It’s a great time to be an English major. Even now, in this era of digital and instant communication, studying English—reading great works of literature, discussing and debating in classes, and practicing the art and craft of writing—is more valuable than ever. One of our English major students perhaps put it best: "I study literature because I believe there is power in stories. Literature is both intensely personal as well as a communal experience. I love examining how words, sentences, characters, plot-lines and tropes reveal who we are as humans.”

We in the English department trust in the vitality of language and literature, and we believe in the necessity of the humanities in the world today. We share in the commitment to teach our students to become better readers and writers, to become more thoughtfully engaged with their own culture and the world at large, and to better understand that what matters is not the joyful relief that comes after finishing a long, wonderful book like Middlemarch, but the journey—the beginning, middle, and end—that Eliot, and other writers, have taken us on.

We look forward to being a part of each and every student’s journey. We hope you’ll join us, too.

Program Features

  • The English major is a thriving course of study with a close-knit community of students from all across the College. We teach a wide variety of lively courses including creative writing, film, Shakespeare, multicultural literature, literary history and theory, the writing process, and lots more. We’ve just revised our major, too, including new courses in Literary Theory, Arthurian Literature, Writing for Nonprofits, and Editing and Publishing.
  • Our students present papers at conferences, publish poems and stories in national journals, make films, lead campus organizations, and go on to graduate school or jobs in fields such as publishing, public relations, law, advertising, teaching, journalism, and the tech industry, among many others.
  • For examples of student work at Gustavus, you can read Razor Literary Magazine, our national online literary magazine edited by Gustavus students, or see the creative work of Gustavus students in our campus literary magazine, Firethorne.
  • Our faculty includes Joyce Sutphen, the poet laureate of Minnesota; writing expert Rebecca Fremo; poet and jazz scholar Phil Bryant; and Minnesota Book Award winner and National Book Award finalist Matt Rasmussen, among many talented others.