English Department  
Career Opportunities

A woman consults a reference book while working in her office.OCU English graduates have gone on to find rewarding work in

  • writing and editing
  • library science
  • government
  • business
  • law
  • education
  • non-profit work and grant writing
  • web editing
The undergraduate major in English provides a solid foundation for continued graduate and professional education. Majors wishing to teach at the junior-college or university level--or planning to write the Great American Novel or Screenplay--may go on to MA, MFA, or PHD programs in literature, composition and rhetoric, creative writing, technical/professional writing, or film studies. Several recent graduates are pursuing advanced degrees in library science, and many go on to law school. One recent graduate is even working in video game design. 

The undergraduate English major prepares students for writing-intensive jobs requiring strong skills in critical thinking, research methods, grammar and usage, and creative problem solving. To assist students in making the transition from school to work, the department provides internship opportunities (both on-campus and off) designed to mesh with students' career goals. Qualified students may acquire work experience, for example, by writing grants, copy-editing catalogues, producing newsletters, or working for area publishing companies.

English majors interested in careers as secondary language arts teachers meet all requirements for the English major, take additional courses in teacher-education, and participate in a number of pre-professional experiences, including the student-teaching semester. They are jointly advised by faculty in the English and Education departments. OCU graduates are currently employed in fulfilling careers as English teachers in Oklahoma and elsewhere.
Internship and Service Learning Opportunities

Are you ready to take on the world? The English department offers two ways to earn college credit while immersing yourself as a writer for a local organization.

Internship
By arrangement with a faculty advisor, you may complete a contract for 1 or 2 semesters to work on-site at a local organization whose needs and interests are a good match for yours. Past internships have included: The Oklahoma Gazette , Wood ‘N Barnes, and The Oklahoma City National Memorial, as well as The Open Road, the OCU English department's former newsletter.

Service Learning
Service learning courses are similar to internships in that you work directly with people in the community to complete projects involving research, reading, writing, and editing. So what’s the difference? A key distinction is this: as a service learning student your mission is to use the project as a way to gain deeper understanding of the people, the community, and the underlying social issues that caused your project to exist in the first place. Beyond that, you will also be challenged to learn more about yourself—what matters to you most, what special abilities you possess, and what you can and should do to make a difference in the world.

Past students have collaborated with community partners such as: Epworth Villa, the Gold Dome Multicultural Society, the Oklahoma Historical Society, the Oklahoma City National Memorial, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and the Oklahoma Tax Commission.

Departmental Opportunities

English Department faculty and staff meet at a conference table.

  • Each year, the OCU English Department sponsors Creative Writing Workshops. Visiting writers have included Natasha Tretheway, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Joy Harjo, Rilla Askew, Diane Glancy, Gladys Cardiff, Kelly Wells, and Barbara Snow Gilbert.

  • The University’s Distinguished Speaker Series includes writers of various genres. Our students have had the opportunity to hear Bill Moyers, N. Scott Momaday, Kurt Vonnegut, Helen Thomas, Sister Helen Prejean, Morris Dees, Jane Goodall, Judy Collins, Elie Wiesel, Wilma Mankiller, Rabbi Harold Kushner, Brian Greene, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Jonathan Kozol, George Will, and Edward Albee.

  • OCU Reads has given our students the opportunity not only to read interesting and important contemporary books, but also to meet the writers. At the beginning of each fall semester, all new students read the same book and meet in discussion groups, led by veteran OCU students and faculty, during new student orientation. The author comes to campus for a public talk and to meet informally with our students. Students may also enter a creative contest for cash prizes and a dinner with the visiting speaker. 

  • Because of the English department’s close relationship with the Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film & Literature, our students have had rich experiences with poets who have come to campus through the Center’s sponsorship. Five poets laureate have visited our campus (Natasha Tretheway, Charles Simic, Robert Pinsky, Billy Collins, and Ted Kooser) as well as other major contemporary poets, such as Claudia Emerson, Carolyn Forche, Jane Hirschfield, Lucille Clifton, Mark Doty, Naomi Shihab Nye, Li-Young Lee, Michael Ondaatje, and Joy Harjo.

  • English majors are invited to join Sigma Tau Delta, the national honor society in English. Sigma Tau Delta members participate in many activities, including open-mic poetry readings, lively discussions of films and plays, attendance of the national Sigma Tau Delta conference, and numerous social gatherings.

  • Qualified students may work as peer tutors in the Learning Enhancement Center.

  • The department sponsors yearly writing competitions and recognizes outstanding students with departmental awards and scholarships.

Scholarship Opportunities