English, Shakespeare, Researching The Psychology of Society.


Foster your intellectual curiosity and enhance your writing abilities by reading, analyzing, and discussing literature and immersing yourself in the practice of writing in all its forms.

Why Study English?

As an English major at USD, you will advance your critical thinking and writing skills as you enrich your life during college and beyond. English majors benefit from learning experiences that cultivate an appreciation of literature, an understanding of historical and cultural movements, and a grounding in "human literacy" invaluable in the digital age. At USD, English majors can explore many areas of interest, such as composition, professional writing, creative writing, gender studies, and literary criticism, as well as the historical fields of English and American Literature. These courses and extracurricular offerings provide a strong foundation for work in a wide range of professions. Our graduates have gained employment in publishing, advertising, education, and the non-profit sector. Other graduates have on to further study in medical and law school and graduate studies in English.

Acquire training in research, strong analytical skills, and the power to communicate creatively as an English major at USD.


Degrees & Offerings

English (B.A., B.S.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

A major in English allows you to explore literary works and cultural productions in past and current eras. Students take courses that reflect the breadth of literature in English and can choose from varied electives to pursue a more specific interest. Foundations in literary criticism and American and British literature courses combine with further studies in course topics such as African American literature, the graphic novel, Shakespeare, and women writers of the nineteenth century.

English: Creative Writing (B.A., B.S.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

English: Professional Writing (B.A., B.S.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

English: Secondary Teaching (B.A., B.S.)

  Vermillion Main Campus

This specialization prepares English students to teach in a secondary education setting, such as at a private school, that does not require special certification.

English (B.A., B.S.) with Secondary Education Certification

  Vermillion Main Campus

For a teaching major in English, complete the English degree along with the appropriate teaching certification courses.


  Vermillion Main Campus
A minor in English refines your understanding of English literature and ability to think critically and write clearly and persuasively. It complements a variety of majors.

English: Literature (B.S. or B.A./M.A.)

Accelerated Program
  Vermillion Main Campus

If you are a current USD undergraduate student who would like to begin a master's degree while completing your bachelor's degree, you may apply and begin the program after completing 90 undergraduate credit hours.

View Admissions Requirements

Program Details






Known for Excellence

With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.


As a student at USD, the opportunities available to you extend beyond the classroom. Explore your interests, find your community and experience your education to the fullest extent through the following opportunities.

Students studying together in the library.

English students at USD are actively engaged in research and collaborative projects. Our faculty members are outstanding scholars with active research programs who mentor and guide students while they explore a line of inquiry that interests them. Past projects include a study of Shakespeare in the lives of 19th-century South Dakotans and modern interpretations of the Arthurian legend. Taking part in research as an undergraduate confers real-world skills such as creative problem-solving and the ability to gather and synthesize information.

The Department of English offers opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in the operation of two periodicals and a literary press. South Dakota Review, a quarterly journal, publishes both creative and critical work for a national audience. Undergraduate students may assist English graduate students and faculty in the editorial and circulation duties associated with this publication. The Vermillion Literary Project holds open-mic reading events, an annual writers festival and produces an annual anthology of local fiction, poetry and artwork entitled the Red Coyote. Undergraduate students participate in all of the group's activities. Astrophil Press produces award-winning books of literary fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Undergraduate students may help graduate students and faculty in management of this influential independent publishing enterprise.

USD is home to more than 170 student organizations, including several that are housed in the Department of English. For example, you may be interested in joining Vermillion Literary Project to make friends, develop new skills and explore your interests. Also, Alpha Mu Phi is USD's local chapter of the Sigma Tau Delta international English Honor Society. Students inducted into our chapter hold flash fiction contests, sponsor a little free library in the Vermillion community and present research and creative work at the national Sigma Tau Delta conference.

Explore Student Organizations

Students who excel at writing can become paid peer writing consultants at USD's Writing Center, which offers help in all areas of writing for USD students. Writing consultants receive training to assist students with any task that includes writing, including essays, reports, theses, short stories, resumes and cover letters. Working as a writing consultant gives you experience as a critical reader and develops skills that will serve you in a future career.

Learn More

Thomas and Alice Gasque Study-in-Britain Scholarship 

English students interested in traveling abroad are encouraged to apply for the the Gasque Study-in-Britain Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to a USD undergraduate with a grade point average of 3.2 or higher, with special preference given to English majors, for the purpose of studying in Great Britain.

Apply Now

Departments & Facilities

Our faculty are experts in their fields, bringing practical experience in writing, communication and inspirational thinking.
Carson Sehr outside holding Vermillion Literary Project books


Investigate and gain insight into how we understand ourselves and communicate through stories, poetry and other narratives. Cultivate your ability to read and write and think about complex issues with the Department of English.

Faculty & Staff

Get to know your professors in the Department of English. The USD English faculty are award-winning, engaged researchers and creative scholars working within a supportive department community dedicated to providing students with diverse learning opportunities.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Darlene Farabee

Darlene Farabee



16th & 17th C British Literature
Bio Image for Faculty Member duncan barlow

duncan barlow



Fiction Writing, Horror Literature, Publishing
Bio Image for Faculty Member Prentiss Clark

Prentiss Clark

Associate Professor


American Literature
pete dexter smiling.

Pete Dexter

Writer in Residence
Bio Image for Faculty Member John Dudley

John Dudley

Dean-Col of A&S


American Literature
Literary Naturalism
Bio Image for Faculty Member Paul Formisano

Paul Formisano

Director of Writing


Environmental Humanities/Composition
Regional Lit.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kenneth Green

Kenneth Green



Business Writing
Grant Writing
English Grammar
Bio Image for Faculty Member Benjamin Hagen

Benjamin Hagen

Associate Professor


Modernist fiction/poetry
Literary criticism/theory
Bio Image for Faculty Member Julie Kelderman

Julie Kelderman



Second Language Acquisition
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kevin Magee

Kevin Magee

Bio Image for Faculty Member Cheyenne Marco

Cheyenne Marco

Senior Lecturer


Creative Writing
Great Plains Literature
Bio Image for Faculty Member Leah McCormack

Leah McCormack

Assistant Professor


Creative Writing (Fiction & Nonfiction)
Bio Image for Faculty Member Martin McGoey

Martin McGoey



Composition instruction
Bio Image for Faculty Member Joseph Raiche

Joseph Raiche

Senior Lecturer


Composition, American Lit,
Taylor Swift
Bio Image for Faculty Member Lisa Ann Robertson

Lisa Ann Robertson

Associate Professor


18th & 19th C British Literature, Science, Culture
Bio Image for Faculty Member Michelle Gannon

Michelle Gannon

Director, Writing Center/Instructor


Writing and introductory literature
Bio Image for Faculty Member Lee Roripaugh

Lee Roripaugh

Editor-South Dakota Review, Professor


Creative Writing (Poetry, CNF, Fiction)
Bio Image for Faculty Member Skip Willman

Skip Willman

Associate Professor


Contemporary Literature
Critical Theory

Surprisingly Affordable

USD offers low tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students, as well as scholarships, financial aid and employment opportunities to help make your education even more affordable.

Undergraduate Tuition & Costs

Learn more about tuition and fees for undergraduate students and see how your out-of-pocket costs at USD compare to those at other colleges and universities. Visit the Undergraduate Tuition & Costs Detailed page for program specific costs and fees. 

Financial Aid

Navigating options for how to pay for college can be challenging, but you are not alone. The Office of Financial Aid will work with you and your family to explore how you can make your college education even more affordable.


USD awards nearly $9.5 million in scholarships each year. View our scholarships to see which ones you may qualify for and how you can apply.

Alum Success Story

Success story Gabrielle Metzger smiling.
I could not have been accepted to law school at Georgetown without the skills, experience and overall education that I received at USD. The support of the faculty in the Department of English helped me to perfect the grammar, writing and analysis skills that are essential to me in law school. The USD English faculty members are committed to helping students succeed. As you pursue your career and grow as a student, the English faculty is a fantastic resource and wants only the best for you.

Gabrielle Metzger J.D. 

B.A. English, German, Political Science '18
Judicial Law Clerk, South Dakota Supreme Court

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