Undergraduate Studies

General Information

Because gaining facility with the English language is a fundamental part of a liberal arts education today, the English department serves students of all majors at the University of Montana. The department offers a wide range of courses, each of which will help you to become a more perceptive reader and a more skillful writer.  

In your introductory composition classes you will focus on precision of language and clarity of thought. You'll learn to consider the audience for your writing.

These skills can translate to any discipline, but you might just fall in love with English. Perhaps you'll explore Irish Studies; perhaps you'll try your hand at poetry. Some of you will even choose English as a major.

You can find the catalog requirements for each concentration on the English Major Requirements page.

Students may pursue a minor in English Literature, English Teaching, and/or Irish Studies.

At the undergraduate level, the department offers the following options for English majors:

Undergraduate Degree Options

Students who focus on literature will read, examine, and discuss texts: books, stories, scholarly interpretations, and primary sources, as well as movies, plays, and poems. In this course of study you'll learn how to read closely, do literary analysis, apply literary theory, and write about your discoveries.

Several of your classes will be historically based surveys. Seniors develop a final research project in a seminar to graduate. Electives vary but tend to be more specific: they cover a certain genre, author, time, discipline, geography, or identity (e.g. Native American Literature).

The literature emphasis imparts an understanding of not only the aesthetic richness of canonical and emerging literature but also the historical and cultural forces that have contributed to their making.

Most classes in the Creative Writing program are workshops focusing on three genres: poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. If you select the creative writing option, you'll still complete some of the same requirements as literature students.

One of the best parts of studying Creative Writing at UM as an undergraduate is getting to learn from the same instructors who teach in our nationally renowned Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program.

Regardless of major, undergraduate students can also contribute and edit the campus literary magazine called The Oval.

It is possible to earn a B.A. in English with a focus on creative writing or a B.F.A. in creative writing.

The English Teaching program provides content knowledge, pedagogy, and professional experiences required for teaching literacy in a democratic society.

In other words, you won't just learn to teach. You'll study language, literature, and media. You'll become a critical thinker, a creative problem solver, and a reflective practitioner.

Students who complete this option and the requirements from the College of Education receive a secondary teaching license (grades 5–12) in English.

Separate from the major, a certificate in teaching English as a second language (ESL) is available through the Linguistics department.