You’ve heard that good readers make the best writers. A degree in English Literature will help you discover how both reading and writing open doors to multiple career options and a meaningful life.
Explore your options — classes, internships, research and study abroad. Find what interests you, discover what you love, and create a major experience that jumpstarts your future.
Learn to analyze literature alongside professors who share your passion for the printed page. Develop a global mindset by studying a diverse range of authors from different cultures and communities.
English majors are good thinkers and communicators who can apply those skills in any kind of job. We’ll help you discover what that means for you: pursuing a career in publishing in New York City? Working for a literary journal and teaching teenagers to express themselves through poetry? Going into business, where your analytical and communication skills are in high demand? You’ll have all these options, and more.
Plus, you’ll be in Austin, home to the Texas Book Festival, the state’s largest independent bookstore, and a brand-new Central Library that’s generating serious buzz.
What do our graduates do?
English Literature majors go on to a variety of careers and graduate schools from St. Edward’s. Here’s a sample.
- English Teaching Assistant in the Fulbright U.S. Student Program
- Youth services librarian at Matheson Memorial Library
- Graduate student at The University of Texas at Austin
- Student at the Columbia University Publishing Institute in Oxford, United Kingdom
- Graduate student at Brandeis University
For more information on the English Literature major, please contact Professor of English Catherine Rainwater. The English Literature major is part of the Department of Literature, Writing and Rhetoric.
54 Alumni Who Inspire
St. Edward’s University counts more than 25,000 alumni around the globe. Some are making their mark in the job they started right after graduation. Others have excelled in multiple careers. Read about how they’re all building on the education they received at St. Edward’s.
The Classroom and Beyond
English Literature majors have ample opportunities to attend live theatre and meet visiting writers, contribute to student publications, study abroad, and intern with an organization connected to publishing, literacy, education or communication.
Your courses will draw on the resources of Austin’s cultural and arts scene to help literature come to life.
In your Shakespeare class, you’ll attend at least one live performance and interact with the actors.
In Milton, you’ll visit the Harry Ransom Center reading room to examine the archives of Milton’s works.
SEU to You
How much remains unseen? Students in Associate Professor of Creative Writing Sasha West’s Poetry I class explore the art of attention — what’s in our lives and what we have been missing.
- Sorin Oak Review is a literary magazine that showcases the poetry, prose and artwork of St. Edward’s students. Working on the editorial staff is a great way to gain experience in project management and the practical details of putting together a publication.
- Arete is a student-produced academic journal that publishes student-written research, nonfiction essays and commentary. Editors choose from among the dozens of submissions to create a cohesive journal that represents a variety of perspectives.
- New Literati is a student-produced journal of both academic and creative work.
- Hilltop Views, the weekly student newspaper, is published both in print and online. Student journalists report news from the campus and greater Austin community. You can get involved as early as your freshman year as a writer, editor, photographer or designer.
- B. Hooved is the student humor journal, inspired by our Hilltopper goat mascot.
- The Marcia Kinsey Visiting Writers Series brings poets, novelists, playwrights and essayists to campus to read from their work and talk with students about the process of writing. Previous visiting writers include Jericho Brown, Jonathan Safran Foer, Naomi Shihab Nye and Mindy Kaling.
- Sigma Tau Delta is an English honor society and student literary club that meets for poetry readings, theatrical events, service projects, book discussions and professional workshops about resume-writing and applying for internships.
As an English Literature major, you’ll have the opportunity to conduct research on topics that interest you and present it at the Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression, on campus, or at professional conferences.
Recent presentations have included:
- Intersections between the political thought of John Milton and Nicolo Machiavelli
- How Mary Shelley repurposed the poetry of John Milton to build a feminist ethical vision in the nineteenth century
English Literature majors intern in a variety of settings where they use their analytical and communication skills and gain professional experience. Students have recently interned at the following organizations:
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Badgerdog children’s and adult creative writing workshops
- Literati Books, a curated books-of-the-month club for kids
- Women’s Storybook Project of Texas, whose mission is to connect children with their incarcerated mothers through the joy of literature
- Annie’s List (communications internship)
- Harry Ransom Center
English Literature majors can take courses in creative writing, literature and literary studies at St. Edward’s partner universities including:
- The National University of Ireland in Galway
- Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland
- The University of Roehampton in London
St. Edward’s faculty occasionally lead trips that focus on a particular aspect of literature. Professors from English Literature and Graphic Design have led a study trip to England and Ireland that investigated the history of both countries’ literature and the evolution of its visual style and artwork. The group visited sites including the Trinity College Old Library in Dublin and the Book of Kells; the Globe Theatre; the British Library; the town and cathedral of Canterbury; and the home of William Morris, a graphic designer for literary texts in the 19th century.
English Literature Tracks and Degree Requirements
1. English Literature - General
Students in this specialization gain a broad foundation in American and British literature from a variety of periods, and also take literature electives that appeal to more specific interests.
Major Requirements: 42 hours of English Literature major courses are required.
General Education Requirements: 54 hours of general education courses plus major courses and electives.
View and download the full degree plan for the English Literature - General major (PDF).
A few examples of electives in the General specialization have included:
- Native American Literature
- Literature of Crime and Punishment
- Science and Fiction
- "Radicals and Revolutionaries" in Literature
- Uncanny Literature
- Literature of Love
2. English Literature with a Creative Writing Specialization
The Creative Writing specialization also offers a broad foundation in American and British literature from multiple periods, but allows students to take electives in creative writing.
Major Requirements: 42 hours of English Literature major courses, 9 hours of which are concentrated on creative writing.
General Education Requirements: 54 hours of general education courses plus major courses and electives.
View and download the full degree plan for English Literature with a Creative Writing Specialization (PDF).
A few examples of Creative Writing electives within the Literature major have included:
- Poetry and Fiction workshops
- Writing for Stage and Screen
- Fantastical Fiction
- Creative Nonfiction
English Literature faculty members stay active in their fields and bring their expertise to the classroom. They are a part of a larger group of Literature, Writing and Rhetoric faculty.
Catherine Rainwater, Professor of English, Area Coordinator of the Literature major
Dr. Rainwater teaches primarily American Literature and specializes in Native American literature. She also teaches literary theory and criticism, and creative nonfiction courses. She has authored and edited several books and critical essays, and has been recognized with the Norman Foerster Award, the Penelope Niven Creative Nonfiction Award, and a Choice Award from the American Library Association. Her current work in progress is a scholarly study of Native American writers' conceptions of personhood.
Alan Altimont, Associate Professor of English
Dr. Altimont teaches Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Drama, British Literature, and writing for live stage, screen, and games. His aim as a teacher is to familiarize students with literary cultures past and present, and to foster young writers eager to make their own contributions to these wonderful inheritances. He has published articles on the John Berryman, Andrew Marvell, and William Shakespeare, and recently translated the Latin poems of the 11th-century bi-sexual Angevin priest, Marbod of Rennes.
Barbara Filippidis, Professor of English
Dr. Filippidis teaches Victorian, modern, and postmodern literature. She has directed the Honors Program and created the first honors Living and Learning Community. She enjoys mentoring students as they prepare papers to present at conferences both on and off campus and is the SEU 2015 Advisor of the Year. She has published articles on Walker Percy and T.S. Eliot and is currently researching poetry by working class writers to include in Victorian and early 20th century classes.
Christopher Flynn, Associate Professor of English
Dr. Flynn teaches 18th-century and Romantic British literature, Irish literature, and French cinema. He has taught abroad in Angers, France, on two occasions. Dr. Flynn has published a book and several articles and essays on British and Irish literature, several creative nonfiction essays, and poetry. He has also directed several short films. He is currently at work on Swimming with Byron, a feature-length documentary about the spaces and places of British Romanticism.
Brian Sheerin, Associate Professor of English
Dr. Sheerin teaches Medieval and Renaissance literature, specializing in Shakespeare Studies. His passion for anything old and British helps students delve deeply and creatively into works ranging from Beowulf to Paradise Lost. He regularly takes his Shakespeare students to live productions of local plays, and recently he co-led a study abroad trip to Ireland and England for literature majors. Dr. Sheerin has published a book and several articles on the intersection of economics and literature in Renaissance England.
About the Minor
The English Literature minor makes an excellent pairing with nearly any other major. Recently, for instance, students have paired the English Literature minor with majors in Video Game Development, Criminal Justice, Biology, Communication, Business, and many others. Talk to any of our English Literature professors to figure out how to make this minor work for you.
Students who wish to earn an English Literature minor must take the following coursework, totaling 24 hours.
- British Literature I
- British Literature II
- American Literature I
- American Literature II
- One Course from Period Studies
Students must select three courses from the English Literature electives.
For more information about applicable coursework, please consult the undergraduate bulletin.