Department of English

BA in English | Minor in English | Minor in Creative Writing |
Minor in Technical and Professional Writing | Minor in American Studies | Course Descriptions

Interim Chair: Bill Bridges   (936) 294-1402    

Faculty: Robert Adams, Kimberly Bell, Tracy Bilsing, Brian Blackburne, Bill Bridges, Paul Child, Lee Courtney, Michael Demson, Robert Donahoo, Diane Dowdey, Bill Fleming, Julie Hall, Helena Halmari, Darci Hill, Scott Kaukonen, Douglas Krienke, Nicolas LantzAudrey Murfin, Carroll Nardone, Jason Payton, Ralph Pease, Deborah Phelps, Paul Ruffin, April Shemak, Kandi Tayebi, Linda Webster, Gene Young

Information: (936) 294-1404; Evans Building 458;


The Department of English offers students the opportunity to study language, literature, composition, and cultures.


The Department of English strives to provide students with opportunities to grow as learners and as individuals. Students in the English Program may, through study of literature, gain an awareness and knowledge of themselves and their contemporary world. Other English students combine their cultural interests with specific vocational objectives, such as professional writing, teaching, or pre-professional training for law, business, or medicine.

English forms the cornerstone of the humanities. In a variety of courses in literature, writing, and the English language, students find a source of personal enrichment, and they develop verbal, analytic, and cultural skills readily adaptable to a variety of careers.

English students learn to write with precision, to read and analyze texts with accuracy, to conduct research and organize a welter of materials, to speak and listen well — in short, to sharpen their critical thinking and critical inquiry skills. These skills are highly valued by prospective employers. Most professions, while expecting new employees to be familiar with their specific fields, stress above all else the ability of their employees to read, write, and speak efficiently. Similarly, professional schools are interested in the student who reads, writes, and speaks well. Brochures from medical and law schools, for example, reflect an increasing awareness of the importance of an English background for future physicians and attorneys.

Academic Programs

Students in English may choose the Bachelor of Arts in English with an approved minor or can obtain composite teacher certification in English, Language Arts, and Reading. Students may also choose to minor in English (with or without Secondary Education Certification), in Creative Writing, in Professional Writing, or in American Studies.


  • The English Department focuses on good teaching, featuring a Minnie Stevens Piper Teaching Award winner, a Distinguished Professor, and numerous Sam Houston State University Teaching Excellence Award winners.
  • Faculty actively publish in national and international journals, win national literary awards, and serve as editors of scholarly journals.
  • Nationally recognized writers are brought to campus each year to read their works to students and discuss the writing and publishing process. Such writers have included Richard Bausch, Alan Cheuse, George Garrett, Allison Joseph, X.J. Kennedy, Maurice Kilwein, Galway Kinnell, Alex Lemon, Larry McMurtry, Marilyn Nelson and Tim O'Brien.
  • Students are provided opportunities to publish and present their writing and to enter writing contests. Numerous students have published works in regional and national journals.
  • Academy of American Poets Prize - Students compete for a poetry-writing prize judged by a nationally recognized poet.
  • Students have the opportunity to write technical documents for non-profit and other community groups.

Suggested Minors

SHSU offers a wide range of courses and areas students may use to structure a minor, and students should choose a minor to fit their individual interests and career goals. English majors may minor in Creative Writing, Professional Writing, or American Studies. Other common minors for English majors include Communication Studies, History, Mass Communication, Political Science, and Education.

Career Opportunities

When graduates leave SHSU with a degree in English, they are prepared for career opportunities or advanced study in teaching, technical and professional communication, journalism, government service, editing, scholarly and trade publishing, law, and business.

Student Organizations and Activities

Students in English may participate in many activities that will enrich their undergraduate experience and support the courses that they take:

  • The Sam Houston State Review is a literary magazine that publishes the writing of SHSU students. The Review staff consists of SHSU students working closely with a faculty advisor.
  • Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor society, invites junior and senior English majors and minors to become members of this prestigious national organization, with membership in the society recorded on the student's transcript. Sigma Tau Delta is an active student organization, sponsoring an annual food drive and readings throughout the school year. Applications for Sigma Tau Delta are available in the English office.
  • The Texas Review is a nationally recognized literary magazine that, twice a year, publishes fiction, poetry, nonfiction prose, and reviews by writers from around the world. Texas Review Press sponsors the publication of eighteen to twenty-four books a year. Students have the opportunity to serve as interns while working as members of the Review and Press staff.
  • The Writer's Forum provides opportunities for all SHSU students to publish their writing.

Internships and Study Abroad

  • Texas Review Press - Students have the opportunity to serve as interns at Texas Review Press. Interns are involved in a variety of tasks, ranging from charting the development of a manuscript to evaluating submissions to the literary journal.
  • Internships in business and industry may be available for qualified students who are working on a minor in Technical and Professional Writing. 
  • A student exchange program with the English Department at the University of Turku, Finland, provides students with an opportunity to study abroad for either a semester or a full year and transfer coursework toward their SHSU degree.


Several English scholarships are available for outstanding undergraduate students. Information on University scholarships may be obtained from the Office of Academic Scholarships website at or telephone (936) 294-1672. You may also call the English Department Office (294-1403) for more information.


Bachelor of Arts - Major in English

The English major requires a total of 36 hours of English coursework, including ENGL 2332, ENGL 2333, ENGL 3360, ENGL 3361, ENGL 3372 or ENGL 3373, ENGL 3384, and ENGL 3385. (Note: ENGL 1301 and ENGL 1302 may not be used to meet this requirement.) The total must include a minimum of 15 upper-division hours (6 hours at the 4000-level). All general degree requirements, including a minor, must be met.

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Bachelor of Arts - Major in English, Minor in Secondary Education

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Minor in English

Students who major in other fields of study may elect one of four minors in English. Each minor requires 18 hours of course work in English, as outlined below; the English minor with Standard Secondary Certification requires an additional 24 hours. In keeping with the intent of a minor to broaden students’ knowledge, none of the courses taken toward any English minor (minor in English, minor in Creative Writing, minor in Technical Writing, or Minor in American Studies) may be used to satisfy the requirement of any other major, minor, or core curriculum course.

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Minor in English (without Secondary Certification)
SHSU Course Number Hours
ENGL 2332 or ENGL 2333 (choose 1) 3
ENGL 3360, ENGL 3361, ENGL 3384, or ENGL 3385 (choose 3) 9
3000- or 4000-level elective in ENGL 3
4000-level elective in ENGL (choose 1, except ENGL 4364) 3
Total 18

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Minor in English (Standard Secondary Certification)
SHSU Course Number Hours
ENGL 2332 or ENGL 2333 (choose 1) 3
ENGL 3373 3
ENGL 3374 3
ENGL 4364 3
3000- or 4000-level electives in ENGL 3
4000-level elective in ENGL (choose 1, except ENGL 4364) 3
Minor in Secondary Education
CISE 3384 3
CISE 4364
CISE 4374 3
CISE 4375 3
CISE 4377 3
CISE 4394 3
CISE 4396 6
CISE 4397 3
Total 42
A student pursuing the minor in English with Secondary Certification may obtain teaching certification by completing the English certification courses and the required coursework in Secondary Education. Students who choose this minor will also be required to complete the requirements for a minor in Secondary Education.

Minor in Creative Writing

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Minor in Creative Writing
SHSU Course Number Hours
ENGL 3380 3
ENGL 3381 3
ENGL 3382 3
ENGL 3383 3
ENGL 4380, ENGL 4381, or ENGL 4382 3
3000- or 4000-level elective in ENGL 3
Total 18

Minor in Technical and Professional Writing

3 Digit to 4 Digit Crosswalk

Minor in Technical and Professional Writing
ENGL 3330 3
ENGL 3377 3
ENGL 3378 or ENGL 3380 3
ENGL 4330 3
ENGL 4335 3
3000- or 4000-level elective in ENGL 3
Total 18

Minor in American Studies

The American Studies Minor explores aspects of the American experience locally, nationally, and within the global community from various perspectives and disciplines, including literature, history, political science, psychology, sociology, communication studies, and criminal justice.  Minors will complete 18 semester credit hours of study, to include one required sophomore-level course, "Introduction to American Studies" (AMST 2311) and five elective courses.  

The elective courses will be drawn from three categories of concentration, and students will select two courses from any two of these categories and one course from a third category to comprise their fifteen elective hours.

  1. Regional and Borderland Studies (studies of Texas, the Southwest, and border culture); 
  2. Ethnicity and Race in America (racial and ethnic minority experiences, history, and cultural expression); and
  3. Gender in America (womens and masculinity studies).

In keeping with the intent of a minor to broaden students’ knowledge, none of the courses taken by American Studies minors may be used to satisfy the requirement of any other major or minor. At least nine of the eighteen hours comprising the minor must be writing-intensive courses.

1. Regional and Borderland Studies

ENGL 3388 Texas Crossroads
ENGL 4370 American Regional Literature
HIST 3398 Texas and the Southwest
HIST 4367 The American South
HIST 4370 The History of the West
SOCI 4332 The Sociology of Demography and Migration
HIST 3391 Colonial Latin America
SPAN 3385 Spanish Presence in the New World
SPAN 3374 Introduction to Spanish American Literature
CRIJ 3394 Global Terrorism and Homeland Security

2. Ethnicity and Race in America

COMS 3370 Intercultural Communications
CRIJ 4385 Crime, Justice, and Social Diversity
ENGL 3337 African-American Literature
ENGL 3338 Multicultural Literature
GERM 2364 Multicultures of America: German
HIST 3382 Immigration and Ethnicity in American History
HIST 3392 American Indian History
HIST 3393 African-American History
HIST 4333 History of the Black Civil Rights Movement
HIST 4363 History of American Slavery
POLS 2335 Politics of Ethnic Minorities and Gender
SOCI 3324 Social Inequality
SOCI 3355 Race/Ethnic Inequality

3. Gender in America            

COMS 4386 Family Communication
ENGL 3336 Women’s Literature
HIST 3383 American Women’s History
POLS 2335 Politics of Ethnic Minorities and Gender
SOCI 3325 Gender and Inequality
PSYC 4391 Divorce: The Psychological Impact
PSYC 3334 Human Sexuality
POLS 4377 Gender and Political Thought

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