Majors & Programs


Degrees Offered: BA Minor MA

The English major at Cal Poly Humboldt offers students a solid foundation in the humanities with emphasis on the skills in reading, writing, and reasoning that can serve as a basis for graduate-level study, as well as for many careers.

Our faculty can assure students of individual attention in the design and planning of their particular Pathways. Since the richness of historical knowledge, criticism, the study of language, close reading, and written expression can never be exhausted, the underlying goal of the major is to provide students with the flexible skills needed to approach fresh contexts rather than with a fixed body of knowledge.

The core courses have been designed to give beginning students a breadth of literary experience, and then, as they attain more knowledge of the discipline, the Pathways provide a deeper understanding of language, literature, critical theory, and writing. This progression will be maintained through a series of courses with variable topics in these areas at the upper-division level.

The general goals of the University include providing opportunities for disciplined examination of past and present human experience. The English major achieves this goal by introducing students to great works of the creative imagination in which this experience is vividly revealed and recorded. Students are required to study the medium used to render this experience and to learn to use the English language more proficiently themselves to convey their developing knowledge. Thus the English major prepares students for advanced academic work, for a wide variety of career opportunities, and for positions of leadership in society.

What is Applied English Studies?

The MA in English—with an emphasis in Applied English Studies—offers a comprehensive curriculum meant to prepare graduates for a range of pursuits. With an emphasis on professional development, the program expands opportunities for K-12 teachers, lays a foundation for doctoral study, and prepares students for jobs in college teaching as well as careers in publishing, editing, professional writing, librarianship, digital scholarship, and teaching English abroad.

You’ll study how language acts upon the world in order to communicate effectively with diverse communities, in both print and digital media. You’ll participate in conversations about social justice, pedagogy, literature, writing, and representation that extend beyond the classroom and hone your skills in critical reading, writing, teaching, research, and digital humanities. Working one-on-one with faculty and in a supportive cohort of emerging writers and scholars, you’ll apply learning in real-world settings—in the community, in the university library, in the classroom and the writing center. Our program values the deep connection between theory and practice and emphasizes hands-on learning through teaching assistantships, tutoring positions, and internships in teaching, editing, digital humanities, ESL/EFL, and library curating and archiving.