Frequently Asked Questions

Why would I love being an English major?

Do you like reading great books and discussing how literature moves us? Do you like writing about everything? Do you like exploring techniques of writing and approaches to expressing yourself? Do you appreciate a well-written essay? Then English studies is for you. English majors get the best of both worlds—fascinating academic inquiry and professional applications of resulting skills.If you like exploring the meaning of things, and you like creating meaning from everything you encounter, you will love being an English major.

We are all about READING, WRITING, EDITING, PUBLISHING, TEACHING, and INFLUENCING OTHERS. Come join in the fun.There's so many books waiting for you to read AND to write. Be an English major.

What careers do English majors go into?

The English Department at Millikin serves both the liberal arts student with strong interests in literature and writing and the student who plans to enter a profession such as teaching, business, journalism, publishing, library science, medicine or law. English is excellent preparation for all professions and careers that require clear thinking and writing. English also provides a rich understanding of human experience, culture and contemporary issues. The department offers courses in the great writers and literary traditions of England and America, as well as classical mythology, world literature in translation, the contemporary essay, creative writing, film and special topics in fiction, poetry, rhetoric and drama.

We are working on a survey of English alumni, to share a realistic view of what our students do and accomplish with their English degrees. We have numerous students who have done well as teachers and professors of English. Many of our students have gone into law or worked in government and nonprofit organizations. Several of our students have used their writing, editing and computer technology skills in publishing or working for business publication work. Some have become technical writers working in the computer industry. We have many students who have worked in public relations, marketing and event coordination. Many of our Decaturian editors and writers have been successful journalists, getting jobs in sports journalism, magazine writing, magazine editing and publishing. Web design has been a lucrative career option for several of our majors. With such advanced writing, reading and thinking skills, English majors find many career avenues open to them.

Which English major is best for me?

We have three English majors at Millikin: writing, literature and English education. Each is a little different.

What kinds of courses do English majors take?

Millikin English majors take a variety of courses ranging from studies in literary traditions to workshops on web publishing. A quick overview of our English studies curriculum shows that we believe in active learning—learning not merely by passive reception of wisdom from the professor, but guided learning through engaging activities. We believe in learning by ACTION, by DOING and then, of course, by fully REFLECTING on our experiences. English courses are courses that require in-depth reading and active performance (usually in the form of writing) in response to readings.

This partnership in learning is actually an old tradition of apprenticeship, in which the master leads the apprentice through growing experiences so that both work together to learn and develop new levels of ability. We begin with short workshops on writing, creative writing, newswriting and extensive reading in the literary traditions. Then all English majors at Millikin learn the basics of print media publishing, so that each one has mastery of contemporary technology for effective publication design.

During the junior and senior years, Millikin English majors explore professional levels of contribution through leadership roles with campus publications, through internships, and through advanced studies in literature and writing and publishing. Also during the junior year, English majors explore the theoretical foundations of the discipline in courses such as Applying Writing Theory and Advanced Studies in Literary History. The senior year provides capstone experiences for each major—a semester-long writing project and development of a writing portfolio for writing majors; an in-depth senior seminar for literature majors; and student teaching for English Education majors. And throughout the four years, English majors enjoy taking 1 credit workshops in journalism (writing for the Decaturian) or creative writing roundtables (on novel writing, playwriting, writing for children, writing poetry) which may be taken more than once.

We take pride in mixing up the reading and writing in almost every course, so much so that you may find yourself asking is this a writing course or a literature course. We think that's only natural. Writers read. Readers write. And I don't know about you, but I believe that a good book calls for written response. Good writing calls out for writing in response, and that response can take many forms—an essay, a poem, a revision of book, a play. It is this playful joy of reading and responding that makes the English studies courses so engaging, so challenging, so fun.

Which courses do I take first?

At Millikin, you don't wait until your Junior year to start in English studies. You can get started right away.

  • All students who declare an English major take EN105, Introduction to Millikin English Studies. This one-credit course introduces you to all our degree programs, prepares you for completing your degree, gives you a sampling of what it means to be an English major, and allows you to get immediately involved in a wide variety of clubs, organizations, and activities.
  • All Millikin students take Critical Writing Reading and Research 1 & 2 during the first year, so this is a great chance for you to meet other English faculty and enjoy reading, writing and research. You will get to study with some awesome, top quality English faculty (no teaching assistants here). So enjoy your CWRR courses and challenge yourself to see how much you can improve.
  • The CWRR courses are about how to read critically and how to write critically, and how reading and writing always go together. In these courses you will use and develop your critical reading, writing and research abilities to create new meanings, to revise existing knowledge, and to change things that are important to you. Learning to create meaning through critical reading and writing activities will help you with your overall academic success, a life of contributions through future critical reading and writing, and prepare you for the more advanced level of literacy abilities common to English majors.
  • Also, your first year at Millikin, you may want to begin some work in creative writing or journalism. Journalism lab gives you credit for writing or editing the student newspaper, The Decaturian. If you do not come to Millikin with extensive journalism experience, you will want to take EN215 Newswriting 1 your first year, so that you will have the prerequisite completed for journalism lab.
  • We offer 1-2 creative writing roundtable courses each semester which can be taken several times throughout your four years. These 1 credit workshops meet once a week and give you an opportunity to develop habits and skills of writing on your own. Over the last three years we have offered 1 credit workshops on: starting your novel, writing for children, tornado tales, playwriting, poetry, haiku and hip hop poetry.
  • Some English majors take EN241 Classical Traditions during the first year. Classical Traditions explores the transition from oral to written literature in the West by extensive readings in primary texts of literature, rhetoric and poetics. This course introduces key issues of literacy, the origins of literary theory, poetics, and rhetorical theory.

Will I get my writing published at Millikin?

Oh, yes, you will get published at Millikin University. You will also be encouraged to submit your work to publications beyond the Millikin campus, but you can count on your work appearing in class anthologies, the student newspaper (The Decaturian), the student literary magazine (Collage), or on various web site publications (Writing About Literature Case Studies) or (the MU Haiku pages).

We take publishing very seriously and have a great deal of fun with it too. In fact, some of us English folks at Millikin would go so far to say that a poem doesn't really exist until it has fulfilled its mission—to be read and enjoyed and celebrated by a reader. So publishing is an essential element of learning to write effectively.

You can write all the poems you want to in your closet. But your poems haven't become real until someone reads them, until they are published in some form or other for readers. You can write a short story, but it hasn't done its job until readers smile and feel the emotions of the characters in it. You can write an essay, but it doesn't matter if nobody ever reads it. So be ready to write, knowing that others will read your writing. Be ready to edit and polish and revise your work so that others will enjoy your writing and be moved by it. At Millikin, if you really learn to write, you will be published.

To publish. To make public. To find readers. To build readership. Yes, your writing will be published at Millikin.

What kinds of jobs can English majors get on campus?

With advanced writing and analytical abilities, English majors often get work on campus with publications and campus organizations. They help edit newsletters, create and maintain various web sites, assist other students with English skills and help professors develop publications. Work study students get first chance at most of the on-campus job opportunities.

  • Several English majors work as Writing Center tutors, helping students from across the university improve their skills and helping with the development of successful, effective papers for various classes.
  • English majors with advanced skills with technology sometimes serve as Media Arts Center tutors, teaching others how to use the computer publishing technology available in the Mac lab. Media Arts Center tutors create tutorials, give demonstrations and provide ongoing assistance to learners of all ages who come to the Mac lab for publication projects.
  • The Alumni Association publishes a large circulation magazine, the Millikin Quarterly, and often employs a few English majors with journalism skills to help write, layout and provide copy-editing for the magazine.
  • Sports writers have found opportunities to write for local newspapers and the sports information office at Millikin University, often as internships that evolve into paid positions.
  • Student-supported publications, such as the Decaturian, also provide on-campus employment opportunities for editors and leaders.