Turn your passion for reading and writing into a rewarding career.

As an English major at Westfield State University, you’ll go beyond what’s on the page and engage in ideas about language, literature, and culture. Read the latest publications, learn from professors sharing their current research, and engage in conversations about writing and reading in today’s world. Our B.A. in English places a high value on social justice — encouraging you to listen to new perspectives and explore how writing and critical reading can be a form of activism.

You’ll also build and explore your writing craft in a supportive community. Small class sizes mean you will grow and perfect your skills in a meaningful writing workshop format while also gaining practice giving and receiving constructive criticism.

You’ll transform what you discover in the classroom and put it into practice in your career. Test out career possibilities, develop your portfolio and professional skills, and build your resume in career-preparation courses and workshops.

Available concentrations:

Learn how to recognize, evaluate, and articulate human values, motives, and qualities through rigorous analysis of a diverse collection of major literary works in the English literature degree concentration. You’ll build a strong foundation in literary history and genre with opportunities to specialize in areas like the American Novel, Satire, Narrative Medicine, Literature and Film, Caribbean Literature, and more.

Develop your talents in all styles of writing: creative, professional, journalistic, and academic writing. You’ll master a wide variety of flexible skills so you can use your writing abilities to great effect in a wide variety of settings. Plus, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to publish as an undergraduate as well as share your work at public readings.

English Teacher Licensure (grades 5-12) 
With an English teaching degree concentration, you can share your passion for reading and writing with the next generation. You’ll develop your expertise in literature study, writing practices, and engaging in critical dialogue. You’ll also gain extensive experience in creative preparation and teaching practices that will invigorate your students and classroom. Plus, you will establish an understanding of and commitment to anti-bias/anti-racist pedagogy to help address inequalities in schools.

Program Highlights

  • Primarily in-person but selected courses may be offered remote
  • Focused career preparation
  • Nationally recognized honor society
  • Internships and capstone projects

Explore, learn, understand, and advocate through the power of storytelling.

Are you ready to start earning your B.A. in English?

A B.A. in English that prepares you for a successful career and the road ahead.

  • A Westfield University student wearing a “Reach to Teach” T-shirt smiles while posing for a photo.

    Approved and accredited educator preparation

    All our education programs are approved by the State of Massachusetts and have earned national (AAQEP) accreditation that includes a special 2020 commendation for excellence in antiracist education, as well as approval by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

  • A Westfield University student watches a school-age student draws a picture.

    Real-world experience

    Gain hands-on experience through a variety of internship opportunities tailored to your professional and personal interests. Apply what you’ve learned in real working environments like area libraries, publishers, newspapers, non-profit organizations, and businesses eager to work with Westfield State English majors.

  • A Westfield University student works on their homework at a table in a common area.

    Diverse perspectives

    Engage with coursework that centers ethnic American and global literatures at the heart of your curriculum. Choose from a wide range of courses including Contemporary Cross-Cultural Literature; Global Women’s Writing; Black American, Asian American, and Native American Literatures; Queer Literature and Theory; and more.

Program Details

Program Mission

The English Department engages students in the study of the written word. We help our students to become powerful writers, creative and critical readers and thinkers, and innovative English Language Arts teachers. We do this through offering challenging and rewarding preparation in writing, literature, and English education and valuing close faculty–student mentoring designed to support students in their development and discovery. Rooted in Westfield State’s tradition of building professional preparation on a strong liberal arts foundation, our curriculum encourages students across the university—first-years in composition classes; students in core literature, film, and writing courses; English majors and minors—to develop as rhetorically flexible writers and researchers and as imaginative and responsible interpreters of texts, and then to carry what they learn in our classrooms into lives that create meaning and change for themselves and others.

Program Vision

To be recognized in New England for an innovative, high-quality, and versatile program that invites students to explore the multiplicity of options in an English degree and to leave our department with the confidence to pursue meaning and purpose in their professional and personal lives. We seek to be leaders in promoting a culture of belonging and in pursuing anti-racist work on our campus and in our field.

Learning Outcomes

Literature Concentration Outcomes

  • Demonstrate understanding of literary history by analyzing literary texts in relation to literary movements, genres, or periods.
  • Demonstrate ability to employ concepts and methods from major literary theories and critical approaches in original critical writing.
  • Demonstrate ability to investigate connections between cultural contexts (domestic or global) and the English language and literature in English.
  • Demonstrate competence in locating and using library resources, including book collections and scholarly research databases, and in selecting and integrating source materials in critical essays, using MLA documentation style.
  • Demonstrate understanding the ability to write clearly, engagingly, and persuasively in literary analysis and other genres.
  • Demonstrate ability to apply learning in the major to professional and applied settings, as evidenced in such activities as teaching practica, internships, graduate school and career exploration, and participation in conferences and societies.
  • Demonstrate effective and informative oral and presentation communication skills.

Outcomes for 200-level Literature Survey Classes

  • Demonstrate close-reading skills that produce layered, rich, cohesive meanings from a text.
  • Through formal writing, demonstrate original and critical thinking by posing and answering interpretive questions clearly and persuasively.
  • Demonstrate the ability to recognize and use reference books, databases, and leading journals in the discipline.
  • Demonstrate breadth of exposure by analyzing literary texts in relation to a variety of literary movements, genres, and periods.
  • Demonstrate awareness of larger debates in American and British literary history.

Writing Concentration Outcomes

  • Demonstrate practical applications of a variety of writing styles, creative and professional genres, and rhetorical strategies and conventions.
  • Demonstrate competency with revision processes and collaborative revision as both critic and author through activities such as workshops, peer reviews, and group projects.
  • Demonstrate competency in editing for grammar, mechanics, and conventions.
  • Demonstrate the ability to present original written materials orally in contexts such as workshops.
  • Demonstrate awareness of opportunities to circulate original writing beyond the classroom in forums such as publications, internships, contests, and poetry slams.
  • Demonstrate the capability for self-assessment, including in relation to portfolios and self-critiques.

Assessment of Writing Concentration Outcomes 

The Writing Committee conducts a regular assessment of student papers and portfolios submitted for specific writing courses.

Composition Program Outcomes

Goals for Composition I and Composition II

In these courses, students will:

  • Consider: Rhetorical occasion, or the audience, genre, and purpose of any writing/reading situation
  • Reflect: on the relationship between individuals and society, on their development/growth as a writer, on strategies/tools they might import to other rhetorical occasions, on their role as a writer and thinker in our world, and on the relationship between oral and written texts
  • Explore: strategies for organizing a text, multiple viewpoints; strategies for reading academic texts; and strategies for developing rhetorical flexibility in regard to voice 
  • Engage: with texts, with peer and instructors feedback, with complex ideas and problems, with academic discourse, with sources, and in scholarly conversations 
  • Practice: generative work and extensive revision; locating, evaluating, summarizing, and synthesizing sources; thinking on paper; representing complex thinking in formal writing; conventional documentation; and inquiry-based writing and reading 
  • Produce: polished prose that claims a position 

In achieving these goals for Composition I, students will: 

  • Write and revise at least 16 pages of formal academic prose in varied genres and for varied audiences 
  • Write at least one issues-based documented text that uses summary, response, and analysis 
  • Gain exposure to and practice a variety of feedback strategies involving their instructor and peers throughout the drafting process 
  • Read texts as models for writing 
  • Develop strategies for comprehension, interpretation, and analysis of texts 
  • Attend a library session related to a class text/project 
  • Actively prepare for and participate in the classroom community 
  • Produce a final portfolio 

In achieving these goals for Composition II, students will: 

  • Write and revise at least 20 pages of formal academic prose (including an annotated bibliography and research proposal) that have been through an extensive drafting process 
  • Write at least one inquiry-driven research text and correctly document source gathered from the library and from other methods of research 
  • Write a formal annotated bibliography and project proposal to assist in scaffolding researched text 
  • Build upon and continue to practice feedback strategies 
  • Read, respond to, and critique a variety of texts 
  • Attend a library session related to a class text/project 
  • Actively prepare for and participate in the classroom community 

Assessment Plan for Composition Program

The Composition Committee regularly assesses student learning through an analysis of students’ end-of-the-semester portfolios. Please see the Composition report in section 2B, especially “Promoting Portfolios for Comp II”, for more information about this year’s assessment activities. 

As a first-generation college student, it was my English professors who gave me advice and supported me.

—Meaghan Davis, ’21

What can you do with an English degree?

As an English major at Westfield State University, you’ll build the foundational skills and knowledge you need to launch your career in areas such as:

  • Education
  • Writing, Editing, and Publishing
  • Library and Information Services
  • Journalism and Public Relations
  • Law and Government
  • Arts and Entertainment
  • Non-profit Organizations
  • Human Resources
A teacher stands amongst seated students in a classroom providing instruction.

Ready to learn more?

Get big school features with small school advantages.  

We offer high-quality academics, unique learning opportunities, and a gorgeous campus—and we have small classes, accessible faculty, and one-on-one support. 

You'll join fellow motivated students ready to make the most of the college experience through active participation. Become part of a caring and committed community that understands and embraces the bridge between academic study and civic responsibility.

  • 15:1

    student-faculty ratio

  • 87%

    of students receive financial aid

  • 84%

    of grads are employed in their field

Learn from experienced faculty in small classes

Our faculty members value teaching and have chosen to devote their careers to a teaching-focused institution. They are scholars, published writers, literary historians, and community members. They are also active in their field, presenting their research and serving in leadership positions in scholarly organizations. They draw on this professional work in planning courses that are innovative and reflective of new developments in the field.

Class sizes range from 15 to 25 students, allowing for meaningful one-on-one attention from your instructors as well as collaboration and networking opportunities with your classmates.

A Westfield University professor talks one-on-one with a student.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Westfield State University accredited? 

Westfield State University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). Our educator preparation programs are also approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and accredited by the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP).

Do I have to submit SAT/ACT scores or an essay when I apply?

Westfield State University does not require an application essay, SAT and/or ACT scores, or letters of recommendation (except for special program admissions).     

All first-year applicants are reviewed for admission based on their high school record. First-year applicants must meet the minimum eligibility requirements established by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) in order to qualify for admission to a state university.   

Learn more about the application process and admissions here.

How much does Westfield State University cost?

Westfield State University offers a comprehensive university experience at an affordable cost—with many options for financial aid. Visit our Cost and Aid page to learn more. 

Will I receive academic support?

We’re invested in your success. Whether you need a little help adjusting to college, study strategies, tutoring, or disability services, the team at the Academic Achievement Department is ready to help. Our mission is to provide you with the tools to explore academic opportunities as well as to plot strategies for continued growth. 

Learn more about our student support services here.

Request Information

We’re here to answer your questions and deliver the support you need along your academic journey. Please provide your contact information and area of interest, and we’ll be in touch shortly.


English, B.A.