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English and Creative Writing

How literature and writing engage the world.

While a liberal arts education is good for any field requiring communication skills, critical thinking and creative problem-solving, English majors and writers can do it better.

Why? Your communication skills will be more fluent, persuasive and precise. Your ability to find solutions will stem from close observation using multiple perspectives, and asking deeper, more interesting questions. And your creative thinking? Exactly.

At Augustana, you may choose a major or minor in English or creative writing, or a major in teaching English. Expressing your ideas and engaging other viewpoints in small class discussions and workshops, you’ll know your professors and other students well, and they’ll know you.

All English courses are writing intensive, because writing is good for thinking, just as thinking is good for writing. The creative writing program is built almost entirely on writing workshops, while other colleges might include only one or two.

What you'll learn

Communication competence

Communication competence

Read and listen carefully. Express ideas (writing or speaking) suited to the audience.

Creative thinking

Creative thinking

Combine ideas to create something new. Use imaginative ways of solving problems.

Disciplinary knowledge

Disciplinary knowledge

Gain a deep understanding of your subject and how it connects to other subjects.

Intercultural competence

Intercultural competence

Understand real and imaginary similarities and differences. Use more than one perspective to view issues.

Critical thinking and information literacy

Critical thinking and information literacy

Judge and construct arguments, raise questions and define problems. Make a conclusion based on evidence.


• Members of the English faculty serve as leaders in interdisciplinary studies and are involved in areas such as environmental studies; the honors program; study abroad; and women, gender and sexuality studies. The creative writing faculty includes award-winning writers in poetry and fiction.

• English and creative writing majors gain experience by working as paid tutors in the college’s Reading/Writing Center. Others gain experience in publishing by taking Augustana’s book publishing class and working at Augustana’s East Hall Press.

• Writers can build their portfolios by working on Augustana’s award-winning student newspaper, The Observer, and the art and literary magazine, SAGA. Others gain experience and professional connections through internships in marketing, public relations, journalism, and arts management.

• English and creative writing majors can travel abroad with faculty during J-term, including Paris to study American expatriate writers, or England to focus on medieval literature. Students also may choose to work on an original project during the Literary Residency J-term.

• The annual field trip series called On the Road brings English majors to places of literary interest. Augustana’s literary reading series, River Readings, brings nationally prominent poets and writers to campus at least twice a year.

• Many creative writing and English majors join the student club Unabridged, which meets for coffee hours; Yoga for Writers; a book vs. movie club; and end-of-semester write-ins.

Recent graduates

The English major is solid background for teaching, law, business, the ministry, publishing and even medicine, and Augie grads have excelled in all of these careers.

Creative writers have gone on to competitive master's programs, having worked closely with a professor throughout the application process, or entered careers in editing and publishing, journalism, marketing or business.

Carly Davis '23 is a reporter for Adams Publishing Group LLC in Fort Atkinson, Wis.

Maxwell Maharry '19 is a real estate attorney at Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg, LLP, in Chicago.

Nicolette Hampton '18 is the diversity and communications coordinator at Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago.

Alexandria Hadley '18 is a senior copywriter at Moosylvania in St. Louis.

Sabrina Hill '18 (top photo) is a corporate recruiter for McMaster-Carr, Elmhurst, Ill.

Jack Harris
More Than I Imagined Jack Harris
“Coming into Augustana, I knew I wanted to pursue writing and design. Not a lot of colleges have that combination of degrees!”
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Lalini Ranaraja
More Than I Imagined Lalini Shanela Ranaraja
“In addition to my 'official' fields of study, I've taken classes in astronomy, theatre, linguistics, ballet and Japanese, and loved every moment of them.”
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Sofia Wajner
More Than I Imagined Sofia Wajner
“All of the professors in the English department helped me fall more in love with literature and pushed me to assess outside of my fixed notions.”
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Michael Scarlett

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