• <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 type="image/jpeg" media="(max-width: 500px)" srcset="/live/image/gid/4/width/500/height/479/crop/1/86520_English_main_image.rev.1607733819.jpg 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/4/width/500/height/479/crop/1/86520_English_main_image.rev.1607733819.jpg 2x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" media="(min-width: 501px)" srcset="/live/image/gid/4/width/720/height/690/crop/1/86520_English_main_image.rev.1607733819.jpg 1x"/> <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. " width="720" height="690" data-max-w="1101" data-max-h="1055" loading="lazy"/> </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

  • The classes on my overseas program in London provided me with opportunities to explore English literature in more varied ways, such as through the study of contemporary works and linguistics.

    Arista Engineer BA ’19
    English | Pune, India
    More about Arista
  • Working with IME as a peer education coordinator has taught me so many skills, including public speaking and networking with faculty and students. IME has also given me a community that surrounds me with love and support.

    Sabrina Murray BA ’21
    Sociology and Anthropology | University Place, Washington
    More about Sabrina
  • Lewis & Clark made me feel wanted as a student.

    Roland Berg BA ’22
    Biology and English (double) | Saint Paul, Minnesota
    More about Roland

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

  • 10% 

    of our students are from countries other than the U.S.

  • 15% 

    first-generation students at Lewis & Clark College

  • 1 of 7 

    L&C is one of seven Oregon schools to make the national Colleges of Distinction list in 2023–24.

  • 96% 

    Within six months of graduation, 96% of the Lewis & Clark Classes of 2018–2022 were already changing the world through employment (76%), continuing studies (19%), and service work (1%), like the Peace Corps.

  • 47 

    U.S. states 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

  • I’ve found that my interdisciplinary undergraduate study has equipped me with the skills necessary to thrive in both corporate and academic environments. I owe my success to the devoted faculty members who advised me to always pursue that which stokes my curiosity.

    Justin Howerton BA ’21
    English and Computer Science and Mathematics (double) | Memphis, Tennessee
    More about Justin
  • The interdisciplinary possibilities at L&C opened new worlds for my poetry, and have greatly informed how I write to this day. I learned how to pay exquisite attention to the world around me, and how to see structures and form all around me.

    Corey Van Landingham BA ’08
    More about Corey
  • 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

English Events

April 15

Summer Internship Grants

Empower your ambitions with Lewis & Clark College’s internship grants, bridging the gap for unpaid internships. Seize the opportunity to turn unpaid opportunities into priceless career investments—apply now and pave the way for your future success!

April 19

2024 Reception for Dorothy Berkson Writing Award in Gender Studies

Join us for the 16th Annual Dorothy Berkson Writing Award in Gender Studies reception and presentation by award recipients.

More News and Events →