazine Portland Review, and our publishing imprint Ooligan Press
- A degree option to pursue a greater emphasis in math and the sciences
The major is grounded in critical and theoretical approaches to literary study and requires a 20-credit sequence of core courses designed to ensure a thorough understanding of the methodologies of the field, in addition to allowing a variety of elective coursework in literature and writing courses in literary studies, film and digital media analysis, and publishing, creative writing, and technical writing. The department also offers an undergraduate degree in creative writing, minors in English, writing and film studies, and a certificate in comics studies.
English Bachelor's Degree or Minor: Why PSU?
Portland is a hub for writers and creatives, professionals flock to the city and have created a flourishing culture and cultivated a thriving local creative industry. Portland State University contributes to this community by creating an environment for aspiring writers and creatives to grow and develop.
Students at Portland State and in the English program are encouraged to take part in our student-edited publications and student support services:
- Pathos Literary Magazine: A creative publication, staffed entirely by students, that exclusively publishes student work in three issues per year.
- Portland Review: A literary journal produced by graduate students in the English department that promotes the works of emerging writers and artists alongside the works of well-established authors. Portland Review has been publishing exceptional prose, poetry, and art since 1956 and has been noted in the Best American series and honored by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Oregon Arts Commission.
- Vanguard: A weekly print and digital newspaper distributed for free throughout the Portland State campus area. Entirely student-run, employing about 60 paid student reporters, multimedia contributors, photographers, graphic designers, and editors, its publishing body is the Portland State Media Board, consisting of four students, four faculty members, and one community member. The newspaper and its staff have earned several collegiate journalism awards, including the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association General Excellence Award and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award.
- Ooligan Press: An award-winning nonprofit general trade press that publishes books honoring the cultural and natural diversity of the Pacific Northwest. Ooligan Press is a teaching press staffed by students pursuing master’s degrees in the Department of English.
- The Writing Center: A service to help students improve their writing and understand strategies to gain critical thinking skills they can adapt to all their writing projects. Writing center staff support students by acting as consultants rather than copyeditors, guiding students through their work by asking questions rather than editing specific text, with the goal of ensuring that the student-writer maintains agency over their writing.
Portland State offers many opportunities for students to engage in the broader creative community in the city through internships and jobs. Our students are able to work and carry out internships while they’re in school allowing them to build relationships and add experience to their resumes.
What can I do with a Bachelor's degree or Minor in English?
Students who major in English go on to careers in many different fields, from politics to book-editing. Writing skills are valuable in every industry, and we prepare our students to be adaptable and thoughtful communicators. Graduates of Portland State’s English program have gone on to careers in education, writing, book publishing, journalism, advertising, communications, politics, public affairs, law enforcement, and even science and technology.
Many of our graduates have pursued graduate degrees in law, creative writing, journalism, business, book publishing, public affairs, and even medicine.
The writing and analytical skills of the English major have long made it a popular major to take before law school—two current Oregon Supreme Court justices were English majors. English is finding increasing interest in medical school admissions, as communication skills are increasingly valued in healthcare and health administration.
- ENG 260 Introduction to Women’s Literature
- ENG 301U Topics in Shakespearean Genre: Tragedy
- ENG 332U History of Cinema and Narrative Media
- ENG 397U Digital Literacy Studies
- ENG 496 Comics Theory
- WR 212 Introductory Poetry Writing
- WR 398 Writing Comics
- WR 426 Document Design
- WR 416 Screenwriting
- WR 465 Intellectual Property and Copyright
- ENG 307U Science Fiction
- ENG 310 Children’s Literature
- ENG 422 African Fiction
- WR 331 Publishing for Writers
- WR 459 Memoir Writing
Portland State University is fully accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).