UMKC Catalog


Department Description

The Department of English Language and Literature offers programs of study that lead to the Bachelor of Arts, the Master of Arts, the Master of Fine Arts, and the Interdisciplinary Doctor of Philosophy degrees. In the undergraduate program, students may pursue a general English program, they may elect to focus on language and rhetoric, British and American literature, Classical, Medieval and Early Modern literature, or they may choose an emphasis in creative writing or secondary English education. Four minors in English are offered: Language and Literature; Creative Writing; Writing; and Manuscript, Print Culture, and Editing. M.A. in English students may focus their studies on Literature or may elect the Language and Literature track or the Manuscript, Print Culture, and Editing track, a Graduate Certificate in Teaching of Writing is also available. The M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Media Arts is an interdisciplinary program leading to a terminal degree. English is an academic discipline eligible for full participation in the University's Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program.

The Department of English includes faculty who have a broad range of professional competence in the study of literature and language, and who are trained to teach courses in British and American literature, linguistics, American culture, film, creative writing, and composition. The department believes the study and teaching of literature and language to be an important means of preserving and vitalizing our humanistic tradition.



The Department of English and the College of Arts and Sciences publish New Letters, a continuation of The University Review, which for over 50 years published the works of new and distinguished writers. New Letters continues to provide a medium for the best imaginative writing available.

The Department of English sponsors the publication of Number One, a magazine of student poetry and fiction, and The Sosland Journal, a collection of award-winning student essays from the Ilus W. Davis contest.

BkMk Press, operated under the auspices of the College of Arts and Sciences and housed in the Department of English, publishes books of high-quality poetry and prose by professional writers.



Greater Kansas City Writing Project

The English Language and Literature Department, in conjunction with several local school districts, sponsors the Greater Kansas City Writing Project (GKCWP), a graduate in-service program for teachers of writing (K-18). This program consists of summer graduate credit workshops and school district in-service sessions throughout the academic year. The GKCWP is an official National Writing Project affiliate.


Related Information, Opportunities, and Conferences

The Department of English sponsors undergraduate and graduate student conferences, a writers' reading series, summer creative writing workshops (the Mark Twain Workshop and the New Letters Writers Conference), and annual contests for the Barbara Storck Poetry and Short Story Award and the Ilus W. Davis Award in Expository Writing. The Department offers additional scholarships for creative writers and students in literature, including the Diversity in English Scholarship for undergraduates. Graduate students are also eligible for the Farnsworth Fellowship. I-PhD students can apply for the Ilus Davis Doctoral Teaching Fellowship. The Department also offers courses and an annual conference for English teachers as part of its continuing education function. Three student groups are available: Undergraduate English Council, English Graduate Student Association, and the Graduate Students in Creative Writing.


Career Implications of the Undergraduate Degree

The English major is recommended for students interested in a broad, general background in the humanities and in the skills of analysis, synthesis, and self-expression. It is excellent preparation for medicine, business, and law, as well as for further literary study in graduate school.

In addition to careers in education, writing, and editing, English majors with writing and editorial skills find that they are desirable candidates for positions in businesses where effective communication and written evaluation are required.


Advising System

All undergraduate English majors are assigned to the Director of Undergraduate Studies.