English, B.A. (Abington)

Program Code: ENGAB_BA

Program Description

Majors explore the imaginative and practical uses of English through courses in literature, writing, rhetoric, and language. They develop perspectives on human nature and cultural values through American, British, and other English literatures; they learn how to gather, analyze, synthesize, and communicate information; they gain mastery over their language. These skills help English majors find careers in such fields as publishing, business, industry, government, and teaching. English majors often go on to postgraduate study not only in English but in such areas as law, business, education, or other liberal disciplines.

Majors can emphasize writing, literature, or rhetoric, or a mix of literature, writing, and rhetoric. All provide a liberal education and all develop analytic and writing skills. Qualified students may participate in the career internship and in the English honors program.

Students interested in earning certification in secondary education should contact the College of Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction. (See also Teacher Education Programs.)

Traditions of Innovation Option

Available at the following campuses: Abington, Altoona, Brandywine, Scranton, University Park

This option allows students to explore the imaginative and practical uses of English language through a variety of courses in literature, writing, and rhetoric across historical periods. The flexibility of the English curriculum allows students to focus in literary and cultural studies, creative writing, professional and media writing, and/or rhetoric, according to individual interests and goals. In the process, students learn to gather, analyze, synthesize, and communicate information as they improve their language skills across diverse creative and critical scenarios. These skills prepare students for careers in a wide range of professional fields.

Writing and Literature in Context Option

Available at the following campuses: Abington, Brandywine, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, York

This option focuses on English as a foundation for strong critical thinking and distinctive communication skills, imaginative approaches to problem solving, and collaboration with aligned fields. The flexibility of the major allows students to study literature, creative writing, theatre, media studies, professional writing, and/or other disciplines, according to their individual interests and goals. These foundations prepare English majors for careers in a wide range of professional fields.

What is English?

English refers to a broad field of study related to the reading, writing, studying and analyzing of English literature and language. The field includes the many and varied forms and genres of literature, writing, and rhetoric, and often considers how value and meaning are created, and information communicated, through these various texts.

You Might Like This Program If...

  • You enjoy composing texts that are varied in genre, style, and medium, including critical essays, short stories, poems, reviews, digital media, podcasts, and others.
  • You find yourself compelled to make connections between literary texts and ideas that are both present across historical eras and pertinent to current realities.
  • You are interested in how audiences treat and use texts, whether the texts are print or digital, technical, critical, and/or creative.
  • You want to solve problems through deliberate communication, in arenas that overlap with other areas of human life, like science, law, art, business, and the social sciences.

Degree Requirements

For the Bachelor of Arts degree in English, a minimum of 123 credits is required:

Requirement Credits
General Education 45
Electives 18
Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements 24
Requirements for the Major 36

3 of the 24 credits for Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements are included in the Requirements for the Major, General Education, or Electives and 0-12 credits are included in Electives if foreign language proficiency is demonstrated by examination.

Per Senate Policy 83-80.5, the college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. For more information, check the Recommended Academic Plan for your intended program.

General Education

Connecting career and curiosity, the General Education curriculum provides the opportunity for students to acquire transferable skills necessary to be successful in the future and to thrive while living in interconnected contexts. General Education aids students in developing intellectual curiosity, a strengthened ability to think, and a deeper sense of aesthetic appreciation. These are requirements for all baccalaureate students and are often partially incorporated into the requirements of a program. For additional information, see the General Education Requirements section of the Bulletin and consult your academic adviser.

The keystone symbol Keystone/General Education Course appears next to the title of any course that is designated as a General Education course. Program requirements may also satisfy General Education requirements and vary for each program.

Foundations (grade of C or better is required.)

  • Quantification (GQ): 6 credits
  • Writing and Speaking (GWS): 9 credits

Knowledge Domains

  • Arts (GA): 6 credits
  • Health and Wellness (GHW): 3 credits
  • Humanities (GH): 6 credits
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences (GS): 6 credits
  • Natural Sciences (GN): 9 credits

Integrative Studies (may also complete a Knowledge Domain requirement)

  • Inter-Domain or Approved Linked Courses: 6 credits

University Degree Requirements

First Year Engagement

All students enrolled in a college or the Division of Undergraduate Studies at University Park, and the World Campus are required to take 1 to 3 credits of the First-Year Seminar, as specified by their college First-Year Engagement Plan.

Other Penn State colleges and campuses may require the First-Year Seminar; colleges and campuses that do not require a First-Year Seminar provide students with a first-year engagement experience.

First-year baccalaureate students entering Penn State should consult their academic adviser for these requirements.

Cultures Requirement    

6 credits are required and may satisfy other requirements

  • United States Cultures: 3 credits
  • International Cultures: 3 credits

Writing Across the Curriculum

3 credits required from the college of graduation and likely prescribed as part of major requirements.

Total Minimum Credits

A minimum of 120 degree credits must be earned for a baccalaureate degree. The requirements for some programs may exceed 120 credits. Students should consult with their college or department adviser for information on specific credit requirements.

Quality of Work

Candidates must complete the degree requirements for their major and earn at least a 2.00 grade-point average for all courses completed within their degree program.

Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition

The college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned. Credit used toward degree programs may need to be earned from a particular source or within time constraints (see Senate Policy 83-80). For more information, check the Suggested Academic Plan for your intended program.

B.A. Degree Requirements

Foreign Language (0-12 credits): Student must attain 12th credit level of proficiency in one foreign language. See the Placement Policy for Penn State Foreign Language Courses.

B.A. Fields (9 credits): Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arts, Foreign Languages, Natural Sciences, Quantification (may not be taken in the area of the student's primary major; foreign language credits in this category must be in a second foreign language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the first language)

Other Cultures (0-3 credits): Select 3 credits from approved list. Students may count courses in this category in order to meet other major, minor, elective, or General Education requirements, except for the General Education US/IL requirement.​

Requirements for the Major

A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the major. To graduate, a student enrolled in the major must earn at least a C grade in each course designated by the major as a C-required course, as specified by Senate Policy 82-44.

Common Requirements for the Major (All Options)

Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
ENGL 200Introduction to Critical Reading3
or ENGL 201 What is Literature Keystone/General Education Course
ENGL 494HSenior Thesis in English3
or ENGL 487W Senior Seminar
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
In consultation with adviser, select 18 credits in literature, writing, or rhetoric. At least 9 credits must be at the 300/400 level. At least 3 of the 300/400 level credits must fulfill a departmental diversity requirement for a course related to race, gender, sexuality, disability, ethnicity, and/or postcolonial issues. 18
Requirements for the Option
Requirements for the Option: Require a grade of C or better
Select an option12

Requirements for the Option

Traditions of Innovation Option (12 Credits)

Available at the following campuses: Abington, Altoona, Brandywine, Scranton, University Park

Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select 3 credits of 300/400 level course in each of the following areas:12
Medieval through Sixteenth Century
Sixteenth Century through Eighteenth Century
The Nineteenth Century
Twentieth Century to the Present
Writing and Literature in Context Option (12 Credits)

Available at the following campuses: Abington, Brandywine, Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, York

Additional Courses
Additional Courses: Require a grade of C or better
Select 3 credits of 400-level pre-1800 courses3
Select 3 credits of 400-level post-1800 courses 3
Supporting Courses and Related Areas
Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Require a grade of C or better
Select 6 credits of English courses at any level6

Program Learning Objectives

  • Apply critical, theoretical, and/or disciplinary approaches to the reading and analysis of texts in multiple genres and/or media.
  • Analyze the aesthetic and/or cultural significance of the ideas, values, conventions, forms, and genres associated with texts.
  • Gather, evaluate, and employ an array of research materials in support of critical studies, and/or creative activity, in ways consistent with standards of academic integrity.
  • Demonstrate writing and rhetorical skills appropriate to critical and/or creative tasks in a variety of media and genres.
  • Analyze representative literary, theoretical, and cultural texts within significant historical, geographical, and cultural contexts.

Academic Advising

The objectives of the university’s academic advising program are to help advisees identify and achieve their academic goals, to promote their intellectual discovery, and to encourage students to take advantage of both in-and out-of class educational opportunities in order that they become self-directed learners and decision makers.

Both advisers and advisees share responsibility for making the advising relationship succeed. By encouraging their advisees to become engaged in their education, to meet their educational goals, and to develop the habit of learning, advisers assume a significant educational role. The advisee's unit of enrollment will provide each advisee with a primary academic adviser, the information needed to plan the chosen program of study, and referrals to other specialized resources.

READ SENATE POLICY 32-00: ADVISING POLICY

Abington

Ellen Knodt
Professor, English
1600 Woodland Road
Abington, PA 19001
215-881-7385
eak1@psu.edu

Altoona

Erin C. Murphy
Professor of English
Hawthorn Building 212
3000 Ivyside Park
Altoona, PA 16601
814-949-5625
ecm14@psu.edu

Brandywine

Maureen Fielding, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, English; Associate Professor, Women's Studies
Vairo Library, 123
25 Yearsley Mill Road
Media, PA 19063
610-892-1439
mdf6@psu.edu

Scranton

Paul Perrone
Assistant Teaching Professor
13 Library Building
Dunmore, PA 18512
570-963-2660
pjp3@psu.edu

University Park

Liberal Arts Academic Advising
814-865-2545
Use the Liberal Arts Majors and Minors web page to see the contact information for the specific adviser(s) of this program

Wilkes-Barre

David Chin
Program Coordinator, English
44 University Drive
Dallas, PA 18612
570-675-9247
dpc5@psu.edu

York

Jennifer Nesbitt
Associate Professor of English
229 Grumbacher Building (GISTC)
1031 Edgecomb Ave.
York, PA 17403
717-771-4027
jpn12@psu.edu

Suggested Academic Plan

The suggested academic plan(s) listed on this page are the plan(s) that are in effect during the 2021-22 academic year. To access previous years' suggested academic plans, please visit the archive to view the appropriate Undergraduate Bulletin edition (Note: the archive only contain suggested academic plans beginning with the 2018-19 edition of the Undergraduate Bulletin).

Traditions of Innovation Option: English, B.A. at Abington Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
ENGL 15 (or Honors Equivalent (GWS))3CAS 100 (or Honors Equivalent (GWS))3
ENGL 111 (or BA Requirement)2-3Concentration Course*3
Quantification (GQ)3General Education Course3
First-Year Seminar or General Education Course3General Education Course3
World Language I4World Language II4
 15-16 16
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
ENGL 200 or 201*3Concentration Course*3
Quantification (GQ)3Elective3
ENGL 111 (or BA Requirement)2-3General Education Course3
Concentration Course*3General Education Course3
World Language III4BA Requirement3
 15-16 15
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
Concentration Course*3ENGL 4XX*3
English 4XX*3Concentration Course*3
General Education Course3ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D3
BA Requirement3General Education Course3
English Supporting Course3English Supporting Course3
 15 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
English 4XX*3ENGL 4XX*3
Concentration Course*3ENGL 487W*3
BA Other Cultures3General Education Health and Wellness1.5
BA Requirement3English Supporting Course3
General Education Health and Wellness1.5English Supporting Course3
English Supporting Course3 
 16.5 13.5
Total Credits 121-123

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

Additional Notes:

This document is only for planning purposes and cannot replace working with an academic adviser. Each student pursues their own path and campuses differ in their ENGL offerings. Most students are "off the plan" after one semester.

One 400-level course must meet diversity requirement for the major.

Two general education courses (GQ, GN, GA, GH, GS) must be integrative studies courses - Interdomain or linked.

Depending on placement and proficiency, world language courses may need to be replaced with elective credits.

Students are required to take one Writing across the Curriculum course.

Students need at least 24 credits in ENGL courses completed at UP due to competency requirements. Campus advisors may work with the UP English adviser if they have questions about what their current students might take.

"Other Cultures" courses may overlap with a general education requirement.

Program Notes:

General Education courses are interchangeable; students may choose the General Education courses they wish to take in any given semester based on preference, availability, and academic goals.

Scheduling patterns vary according to course offerings.

Both US (United States Cultures) and IL (International Cultures) courses must be completed within the degree requirements; these courses may not be used to fulfill the Other Cultures requirements.

Writing and Literature in Context Option: English, B.A. at Abington Campus

The course series listed below provides only one of the many possible ways to move through this curriculum. The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. This plan should be used in conjunction with your degree audit (accessible in LionPATH as either an Academic Requirements or What If report). Please consult with a Penn State academic adviser on a regular basis to develop and refine an academic plan that is appropriate for you.

First Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
ENGL 15 (or Honors Equivalent (GWS))3CAS 100 (or Honors Equivalent (GWS))3
General Education Course or BA Requirement3English Elective (100-200 Level)*3
Quantification (GQ)3General Education Course3
First-Year Seminar or General Education Course3Natural Sciences (GN)3
World Language I4World Language II4
 16 16
Second Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
ENGL 200 or 201*3ENGL 202A, 202B, 202C, or 202D3
Quantification (GQ)3Natural Sciences (GN)3
General Education Course or BA Requirement3General Education Course3
BA Fields3English Elective (100-200 Level)*3
World Language III4Health and Wellness3
 16 15
Third Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
English 4XX-Level Course (work with adviser)3ENGL 4XX-Level Course (work with adviser)3
English Elective/Concentration Course (any level)3English Elective/Concentration Course (any level)3
General Education Course/BA Requirement/Elective3BA Fields3
Arts (GA)3General Education Course3
English Supporting Course3English Supporting Course3
 15 15
Fourth Year
FallCreditsSpringCredits
ENGL 487W*3ENGL 4XX-Level Course (work with adviser)*3
ENGL 4XX-Level Course (work with adviser)*3ENGL 4XX-Level Course (work with adviser)*3
English Elective/Concentration Course (any level)*3General Education Course3
BA Other Cultures3English Supporting Course3
English Supporting Course3English Supporting Course3
 15 15
Total Credits 123

University Requirements and General Education Notes:

US and IL are abbreviations used to designate courses that satisfy University Requirements (United States and International Cultures).

W, M, X, and Y are the suffixes at the end of a course number used to designate courses that satisfy University Writing Across the Curriculum requirement.

GWS, GQ, GHW, GN, GA, GH, and GS are abbreviations used to identify General Education program courses. General Education includes Foundations (GWS and GQ) and Knowledge Domains (GHW, GN, GA, GH, GS, and Integrative Studies). Foundations courses (GWS and GQ) require a grade of ‘C’ or better.

Integrative Studies courses are required for the General Education program. N is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate an Inter-Domain course and Z is the suffix at the end of a course number used to designate a Linked course.

Bachelor of Arts Requirements:

Bachelor of Arts students must take 9 credits in Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Fields (Humanities; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Arts; World Languages [2nd language or beyond the 12th credit level of proficiency in the 1st]; Natural Sciences; Quantification). The B.A. Fields courses may not be taken in the area of the student’s primary major. See your adviser and the Degree Requirements section of this Bulletin.

Bachelor of Arts students must take 3 credits in Other Cultures.
See your adviser and the full list of courses approved as Other Cultures courses.

Additional Notes:

This document is only for planning purposes and cannot replace working with an academic adviser. Each student pursues their own path and campuses differ in their ENGL offerings. Most students are "off the plan" after one semester.

One 400-level course must meet the diversity requirement for the major.

Two general education courses (GQ, GN, GA, GH, GS) must be integrative studies courses - Interdomain or linked.

Depending on placement and proficiency, world language courses may need to be replaced with elective credits.

Students are required to take one Writing across the Curriculum course.  

"Other Cultures" courses may overlap with a general education requirement.

Program Notes:

General Education courses are interchangeable; students may choose the General Education courses they wish to take in any given semester based on preference, availability, and academic goals.

Scheduling patterns vary according to course offerings.

Both US (United States Cultures) and IL (International Cultures) courses must be completed within the degree requirements; these courses may not be used to fulfill the Other Cultures requirements.

Career Paths

Careers

Our graduates use their training in careers as attorneys, publishers and writers of all types, public relations directors, foreign service specialists, and entrepreneurs, as well teachers and education professionals.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT POTENTIAL CAREER OPTIONS FOR GRADUATES OF THE ENGLISH PROGRAM

Opportunities for Graduate Studies

English majors often go on to postgraduate study not only in English but in such areas as law, medicine, business, education, or other liberal disciplines.

Professional Resources

Contact

Abington

DIVISION OF ARTS AND HUMANITIES
1600 Woodland Road
Abington, PA 19001
215-881-7385
eak1@psu.edu

http://abington.psu.edu/english

Altoona

DIVISION OF ARTS AND HUMANITIES
Hawthorn Building 212
3000 Ivyside Park
Altoona, PA 16601
814-949-5625
ecm14@psu.edu

http://altoona.psu.edu/academics/bachelors-degrees/english/request-information

Brandywine

Vairo Library, 123
25 Yearsley Mill Road
Media, PA 19063
610-892-1439
mdf6@psu.edu

https://www.brandywine.psu.edu/academics/bachelors-degrees/english

Scranton

13 Library Building
Dunmore, PA 18512
570-963-2660
pjp3@psu.edu

http://worthingtonscranton.psu.edu/english

University Park

DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
434 Burrowes Building
University Park, PA 16802
814-863-0258
sfc10@psu.edu

http://english.la.psu.edu/undergraduate

Wilkes-Barre

44 University Drive
Dallas, PA 18612
570-675-9247
dpc5@psu.edu

http://wilkesbarre.psu.edu/academics/english

York

Grumbacher Building (GISTC)
1031 Edgecomb Ave.
York, PA 17403
717-771-4027
jpn12@psu.edu

http://york.psu.edu/academics/baccalaureate/english