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General English Electives

Electives Overview

With an English degree, you have the flexibility and choice to create the degree focus that best fits your interests and goals. In addition to the English Core Requirements, you will select additional English credits to prepare you for life after graduation. Remember that your elective choices are influenced by your specific English degree.

So much choice can be a little overwhelming. Here are some recommendations.

Choose What You Love

Recent studies suggest that skills such as reading, writing, critical thinking, and complex reasoning are better predictors of professional and life success than any specific major. Every English class will help you develop these skills. So if you want to take a themes class about superheroes and supervillains, do it.

If you are confident about your career path—whether it's professional writing, creative writing, or literary studies-you have many ways to meet your goals. But remember that our classes reinforce one another and strengthen your critical academic core. So feel free to add other English classes that appeal to your professional interests and personal goals. Because BYU-Idaho's English program allows you to choose your General English Electives, you may even prepare yourself professionally in more than one area.

Work Toward Your Professional Goals

A degree in English prepares you for a variety of careers. As you select courses, think carefully about how classes will increase your marketability and training.

The field of English divides into several focus areas. Here are some course recommendations based on these areas. Remember that you can mix and match classes across areas to fit your interests and goals.

Graduate Studies and Professional Schools

With its emphasis on close reading and analysis, a focus on literature prepares students to succeed in a variety of graduate programs. Learn more about preparing for graduate and professional schools.

If you are interested in graduate school, you might choose classes in the following areas:

  • British and American literary survey courses (ENG 331-336)
  • Genre and Author studies (ENG 350-370)
  • Literary and rhetorical theory (ENG 440, ENG 450, and ENG 495)

If you are considering graduate school, find out if you need a foreign language. Many grad programs require 8 - 11 credits in one foreign language. You will use your university general electives to fulfill the foreign language requirements.
Remember that coursework is only one part of achieving your goals. Take advantage of all the out-of-class opportunities as well.

Professional Writing

With a BA in English, you could enter to workplace as a professional writer. Learn more about professional writing.

Consider taking courses that focus on writing, editing, formatting, and producing documents. Also, look at courses that teach computer applications, publication design, and editing. With these courses, you gain hands-on experience writing, editing, and preparing texts for publication.

If you are interested in professional writing, you might choose classes in the following areas:

  • Writing and technology (ENG 252 and 321)
  • Editing (ENG 326 and ENG 452)
  • Genres of professional writing and project management (ENG 400R and ENG 452)
  • Rhetorical theory (ENG 450).

Completing an internship (ENG 398R) will increase your marketability and preparation for the workplace. Also consider supplementing your English major with a supporting minor. For example, if you are interested in a career as a medical writer, a biology minor would be a great pairing.

Remember that coursework is only one part in achieving your goals. Take advantage of all the out-of-class opportunities as well.

Creative Writing

Do you want to develop your creative skills? Choose from the variety of creative writing courses we offer, along with the opportunity to submit creative work and to prepare editions of Outlet, BYUI's literary magazine. Although it is more often an avocational pursuit than a career, your study of creative writing can enhance a career in education, editing, publishing, and professional and freelance writing.

Consider taking the following classes to improve your creative writing skills:

  • Create original works with the creative writing series (ENG 218, ENG 318R, and ENG 418R)
  • Study the specific genre you want to create (ENG 351-356)
  • Learn about editing and document production (ENG 326 and 452)

Be sure to take advantage of opportunities to share and improve your work outside the classroom.

Rhetoric and Composition

While you may never have heard about it, an increasingly marketable area of study is rhetoric and composition. This area is particularly helpful if you are planning to teach in the public schools and at a university level. These courses also prepare you to write more effectively in any professional situation.

Check out some of our rhetoric and composition courses:

  • Writing and presentation (ENG 252)
  • Rhetorical theory (ENG 450)
  • Composition studies (ENG 397R). 

English Education-First Field and English Education-Only Field

Incomplete: Placeholder. The English Education degrees focus on educational theories and methods for teaching literature and composition in the public school classroom, grades 6-12. Coursework includes an introductory English module, a literature module, and an English module. Students in English Education-Only Field degree then select 12 additional credits of English courses. Students in English Education-First Field complete an education minor. Both degrees require a Elementary, Early, and Special Education Core, which includes Student Teaching.