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The Department of English

Prospective Students

Why Major in English?

English majors possess the ability to think analytically and imaginatively, speak and write articulately, and read critically with an eye to the subtleties and nuances of language. Consequently, English majors gain employment in a variety of fields and professions—from education, business, medicine, research, politics and government to publishing, law, community activism, entertainment, media, and journalism. In short, English majors are present in almost any career.

What We Do in English

Students and faculty in CSU, Chico’s 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.

Choose Chico!

A collage showing campus life and orientation

This premier open house offers admitted and prospective students and their guests an opportunity to experience why we think Chico State is the place for you!

For more information:
Choose Chico! - Admissions - CSU, Chico(opens in new window)

Alumni Quotes

Hannah DuranHannah Duran

During my time as both an undergraduate and graduate student, I have been overwhelmed by the ways the professors, fellow peers, and the overall program have incited in me a desire to deepen my learning and further my professional experiences.


Campus creekKelsey King

In my time as an undergraduate in English Education and as a graduate student in the English Master's program, I sought out as many opportunities to learn and gain experience as I could, and I found exactly that. The faculty have been nothing short of supportive, insightful, and engaging in my journey at Chico State, and I can honestly say that I cherish the relationships that I was able to build with my professors and colleagues who helped to develop me into a better scholar, analytical and critical thinker, and confident communicator.


picture of juliaJulia Gerhard

After receiving my B.A. and M.A. in English from Chico State, I got accepted to the University of Colorado, Boulder to pursue a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature in 2013. During the doctoral program, I taught Russian language and literature courses for the Slavic Department (Russian Fairy-Tales, Russian Science Fiction - both taught in English) as well as the Postmodern course for the Humanities Department. My dissertation focused on a comparative analysis of American and Russian (post-Soviet) Science Fiction after the 1960s, primarily in the genres of cyberpunk, steampunk, and post-apocalyptic literature. My research interests include science fiction and "fantastic" literature in all its variations, utopian and dystopian genre studies, literary theory, and postmodernism. I graduated from CU Boulder with a Ph.D. in May of 2018 and am currently on the job market.


Blayne SandersBlayne Sanders

Above all else, the professors were unquestionably the best part about being an English student at Chico State. The quality of teaching was amazing, of course. More importantly, however, the faculty exudes a genuine love for their students, a continuous effort to work with us through obstacles, a tremendous dedication to our success, and pride in our accomplishments. They make this department phenomenal, intriguing, and engaging every day.


Arts & Humanities BuildingRuby Mendoza

Opportunities and community reflect a small portion of the English Department's greatness. The willingness and dedication from faculty to see student success exemplifies instructors' commitments to make student experiences meaningful, especially by putting the lives of students before their own. I have been given many opportunities to use new teaching and research methods, learning critical tools for my future endeavors as an academic scholar. However, the most important gift the faculty has provided is instilling the belief within myself that I am capable as a first-generation student, that my voice has the power to change to world.

Faculty Q&A

Aydé Enríquez-LoyaAydé Enríquez-Loya

What do you like most about teaching in the English Department at Chico State?

There are lots of things I love about our department. To start, I love the energy and dedication all of our students bring into the classroom, both the majors and non-majors. Our students have busy lives: taking lots of classes, holding one or multiple jobs, doing extensive volunteer work, and some are spouses and even parents. And yet, they pull it all together and do so brilliantly.      

Within our department, I especially love that each of us as faculty have lot of ways our research and interests overlap, giving us opportunities to work together, while we still each have distinct areas of expertise. I think this complexity allows for us to build even stronger relationships with one another, to provide different opportunities for our students, and to really give a distinct shape to our program.

What kinds of opportunities would you recommend that students seek out in our department?

In relation to my previous response, as a department we offer and are able to offer a wide variety of opportunities and classes because of our own diverse research. I would hope that students seek opportunities to take classes in all our primary areas such as in rhetoric, technical writing, literature, creative writing, literacy, and linguistics. All of them. Speaking as someone whose work is largely interdisciplinary, I'm always amazed by how all these areas build on each other. And I love that working within an area that may not be "my" area allows me to improvise and imagine nuanced ways to see my own research. I think students who venture into multiple areas of study become more grounded and all embracing scholars. 


Kim JaxonKim Jaxon

Why did you choose to teach at Chico State?

The students. I appreciate the diversity of our students and the ideas they bring to our classes. I’m also a local! Staying in my hometown is kind of amazing.

Any special career highlights?

I was awarded the Teacher of Excellence-College Award by the California Association of Teachers of English in 2014. My current book, Composing Science, is co-authored with science colleagues from physics and biology, and offers support for the teaching of writing in science. I’m also a featured contributor to DMLCentral.


Corey SparksCorey Sparks

Why did you choose to teach at Chico?

Because there was an atmosphere of faculty and staff who go above and beyond for their students.

What are some things people might not expect from the English Department or how they can use this degree?

This department understands language very capaciously, in many forms such as media, social, digital and film. And people can get into a wide variety of jobs producing texts and media. Our department is very accessible, in
many ways. 


John TraverJohn Traver

What classes are overlooked in the English department?

I think that ENGL 304, the Comics and Graphic Novels class, is helpful, giving an overview of comics history alongside a sensitivity to comics as a genre (alongside multimodal concerns). ENGL 355, Bible, Literature, and Culture, essentially provides an overview for how the Bible has influenced culture and literature or been appropriated (John Milton, etc.)—an invaluable context for English majors. ENGL 354, Classical Literature, in its current iteration with the Great Books and Ideas pathway, not only identifies the important ideas and literary forms shaping later literature but also places it in conversation with later and/or multicultural literature (for example, the ideals of Athenian democracy and the definition of humanity alongside issues raised by Du Bois’s The Souls of Black Folk).