About us

The English department provides our students with intellectual tools and practical knowledge to thrive in an increasingly diverse world.  We teach students to understand the power, influence, and beauty of literature, rhetoric, film and other forms of cultural expression. Students achieve fluency and skill in writing and analysis.

We are a research-oriented department with a small-classroom teaching style. Our faculty are expert teachers and scholars and involved in their students' successes. Their specialties are loosely organized into our department's research and teaching areas: creative writing, literary and cultural studies, film and media studies, and rhetoric and composition studies. Students benefit from the faculty's active research, which they share in the classroom and in advising and encouraging students' own research goals. 

Our degree programs include a bachelor of arts, master's and doctoral programs, as well as four minors. Students focus in all of our major research areas, with passions for literature, film, rhetoric, technical and professional writing, and creative writing. Outside our degree curricula, we offer the general education courses in basic and intermediate composition, which serve almost all Wayne State students in becoming strong written communicators.

Key facts


  • 50 full-time faculty, 35 tenure-line
  • 14 professors (one endowed DeRoy chair, two distinguished professors)
  • 11 associate professors
  • 10 assistant professors
  • 15 lecturers
  • Specializations include literary and cultural studies, film and media studies, rhetoric and composition studies, linguistics, creative writing

Degrees awarded

  • B.A. in English (including B.A. w/ honors)
  • M.A. and Ph.D. in English
  • Ph.D. concentrations: literary and cultural studies, film and media studies, rhetoric and composition studies

Undergraduate program

  • Approximately 180+ enrolled majors/year
  • B.A. graduation rate: 65/year
  • Traditional and contemporary liberal arts curriculum in English studies
  • New B.A. curriculum in 2012-13: Introductory courses in theories and methods, surveys, topics courses, senior seminar
  • General education: Philosophy and letters (10), including surveys and literature & writing courses; visual and performing arts (1), (film); foreign culture (linguistics)

General education composition program

  • Approximately 250+ sections/year
  • General education written competency requirement: Basic composition (BC), intermediate composition (IC), writing intensive in the majors (WI)
  • BC courses: ENG 1010 (remedial), ENG 1020
  • IC courses: Literature and writing courses, ENG 3010 (writing across the curriculum), ENG 3020 (service learning), ENG 3050-ENG 3060 (technical communication)
  • WSU Writing Center (free tutoring for all WSU grad and undergrad students)

Graduate program

  • Approximately 60 active Ph.D. students, 160 active M.A. students
  • M.A. graduation rate: 13/year
  • Ph.D. graduation rate: 6/year
  • Strong Ph.D. placement record in rhetoric and composition studies and British literature

Department strengths

  • Research-oriented faculty, highly productive (2005 – 2012: 51 books, 113 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 162 chapters in edited collections)
  • Innovative Ph.D. and B.A. curricula
  • Strong commitment to graduate and undergraduate teaching, including general education
  • Many service contributions (department, college, university)