Majors read in all genres — drama, fiction, non-fiction, and poetry — and also encounter great works of literature in translation.

As a DeSales English major, you'll take ten core courses to gain a comprehensive overview of the history of English literature from the early-medieval Anglo-Saxon poets through Shakespeare, the Romantics, and the Modernists to contemporary writers like Toni Morrison, Seamus Heaney, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Li-Young Lee. You'll also select a "track" of six additional English-related courses particularly suited to your individual academic and/or vocational goals.

The DeSales English Program offers tracks in

Literature — enhance your understanding of literary history begun in the core courses

Education — take courses in accordance with Pennsylvania Department of Education requirements for Secondary School Teacher Certification

Public Relations — develop the skills needed to contribute to the positive image of your company or cause 

Writing — focus your education in the direction of creative, journalistic, or professional writing

Self Design — work with your advisor to develop a self-designed track suited to meet your career goals 

Beyond the classroom

We strongly encourage our students to travel and study abroad. Thanks to partnerships with many schools across the globe, studying for a semester in another country can be an affordable option for most of our students. Learn more about studying abroad »

English majors take a major role in producing the campus publications, such as the student newspaper and the literary magazine.

The English Department also hosts:

  • An annual High School Poetry Festival which brings an internationally renowned poet to campus every spring

  • The Humanities Reading Series, which brings six publishing writers to DeSales each year to present public readings of their work

  • An annual Writers' Conference. 


The DeSales faculty's teaching, curriculum, scholarly expertise, careful advising, willingness to take on extra tutorial work for the benefit of individual students, and offering of special extracurricular events are all first and foremost informed and driven by the Catholic and Salesian traditions.

Our faculty bring a wide-range of experience to their classroom teaching. Some were educated at major universities, some at small liberal arts colleges, Catholic and non-Catholic. Many have worked extensively outside "the academy," in areas such as finance, fundraising, print journalism, professional acting, public relations, and not-for-profit business. Some have spent significant time living abroad, in Britain, France, Ukraine.

We firmly believe that study in the Humanities stands at the heart of every liberal arts institution. Central to their mission is the teaching of certain skills — among them critical thinking, problem-solving, team-working, and communication skills — which will produce graduates who are ethical, self-disciplined, and highly capable of negotiating the 21st Century workplace. 

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