English & Creative Writing major or minor

The diverse scholarly expertise of our faculty enables a curriculum steeped in literary tradition while fully engaged with the contemporary world. We endeavor to teach our students to read, evaluate, and write clearly about “the prose of the world,” the myriad texts they will be confronted with both at Cornell College and in their future lives. 

Majors take at least two foundation courses, complete a variety of upper-level courses in American and British Literature, and gain in-depth knowledge through a concentration in one sub-field of English: literary studies or creative writing. Senior Seminar, with its emphasis on research and life after the English major, provides a capstone experience.

We also offer a minor and we welcome non-majors—most of our courses require only the completion of one foundation course, ENG 111, or another approved writing course to enroll.

Benefits of One Course At A Time

Many courses will allow you to get out of the classroom and into the archives and world. Some classes also have service learning components. Because of the three tracks, English faculty often allow students to create their own projects, choosing between a strictly academic project or a creative projects with an academic component. This better allows classes to fit the needs and interests of students.

Center for the Literary Arts

You can take part in Cornell's vibrant literary life through opportunities supported by the Center for the Literary Arts. Through the center's programs, you can take courses led by distinguished visiting writers, attend readings and workshops, contribute to the literary magazine Open Field, or participate in one of the many creative student organizations on campus. The center is assisted by an Emerging Writer Fellow who teaches courses, supports programs, and works on her own creative projects. 

Off-campus study

We extend our classroom beyond campus on a regular basis through our off-campus studies courses. Whether exploring the theatre and architecture of England, nature writing in northern Minnesota, the literature of Africa or the Caribbean, or the historic literary treasures of Chicago's Newberry Library, students' imaginations are opened to new worlds of insight and possibility. 


Students can earn course credit while pursuing internships for a block or longer, and we consider internships to be an important part of our degree program. They allow students to clarify goals, make connections, and perform meaningful work in a variety of fields.