Why Study English?

Reading and writing are the core skills of the English curriculum. At the University of Alaska Fairbanks, you might take courses in composition, literature, theory, and creative writing. Yet the objectives for these courses are more ambitious than simply reading and writing better. As a student in English at UAF, you can expect to sharpen your skills in rhetorical analysis, cultural inquiry, and critical thinking. It’s these attributes—which value a malleable skillset rather than a store of knowledge—that make the BA in English among the most flexible pre-professional degrees.

English alumni from UAF have found careers in education, editing and publishing, law, business and politics. Many have moved onto graduate studies, whether in English or an allied field in the humanities and liberal arts. In the English classroom, students learn to collaborate with their peers, just as they learn to research and write independently. So what can you do with an English degree? You can do whatever you like, trusting that the skills of attentiveness and inquiry will benefit you in most any career path.

If your passion is reading, we offer courses in literature from all eras and traditions. If your passion is writing, we offer courses in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction—as well as the creative writing minor. If you’re interested in film, linguistics, or literary theory, we cover those topics as well. Most of our upper-level courses are taught in a discussion-based seminar style. You’ll work with faculty who publish current research and creative work, who serve the university in a variety of leadership roles, and, most importantly, who are committed to nurturing our students’ literary and critical ambitions.

Finally, because the English community at UAF is vibrant and diverse, you’ll find opportunities for mentorship and professional development outside the classroom as well. You can become an editor or publish your creative work in Ice Box. You can attend events sponsored by the Midnight Sun Visiting Writers Series. You can apply for monetary awards through our annual student writing contests. You can build a career studying English, but you can also build connections that will deepen your experience at UAF, making yourself into an engaged, empathetic, and insightful literary citizen.

For more information on English studies at UAF, please contact:
Dr. Chris Coffman
Department Chair
(907) 474-5233