Explore how narratives shape our world

We believe that studying literature and producing literature should be intertwined.

Our majors choose from two paths: literature and creative writing. But choosing a track doesn’t mean shutting a door: the English major’s core requirements are the same for both tracks, which means our students take classes with all of our faculty, not just those in their chosen path. This emphasis on the collaborative and productive relationships between literature and creative writing infuses everything we do.

English majors and minors are equally valued in the department and form a community that fosters creative, engaged, meaningful experiences. You’ll write (a lot) and revise (a lot), thanks to plentiful feedback from your professors, who are committed to craft in their own writing. You’ll dive into ambitious writing projects and have the chance to build on that work in subsequent semesters. Throughout our courses, we pay attention to whose voices have been at the center of public conversations and whose have been at the margins. Whether seeking models to inspire our own work or critically examining how literature shapes and reflects cultures, we try not to lose sight of the fact that what “counts” as literature is a question with a complicated history that is worth exploring.

In the English department:

  • Our biggest class size is 20.
  • Our faculty are prominent scholars and award-winning authors.
  • English majors and minors have the chance to develop their skills in public forums: many of them write and edit for Chanter literary magazine, Home Magazine, The Mac Weekly newspaper, The Words department newsletter, and with nationally-competitive Mac Slams spoken word poetry.
  • Our active English Honor Society plans events open to the department community, including theater trips and opportunities to network with alumni.
  • We coordinate an annual series of practical workshops focusing on how your degree can lead you to fulfilling long-term goals.
  • Our location strengthens everything we do. Our classes learn from local authors, journalists, and publishing professionals, as well as nationally-touring writers, scholars, performers, and speakers who come to the Twin Cities.

Life after Macalester

English in the Cities

English at Macalester happens within and beyond the classroom: recent field trips have included not only museums, archives, and theaters, but also nature preserves, recycling facilities, and book arts demonstrations.

Students routinely get faculty-sponsored internships (47 in the last five years!)—including at Graywolf Press, Coffee House Press, print and online media outlets, city councils, education organizations, and the state capitol, as well as in non-profit advocacy roles.

Our local community includes an extensive network of alumni who have found a home here—and they're eager to mentor and interview (and even hire) current students.

Join our community

Reading can be a solitary activity—but studying English shouldn’t be. Our department fosters community through both academic and extra-curricular programming. We host readings by award-winning poets and novelists, lectures by nationally-recognized scholars, and events to showcase the incredible work our students produce. We also offer Bagel Mondays, monthly coffee house nights, and occasional Pop Talks led by faculty on pop culture topics. When your calendar has this many opportunities for connection, it’s no surprise that the department is a beloved hangout space. Our events build a community, one that cultivates creative thinking and incisive writing. You’ll find yourself chatting with an acclaimed author about navigating revisions. You’ll get a tip about an amazing internship from a classmate over cappuccinos. We show up for faculty book launches and senior capstone presentations. We see each other through struggles as well as successes.

Department happenings

English Spring 2024 Course Summary here.

English Major Seniors Board ’24 – see our 2024 grads here.

English Major Board ’25 ’26 ’27 – see current majors photos and info here.

English Student Newsletter, The Wordscurrent and archived issues here.

English Grad School Info Session Video – see the alum and professor panel here.

English Department Podcast, The Ramblings– Episodes #1-#5 here.

Ongoing English Department Events:

English Coffee House in Old Main 4th Floor Lounge, Wednesdays 4:30-5:30pm.

Literary Salons in Old Main 4th Floor Lounge, on scheduled Wednesdays, 5-6:00pm.

Book Launches (for our faculty and our alums)

Poetry Readings & Literature Talks

English Senior Major Capstone Presentations

English Honors Project Readings

Apps & Alums Career Event (sponsored by the English Honor Society)

Links for current students

English student newsletter The Words

To declare an English major/minor please contact department chair ([email protected])

Honors Project information

Critchett Fund Initiatives

Alumni Spotlights

English Honor Society (Alpha Rho Theta)