Northwestern has approximately 250 English majors. The department is divided into two main areas of study: the Literature major and the major in Creative Writing. The department is proud of its excellent teaching reputation: in recent years English faculty members have won numerous teaching awards from both Weinberg College and the Associated Student Government. In addition, faculty and graduate assistants are regarded as among the best teachers on campus. Students in the major regularly win prizes for their work. While faculty mentor students throughout a student's career, they also work individually with students taking independent studies and completing senior honors projects. Undergraduates may pursue internships for credit at cultural organizations through Northwestern's Kaplan Institute for the Humanities.
The department takes a broad view of literature, seeing it as encompassing fiction, drama, and poetry, as well as other kinds of text, such as film, archival documents, and media productions. The English major gives students great freedom of choice in course selection while requiring that they be familiar with literary histories and traditions. Focusing on texts from a variety of perspectives--aesthetic, historical, philosophical, cultural, psychological, sociological, and technical--the English major emphasizes excellence in writing and research and thus prepares students for diverse careers in teaching, publishing, law, the business world, academia and other fields. Past majors have earned postgraduate fellowships, published poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, journalism, and novels, and have matriculated into some of the top doctoral and MFA programs in the country.
In this section, prospective and current undergraduates will find detailed information about majoring or minoring in literature or creative writing, the honors program, fellowships and awards, and academic policies in the department and university. For course information, please see English Notes, which can be found in the Courses section of this website. English Notes is the department's quarterly publication listing all English and related course offerings, also providing pre-registration timelines and procedures for students pursuing majors and minors in English. Students may also access course descriptions through the online CAESAR registration system.