English majors at Central gain a strong academic background that prepares them for careers in law, medicine, business, teaching, music, architecture, publishing, library science and many other fields. Many students choose to go on to graduate school, and the English faculty are prepared to assist with guidance and letters of recommendation.
The English department offers a flexible curriculum that is easily paired with other majors and prepares graduates thoroughly for professional life and advanced degrees in a wide array of disciplines. By studying language with respect and rigor, English majors cultivate two of the most essential habits of successful people: self-reflection and empathy for others.
Senior Emily Rouse spent a semester in London working for a Member of Parliament and preparing for law school.
Central English majors have recently attended graduate school at:
Students with internship experience have a proven track record in a professional environment, which often leads to employment after graduation. Central also offers distinctive internship experiences for English majors studying in Chicago, Washington, D.C., or London. Recent internships include:
English majors usually begin with the introductory course The Literary Imagination, with surveys in English and American literature, and with courses in genre and issue studies, such as Nature Writing and Environmental Literature, Literature by Women, African and Caribbean Literature, Illness and Health in Literature and Readings in Poetry. Students take two courses in advanced literary studies, one linguistics course and a course in advanced writing. English majors are encouraged to explore courses in history, philosophy or other disciplines, as well as competency in a modern foreign language. The major culminates with the senior seminar, a capstone experience which usually features a detailed look at the work of a single author.
Writing is also an essential part of the English program, and students choose from an array of courses in Short Story Writing, Poetry Writing, Personal Essay, Literary Journalism, Travel Writing and Writing for Nonprofit Organizations. The English major with an emphasis in writing is designed for students who want to couple literary and linguistic study with intensive work in creative or professional writing.
Learn more about English in the course catalog.
The English Department at Central College guarantees personal and thoughtful mentorship of student writing both in the classroom and in a distinctive portfolio review process. When students declare a major in English, the department requests a portfolio of at least three papers that demonstrate critical reading and mastery of style. Majors must submit a second portfolio in their senior year to be approved for graduation. English faculty meet as a department to discuss portfolios and return detailed feedback to each student on strengths and areas for improvement in his or her writing.
The combination of individual attention from professors and the collective opinion of the English Department on student writing helps our majors understand their writing process and grow increasingly more reflective about ways they may continue to improve.
The English as a Second Language endorsement program is designed for those who would like to teach ESL in the Iowa public school system, K-12. Those seeking endorsement must take 24 semester hours of coursework in each of the following areas: teaching English as a Second Language, applied linguistics, bilingual education, second language acquisition, language in culture and the nature of language.
Those seeking endorsement must complete the ESL Practicum, which involves 45 contact hours with ESL in a combination of grades K-6 and 7-12 settings.
The English department offers a number of opportunities for students to serve, study and write outside of the classroom including, service learning through the Writing for Nonprofit Organizations course, internships with literary magazines, newspapers, state governmental offices and local and area hospitals and businesses, independent studies in various fields including poetry writing, literary criticism and travel writing and earning practicum credit while team-teaching lower-level courses.
Students are encouraged to study abroad with one of Central’s international programs to enhance their development as global citizens, or with partner programs in Chicago, Washington, D.C. or New York City. Learn more about Central’s study abroad programs.
While abroad, English majors can study Shakespeare and contemporary theater through the yearly offerings of the Royal Shakespeare Company in London, Welsh heritage, language and literature in Wales or explore internships in Chicago in writing, editing, publishing and teaching.
Central offers creative writing scholarships of up to $2,000 for students (English majors and non-majors) planning to continue creative writing at the college level.
Nature writer Rick Bass will read from his short fiction April 14 at Central College.
Katie Zellmer ’14 began a service-learning project with an Iraqi family during her sophomore year. Nearly three years later, she still has a second home in the Salim household.
In New York City, Natasha Kingston '16 worked to unite veterans and civilians. Read a Q&A with Natasha as she reflects on her life-changing experience