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What do we do in English?

Students and faculty in CSU, Chico’s Department of English come from a variety of traditional and non-traditional academic backgrounds. But together we make arguments, stories, interpretations, and meaning. We make educators, wordsmiths, activists, and connections across time and across cultures. We make sense of language in its stunning diversity through creative, editorial, linguistic, literary, and rhetorical work. We make community by sharing our commonalities and recognizing our differences.


Faculty in the English department are active scholars in their disciplines and have won major university teaching prizes. In addition to advising and service-related duties both across the campus community and in the Chico community at-large, departmental faculty have a wide range of teaching and research interests, including cross-disciplinary work, with faculty working in six areas:

  • Composition/Rhetoric
  • Creative Writing
  • English Education
  • Linguistics
  • Literary Editing and Publishing
  • Literature


The Department of English is located in the Arts and Humanities Building, a state-of-the-art academic building also housing two University art galleries, The Janet Turner Print Museum, and the Zingg Recital Hall. Facilities include the ESL (English as a Second Language) Resource Center, where student tutors gain (paid!) practical experience helping non-native and heritage learners improve their English proficiency; smart classrooms with integrative learning technology; and an open collaborative space where students can study, work on digital and group projects, or extend discussions begun in class.

Career Outlook

The beauty of a major in English lies in its flexibility. English majors possess the ability to think analytically and imaginatively, speak and write articulately, and read critically with an eye to the subtleties and nuances of language. Consequently, English majors gain employment in a variety of fields and professions--from education, business, medicine, research, politics and government to publishing, law, community activism, entertainment, media, and journalism. In short, English majors are present in almost any career.

For assistance in reaching your career goals, resources are available through the Department of English (Arts and Humanities Building, Room 269), Advising and Orientation from Academic Advising Programs (Student Services Center, Room 220), and the Career Center for Career Planning and Placement (Student Services Center, Room 270).


The Department offers a B.A. in English with three options, three minors, and three certificate programs.

For students considering teaching English and language arts at the junior high and high school levels, the Option in English Education offers pre-professional preparation and fulfills all requirements for the Single Subject Matter Preparation Program in English, which will lead to a California teaching credential. Advising is mandatory for this option.

For students considering teaching at the collegiate level or exploring the many professional opportunities open to people with a degree in English, the Option in English Studies allows students to take courses in all of the department’s sub-disciplines, thereby enjoying breadth and flexibility, whereas the Option in Literature exposes students to a range of courses and analysis focusing on American, British, comparative, and multicultural literatures and cultures. The options in English Studies and Literature are excellent preparation for graduate study and professional programs such as law and medicine.

The Minor in Creative Writing prepares students to write creative work independently, study the tradition and craft of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction in writing workshops and modern literature classes, and understand their work in the context of contemporary literary practices.

The Minor in English is a great way to experience an abbreviated version of the major by taking elective courses in creative writing, composition and rhetoric, linguistics, and literature, while still having the flexibility to pursue other academic interests. An English minor works well with any major and may be especially useful for those majoring in the humanities, social sciences, business, and STEM fields.

The Minor in Linguistics provides a foundation for the study of languages; the human language capacity; the relationship between language, culture, and society; and the acquisition of English as a second language. A linguistics minor prepares students to analyze the form and function of languages and to think critically about languages and linguistic ideas.

The Certificate in Literary Editing and Publishing is currently suspended but hopefully will be reinstated soon. However, a number of the courses in the certificate program are still taught on a regular basis.

The Certificate in Teaching College-Level Writing offers high school and college composition teachers new approaches to the teaching of writing and theories of rhetoric, linguistics, and composition. The program includes practicums in teaching college-level basic writing, and optional practicums in ESL, literary editing, and secondary teaching.

The Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) provides training in the theory and practice of TESOL, with application to a wide variety of teaching circumstances.

Undergraduate students can gain pre-professional and practical experience mentoring in our composition program, tutoring in the ESL Resource Center, and/or working as a student editor on the Watershed Review, one of the oldest, continuously run student literary journals in the country.

At the graduate level, the Department offers a M.A. in English, with options in Creative Writing, Language and Literacy, and Literature. Graduate students in our program have the ability to teach introductory-level courses in composition, creative writing, and literature.

Honors in English

If you perform well in major courses and are motivated to continue studying a subject or issues in English Studies in more depth, you may choose to pursue Honors in the major. Generally an Honors in English is an individual research project you launch with a faculty member whose area of expertise matches the topic you wish to study. See the English advisors for more details.

Student Organizations

English majors can enhance their educational experiences, network, and develop leadership skills through their involvement in the department’s student organizations:

  • Chico State English Society (undergraduates)
  • Sigma Tau Delta: the International English Honor Society (undergraduates)
  • English Graduate Student Council (EGSC) (graduate students)
These student organizations arrange guest speakers, field trips, social activities, and host symposia and other events for students to share their academic and creative work with the campus community.

Awards and Scholarships

English majors and minors are eligible to compete for a number of English Department Awards and Scholarships:

  • Bix Whitcomb Study Abroad Award
  • Frank and Marie Burr Scholarship
  • Jean Nedrow Kutz Scholarship
  • Fannie Mae McDaniel Scholarship
  • Creative Writing Awards
  • Charles and Marie Felver Prize in English
  • Ellen Walker Prize in Excellence in Editing
  • English Department Diversity Award
  • Carol Burr Student Research Grant
  • Further Information is Available on our Website

    Visit the Department of English website for more information on faculty and staff, undergraduate and graduate programs, course blurbs and descriptions, student organizations, scholarships and awards, events, social media contacts, etc. We are happy to answer any questions you have about our department.

Catalog Cycle:17