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Degree: BA

Campus: Columbus, Lima, Marion, Mansfield, Newark

College: Arts and Sciences

Students in the English program take courses on Richard II and "Game of Thrones," on Pride and Prejudice and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt." They study 1984 and Halo, the rhetoric of human rights and the speeches of Barack Obama and Donald Trump. They write sonnets and short stories. They write research papers. They write grant proposals. They publish blog posts. They produce videos for YouTube and songs for SoundCloud, and they examine the cultural impact of those platforms. They organize technical reports and social media campaigns. They understand the industrial revolution and new media technologies. They are persuasive speakers, empathetic listeners, critical readers, and sophisticated writers. They are trained in critical thinking and effective communication. Most importantly, they are prepared to thrive in the fast-paced, ever-changing professional environments of the 21st century.

Upon admission to the university, students can declare a major in English within the College of Arts and Sciences. Interested students are encouraged to schedule an appointment with an English undergraduate advisor as early as possible to discuss course requirements, study abroad opportunities and post-graduation career plans.

All students pursuing an English major at Ohio State take three courses to understand the development of American and British Literature.


Then, with the help of faculty and advisors, and based on academic and personal interests and short- and longer-term career goals, students choose one of five specializations: 

  1. Literature, Film and Popular Culture Studies 
  2. Professional Writing, Rhetoric and Literacy 
  3. Creative Writing: Fiction, Nonfiction and Poetry 
  4. Folklore Studies 
  5. English Pre-Education (for students interested in teaching middle and high school English)

Students have the option to begin their English major course work without declaring a specialization, and they may switch specializations without delaying their progress towards a degree should their interests and goals change over the course of their academic career.

Career preparation 

The English department offers a course focused on career planning for English majors. During this course, students meet with alumni, examine the value of attending graduate or professional school, organize internship and job searches, and prepare job application and interview materials. 

Short-term and summer study abroad programs are available through the Department of English. 

Students enrolled in the department’s Literary Locations course spend a semester studying a site of literary importance (e.g., the Caribbean, Ireland, London, Rome or Venice) before embarking on a ten-day class trip to that location. For their participation in the course and the subsequent trip abroad, students earn four hours of upper-level English credit. Students can also repeat the course, provided the second version focuses on a different location, for a total of eight credit hours.

Students interested in living abroad for a longer period can spend four weeks studying and exploring London with members of the English faculty and earn three hours of upper-level credit toward their major through the department's Literature and Culture of London Summer Program.

Students are encouraged to pursue internships that will better prepare them for graduate school and/or entry-level jobs across a wide variety of career fields. Students can also earn academic credit for internships and other real-world experiences. 

Students can speak with English undergraduate advisors about career interests and receive assistance with locating internship opportunities related to their career goals.

Members of the Honors Program in the Arts and Sciences complete an Honors version of the English major. As part of the 13-course major, these students take at least three upper-level Honors seminars. 
For detailed information about Honors and Scholars opportunities, visit

Our students regularly pursue independent research and creative projects under the direction of English faculty. These projects allow students to explore issues of personal, scholarly and creative importance; to solve complex problems using skills they have honed in the classroom; and to produce new knowledge and solutions that reflect their unique perspectives, talents and abilities.

In recent years, students have completed research projects focused on translations of Beowulf, pirates in 18th- and 19th-century British literature, postmodern conceptions of time and space in the work of Cormac McCarthy, rhetoric and 21st-century U.S. politics, the role of poetry in the education of lawyers, dystopian fiction and women’s reproductive rights, and gender-inclusive housing at Ohio State.

Students also have had the opportunity to produce television scripts, screenplays, literary novels, science fiction trilogies, books of poetry and collections of short stories.    

English majors may be interested in joining any of the student-run undergraduate organizations affiliated with the Department of English, including:

  • English Undergraduate Organization
  • Sigma Tau Delta International English Honorary Society
  • Mosaic Undergraduate Art and Literature Magazine
  • The Grove: A Creative Writing Community

Students are also invited to join Lord Denney’s Players, the department's theatrical group. Each year, the group provides an opportunity for undergraduates, graduate students and faculty to engage in intensive experiential learning and research around the annual production of a play or series of plays. 

Having honed their writing and critical thinking skills and their ability to construct persuasive arguments based on evidence, English majors are prepared for entry-level jobs in a wide variety of fields including business, communications, finance, human resources, journalism, marketing, publishing, sales and technology. In addition, they often find employment with non-profit organizations or government agencies, and many go on to attend law school, medical school or business school. 

There are thousands of Ohio State English alumni living and working around the world. They are writers, editors, entrepreneurs, marketers, lawyers, doctors, bloggers, photographers, publicists, professors, financial advisors, human resource managers, business owners, IT specialists, CEOs, and more.

Exploring careers

Each fall, the department hosts an Undergraduate, Faculty and Alumni Dinner designed to connect students with alumni working in a diverse array of career fields. This and other, smaller events offer students the opportunity to learn about careers otherwise unknown to them and to begin building relationships that can contribute to their success for years to come. 

Students can explore career options through the Ohio State Career Connection and the College of Arts and Sciences Career Services offices. Providing complimentary services, Career Connection focuses on helping students establish a career direction, while Career Services assists students with finding internships—experiences that are essential to exploring the suitability of potential career fields. Career Services also assists seniors and recent graduates with their search for entry-level career employment. 

Graduates of the English program earn salaries that vary based on their chosen career fields and the length of time working in those fields.