Read, write, speak, think.

The English major at Mercyhurst is designed to immerse students in the constantly evolving discipline of literature and expression. From analyzing classic British literature to writing a thesis on applied linguistics, the English Department offers a focus of study for any student who loves to read and write. We emphasize the importance of thorough literary research, as well as individual thought and practice in theory development. Our dedicated faculty establish close working relationships with students and help them work through readings, research papers, and literary criticism studies; it’s not uncommon to see a gathering of English faculty and students continue their conversations outside the classroom. English majors at Mercyhurst graduate with the writing, analysis and presentation skills needed for graduate programs at high-caliber universities, or to secure employment with this flexible and marketable degree.

Fast Facts

  • Our annual literary festival has sponsored nationally acclaimed speakers and writers, such as Robert Bly, Sonia Sanchez and Peter Coyote, who come to offer readings and conduct workshops and writing master classes
  • English majors have the opportunity to serve as a research assistant for faculty members, work at the university’s Writing Center, and receive hands-on work experience in professional writing

  • One of the highest honors for an English major is induction into Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society

  • Many clubs and organizations are associated with the English Department, like the Theater Appreciation Club or Lumen, the fine arts and literary magazine

Learning Outcomes

  • Present a specific thesis as the basis for an academic argument
  • Demonstrate key elements of successful writing (i.e.: control of voice, focus, and organization) when presenting writing to an academic audience
  • In essay form, produce close readings of assigned literature to demonstrate understanding of the formal and aesthetic features of texts
  • Locate, use, and document (in current MLA format) appropriate academic sources through print and electronic research
  • Write about texts critically to demonstrate knowledge of the relationship between literary texts and their cultural and historical contexts
  • Select and apply appropriate oral communication forms in small or large group settings to convey information, positions, and ideas
  • Discriminate between more and less credible and accurate readings of texts to determine whether certain positions are warranted


We emphasize studying abroad as a way to gain worldly knowledge and experiences, with faculty-led trips to locations like England, Spain and Mexico. We particularly encourage English majors to study abroad at our campus in Dungarvan, Ireland.


Our graduates leave prepared to excel in their chosen fields or pursue graduate study at such esteemed institutions as Carnegie Mellon, Case Western Reserve, Georgetown, Northwestern and NUI Galway.


Our majors grow their skills by writing for the student newspaper or literary journal, tutoring in the Writing Center, working in the department as a research assistant, or practicing leadership in Sigma Tau Delta.

Contact Us

Brian Reed, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of English
Office: Preston 215
Phone: 814-824-3347
Email: breed@mercyhurst.edu