Bachelor of Humanities in English

School of Humanities

This English major, with its two options, offers students the opportunity to study literature in an interdisciplinary context where the relationships among literature and art, history, music, philosophy, media, and American Studies can be investigated. The major offers courses in American, British, and world literatures, emphasizing their cultural and historical contexts, as well as teaching students to interpret them from a variety of critical perspectives. Small classes in both creative and expository writing encourage students to develop their writing skills by working closely with faculty. This program has been recognized by National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)

For a B. HUM. degree in English, a minimum of 120 credits is required.

Entry to Major Requirements:
Entry to the English major requires a 2.00 or higher cumulative grade-point average.

For the B. HUM. degree in English with Secondary Education Option, a minimum of 123 credits is required.

General English Option

With its emphases on interpretive skills, creativity, and writing, the General English Option provides a foundation for careers in such fields as publishing, public relations, communication, government and law, as well as a strong basis for graduate education.

Secondary Education Option

The Secondary Education Option prepares students to meet the requirements, as established by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, to be certified for the Instructional I Certificate in Communication/English.

The following requirements for entry to the Secondary Education Option are in addition to those for entrance to the ENGCL major: (1) Students must have a cumulative grade-point average to meet or exceed the state's required minimum GPA of 3.0. (2) In addition the students must have a grade of "C" or better in six credits of college-level mathematics (MATH or STAT prefixes), three credits of college-level English literature, and three credits of English composition.

Candidates must provide evidence of taking the PAPA (Pre-Service Academic Performance Assessment) and submit their scores for the three modules in Reading, Writing and Mathematics.

Accreditation and Licensure

This program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), whose "performance-based system of accreditation fosters competent classroom teachers and other educators who work to improve the education of all P-12 students. NCATE believes every student deserves a caring, competent, and highly qualified teacher."

Penn State Harrisburg had an overall passing rate of 94% for all Praxis tests as compared to a statewide passing rate of 93%. (2011-12 Praxis Exam Pass Rates)

Special Admissions Information

Applicants should have completed most of their first two years of college with a cumulative grade-point average to meet or exceed the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s required minimum GPA of 3.0 (4.0 scale).  In addition, students must have a grade of "C" or better in six credits of college-level mathematics (MATH or STAT prefixes), three credits of college-level English literature, and three credits of English composition. The Office of Enrollment Services at Penn State Harrisburg is responsible for evaluating prior college work.
Students accepted into the Teacher Education Program must show the certified results of “no record” from these clearances before being allowed to enter schools for observation and student teaching:

  • FBI Clearance Fingerprint check
  • Act 151 PA Child abuse history clearance
  • Act 34 Request for criminal record check

Please read the clearance information page for more details about the required clearances

Associated Academic Programs

Clubs and Honor Societies

Career Opportunities

The Penn State Harrisburg English program is a broad-based program for the student who desires to study English in depth. In the General English option, the study of language, literature, and writing provides a foundation upon which many occupational skills can be developed. Some students start their careers as writers and editors, while others develop analytical skills that take them to positions in business, industry, and government.

The Secondary Education English option will prepare students to teach English and the Humanities in secondary schools grades 7 to 12. English and Humanities teachers will be required to study and instruct the history and study of language, English, American and world literature, written and oral composition, drama, speech communications, literary criticism, techniques of research in the field of English, writing, and relationships of English to other fields of knowledge.

Job Title

Because employment of English majors is spread among a variety of occupations, graduates represent many job titles. The following list provides some of the reported occupational titles for bachelor’s degree English graduates in the United States: Advertising Manager, Account Executive, Author, Communication Specialist, Copy Editor, Copywriter, Corporate Communications Specialist, Editor, Ghostwriter, Intercultural Communication Specialist, Management Supervisor, Market Research Manager, Media Director, Press Secretary, Production Manager, Public Information Officer, Public Relations Manager, Sales Associate, News Writer, Sales Representative, Spokesperson, Staff Writer, Teacher, and Writer.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for English majors is good. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, projected change in employment in the top 10 occupations that employ English or Liberal Arts majors is expected to increase 10% or about as fast as the average for all occupations between 2006-2016.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for teachers over the next 10 years are expected to be excellent. In fact, teachers at the secondary and college levels are listed among the 10 occupations with the largest projected wage and salary growth through 2016.

For Current Students


This page is not a part of the official Penn State University Bulletin.