The Department of English offers a major leading to the B.A. degree. English majors may choose one of three tracks: Studies in Literature, Secondary Licensure in English Language Arts, or Studies in Writing. Each track requires courses across specific groups to encourage a breadth of study. Advisers will help students plan their curricula according to students’ professional interests.
Studies in Literature traces the development of British, American, and world culture and thought, from the earliest years to the most recent. This track leads to many career possibilities where the ability to read closely, interpret productively, think critically, and speak and write persuasively are essential skills.
Secondary Licensure in English Language Arts prepares students to teach grades 9-12. Students interested in teaching English in grades 5-8 should fulfill the specified requirements for middle school licensure in English Language Arts. Students from other subject areas may choose to fulfill the requirements for educator licensure in English Language Arts as an additional endorsement.
Studies in Writing includes internship opportunities in professinal writing and editing on campus or with local businesses, companies, and organizations. Students may receive credit and, in some cases, payment for these internships. Interested students should consult the college coordinator of internships.
A certificate of undergraduate study in Creative Writing is available for students in English or other majors.
The department supports several minors. The Literature minor may focus on a particular topic, historical period, or genre such as the novel, short story, play, poetry, or nonfiction. The Linguistics minor includes courses offering a range of approaches to the study of the nature of human language; the cognitive studies minor offers courses with interdisciplinary approaches to the nature of knowledge and thought. The department participates with the Department of Communication in offering a minor in Professional Communication and with the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures in offering a minor in Comparative Literature. The department also participates in offering interdisciplinary minors with Black Studies, Classical Studies, Latin American Studies, and Gender and Sexuality Studies.
A concentration in Medieval Studies exploring the literary roots and early languages of present-day Britain and Europe is available.
The department offers an honors program for its majors and regularly offers courses for the University Honors Program. Several English courses can be used by non-majors toward fulfilling the humanities and the arts area requirement in the university’s general education program.
The GPA in the English major and minor is calculated by using all and only those English courses at NIU numbered 110 or higher, specifically excluding Foundational Studies in English composition (ENGL 103, ENGL 203, and ENGL 204). These foundational courses are not counted toward the maximum of 60 hours allowed in a single department, as described in “Special Requirements in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.”
English majors and minors must take ENGL 200 and ENGL 300 A, B, or C. These courses form the basis for the literary approaches and writing proficiencies needed for English Studies and should be taken as early as possible.
Students with a major or minor in English must demonstrate competence in the fundamentals of English grammar by successfully completing ENGL 207 or by passing the Grammar Exemption Exam (GEE). Teacher licensure candidates in English cannot be exempt from ENGL 207 through the GEE. Students who pass the GEE will be required to substitute another English course at the 100-400 level, taken at NIU or elsewhere, to complete the 39 required semester hours in the major or the 18 semester hours required in the minor. Failing to pass the GEE necessitates that a student successfully complete ENGL 207.
Kathleen Renk, Ph.D., University of Iowa, associate professor, chair
Melissa Adams-Campbell, Ph.D., Indiana University, assistant professor
Gulsat Aygen, Ph.D., Harvard University, Presidential Teaching Professor
William Baker, Ph.D., University of London, Distinguished Research Professor, Board of Trustees Professor, professor emeritus
Scott Balcerzak, Ph.D., University of Florida, associate professor
Alexandra G. Bennett, Ph.D., Brandeis University, associate professor
Betty J. Birner, Ph.D., Northwestern University, professor
Joseph W. Bonomo, Ph.D.,Ohio University, associate professor
Jeffrey P. Chown, Ph.D., University of Michigan, adjunct professor emeritus
Nicole Clifton, Ph.D., Cornell University, associate professor
Lara Crowley, Ph.D., University of Maryland, associate professor
Timothy Crowley, Ph.D., University of Maryland, associate professor
Michael J. Day, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, professor
Deborah C. De Rosa, Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, associate professor
Susan E. Deskis, Ph.D., Harvard University, associate professor
Jeffrey Einboden, Ph.D., University of Cambridge, associate professor
Philip E. Eubanks, Ph.D., University of Illinois, professor
Ibis Gómez-Vega, Ph.D., University of Houston, associate professor
David Gorman, Ph.D., Columbia University, associate professor
John V. Knapp, Ph.D., University of Illinois, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, professor emeritus
Amy K. Levin, Ph.D., City University of New York, professor emeritus
Doris M. Macdonald, Ph.D., Louisiana State University, associate professor
Brian T. May, Ph.D., University of Virginia, associate professor
Thomas McCann, Ph.D., University of Chicago, professor
Amy Newman, Ph.D., Ohio University, Distinguished Research Professor, Board of Trustees Professor
Bradley T. Peters, Ph.D., University of Iowa, professor
Jessica L. Reyman, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, associate professor
Timothy Ryan, Ph.D., University of Nevada-Reno, associate professor
John D. Schaeffer, Ph.D., St. Louis University, professor
Diana L. Swanson, Ph.D., University of Minnesota, associate professor
Mark W. Van Wienen, Ph.D., University of Illinois, professor