Why Study English?

The English Department has a diverse student body with a broad and interdisciplinary set of interests. Undergraduate majors choose either our Literature Track or our Communication and Technology Track. We also offer an MA and accelerated BA/MA Program in Texts, Technologies and Literature (TTL). Some students come to the department for a writing minor, which can feature literature, communication and technology, creative writing, journalism, rhetoric and communication, and professional writing. Others take individual classes that complement a variety of disciplines and programs. English courses help students develop critical thinking, analytical ability, close reading, and effective communication.English students may join our active and flourishing Honors program. We also encourage them to engage in research and to submit their work to conferences and journals. Many have served as editors of the UMBC Review or have had articles published there. They also publish their creative work in UMBC’s creative arts journal, Bartleby. English majors are well prepared to compete for graduate school admission, major fellowships, and top jobs. Click here facts about “What Can I Do with My English Degree?” and here to to find out “Why I Hire English Majors.”

Undergraduate Research

UMBC’s English Department offers many opportunities for undergraduate students to get involved in research. Students normally begin their research with an in-class project. They might then expand the project into an independent study course with a faculty mentor (English 400) or apply for an Undergraduate Research Award (URA) to fund research travel or materials. Students in English have been very successful in competing for URA’s, pursuing exciting work on a wide range of topics, from “What is Chick-lit? Gender and Genre in Contemporary Popular Fiction” to “Comparing Cognitive Writing Processes across the World.”  Under the guidance of faculty, many students develop research projects to present at Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day. Students may also choose to apply to our active and thriving English Honors Program where they spend a year working with a faculty mentor to develop and complete an Honors thesis. Recent Honors projects range from the study of the success of on-line writing centers to a socio-political examination of Doris Lessing’s fiction. Students may also choose to focus on creative writing for their honors thesis. Nearly every year English students submit essays and are accepted into The UMBC Review, the undergraduate research journal. Other students continue their research achievement in graduate school or in careers as journalists, staff writers, or editors.

Graduate Research

UMBC’s English Department offers opportunities for graduate students to engage in research under the guidance of faculty who are leading scholars in their fields, whether in the study of a wide range of Anglophone literatures or the exploration of the theory and practice of rhetoric, composition, communication, or digital media. Because of the small size of our graduate programs, we have the flexibility not only to offer a range of courses at the graduate level but also to guide independent study courses, supervise internships, and mentor individual research with an eye toward eventual publication. Graduate research assistants have the opportunity to work closely with faculty on major projects and may serve as editorial assistants, where appropriate.