The English department at CSUN is a community of teachers, scholars, writers and support staff whose primary mission is to promote learning in literature, creative writing, composition and linguistics and to help students acquire knowledge, develop skills and realize their own intellectual and creative goals. In pursuit of our mission, the department also is committed to promoting faculty development in areas such as research, scholarly and creative work, publication and other professional activities for the advancement of knowledge and pedagogy.
About the Department
English offers a variety of both majors and minors, with options concentrating in Creative Writing, Literature, Subject Matter and FYI/JYI (for future teachers), and Honors. Minors include Creative Writing, Literature, Popular Culture, and Rhetoric and Writing. English majors and minors develop essential skills for the successful navigation of an increasingly complex and changing world. These include, but are not limited to, the ability to read and write critically and creatively, to communicate clearly and effectively, to use technology inventively, to develop real-world problem-solving skills, to collaborate and work well in teams, and to think globally and act locally.
Students in the English department work with nationally recognized scholars and writers in small classroom settings and enjoy multiple opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities. They gain both a broad understanding of the field and more specialized knowledge, skills and experience appropriate to their options. And they are encouraged to complement historical breadth with a range of explorations in such current fields as popular and cultural studies, literature and film, and new media.
All undergraduate English advising begins with the College of Humanities Student Services Center/EOP office, where students may seek guidance regarding university and major requirements and current or future class schedules. They can also declare or change a major or minor, as well as file for graduation one year in advance of the anticipated date of completion.
Additional advising in all English options is available in the department, and students are strongly encouraged to meet with their option advisor upon declaring the major. Such advisors are best equipped to help students make informed choices about how best to sequence and group mandatory course requirements. They can also answer questions about future careers and postgraduate training and provide students with vital information about the wide range of opportunities for enrichment and involvement available in our thriving writing and scholarly communities.
For general questions concerning the major or other issues pertaining to English careers or future studies, students should see the associate chair and/or consult the current list of option advisors. Graduate advising takes place in the department, and all graduate students should consult with the graduate advisor as soon as possible upon acceptance.
A major in English provides a strong academic foundation for careers in such fields as business, writing, editing, publishing, journalism, advertising, public relations, communications, state and federal service, arts, entertainment and more. It also serves as excellent pre-professional training for further study in such fields as law, medicine and education. English majors choosing the Subject Matter option receive a state certificate in subject matter competency for teaching careers at the secondary level. Many students who obtain an M.A. in English find teaching positions in community colleges or proceed to doctoral programs, which might lead to teaching careers at the university level.
The Honors Option is a special program that enables students, by working independently and in seminars, to develop a strong academic background in preparation for postgraduate study in English or for entry into a variety of postgraduate fields. Admission to the program normally begins in the first semester of the junior year. Honors students are eligible to join Sigma Tau Delta, the International English Honors Society.
Clubs and Societies
Associated Graduate Students of English
The Associated Graduate Students of English (AGSE) is an organization of English graduate students that coordinates events to help support and enhance the graduate student experience. It encourages professionalism, networking and educational advancement through various programs, workshops and activities.
Northridge Creative Writing Circle
The Northridge Creative Writing Circle functions as an out-of-classroom writing community that offers an extension of creative writing taking place in the classroom. Its meetings and events help students foster close, supportive relationships with one another and provide opportunities for further creative and professional development of its members and their work. For more information or details about upcoming events, students should contact email@example.com.
CSUN Critical Theory Club
The Critical Theory Club provides an open forum for students interested in discussing critical theory in an open, comfortable space among others pursuing English, cultural studies, philosophy, social science and many other disciplines at CSUN. Students convene this group to read and collectively parse theoretical texts, to invite guest professors and graduate student speakers to discuss unique areas of expertise, and to build community through thoughtful, engaging dialogue.
Sigma Tau Delta
Sigma Tau Delta is the International English Honor Society at California State University, Northridge.
The Northridge Review
Published biannually by students since 1962, The Northridge Review (originally Angel’s Flight) is a journal of literary and visual art curated and produced by CSUN students and featuring work by students, alumni, and other writers and artists from our local communities. Selections are made through blind review. All are welcome to submit, and all submissions are considered for The Northridge Review’s annual awards—The Rachel Sherwood Poetry Award and The Northridge Review Fiction Award. The magazine also features CSUN’s winners of the Academy of American Poets Awards.
The English Internship Program
The Department of English provides an internship program for students who are interested in entering the professional writing field. The year-long program consists of a writing and professional development course (ENGL 407) and an off-campus internship (ENGL 494/IP), which provide both the training and experience students need to make the transition into the workplace. For more information, students should contact the internship coordinator.
The Department of English supports the concept of international education and encourages students to investigate opportunities for overseas study. Certain courses taken at CSU International Program Study Centers in foreign countries are equivalent to courses in the Department of English and may be used to fulfill some of the requirements for degree options offered by the department and/or certain General Education requirements. For more information, students should consult the International Programs Bulletin, which is available from the International and Exchange Student Center, the English department associate chair or the campus International Programs advisor.
Prizes in English
The department offers a number of prizes for students who have excelled in their academic work. For further information about these awards, students should visit the English department’s main office.
- The Academy of American Poets Prize
- A first prize of $100 and two honorable mention awards given by the Academy of American Poets for the best poem(s) submitted. Application forms are available from the creative writing advisor.
- The Angeline Olliff Memorial Scholarship
- In memory of Angeline Olliff, a former graduate student and teaching associate in the Department of English, a scholarship of $250 will be awarded each Spring semester to a Rhetoric and Composition graduate student or a Teaching Associate in any specialization (Literature, Creative Writing, Rhetoric and Composition).
- The Deborah Averill Award in Creative Writing
- An award of $250 to a female student who has had more than a one-year absence from school and returned after overcoming obstacles. The applicant, in either the undergraduate or graduate creative writing program, will submit a creative writing sample not to exceed 10 pages (in any genre), as well as a 1-2 page personal statement.
- The Eva Latif Writing Prize in Children’s Literature
- A prize of $500 awarded in the Fall semester for the best piece of writing, critical or creative, by a student on the subject of children’s literature.
- The Harry Finestone Memorial Award
- An award of $750 given in the Spring semester to the graduate student with the most distinguished essay completed in the department’s capstone graduate seminar, ENGL 698D. Submissions are faculty-nominated.
- The Henry Van Slooten Scholarship in English
- A prize of $500 will be given to a student in ENGL 258, 259, 275 or 355, who has written an essay (open topic) that best demonstrates a passion for the English language. Essays are faculty-nominated.
- The Irene Clark Scholarship for Rhetoric and Composition
- This award funds up to $500 annually to Department of English graduate students to present at a domestic, off-campus professional conference in the area of rhetoric and composition and funds a $500 award for a paper written by a Department of English graduate student on a topic in rhetoric and composition.
- The Joan Nessan Creative Writing Prize in Children’s Literature
- This prize, in memory of Joan Nessan, book enthusiast and grandmother to English graduate alum, Jason June, awards $1,000 annually to a junior, senior or graduate English student for outstanding creative work intended for children.
- The Kitty Nard Memorial Scholarship
- This award, in memory of lecturer Kitty Nard, awards $1,000 annually to an English major in good standing who is a single parent.
- The Lesley Johnstone Memorial Award
- A prize of $500 given to an undergraduate CSUN student who is the author of the best written work on some aspect of the natural world or environment. Eligible work, whether scholarly or creative, must have been written in an English class or for a class-related conference or publication.
- The Linda Nichols Joseph English Merit Scholarship
- In memory of Linda Nichols Joseph, an English major who graduated from CSUN cum laude in 1981, up to four prizes of $2,000 will be awarded each year to undergraduate English majors who have demonstrated excellence in their studies.
- The Mahlon Gaumer Award
- An award of $500 given in the Spring semester to a graduate student for the best critical essay on English literature, with an emphasis on the use of language, submitted during the academic year.
- The Mitchell Marcus Prize in English
- A prize of $4,000 awarded each Spring semester to a graduate student who is best distinguished by excellence in academics. Applications of currently enrolled classified graduate students are reviewed by a committee of faculty.
- The Northridge Review Fiction Award
- An annual prize awarded by The Northridge Review to the author of the short story judged to be the best published in the magazine during the calendar year. The recipient, who must be a registered student for at least one semester during the year in which the story is published, will be awarded $250.
- The Oliver W. Evans Writing Prize
- Two prizes of $500 awarded for the best piece of prose, critical or creative, submitted in an upper division English course.
- The Philip E. Love English 205 Scholarship
- A prize of $500 will be given each year to the student whose achievements in the study of Business Communication are considered by the faculty as the most distinguished.
- The Peterson Morley Award
- An award of $1,000 given each Fall semester to an undergraduate or graduate student currently enrolled as an English major at CSUN, who plans to enter the teaching profession at any level.
- The Rachel Sherwood Poetry Prize
- An annual prize awarded by The Northridge Review to the author of the poem judged to be the best published in the magazine during the calendar year. The recipient, who must be a registered student for at least one semester during the year in which the poem is published, will be awarded $250.
- The Richard Lid and Helen Lodge Scholarship
- An award of $500 given in alternating years to a graduate student enrolled in English or in Secondary English Education to help pay fees for graduate work.
- The Robert apRoberts Honors Essay Prize
- An annual award of $250 given in the Spring semester to the English Honors student whose paper completed in the Honors Revision Seminar (ENGL 497A) is judged to be the best submitted during that academic year.
- The Thomas Matthew Magness Graduate Memorial Fund
- In memory of Thomas Matthew Magness, former English graduate student, this award will provide $1,000 tuition remission for a first-semester graduate student in the English M.A. program. Selection will be based on academic merit.
Department of English
Chair: Beth Wightman
Associate Chair: Danielle Spratt
Sierra Tower (ST) 708