Bachelor of Arts in English

The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in English program at Wayne State University harnesses the power of cultural diversity and urban experience, enabling you to excel in our interconnected world.

Interdisciplinary in nature, the English major introduces you to the vital, practical skills of communication, critical thinking, rhetorical analysis and writing. As you delve into the exploration of text and media while honing your own writing abilities, you emerge well-equipped to pursue graduate study and thrive in any professional field.

Why Wayne State's English major?

  • Get the majority or entire cost of your English degree covered through 15+ English and creative writing scholarships.
  • Tailor your education to your interests by choosing a traditional concentration or a concentration in editing, publishing and writing.
  • Earn your graduate degree in English simultaneously to save time and money through the AGRADE program.
  • Explore your interests and build your résumé with literary club involvement and journal participation.
  • Learn from renowned professors with a combined 50+ published books and 100+ peer-reviewed journals.
  • Examine the intersections of art and literature alongside artists-in-residence and celebrated Detroit poets.

Learning objectives

The Bachelor of Arts in English degree program ensures you:

  • Can effectively interpret several forms of text and media
  • Develop the foundational skills to enter graduate study and a wide range of careers in fields such as education, law, business or marketing
  • Communicate and think creatively to solve complex problems across professions

English program requirements and curriculum

The Bachelor of Arts in English requires a minimum of 120 credits. Satisfy these credits through the English program requirements, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences group requirements and the university general education requirements.

As an English major, you select one of two concentrations: traditional or editing, publishing and writing. Both concentrations require you to complete 12 English courses beyond the university general education requirements and liberal arts and sciences group requirements.

View requirements

Concentration and courses

Courses vary depending on your choice of the traditional or editing, publishing and writing concentration. Both concentrations require a research colloquium and senior seminar.

  • Traditional-Involves the study of literature through the examination, inquiry and development of argumentative or rhetorical essays:
    • Two foundational courses
    • Two methodologies and skills courses
    • A research colloquium
    • A senior seminar
    • Six additional English courses
  • Editing, publishing and writing-Blends the examination of literature with diverse practicums and electives:
    • Two foundational courses
    • Professional editing
    • Publishing practicum
    • Internship practicum
    • One course in writing
    • One elective course in editing, publishing and writing
    • A research colloquium
    • A senior seminar
    • Three additional English courses

Honors in English

The English honors program offers an alternative way to fulfill the requirements of an English major. Open to students with a strong academic record (3.3 or better university GPA; 3.5 or better in English major), superior writing ability and eagerness to participate in discussions and to study a subject in-depth, the English honors program has three distinct advantages over the conventional English major: flexibility, opportunity for seminar work and the opportunity to work closely with faculty.

Students who wish to become candidates for degrees with honors in English are encouraged to consult early with the Department of English undergraduate advisor.

  • Honors option requirements

    In addition to the other honor program requirements, the fulfillment of the honors option consists of one 5000-level course in the English honors curriculum must be taken with an honors option. Students will arrange for an honors option by contracting with a professor teaching a 5000-level English course to do honors-level work in that course, beyond the standard requirements set forth in the syllabus (at least 10% more work).

    Supplementary work required for the honors option might consist of an extra paper, a significantly longer-term paper, evidence of additional readings (for example, through journal entries), an oral or written report or an approved service-learning component. Learn more about service-learning opportunities for definitions and guidelines.

  • Admission into the honors program

    Candidates for the English honors program may be recommended by members of the faculty or students may nominate themselves. Please consult the following guidelines and requirements to help guarantee the application you submit is the strongest it can be. If you have questions, need clarification or want feedback before submitting your materials, you're welcome and encouraged to contact the honors faculty coordinator.

    Application requirements

    Letter of application (one to two pages, single-spaced)

    • Your letter of application should give us a sense of why you became an English major, your work in the major and what has inspired you to become more involved in it. For example, is there a specific text, assignment or class that you particularly enjoyed?
    • You might want to mention a significant experience in your life as an English major that inspired you to pursue honors-level work and/ or an aspect of your personal, professional, educational or extracurricular experience that you bring to your work as an English major.

    Unofficial academic transcript

    All English honors applicants must submit one writing sample

    The following rules apply to all samples submitted:

    • The sample must come out of English coursework
    • Be strategic in your choice: Select a polished writing sample that best represents your strengths, even if it is not your most recent piece

    You may submit a literary analytical essay or a creative writing sample, following the requirements below:

    Literary analytical essay

    • Four to six pages, double-spaced, following MLA guidelines for format and citation
    • The paper should possess a clearly articulated argument that is organized logically and supported by strong evidence and analysis.
    • Be sure that it is edited and proofread, incorporating any suggestions for improvement by your professor. (Yes, improving your paper prior to submission is allowed and encouraged!)

    Sample creative writing sample

    • The sample may exceed the six-page limit imposed on literary/analytical samples, but quality will count more than quantity
    • Should be a polished, proofread writing sample in their preferred genre several poems, one short story, a novel chapter or one piece of creative nonfiction
    • Important: Must come from a WSU creative writing course at the 3000-level or above in which you earned a B+ or higher

    Letter of support from a faculty member

    The faculty member may send the letter via email to

    • The letter writer should be an instructor who has taught you in a 3000-level or above course in the English department. If you want to seek a letter from an instructor of cross-listed courses or courses below the 3000 level, or from an instructor not at WSU, contact the honors faculty coordinator
    • Pick a letter writer who can really speak to your strengths and give her/him the tools s/he needs to recommend you
    • Talk to the letter writer in person, request the letter (important) at least two weeks in advance of the date you intend to submit your application and provide your letter writer with a copy of your application materials


    Note: Honors option forms must be approved by an English advisor prior to submission to the Honors College.

Earn a secondary teaching certificate with your English major

Wayne State University's English bachelor's program supports you to pursue your passion for teaching. You may consult with your advisor to develop a plan of work to complete your B.A. in English and teacher certification.

Join a student-led journal

Becoming a better writer and reader requires more than just talent and text analysis. To best support you, the English department at Wayne State University provides ample ways for you to acquire real-world experience in writing and publishing through student journals.

Learn more about participating in a student journal.

Earn your M.A. or Ph.D. in English

Looking to earn your undergraduate and graduate degrees in English simultaneously? Wayne State University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers a B.A. to M.A. or Ph.D. in English pathway through the Accelerated Graduate Enrollment (AGRADE) program.

To enroll:

  • Must be a senior that has completed a minimum of 90 credits
  • Hold a GPA of at least 3.6 in English major courses
  • Hold a cumulative GPA of at least 3.5

Discover how you can earn your B.A. in English alongside a Master of Arts in English or Ph.D. in English.

Related minors

Enhancing your English major with a minor related to your own interests grants you new perspectives and ideas for a suitable career. Explore minors available at Wayne State University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences:

Learn more about minors that complement the English major.

English bachelor's degree career outlook

From organizing information to critically analyzing texts, an English major is invaluable to any business. The English degree program prepares graduates for graduate study or careers across the following diverse settings:

  • Government offices
  • Law offices
  • Marketing agencies
  • Media outlets
  • Public relations
  • Publishing agencies
  • Schools and universities
  • Scriptwriting
  • Self-publishing
  • Teaching English abroad

Tuition and financial aid

The Department of English provides several need- and merit-based scholarships to both part- and full-time English majors.

Explore the Department of English scholarships or use our net price calculator to estimate the cost of your degree.

Learn more about Wayne State University's B.A. in English

Unleash the power of the written word and embark on a fulfilling journey to an exciting career by enrolling in the Bachelor's in English at Wayne State University.

Career insights

This tool provides a broad overview of how major selection can lead to careers and is provided without any implied promise of employment. Some careers will require further education, skills, or competencies. Actual salaries may vary significantly between similar employers and could change by graduation, as could employment opportunities and job titles.