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Student reading book sitting on lawn on campus.


The skills of the English major have never been more valuable. Now more than ever, employers — and the world at large — need people who have the ability to read both widely and closely, to see many points of view, to make connections, to formulate concise summaries and thoughtful opinions, to write with clarity and style.

Degree Types
Major , Minor
Distinctive Requirements
Writing Requirement
Graduate Program Opportunity

Yes, our global economy and the industries that shape it have changed spectacularly over the last couple decades, but even the most advanced technology companies need employees who see the big picture, who can tell the whole story, who understand that there’s nothing more human or more valuable than communicating with clarity and compassion.

What We Do

That’s where you come in. McDaniel’s English majors graduate prepared for success in traditional fields like education, law, and journalism, but also for jobs in new fields like digital marketing and content development. As an English major, you’ll:

  • read a broad variety of literatures in English in their historical, social, cultural, political, economic, and psychological contexts;
  • write within scholarly and creative genres; and
  • analyze and evaluate oral, written, and visual modes of expression through the use of literary and rhetorical theory.
  • Produce print and digital texts designed for multiple audiences.

Impressive Outcomes

An English degree from McDaniel College prepares students for employment in a variety of fields and provides them the tools to be successful in their jobs. Our graduates have gone on to pursue graduate programs in law, library science, technical writing, creative writing, social work, education and literature.

English Major statistics

Distinctive Courses

ENG 2258 - African American Literature I

An examination of the African American oral and written literary legacy, tracing its history as a distinct literary tradition as well as an important part of the dominant American literary tradition. Students examine and discuss poetry, plays, short stories, essays, and novels from all literary periods.

ENG 2260 - Horror Fiction

An investigation of the dark and popular world of horror fiction, with special emphasis on the Gothic tradition within British and American literature since 1764. Students examine and discuss why horror stories fascinate, and how anxieties about sexuality, the unconscious mind, scientific discoveries, social injustice, and other topics are translated into the horror literature we read.

ENG 3325 - Writing in English Studies

This course introduces students to a wide range of critical approaches to scholarly writing in the fields of literature, writing and rhetoric. Students practice analytical writing, informed by theoretical frameworks and existing scholarly research.

ENG 4492 - Senior Seminar

The capstone to the English major emphasizes techniques and methods of literary criticism. Seniors explore different themes, genres, or topics each semester, and each prepares a major paper.

The McDaniel Commitment in Action

The McDaniel Commitment—a series of opportunities guaranteed to all students—provides enhanced mentoring and coaching, and ensures every undergraduate student completes at least two meaningful experiential learning opportunities.

Special Opportunities

Student sitting in the Writing Center lounge.

English Major with Secondary Education Minor

Students interested in teaching English at the secondary level (grades 7-12) in Maryland public schools must major in English and complete a core set of secondary education requirements. 

Students outside of Budapest campus.

Writing Opportunities

Flex your literary muscles. Publish your fiction and poetry in the student-run Contrast Literary Magazine, get a job in the Writing Center helping fellow students polish their papers, or write a column for the student-run newspaper, the McDaniel Free Press.

Header from the Westminster Detective Library website

Westminster Detective Library Research Opportunities

McDaniel is home to the Westminster Detective Library, founded by professors Mary Bendel-Simso and the late LeRoy Panek. You can explore the history of detective fiction in the United States as a research assistant, or browse it for literary inspiration.

Undergraduate Research Senior Capstone

English major Thea Robertson talks about her senior capstone — her study on the exclusion of women within all Black communities in author Toni Morrison's novels “Love,” “Jazz,” and “Paradise,” as the culmination of her English training at McDaniel.

A student sits outside at a table while reading a book.

Meet a Green Terror Class of 2024: Sydney Lewis English and History

With a dual History and English major, Sydney Lewis was well-equipped to contribute to McDaniel’s Westminster Detective Library through student-faculty research. 

"In the summer of 2022, I had the privilege of being an editorial assistant for Dr. Mary Bendel-Simso’s Westminster Detective Library, where I spent six weeks exploring online databases and archives to discover and recover detective stories that were written before the syndication of the Sherlock Holmes stories. In addition to actual research and work with the databases and archives, I curated, transcribed, edited, and uploaded these nearly forgotten detective stories to the Westminster Detective Library website."

Bailey Mullen - Class of 2023

Class of 2023: Bailey Mullen Get to Know a Green Terror

In her four years on the Hill, English and Theatre Arts major Bailey Mullen discovered a love for in-depth research. From supporting Professor Paul Zajac with bibliographies for his newest book, to writing and performing in a historical play, Bailey stepped out of her comfort zone and into the spotlight as a student. A record-breaking cross country and track runner, Bailey is crossing the finish line and joining a local law firm as a researcher post-graduation.

Photo of the book cover for Paul Zajac's "Reforming Contentment," featuring a painting of two shepherds.

In new book, McDaniel professor explores the meaning of contentment Faculty Research

“I’m trying to bring into the light and salvage the earlier meanings, after what scholars, theorists, and psychoanalysts have thought about contentment in the last hundred years,” says Paul Zajac, associate professor of English, about his new book “Emotion and the Self in English Renaissance Literature: Reforming Contentment.”