English, B.A. (ENGAL)

Academic Plan

Program Coordinator


Heather Myers, '16

Altoona, PA
English major

"Through the English program, I’ve had the chance to travel and do research. I’ve learned to think critically and become a better writer.

My professors helped me get into a competitive graduate school, offering guidance, support and recommendations. I love them all – they’re awesome!"

Senior Capstone Presentations
On Friday, December 11, 2015, senior English majors presented their capstone projects in the Mountain View Room of the Port Sky Cafe. The students' projects focused on the works of writers who have earned a Nobel Prize in literature. Presentations were made by senior English majors Nicole Koch, Diana Fackler, Nicole Woodring, Tatyana Rasmussen, and Heather Myers. View more photos.

Why Major in English?

Employers in all industries love to hire English majors. Why? Because they appreciate the fact that English majors know how to communicate effectively and think critically. Penn State Altoona English majors master these skills through courses in literature, writing, and rhetoric. By studying American, British, non-Anglo-American, and world literatures, you’ll learn how to synthesize and analyze information; formulate reasoned arguments and judgments; and develop perspectives on human nature, culture, and diversity. These skills help graduates find careers in such fields as business, marketing, social media management, government, publishing, advertising, professional and technical writing, journalism, and teaching. English majors frequently go on to postgraduate study not only in English and creative writing but also in law, business, education, medicine, and various liberal arts disciplines. In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in career internships and in Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society, and to learn from published faculty who have won University-wide teaching awards.

Concentrations Within the Major

The English major offers two concentrations: Creative Writing and Global Narratives. The Creative Writing concentration will hone your skills in both practical and creative forms by providing you with instruction and intensive practice in writing. The Global Narratives concentration is designed for students who wish to expand their literary studies in English by exploring literatures and other narrative forms from a wide geographic and temporal scope.

Writing and Publishing Opportunities

Interested in creative writing? Penn State Altoona students can take workshops in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and playwriting, as well as pursue a more focused study through the creative writing concentration. Want hands-on experience and practice of your professional skills? Consider writing for the Collegiate Review, the student newspaper, or Hard Freight, the college literary magazine. Outside of the classroom, engage with visiting writers and with the current Emerging Writer-in-Residence. Creative writing faculty have won national and international awards, have pub­lished dozens of books, and are excited to help you reach your potential.