Books displayed on a table

English is a flexible major that lets you choose your path.

English offers 9+ specializations, certificates, and concentrations.

The English major's flexible design lets students choose from more than 9 areas of specialization, including an individualized option that students can define themselves. In addition, English majors may also choose to concentrate their studies in Literature; Creative Writing; or Writing, Rhetoric and Literacy Studies.

A group of people sitting in the grass, having a discussion.

Small Classes

Unlike many other universities, and many other departments at UMass, the English department continues to provide small classes, on the principle that students learn best, and especially learn to write and read best, in small classes. While we do offer a handful of lecture courses—taught by lively and popular teachers—most courses in the department are capped at 20 to 35 students to allow for plenty of discussion of readings and attention to writing.

Students walk by Bartlett Hall, UMass Amherst

The Opportunities of a Large Research University

Because of its size, the English department is able to offer rewarding learning opportunities for every kind of learner. Take Honors courses or write a senior thesis. Take a field trip to the Renaissance Center or UMass special collections to see rare manuscripts and primary source materials. We offer courses on topics that range from social justice to climate change, from creative writing to web design. Browse our current course offerings and specializations to learn more.

Sarah Patterson

Top-Notch Teaching

The English department excels in teaching: we have won more campus-wide Distinguished Teaching Awards than any other department at UMass.

Students benefit from our faculty's deep expertise. Committed to excellence and outreach in their fields, English Department faculty members have founded and developed the nationally recognized Undergraduate Writing Program, the Western Massachusetts Writing Projectthe Juniper Institute, the  Arthur F. Kinney Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies, and the Interdisciplinary Studies Institute. The MFA Creative Writing Program is nationally ranked, with many well-known writers among their alumni. These programs enhance the opportunities open to students.

Group photo at the Faculty Retreat 2023

Learn from a Diverse Faculty of Researchers and Writers

Our faculty includes a host of internationally known professors whose published research and writing puts them at the forefront of their field and enriches what they teach and how they teach it. Our faculty also serve as knowledgeable advisors, offering one-to-one guidance to majors as they progress toward their degrees and think about life beyond UMass.

Lauren Saloio next to the NASA logo

Careers & Internships

English majors do get jobs, and that's not all. They rise to leadership positions and help re-imagine the world.

We work to inspire our students, and in turn, they inspire us with their ability to explore established schools of thought and form new ideas. These students move on to a myriad of careers, shaping new realities in the world around them by applying the passion and skills they garner at UMass Amherst. 

Donut chart of Top Industries of UMass English Alums

Job Placement Data

Curious about placement data or the sorts of career paths our alumni have pursued? Dig into the data!

New graduate with cap and gown posing outside of South College.

Student Satisfaction

For many reasons, students who have completed their English Department degree at UMass Amherst express deep satisfaction with the major. Our programs of study in language, literature, and writing promote a wide range of perspectives and encourage inquiry into diverse textual, cultural, and theoretical traditions.

Our popular summer abroad program in Oxford provides unique opportunities to learn in an international context. Our commitment to sustaining a diverse faculty means we understand the importance of different viewpoints and experiences, which prepare students to function effectively, and to intervene more progressively, in a highly globalized world.

Students sitting at the Awards Ceremony

Make Lasting Connections

English is a popular major, with more than 600 students working on majors and pre-majors in the department. Guided by a commitment to social and intellectual diversity, there are many thriving clubs and specialized communities. These communities have developed, for instance, around our popular specializations, study abroad opportunities, and student-run organizations, and our literary magazine Jabberwocky.

"I've found so many new ways to express myself ... it's incredible."

 —Shawn Bajwa '24

Spotlight on a Student: Marina Goldman, Editor in Chief of Jabberwocky

The more time goes by, though, the more items I’m adding to my list of future jobs… Social media marketing, publication, satirical journalism, editing. My dream English degree job, which I’ll have to work my way up to, is being a novelist. So long story long, I want to do a lot with my English degree.

Marina Goldman
Marina Goldman