The department of English & Philosophy offers Core Curriculum courses in composition and literature for all students at the College. These courses emphasize writing and analytical skills and cultivate an appreciation of literature in all its variety. The department also offers majors in English leading to the bachelor of arts degree and the bachelor of science in education degree. The bachelor of arts in English provides an excellent preparation for graduates who plan to enter business and industry, who plan to pursue graduate studies in English, and who plan to enter professional schools such as law and even medicine. Graduates of this program are employed in such widely diverse occupations as human resources, advertising, publishing, sales management, law, mass communications, and college teaching. English majors develop strong skills in writing, organization, and creativity, and they develop a perception and appreciation of the human values that grow out of the study of literature. Such skills equip English majors for success in the many different fields of employment described above, and more.
The bachelor of arts English major at Missouri Southern, revised recently to meet the needs of the 21st century student, now comprises two major tracks. The literary studies track focuses on the traditional study of literature, preparing the student for advanced study of English in graduate school, for law school, and for a variety of careers in which understanding of human nature, critical thinking, and oral and written communication skills are valued. The three writing emphases prepare the student for more specialized careers involving writing in the workplace—such as public relations, copy writing and editing, technical writing, and desktop publishing—and creative writing. The Creative Writing Emphasis provides the student with the full range of poetry and fiction courses. The Professional / Technical Writing Emphasis prepares the student for writing in the workplace by providing experiences with the software and hardware in use in the corporate workplace. Both tracks require senior capstone experiences: a Senior Seminar (English 495) in the literary studies track and one or two internships (English 491) in the writing emphases. These internships allow the students practical experience using writing and research skills in a workplace environment.
The bachelor of science in education English degree prepares students who wish to teach English/Language Arts at the secondary level (grades 9-12). The English BSE program is accredited by the National Council on Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), following all the guidelines for teacher preparation of both of these organizations. Taking a prescribed set of courses in Teacher Education and in English, candidates for this degree may choose to certify to teach English as a single field (Plan B) or English plus another field (Plan A). Students who wish to certify to teach English/Language Arts in the middle school should consult the Teacher Education Program information in the catalog on page 165.
The English Department also offers an English minor with a choice of two emphases. The first, a minor in English with an emphasis in literature, is a traditional English minor that allows students to deepen their knowledge of literature and writing. The minor in English with a writing emphasis is designed for students to develop their writing skills, and it provides them with a way to present their accomplishments to prospective employers and graduate schools. Students who wish to minor in English will arrange a coherent sequence of courses in consultation with the departmental adviser for minors. Students should choose courses on the basis of their backgrounds, their major programs, and, above all, their interests. The department offers its majors and other students opportunities to use their talents and pursue their interests through student organizations like the Sigma Tau Delta Honor Society and Live Poets Society, creative arts publications (The Winged Lion), and departmental projects like the annual English Field Day, hosted by the department for high school students.
MYTH: Only teachers and people in education benefit from a major in English.
FACT: There are many other opportunities, none of which involve teaching, which should lay to rest the myth that an English major can expect difficulty in securing a position in a profession other than teaching.