Close search

English Major

School of Humanities

apply  visit  request 

Department of English and Creative Writing

(440) 826-2293



A versatile, career-preparative major that builds outstanding skills in critical thinking, reading and writing, English is a rewarding program of study. At BW, you'll engage in rigorous coursework, enriching experiential opportunities and comprehensive studies that span classic and contemporary literature.

English is intellectually stimulating and intrinsically rewarding. It offers outstanding preparation for graduate and professional school or entry into the fields of business, communication and education.

It builds competencies in oral and written communication, close reading, formal analysis, critical thinking, research strategies and debate.

Personal attention and faculty mentoring are at the forefront of the major. You'll supplement classroom studies with experiential learning opportunities that include independent study projects, internships, service-learning and study abroad.

BW professors bring impressive academic and scholarly credentials to the classroom. Whether you are fascinated with American, British or World literature, playwriting, poetry or other genres, BW faculty can help you explore your interest.

If you're looking to be published, you can contribute to BW's literary magazine and student-run newspaper. Another valuable source is BW's faculty, many of whom have published books, poems, articles and scholarly works.


Majoring in English aligns well with career preparation by developing characteristics employers value:

  • Effective oral and written communication
    English majors become highly articulate in all areas of communication.
  • Critical thinking and analytical reasoning
    Close reading enhances an ability to use logic, balance various points of view, recognize how meaning is determined by context and develop a sustained argument.
  • The ability to analyze and solve complex problems
    Literary interpretation is an exercise in complex problem solving. English students learn to synthesize diverse points of view and apply multiple perspectives-social, political, economic, philosophical, historical and others-to understanding literary texts.
  • Ability to make ethical decisions
    Through literature, readers reflect on the meaning and consequences of human action. Literature enables a deeper understanding of ethical questions by contextualizing them.


If you would like to become an English teacher, BW has an outstanding teacher education program.


  • Attorney
  • Journalist
  • Teacher
  • Librarian
  • Technical writer
  • Media representative
  • Public relations practitioner
  • Marketing director
  • Law enforcer
  • Human resources director


Comprehensive and rigorous, English offers the following programs of study:

  • Major in English
  • Major or minor in creative writing
  • Minor in writing
  • Minor in literature
  • Teacher licensure

Baldwin Wallace is one of only two schools in Northeast Ohio offering a creative writing major.

Within the English program, dynamic, engaging courses span traditional offerings like American, British and World Literature, Composition, Exposition and Argumentation, as well as contemporary and creative offerings that include:

  • Men Behaving Badly
  • Romantic Rebellion
  • Gender and the Gothic
  • On Madness and Murder
  • Nature Writing
  • Detective Fiction: Private Eyes
  • Creative Writing-Poetry
  • Fiction of Addiction
  • Grant Writing
  • Creative Writing-Playwriting

At the upper level, a departmental thesis and the honors thesis are options that invite students to engage in singular, long-term projects with a faculty director. Creative theses have focused on the writing of short stories, prose poems, vignettes, poetry and the lyric essay.

The English major prepares students to:

  • Develop into sensitive and perceptive readers of literature
  • Develop into effective writers
  • Increase their understanding of the history and nature of literature
  • Increase understanding of the history and nature of the English language
Course Catalog

Course Descriptions

Course descriptions requirements for the major and additional information can be found in the University Catalog.


Small class sizes, individual attention and faculty mentoring are at the core of BW's English program.

Hands-on learning opportunities include independent study, research, study abroad, internships and service-learning.

Independent study offers students enrichment opportunities beyond the classroom for individualized and advanced study. Students work one-on-one with a faculty member. Summer Scholars is another BW opportunity that blends faculty mentoring and independent study with research, scholarly and creative endeavors.

BW's 20-minute proximity to Cleveland puts you within easy access to impressive networking, internship and career connections at corporations, government and nonprofit agencies, advertising and media organizations and more.

Study abroad offers exciting immersion experiences. Consider studying British writers by spending a semester in Great Britain or traveling to Costa Rica, Italy, Hong Kong or any of the many other sites recently visited by BW English majors.

The student literary and arts journal, "The Mill," is a high-quality publication that enables you to hone your craft as a writer or editor. The Mill Reading Series sponsors emerging and established writers to read their works on campus each semester.

You also can gain writing experience serving as an editor or staff member of the student-run campus newspaper "The Exponent."

Other hands-on activities include a project that places BW students at local high schools to tutor writing and a Grant Writing course that matches students with nonprofit organizations to research and write real-world grant proposals.

Students in Dr. Susan Oldrieve's advanced studies Chaucer class delve into their studies in a fun, creative way. They reenact the famous Canterbury Tales pilgrimage with their own version that takes them throughout Northeast Ohio.

The department's Career Explorations Book Club assists students in charting their path to a satisfying career in the early stages of their English major.

On campus, English students are regularly recognized for their achievements.

Alpha Mu Zeta (BW's chapter of Sigma Tau Delta) is the international English honor society. It fosters a sense of community among English majors and minors by organizing social and cultural events.

At the annual Honors Ceremony in the spring, recognitions include:

  • A.W. "Bud" Collins Prize in Creative Writing (in honor of A.W. Collins '51).
  • Twila Haines Coxon and A. Williams Coxon Scholarship (in honor of Twila Haines '19 and A. Williams Coxon).
  • Department of English Essay Prize (made possible by a gift from J. Richard Hankins, who taught at BW and helped establish the BW Writing Lab).
  • Amelia and Clara Harding Scholarship (in honor of Amelia '36, Charles '37 and Clara Harding).
  • Robert Howells Memorial English Scholarship (in honor of Robert Howells, who taught at BW 1967-88).
  • Ruby V. Redinger Prize (in honor of Ruby Redinger, an author and member of the Department of English 1956-1981).
  • Dr. Neille and Jeanne Shoemaker Scholarship (in honor of Dr. Neille Shoemaker, who taught in the Department of English 1946-86).
  • Bertha Stiefel Scholarship (in honor of English professor Bertha Stiefel '20, who taught at BW 1938-68).


Baldwin Wallace has long championed the success of its students. Evidence of this can be seen in the extraordinary achievements of its alumni spread throughout the United States and the world.

Alumni with English majors and minors have found exciting careers in marketing, advertising, writing and editing, secondary and higher education, law and the nonprofit sector.

Portrait of Katie RiderKatie Rider '19 is a student at Cornell Law School, where she is a teaching assistant and an associate for two publications. She interned with the New York Office of the Attorney General. Her love for reading and writing is one reason she wants to work in litigation, which requires telling a story, asserting a position and sharing it convincingly.

Portrait of Emma MonterEmma Monter '19 is a full-time grant writer for OhioGuidestone, a non-profit behavioral health agency and also the owner of Little Nest Designs, a digital design business. Literary studies courses trained her in critical and creative thinking, while a grant writing class gave her professional experience and connected her with non-profits.

Portrait of Skylar HalesSkylar Hales '19 is a journal editor for the Middle East Policy Council in Washington, D.C. She plans to pursue her master's degree in human rights and international relations at Kingston University London. BW's English program fueled her passion for human rights issues and honed her skills as a writer and editor.

Portrait of Dylan CookDylan Cook '18 teaches 7th grade language arts with Breakthrough Public Schools. His courses prepared him for teaching in each of his certified grade levels. Through a grant proposal writing course, he gained confidence in fostering partnerships between community groups and schools. He was also a committee member of The Mill.

Kristina DeGirolamo headshotKristina DeGirolamo '16 is a seventh grade language arts teacher at Avon Local Schools in Ohio. She is currently pursuing an MAEd in school leadership at BW. As an undergraduate, she interned with the Cleveland Foundation and worked as student coordinator and writing coach at Olmsted Falls High School. She is from Parma, Ohio.

Nic Campeotto headshotNic Campeotto '15 works for a small space communications company for which she recently wrote a winning grant. She has been featured in publications such as Manticore, For Books' Sake, Fiction Southeast, Cactus Heart and BW's own literary journal, The Mill. She holds a master's in English from George Mason University.

Paige GreenePaige Greene '14 is marketing communications specialist for Millwood Inc. in Vienna, Ohio. A campus job with the BW university relations department enhanced her professional writing skills, and career services helped her develop the confidence and job-seeking skills to land her current position. Paige is from Franklin, Pa.

Alex FaroneAlexandra Farone '14 is a litigation attorney at the law firm Babst Calland. She holds a JD from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. At BW, she served as a course assistant and senior news editor of BW's student newspaper, The Exponent. Her work was published in The Mill. She is from New Castle, Pa.


Michael Garriga

Chair, Department of English & Creative Writing
Ph.D., Florida State University

Michael Garriga

Denise Kohn

Associate Dean, School of Humanities
Ph.D., University of Houston

Denise Kohn

Eric Gardner

Writing Specialist
Ph.D., Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

Eric Gardner

Les Hunter

Associate Professor
Ph.D., Stony Brook University

Les Hunter

Sharon Kubasak

Associate Professor of English
Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University

Sharon Kubasak

Terry Martin

Professor of English
Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo

Terry Martin

Full-Time Faculty

Denise Kohn
Associate Dean, School of Humanities
Ph.D., University of Houston

Michael Garriga
Chair, Department of English and Creative Writing
Ph.D., Florida State University

Ana de Freitas Boe
Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo

Les Hunter
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Stony Brook University

Sharon Kubasak
Associate Professor
Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University

Terry Martin
Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo

Heidi Thoenen
Associate Professor
M.A., University of Akron

Writing Specialists

Eric Gardner
Writing Specialist
Ph.D., Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

Judette Kullins
Literacy Specialist

Tammy Layton
Writing Specialist
M.A., John Carroll University