About the program

The English major at Ferrum College provides excellent preparation for careers or graduate school in a number of fields such as law, religion, education, public relations, management, and journalism. Students majoring in English select one of four concentration areas: (1) Literature Emphasis, (2) Creative and Professional Writing Emphasis, (3) Film and Popular Culture Emphasis, or (4) Teacher Certification, with the option of a Journalism Endorsement for secondary education.

Through study of literature, writing, popular culture, and communication, the English program allows students flexibility in selecting courses to meet their own interests and needs. Coursework promotes understanding of the expressive capacities of language and appreciation for the psychological, cultural, and historical insights of literature. Students learn how to think critically and to communicate effectively in a variety of contexts.

Coursework in English

The curriculum incorporates a variety of topics to prepare students for opportunities in the field of English, and includes courses such as the following:

World Literature
American Literature
Children's Literature
Contemporary Literature & Film
Creative Writing
British Literature
The Novel
Appalachian Literature
Medieval Literature
African American Literature
Literary Criticism
Professional Writing
Journalism Practicum

Related clubs

There are over 50 clubs and organizations available to students at Ferrum College. The following are specifically related to English:

  • English Club
  • The Iron Blade (Student Newspaper)
  • Chrysalis (Art and Literary Magazine)
  • Student VA Education Association (for students desiring a career in teaching)

Experiential & hands-on learning opportunities

Internships: Students are strongly urged to explore career opportunities and to establish mentors through an internship.

Chrysalis: College literary magazine.

The Iron Blade: College student newspaper.

English Practicum. As in a practicum with the newspaper or literary magazine, students can earn one course credit in a semester by completing 45 hours of work with a professor on an experiential project that provides professional experience related to the study of English, such as editing or writing for the web site AppLit (see college catalog).

The Appalachian Cluster: This group of general education courses combines English with sociology and environmental science in a one-semester, three-course learning community that focuses on sustainability and modernization issues in Appalachia. Field trips and study of folklore enhance the experience.

E-Term: Every May, the English program offers one or more exciting courses for the three-week E-Term, using experiential learning opportunities to enhance the traditional study of literature and related subjects.

Special Interdisciplinary courses: The Holocaust Course and The African American Studies courses are coordinated by humanities faculty but include instruction by teachers from many disciplines. The courses are further enriched with films, special projects, guest speakers, and trips to important sites (the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., historical civil rights sites, etc.)

Academic Resources Center: Professors choose students who are offered paid positions in the ARC to help other students with their writing and coursework.

What could I be with a major in English?

A major in English is excellent preparation for traditional careers such as teaching or journalism, as well as many other fields in which excellent writing and critical-thinking skills and creativity are needed. For example: english

You can become a(n) ...

Advertising Copywriter
Public Relations Specialist
Copy Editor
Literary Agent

Some graduates and their careers

Ferrum graduates credit their program of study for landing jobs in their fields, for example:

Michelle Vincent Pruitt '06, English teacher at Benjamin Franklin Middle School

Steve Maddy '95, attorney at Maddy & Nester, PLLC

Sabrina Tribbett Moreland '04, media specialist at Moristown Hamblen High School West

Crystal Shreves Naff ’91, insurance broker

Kimberly Wagoner ’95, managing editor of the Franklin News-Post

Cynthia Rhinehart Chase ’97, logistician for communication/surveillance items for the Navy

Mike Emberson, ’97, advertising copywriter for Foot Levelers in Roanoke

Misty Stinnette LaPrade, ’98, English and journalism teacher, Liberty High School

Gretchen Hager Tipps ’00, page designer at The Roanoke Times

Amanda Schulz ‘02, sports reporter at the New Bern (N.C.) Sun Journal

Jessica Hylton Davenport ’05, director of public relations for the Museum of Natural History in Martinsville

In addition, a number of alumni, including the following, have recently attended graduate school:

Diane Hailey 

Whitney Scott

Alyssa Walden

Jessica Wimmer

English Faculty

John Carey
Instructor of English
M.A., Marshall University
(540) 365-4356
jcarey@ferrum.edu | View Profile
M. Katherine Grimes, Program Coordinator
Associate Professor of English
Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Greensboro
(540) 365-4264
kgrimes@ferrum.edu | View Profile
Karen Duddy
Instructor of English &
Coordinator of the Writing Center
M.A., Rutgers University
(540) 365-4350
kduddy@ferrum.edu | View Profile
Tina L. Hanlon
Associate Professor of English
Ph.D., The Ohio State University
(540) 365-4327
thanlon@ferrum.edu | View Profile
Allison L. Harl
Associate Professor of English
Ph.D., University of Arkansas
(540) 365-4325
aharl@ferrum.edu | View Profile
Beth Harper
Instructor of English
M.A., Hollins University
(540) 365-4384
bharper@ferrum.edu | View Profile
John Kitterman
Associate Professor of English
Ph.D., University of Virginia
(540) 365-4326
Melvin L. Macklin
Assistant Professor of English
Ph.D., University of Texas at Dallas
(540) 365-4313
mmacklin@ferrum.edu | View Profile
Lana A. Whited
Professor of English and Director
of the Boone Honors Program
Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Greensboro
(540) 365-4334
lwhited@ferrum.edu  | View Profile

 Faculty & Staff: submit your profile here.

Find out more

The Iron Blade, student newspaper
Experiential Term
Boone Honors Program
International Programs
AppLit web site
Service Learning
Ferrum home page