Department of EnglishAcademics

About the English Department

Bridging Literary Traditions

Storytelling helps us understand one another, and great stories span identities, time, and genre. The Gustavus English Department prepares you for a brighter future with a range of theoretical and critical approaches to literature, language, and film. You'll build perspective by better understanding these forms of art that engage and represent multi-ethnic and global viewpoints. For example, you'll study Black filmmakers in Introduction to Film, and an American Literature course may begin with pre-Columbian Native American oral traditions. We'll help you absorb a story's culture and context as you explore the narratives you love, learning about new genres and authors while being encouraged to inhabit the world of the film or text that you study.

The English Department will nurture and expand your writing capabilities as you analyze your own work and study the writing process in multiple contexts. Ultimately, the skills you gain - writing, analyzing language, and attentive communication - are foundational to every discipline and every job.

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Build Relationships Through Stories

While studying English at Gustavus, you'll build relationships with a wide array of texts with the support of award-winning faculty and a diverse group of students. Located in beautiful Saint Peter, MN, the Gustavus Adolphus campus offers a fun and supportive environment where you can learn in proximity to big-city events, cultural activities, and communities. You're minutes away from the medium-sized city of Mankato and an hour from the dynamic Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. At Gustavus, you'll have opportunities to make meaningful connections and gain a global perspective.

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Discover your path:
Majors, Minors, and Related Programs

The English major and minor are highly customizable, giving you the freedom to follow your interests. The Department offers tracks in creative writing and multi-ethnic and global literature. Throughout your courses, you will be encouraged to gain practical experience in the field you study. For example, in the Writing and Non-Profits course, you are matched with local organizations to gain real-world experience by writing in support of a cause. In Editing and Publishing, you will work with an editorial team to publish the College's literary journal. Gustavus English majors are a strong and supportive community, sharing their work and exchanging ideas inside and outside class. As part of the English Department, you gain a breadth of reading and viewing experience along with practical writing, critical thinking, and oral communication skills that prepare you for any career, from professional writing to business.

Majors and Minors

Related Programs

Opportunities in English

Experiences That Make You Career-Ready

Gustavus has a thriving community of creators, with many opportunities to exchange and share creative work throughout the year. Explore these options, from Bards in the Arb and the Firethorne to student organizations.

Explore Opportunities in English

  • FirethorneFirethorne is a literary magazine dedicated to showcasing student work and offers a unique way to share your creative writing and other artistic expressions.
  • Study Away — Studying away is a chance to broaden your horizons, gain intercultural competence, and enrich your English experience through courses unavailable at Gustavus.
  • Student Clubs and Campus Involvement — The campus is a hub of creative activity where students from the English Department actively engage in various extracurricular activities.
  • Awards and Prizes — The English Department honors accomplishments in creative writing and academic achievement through the Lawrence Owen Awards in poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction, as well as the annual Florence Amamoto Prize for Academic Excellence.
  • Writing Center — The Writing Center serves as a valuable resource for students seeking writing assistance by providing individualized support, and it builds professional experience for students who serve as tutors.
  • Bards in the Arb — Bards in the Arb offers a platform for writers from outside Gustavus to share their work, foster connections between students and professional writers, and provide professional experience for students interested in the literary field.
  • Career Readiness and Professional Development — Gustavus provides resources to guide and prepare you to start in your chosen career.


Meet the English Department's inspiring students and faculty, a community of energetic and diverse readers, writers, poets, and creators.

Meet our Faculty

Ellie Hartmann ’23

Ellie Hartmann ’23

English Major

“The GWSS faculty have helped prepare me for a career by actively opening up opportunities for me to get involved with resume-building work like research and internships.” Ellie Hartmann, a native of Waconia, Minnesota, pursued her passion for English at Gustavus due to the comforting feeling that studying the subject gave her; she also shared […]

Read more about Ellie Hartmann ’23

Keep in touch with the English Department

The English Department at Gustavus prepares you for a diverse range of careers while nurturing your love for literature, film, and writing. Plus, you can be involved across campus in activities such as theater, dance, music, athletics, or leadership in a club or student government. Let's get started on your path forward.

Contact English

Phone: 507-933-7391

Confer-Vickner, 231B
800 West College Avenue
Saint Peter, MN 56082