College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Advising - Zulauf Hall 201 - 815-753-0114

A 2 + 2 Plan Leading to a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English


 All degree requirements are subject to the provisions and notices in the Undergraduate Catalog. Information is valid through August 2015.


B.A. Degree in English

The Department of English offers an undergraduate curriculum designed to acquaint the student with the broad range of studies in English and American literature, language and linguistics, and writing. The offerings of the department include historical studies of British and American authors, generic approaches to literary works, and course sequences in linguistics, as well as expository, professional, and creative writing, and English education. Ethnic literature courses are offered regularly and other courses are multiculturally informed.

The English undergraduate program provides an opportunity for qualified students to pursue certification to teach English at the secondary school level in a widely respected and competitive course of teacher preparation. The program also provides students ample opportunities to develop their writing skills in a variety of genres such as business and technical writing, professional writing, advanced composition, composition for pre­law, arts criticism, and creative writing, and thus prepares students for a wide range of professions.

English faculty members maintain an impressive record of achievement and professional involvement, much of which stems directly from their interest in and effort to improve undergraduate instruction. English faculty members have received numerous teaching awards, including four Presidential Teaching Professorships, two Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Instruction, and 13 NIU Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Awards, more than any other department on campus. All members of the English professorial faculty, which includes three Presidential Research Professors and a Board of Trustees Professor, regularly teach undergraduate courses in the major.

Job Opportunities for English Majors

Here are just a few examples of what alumni are doing with their English degrees:

  • Technical Writer/Editor
  • Business Writer
  • Underwriter
  • Reporter/Correspondent
  • Proofreader
  • Book Reviewer
  • Paralegal/Legal Assistant
  • Sales Representative
  • Marketing Representative
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Human Resources Specialist
  • Advertising Assistant
  • English Teacher
  • Library Associate
  • Copy Writer/Editor  

Preparing for Transferring to NIU

We welcome new majors who transfer to us from area community colleges and demonstrate this by reserving spaces for new transfers in high-demand courses in the major. Some of our very best majors have come to us well-prepared by their community college experience for success in upper-division university courses. A solid preparation at a community college will help ensure a student's future success at NIU. Therefore, careful planning of a student's academic program is a key to success. We strongly recommend that students plan their academic future in close consultation with community college advisers, and with advisers to the major at NIU at the time of transfer. 

The NIU Department of English recommends that community college students intending to transfer focus their attention on completing the general education courses that are required for graduation from NIU, which are the courses students generally take during their first two years at NIU. These include 10-12 semester hours of core competencies and a minimum of 29 distributive hours.  We also strongly recommend that transfer students satisfy the foreign language requirement for the B.A. prior to transfer. (Graduates who have met the IAI GECC requirements will have met NIU general education requirements.) 

Please consult the NIU Undergraduate Catalog for specific details of all requirements and the Articulation Tables for community college equivalents of specific courses. 

Foreign Language Requirement for the Bachelor of Arts (0-12 hours)

The B.A. degree requires competency in a foreign language through four college semesters (or high school equivalent; see catalog). We recommend that students attempt to fulfill at least some of the foreign language requirement at the community college. 

Grammar Requirement

Students must demonstrate competence in the fundamentals of English grammar by passing an exemption examination before or during their first semester, or successfully completing ENGL 207, Fundamentals of English Grammar. 

Major Requirements

The NIU English major requires 33 of the 39-53 total semester hours to be taken at the upper-division level. English majors must complete the preparatory courses ENGL 200 and ENGL 207, one advanced writing course, one course in language and linguistics, at least two courses at the 300/400 level in American Literature, and at least four courses at the 300/400 level in British Literature.  In addition, English majors must complete at least three electvie courses in English at the 300/400 level.

Teacher Certification

Students pursuing initial teacher certification in English at the secondary level follow a more structured program of study while earning their B.A. in English.  For those seeking certification, a ninth semester of study may be required.  Students intending to pursue initial teacher certification are especially encouraged to take and pass the Test of Academic Proficiency prior to the time of transfer.  Interested students are strongly encouraged to consult an advisor in the NIU Department of English prior to the time of transfer. 

Suggested Semester Plans 

Fall   Spring  
ENGL 103 3   ENGL 104 3
Foreign Language1 3 Foreign Language1 3
Math Core Comp.2 3-4 Science Gen Ed 3-4
Soc. Science Gen Ed 3 Soc. Science Gen Ed 3
Humanities Gen Ed 3 Humanities Gen Ed 3
15-16 15-16
Science Gen Ed 3-4 ENGL 2074 3
COMS 100 3 Foreign Language1 3
Foreign Language1 3 Minor 3
Gen. Ed Elective 3 Interdisciplinary Gen Ed 3
Humanities Gen Ed 3 Gen. Ed Elective 3-4
15-16 15-16
ENGL 200 3    
ENGL 300/400 level 6 ENGL 300/400 level 9
Minor 300/400 level 6 Minor 300/400 level 6
15 15
ENGL 300/400 level 9 ENGL 300/400 level 6
Minor 300/400 level 3 Minor 300/400 level 3
Elective 3 Elective 6
15 15

1 Required for the B.A. degree. Previous foreign language background may reduce or fulfill this requirement; consult the NIU Undergraduate Catalog for further information on the B.A. requirement in foreign language.

2 Community college students planning to major in English who have completed an associate's degree will not be required to enroll in a math course at NIU unless they are intending teacher certification and have not completed an equivalent math core competency class. Those planning to transfer to NIU prior to the completion of an associate's degree should enroll in a math core competency course at the community college, or they will be expected to enroll in one at NIU.

3 A minor is strongly recommended.

4 Unless the student is exempted by passing the Grammar Exemption Examination, in which case the student should take  any other English Elective at eh 100-400 level.

Minimum 120 total; 40 at the 300-400 level


For More Information

For more information on the English program at NIU, please contact:

Department of English
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Illinois 60115­-2863
(815) 753-1606
FAX: (815) 753-0606

Visit the English department home page at: 


For a current NIU Undergraduate Catalog and application materials, contact: 

Office of Admissions
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, Illinois 60115­-2857
(800) 892­-3050 (toll-free in Illinois)
or (815) 753-­0446 


Northern Illinois University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, national origin, disability, status based on the Victims' Economic Security and Safety Act (VESSA), or status as a disabled or Vietnam-era veteran. Further, the Constitution and Bylaws of Northern Illinois University provides for equal treatment regardless of political views or affiliation, and sexual orientation.