English Department Programs
Because the ability to communicate is a fundamental requirement of national and international business, education, medicine, law, technology, and other fields, improving communication skills is an integral part of degree work in English at Indiana State University. The study of English provides the skills and understanding needed to interact successfully with others, regardless of ultimate career goals.
Undergraduate Handbook can be downloaded here. Back to Top
The Department of English at Indiana State University offers several programs to meet students' needs and appeal to their special interests. The Department offers two basic majors in English: teaching and liberal arts. Those planning to become teachers at the junior high/middle school or secondary level follow the English teaching major, which combines English course work with classes and practical experiences in education. Students preparing for careers in professional writing, editing, or business as well as those planning advanced study in English, related areas in the humanities, or law pursue the English liberal arts major. In addition, students may earn a minor in liberal arts, English teaching, or creative writing. Back to Top
Courses for English majors, from freshman to senior levels, enroll approximately 20 to 30 students, which allows for close working relationships among faculty and students and contributes to discussion and individualized instruction. Faculty within the department are well prepared in a variety of fields, including British and American literature, folklore, linguistics, rhetoric, and creative writing. Most faculty hold doctoral degrees, and many edit journals, publish books and articles, conduct research, and speak at national and international meetings in their specialties. Although variations exist within specific majors and minors, study includes work in writing; English, American, world, and multicultural literature; literary criticism; and English language. Back to Top
Scholarships, Awards, and Financial Aid
English majors at Indiana State have various kinds of financial support a number of awards presented to outstanding students majoring in English. Most prestigious of these awards is the Hazel Tesh Pfennig Scholarship, which normally exceeds $2,000 and is awarded to six to eight students during their junior and senior years on the basis of academic excellence. Other scholarships of lesser amounts are awarded in critical writing and creative writing or are based on overall excellence in English studies. Financial aid is also available in the form of loans, grants, and work-study programs administered by the University's Office of Student Financial Aid. To receive more information and an application for financial assistance, write the Office of Student Financial Aid, Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana 47809. For information concerning the Pfennig Scholarship or other assistance available to English majors, contact the Department of English. Back to Top
Activities and Organizations
Students in the Department of English have numerous opportunities to become involved in sponsored activities that can add to and expand their studies, while providing chances to meet with people who share similar interests. Arion, the student writing club, provides a forum in which students share their interests in creative writing. Each spring, club members produce and publish a literary magazine, The Dolphin, which features student writings. Throughout the school year, Arion sponsors public readings of original works of students, faculty, and members of the local community. A visiting poet or novelist is also brought to campus each semester to give a reading, to conduct workshops, and to visit informally with students. Sigma Tau Delta, an international honorary society for English majors and minors, conducts literary contests, presents readings and lectures, and sponsors activities within the community. Back to Top
"From my standpoint, a background in English literature is a very valuable commodity. Contrary to the emphasis on technology that pervades media accounts of business, what actually happens in the business world happens through clear, logical thinking, speaking, and writing." Paul Saxton, President and CEO , General Housewares Corp. Back to Top
Employers are discovering that hiring graduates with degrees in English offers them people whose flexibility and creativity are needed in today's dynamic world. English graduates are also highly valued for their ability to express themselves and communicate new ideas and needs clearly. English majors are finding career opportunities developing at the managerial level in business and industry. A major in English also serves as excellent preparation for advanced study in English and related areas, for research, or for law school. Back to Top
Graduate programs in English at Indiana State University provide opportunities for specialization in English studies. Course work is offered in English and American literature, general and comparative literature, rhetoric and composition, creative writing, and technical writing.
Recent students in the program reflect a broad regional and institutional diversity, coming from the Midwest, the South, both coasts, and foreign countries. Past and current students have earned undergraduate degrees from schools ranging from large land-grant and urban institutions such as Indiana, Michigan State, and the University of Miami to small liberal arts colleges such as Augustana, Oberlin, and Wabash.
Recent alumni of the program have pursued the Ph.D. and M.F.A. in top caliber programs; others are teaching at community colleges and high schools or working at such positions as technical writer, newspaper editor, and university administrator.
The Graduate Handbook can be downloaded here.
Note: The Spring application deadline is November 1st and the Fall application deadline is June 1st.
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- Master's Programs The department offers two master's programs, each requiring 33 semester hours. Both master's programs require courses in research, theory, and literature as well as courses outside the area of specialization. Moreover, both programs require a culminating experience of a thesis, master's paper or creative project, and both require a foreign language.
- Master of Arts in English with Specialization in Literature. This program prepares students for further graduate work in English and American literature or related areas, and also serves those preparing to teach at the high school or college level.
- Master of Arts in English with Specialization in Writing. This emphasis is designed for students planning further graduate work in creative writing, rhetoric/composition or related areas, for those preparing to teach at the high school or college level, and for those planning to practice writing or editing in other professions. For the culminating experience, creative writing students produce a thesis-length project--for instance, a novel or a collection of stories or poems.
- Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction with Specialization in English. In cooperation with the School of Education, the department offers a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with a specialization in English. This English education program is designed for advanced students in, or expecting to enter, such fields as teaching, administration, and curriculum supervision. It requires a minimum of 72 hours of graduate work beyond the bachelor's degree, proficiency in two research tools, and the defense of a doctoral dissertation related to English studies. In addition to work in professional education, the program offers a balance of course work in the three main subdivisions of English studies (literature, language, rhetoric/composition) as well as the opportunity to specialize in an area of literature or in composition. Back to Top
- Professional Organizations and Publications. The department is home to the business and editorial offices of notable professional organizations. The editorial and business offices of the Indiana Council of Teachers of English, and the Hoosier Folklore Society are housed here. Journals edited in the department are The Folklore Historian, Indiana English, Midwestern Folklore, The Grasslands Review, and Snowy Egret.
- Conference. The department annually hosts the Hoosier Folklore Conference.
- Joseph Schick Lecture Series. This endowed series brings several scholars of international reputation to campus each semester to speak to faculty and graduate students. Lecturers have included M.H. Abrams, Houston Baker, Nina Baym, Cleanth Brooks, Terry Eagleton, Susan Gubar, and J. Hillis Miller.
- Visiting Writers. Sponsored by the department or the campus speakers series, recent poets and fiction writers include Jane Hamilton, Michael Martone, Robert Pinsky, Donald Hall, Charles Johnson, Helena Maria Viramontes, W.D. Snodgrass, Dana Gioia, Michael Harper, and Mary Kinzie.
- Creative Writing Readings. Both the Creative Writing Program and Arion, the student writing club, host multiple open readings each term, both on and off campus. Arion publishes a magazine, Tonic, which features work by ISU students.
- Writing Center. Among the department's resources is the Writing Center where prospective teachers can gain experience in tutoring writing one-to-one through a process-centered approach. Tutors work with students from a variety of courses and with many ESL students. Tutors in the center complete a one-semester training program.
- Cunningham Memorial Library's holdings: Cunningham Memorial Library provides access to over one million volumes and includes excellent holdings in English studies. Among the special collections, the internationally known Cordell Collection of Rare Books and Early Dictionaries contains more than 5,000 titles representing the evolution of Western dictionaries from 1400 to 1900. Recently the Cunningham Library has been the recipient of the Floyd Collection of over 2,500 English composition textbooks covering more than 100 years and providing an exceptional resource for anyone interested in the history of instruction in rhetoric/composition.
- Social Activities. While dedicated to providing a rigorous program of study, the department also recognizes the need to promote a spirit of camaraderie. Thus the department invites graduate students to the annual department party and includes graduate students in lunches, dinners, and receptions to honor Schick Lecturers.
- Thursday Colloquium. The department sponsors a forum in which faculty and graduate students share their work in a collegial atmosphere. The forum sometimes includes visiting scholars, critics, and writers. Back to Top
Assistantships and Scholarships
- Graduate Assistantships. Three-fourths of current graduate students in English are supported by assistantships that provide a stipend and tuition waiver. Each assistant is assigned an office in the department. Graduate assistants fulfill their duties through a variety of activities that provide excellent opportunities for professional development. In addition to the most common assignment, teaching freshmen composition courses, with the opportunity for computer-assisted instruction, graduate assistants may tutor native and ESL students in the department's Writing Center, may provide editorial assistance to one of the professional journals housed in the department, or may help manage the Schick Lecture series.
- Scholarships. Graduate scholarships with waivers of most fees are available. Other financial aid is available through the Office of Student Financial Aid.
- Admission Requirements. In addition to meeting the general requirements of the School of Graduate Studies, applicants for regular admission to all master's programs must have an undergraduate major or minor in English or a strong background in undergraduate studies in English. Those lacking an appropriate major or minor should consult the director of graduate studies in English concerning departmental admission criteria. Conditional admission to all master's programs may be granted to other applicants on the basis of grades in language and literature courses, undergraduate grade point averages, GRE verbal and advanced literature scores, faculty letters of recommendation, and writing samples.
- In addition to meeting the general admission requirements to Ph.D. programs of the School of Graduate Studies and the School of Education, applicants for admission to the Ph.D. program in curriculum and instruction with a specialization in English should have a master's degree or equivalent in English or English education. Students not meeting all requirements for admission may be admitted conditionally and allowed to make up deficiencies in English or in professional education. Back to Top