University of South Carolina


English: What to Expect

As an English major at the University of South Carolina, you will be exposed to outstanding faculty, a wide-variety of challenging and interesting classes, and a plethora of opportunities both inside and outside the classroom. The Department of English Language and Literature offers a flexible undergraduate major where you can take courses in areas that interest you including literature, composition and rhetoric, creative writing, and speech communication.  As an English major, you will learn to analyze literary and non-literary texts within cultural and historical contexts, to think critically, to write clearly, and to communicate persuasively. The department offers four major tracks leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree: general major, intensive major, writing concentration, and secondary education. You will also gain hands-on experience through innovative research projects, internships, and major fellowships.
The following courses fulfill some of the course requirements for a Bachelor of Arts with a major in English:

  • The Renaissance
  • Tudor Literature
  • Romanticism
  • American Literature
  • Southern Literature

Students wishing to pursue the intensive major and writing concentration major will be required to take additional courses. A detailed list of degree requirements can be found in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Enhancing your Experience

Study Abroad allows you to earn academic credits toward your USC degree while seeing the world! Overseas study can complement any academic program or major. You may also choose to intern, volunteer, or conduct research abroad. You are encouraged to visit the Study Abroad Web site for more information on opportunities to broaden and extend your knowledge and perspectives.
Student Organizations can be instrumental in helping you adjust to life on campus and network within your field. The University of South Carolina has a family of nearly 300 student organizations. Getting involved in an organization that interests you can help you network, meet new friends, and develop leadership skills. English majors are encouraged to get involved with INK! Undergraduate English Association and The Lettered Olive. INK! provides a forum for discussion for English majors including how the department can best support students, how students can develop strong social networks, and how students can prepare for various English-related careers. The Lettered Olive focuses exclusively on publishing creative writing by USC undergraduates and is an annual literary review. You can also seek out volunteer opportunities that relate to your major. Find a student organization on campus that interests you!
Graduate School is one of many possibilities following graduation. Many English majors go on to pursue graduate degrees in English and American Literature, Composition and Rhetoric, Speech Communications, or Teaching.
Departmental Scholarships may be awarded to outstanding entering freshmen or current students. As an English major you will have the opportunity to compete for more than 20 scholarships offered by the Department of English Language and Literature each year.

Internship and Research Opportunities

Internships can be an important asset to your overall educational experience. Internship experiences often help you confirm your career interests, give you hands-on experience in a professional setting, help build your resume, reinforce what you’ve learned in class and can often lead to full-time employment. Likewise, pursuing professional research opportunities as an undergraduate student can also help enrich your academic experience while at the University. As an undergraduate student, you can work closely with faculty research mentors and explore a discipline that interests you. Both internship and research opportunities help you build a competitive edge in the job market.

As a USC student you will have numerous resources at your disposal to assist you with locating internship and research opportunities. The USC Career Center is the central location at USC for assisting students with internship preparation and finding an internship. In addition, be sure to visit your academic department as many programs offer supplemental internship guidance specific to your major. The Office of Undergraduate Research assists all USC undergraduates by providing research and scholarly experiences in their chosen fields.

English majors have received internships in a variety of fields including publishing and editing, public relations, journalism, library science, and more. Through the Magellan Scholars Program at the University, English majors have received a wide-range of funded research opportunities.

Career Opportunities

A degree in English provides an excellent foundation for pursuing a variety of careers. English majors often are employed as feature writers, technical writers, newspaper reporters, editors, publishing associates, public relations specialists, and grant writers.

You can find more information about career options in the US Department of Laborís Occupational Outlook Handbook.

The USC Career Center offers numerous resources which provide more information about career opportunities for students in this major. Once admitted, a Career Development Coach is available to help you assess your interest areas, make decisions about your career path, and identify the experiences and skills that will help you accomplish your goals. Spur Connections will help you locate mentors from among USC alumni, employers and community members who can provide insights based on their careers and experiences. Early planning and preparation are keys to success.

About the English Language and Literature Department

The Department of English Language and Literature features a strong and flexible undergraduate major and graduate degrees in Literature, Composition and Rhetoric, Creative Writing, and Speech Communication. The department also offers a Master of Arts in Teaching and two doctoral degrees. The department hosts the First-Year English program. The English Language and Literature Department is in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Points of Pride

  • Our diverse faculty includes internationally-known scholars in English and American literature, African American studies, composition and rhetoric, history of authorship and publishing, literary theory, linguistics, communication studies, film, and creative writing.
  • In the National Research Council’s 2010 rankings of 119 Ph.D. programs in English Literature and Language, USC’s Department of English received evaluations that placed it among the very best programs in the country.

Additional Resources.
Department of English Language and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences Website
University Career Center
Undergraduate Bulletin