Dr. Tiffany Eberle Kriner and students sitting outside on the lawn
Dr. Christine Colon teaching a class at Wheaton College
Dr. Richard Gibson teaching students at Wheaton College
Mattea Gernentz portrait


Why Study English?

As an English major you’ll learn to read closely, to think critically, and to write clearly, creatively, and compellingly. The Wheaton College English department's goal is that graduates will enjoy good literature and learn to write clear, coherent prose. You’ll study major English and American authors, together with pertinent continental and non-Western ones, and gain a comprehension of the various critical approaches essential to a mature understanding and evaluation of literary achievement. You’ll be equipped to situate works of literature in culture and history, to articulate how those works enter into conversation with one another, and to undertake meaningful research projects. Together we’ll strive to discover the relation of literature to the history of Christian thought and biblical truth.  

areas of concentration - literature, writing, and teaching
full-time faculty
Mattea Gernentz portrait
Beauty in the Ordinary

Mattea Gernentz ’20 draws from a storehouse of literature, history, and her own personal memories to inspire those around her to find meaning beyond what first meets the eye.

Thomas and Dyanne Martin
Welcome to the Martins!

We are pleased to welcome Thomas and Dyanne Martin to the English department and Wheaton College.

Dr. Beatrice Batson
Tribute to Dr. Beatrice Batson

Honoring the life of one of the most distinguished and celebrated professors in the history of the English department, and perhaps the College.

Why Study English at Wheaton?

Learn how to write more creatively in a supportive critique setting. Showing your work to others may be unnerving at first but it’s a crucial step to start looking at writing with a more critical eye. Through peer review, we work to build a strong academic community among faculty and students alike.

You’ll develop as a critical thinker during your time at Wheaton, engaging the enduring questions of literature. It’s not about how to read this particular text in this particular way, but about how to analyze the entire corpus of literature.

Our award-winning faculty love teaching and enjoy engaging with students both in and out of the classroom. They actively research and publish in their fields in ways that directly feed back into their teaching.

Student Publications

Wheaton houses a variety of student-run publications, including a weekly newspaper and a literary magazine whose editors are chosen from among the student body and receive stipends for their work. The literary magazine, Kodon, regularly welcomes submissions of original work in poetry, fiction, and art.


Internships provide a wonderful opportunity for students to earn college credit and explore career options while still at Wheaton.  Students have completed recent internships in law, book publishing, magazines, politics, business management, and banking.

Teaching Assistant Positions

Teaching Assistants are paid positions within the department which provide an opportunity for English majors to assist a professor.  Work may include preparing course materials, doing objective grading, or helping a professor with research or manuscript preparation.

Honors Thesis

The Honors Program at Wheaton provides an opportunity for in-depth work, culminating in an honors paper, which is defended orally before a faculty committee.  Students who complete this program successfully receive the designation of department honors on their transcript.

Writing Contests

Three college-sponsored writing contests are open to enrolled undergraduate students:  the Lowell-Grabill Creative Writing Contest with prizes in fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction; the James G. Jameson Critical Essay Contest; and the First-Year Writing contests for outstanding writing in ENGW 103/104 classes.

Study Abroad in England

Writing Center is an opportunity to study English literature and writing while immersed in traveling throughout England. The program emphasizes both study and travel, offering a two-month program and up to ten credits with stays in London, Oxford, and the Lake District.

Sigma Tau Delta

The International English Honor Society known as Sigma Tau Delta has a local chapter at Wheaton, conferring distinction on members and promoting all aspects of the study of English. The organization maintains high standards for academic excellence and exemplary character traits as requirements for membership.

Writing Center

The Wheaton in England collaborates with students across the disciplines to instill the habits, skills, and commitment conducive to effective writing. English majors can apply to work on the staff, which constitutes paid employment and a great resume builder.

What Will I Learn?

  • The English major with Literature concentration includes a solid overview of classical, British, and American literature and allows you choices within a range of categories from period courses, figure courses, and special topics. All students take a senior seminar, which focuses on the interrelationship of literature and theory from a Christian perspective.
  • The English major with Writing concentration option includes 24 hours in literature and a focused 16 hours in upper division writing courses, including options in creative writing, creative non-fiction, poetry, fiction, plus a range of varied courses under the special topics heading.
  • The English major with Teaching concentration provides a clearly articulated curriculum leading to state certification in teaching English. Students take a specialized set of courses in both English and education. As a part of the program, students enroll in courses in English teaching methods and in the methods and pedagogy of teaching writing. All candidates for this program spend time in the schools observing, doing methods practicum, and student teaching.

Provides an opportunity for in-depth work, culminating in an honors paper, which is defended orally before a faculty committee. Students who complete this program successfully receive the designation of department honors on their transcript.

Consult the course catalog for full listing of current courses available in this field.

English News and Stories

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Possible Careers for English Majors

An English major prepares you for many potential professions, not just one. Writing fosters a wide range of abilities indispensable in any sphere of life — critical thinking, shaping ideas, using words precisely, adapting to a specific audience, developing creativity, and imagination. Our Center for Vocation and Career will be happy to help you explore the breadth of options available to you.

  • Writer
  • Copywriter
  • TV / Film Producer
  • Public Relations / Advertising
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Corporate Communications
  • Journalist
  • Staff Writer
  • Editor
  • Content Strategist
  • Content Marketing Manager
  • Web Producer
  • Screenwriter
  • Literary Critic
  • B2B Content Marketer
  • Technical Writer
  • Corporate Blogger / Writer
  • Acquisitions Editor
  • Social Media Manager
  • Doctor of Medicine (M.D.)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in English, Education, Composition and Rhetoric, or other related fields (Ph.D.)
  • Juris Doctor (J.D.)
  • Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)
  • Master of Arts in English Language and Literature (M.A.)
  • Master of Divinity (M.Div.)
  • Master of Fine Arts in Fiction, Poetry, or Creative Nonfiction (M.F.A.)
  • Master of Library and Information Services (M.L.I.S.)
The most recent graduate school placements pursued:
  • Duke University
  • Harvard University
  • Penn State University
  • Princeton University/Theological Seminary
  • University of St. Andrews (Scotland)
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Michigan
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Texas
  • University of Virginia
Although working in a political context seems like a sharp departure from my internships in publishing, late night television, and live music, my current employers didn't see it that way. They recognized my diverse resume and found a few investment-worthy qualities. What was the common denominator? The skill set of a Wheaton College English major. — Suzanna McKinney '14, Birmingham, Alabama
Writing the honors thesis was one of the best decisions I made as an English student at Wheaton. The honors program gave me the chance to . . . begin a research project that I have continued to work on as a graduate student in English literature. — Nicole Iverson '14, Ph.D. candidate, University of Texas-Austin, Colorado Springs CO
Studying English at Wheaton College gives me room to think critically and holistically about literature, equipping me to do the same with my faith, my future, and the world around me. — Hunter Hambrick '17, Eads, Tennessee
Wheaton in England was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences . . . the trip changed the way I learn, and provided friendships I consider invaluable. — Geoffrey Hagberg '15, Camarillo, California
Marjorie Mead headshot
Marjorie Lamp Mead '74, '06
Associate Director of the Marion E. Wade Center
Honoring History
"Keeping company with evangelical influencers and artful creators began as early as Marj’s freshman year on Wheaton’s campus..."
Abbie Pettit '15 Wheaton College English Alumna
Abbie Pettit '15
Equipped to Approach the World with a Christ-Centered Perspective
"I can't thank the professors at Wheaton enough for preparing me to be where I am now, working as a copywriter and getting my MFA in Writing. My professors equipped me to write well, think well, and approach the world with a Christ-centered perspective."
Jennifer Cate 93 Wheaton College English Alumna
Jennifer Cate '93
Executive Director, Hands Along The Nile, Alexandria, VA
From Wheaton to the World
"My undergraduate degree from Wheaton led to a Master’s in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, which carried me around the world, teaching English and training instructors in Kazakhstan, Egypt, and Syria. Those experiences then ushered me into my current career in international development."
Trevor McFadden PoliSci IR Alumnus
Trevor McFadden '01
Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Washington D.C. Metro Area
A Desire To Do Justice
"My years at Wheaton prepared me in numerous ways for a life in the legal profession . . . These lessons have been important for me previously as a law firm partner and now as a senior executive at the U.S. Justice Department."
Yeesum Lo '09
Corporate Project Manager and Producer at Endemol Shine Australia
From Wheaton to Television Production in Australia
"The past ten years of my life have included living in five cities and an adventure at every turn. God has surprised me in so many ways with how He has brought me from my hometown of Hong Kong, to Wheaton, to New York, to Los Angeles, and finally, to my current place in Sydney, Australia."