When you major or minor in English, you’ll be building a solid foundation for success in any career.  You’ll also have achieved intellectual independence; clear, confident expression; broad perspectives; and a cultural understanding of how literature engages with societal issues. As a student in the English program at UMN Morris, you’ll benefit from a flexible curriculum with courses that expose you to a wide range of literature and written works. You’ll receive individual attention from award-winning faculty members who will closely analyze your work to help you improve your written and oral communication skills. 

The advantage of studying English at UMN Morris is that classes are small, allowing for dialogue across differences; camaraderie, collaboration, and friendship among students; an in-depth grasp of the subject matter; and close mentoring relationships between students and professors.

You’ll be able to choose from a variety of electives, which make up more than half of the credits toward an English major. Through elective coursework, you can focus on and develop an expertise in any of the following.

  • African American literature
  • Environmental literature
  • Feminist and queer literature
  • Genre fiction
  • Medieval literature
  • Multiethnic literatures
  • Native American and Indigenous literatures
  • Shakespeare
  • Writing/editing 
  • Creative writing

Note: UMN Morris also offers a minor in creative writing for non-English majors.


Degree Requirements


The English discipline is one of the largest at UMN Morris. We offer a wide range of literature and creative writing courses that will allow you to achieve both breadth and depth in your study. Examples of courses include the following.

  • Detection and Espionage in Fiction and Film
  • Environmental Justice Literature
  • Gender in Literature and Culture
  • Graphic Novel
  • Harlem Renaissance
  • Representations of American Indians in Popular and Academic Culture
  • Shakespeare and Ecology
  • The Environmental Imagination
  • Writing Poetry for the 21st Century
  • Social Justice Biofiction

In addition, as an English major, you’ll be able to take a research seminar that explores timely and historical topics in detail for your capstone experience.


Student Learning Outcomes

By completing a degree in English you will be able to

  • analyze both primary and secondary texts;
  • write a coherent argument, both with and without secondary sources;
  • develop writing skills and processes in order to achieve specific writing goals;
  • demonstrate basic knowledge of critical approaches and practices of literary study; and
  • demonstrate a basic knowledge of literary history.

General Education Requirements

The University of Minnesota and its faculty are committed to providing an education that invites you to investigate the world from new perspectives, learn new ways of thinking, and grow as an active citizen and lifelong learner. The University’s general education requirements are designed to be integrated throughout your four-year undergraduate experience. These courses provide you an opportunity to explore fields outside your major and complement your major curriculum with a multidisciplinary perspective.

Careers & Graduate School


UMN Morris English majors have gone on to pursue a variety of careers, demonstrating the value and flexibility of the major. Examples include the following.

  • Accountant
  • Actor
  • Author
  • Doctor
  • Editor
  • English teacher abroad
  • Graduate student
  • Graphic designer
  • High school teacher
  • Journalist
  • Lawyer
  • Marketing and communications director
  • Researcher
  • Scientist
  • Social worker

Graduate School

UMN Morris English majors have gone on to pursue graduate study at many universities, including:

  • Cornell University
  • Indiana University
  • North Dakota State University
  • Notre Dame University
  • Penn State University
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Texas, Austin
  • West Virginia University

Research & Engagement


As a UMN Morris student, you’ll have access to programs that make research opportunities possible.

  • The Undergraduate Research Symposium invites presenters from all disciplines to present their work to the campus community in a spirit of intellectual exchange. Readings of creative works, scholarly research, and dramatic presentations are all welcome.
  • International exchange and study-abroad programs
  • Faculty research assistantships
  • First-hand experience working on campus student publications like the University Register or Floating World.

English faculty members can help you with obtaining funding so that you can take advantage of opportunities to develop and present your creative works and research projects. Students in the English discipline have presented their work in multiple states and even in Dublin, Ireland. 

As a UMN Morris student, you’re strongly encouraged to take part in academic opportunities outside the classroom. Participating in research or partnering with other students or faculty on a literature or writing-related project allows you to put into practice what you are learning as an undergraduate student.

Current and recent English majors are among the recipients of and semi-finalists for the Fulbright international exchange program

Research & Creative Opportunities


UMN Morris English students and faculty are among the most active on campus. You may be able to

  • edit or contribute to campus publications;
  • give a public reading;
  • join Floating World, the campus creative writing club;
  • join Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society;
  • participate in a community-outreach program;
  • assist other students at the Writing Center;
  • serve as a research assistant to a faculty member; or
  • volunteer at the Prairie Gate Literary Festival.

Barber Lecture Series

The Barber Lectures in Literature are made possible by a gift to UMN Morris from Laird H. Barber and the late Dorothy Klein Barber, both of whom had long and distinguished careers as English faculty at UMN Morris. The endowed lecture series began in 1999 and is shared, in alternate years, between the English and the foreign languages and literatures (German studies, French, Spanish) disciplines. The intention of the Barber Lecture Series is to provide a stimulating forum for delving into the multiplicity of issues which confront and enrich literary studies in many areas of the world.

During their careers and after retirement, the Barbers made major contributions to the liberal arts at UMN Morris and to the town of Morris. Their involvement began in 1964, when Laird joined the English faculty; Dorothy joined the English faculty the next year. Dorothy retired in 1991 and passed away in 1998. Laird retired in 1994 and continues to support intellectual life on campus and in Morris.

Thanks to the Barbers, the humanities division is able to bring to campus each year a distinguished literary scholar to enrich campus dialogue about contemporary literary issues.

Past Speakers

Fall 2022

  • Elizabeth Otto, professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History and Global Gender Studies at the University of Buffalo, State University of New York: “Haunted Modern Art: Gender Fluidity, Queer Identities, and Radical Politics at Germany’s Bauhaus Art School"

Fall 2019

  • Brigitte Weltman-Aron, professor of French and Francophone Studies, affiliated with the Center for African Studies and the Center for Women's Studies and Gender Research, University of Florida: “Resistance in Pictures: Assia Djebar on Art”

Fall 2018

  • Sonya Posmentier, associate professor of English, New York University: “Black Reading: Lyrics of the Color Line.”

Fall 2017

  • Luis E. Cárcamo-Huechante, Professor at the University of Texas at Austin & Comunidad de Historia Mapuche: "Indigenous Resonance & Responses from Mapiche Territory"

Fall 2016

  • Robyn Warhol, Interim Chair and Arts & Humanities Distinguished Professor, The Ohio State University: “Reading Like a Victorian”

Fall 2015

  • David Tse-Chien Pan, Professor of German at the University of California, Irvine: "Goethe's Wilhelm Meister and Political Representation"

Fall 2014

  • Frances E. Dolan, Professor of English at the University of California, Davis: “Know Your Food: Turnips, Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, and the Local”

Fall 2013

  • William Burgwinkle, Professor of Medieval French and Occitan at Cambridge University: “Medieval Bodies: Looking and Touching”

Fall 2012

  • Jay Parini, D.E. Axinn Professor of English and Creative Writing at Middlebury College: “The Imagination of Truth: How Fiction Shines a Light into the Dark Corners of History”

Fall 2011

  • Ofelia Ferrán, Professor of Spanish & Portuguese Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities: “Mass Graves, Stolen Children, and Other Specters of the Past Haunting Contemporary Spain”

Fall 2010

  • Kate Flint, Professor of English at Rutgers University: “Flash! Photography, Writing, and Surprising Illumination”

Spring 2010

  • Siegfried W. de Rachewiltz, Schloss Tirol Museum Director & Faculty Member at Innsbruck University: “Oswald von Wolkenstein, The Last of the German Minnesänger”

Fall 2008

  • Dana Nelson, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English and American Studies at Vanderbilt University, and Russ Castronovo, Jean Wall Bennett Professor of English and American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison: “‘Action, Action, Action’ 19th-Century Literature for 21st-Century Citizenship”

Fall 2007

  • Jonathan Culler, Class of 1916 Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Cornell University: “Reading The Flowers of Evil Today”

Fall 2006

  • Jerome McGann, John Stewart Bryan University Professor at the University of Virginia: “Philology in a New Key Humane Studies in Digital Space”

Fall 2005

  • Marvin A. Lewis, Professor of Spanish & Director of the Afro-Romance Institute for Languages and Literatures of the African Diaspora at the University of Missouri-Columbia: “Afro-Hispanic Literature and the Canon”

Fall 2004

  • Mary Louise Pratt, Silver Professor of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Literatures at New York University: “Language and Contemporary Geopolitics”

Fall 2003

  • Sander L. Gilman, Distinguished Professor of the Liberal Arts and Sciences and of Medicine & Director of the Humanities Laboratory at the University of Illinois, Chicago: “Is Multiculturalism Good for the Jews A Literary View”

Spring 2003

  • Lawrence Buell, Powell A. Cabot Professor of American Literature & Chair of English at Harvard University: “Environmental Imagination, Environmental Crisis”

Fall 2001

  • Trinh T. Minh-ha, Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor of Film Studies, Women’s Studies and Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley: 1st Foreign Language Barber Lecture (French), “Far Away, From Home” (with screening of her film Surname Viet Given Name Nam after lecture)

Fall 2000

  • Leah Marcus, Professor of English at Vanderbilt University: 1st English Barber Lecture, “Elizabeth I as Public and Private Poet”

Fall 1999

  • Samuel Schuman, Interim UMM Chancellor Inaugural Barber Lecture, “‘Twas beautiful and hard’: Why Study Literature?”

Quick Facts

Program Offerings
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University of Minnesota Morris
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