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Degree: BA

Campus: Columbus, Lima, Marion, Mansfield, Newark

College: Arts and Sciences

English students explore the worlds of Octavia Butler, interpret and perform Shakespeare’s plays, study the impact of colonialism in literature and culture, and track the cultural reception of Jane Austen.

They analyze Halo and other video games; they consider comic series and their fandoms; they study digital media and the rhetorical structure of protests.

They craft short stories, sonnets and creative non-fiction essays. They publish blog posts and produce videos. They write research papers, grant proposals and technical reports, and they organize social media campaigns.

They become persuasive speakers, empathetic listeners, critical readers and sophisticated writers.

Most importantly, they are prepared to thrive in fast-paced, ever-changing professional environments.

On 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.


Students choose one of four concentrations based on their interests and their career goals:

  1. Literature, Film, Folklore and Popular Culture Studies 
  2. Writing, Rhetoric and Literacy 
  3. Creative Writing: Fiction, Nonfiction and Poetry 
  4. 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 entry-level jobs in a wide variety of career fields or graduate school. 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 12-course major, these students take at least two 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
  • 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 year, the department hosts several events geared towards helping students explore and prepare for their careers after Ohio State. Events include alumni panels, featuring graduates in fields from medicine to consulting to publishing to the law. The department also collaborates with the College of Arts and Sciences Center for Career and Professional Success to offer resume and cover letter workshops, interview prep events and more.

Students can explore career options through Career Connection and the College of Arts and Sciences Career Services Office. 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.