A degree in English doesn’t just prepare you for a career in a variety of fields, it can provide you with skills to help you succeed in life.

English majors find careers in law, management, marketing, teaching, government services, public relations, journalism and library science. Just as importantly, however, you’ll develop the important skills of critical thinking, clear organization and expression of ideas, problem solving and communication across the curriculum.

These lifelong and extremely valuable abilities set you apart and make you valuable to employers. Indeed, the ability to solve problems, think critically and communicate effectively is one of the most essential workplace skills.

At Alvernia, English majors complete either the pre-professional sequence or the English/secondary education sequence, which prepares students to teach at the secondary level. In addition to preparing you for careers, Alvernia’s English major provides opportunities for self-knowledge and growth as you explore the ideas of great writers of the past and present.


Why should you study English at Alvernia University?
Because at Alvernia you get all the benefits of an outstanding university education in a manageable setting with personal attention and unique opportunities that can benefit you as you move toward your career.

Small Class Size
Alvernia has an average 12:1 student-faculty ratio, with fewer than 20 students in most classes. This facilitates valuable, professional relationships among faculty members and students. In these small class settings, you get individual attention to help you excel.

Faculty Who Care
Alvernia’s faculty members aren’t just teachers. They’re experts in their fields who are committed to passing along their knowledge and expertise to their students. In small class settings faculty members become mentors and advisors, intent on helping you learn, grow and succeed.

Research Opportunities
Alvernia offers opportunities for English majors to work with faculty members on research projects relating to their areas of concentration. This collaboration prepares students for professions and/or graduate school.

Honors Program
Alvernia’s Honors Program for students who are academically gifted and highly motivated is designed to allow students to work at their own pace and to recognize and encourage academic excellence. Honors students interact with one another to exchange ideas and information across a wide range of disciplines and interests.

The Honors Program offers co-curricular activities, service opportunities and intellectual and social support to encourage students to exceed their own expectations.

Learn more about Alvernia’s Honors Programs at www.alvernia.edu/academics/honors.

Get Real
Classroom learning is valuable and necessary, but out-of-the-classroom, experiential learning provides psychology students with hands-on, real world learning opportunities that enrich your educational experience and are highly valued by employers.

You’ll have opportunities for experiences such as internships, co-ops, clinical experiences, field experiences, community service and campus events. Participating in these types of experiences help you stretch and grow toward your full potential.

Learn more about Alvernia’s Get Real program at www.alvernia.edu/getreal.

Study Abroad
Living and studying outside of the United States can change you in ways you can’t begin to envision. Students who study abroad typically gain immeasurable confidence and experiences they could not have imagined.

Many English majors have benefitted from participation in a Study Abroad program in countries including New Zealand, Italy, Spain, England, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Morocco, Palestine, China and Mexico.

Learn more about Alvernia’s Study Abroad program at www.alvernia.edu/studyabroad.


English is a versatile major that can prepare you for a variety of exciting careers. You might be interested in working for a newspaper or an online news provider. Perhaps you’re thinking about a career in public relations or media relations, or would like to write speeches or direct communication for business and political leaders.

English majors work for publishing companies, where they write for magazines, edit books or research and fact check. Or, you might pursue a career in marketing or work for a non-profit organization.

The skills and qualities you develop as an English major can qualify you for jobs such as librarian, human resource professional, events coordinator, management analyst, copywriter, medical writer, social media specialist, radio sportscaster or staff member for a government official.

Earning an English degree at Alvernia can also prepare you for graduate school, including law school. Graduates have pursued advanced degrees at institutions such as Villanova University and the University of Pennsylvania.

A sampling of employers of English Program graduates:

  • Manhattan College
  • The American Diabetes Association
  • The Reading Eagle
  • The Learning Channel
  • Reese Advertising
  • Parsons
  • Junior Achievement
  • UGI Utilities
  • Reading School District

For more information about Alvernia’s English Program contact the Admissions Office at 1-888-ALVERNIA or 610-796-8269 or admissions@alvernia.edu.


At Alvernia, the main focus of the English program is the study and appreciation of literature, including early and contemporary poetry and fiction. You’ll examine novels, short stories and dramas, and learn about critical approaches to literature and the history of language. Your mind will be opened as you are exposed to the greatest writers of the past and present.

All Alvernia students must successfully complete a minimum of 123 semester credits to receive a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree, and English majors must complete 39 credits in the major.

Required courses for English majors are:
ENG 202 Critical Approaches to Literature
ENG 302 Shakespeare: Histories and Comedies --- OR --- ENG 303 Shakespeare Tragedies & Romances
ENG 406 Research Seminar

Choose two of the following courses:
ENG 203 Early American Poetry
ENG 204 Modern American Poetry
ENG 305 Early American Fiction
ENG 306 Modern American Fiction

Choose two of the following courses:
ENG 205 Early British Literature
ENG 206 Modern British Literature
ENG 307 The English Novel
ENG 401 Romantic and Victorian Writers
ENG 404 History of the English Language

Choose two of the following courses:
ENG 106 Short Story
ENG 202 Critical Approaches to Literature
ENG 207 Contemporary Fiction and Drama
ENG 213 Modern Drama
ENG 309 World Literature
ENG 310 Modern Novel
ENG 321 Ethics and Tragedy
ENG 355 Theatre History

You also will take a 3-credit major writer or period course and 9 credits of electives in literature and communication.

English Secondary Education:
Secondary Education (7-12) Certification in English can be earned by Alvernia students who first complete their undergraduate degree in English and demonstrate content knowledge in this area on Pennsylvania's required Praxis exam in English. The following coursework is required and can be strarted as early as the undergraduate senior year, then comleted as part of Alvernia University's post-baccalaureate prgram: ED 203, 204; MED 505, 515, 545, 574, 615, 665, 670, 672.

Classes required to complete the Liberal Arts Core are:
COM 101 Composition and Research
COM 103 Fundamentals of Speech – OR – COM 155 Introduction to Acting
PSY 101 Introductory Psychology

Related requirements are:
MAT A Math course other than Survey of Mathematics or Math in Liberal Arts.
PSY 210 Educational Psychology

Secondary Education Professional Education courses are subject to change. Contact your admissions counselor for the most up-to-date information.

Students in other majors who have career goals that require good communication skills can consider a minor in English. You will be required to complete 18 credits in English and Communications, with a maximum of 6 credits in Communications. COM 100 and COM 101 cannot be applied toward the minor.

You can learn more about all courses offered by Alvernia University by viewing the 2016-2017 Academic Course Catalogue at http://www.alvernia.edu/academics/catalogs/Catalog_2016-17/index.html.

Your Real World Learning Experience
Alvernia believes that real world experience is extremely important, as it can improve your confidence and introduce you to professionals in your intended field of employment. All Alvernia students participate in service learning, a teaching and learning experience that enables students to get real-world learning while benefiting a community partner. As an English major, you might help produce a video for a community non-profit or work on an advertising campaign to benefit a community organization.

English majors also are encouraged to study abroad or spend a semester at The Washington Center, an organization that offers residential academic programs and internships in the nation’s capital.

If you participate in The Washington Center program, you can gain practical experience by working in a Congressional office, government agency, news network or an agency devoted to legal affairs, international relations or business and economic issues. Or, you may have an opportunity to intern with a non-profit organization that addresses environmental concerns, women’s issues, the arts, education, science or labor relations.

You can learn more about the Washington Center and opportunities available there at www.alvernia.edu/about/ethics-and-leadership/washington.html. Also, you can find out more about real world learning at www.alvernia.edu/academics/experiential_learning.

Research Opportunities
Research is a valuable aspect of any education. English majors must complete Research Seminar, a course you’ll take as a senior in which you’ll undertake a significant project that results in a research paper.

Faculty members in Alvernia’s English department have professional experience in a variety of areas, and will help you decide what kind of project would be most beneficial to your career goals. Faculty members also conduct their own research in a variety of subjects and mentor students as they conduct research.

You may have the opportunity to participate in an action research and service learning project in an area such as the Dominican Republic, where you might write proposals, conduct fundraising or feasibility studies, tutor an English as a Second Language student, write public service announcements or work on developing a website.

Many students also benefit from Alvernia’s new campus media center, which offers opportunities for hands-on experience.

The Honors Program
If you’re academically gifted and highly motivated, you may want to learn more about Alverania’s Undergraduate Honors Program. Honors students have opportunities to take courses dealing with unusual topics and participate in a variety of activities. You can learn more about the Honors Program and how to apply at www.alvernia.edu/academics/honors/index.html.

The Eight-Semester Plan
You can do it! It’s easy to stay on track to graduate in four years if you pay close attention to what classes you need and make sure to take them in a timely manner. Advisors are available to assist in planning academic programs, course selection and registration, but it’s your job to make sure that you meet all academic requirements and comply with University policies.

Academic programs vary among students, and your required classes will depend on which English sequence you choose. Start planning well in advance for an internship, study abroad or other off-campus experience, as you’ll need to assure that you will be able to complete all required coursework.

Study Opportunities Beyond Campus
Your college years are the perfect time to broaden your horizons and participate in experiences that will change your life. Alvernia offers some great opportunities for students who want to spend some time studying beyond its campus.

In addition to spending a semester at the Washington Center, you might want to consider a semester abroad, studying fiction, poetry and art in a foreign country.

Study Abroad Programs
Alvernia’s Study Abroad Office works closely with students who want to spend one or more semesters in a different country. English students have studied and traveled in Italy, Spain, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, England, Germany, Greece, Belgium, Austria, Morocco, Palestine and China.

You pay the regular Alvernia tuition while studying abroad, and continue to receive financial aid, if applicable. Credits earned count toward your Alvernia undergraduate degree.

If you’re interested in studying in another country you should start planning early, as you’ll need to start the application process about a year in advance.

You can get more information about these programs from the Study Abroad Office at www.alvernia.edu/studyabroad or by contacting studyabroad@alvernia.edu.

Year-by-Year Major Map


Think Globally

  • Explore opportunities for study abroad, alternative break trips, pilgrimage to Assisi, the Washington Center and service trips
  • Start at the Study Abroad Office or studyabroad@alvernia.edu

Take the Right Classes

  • Review general education, University and Major requirements
  • Be aware of which semester required courses are offered
  • Focus on getting good grades

Get Good Advice

  • Get to know English faculty and your advisor
  • Visit the Educational Planning Center on the first floor of Bernardine Hall

Real Life Learning

  • Explore opportunities for upcoming practicums
  • Utilize skills acquired in First Year Experience

Make the Right Connections

  • Identify peers that support your academic goals
  • Get involved by volunteering with The Alvernian or the literary magazine Zephrus. Join the Theatre Club, get involved with the Student Government Association or consider some of the many other student clubs and community organizations

Get Ready to Graduate

  • Develop a working resume
  • Assess strengths, weaknesses and interests
  • Begin the process of obtaining all required background checks and clearances


Think Globally

  • Review opportunities for extended learning and, if interested, start planning with the Study Abroad Office

Take the Right Classes

  • Make sure you’ve reviewed which semester required courses are available
  • Focus on getting good grades

Get Good Advice

  • Talk to English faculty and your advisor about your career interests and opportunities that may enhance your chances of finding a job in that area
  • Stay in touch with the Educational Planning Center

Real Life Learning

  • Look into the Alternative Break program
  • Shadow in jobs that related to your specific interests
  • Look for part-time or summer jobs that relate to your interests
  • Get familiar with the Educational Planning Center’s Internship data base

Make the Right Connections

  • Volunteer for community service
  • Stay involved in clubs and organizations
  • Observe the roles of those in leadership positions
  • Form study group

Get Ready to Graduate

  • Update working resume
  • Assess strengths, weaknesses and interests
  • Complete the process of obtaining all required background checks and clearances


Think Globally

  • Participate in Study Abroad program
  • Participate in service trips or “May”mester

Take the Right Classes

  • Secure internship if applicable
  • Identify project for Research Seminar
  • Focus on getting good grades and improving GPA
  • Work with advisor to make sure you’re on track to graduate on time

Get Good Advice

  • Talk to faculty members about career opportunities
  • Stay in touch with the Educational Planning Center
  • Get familiar with Vault.com, a career services library available on Educational Planning Center’s website

Real Life Learning

  • Look into the Alternative Break program
  • Shadow in jobs that related to your specific interest
  • Look for part-time or summer jobs that relate to your interests
  • Get familiar with the Educational Planning Center’s Internship data base

Make the Right Connections

  • Secure a research mentor to oversee your research project
  • Assume leadership roles on campus
  • Connect with alumni in your field

Get Ready to Graduate

  • Get feedback on working resume from Educational Planning Center
  • Get resume ready for practicum applications and job fairs
  • Work on getting recommendations
  • Attend Career Planning opportunities such as job fairs and practice interviews
  • Look for coaching opportunities


Think Globally

  • Look for service opportunities

Take the Right Classes

  • Make sure you are on track for your Research Seminar project
  • Complete internship if you are participating in one

Get Good Advice

  • Work closely with advisor to make sure you’re on track to graduate on time
  • Stay in touch with the Educational Planning Center
  • Talk to faculty members about career opportunities
  • Ask for advice from professionals in your area of interest

Real Life Learning

  • Successfully complete your internship, if applicable
  • Participate in off-campus activities, such volunteering with an Alvernia community partner

Make the Right Connections

  • Continue in leadership roles on campus
  • Connect with alumni in your field
  • Attend campus events at which alumni are present
  • Meet professionals in the community who work in your area of interest

Get Ready to Graduate

  • Fine tune your resume
  • Search for jobs through Vault.com
  • Finalize recommendations
  • Attend Career Planning opportunities such as job fairs and practice interviews
  • Attend the Alvernia Job Fair

Alvernia is committed to serving the needs of its students. Whether you have questions or problems related to academics, life on campus, student activities, social activities or any other issue, there is someone available to help you. You can learn more about all student services at www.alvernia.edu/student-life/student-services.

Educational Planning Center
The Educational Planning Center offers advice and support to help you with any problems or issues related to your Alvernia education. It also assists with career exploration and preparation. The office is open every day and can be contacted at 610-796-8266.

Career Services
Staff members at the Career Development office will help you with any questions you have about exploring or planning careers. They also will guide you about how to look for and apply to jobs as you get closer to graduation. The office also has a career resources library. You can learn more about career services at www.alvernia.edu/student-life/career-services, or by emailing career.services@alvernia.edu.

Financial Aid
The Financial Aid office is the place to contact with any questions you have about the cost of an Alvernia education and options for paying for it. Nearly all undergraduates at Alvernia get some type of financial aid, and everyone is encouraged to apply for it. You can learn more at www.alvernia.edu/financialaid/index.html or by emailing financialaid@alvernia.edu.

Admissions Office
If you’re interested in applying to the English program at Alvernia, contact the Admissions Office at 610-796-3011 or at http://www.alvernia.edu/admissions.

Faculty Members
Alvernia’s English program is staffed by dedicated, highly qualified professionals who are committed to sharing their expertise and knowledge with students. Faculty members have extensive experience in various areas, and bring their professional expertise to the classroom. They often work one-on-one with students to enhance the student’s learning experience, and serve as mentors to aspiring students.

Many faculty members in the English program are actively engaged in research, have written articles that have appeared in prestigious publications and have presented nationally and internationally at conferences.

Click here http://alvernia.edu/academics/arts-and-sciences/english/faculty/index.html to learn more about English faculty members.


There is so much more to college than classes, and English majors at Alvernia have some excellent opportunities to get involved in activities that are both enjoyable and provide beneficial, hands-on experience. Students who get involved and engaged in extra-curricular activities benefit both academically and socially, and open themselves to integral life lessons from beyond the classroom.

You’ll be encouraged to participate in a range of activities, including some rewarding and inspiring service projects. Some organizations and activities you might enjoy include:

  • Sigma Tau Delta is the International English Honor Society. You’ll need to exhibit high standards of academic excellence to qualify for membership. Alvernia’s Sigma Tau Delta chapter is extremely active, and has been recognized at conferences and other events. For contact information and to learn more about what Sigma Tau Delta members do, go to http://www.alvernia.edu/student-life/activities/clubs/com-sigma-tau-delta-honors.html.
  • Learn first-hand about journalism by working on The Alvernian, the university’s student newspaper. If you are interested in writing, editing, design, photography and/or marketing, you’re encouraged to get involved. Editorial positions are available for qualified participants.
  • The Zephrus is Alvernia’s literary magazine. Published each spring, it contains original poetry, fiction, essays, photography and artwork by Alvernia students. Sigma Tau Delta members serve as editors, with faculty members as advisors.
  • The Alvernia University Theatre Club is open the entire Alvernia community, but may be of particular interest to some English majors. The club produces and performs theatrical productions, which are open to the community.
  • You can learn more about Alvernia’s Student Government Association, becoming a Student Ambassador, student trips and other activities at www.alvernia.edu/student-life/activities.
  • The Holleran Center for Community Engagement serves as a bridge between the University and the community. The Center partners with a variety of organizations to provide Alvernia students with opportunities to serve. You might assist with telecasts or cover community meetings for Berks Community Television, or serve as a community disaster educator for the Berks Chapter of the American Red Cross. Perhaps you would serve as a marketing and communications assistant for the Reading Berks Council of Churches. You can read more about volunteer opportunities at http://alvernia.edu/about/holleran-center.


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