The English major at Drake is a highly customizable program that allows you to tailor the degree to fit your interests or career goals. Drake’s program emphasizes a multi-modal approach and you’ll learn to critically analyze different forms of text and media, including literature, language, films, the Internet and images. Faculty members in the English department are active writers, researchers, filmmakers and publishers, so you’ll be learning from individuals with extensive connections and experience in the field.

In addition to critical thinking, analysis and writing skills, you’ll gain a competitive edge through Drake’s practical application of the major. You can choose to participate in Drake’s Writing Internship Program, hone editing abilities on the Periphery art and literacy journal or complete an independent study on a topic that interests you. Recent independent studies have included a documentary on Dumpster diving and the homeless and a project on the history of science writing. You’ll also have the opportunity to hear from individuals who have excelled in the field through the Susan Glaspell Writers and Critics Series.

With an English major, you’ll have the option to explore other areas of interest throughout the University. The English Department encourages students to pursue interdisciplinary concentrations, second majors or minors. A number of the department's courses are cross-listed with interdisciplinary programs, facilitating such study. In addition, the English major will allow you to count related courses taken outside the department for credit toward your major.

The English department also offers international opportunities, including travel seminars to India, England, and South Africa.

Careers and Internships

An English degree can prepare you for a variety of careers, including professional writing, editing, advertising, publishing, education, management, computer technology, public relations and public service, or allow you to pursue graduate work in English studies, law school or medical school.

As an English major, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in Drake University’s Writing Internship program. You’ll work closely with a Drake advisor as well as a supervisor throughout the experience. Internships can be held at a variety of nonprofit organizations and businesses. Typical job responsibilities include grant-writing, research, editing, overseeing social media, conducting interviews and writing for publications, newsletters, brochures and more.

Students have recently held internships at:

  • Sony Music
  • Young American Poetry Society
  • Iowa Gold Start Military Museum
  • State Historical Society of Iowa
  • Waukee Area Arts council
  • Iowa Food Co-op

Student Organizations/Programs

Many English majors participate in Periphery, an annual art and literary journal for Drake students. All students may submit creative works for consideration in the journal, and students can also work as editors in the Periphery staff.

The English Department, along with the Center for Humanities, hosts a series of lectures by noted writers and literary critics each year. Past speakers have included: Jane Juffer, Tim Bascom, Jen Hirt, Keetje Kuipers and George Saunders.

Additionally, Drake Writers’ Night is a community event that invites Drake students, faculty and staff and local writers to campus to share recent work.

Course Requirements

The English major requires 36 credits: at least 15 at the lower division and at least 18 at the upper division. The English major allows for 9 credits of electives, 6 of which must be 100-level courses. A few of the courses offered in the English department include: Adolescent Literature, Reading & Writing about Class, South African Literature, Literature of War, Autobiography and Memoir, Introduction to Film Study, and Storytelling as a Social Practice.


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