Why major in English?

A major in English at UPIKE not only instills an appreciation of literature, but it also allows you to focus on critical thinking, academic and creative writing and communication skills. Employers in business, industry and government are hiring an increasing number of English degree recipients with in-demand communication and critical thinking skills. An appreciation of our literary and cultural traditions are fundamental prerequisites for successful leadership and service in our society. Those with English degrees often pursue graduate school with the goal of teaching in higher or secondary education, practicing law or becoming professional creative writers.

Student presenting in class.

Program Distinctives

As a UPIKE English major, you’ll participate in numerous professional activities outside the classroom, such as conference presentations and workshops, which will enhance your abilities to function as a well-respected professional in your field.

Majoring in English provides access to internships, directed studies, tutorials, seminars, work-study and volunteer experiences. Experiential learning opportunities at UPIKE include studying abroad, visiting the American Shakespeare Center’s Blackfriars Playhouse in Virginia and National Freedom Museum in Cincinnati, reading to and leading discussions with K-12 students, delivering essays at the Sigma Tau Delta National Conference and participating in the Kentucky Philological Association Conference.

Students studying at a picnic table in Benefactors Plaza.

Interesting Courses

ENG 357 World Mythology
In alternating spring semesters, students have the opportunity to take a course on World Mythology and explore how people throughout time have used storytelling to understand the world around them. In contrasting tales of gods and heroes around the world, from Greek heroes to Native American tricksters, students discover how cultures created their own personal narratives. Students also explore modern popular works, from the urban legend to the ever-popular vampire, to see how we still create and enjoy myths today, and how much they have common with their ancient counterparts.

ENG 335 Shakespeare
While many students face the prospect of studying Shakespeare with trepidation, this course teaches UPIKE students that rather than archaic texts, these are scripts meant to be performed. Students explore how these texts raise questions and meanings still relevant to today and the ways that centuries’ old plays can be made fresh and modern. The course also includes workshops with the actors of the American Shakespeare Center and a performance by the Staunton, Virginia-based company, giving students an opportunity to explore how a professional company approaches these works.

Students studying in the HPEB Food Court.

Student Learning Outcomes

Through UPIKE’s English program, you will acquire an understanding of literary heritage and its relationship to contemporary life, develop an appreciation and practical knowledge of the modes of literary expressions, and prepare for advanced work in English language and literature. You’ll be able to understand literary tradition, think critically, write effectively and develop an aesthetic sensibility through course offerings in composition, language and literature. This program provides students the opportunity to major or minor in English and to prepare for teacher certification.

Career paths in English


Where Recent Graduates have gone to work or study

East Tennessee State University
Ohio University
Radford University
University of Kentucky
University of Kentucky College of Law
University of Louisville
University of Louisville, Louis D. Brandeis School of Law


“The University of Pikeville allows you to build relationships with your professors that you cannot find anywhere else. It allowed me to earn my bachelor’s degree, participate in two different sports coached by two hard-working, understanding coaches and study abroad in two different countries. The small community and close-knit nature of this town make it easy to reach out when you need a helping hand. I’m so grateful I was able to call this college on the hill my home.”



Jennifer Steigerwalt

Associate Professor of English
(606) 218-5117