Study Literature at the University of Montana

Gain a unique blend of global and local perspectives on literature in a program that emphasizes discussion-based class environments and individualized mentorship. The literature concentration of the English bachelor’s degree at UM explores the aesthetic richness of canonical and emerging literatures, as well as the historical and cultural forces that have contributed to their making.

Our English literature major prepares students to be astute thinkers, engaged citizens and adept communicators. You’ll learn from award-winning faculty whose interests include British and American literature, Irish, postcolonial and world literatures, medieval literature, literature and the environment, literature of the American West, cultural studies, critical theory and more. You’ll also enjoy unique opportunities to learn through community engagement, undergraduate research and study abroad opportunities — experiences that bolster professional skills and enhance your marketability.


estimated average salary of UM's English bachelor's degree alumni


Fulbright Fellowship winners from the English Department


Kingsley Tufts Award winner in poetry

What can you do with an English degree?

As an English literature major, you’ll develop rich insights into human desires and motivations, while gaining a deeper understanding of and facility with language and literacy, and becoming attuned to gender, racial, and cultural issues in literature. This powerful skillset will give you exceptional versatility when you graduate.

Graduates of our English literature degree pursue careers in law, education, business, publishing, technical fields, community organizing, and a range of other professions. They go on to become successful writers, lawyers, social workers, teachers, marketers, web designers, and much more. Many also choose to pursue their master’s degree in English, or related fields of study, at the University of Montana and other top schools.

English degree jobs

Open the door to a broad range of careers with an English major. Examples of English literature jobs you might pursue with a bachelor’s degree include:

  • English teacher
  • Copywriter/technical writer
  • Freelance writer
  • Content manager
  • Journalist
  • Public relations specialist
  • Social media manager
  • Web content developer
  • Managing Consultant
  • Community organizer
  • Business owner

With additional study, many English literature majors also pursue careers as lawyers, college professor, managing editors and more.

English degree salaries

How much can you earn with a major in English? Salaries will vary significantly depending on your experience, professional field and level of education.

The estimated average salary of UM’s English bachelor’s degree graduates is $69,839. Here are additional examples of average annual earnings for related English literature jobs, based on recent data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:

  • Public relations specialists: $62,810
  • Editor: $63,400
  • Writers and authors: $67,120
  • Technical writer: $74,650
  • Lawyer: $126,930

Chase Greenfield graduated from UM with a Bachelor of Arts in both English and Philosophy. As a student, he collaborated with faculty on a scholarly article that was published in a professional journal. He also served as the student member of the Board of Regents of the Montana University System — the board that oversees public post-secondary education throughout the state. Currently he is earning his master’s degree in literature and creative writing at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, with the goal of becoming a writer and a teacher.

“As an English major at UM, I always appreciated the small classes and, above all, the availability of professors to meet and talk with students outside of class.”
Chase Greenfield, Bachelor of Arts in English graduate

Experiential learning in the English major

Engage in real-world learning experiences that help you develop professional skills while serving your community. Our degree in English literature offers numerous opportunities for hands-on learning in the form of study abroad, service learning initiatives, undergraduate research and more.

Service learning in the English literature degree program

We believe that fostering civic responsibility enriches the study of English literature, and we take every opportunity to apply classroom learning to meaningful service in our community. For example, a number of English majors in our States of Incarceration course recently had the opportunity to teach in the Missoula County Detention Facility.

Study abroad for English majors

Take your English literature studies overseas. We offer exciting opportunities to study abroad in one of over 50 countries through several UM sponsored programs. Learn more about study abroad programs at the University of Montana.

Undergraduate research in the English literature program

Collaborate with award-winning professors in a variety of ways. Several of our undergraduate students recently worked with faculty to revise their research papers for publication in academic journals, while others have completed exciting research projects for the Davidson Honors College, presented papers at undergraduate conferences on campus, and worked with Computer Science students and faculty in support of a grant project with NASA.

Career development in the English bachelor's degree

As a major in English at UM, you’ll benefit from the vibrant literary and arts community of Missoula, which offers many exciting opportunities to learn, network and contribute. Our students also participate in a wide variety of clubs and activities, volunteer for the Montana Book Festival, and engage with numerous campus and community literary organizations and activities.

Scholarships for English majors

Get extra help paying for your English degree. We offer a number of departmental scholarships that are available for eligible students. Explore scholarship opportunities for English majors at UM.

English literature degree requirements

In the English literature program, you’ll read and examine diverse texts, gaining skills in literary theory, criticism and analysis. You’ll also have the opportunity to tailor your English degree by choosing from unique elective classes (such as The Crisis of the Humanities, Irish Ghost Stories, Literature and Climate Change, Science Fiction, The American Novel, Music and Literature, Love and Death, etc.) that engage specific genres, authors and periods.

You might also consider our 18-credit minor in English literature, a choice that would pair well with a broad range of other majors, giving you impressive intellectual and practical versatility as you enter the job market.

View all classes for the bachelor’s in English literature.