English programs

Our department's mission is to cultivate educated citizens who

  • READ WIDELY, delighting in texts that challenge them
  • REASON CAREFULLY, sensitive to textual nuance and cultural contexts
  • THINK CREATIVELY, aspiring to broaden their minds and express their souls
  • WRITE BOLDLY, attentive to the needs of diverse audiences
  • SERVE FAITHFULLY, rooted in the God-given power of language to inspire, inform, persuade and heal

English teaching

Share your passion for story with readers and writers in grades 5–12. In addition to your English classes, you’ll take courses in an education department that is one of only 4 in Iowa to be NCATE accredited.


Our “loose canon” approach means you’ll read widely. Along with courses covering Chaucer and Twain, you can also take classes like Literature of the Developing World and Native American Literature.

Writing and rhetoric

Our interdisciplinary writing major requires you to add a second major or minor. Students have paired it with business, history, political science, public relations and religion. Creative writers can choose from courses in poetry, fiction, nonfiction, playwriting and screenwriting.

Writing and Rhetoric Major

ENG 221 - Responding to Writing
ENG 235 - Introduction to Rhetorical Studies
ENG 290 - The Art of the Essay
ENG 292 - Introduction to Narrative and Verse
ENG 297 - The Rhetoric of Persuasion
ENG 401 - History and Theory of Rhetoric
Choose one course: 4
ENG 350 - Reading and Writing Short Fiction
ENG 351 - Reading and Writing Creative Nonfiction
ENG 352 - Reading and Writing Poetry
Electives: 10
Choose at least two credits:*
ENG 380 - Special Topics in Writing
ENG 387 - Special Topics in Rhetoric
Choose at least two credits:
COM 185 - Media Writing
COM 217 - Communication Practicum in Print Media
COM 230 - Principles of Public Relations
COM 261 - Feature Writing
COM 263 - Layout and Design
COM 340 - News Writing and Editing
Other electives:
COM 417 - Internship
ENG 288 - Writing in the Professions
ENG 345 - Linguistic Perspectives on English
ENG 390 - Introduction to Publishing
ENG 395 - Advanced Publishing
ENG 420 - Advanced Writing Project
THE 206 - Playwriting: The One-Act
THE 407 - Playwriting: The Full-Length
Total credits required: 32


Students must also complete a minor or an additional major in another discipline.

*Special Topics courses offered in the past include Writing the Farm, Style and Genre, Memoir, Spiritual Writing, Women and Rhetoric.

Internships range from 2-12 credits. The maximum credits applied to the major are noted under the 417 course designation.