Studying English prepares students for graduate study, teaching and a wide range of professions such as law, journalism, publishing, government and business.

Whatever career a student enters, they find employers value the written and verbal communication skills and education in the humanities that an English major receives.

At Illinois Wesleyan, we offer two sequences for majors: a Literature sequence and a Writing sequence that includes journalism and/or creative writing.

In both sequences, our students are encouraged to be creative and learn how to take analytical positions and back them up. They become keen analyzers of literary texts, which are as complicated as life; they learn to write and construct compelling arguments.

New technologies have created new career opportunities for writing. Writing remains an essential tool for our graduates, but often in ways they wouldn't have expected, or might not have even existed 10 years ago. Because we give them a strong foundation and a broader picture, they gain the flexibility to thrive through these inevitable changes.

Get Published

Every writer desires an audience, and at IWU students have many outlets to write and to publish, including the campus newspaper The Argus, the literary journal Tributaries, the stand-up poetry group Lyrical Graffiti, the undergraduate magazine The Delta and the online community for writers Pseudonym Required. Coursework also creates publishing opportunities: for example, students enrolled in "Feature Writing and Investigative Reporting" published an in-depth report on coal ash contamination in Illinois. 

Because we're a small school, students have many opportunities to be involved – in writing, editing and producing publications – without too much competition. 

Faculty Attention

Whether it’s helping students find the right graduate school, internship or study abroad program, guiding them on a research honors project or just offering a sounding board to discuss concerns, our faculty spend time with students and develop authentic mentoring relationships.

Our faculty include playwrights, film critics, songwriters, award-winning authors and literary scholars. Whatever your interest, there’s a good chance it will be shared by someone on the English department faculty. 


2016 Project Muse Scholar

Sigma Tau Delta will be hosting an Empathy and Anti-Racist Reading by Kim Chabot Davis, our 2015 Project Muse Scholar, on  October 12th  @  4PM  in Beckman Auditorium


Kim is an associate professor of English at Bridgewater State University and is the author of Postmodern Texts and Emotional Audiences. There will be a reception following the event, hosted by Women's and Gender Studies.


Wine and Cheese Reception

English Department Alumni Wine and Cheese Reception
Friday, October 9, 2015 
4:00-5:30 p.m.

Sigma Tau Delta is holding a career workshop Monday, September 28 at 4pm in SFH 102 with alum Kevin Carey.  

Kevin will be speaking about careers in higher education.


Kevin Carey ’13 serves as the Assistant Director of Student Life at Ball State University where he primarily works with the fraternity and sorority community.  Kevin graduated from Ball State University with a Masters of Arts in Student Affairs Administration in High Education and from Illinois Wesleyan University with a Bachelors of Arts in English.  Kevin’s primary role focuses on advisement of Greek organizations, assessment and evaluation, membership development initiatives, and supervisor of graduate assistants.  Academically, Kevin’s research area is on collegiate masculinities and development of identities in fraternal environments.


Kevin serves as a national volunteer for his fraternity, Sigma Pi, and is on the Board of Directors for the Illinois 4-H Foundation.



Janna Strain '13 just announced her first major work of fiction, Edenfall, is being released by Ceti Publishing (a publishing house started by another IWU English alum, Chris Francis) on July 15th. It's already up for pre-order on the website here:

"One of the cool things about this particular novella," Strain says, "is that the initial drafts were actually written for an IWU English class led by Brandi Reissenweber. I've reached out to her to let her know as well; it only seems appropriate to acknowledge the university that fostered some of my best creative work now that it's actually going somewhere."

Congratulations from the entire English department!


Congratulations Class of 2015!


1st Place Award for Excellence in Illinois College Newspapers.

At the 2015 Illinois College Press Association conference, Illinois Wesleyan sophomore and English-Writing major Michelle Wong '16 was presented with the 1st Place Award for Excellence in Illinois College Newspapers. The award recognized her 2014 opinions column regarding on-campus safety and security.  

Recipients of 2015 IWU Creative Writing Awards announced

2015 English Department Writing Contest Winners
From left to right: Illinois Wesleyan University Department of English Prize for Short Fiction recipient Nunzia Martino, The Kay Nelson Memorial Essay Prize recipient Olivia Anderson, and The Academy of American Poets Prize recipient Erica Kucharski.

Illinois Wesleyan University Department of English Prize for Short Fiction Recipient: Nunzia Martino, for "Carina Mia."

The Academy of American Poets Prize Recipient: Erica Kucharski

The Kay Nelson Memorial Essay Prize Recipient: Olivia Anderson, for her essay, “Blood Tide.”