English | 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.

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.

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.

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.

Learning Outcomes

  • Read a variety of literary and non-literary texts closely, recognizing subtle and complex differences in language use and literary genre.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Broad knowledge of key authors, major traditions and movements, and literary and cultural history.

Getting Started in the English Major

  1. Enroll

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

  2. Contact Your Advisor

    Get in touch with Professor Sarah Maitland to discuss your interests and goals

  3. Declare

    Turn in a completed Declare Major form to the Registrar’s Office


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

Alumni Success

Miranda Macfarlene (’20)

Ph.D. in 18th Century Literature at University of Notre Dame

Read more
Anna Liu

Anna Liu (’23)

Preschool Teacher at La Petite Academy

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Faculty Contacts:

“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.”

– Professor Sarah Maitland