Department of English



Student in Stacks

The Department of English offers undergraduates the chance to explore a wide array of literary works—poetry, drama, fiction, and non-fiction—from the traditions of British, American, and Anglophone literature. We also have rich and varied offerings in creative writing, in the study of film and other media, and in journalism, rhetoric, and theater. There are opportunities for independent research and internships within the university and the Rochester community alike.

Students in our courses explore works of poetry, drama, fiction and non-fiction from all the traditions of British and American literature; study films and works in other media; develop their talents as creative writers and as performers in theater; and pursue the study of journalism, rhetoric, and debate. All of our classes encourage exploratory thinking and critical conversation, always aiming to increase the students' knowledge, their skills in critical analysis, and their strengths as readers and as writers.

Majors, Minors, and Clusters

Majors choose one of four distinct tracks in the English major: British and American Literature; Language, Media, and Communication; Theater; and Creative Writing.  Many students choose to double major in English and another discipline. The English Honors Program offers our majors the opportunity to write an extended honors thesis—critical or creative—during their senior year.

Students can also complete one of four distinct minors: English Literature, Creative Writing, Journalism, and Theater.  

There are also several clusters available for students seeking to fulfill a cluster requirement in the humanities.

Students with questions about any of these programs or possibilities should contact the department’s Director of Undergraduate Studies.

What do English majors do on campus?

  • The Undergraduate English Council (UEC)
  • The Plutzik Reading Series, which brings to campus some of the most distinguished contemporary poets and fiction writers
  • The UR International Theatre Program or separate performance groups
  • Logos, the undergraduate literary magazine
  • The Campus Times

What do English majors do after graduation?

The qualities fostered by the study of English (including a suppleness of imagination, an understanding of how stories work, and an appreciation for why beauty moves us), along with the skills we develop in English classes (including the ability to write and think critically, and the capacity for creative expression in different media), provide crucial tools for work and life.

Our majors pursue a variety of career paths:

  • Graduate work in the humanities, social or natural sciences
  • Teaching
  • Journalism
  • Publishing
  • Public relations
  • Law
  • Business
  • Non-profits, government

For a report on the lives and careers of former English majors, and how these were shaped by their work in the major, click here.