Ask an English Professor

Selected Alumni Accomplishments


Laurie (Whitehead) Polak, 1988
Senior Information Developer at Alcatel-Lucent 

Emily C. Weaver, 2004
Weaver was awarded a Media and the Law Award of Excellence by the N.C. Bar Association in February for her investigative work on the delays in murder trials reported in "Wait Gets Longer for Murder Trials," published in the Hendersonville Times-News.

Will McIntyre, 1976
Will and wife Deni's latest documentary project for public television is David Holt’s State of Music, which aired on UNC-TV for the first time on January 29, 2015. The hour-long special was a success and UNC-TV has asked Will and Deni to expand it into a series (producing six thirty-minute segments to start) and take it to a nationwide audience through American Public Television. David Holt is a multi-talented traditional musician who has dedicated his adult life to collecting and learning songs from masters of southern Appalachian folk music. 


David Holt plays the banjo on Bearwallow Mountain in Henderson County in the opening credit scene from David Holt's State of Music

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Why study English?

In today’s "high-text" careers, those who get ahead have mastered critical thinking and clear communication. They have creativity, passion, and vision.

At WCU, when you study English, you will be joining one of the most vibrant programs at the university, where our students and faculty engage in the life of the mind and yet are committed to putting ideas into action.

The Department of English offers exciting courses that will help you see the connection between academics and a successful and meaningful life beyond the classroom.

  • Where All Light Tends to Go
    Where All Light Tends to Go

    Alumni David Joy publishes debut novel Where All Light Tends to Go. And the reviewers rave.

  • After-School Quality Improvement
    After-School Quality Improvement

    Dr. Petrone co-authored an After-School Quality Improvement Grant to develop a program for students from Spanish speaking households.

  • Do English with Honors
    Do English with Honors

    Check out the Honors College.

  • Dinner Raffle
    Dinner Raffle

    Win a dinner for four with New York Times best-selling author and WCU English Department faculty member Ron Rash!

  • Spring Literary Festival
    Spring Literary Festival

    Come join us from April 13-16 for the Spring Literary Festival!

Our concentrations and minors

English majors don’t get tied down—they open doors. Through our coursework in motion-picture studies, professional writing and teacher education, you’ll explore an unexpected range of fulfilling careers. Our alumni can testify how, with creativity and perseverance, English can take you anywhere.

  • As a writer, you’ll gain tools (creativity, writing and editing, information and visual literacy, grammar, research, textual interpretation, and document/media design, and others) to succeed.
  • As a major in literature or motion picture studies, you’ll study literature, read great authors, deliver papers, study films as literature, and still learn how to write a great resume. But you’ll also learn how to apply what you’ve learned to real-world settings.
  • As a teacher-educator, you’ll gain the confidence and resiliency to change the world, one student at a time.

English is a great companion major or minor. Graduates who majored in everything from engineering to law and criminal justice tell us our minors in professional writing, creative writing, teaching English as a second language, film, and literature have enriched their lives inside and outside of the workplace.

Graduate degrees and certificates

Our graduate programs appeal to teachers trying to expand their portfolios, community college instructors, and professionals who need to be better writers, editors, and creators of documentation. Some come for the chance to reinvent themselves, studying with poets and prose writers like Ron Rash and Pamela Duncan.

We offer a Master of Arts in English with concentrations in literature, professional writing, and rhetoric and composition, a Master of Arts in Education, and a Master of Arts in Teaching, as well as a Certificate in Professional Writing.

Our faculty

Guiding the way is our experienced, dedicated faculty, many of whom have followed this same path and made their mark as successful professionals and award-winning authors. Our graduate programs are taught by full-time professors with terminal degrees. They are acclaimed experts—not adjuncts.

Questions? Contact the Department of English.


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