Program Type: Major
Program Level: Undergraduate
Department: Majors

English Studies in the 21st Century is a multimedia field that recognizes that most writing and reading is not confined to paper anymore. Our English majors become expert readers, critical thinkers, and analyzers of a range of literary, cultural, historical, digital, visual, and media texts. Our English graduates will write for the Web and screens large and small. They will write the road map for new business enterprises and community institutions. They will design and create the next generation of innovation, and lead diverse communities toward collective problem-solving. In short, they will write our world.

In the USC Upstate English major, students can specialize in literature, film (taking as many as 10 film courses to meet English major requirements), English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), writing in a range of professional and creative genres, or combine courses from a range of different interest areas. USC Upstate English majors learn a range of 21st-century career skills:

  • html coding and universal design for accessibility in Writing in Digital Environments,
  • pitching and writing stories for online and social media publications in Freelance Writing and Publishing, 
  • video production and editing in Film and Video Production courses,
  • multimedia digital storytelling and creating infographics in a range of courses,
  • working with clients and communities in service learning classes in ESOL, grant writing, and other areas,
  • intercultural competence and culturally relevant writing through a range of diverse courses in literary studies that explore theories and examples of cultural difference and diversity in gender, sexuality, race, class, ethnicity, age, ability, cognitive diversity, and much more,
  • plus empathy and creative problem solving in everything we do.

English studies prepares students for careers in law, professional, technical, and creative writing, editing, publishing, library and archival science, informatics and data analytics, digital media and Web development, researching, business and community administration, intelligence and military analysis, public relations, the film and popular culture industry, as well as teaching English both in the U.S. and abroad.

For more information, visit the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.

  • Alumni Portrait Tara Bing, now working as an attorney

    Tara Bing is currently an Attorney Adviser for Social Security Administration Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. After graduating from USC Upstate in 2013, Tara began graduate school at the Charleston School of Law. In 2016, Tara graduated from law school, passed the South Carolina Bar, and was sworn-in as an attorney. She first served as a law clerk in SC Circuit Court for the Honorable Alison Renee Lee.
    “I always knew that I wanted to attend law school to become a lawyer and decided to pick a major that I thought would benefit me in law school. At first, I was certain that I needed to major in political science, but I quickly changed my mind when I was told that I should choose a major that I would love. I am glad that I changed my major to English because writing was a skill that I felt would help me excel in law school. . . . I am excited to see what the future holds for me.”

    "I believe that there are countless opportunities to use your English major in the real world. I decided to use my English major to become a lawyer, and I want to show others that an English major does not mold students into just one career path. The sky is not even the limit for anyone with drive and determination to make their dreams come true."

    Alumni Portrait Tanya Newman, published novelistTanya Newman has a Bachelor of Arts in English from USC Upstate, and a Master of Arts in English from Clemson University. She is an English Instructor and Library Specialist with Spartanburg Community College. Her short story, “The Only One,” was published by Gadfly Online. Her first novel, The Good Thief, was published by Black Opal Books in 2016, and her second novel, Winter Rain, was published in 2017. She has a third novel already on the way.

    "I feel immeasurably blessed to have studied in the English Department at USC Upstate because I found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life: write and teach. The path to this discovery would not be complete without the wisdom and inspiration from many professors, namely Dr. Marilyn Knight, Dr. Thomas McConnell, Dr. Donald Knight, Dr. Alan Chalmers, and Professor Jonathan Barker. Each ignited and re-ignited a love of literature and writing through courses like Creative Writing, Contemporary American and British Literature, Victorian Literature, and Women in Literature, and works like The Great Gatsby, The Sun Also Rises, As I Lay Dying, The French Lieutenant’s WomanThe Scarlet Letter, and Jane Eyre. I found a home in these classes and these works, as I did with the Literary Club and my work as a Features Editor with The Carolinian. My professors inspired me to do for other students what they did for me, which was inspire, enlighten, and enrich through literature. Studying writing and literature at USC Upstate is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made."

    Alumni Portrait Travis Deberry, now working as an officer in the US military

    Travis Deberry earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from USC Upstate. Upon commissioning as a Second Lieutenant in 2012, he started off in the Army Chemical Corps as a platoon leader stationed at Camp Stanley, South Korea. Following Korea, he graduated from the Army Airborne School to qualify as a parachutist for my next assignment in Vicenza, Italy, where he was stationed for two years. Today he is an active duty Army Captain working in the Army Adjutant General Corps, which operates as the Army’s
    Human Resources branch.

    "The USC Upstate English program enhanced my critical thinking skills and prepared me for the professional writing requirements as an Army Officer. Officers must be effective readers and writers who are able to analyze and interpret Army doctrine, publish and issue  operational orders, implement policies, and write scholarly articles that advance the profession of arms. Being able to analyze and deconstructing binaries are skills that I will continue to use and pursue throughout my life and my career."

  • The English curriculum exposes students to the full breadth of English studies--from linguistics to creative writing, from Shakespeare to digital media and film. Students choose their own path through advanced courses in

    • Literature and Film: Students can take as many as ten film classes, including production, writing, and analysis, to fill requirements in the English major. The literature and film emphasis also provides a great foundation for cross-cultural understanding and interpersonal communication and empathy, and the curriculum offers solid preparation for students pursuing graduate study.
    • Creative and Professional Writing/Rhetoric: Students explore creative genres in fantasy, young adult literature, creative non-fiction, and novels. Professional writing courses in grant writing, Web writing, coding and design, social media and multimedia production combingin text and video/audio in digital storytelling and messaging.
    • English for Speakers of Other Languages: Students learn linguistic and second language acquisition principles and apply them in service learning experiences with English Language Learners in adult education or area K-12 schools. Some students even take their service learning global through spring break study abroad in Central America.
    • or a combination of all areas through General English Studies: Can't pick just one area of focus? Try sports writing, Harlem Renaissance literature, Apocalyptic Fiction, linguistics for language learners, women writers, and mythic and classical literature.
  • English graduates have a wide array of career choices. Some of these include:

    • Creative writing 
    • Film and broadcasting
    • Grant writing and non-profit administration
    • Informatics and data analytics
    • Journalism - conventional and online
    • Law
    • Leadership in business or community or public institutions
    • Library administration and Digital Archives
    • Military/Intelligence analysis
    • Multimedia productions
    • Non-profit administration and grant writing
    • Public relations, crisis communications, and strategic communications
    • Publishing/editing/digital media
    • Research
    • Teaching English to speakers of other languages worldwide
    • Teaching in K12-College
    • Technical writing
    • Web design and app development
    • Adult Learning Center
    • Charles Lea Center
    • USC Upstate Community Gardens
    • Habitat for Humanity
    • H.D. (Hilda Doolittle) International Society
    • Hub City Press and Hub City Writers Project
    • Law Firms throughout the Upstate
    • Make-a-Wish Spartanburg
    • Spartanburg Public Library
    • Spartanburg Public Schools
    • Spartanburg Spark
    • Style A to Z Fashion and Style Blog
    • writersInc literary magazine
    • Wunderlich PR, Inc. (New York)