English Major classroom with students

English Major

The English major fosters adaptability, crucial in today’s job market, wherein creative thinking, effective communication, and artful uses of language are in demand.

Students encounter a wide array of literature including fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction from around the world and throughout history. This leads to an understanding of how literature reveals the complexity of human nature and expression. Students develop critical thinking skills, conduct research, and learn to write well in a variety of genres.

Read full Major Requirements below. The English major may be accompanied by the English Minor with Multimedia-Writing Emphasis. The English program is also offered as a minor with Literary Studies Emphasis.

Please see the Program Requirements Disclaimer when planning your coursework.

Entry into the Major

Courses designated with an asterisk (*) meet a Common General Education Core Requirement. In order to be admitted to the English major by the English Department, students must first meet the prerequisites of passing the following courses with at least a “C”:

Note: ENGL200 Literary Analysis is not waived for English majors who transfer in an equivalent course. 

Required courses after Acceptance into the English Major 

Major Electives

Choose two of the following not already taken above, with a maximum of one course at the 200 level:

Required Minor or Concentration 

English majors must also fulfill the requirements for a minor or a concentration (excluding the English minor with Literary Studies Emphasis and excluding an English concentration). However, English majors may fulfill this requirement by selecting the English minor with Multimedia-Writing Emphasis.

English Minor

English Minor with Multimedia-Writing Emphasis

Courses designated with an asterisk (*) meet a Common General Education Core Requirement. 

Students who major in English may select the English Minor with Multimedia-Writing Emphasis to fulfill their requirement for a minor or a concentration.

Required Courses

NOTE: Students should consult with an English advisor regarding additional writing courses that may support a student’s academic and professional goals.

English Minor with Literary Studies Emphasis

Courses designated with an asterisk (*) meet a Common General Education Core Requirement.

Students who major in English may not minor in the English Minor with Literary Studies Emphasis.

Required Courses

Choose one:

Choose one:

Choose one: 

Choose one:

Minor Elective

Choose one:

To view the most recent course list and requirements for the English major, please consult the Academic Catalog.

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What Sets Us Apart

Bethany’s English program offers noteworthy advantages:


English students at Bethany benefit from both small class sizes and an excellent student-to-faculty ratio. In upper division and general education classes the number of students in a classroom rarely exceeds 25. In fact, most upper division classes average between ten and fifteen students.

Because of our close community, students get to know each other very well and experience strong camaraderie with their professors. Our students create informal and formal cohorts that study, read, and write texts together, and share challenges and breakthroughs. As a result, the discussion of texts, ideas of authors, and responses and viewpoints of students is more personal and meaningful.

Academic Advising

English majors work closely with an English faculty professor who acts as their advisor during their time at Bethany. Required coursework, elective options, internships, and professional and graduate school goals are all primary topics our majors discuss with their advisors on a regular basis. 


Recent graduates have completed internships at newspapers, publishing houses, law firms, and historical societies.

Options on campus include working on the literary magazine or newspaper, as well as working in the Writing Center as an Assistant Coordinator.

Graduate School

Many English majors are interested in careers in writing, publishing, teaching, or related professions that require an advanced degree. Bethany graduates have completed graduate degrees in literature and writing at Princeton, Harvard, Wake Forest, the University of Maine, Marquette University, and Minnesota State University—Mankato.


Opportunities for Involvement

Sigma Tau Delta is an International English Honor Society. A member of the Association of College Honor Societies, it was founded in 1924 at Dakota Wesleyan University.  Over 800 active chapters are located in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and the Caribbean, with more than 1,000 faculty sponsors, and approximately 9,000 members inducted annually.

Sigma Tau Delta’s central purpose is to confer distinction upon students of the English language and literature in undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies. Sigma Tau Delta also recognizes the accomplishments of professional writers who have contributed to the fields of language and literature.

Alpha Rho Tau

Local chapters, like Bethany’s Alpha Rho Tau, provide cultural stimulation on college campuses, promote interest in literature and the English language in surrounding communities, foster all aspects of the discipline of English (literature, language, and writing), promote exemplary character and good fellowship among its members, and serve society by fostering literacy. Explore the benefits of membership on the Sigma Tau Delta website.

Membership Criteria and Application Process
  • Students must be currently enrolled at Bethany Lutheran College and have completed at least three semesters of college course work, ranking in the top 35% of their class overall (cumulative scholastic record).
  • Students must have completed a minimum of two college courses in literature or writing beyond either ENGL100 and ENGL101, or ENGL110, and beyond the general education required literature course.
  • Students must have a minimum of a 3.0 average in English.

Students who meet the above criteria should complete and submit a Sigma Tau Delta Membership Application to one of the faculty advisors (Dr. Lars Johnson or Dr. Robert Hanna). The application is then reviewed for approval. If approved for membership, the student must submit Sigma Tau Delta’s required membership fee, for processing with the application.   There are no annual or other dues.

Inkwell is a literary magazine that showcases creative writing and artwork by the Bethany community. Inkwell staff manages every aspect of production, from designing layout to organizing and reading submissions, and all students are welcome to submit work!

In addition, the Inkwell staff showcasses creative works on their Inkwell blog, sponsors events with published authors, and promotes and attends local reading series, as well as hosts regular writing challenges.

The Ada Stokes Writing Center, managed by the English Department, helps BLC students grow as independent critical thinkers and writers. Tutors offer support in the areas of academic essay writing, creative writing, cover letter writing, resume writing and graduate application writing. The center is staffed with friendly and effective tutors who are dedicated to the writing process, including understanding assignments, brainstorming techniques, thesis statements, topic sentences, source integration techniques, drafting, revising and editing.

Visit our Student Publications page to learn more about opportunities for English majors to participate in the Inkwell (literary magazine), Scroll (newspaper), and Fidelis (yearbook).

Alumni Profiles

Read about graduates from our English program.

English Faculty

For more information, visit the English Department page.

Next Steps

Interested in studying at Bethany? Scheduling a campus visit is a great way to see what we have to offer. You can meet professors or sit in on a class too! Contact our admissions office to learn more.