• <a href="/live/image/gid/4/width/650/86520_English_main_image.jpg" class="lw_preview_image lw_disable_preview" tabindex="-1"><picture class="lw_image lw_image86520"><source media="(max-width: 500px)" type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/500/height/479/crop/1/86520_English_main_image.rev.1607733819.webp 2x" data-origin="responsive"/><source media="(max-width: 500px)" type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/500/height/479/crop/1/86520_English_main_image.rev.1607733819.jpg 2x" data-origin="responsive"/><source media="(min-width: 501px)" type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/4/width/720/height/690/crop/1/86520_English_main_image.rev.1607733819.webp 1x" data-origin="responsive"/><source media="(min-width: 501px)" type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/4/width/720/height/690/crop/1/86520_English_main_image.rev.1607733819.jpg 1x" data-origin="responsive"/><img src="/live/image/gid/4/width/720/height/690/crop/1/86520_English_main_image.rev.1607733819.jpg" alt="Professor Jerry Harp meeting with students after class. " data-max-w="1101" data-max-h="1055" loading="lazy" data-optimized="true"/></picture></a> <div class="hero-split_image_caption collapsable-caption">Professor Jerry Harp meeting with students after class. </div>

Why Choose a Degree in English?

We choose to immerse ourselves in the English language’s rich and varied literary tradition, its long history and expansive present, because we believe literature is synonymous with good—ethical and pleasurable—living. Reading, we encounter other people and ideas across time and space. Writing, we give clarity and shape to the world and our experiences of it. A degree in English will make you a more creative thinker, perceptive reader, and lucid writer. It will also prepare you to critically discern, express, and navigate complexity in ways that will serve you well in life and in any career. 

What You’ll Study

We offer both a major and minor, as well as a concentration in creative writing with a focus on poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. Our curriculum invites students to explore and extend a literary tradition that spans over 1,000 years, emerging from Britain, the United States, and English-speaking communities around the globe. We offer introductory surveys, topics courses on a wide range of literary themes, upper-division courses devoted to a single author or historical period, and creative writing workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. In the classroom, our faculty draw upon a variety of approaches and techniques, but we all emphasize close attention to textual detail, collaborative discussion, genuine inquiry, and thoughtful, effective communication–both on the page and in real time.

Literature happens outside the classroom, too! The English department’s celebrated Visiting Writers Series brings nationally recognized authors on campus to present their work, speak with the L&C community, and lead workshops with students enrolled in English classes. Our students frequently showcase their own scholarship and creative work in a variety of venues, including the student-run Lit Review, the Gender Symposium, the Ray Warren Symposium on Race & Ethnicity, the Festival of Scholars, and other events organized by Arts@LC. The annual Senior Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction Readings, in which students in our creative writing capstone courses read from their portfolios, are some of the most keenly anticipated events that we host.

Many of our students earn course credit while on an overseas program. In addition to general cultural programs that are open to all students, the England humanities program is designed and led by an English faculty member.


Complement Your Education With One of These Minors

English pairs beautifully with many other disciplines. The flexibility of our requirements also makes it likely that students can pursue a minor or even a double-major with English. The most popular minors for our English majors are Classics, political economy, and rhetoric and media studies.

What Students Are Saying About Lewis & Clark

  • Ashleen Smith BA '23

    My Classics and English professors are my mentors. They nurture my interest in the subjects, and they support me in developing my research and writing skills.

    Ashleen Smith BA ’23
    English | Classics | Madras, Oregon
    More about Ashleen
  • Lali Guevara-Hernandez BA '21

    The Great Expectations trip really opened my eyes to the resources available to students of color on campus and was a great way to meet other students and faculty with similar backgrounds.

    Lali Guevara-Hernandez BA ’21
    Biology | English | Los Angeles, California
    More about Lali
  • Yash Bisht BA '21

    My favorite classes at L&C are acting classes. I can be myself because all students leave their inhibitions at the door. I love the theory and the history of theatre, and now I appreciate the performance aspects as well.

    Yash Bisht BA ’21
    English, Theatre (double) | Dehradun, India, and Singapore
    More about Yash

What Can You Do With a Degree in English?

Our alumni use their BA in English to pursue a wide range of careers within academia, nonprofits, government, marketing, publishing, education, and law. . Some of our alumni pursue MFAs and other advanced degrees. Others put their critical thinking, research, and writing skills to work directly after graduation. Our recent alums have held the following professional titles: Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist; Artistic Director; Director of Planning and Community Development; News Assistant at the New York Times; Senior Political Strategist; Fine Art Consultant.

Dedicated Faculty

Our faculty members are active scholars and creative writers who have been recognized for excellence in teaching and have won some of the country’s most prestigious awards, including the National Book Award, The Graves Award in the Humanities, and The Pushcart Prize.We continue to broaden and deepen our expertise through fellowships and other sponsored learning opportunities through the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, and The New York Public Library. Above all, we pride ourselves on bringing our expertise, discoveries, and questions into our classes where we work directly and closely with all of our students (no teaching assistants!) in intimate settings with lots of opportunity for individual feedback. Students interested in collaborating with faculty on research projects beyond the classroom have opportunities to do so in the English department. English faculty also assist students in finding and securing internships in Portland and beyond.

Meet the Professors

  • Top 

    Lewis & Clark earned a spot on Princeton Review’s 2024 “Best Colleges” list.

  • Top 

    For the seventh time in 10 years, Lewis & Clark has been named a Fulbright U.S. Student Program Top Producing Institution for 2023–24.

  • 15% 

    first-generation students at Lewis & Clark College

  • 12:1 

    Lewis & Clark College has a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1.

  • 54 

    nationalities represented in our undergraduate student body

Invest in Yourself

A private liberal arts education is often more affordable than you think. Last year, Lewis & Clark distributed over $74 million in assistance from institutional, federal, state, and private sources. Additionally, we’re so confident that our first-year students will graduate with their bachelor of arts degree in four years that if you don’t, we’ll cover the extra semester of tuition.

Find Your People

The completely student-run Literary Review gives students hands-on experience generating submissions, working on an editorial board, and laying out a magazine. English majors are also frequent contributors to the student-run college newspaper, The Mossy Log, and serve as peer tutors at the Writing Center.

Where Lewis & Clark Will Take You

  • Alex smiling at the camera, wearing glasses.

    Sitting down with a complicated piece of legislation and having to analyze, revise, or critique it under a tight deadline is a key part of my work now and is fundamentally the same skill I learned as an English major at Lewis & Clark.

    Alex Cohen BA ’19
    English | Bethesda, Maryland
    More about Alex
  • Tuse Mahenya BA '21

    The most important thing I learned at L&C is that anything is possible if you work hard enough, but kindness is the ultimate superpower.

    Tuse Mahenya BA ’21
    English | Political Economy | Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
    More about Tuse
  • Emily posing outside, wearing a tan shirt and dark pants.

    When I graduated, I found a great job that balances my interests in social justice and philanthropy with my educational background in writing.

    Emily Davis BA ’19
    English | Orinda, California
    More about Emily

More News and Events →