College of Arts & Sciences Department of English

English at WSU Tri-Cities

The Department of English at Washington State University Tri-Cities provides students with a broad critical and cultural understanding of literature and literary studies, while at the same time emphasizing the writing and analytical skills that are crucial to success in the university, in professional and graduate school, and in the workplace.

The program of study is flexible and allows English majors to focus on particular areas of intellectual interest, to pursue electives, minors, and second majors in other departments, and to shape their academic careers in line with professional and personal interests.The curriculum is designed for:
  • Students who desire a broad education emphasizing language and literature;
  • Students who wish to teach or to prepare for graduate studies in English or related fields; and
  • Students who intend to use the background and skills learned in the major as a foundation for careers in writing, editing, law, or business.
The curriculum provides majors the opportunity to complete their studies withal a small discussion seminar or senior project in their area of emphasis.

Why Major in English?

There are few guarantees in life, and one of the most commonly misunderstood notions about college is that its primary purpose is to “train” students for a particular job. In fact, students often come to college with the idea that they will get what they need, and only what they need, to walk into a high-salaried job when they graduate. This simply is not the case. Though many students do get better jobs after a four-year degree than without, the nature of the world economy today makes that process extremely unpredictable. The truth of the matter is simply this: an undergraduate degree simply prepares you to become a more self-aware, competent, responsible citizen who has the drive and the skills to learn and the ability to communicate effectively with others. Any discipline who claims much more than this for their undergraduates may be overselling their program.A degree in English, on the other hand, does aspire to help students reach this level of preparation. Through a shared love of reading, writing, and discussing ideas, students in the English major become astute critical thinkers, expert communicators, and creative problem solvers. What’s more, through literature, English majors also are confronted with the nature of humanity itself: what it means to be human in an increasingly dehumanized environment. Employers may not care whether or not you read The Adventures of Huck Finn, but if you learned the lessons of compassion, cultural strife, and innocence that are present in that book, you will become a better employee. Every job requires some amount of on-the-job training, so the real test is how quickly you can learn and how well your skills and experience have prepared you for the challenges that are sure to arise.