The Department of English at Kent State University offers four-year programs in English leading to a Bachelor of Arts degree in English or in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language). Advanced students can pursue a master’s in English, in English for teachers or in rhetoric and composition; a Master of Arts in TESL; a Master of Fine Arts; and a Ph.D. in literature or in rhetoric and composition. 

B.A. In English 

The undergraduate major in English emphasizes the writing, reading, critical thinking and communication skills that are essential to academic and career success. The major provides students with a sound background in the liberal arts, as well as focused training in the interpretation of literature. The program of study includes core courses in American and British literature and a methods course in English studies. The major is also flexible enough to allow students to pursue individual interests in literary study, technical and professional writing, creative writing or language. The flexibility is an advantage to students who certify as English majors relatively late in their academic careers and to those who are also candidates for teacher licensure.


The Department of English places a major emphasis on undergraduate teaching. English faculty have won more Kent State Distinguished Teaching Awards than those of any other department. Many of our faculty also have won international recognition for their scholarship and professional activity. Faculty publish their work in leading journals and with major scholarly presses, and several edit journals in their fields.


Students are assigned a faculty advisor when they declare their major and are encouraged to meet often to plan their program of study. The department fosters close contact between students and faculty, and class size in general is small enough to allow many opportunities for student participation. The English Undergraduate Students Center also provides informal peer advising and an English Club.

B.A. In Teaching English as a Second Language 

The program offers a strong grounding in methodology and practice. It includes core courses in language, language acquisition and linguistics in TESL pedagogy, combined with requirements in literature, language, and thought and writing, all from a world perspective. When combined with a minor in education, students earn teaching licensure.

English Minor 

The minor in English allows students in other majors to gain additional expertise in writing and the study of literature and language. It is an especially attractive complement to degrees in fine arts, foreign languages, history, sociology, psychology, business and journalism. 


The department sponsors two internship programs. The Kent State University Press internship is designed for students considering careers in publishing and related fields. The writing internship program places students elsewhere in the university and in government, nonprofit organizations and businesses in Northeast Ohio.

Graduate Programs in the Department of English

M.A. Programs:

The Department of English offers three areas of study for the master’s degree: M.A. in literature and writing, M.A. in English for high school teachers and M.A. in TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language). The master’s programs offer a broad range of courses and allow intensive study of special interests through electives. Students benefit from small classes and close interaction with faculty. Students who complete the program go on to study at competitive doctoral institutions, to teach in high school or college settings, or to obtain jobs in a variety of fields such as publishing, higher education administration, library sciences and teaching English abroad.

Northeast Ohio M.F.A. Program:

In consortium with three other area universities (Cleveland State University, The University of Akron and Youngstown State University), Kent State University offers the Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.). The Northeast Ohio M.F.A. program (NEOMFA) allows students to cross-register for classes at any university in the consortium. Courses in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, literary translation, playwriting, craft and theory and literature are offered. Through required internships, students also have the opportunity to work for literary presses, in theatres and in arts management outreach programs.

Ph.D. Programs

The Department of English offers two doctoral degrees: a Ph.D. in rhetoric and composition and a Ph.D. in literature. The graduate program in rhetoric and composition is designed to be unique within the field of rhetoric and composition and within the state of Ohio. Grounded in rhetoric and language study, coursework and research in the program center on how advanced literacy is embedded within communities of work and citizenship in contemporary culture. The Ph.D. program in literature at Kent State University is characterized by its focus on literature, cultural theory and social practice. Graduate students in their nationally recognized program identify, investigate and theorize the social functions of texts in a variety of contexts both within and outside the academy.

The Writing Minor

Qualified students in any major may earn the writing minor. Faculty advisors work with students individually as they produce a polished writing portfolio, which may be creative or expository in nature. The department offers workshops in creative writing, focusing upon fiction, poetry and sometimes drama, taught by faculty who are themselves practicing writers.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Kent State University is one of the few institutions nationwide that offers a certificate program in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL). The program has been put together to complement the world’s growing movement toward globalization; it will provide trained specialists to teach English around the world at various institutions and proficiency levels. The department also offers TESL/TEFL certificates at the graduate level.

Wick Poetry Center

The Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Center includes an annual poetry contest, with more than $10,000 in tuition scholarships awarded to poets whose works are published in a broadside. The Wick Poetry Center also sponsors readings and student colloquia by nationally prominent poets. Recent visitors include Philip Levine, Eleanor Wilner and Edwidge Danticat.


The Technology and Writing Research Classroom is a state-of-the-art networked computer classroom in Satterfield Hall dedicated to integrating microcomputer technology and the teaching and learning of writing. A range of writing classes from freshman -to senior-level is taught in the facility each year.

The Writing Commons

The Writing Commons is a walk-in, on demand tutorial facility in which any student may ask for assistance with any writing project. Upper-division English majors may apply for paid positions in the center as peer writing assistants and gain valuable experience in the tutoring of writing.

Department of English Awards and Opportunities

In addition to the Wick Poetry Center contest, the department awards annual student prizes in creative writing, critical writing and writing in freshman English classes. Competitions are held each year in February.


English majors with an overall GPA of 3.5 or better (or a GPA of 3.75 in English classes) are invited each spring to apply for a number of awards, including the Garnett and Toerne scholarships, which award up to $1,000 in tuition for the following year and the Steiskal Scholarship, a $500 need-based award. Chair’s scholarships offer smaller awards. As many as 12 undergraduate scholarships are awarded each year.

Sigma Tau Delta

The department sponsors the Xi Mu chapter of the national English honorary Sigma Tau Delta. Students with at least 16 hours of English beyond the freshman level and a GPA of 3.3 in the major qualify for memberships. Inductions are held every fall and spring semester.

Luna Negra

Students may contribute poems or stories to the Luna Negra, a student literary journal with a long and illustrious history. Published once every semester, Luna Negra provides students with opportunities to serve on the editorial staff as well.

English Club

All English majors are welcome to participate in the English Club. As the voice of the major, the club provides academic, career and social enhancement. Its members have won many awards and honors for their work on campus and in the community.