English—Literature & Writing… | University of Northwestern, St. Paul
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Department of English & Literature
English—Literature & Writing Concentration
Group collaboration in writing classroom
Department of English & Literature

English—Literature & Writing Concentration

  • Bachelor of Science
  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Undergraduate

125 credits

required for program

125 credits

125 credits

required for program

Learn to critique literary texts in three primary genres: creative, expository, and technical. Build a portfolio of both creative and professional writing texts while you sharpen your research and writing abilities. The English major with a concentration in literature and writing prepares you to pursue graduate work in English, as well as careers in fields such as ministry, law, business, teaching, technical writing, publishing, and freelancing.

Why study English with a concentration in literature and writing at Northwestern?

You can learn from literary scholars who apply classic texts cross-culturally and research literary history through primary source documents. You'll work with published creative writing faculty who will provide graduate-level feedback on your work. We offer professional writing classes and internships that can lead to jobs after college.

Northwestern partners with Best Semester to provide you with the opportunity to study in Oxford. You may also travel to places like the British Isles for a summer or spring break trip.

You can attend writers’ readings in venues off campus such as Minnesota’s literary center, The Loft, or hear from special speakers at venues such as the University of Minnesota. Join the editorial staff of Inkstone, Northwestern's literary magazine and attend the Northwestern Christian Writer’s Conference.

As an English major, you’ll be able to assist professors, tutor students in writing at the Writing Center, and participate in internships by writing promotional media for the department or with Northwestern’s grant writer.

Off campus, students have interned with Bethany House Publishers, Minnesota Public Radio, and Redleaf Press. Other internships emphasize literary outreach in Twin Cities organizations.

Our alumni are accepted into graduate programs across the nation: Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, University of Saint Thomas, University of Minnesota-Duluth, University of Arizona, Hollins, the University of Virginia, and the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa.

If you enjoy reading and writing, have a passion for literature, and are interested in a career with various writing possibilities, this might be the right degree for you.

What will I learn?

You will learn to analyze literature, think critically, and develop effective written and verbal communication skills.

I did indeed feel prepared for graduate school. I was able to workshop creative writing and analyze literature better than a lot of my peers and had much more practical experience.

Careers in literature and writing

There are a variety of career and academic pathways that begin with a degree in English with a concentration in literature and writing.

What types of work are related to this degree?

  • Creative writing
  • Grant and proposal writing
  • Technical writing and editing
  • Media and journalism
  • Publishing
  • Curriculum development
  • Copywriting
  • Public relations
  • Teaching
  • Law
  • Research
  • Editing
  • Freelance writing/consulting
  • Corporate communication
  • Journalist

Who employs people with this degree?

  • Universities and colleges
  • Consulting firms
  • Publishers
  • Small-to-mid size businesses
  • Mid-to-large size businesses
  • Law firms
  • Newspapers
  • Technical industries
  • Magazines
  • Libraries
  • Public relations firms
  • Non-profits
  • Self-employed/freelance
  • Educational publishing
View Career Guide

of seniors feel well prepared for their first job in the field


of seniors feel faculty set high, clearly stated expectations


of seniors feel prepared to integrate their faith with their academic field

Preparing for a Career

College graduation rates continue to increase each year making competition for jobs even greater. Set yourself apart from the crowd with the following strategies for getting started, networking, and gaining experience.

Strategies for success:

  • Pursuing an English major with a literature and writing concentration can be good preparation for graduate or professional training in areas such as English, law, political science, religious studies, etc.
  • Develop a specialty area of interest via additional coursework and/or work experience for greater marketability within that specific career field.
  • For fields such as technical writing, finance writing, legal writing or other specialties in writing, research the needed education and/or professional certifications.
  • Consider cultivating other career opportunities to supplement a freelance writing income.
  • Experience is key! Seek out any opportunity (paid or unpaid) to write so you can gain experience, network and build a solid portfolio.

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