English B.A.

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English with a Professional Focus

Turn your love of reading and writing into a career in media communication, publishing, content creation, professional or technical writing, or social media management. An English degree also provides excellent preparation for a career in law, whether as a lawyer, paralegal, or arbitrator.

Students in this major can combine their degree with entrepreneurship, psychology, PR, or marketing.

Interested students in this course of study may be eligible for the Early Law School Admission Program.

Professional Focus

Hands-on Experience: RMU’s professional focus offers students ways to build their resume while …

  • Interning and gaining practical workplace experience, 
  • Editing and contributing to the RMU literary magazine Rune, 
  • Tutoring university students through the Center for Student Success, 
  • Participating in the annual, gothic-themed Creepy Conference, hosted by RMU’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society.  
  • Contributing to Sentry Media, including the RMU youtube channel, RMU podcasts, website, and television.

Writing Community and Mentorship: Those majoring in English will join a supportive community of writers, researchers, and critical thinkers, both within the university and throughout the Pittsburgh region. Faculty members are actively publishing authors and scholars with experience in workplace and media writing. Our faculty know each student in the major and provide individual professional writing and career mentorship.

Courses and Guided Curriculum

Major Requirements (51 credits)

ENGL2000 Study of Literature                            

ENGL2010 Reading Nonfiction

ENGL2030 African American Literature OR ENGL2040 Literature and Medicine Or 2055 World Literature Or ENGL2080 Women in Literature

ENGL2540 Intro to Linguistics                

ENGL3080 American Literature Before 1865

ENGL3090 American Literature from 1865 to Present   

ENGL3120 British Literature to 1789      

ENGL3130 British Literature 1789 to Present    

ENGL3500 Study of Persuasion 

ENGL3520 Dramatic Art of Shakespeare

ENGL4800 Seminar in English Studies  

ENGL3010 Grammar and Copyediting   

ENGL3110 History of the English Language      

ENGL4010 Writing Nonfiction

ENGL4903 Cooperative Education/Internship

Choose any two (2) of the following courses:                                                           

ENGL3021 Seminar in Literature: Selected Poets                                                         

ENGL3042 Seminar in Literature: Selected American Authors                                      

ENGL3050 Seminar in Literature: Selected Irish/British Authors                                   

ENGL3060 Seminar in Literature: Drama                                               

ENGL3070 Seminar in Literature: Classic Novels

Open Electives 30 credits

Curriculum Guide

Program Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes: Students will be able to:

  • Conduct inquiry and analysis creatively, critically, and ethically.

    VALUE rubrics for OA: Inquiry and Analysis, Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking, Ethical Reasoning
  • Extract and construct meaning through reading, writing, and oral communication.

    VALUE rubrics for OA: Reading, Written Communication, Oral Communication
  • Identify, evaluate, and reasonably use information in a variety of cultural and intercultural contexts.

    VALUE Rubrics for OA: Information Literacy, Intercultural Knowledge and Competence
Career Preparation

English is one of the top majors for law school applicants because it develops skills in thinking and reading critically. It allows students with strong reading and writing abilities to earn the high GPA they need to apply to law school, and over 80% of English majors* who applied to law schools were accepted.

(Ref. CollegeConsensus.com “10 Best Degrees for Getting into Law School”Mar 3, 2021)

Graduates go on to work in advertising, public relations, writing and editing, and other fields. Jobs include writer, editor, teacher, public relations coordinator, and communications specialist. The program is particularly suited for students who plan to go to graduate school or law school, or for those who wish to pursue professional careers in a variety of fields. Students in this major may be eligible for the pre-law advisory program.

What can you do with an English Major

Provided by W.W. Norton, Inc.

Demand for English Majors

US Department of Labor Statistics Relevant to Writing

Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook

Retrieved 10/23/2020; latest statistics date from May, 2019

Writers and Authors

Role defined as “Originate and prepare written material, such as scripts, stories, advertisements, and other material.”

Pay: For writers and authors with a Bachelor's degree:

National Mean Hourly Wage: $35.51 (Median Annual Wage: $63,200)

Pennsylvania Mean Annual Wage: $62,500 – $67,500

Job Outlook

Employment of writers and authors is projected to decline 2 percent from 2019 to 2029. Strong competition is expected for most job openings, given that many people are attracted to this occupation. Competition for jobs with newspapers and magazines will be particularly strong because employment in the publishing industry is projected to decline.

Writers and authors who have adapted to online and social media, and who are comfortable writing for and working with a variety of electronic and digital tools, should have an advantage in finding work. The declining costs of self-publishing and the popularity of electronic books will allow many freelance writers to have their work published.

Technical Writers

Role defined as “Technical writers prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily.”  Bachelor's degree expected.

Pay:  National Median Annual Wages, top industries in which Technical Writers worked:

Publishing industries (except Internet)


Professional, scientific, and technical services


Administrative and support services




Job Outlook:

Employment of technical writers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will be driven by the continuing expansion of scientific and technical products. An increase in Web-based product support should also increase demand for technical writers. Job opportunities, especially for applicants with technical skills, are expected to be good.


Editors plan, review, and revise material prior to publication. While employment is declining in traditional print publications, there is growth in online media. 

Median annual wages:

Professional, scientific, technical $69,270 religious, grant making, civic, or similar organizations $68,530 other information services $66,530 newspaper, book, periodical publishers $57,030

Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook

Retrieved 10/23/2020; latest statistics date from May, 2019


Role defined as “organize events and campaigns to raise money and other kinds of donations for an organization.”

Fundraisers typically need a bachelor’s degree and strong communication and organizational skills. Employers generally prefer candidates who have studied public relations, journalism, communications, English, or business.

Pay:  The median annual wage for fundraisers was $57,970 in May 2019.

Job Outlook:

Employment of fundraisers is projected to grow 14 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment growth is expected to be driven by the continued need of various types of organizations to raise money.

PR Specialists

An area of projected job growth, PR specialists create and maintain their organization’s public image. Graduates of areas such as English, communications, or business need to produce a portfolio of work as well as internships to demonstrate their skills to employers. 

Mean annual wage: $61,150

Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook

Retrieved 10/23/2020; latest statistics date from May, 2019

PR and Fundraising Managers

Employment in these areas is expected to grow more quickly than average due to the need for organizations to maintain their public image on social media. Courses in creative and technical writing, public speaking, public affairs, and business administration are helpful.

Median annual wage for public relations and fundraising managers: $116,180 

Source: US Department of Labor Statistics Relevant to Writing

Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook

Retrieved 10/23/2020; latest statistics date from May, 2019

Paralegals / Legal Assistants

This growth area requires strong communication and data management skills in order to support lawyers in a variety of areas. 

Median annual wage for paralegal or legal assistant: $51,740

Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook

Retrieved 10/23/2020; latest statistics date from May, 2019


English, history, and political science are very common undergraduate majors for applicants to law school. Lawyers advise or represent individuals, businesses, or government agencies in legal matters. Lawyers must have an additional degree and must typically pass the state bar examination in order to practice.

Median annual wage for lawyers: $122,960

Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook

Retrieved 10/23/2020; latest statistics date from May, 2019

Producers / Directors

Role defined as “create motion pictures, television shows, live theater, commercials, and other performing arts productions.”

Producers and directors usually have a bachelor’s degree. Many students study film or cinema in programs at colleges and universities. In these programs, students learn about film history, editing, screenwriting, cinematography, and the filmmaking process. As of 2017, the National Association of Schools of Theatre provided accreditation to more than 180 postsecondary institutions for their programs in theater arts.

Others producers and directors have degrees in writing, acting, journalism, or communications. Some producers earn a degree in business, arts management, or nonprofit management.

Many stage directors complete a degree in theater, and some go on to earn a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. Classes may include directing, playwriting, set design, and acting.

Pay:  The median annual wage for producers and directors was $74,420 in May 2019.

Job Outlook:

Employment of producers and directors is projected to grow 10 percent from 2019 to 2029, much faster than the average for all occupations. Job growth in the motion picture and video industry is expected to stem from strong demand from the public for more movies and television shows, as well as an increased demand from foreign audiences for U.S.-produced films.

Admissions Information
Scholarships, Professional Opportunities & Student Organizations
Contact Us

Pinson, HeatherHeather Pinson, Ph.D.

Department Head, Arts and Humanities 

Associate Professor of Humanities

Associate Professor of Media Arts

Department of Arts and Humanities

Email: pinson@rmu.edu

Meet the Faculty

Our Graduates Work At

RMU English majors have a variety of careers, both entrepreneurial, in education, in law, and in business. Here are some examples of the positions our alumni hold.

  • Bayer (communications director)
  • BNY Mellon (proposal writer)
  • Carnegie Mellon University (civic engagement)
  • Comma Girl Strategic Communications (founder and president)
  • Donally Boland and Assoc. (communications coordinator)
  • Easterseals (development coordinator)
  • Freelance editor 
  • Freelance social media director 
  • Girls Hope (director)
  • Jordan Marie Photography (founder and president)
  • KinderCare (teacher)
  • Michael Baker International (technical specialist)
  • Mining and Reclamation (communications)
  • Pittsburgh Penguins (staff writer)
  • PPG (communications director)
  • Presbyterian church (editorial assistant)
  • Robert Morris University (professor)
  • Thermo Fisher Scientific (copywriter)
  • Various Law firms (lawyer, paralegal, arbitrator)
  • Various Schools (English teachers)

Laura MihalcinLaura Mihalcin, writer –

“My experience with the RMU English program was special. I learned from brilliant professors who knew me-- not just my name, but really knew me as a person and student. Those professors opened my mind to new ideas and helped me to build confidence in my analytical reading and writing skills. I credit my professors with how prepared I was when I started teaching.

As I tell my students, writing is an important part of communication, especially in today's digital world. Strong, effective writing is critical in any profession since much, if not all, communication is done through emails. Becoming a better writer will also help you become a better reader. As digital sources become more prevalent in our society, it's more important than ever to be able to critically examine a text.” 

-- substitute teacher for Riverside Beaver County, 2019 grad

Mike HowieMike Howie, copywriter –

RMU English gave me the writing abilities to stand out as a copywriter and marketer and the critical reading skills to more fully understand the world around me. I only regret not taking more classes.

-- Mike Howie, copywriter, Thermo Fisher Scientific, 2013 grad.

Brittany Perrotte

Brittany Perrotte, teacher –

I have always had a passion for reading and writing, so I knew that whenever I attended Robert Morris University I wanted to major in something related to English. I entered my first two years as an undecided student, but made sure to take a decent amount of classes that revolved around my favorite subject. I was sold after that. The English-based classes that I took at RMU were truly the most fascinating, alluring, and passionate classes that I have ever taken part in. My professors guided me in so many ways and were truly enthusiastic to not only teach us, but to also have deep-rooted conversations about a novel or poem we had read in class. I graduated RMU feeling more than prepared to begin my first year of teaching my favorite subject. Overall, I am extremely pleased with my experience with the RMU English major program. 

-- substitute teacher for Moon Area High School, 2020 grad.

Sara J. Gunkel

Sara J. Gunkel, college instructor & author –

I couldn’t be prouder to graduate from RMU’s English program. As a student, the professors provided a wide range of classes that allowed me to explore different genres of literature, opportunities to strengthen my writing skills, and speaking events that allowed me to develop research and presentation skills. Besides academics, the professors took an interest in you as a person and what you wanted to do in your future. Another major takeaway is that the instructors helped me gain the confidence needed as a student, writer, and presenter. The skills I learned and the confidence I gained at RMU are things I carry with me in my writing, speaking, teaching, and supporting my own students. I cannot thank my professors enough for the opportunities they provided and how they inspired me to pursue the education needed to become a writer and college instructor.

-- Full-Time Faculty at South College & Author of Dear Santa Paws, 2013 grad.

Sara J. Gunkel

Peyton Jackson, Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives –

Robert Morris is one of the best gifts life has given me so far. My experience in the English department was nothing short of incredible. I was surrounded by peers who were very passionate about literature, and taught by professors that left an impression on me that will last a lifetime. It was clear that they truly loved to teach, which made their courses so memorable and riveting. I was never afraid to ask them the hard questions, and they were never afraid to answer. Their tutelage has made me not only the writer I am, but the person I am, and that has given me so many opportunities! When I left campus the day of graduation, I felt so sad to leave my alma mater behind, but was so confident that RMU prepared me for whatever was next.

-- Coordinator of Strategic Initiatives at Mercyhurst University, 2023 grad.


Sample Courses:

These are some of the classes for students in this academic program:

Creative Writing
Advanced Nonfiction Writing
Modern English Grammar & Editing
Major Credits
English, Philosophy, English Lit
Core Credits
Communication Skills, Economics, Humanities, History, Sciences, etc.
Elective Credits

Top Employers

top employers

School of Communication and Media

School of Communication and Media

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