Undergraduate Studies

General Information

If you get an undergraduate degree at the University of Montana, you will take courses offered by the English department. It's inevitable.

In your introductory composition classes you'll focus on precision of language and clarity of thought. You'll learn to consider the audience for your writing.

These skills can translate to any discipline, but you might just fall in (intellectual) love with English. Perhaps you'll explore Irish Studies; perhaps you'll try your hand at poetry. Some of you will even choose English as a major.

At the undergraduate level, the department offers four options for English majors.

  1. Literature
  2. Creative Writing
  3. English Teaching
  4. Linguistics

You can find the catalog requirements for each concentration on the English Major Requirements page.

It is possible to earn a B.A. in English with a focus on a creative writing or a B.F.A. in creative writing.

Students may pursue a minor in English Literature, English Teaching, and/or Irish Studies.


Students who focus on literature will read, examine, and discuss texts: books, stories, scholarly interpretations, primary sources, as well as movies, plays, and poems. In this course of study you'll learn how to read closely, do literary analysis, apply literary theory, and write about your discoveries.

Several of your classes will be historically based surveys. Seniors develop a final research project in a seminar to graduate. Electives vary but tend to be more specific: they cover a certain genre, author, time, discipline, geography, or identity (e.g. Native American Literature).

The literature emphasis imparts an understanding of not only the aesthetic richness of canonical and emerging literatures but also the historical and cultural forces that have contributed to their making.

Creative Writing

Most classes in the Creative Writing program are workshops focusing on three genres: poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. If you select the creative writing option, you'll still complete some of the same requirements as literature students.

One of the best parts of studying Creative Writing at UM as an undergraduate is getting to learn from the same instructors who teach in our nationally renowned Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program.

Regardless of major, undergraduate students can also contribute and edit the campus literary magazine called The Oval.

English Teaching

The English Teaching program provides content knowledge, pedagogy, and professional experiences required for teaching literacy in a democratic society.

In other words, you won't just learn to teach. You'll study language, literature, and media. You'll become a critical thinker, a creative problem solver, and a reflective practitioner.

Students who complete this option and the requirements from the School of Education receive a secondary teaching license (grades 5–12) in English.

Separate from the major, a certificate in teaching English as a second language (ESL) is available through the Linguistics department.


In this concentration you'll acquire a background in both literature (texts and analysis) and linguistics (the formation, grammar, and usage of language).