Western Kentucky University

Prospective Students

Welcome to the WKU English Department!

If you're reading this page, you are at least considering a major--and/or minor--in English. To study English can mean very different things, and this journey can take you in many different directions as you look to life after college. Your family and perhaps your friends are asking you, "Why English?" That's a good question.

Many students choose English because they love to read and/or write, though they might not have given a great deal of thought to why, or to how this will ultimately benefit them. To study literature is to study the human condition, in all its glory and in all its ignominy. As such, literature is a multi-faceted subject, one that incorporates a variety of other disciplines including history, psychology, sociology, religion, political science, anthropology, and art, among others. So to be a student of literature is to be a student of life. But literature is only one possibility.

Interested in how we use language to express ideas, to make sense of inchoate thought, to persuade, to make arguments, to make things happen? Try composition and rhetoric.

Interested in teaching English in high school? Then English for Secondary Teachers is the major for you. Want to try your hand at teaching English to non-native speakers, perhaps in a foreign country? Then study Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL).

Want to write novels or short stories? Poems? Biography or memoir? To express your creativity with words? To give voice to what means to be human? Then creative writing is your best choice.

Or perhaps you want to write for more practical purposes, say, to spread information, to explain how something works, to inspire philanthropy. Then professional writing is the way to go.

Interesting in how language works? In how we acquire language, how various dialects develop, how usage varies depending on one's gender, religion, or class, how language is structured? Try linguistics.

No matter what you choose to emphasize (and you're not limited to one of these), you will develop a prodigious skill set that will serve you well the rest of your life. English majors, curious and analytical, practice critical thinking and are better writers than most. They are good at drawing generalities from particulars, they are articulate, they appreciate the nuances of language (and are therefore not easily manipulated by it), and they develop the ability to see things from multiple points of view. In short, they are prepared to pursue a plethora of professions, limited only by their desires. For more specifics, see our Career Guide.

To talk with a faculty member about one or more of these possibilities, just email one of the following faculty members:

Literature: Dr. Alison Langdon

Teaching English in high school: Dr. David LeNoir

Creative Writing: Dr. Molly McCaffrey

Professional Writing: Dr. Jeffrey Rice


TESL: Dr. Alex Poole

Composition or Rhetoric: Dr. Chris Ervin

Linguistics: Dr. Elizabeth Winkler

Graduate: Dr. Wes Berry

For general questions or information, don't hesitate to contact me:


For more information, here are some relevant links:

Undergraduate Degree Program

Admissions Information

Financial Assistance

Activities and Organizations

Special Opportunities

Undergraduate Catalog

Departmental Scholarships

Scholarship Application

Scholarship Descriptions

First Year Creative Writing Majors

GSA PCAL Scholarship

Dr. Alex Poole and student
 Last Modified 6/30/14