[ skip to content ]

Toggle Mobile Menu

Department of English:Department Emphases

More Information about this image

English header

Our department features a richly-integrated approach to English Studies comprised of six undergraduate emphases:

  • One of the most renowned Creative Writing M.F.A. and undergraduate programs on the east coast
  • A Linguistics program that emphasizes TESOL and Language Variation, which are theoretically innovative and practically pertinent within ODU's academic and teaching contexts
  • A Literature curriculum that focuses on critical theory and cultural readings of literature
  • A top-notch Journalism emphasis featuring experienced journalists and authors
  • One of the most cutting edge Professional Writing programs in the country, which specializes in technology, rhetoric and multimedia
  • A Rhetoric and Composition emphasis designed to prepare students to teach and administer writing in language arts, community college, or university contexts
  • A Teaching English emphasis focusing on critical English pedagogy.

Creative Writing

John McManus, Director, 757-683-4010, BAL 5020

The Creative Writing faculty --Luisa Carino Igloria, Michael Pearson, Janet Peery, Sheri Reynolds, Tim Seibles, and Brian Silberman--have published many highly acclaimed books. But as important as their writing talents is their teaching talent. Our students have accomplished a great deal--non fiction and fiction books with major publishers, stories and poems appearing in national magazines, prestigious grants and awards, and articles and reviews written for major newspapers. Like the university, the Creative Writing Program provides interested students with internship experiences. In particular, our Writers-in-Community Program gives creative-writing graduate students the opportunity to facilitate writing workshops in schools, hospitals, homeless shelters, housing projects, and retirement homes. Students may also participate in the MFA Reading Series at Prince Books in downtown Norfolk. Likewise, they can assist with ODU's internationally recognized annual literary festival and present papers or give readings at the spring conference sponsored by the English Graduate Student Organization. ODU's Writer-in-Residency Program (offered in both the fall and spring semesters) allows MFA students to work one-on-one with respected poets and writers from around the country.


Dr. Bridget Anderson, Director, 757-683-4020, BAL 5010

The emphasis of linguistics includes the study of both language and culture. The undergraduate emphasis is good preparation for people who hope to travel and live in other countries. Courses in language and culture help prepare people become more successful international travelers and sojourners. A knowledge of the history of English helps readers better understand the literature of previous eras and a knowledge of the many types of language variation is essential for those who teach English. Courses in the structure of language help people become more successful language learners, writers, teachers, and editors. At the undergraduate level, training in language and culture prepares students for a variety of fields which require a good understanding of language. These fields include editing, lexicography, law, foreign student advising, language teaching and many communication-related fields such as advertising. At the graduate level, the M.A. in Applied Linguistics is the preferred degree for those preparing to teach foreign language or English to speakers of other languages, both in the U.S. and internationally.


Dr. Edward Jacobs, Coordinator, 757-683-4028, BAL 4030

Students in our Literature emphasis master the literary traditions of American and Britain, but they also learn to see those traditions as part of a global culture. Offering seminars in topics such as Edgar Allan Poe and Culture and The Historical Novel in Britain alongside an exceptional range of World Literature Courses in English translation and courses in films from a variety of national traditions, our Literature program prepares students to study and teach literature as a part of a global human heritage.


Dr. Joyce Hoffman, Coordinator, 757-683-4031, BAL 4031

Do the challenges and rewards of journalism attract you? Are you interested in the media's role as a pillar of democracy and a major player in our Information Age? Do you simply want to improve your research and communication skills? Then check out the English Department's Journalism Emphasis. We offer courses in news reporting/writing, feature story writing, sports journalism, editing and document design, media law and ethics, public relations, media coverage of the Vietnam War, and travel writing as journalism and literature. Journalism Emphasis graduates have landed jobs at Hampton Roads newspapers and TV stations, CNN, the St. Petersburg Times, the Milwaukee Journal, the Science Fiction Channel, and other major media outlets. As a student of journalism, you will acquire reporting and writing skills that can serve as a solid foundation for work not only in print, broadcast, and on-line journalism, but also publishing, advertising, law, politics, and any other career that calls for clear, clean, concise communication. And remember, Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, Ernest Hemingway and countless other great creative writers began as journalists.

Professional Writing

Dr. Julia Romberger, Coordinator, 757-683-4012, BAL 4054

The Professional Writing area prepares students to enter the fields of technical writing and publishing, writing instruction, public relations, web design, and print journalism, as well as graduate programs in Technical Communications and Rhetoric and Composition. We ground students in the skills needed for all kinds of writing through courses in rhetoric, pedagogy, and technical writing. The Professional Writing program also keeps its students abreast of contemporary approaches to real-world writing, featuring courses such as Writing in Electronic Environments, Technical Writing, and Management Writing, and at the graduate level, Rhetorics of Cyberspace, Teaching with Technology, and Advanced Technical Writing.

Teaching English

Dr. Tim Bostic, Coordinator, 757-683-4040, BAL 2020

Students in our Teaching Emphasis learn the full spectrum of skills needed to master the art of teaching writing and literature. Including courses in pedagogy and theory, linguistics, classical rhetoric, writing and teaching writing in online learning environments, and literature, the Teaching Emphasis produces graduates who can offer their students an exceptionally broad and flexible range of approaches to writing and literature.

Rhetoric and Composition

Dr. Kevin Romberger-DePew, Coordinator, 757-683-4019, BAL 4042