Wilkes University


Engage with diverse literatures and contexts to develop your critical thinking and writing skills as an English major at Wilkes. Concentrations in digital humanities, literature, writing and education will prepare you for a wide range of careers.

Program Snapshot

Program Type Format Credit Hours
Major, Minor On Campus 120 (18 for minor)

Why Study English at Wilkes?

The close-knit community and co-curricular activities are hallmarks of the Wilkes English department.

As an English major, you spend a significant amount of time reading and writing. To thrive, you will need not only concentration, but conversation. No writer writes alone! Our faculty share their expertise and creativity, and welcome yours in and out of the classroom. You’ll be a vital part of the Kirby Hall community, the English Department’s home on campus.

You can hone your writing, editorial and leadership skills outside the classroom through co-curricular activities like:

Curriculum       Admission Requirements     Faculty & Staff

What Will You Learn as an English Student?

  • Through an examination of American and world literature, you’ll develop critical thinking skills that will serve you in your professional and personal life. You’ll learn to effectively communicate your thoughts through exercises in academic, creative and workplace writing.
  • You’ll build an appreciation for and understanding of genres, including fiction, poetry, drama and nonfiction.
  • In our digital humanities courses, you’ll analyze and create literary and non-literary digital texts to enhance your experience in the remote work space.
  • Choose a concentration in digital humanities, literature, writing or education to best suit your education and career goals.
  • You can also minor in Creative Writing to develop your creative imaginations or Workplace Writing to prepare for opportunities outside of the classroom.

Program Highlights

Workshops with Guest Artists

English majors have access to intimate writing workshops and conversations with rising and established authors through the annual Allan Hamilton Dickson Spring Writers Series. Past guests include Salman Rushdie, Dave Eggers, Alice Sola Kim, Phil Klay and Valeria Luiselli.

International Membership

You can become a member of Alpha Gamma Alpha, our award-winning Sigma Tau Delta chapter. This international honor society lets you exhibit your academic achievements and have the opportunity to present at conferences, network at conventions and earn scholarships.

Real-World Experience

Earn valuable hands-on experience in leadership roles with The Inkwell and The Manuscript Society.  Develop skills as a consultant and workplace writer in the University Writing Center.  You can also earn scholarship funds for your commitment to editorial positions. If you want to venture into off-campus opportunities, you have access to a variety of local and remote publishing and workplace writing internships.

Wilkes was a place for me to foster my intelligence and critical thinking. Keep your options open. Don’t be afraid to go off road and see what happens.

Brianna Schunk '20 - English and Individualized Studies

concentrations (digital humanities, literature, writing and education)


of English majors get full-time work in a related field with their bachelor's degree

Nearly 100%

of English majors with an education focus pass the required teacher certification exam

Explore Our Courses

Do you wish to...

  • Explore the rhetorical and linguistic strategies used by legal, government and media experts?
  • Discover the roots of English drama starting in the 10th century?
  • Analyze the conflict of rational and irrational that permeates Gothic literature?

Our diverse course offerings provide an abundance of opportunities to study every and all aspects of the English language.

Featured Upcoming Courses (Spring 2023)

Taught By: Dr. William Chad Stanley
Tuesday/Thursday, 1 - 2:15 p.m.

In this course situated within the general study of Modern American drama, we will examine the work of noted American dramatist Tennessee Williams, and his two near contemporaries William Inge and Edward Albee.

Emphasizing mid Twentieth-century American political, social, and domestic history, we will examine six plays from the post-World War II and Cold War eras that represent dramas of domestic spaces, homecomings, and domestic intrusions.

In the process of our work, we will consider and analyze drama:

  1. as a literary genre;
  2. as enacted, in performance;
  3. as received and written about, in criticism; and
  4. as adapted, in cinematic adaptation.

Course requirements will include one in-class presentation, two 4-5 page Dramatic Analysis Papers, an Annotated Bibliography, and a 10-page Research Paper.

Taught By: Dr. Lawrence Kuhar
Tuesday/Thursday, 9:30 - 10:45 a.m.

English 222 is an introduction to the field of Digital Humanities with an emphasis on how digital processes and products impact the development and study of literature, language, culture, and the other disciplines of the Humanities. We will consider how digital tools and technology impact the study of literature and culture and how digital media reimagines the connection between literature and disciplines such as cultural studies, communication, and film and media studies.

English 222 provides you with the opportunity to develop skills in and to specialize in an emerging and increasingly influential field in English and Cultural Studies. This course directly engages the immediate and long-term challenges and opportunities that digital technologies pose for the history and future of human literary, textual, linguistic, cultural, and scholarly production.

Taught By: Dr. Helen H. Davis
Monday/Wednesday, 1 - 2:15 p.m.

The Victorian era was a great time for literature: the realist novel was in its heyday, writers thought of themselves as actively engaging in the political and philosophical issues of the time and actively used literature to explore many manifestations of these issues. The Victorian period was also a time of tremendous innovation, as new scientific fields and understandings emerged, and new ways of seeing the world shifted religious views, economic and social structures, and literary structures. It was also the height of the British empire. Slavery ends in the colonies in 1833 with the Slavery Abolition Act, but near-slavery conditions were common throughout the colonies and resources were still stripped from colonized locations. Gender norms are both reinforced and resisted, and by the end of the period, the New Woman emerges.

Writers may include: Brontë, Dickens, Eliot, Wilde, Browning, Tennyson, Hardy, Mill, Arnold, Rossetti, Prince, Schreiner, Stevenson, and Collins, along with some smaller excerpts and critical pieces. We will also pay careful attention to narrative structure and the development of narrative techniques. This course can count towards the literature requirement for a period or as a Digital Humanities (DH) course. This course is also eligible for the Women’s and Gender Studies minor.

Students in this course can expect to make one class presentation, write a paper that critiques a scholarly source, write a 10-15-page research paper with an annotated bibliography, complete digital research assignments, and take a mid-term and final exam.

Courting Success

If you’re pondering a career as an attorney, consider pursuing an English major. A BA in English will give you a solid foundation of reading comprehension, compelling writing and analytical thinking.

Through Wilkes’ pre-law program, you’ll work with a pre-law advisor in addition to your advisor in the English department. The pre-law program provides guidance on law school preparation and admission, as well as access to guest speakers and law school visits.

Wilkes English majors consistently earn some of the highest scores on the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) as well as admission and full scholarships to highly ranked law schools.

Explore the Pre-law Program

Careers & Outcomes

English majors often pursue careers in writing, publishing, education or law, but a variety of industries and corporations need the creative and analytical skills English majors bring to the table.

Job Titles

  • Secondary or Middle-Level Educator
  • Attorney
  • University Professor
  • Managing Editor
  • Senior Editor
  • Content Writer
  • Public Relations Representative
  • Grant Writer
  • Health Care Manager


  • Google
  • Wyoming Valley West (PA) School District
  • Winchester (VA) Public Schools
  • Berkshire Hathaway Guard Insurance
  • Syracuse University Press
  • Elsevier Publishing
  • U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior
  • Web.com
  • Salisbury University
  • Think Company (PA)
  • Epic Games

Graduate Schools

  • Penn State Dickinson Law
  • University of Illinois
  • UCLA School of Law
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • Hofstra University
  • Rosemont College
  • Villanova University
  • New York University
  • Tulsa University

Spring Writers Series

The Allan Hamilton Dickson Spring Writers Series brings published authors to campus, providing the Wilkes community and other literature lovers with access to readings and book signings.

English majors have a unique opportunity to connect with these professionals and gain insight into the creative process through small class sessions and writing workshops.

We’ve hosted writers such as Zach Linge, Poupeh Missaghi and Howard Norman, who shared a diverse look at poetry, fiction and memoir.

Explore the Writers Series

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