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The English major provides students with the tools needed to explore great works of literature, write persuasively and creatively, and engage with texts and ideas critically.

Make your Mark: English at Southern Miss

English majors:

  • Receive broad preparation in the literary tradition and specialized training in courses of their choosing
  • Focus in literature, creative writing, English education, or professional and technical writing
  • Explore digital literacies and the history of writing technologies
  • Nurture creative and aesthetic expression through writing fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction
  • Engage with literary works both old and new
  • Develop the skills needed to become successful educators and life-long learners

By design, the English BA provides students with a comprehensive array of courses rooted in the conviction that the study of literature is critical to the development of reading, writing, and thinking skills – all of which are necessary beyond disciplinary study and are requirements sought by employers in all professions.


English majors follow a coherent, yet flexible, sequence that begins with a survey of critical approaches and questions germane to the study of literature.

From there, students take survey courses that provide an outline of major works, authors, and literary periods. Moving beyond this required sequence, students choose courses across an array of subjects and topics – pursuing self-defined tracks configured narrowly toward a specialization or comprehensively toward a generalist orientation.

Either way, the curriculum fully engages students in their exploration of literature in English while continually reinforcing the core values of critical thinking and effective communication.

Degree Options

There are two Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees available with this major.

More about this Major


The English major prepares undergraduates for careers in teaching, law, business administration, and almost any other field that requires finely-tuned analytical and communication skills – skills ranked among the highest sought by employers across all fields.

Recent alumni have found employment in publishing, advertising, editing, teaching, and management positions. Others have gone on to graduate or professional programs in law, literature, and creative writing.

Our graduates have been hired by a wide range of employers, including WDAM-TV, Tetra Tech, and a number of regional universities and high schools.
An English degree doesn’t just mean you’ve read a lot of books or written a lot of papers (although you will do both!); it means you’ve been taught to think analytically and to express yourself articulately.

Courses You Might Take

ENG 314: Popular Fiction and Genres/Tolkien and Company, Exploration in Modern Fantasy

A foggy night

A course that examines the major works of fantasy writers.

ENG 321/421 or 322/422: Fiction Writing or Poetry Writing

A typewriter

Stresses the techniques of short fiction or poetry writing through writing workshops

ENG 332: Advanced Composition/Environmental Writing and Advocacy

A "word cloud" showing a list of environmental-themed words

A course that focuses on enhancing writing, research, and documentation skills while strengthening rhetorical awareness. It examines environmental writing from the 19th century to today, including literary and legal texts, as sources of advocacy for environmental justice.

ENG 469: God Save the Queen: Misfits, Criminals, and Outsiders in 20th Century British Literature

A silhoutted figure

A class on representations of social deviance in contemporary novels from England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

ENG 473: Studies in African American Literature/Civil Rights Literature:

Hands bound by rope

A survey of late 19th- and 20th-century African American civil rights literature.

Meet Some of Your Professors

Angela Ball


Favorite Course: ENG 322/422: Poetry Workshop

Expertise: Nationally and internationally published poet

Jonathan Barron


Favorite Course: ENG 410: Jewish-American Literature

Expertise: Robert Frost and Modern American Poetry

Sherita Johnson

Associate Professor

Favorite Course: ENG 473: Studies in African American Literature

Expertise: 19th and 20th Century African American Literature

Joyce Inman

Assistant Professor

Favorite Course: ENG 365: Digital Literacies

Expertise: Rhetoric and Composition Studies

Alexandra Valint

Assistant Professor

Favorite Course: ENG 463: Victorian Gothic

Expertise: British Victorian Literature

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Southern Miss undergraduate degrees are available online, at the Hattiesburg campus, at the Gulf Park campus, and/or through a hybrid delivery that includes both online and on-campus courses.