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When you read great literature, you encounter the culture and concerns of individuals and societies – some of those similar to the ones you know, some very different. You become more than a mere observer of the drama and dilemma before you: You enter intimately into the experiences of others, seeing with their eyes. Language, character and plot deepen your understanding of the world, past and present.

In other words, the study of English equips you to make an imaginative leap to other points of view, to think critically and then to reflect – to arrive at and present your own insights. You analyze the written word and then express yourself in writing, academically and creatively – skills that will serve you well in virtually any intellectual or professional pursuit.

As a student in the St. Norbert College English department, you can choose from several degree programs:
  • Bachelor of Arts in English
  • Bachelor of Arts in English with a creative writing emphasis
  • Bachelor of Arts in English with a secondary education certification
  • Minor in English
  • Minor in English teaching
These academic programs prepare you equally well for graduate studies or the world of work.
An English Degree at Work
Studying English teaches you to take in, analyze and synthesize information in a vital, flexible and thoughtful way. Such skills have served St. Norbert College English graduates in both academic and professional pursuits.

St. Norbert College English majors have earned Master of Arts, Master of Fine Arts, doctorate and law degrees from an impressive list of colleges and universities, including:
  • Boston University
  • DePaul University
  • Indiana University
  • Marquette University
  • Ohio University
  • Purdue University
  • St. Louis University
  • St. Thomas University
  • Washington University
  • Washington State University
  • Wichita State University
  • Yale University
Students of English also have pursued careers in many fields with their Bachelor of Arts degree or English minor:
  • Public relations
  • Secondary education
  • Advertising
  • Freelance writing
  • Medicine and related health fields
  • Law
  • Editing
  • Communications consulting
  • Technical writing
English is also a popular major to prepare for graduate school programs in other disciplines that highlight critical thinking and writing. Interestingly, English majors have the highest rate of acceptance to medical school among all majors. 

Enrich Your English Degree
As an English major at St. Norbert College, you’ll create a senior-year portfolio that captures your undergraduate writing experience. It will serve you well in your job search or graduate school application process.

In addition, you'll have numerous educational opportunities outside the classroom. The international English honor society, Sigma Tau Delta, fosters social and intellectual interaction with literary students and English faculty. As a member, you'll have the opportunity to attend and/or present at the annual Sigma Tau Delta Undergraduate Convention.

The college also publishes North Wind: The Journal of George MacDonald Studies. Interns have hands-on experience editing and producing this international journal, as well as maintaining the digital archive of all journal volumes.

You also may pursue an internship or seek work in the college’s Writing Center to gain invaluable professional experience.

The opportunity to study abroad can enhance your understanding of language and its subtleties, as well as of other cultures and peoples.

If creative writing is your passion, you’ll be able to submit to Graphos – our student-run literary journal – and you will have the opportunity to work with St. Norbert’s writer-in-residence.

Several scholarships and awards recognize the accomplishments of St. Norbert English students.

Student Highlight

A pre-grad-school opportunity supported work by Gabriella Zewdu-Habte ’15 on Danzy Senna’s “Caucasia.” The novel focuses on the problems the main character has when she’s labeled by others as white, even though she is biracial and self-identifies as black. Zewdu-Habte’s research focuses on what she calls “visual racism.”

“That’s when you’re discriminated against and defining someone else’s race using simplistic visual notions,” she says. “Some people say we’re in a post-racial society, but that’s not the case. It was great to find this in a literary setting and then bridge out from there. I’ve been impacted by my culture and have answered questions about my race and wanted to explore that same theme in literature.”

Read the Story 

Faculty Perspective

“These were not just any eight students. These were the newly minted Gap students, just returned from 26 days in the Boundary Waters. Twenty-six days without a shower. Twenty-six intense days of wilderness backpacking, kayaking and rock-climbing. As a group now seated in a circle in a Mulva Library classroom, they fairly vibrated with a sense of readiness.”– Deirdre Egan-Ryan (English)

Read the Story

Alumna Profile

As a technical writer for the U.S. Bank trust division, Erin Nitka ’00 works with the training team to develop learner-focused training materials. She creates and maintains procedures, manuals, job aids and workflows for bank projects and technology tools, including e-learning tools for online training.

With a Master of Arts degree in literature from Marquette University, she also teaches English at Bryant and Stratton College in Milwaukee. There, she developed and taught an online literature course to help students appreciate 20th-century authors.