Program overview

Are you passionate about majoring in English but have been told it will limit your career prospects? Check your fears at the door. UNE’s Bachelor of Arts in English focuses on the highly transferable skills acquired as a student of literature: command of language, analytical skills, critical thinking, and the capacity to understand multiple perspectives. Combined with internships, research, and study abroad experiences, you will be highly valued by many fields that prize people who can communicate well, solve problems, assimilate information quickly, and work well with others.

Why UNE for English

With faculty specialties in literature and health, law and humanities, creative writing, digital humanities, and more, the English program will expose you to a wide range of topics and genres.

  • Flexible curriculum, allowing for double majors and minors
  • Unique HuMed program to prepare for medical school while pursuing your passion for English
  • Instruction in digital literacies, culminating in the creation of a personal ePortfolio
  • Impressive archival collections for research and creative  projects
  • Opportunity to work as a Writing Fellow in our peer tutoring program
  • Intriguing internships
  • Study abroad opportunities
Testimonial Place Holder
The faculty and staff at UNE are kind and welcoming; they are always available if I have a question or problem. The English Department is very strong, boasting wonderful professors and a wide range of interesting courses.


There are many ways you can navigate the English major.

Examples of Available Courses

The following are some examples of the exciting courses that the English major offers:

  • Law and Literature
  • Reading and Writing in Digital Environments
  • Victorian Monsters
  • Writing and Women’s Health
  • Fiction Writing Workshop
  • Animals, Literature, and Culture
  • Lyrics
  • Narrative Medicine

Honors Program


Our HuMed program is the only one of its kind in the U.S., allowing you to indulge your passion for English while preparing for graduate study in our College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Meet our faculty and professional staff

a female student studies


The unique skill set of an English major is far more sought after than most people realize. As academic training requirements in many fields are becoming increasingly specific, employers are eager to find candidates who are excellent communicators, creative and analytic thinkers, and critical readers.

An English major is a gateway to numerous professions, including:

  • Editor
  • Filmmaker
  • Lawyer
  • Librarian
  • Physician
  • Project Manager
  • News Reporter
  • Scriptwriter
  • Teacher
  • Television Producer

Career Advising

Whether you have a specific career goal in mind or a vague idea of the field that interests you, Career Advising is here to help you plan your next step.

English 110

English 110 is our freshman writing course and a rigorous introduction to college-level. English 110 is not an introduction to literature or to the English major. Instead, you will be challenged to rethink your ideas, re-examine your interpretations of a reading, connect texts in provocative ways, and advance written arguments.

Learning Objectives

Demonstrate the ability to approach writing as a recursive process that requires substantial revision of drafts for content, organization, and clarity (global revision), as well as editing and proofreading (local revision).

Students in English 110 learn to read and reconsider their drafts in ways that produce substantive, global revisions of their texts. Additionally, they learn to attend to punctuation, grammar, and spelling in their texts as they edit and proofread, or engage in effective local revision.

Students learn to approach writing as a recursive process in peer review/critique and in work with sample student texts. Peer review/critique and comments on early drafts focus more on global concerns, with more local concerns becoming increasingly important at the proofreading stage in the writing process.

Students demonstrate that they have met this learning objective in their writing. Students whose final drafts on later papers are substantively different from first drafts on those same papers are approaching writing as a recursive process and are engaged in global revision. Students who take care to proofread their final drafts before handing them in are participating in local revision.

Students whose final drafts are simply cleaner versions of earlier drafts, with perhaps a new paragraph inserted somewhere, are probably not approaching writing as a recursive process.

The ABility to integrate their ideas with those of others using summary, paraphrase, quotation, analysis, and synthesis of relevant sources.

Most college-level writing assignments, particularly formal papers, require students to work with other texts, to demonstrate that they have thought about specific material, and to show that they have something to say about it. English 110 offers students concrete guidance (and practice) as they develop greater proficiency in integrating their ideas with those of their sources.

Summary is an important vehicle for distilling a text or for capturing a core element of the text in a brief description. Within a paper, a summary can be a quick, effective way to provide important context for a source before one begins to work with or challenge elements of the source.

Paraphrase and quotation are two essential tools that college-level writers use to help the reader see what their sources have to say about a particular matter under consideration. Effective paraphrase enables the writer to retain full control over the words in his or her paper even as he or she represents a source’s point, idea, or information. Quotation, like paraphrase, offers the reader a representation of a source’s point or idea, though it enables the quoted source to speak for itself.

Taken together, analysis and synthesis contain particular techniques that help students learn to work with one or more sources as they develop their own ideas about an issue. Analysis and synthesis enable the writer to carve out places where he or she can explore new ideas or challenge existing ones.

Students demonstrate that they have met this learning objective in formal writing that includes appropriate uses of these techniques.

Employ techniques of active reading, critical reading, and informal reading response for inquiry, learning, and thinking.

College courses regularly call on students to write in response to texts they have read. In order to be successful in this kind of work, students must become strong readers of texts. English 110 is a writing course that introduces students to the kind of strong reading that can help them find their own ideas about a text or texts.

Active, critical reading challenges students accustomed to a focus on reading for information. English 110 instructors help students become stronger readers by treating reading as an active process of meaning making and not merely an exercise in reading comprehension.

In addition to reading for information or understanding, students in English 110 learn to read as writers. Active readers mark their texts in the margins, take notes, and raise questions as they read. As they read, they locate moments they find particularly interesting or troubling and consider why they are responding to the text in those ways.

English 110 instructors help students develop as engaged readers by providing their classes with pre-reading and reading questions, by inviting students to make sense of relationships between parts of a text or texts, and by moderating focused class and small group discussions of those parts of the texts that students find particularly salient or confusing.

Students demonstrate that they have met this learning objective through their use of reading response techniques and in the ways in which they engage with texts in their formal writing.

Be able to critique their own and others’ work by emphasizing global revision early in the writing process and local revision later in the process.

Writers almost never consider a text finished until it has been reviewed or critiqued by one or more peers. Peer review serves many purposes in the writing classroom and is considered an essential pedagogy because it can provide tremendous potential for growth. Peer review helps students develop a more critical eye as they read their peers’ texts and creates opportunities for students to see their own texts from a reader’s perspective.

Peer review is a vehicle for modeling differences between global revision and local revision or proofreading, and it structures an emphasis on the former early in the writing process. It offers students the opportunity to write for an audience beyond the instructor and to be responsive to comments from members of that audience. And it offers students opportunities to explore active reading and to approach readings of student texts as writers.

Students who engage actively in the peer review process develop a set of generous and critical reading skills that can serve them well throughout college, and beyond. They come to recognize that early drafts generally require substantial revision before they can be considered finished. And they practice reading student texts as supportive readers looking to provide options for a writer. Students in English 110 can carry this experience to other classes as they learn the value of sharing their drafts with a trusted reader.

Instructors in English 110 cultivate students’ competency in peer review by structuring review sessions, creating a trusting environment in which student anxiety around sharing texts is reduced, and modeling global revision in the ways they talk about opportunities for revision in early drafts.

Students demonstrate competency in this learning objective through their contributions in peer review sessions and in their revisions across drafts.

Document their work using appropriate conventions.

One of the most common features of college-level, academic writing is the careful documentation of sources. Documentation style is often considered a basic and mechanical process of following rules established by the MLA (Modern Language Association), the APA (American Psychological Association), or some other organization. In fact, such documentation is central to the kind of intellectual work of the academy.

When students work with texts and enter into conversation with them, they borrow some ideas and words from those texts, specifically challenge some ideas in the texts, and connect or synthesize still other information or ideas from their sources. Effective college-level writers are able to use signal phrasing to integrate the words and ideas of their sources into their own texts and to correctly document their sources.

English 110 instructors introduce students to one documentation style (Modern Language Association) because careful work in understanding how one style functions can help students adapt to other styles. At the same time, instructors emphasize that MLA is only one of the major styles. Instructors treat documentation as a way of marking the boundaries between the writer’s words and ideas and those of his or her sources.

Students demonstrate that they have met this objective in their written work. Their engagement with sources is appropriately documented, and they integrate sources into their texts using signal phrases and parenthetical citations. They correctly identify the kinds of sources they work with and are able to prepare an appropriately formatted Works Cited list.

Control sentence-level error.

Most first-year students have a working knowledge of the English language, and English 110 is not a course in grammar, syntax, or spelling. But control of these important surface features of writing can be difficult as one works on more complex ideas and with multiple texts in a paper. In English 110, students need to control sentence-level errors in their formal, revised writing even as they produce complex texts.

A writer’s audience is less likely to read generously when a paper demonstrates sloppy punctuation or spelling, when it contains errors in subject-verb agreement, or when sentence fragments or run-ons recur throughout the text. English 110 instructors help students understand that proofreading as local revision is the final step in the drafting process. They include targeted, context-specific activities and instruction in those errors most prevalent within a specific section and provide opportunities for students to address those errors in their own writing. Students exiting English 110 generally recognize that even their “final” drafts almost always benefit from additional proofreading.

Most students in English 110 will be able to meet this learning objective if they grasp the presentation value of a formal paper that is error free and if they take seriously the final proofreading process. Students with multiple, severe patterns of error that are not significantly reduced over the course of the term are not meeting this objective and will need to repeat English 110.

Writing Placement

You are placed into the most appropriate writing class in order to maximize your opportunity for success.

Advanced Placement and Transfer Credit

Incoming freshmen scoring 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement (AP) English Language and Composition exam will receive credit for English 110, a Core requirement for all programs. Incoming transfer students who have acceptable credit for English 110 will likewise meet this Core requirement.

Incoming freshmen scoring 4 or 5 on the Advanced Placement (AP) English Literature and Composition exam will not receive credit for English 110. Instead, they will receive credit for English 199, meeting one of their required Exploration courses.

Placement into English 110

Incoming students who do not have either AP English Language and Composition or transfer credit will be placed in an appropriate writing course (College Reading and Writing sequence, English Composition with Writing Lab, or English Composition) based on a review of multiple measures of their achievement, including high school grade point average and high school English grades.

For more information about placement, including placement challenges, see the Student Academic Success Center’s placement Procedures.


The policies ensure that you have a relatively consistent experience across dozens of sections and make clear a number of important course expectations.


English 110 is a workshop- and discussion-based course that employs collaborative and active learning pedagogies. Students who miss class are not participating in these central elements of the course. For this reason, attendance is mandatory.

Students who miss more than two weeks of classes should not expect to pass English 110, and students who miss more than one week of classes should anticipate a reduction in their final course grade. Instructors in English 110 do not make a distinction between “excused” and “unexcused” absences and do not involve themselves in weighing the merits of an absence.

Students who experience a significant medical or family emergency that requires many absences should be in touch with their instructor as soon as possible. These students may be counseled to withdraw from the course and supported in ways that minimize the academic implications of withdrawal.


Each instructor establishes the specific evaluative criteria for assignments in his or her section of English 110. Overall performance in English 110 consists of a student’s performance on formal, revised writing, engagement in the writing process, an ePortfolio, attendance, in-class participation, and performance on informal writing assignments throughout the term.

At least 55% of each student’s final grade is based on the formal, revised writing completed over the term. Instructors penalize work that is submitted late or that does not meet the page or source requirements of an assignment. It is not uncommon for a B-level paper to receive a C if it is not submitted on time.

Much of the writing process occurs through informal writing in English 110. For this reason, instructors generally reserve a significant portion of the final course grade for engagement in this aspect of the course. It is common for actively engaged, conscientious students to earn a final course grade that exceeds their performance on formal papers.

Students concerned about their performance in English 110 should talk with their instructor about his or her expectations.

Written Work

Students write for every class. Some of the writing will be informal, occurring in class or being assigned as homework. Other writing will involve the development, drafting, and revision of formal papers.

Students in English 110 produce 15-18 pages of formal, revised writing over the term. Instructors have flexibility in determining the number and length of papers, but students can expect to write three formal, revised papers, in addition to a range of less formal written projects.

Electronic writing environments are an important part of communication in the twenty-first century. Students may also be required to prepare a slide presentation, blog in the course, produce a podcast or short video, or engage with other electronic media. Students in English 110 prepare an electronic portfolio (ePortfolio).

Experiential Learning

The English major emphasizes real-world learning, providing you with experiences that will set you apart in numerous professional fields. At UNE, we believe in learning by doing.

Hands-On Activities

  • Participate in the creation of student-run publications
  • Get on-the-job experience as a peer tutor in our Writing Fellows program
  • Conduct research or produce creative projects to present at local, regional, and national venues
  • Visit UNE’s DigiSpace to develop digital literacies and create new digital content for your ePortfolio
  • Create podcasts



  • Maine Women Writers Collection
  • Office of Communications and Marketing


  • Print and Digital Publications 
  • TV and Radio Stations
  • Libraries
  • Politicians' Offices
  • Law Offices
  • Schools
  • Museums
  • Corporations

For more information email Donna Gaspar Jarvis in the Academic and Career Advising Center at

Beyond the Classroom

Maine Women Writers Collection

The Maine Women Writers Collection offers students in English rich opportunities to do advanced research with primary sources as well as to gain experience in archival internships. The MWWC, which holds rare and unique material documenting the lives and writing of Maine women, is housed in a state-of-the-art facility where you can conduct hands-on research and develop your own original projects. You might also take advantage of an archival internship, which would provide you with one-on-one mentoring, experience working with special collections, and practical skills related to library and information science.

The Nor’easter News

The Nor’easter News is the student newspaper of UNE. It was founded in 2007 by a group of students that included English majors and a faculty member. As a student reporter or columnist, you might cover campus events and developments or a broad range of other topics of interest to the University community, including national and international affairs, politics, entertainment, the arts, and sports. Contact Editor-and-Chief, Jack Allsopp at for more information.


Zephyr is UNE’s journal of creative expression. It is more than a literary magazine, as each spring we publish not only selections of prose and verse, but original drawings, paintings, and black and white photography as well. All current and former members of the UNE community are invited to submit their work. As an English major, you might participate in the life of ;Zephyr by serving on our editorial board, assisting in the submissions review process, or helping to promote and distribute each new issue upon its publication.


As an English student at UNE you have many unique opportunities to pursue traditional literary research as well as to craft projects that reach across the arts and sciences. Recent students majoring and minoring in English have completed research projects on such diverse topics as mapping nationalist stereotypes in Sherlock Holmes stories, creating classroom materials for courses in narrative medicine, and digitizing cultural and scientific materials to enhance sustainability efforts in the Saco River estuary. All were funded by UNE summer grants or NSF grants. Students have presented their research at conferences such as the Northeast Undergraduate Research and Development Symposium, the Maine Women’s and Gender Studies Conference, and the UNE Collge of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Symposia.