What is the career track for an English major at The College of Wooster?

The ability to write and speak clearly, work closely with others, think critically and work independently are all skills that are built in the courses taken by English majors. And those skills transfer to a wide variety of career paths. English majors from The College of Wooster have gone on to be award-winning journalists, novelists, librarians, and teachers. Many graduates use their English degrees to find success in law school, medical school, business and other graduate programs. The student resources and classes at Wooster, combined with a network of alumni and peers who can help students navigate their chosen career paths, give English majors a lot of opportunities.

Mission Statement of the English Department of The College of Wooster

The English department at Wooster believes that the study of literature and other expressive media is essential to understanding the past, confronting the critical issues of the present, and imagining a collective future. The department therefore encourages students to read both widely and deeply, engaging with literatures in English across the long history and varied geographies of their production, while also identifying specific fields of interest to ground students’ capstone project, Senior Independent Study. English majors pursue deliberate pathways through the major, first establishing a foundation in literary history as well as contemporary theories and methods of cultural study, and then building toward a specialized critical or creative research project that demonstrates not only breadth and depth of literary knowledge and sensitivity to language, but also appreciation of the dynamic relations between literary and cultural artifacts and the socioeconomic, geopolitical, and ecological contexts of their creation.

Ultimately, English majors develop the skills of critical thinking and cogent expression that will serve them well in an increasingly competitive job market. They also graduate with something more: an ability to imagine alternatives to the logic of that market, which threads its way through every aspect of our lives. While the English major opens doors to careers in fields such as education, journalism, law, marketing, communication, and many others, its larger purpose is to broaden our graduates’ apprehension of what is possible. If literary and cultural history illuminates how the past informs the challenges of the present—from racial, gender, and economic inequality to the legacies of colonialism and the threat of planetary climate change—the study of imaginative literature just as powerfully reveals the possibility of alternative social, economic, and ecological relations that might create a different world in the future.

Faculty & Staff

Cynthia D. Bernardy

Cynthia D. Bernardy

Academic Administrative Coordinator for Chinese Studies, Classical Studies, English, French & Francophone Studies, German Studies, Russian Studies, and Spanish


Daniel Bourne

Visiting Professor Emeritus, English


Claire J. C. Eager

Claire Eager

Assistant Professor of English


Daimys Garcia

Assistant Professor of English


Jennifer Hayward portrait

Jennifer Hayward

Virginia Myers Professor of English; Global Media & Digital Studies; Digital and Visual Storytelling Pathway (on leave Spring 2024).


Christopher Kang

Christopher Kang

Assistant Professor of English


Thomas Prendergast

Thomas Prendergast

Professor and Department Chair of English, Comparative Literature


Chris Suarez

Visiting Assistant Professor of English


Latest English News

Mitchell Ecklund '25 stands with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.

Mitchell Ecklund ’25 presents paper at prestigious American Historical Association conference

Mitchell Ecklund ’25, a history and English double major and Africana studies minor at The College of Wooster, presented his junior Independent Study topic […]

Hans Johnson '92

English and Spanish alumnus organizes for social justice in Wooster and across the nation

Hans Johnson ’92 chose to attend The College of Wooster because the school gave him an opportunity to connect with a diverse student body […]

Rue attended the opening of the Digital Studio in 2017.

Rue Endowment supports Wooster Digital Studio and other library services

An English major at The College of Wooster, Nancy Huffman Rue ’68 grew up with a love for libraries. Today, her legacy lives on […]

Anne O. Fisher

The College of Wooster welcomes translator Anne O. Fisher for reading and panel discussion Oct. 17

The College of Wooster will welcome author and translator Anne O. Fisher for a reading from her forthcoming translation of Ukranian writer Olena Stiazhkina’s […]

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The South African writer Nadine Gordimer once said that “writing is making sense of life.” The challenge and pleasure for both writers and readers is to make sense of the writing that makes sense of life. The English Department offers students a unique opportunity to encounter a rich variety of texts in which English, American, and Anglophone writers inscribe meaning into our world. Students discover their own relationship with the world as they hone their skills in reading imaginatively, thinking analytically, and expressing their thoughts clearly, creatively, and persuasively both orally and in writing.

Courses in English are designed to explore texts across historical periods, cultures, geographical regions and theoretical approaches so as to invite students to ask a wide and diverse range of questions. The curriculum is organized according to those questions-whether they aim to illuminate the cultural construction of gender, sexuality, race, or ethnicity, the career of a single writer, a period in literary history, a literary genre, a reader’s response to texts, or creative writing in fictional and non-fictional forms.

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A minor in English requires the completion of at least six English courses, including classes on fiction, non-fiction, and literary theory.

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Independent Study

All students at The College of Wooster complete independent study under the guidance of a faculty mentor. English majors are required to take English 451, 452, a two-course senior experience that allows English majors a unique and creative approach to Wooster’s Independent Study. Students define their projects with the help of an adviser who meets weekly with each student during the course of the project. Projects range widely, reflecting the diversity and creative imagination of the department’s students and faculty, and have included:

  • literary analyses
  • collections of short stories and poems
  • novellas
  • news writing
  • film studies
  • magazines
  • creative non-fiction and memoir


Search the I.S. Database

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A few years ago, a graduate of Wooster’s English department returned to campus to discuss the Pulitzer Prize for journalism that he and several colleagues had won. He just missed crossing paths with another English graduate who received an honorary degree in recognition of his best-selling novels.

Of course, not all Wooster English majors win a Pulitzer or write a bestseller. But they do go on to successful careers in a myriad of fields: television news producer, city planner, film editor at a Hollywood studio (his dream job as an Independent Study student), and an orthopedic surgeon. Many majors have become attorneys, reporters (print and broadcast), bankers (one is a vice-president at Morgan Stanley), and editors.

The department is also quite proud of those who have become teachers in our schools or gone on to graduate work and become English professors at colleges and universities throughout the country.

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Hans Johnson '92

English and Spanish alumnus organizes for social justice in Wooster and across the nation

Hans Johnson ’92 chose to attend The College of Wooster because the school gave him an opportunity to connect with a diverse student body […]

Graham Rayman '88

Graham Rayman ’88 tackles history of Rikers Island in new book

This story originally appeared in the Spring 2023 edition of Wooster Magazine. Graham Rayman ’88 has a career in journalism that spans over 30 […]

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English alumna helps build community through poetry and performance

Chantel Massey ’13 has always been a writer and a lover of poetry, but she didn’t always recognize that she could turn her passion […]

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Vocation for All Voices: UMC Reverend chooses joy to equip congregations and transform community-building relationships

Joy E. Bronson ’07 insisted from a young age that she wouldn’t be following in her father’s and grandfather’s footsteps as a pastor because […]

Prizes & Scholarships

The English Department regularly recognizes students who demonstrate outstanding writing ability.  More than $3,500 is awarded annually in prizes and scholarships.


  • The Thomas D. Clareson Prize for the best English Junior Independent Study paper of the year
  • The Waldo H. Dunn Prize for the best English Senior Independent critical analysis thesis
  • The Vonna Hicks Adrian Poetry Prize for an outstanding body of poetry
  • The Vonna Hicks Adrian Prize for a Critical Essay on Poetry for an original critical analysis of a poem or poems
  • The Ralph L. Kinsey Poetry Award
  • The Academy of American Poets Prize
  • The Donaldson Prize for Fiction
  • The Donaldson Prize for Non-Fiction
  • The Donaldson Prize for the best English Senior Independent Study creative project
  • The Becky DeWine Endowment Fund sponsors a summer internship opportunity in journalism between the junior and senior year
  • The Robert M. Bruce Memorial Scholarship is awarded to the first-year student who has shown the most improvement in writing skills during the first year

Faculty Emeriti

Daniel Bourne

Visiting Professor Emeritus, English


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C. Paul Christianson

Professor Emeritus, English

Joanne S. Frye

Professor Emerita, English


Nancy Grace

Professor Emerita, English


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Peter L. Havholm

Professor Emeritus, English

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Henry D. Herring

Professor Emeritus, English

Maria Theresa Prendergast
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David F. Moldstad

Professor Emeritus, English

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Debra Shostak

Professor Emerita, English