Major & Minor


The study of English develops mastery in the essential skills of close reading, thorough analysis, insightful interpretation, and clear verbal and written expression of thought.

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About the English Major

Studying English enables one to see the world in a broader context, make informed judgments, synthesize seemingly disparate ideas, and develop the soft skills highly sought after in the workforce. English majors become skilled in critical thinking, clear writing, and effective communication as they study a wide range of canonical and non-canonical literary works from around the world.

The English major is incredibly versatile, leading to a tremendous amount of freedom in career choice. Graduates of the English major have successful careers in law, medicine, teaching, business and entrepreneurship, organizational management, writing, public service, public relations, human resources, sales, publishing, editing, and more.

Our small class sizes promote vigorous discussion and the exchange of ideas with classmates and teachers. English majors receive individualized attention as they learn information literacy, come to understand diverse perspectives, and are thoroughly prepared for their chosen graduate schools and careers. The strong relationships majors forge with peers, professors, and mentors at Southern Virginia University can last a lifetime.

Learning Outcomes

What you’ll learn in the English major:

  1. Read a variety of literary and non-literary texts closely, recognizing subtle and complex differences in language use and literary genre.
  2. Write clear, persuasive analytical essays driven by arguments based on the texts using appropriate literary terminology and cultural and aesthetic values relevant to these texts.
  3. Ability to research literary works, authors, and contexts, utilize library resources, incorporate and document research appropriately, and adhere to the highest standards of intellectual integrity.
  4. Broad knowledge of key authors, major traditions and movements, and literary and cultural history.

Career Opportunities

There is a wide array of potential careers with an English degree, including jobs in writing, law, public relations, education and more depending on your personal and professional goals.

  • Public Relations
  • Editor
  • Journalist
  • Writer
  • Teacher
  • Librarian
  • Communications

Getting Started in the English Major

Follow these simple steps below to get a head start in the
English Major today.


Begin by taking Introduction to Literary Studies (ENG 200) in your first year

Contact Your Advisor

Get in touch with New tab, Opens Bio of: Professor Sarah Maitland to discuss your interests and goals


Turn in a completed PDFDeclare Major Form to the Registrar’s Office

Questions? Contact the Registrar at

English Faculty

Professor Ariel Silver

Ariel Clark Silver

Assistant Professor of English

Professor Joe Bouchelle

Joe Bouchelle

Associate Professor of Composition; Associate Director of University Writing

Professor Carrie Brotherson

Carrie Brotherson

Assistant Professor of English

Professor Scott Dransfield

Scott Dransfield

Professor of English; Liberal Arts Program Coordinator

Ian Haver

Ian Haver

Instructor of Writing; Director of the Writing Center

Professor Karen Hufford

Karen Hufford

Professor of English; Creative Writing Program Coordinator

James Lambert

James Lambert

Provost; Associate Professor of English

Professor Dallin Lewis

Dallin Lewis

Associate Professor of English

Professor Sarah Maitland

Sarah Maitland

Associate Professor of English; Associate Provost; English Program Coordinator; Director of University Writing

“The English program focuses on developing analytical and critical thinking and writing so that when you walk out as a successful graduate, you are prepared for any number of fields. Most of the top qualifications that employers are looking for are writing, critical thinking, and communication skills—all things that are really important to our program.”

—Sarah Maitland, Associate Professor of English