English graduates celebrate with a group selfie during Commencement.


Students and faculty in the Department of English come from a variety of traditional and non-traditional academic backgrounds, but together we make arguments, stories, interpretations, and meaning. We make educators, wordsmiths, activists, and connections across time and across cultures. We make sense of language in its stunning diversity through creative, editorial, linguistic, literary, and rhetorical work. We make community by sharing our commonalities and recognizing our differences.

Many people associate English exclusively with the study of literature, but at California State University, Chico, English is defined much more widely. Alongside literature, we teach creative writing, linguistics, literacy, rhetoric, and literary editing and publishing. The English Department offers an array of programs including three BA major options, an MA program, four minors, and three certificates, and within those programs are offerings that can be tailored to each student’s individual needs and interests. Faculty in English are active scholars and accomplished teachers, and we care deeply about our students.


Students in English Department programs have multiple opportunities to take their learning beyond their classrooms. Many get hands-on experience working in the Academic Writing program as embedded mentors in our ENGL 130W courses. Others take up the challenge of being a writing workshop leader in our ENGL 131 support course. Some work one-on-one with international students in the English as a Second Language Support Services tutoring center. And some work as editors for our literary publishing programs, including our online magazine, Watershed Review, and our in-house publisher, Flume Press. All students in our program are invited to participate in the English Society organization, which sponsors a variety of events each semester. Guest speakers, field trips, game and movie nights, and similar activities allow students and faculty to build community through sharing academic and creative interests with one another.

The Department of English is located in the Arts and Humanities Building, a state-of-the-art academic building that also houses art galleries and a beautiful recital hall. The building includes smart classrooms with integrated learning technologies, and an open collaborative space where students can study, work together on group projects, or extend discussions begun in class.


One strength of a major in English is the range of highly sought skills embedded in the curriculum. Coursework in English requires students to read an array of academic and literary texts in a variety of forms—books, journal articles, popular press, white papers, technical writing, reviews, and more—and then compose written responses that cogently paraphrase, articulate, synthesize, question, and analyze those texts. The ability to critically engage with complex texts and write clear and concise recommendations and reviews are valued across career paths, and our majors find meaningful careers in the corporate, nonprofit, entertainment, education, research, political, publication, media, and government sectors. In short, English majors are found in practically any career field.