English, BA & English & Creative Writing, BA

Explore literature and discover your own voice. Develop marketable critical thinking, research, and writing skills with an English degree from Seattle University.

About this Program

Creating Strong and Critical Thinkers

With courses in literature, creative writing and writing studies, our English degree prepares you to read, write, and create in a powerful way, while providing you a foundation to pursue and be successful in a variety of careers.

Through the study of different perspectives and voices in literary texts, you will develop a broad and deep understanding of a range of human experiences and expressions, so you can make a difference in your career and the world.

In the Heart of Seattle’s Thriving Arts and Literary Scene

Designated a UNESCO World City of Literature, Seattle booms with passionate readers, writers, and thinkers. With a campus nestled in the heart of Capitol Hill, you are just steps away from cinemas, theaters, iconic literary sites, and more. Grab coffee at a local café as you study before a poetry reading or discover a local author at Elliott Bay Book Company.

English Studies at a Glance

Learn how this degree from the Department of English will contribute to your career goals. Then, explore course requirements and see how impactful a Seattle University degree can be.

When you major in English, you choose to specialize in either creative writing or literature. Both tracks in our English degree offer extensive critical thinking, research and writing opportunities.

Creative Writing Specialization

The Creative Writing program at Seattle University takes the stand that good readers make good writers. Rather than offering a stand-alone writing degree, the Seattle University English Department offers a literature-focused English major with a Creative Writing concentration in the belief that developing critical reading and analytical skills is essential to a writer’s evolution.

Emphasizing the craft of writing and the close reading of classic and contemporary texts, Seattle University’s Creative Writing program includes core English classes in British, American and ethnic literature. The program offers creative writing classes across genres including fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry and script writing as well as in special topics such as the graphic novel, science fiction, literary fiction, screenplay writing and others.

Literature Specialization

In the Literature track of the English major at Seattle University, we believe that the arts of language and the tools of literacy are necessary not only for self-understanding, self-expression, and self-realization, but for full participation in social, cultural, and political life.  

In our curriculum, you will grapple with some of the most interesting questions of literary and cultural history, engage profound and intractable questions of justice and value, and become thoughtful and active citizens of the university, nation and world. 

Seattle University undergraduate English students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a broad understanding of literatures in English and translation and appreciate the role that historical context plays in the creation and interpretation of literary works
  • Engage questions of justice, value, spirituality, and meaning raised by literary texts
  • Read, closely analyze, interpret, and produce texts in a variety of formats and genre 
  • Draw from different critical perspectives and appreciate how differences in theoretical framework can produce multiple readings of a text
  • Draw effectively from craft principles in more than one genre in order to create a variety of creative pieces
  • Analyze the role that intersections among race, gender, class, sexuality, and/or national or global history play in literary studies
  • Write and speak effectively for specific audiences and purposes in university, public, and professional life
  • Conduct scholarly inquiry to produce literary research.
  • Demonstrate the professional habits of creative writers: revision, workshopping, public reading, and submission for publication

The Writing Studies Minor develops your skills and versatility as a writer, furthering your success in your undergraduate courses and giving you a competitive edge in graduate school and the job market.

The Writing Studies Minor is appropriate for undergraduate students from a great variety of majors across our university, but particularly for students planning career paths in law, business, teaching, the arts, the nonprofit world or government.

To earn a minor degree, you’ll complete at least 30 credits in this area. Learn more about the offerings within the minor by reading these select course description.

Seattle University undergraduates with a minor in Writing Studies should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a rhetorical understanding of the historical, analytic, critical, and ethical dynamics of written communication, its material and cultural contexts, and its ties to power.
  • Produce effective writing in a variety of genres, for different purposes and audiences, incorporating an ethical use of language.
  • Employ appropriate stylistic choices and mechanical correctness in order to produce compelling, rhetorically effective prose in a variety of genres.
  • Prepare for future personal and professional writing contexts by producing and maintaining successful reflective, creative, and disciplinary documents in a professional portfolio.

What You’ll Learn

Learn about the classes you’ll take as a student here.

Prepared for Success

An SU student at a career fair

Internships with Seattle’s Top Companies & Publishers

Gain real-world experience through internship opportunities in the Puget Sound region. Internships have included Sasquatch Press, W.W. Norton Company, Seattle Met, Alaska Airlines Magazine, Chin Music Press, Seattle Publishing and Yes! Magazine.

Seattle University Undergraduate Research Journal

Student-Run Publications for Writing and Editorial Experience

Study with Visiting Writers Fragments, our annual literary magazine, features the best literature and visual art of the Seattle U community. Seattle University Undergraduate Research Journal (SUURJ), our peer-reviewed online publication, provides editorial apprenticeship through a credit-bearing program that trains students to share stewardship of the journal and learn vital online publishing skills.

You will have the chance to study with visiting professors from the Pacific Northwest’s vibrant artistic community. Visiting writers have included Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna, Seattle Civic Poet Anastacia Renee Tolbert, novelists Kristen Millares Young and Kathleen Alcalá, memoirists Theo Nestor and Nicole Hardy, writer-activist Reagan Jackson, slam poet Daemond Arrindell, comic/graphic novelist Peter Bagge, YA authors Karen Finneyfrock and Stephanie Lewis, detective fiction writer Skye Moody, science fiction author Steven Barnes, and screenplay writer Stewart Stern.

Support for Your Success

With a passionate and dedicated faculty as well as several student-run organizations and study abroad opportunities, you will find both a support system and the tools to achieve your goals:

  • Literature-focused undergraduate English/Creative Writing degree
  • Personal attention from faculty
  • Development of disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and intercultural literacies
  • Cultivation of critical thinking, creative thinking, reflection, and insight
  • Cutting-edge curriculum in and across multiple writing genres
  • Seattle University/Elliott Bay Book Company Reading Series
  • Visiting writer/professors
  • Fragments literary magazine
  • Departmental honors opportunity
  • SUURJ (Seattle U Undergraduate Research Journal) housed in the department
  • Internships in publishing and more!

Students who study literature and creative writing develop strong research, reading and writing skills—skills that easily translate into careers in fiction writing, journalism, academia, marketing, advertising, technical writing, law, business and technology.

Popular Careers for English Majors

You will be trained to read, write and communicate exceptionally well, which gives you an edge in almost any career field you might explore. 

English majors are successful in the business world (advertising and marketing are some of the more obvious choices), the legal profession (we’re used to reading all the time, after all), the entertainment industry, the arts world and in education.

According to a recent survey report of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the majority of business executives want college graduates with strong communication, critical inquiry skills and problem-solving abilities.

Indeed, many employers prefer hiring English majors and students in the humanities. The reasons are many. As a student, you will cultivate or practice

  • Communication: the artful and thoughtful command of a wide-ranging vocabulary; the skillful presentation of points to different kinds of listeners.
  • Critical thinking: the ability to ask the kinds of questions that bring into view the complexities and possibilities of problems; the skill of formulating a problem in such a way as to open up paths for further thought.
  • Research: the ability not just to find answers to but to construct them using convincing evidence; the power to produce knowledge in the face of unknowns and uncertainties.
  • Empathy: the ability to understand the positions of others by means of careful reading and reflection rather than projection; the power to imagine as fully as possible different points of view, combined with a sense of the limitations of this ability.

Hear From Our Alumni

Brandon Teola

Brandon Teola, ‘24

“The English department at Seattle University has provided me with transferrable skills like effective writing, critical reading, and clear communication that have prepared me to enter any career that I choose. The professors in the department cultivate an incredibly supportive community, and the courses focus on topics that are relevant in the contemporary world. Choosing Seattle University’s English department for my college experience is one of the best decisions I have made.”

BA in English

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