English: Literature and Criticism

Offered as: major | minor

English is an exciting discipline that challenges you to explore both literature and writing. Pursue your interest in literature by choosing the literature and criticism option. You'll learn how to:

  • read and think critically
  • engage with literature—and the world—thoughtfully and analytically
  • identify and analyze formal literary genres and schools of literary criticism
  • communicate effectively through literary analysis, persuasive argument, critical exposition, and presentation

Our award-winning faculty members specialize in a wide and diverse range of fields such as creative nonfiction, drama, fiction, poetry, world and British literature, and many more.

The skills you'll develop as an English major are essential in today's competitive job market and can lead to rewarding careers in communications, editing, freelance writing, grants writing, journalism, public relations, publishing, teaching, technical writing, screenwriting, and many other fields. You'll also be prepared for graduate study across many disciplines, such as creative and professional writing, education, law, and library/information science.

Special opportunities

  • Publication: publish your work in Corridors, an e-journal of student essays; Dart, a pop-culture magazine; or Temper, a literary review
  • Internships: pursue internships in communications, editing, journalism, professional writing, publishing, and more
  • Community: join the Literary Society, write for The Torch student newspaper, or DJ on WUMD 89.3FM

Major in English: Literature and Criticism option

Develop your analytical skills as you consider literary texts, language, and the creation of meaning. Hone your ability to critically engage literature through oral, written, and web-produced assignments.

For the BA in English, you'll complete at least 36 credit hours in English courses and 120 credits overall.

Minor in English: Literature and Criticism option

Consider a minor in English to improve your writing, communications, and critical thinking skills: all qualities that employers value highly.

For the minor, you'll take English courses that focus on literature and criticism.

Advance your career with graduate studies

4+1 programs: The English Department offers 4+1 options in both the Professional Writing master's program and the Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary English. Earn your master's degree with only one additional year of study. Juniors and seniors are eligible to apply.

Professional Writing master's program: Develop your professional skills in diverse areas of writing such as technical writing, web authoring, journalism, public relations, and creative writing. You'll focus on a particular professional area but can select courses from other areas of study to create a well-rounded program.

Graduate certificate in Professional Writing: In the 4-course certificate program, you'll develop professional writing skills that focus on specific settings, situations, and communities.

Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary English: Gain a strong background in pedagogy and practice in our Master of Arts program. Our rigorous and comprehensive interdisciplinary program provides you with the tools and knowledge necessary to engage in effective and creative teaching.

Related academic areas

Explore more

Success story

Aubrie Brault

Aubrie Brault '15
English Literature and Criticism

Read Aubrie's story

Career placements

  • AE Ventures
  • American Conservatory Theatre
  • American Mathematical Society
  • Health Imperatives
  • Gradeable
  • Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School
  • Goodwill Industries
  • Lionbridge
  • McKesson
  • The New Bedford Standard Times
  • Nokia Siemens Networks ( Germany )
  • Olympus NDT
  • SapientNitro
  • Townsquare Media

Sample graduate schools

  • Bridgewater State University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • UMass Dartmouth
  • St. Petersburg College
  • Holy Names University
  • Harvard Kennedy School


Christopher Eisenhart
Chair, Department of English
Liberal Arts Building, Room 340

Button that links you to My UMassd Student PortalUse the my UMassD portal to access your online courses, pay your bill online, view transcripts, browse your University email and more.