Program Overview

(Communication Arts and Literature Licensure Grades 5-12)

Students usually enroll in the English Teaching Major as part of a larger program leading to teaching licensure in communications, arts, and literature for grades 5-12.

The English teaching major includes study in the following disciplines:

  • Writing - the writing process, composition theory, and effective methods for teaching secondary students to write in different genres for a variety of purposes and audiences;
  • Reading - reading theory, the nature of reading comprehension, and student responses to interpreting and evaluating texts;
  • Literature - the aesthetic dimensions of literature with a focus on helping secondary students to understand literature in various historical and cultural contexts;
  • Speech communication - verbal and nonverbal speech processes, listening skills, public speaking and interpersonal communication; and
  • Media literacy - print and non-print media, and the effects of various electronic media on the communication process.

More information about this program

Declare Your Program

To be eligible for acceptance to the English Teaching major (Grades 5-12), students must submit a College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Program Declaration Form when they have completed all of the requirements from the Guide to Admission in the Urban Teacher Program.

Declare Your Program button

Requirements

Courses required for your specific program are listed in the right column on this page. They include prerequisite, foundation, core, and elective courses. Contact your advisor with questions concerning your degree plan.

Teaching Licensure Grades 5-12

Completing the English Teaching Major is only part of the preparation for teaching in grades 5-12. You must also earn a teaching license. Students completing the teaching major who wish to earn Minnesota Teaching Licensure for secondary education (grades 5-12) can do so by completing additional course work through the university's Urban Teacher Program. Please note that the university's Education Department has the primary responsibility for recommending students for licensure.

Choose one elective

Any 300+ level course (3-4 credits) in Literature, Humanities, Reading, or Writing. 

How Admissions Works

We are looking forward to you joining us. Take the first step by filling out this application.
Course List

Prerequisites

English Teaching: Prerequisites

(These credits do not count toward the major.)

  • COMM 103 Public Speaking
    3 credits

    Students learn public speaking principles and techniques well enough to prepare, deliver, and evaluate informative and persuasive speeches. Videotaping and self-assessment are integral components of this class as is writing. Some speeches require students to research and critically analyze information. The six to eight class presentations include topics pertaining to the corporate world, community life, the political arena or human services. Students are expected to write well and will outline each presentation. Overlap: COMM 103P Public Speaking Proficiency Test.

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  • One of the following classes is required:
    • WRIT 121 Writing I Intensive
      5 credits

      This course is the same as WRIT 131 Writing I except that sentence and paragraph structure are covered in more detail. First semester students may take this course instead of WRIT 131. Only three credits may be counted toward the general education writing requirement (the other two credits do not count toward any general education requirement). This course is an introduction to expository writing principles and processes. Students develop skill at analyzing audiences, generating ideas, organizing and developing thoughts, drafting sentences, and revising and handling mechanics. Students write, revise and edit extensively.

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    • WRIT 131 Writing I
      3 credits

      This course is an introduction to expository writing principles and processes. Students develop skill at analyzing audiences, generating ideas, organizing and developing thoughts, drafting sentences, and revising and handling mechanics. Students write, revise and edit extensively. Prerequisite: Placement in WRIT 131 Writing I or WRIT 132 Written and Visual Communication on the writing assessment offered by Placement Assessment Office.

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    • WRIT 132 Written and Visual Communication
      3 credits

      This course, which can be taken in place of WRIT 131 Writing I, is an introduction to the theory and practice of written and visual communication. Students read, write, view and produce visual and written texts in a variety of media. Emphasis is on developing writing skills and learning basic concepts of visual communication. Prerequisite: Placement in WRIT 131 Writing I on the diagonostic writing assessment offered by Diagnostic Services.

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  • One of the following classes is required:
    • WRIT 231 Writing II
      3 credits

      In this course, students learn strategies to critically analyze a variety of texts and essays; to understand how audience and social/cultural factors shape writing; and to research, evaluate, interpret, paraphrase, quote and summarize texts. Students write and revise several papers and critique the work of other students.

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    • WRIT 261 Business Writing
      3 credits

      This course focuses on effective, persuasive communication within and between business organizations, from the perspective of employees and of managers. Students learn to critically analyze communication strategies, organizational cultures and common business texts, such as memos, reports and case studies; they learn to select quality data from primary and secondary sources; and they write and edit letters, memos, reports and studies in situations that simulate the complexities of small companies and global corporations.

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    • WRIT 271 Technical Writing
      3 credits

      In this course, students create a variety of documents, including technical memos, manuals, proposals and reports. Emphasis is placed on document design, effective organization and readability. This course especially benefits managers or technical employees who need to communicate technical information to business or general audiences.

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Requirements ( 120 total credits)

English Teachinig: Foundation Courses

Choose four of the following foundation courses

  • LIT 300 Literary Analysis
    3 credits

    This course reviews key ideas from Literature 100 and introduces fundamentals of current literary theory. Students solidify their understanding of terms and concepts important to the study of literature; practice techniques of analyzing and interpreting poetry, prose and drama; and learn basic theoretical principles that explain how literary texts can be linked to issues in a culturally diverse community. This course is intended especially for students in the urban education program, but it is open to anyone prepared for upper-division study in literature.

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  • LIT 332 Adolescent Literatures
    4 credits

    This course is intended to familiarize students with fictional and non-fictional texts written for young adults by authors of diverse cultures. Students examine the criteria that characterize these diverse literatures and learn to recognize contemporary trends.

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  • One of the following classes is required:
    • WRIT 251 Introduction to Creative Writing
      3 credits

      This course provides an introduction to the elements of writing short fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. Students learn a variety of approaches to creative writing in a cooperative class environment.

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    • WRIT 331 Writing in Your Major
      4 credits

      Primarily for students who have completed their writing requirement, but who seek further writing instruction and practice, this course begins with a brief review of the principles of academic writing. It then engages students in the thinking and writing required in various disciplines throughout the university. Students study and practice summary, explanation, analysis, interpretation and other critical strategies used to write essays, reports, research papers, case studies and other texts. The course also emphasizes understanding how audience, purpose and situation shape writing. Students learn how to use a flexible process of writing and revision to complete assignments, and how to respond constructively to the writing of others.

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  • One of the following classes is required:
    • LING 316 The Nature of Language
      4 credits

      This course introduces students to the study of how language is acquired and learned, concepts and methods of analyzing language, and how the linguistics field relates to regional, social and gender differences in language. It also explores the origin and development of languages through time, writing systems, and the complexities of written and spoken language.

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    • LING 326 Language and Culture
      4 credits

      In this course students undertake language analysis in a cultural context, including the relationship between language, culture and thought. It presents an anthropological perspective on various linguistic and cultural systems, with special emphasis on those of Asian, Chicano/Latino, African-American, American Indian and Anglo-American peoples. Students are introduced to the implications of linguistic and cultural differences in work and classroom situations.

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English Teachinig: Diverse Literatures

Choose one of the following in diverse literatures

  • One of the following classes is required:
    • LIT 312 Women Writers
      4 credits

      This course takes a critical and historical approach to literature in English by women, looking at the emergence of female literary voices and exploring the contexts in which their works were written. Some sections of the course may focus on particular traditions within the range of literature written by women.

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    • LIT 345 Working Class Literature
      4 credits

      Working-class literature is fiction and poetry written by people from working-class backgrounds about working-class life. This course introduces characteristic themes and techniques in American working-class novels written within the last 100 years, and considers the place of working-class writing within the larger context of American literature and culture. This literature explores some of the individual and community pressures bearing on working-class lives and generally affirms that, while not conforming to middle-class norms, working people live in ways that have integrity, honor and value.

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    • LIT 361 African-American Literature
      4 credits

      Through films, poetry, autobiography, novels, lyrics, and short essays, this intermediate-level survey course explores African-American literature from a historical perspective ranging from the works of enslaved authors to contemporary spoken-word poetry. The course celebrates the historical and aesthetic development of African-American literary arts in the face of (often legalized) racial oppression. Students learn techniques and theories for critical reading to explore literary issues related to culture, race, and social history. Significant focus is given to issues of race and racism in this literature course.

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  • LIT 362 Black Women Writers
    4 credits

    This course explores the literature by African-American women writers from the 18th century to the present, analyzing their depictions of racism, sexism, and classism as artistic, moral, and civic responses to inequality. Students learn techniques for critical reading and literary analysis at the upper-division humanities level to understand how these creative works explore issues related to the legacies of slavery and Jim Crow laws, and the influence these writers had on cultural events, such as anti-lynching journalism, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Era, and the Women¿s Liberation Movement.

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  • LIT 363 American Indian Literature
    4 credits

    This course introduces students to the literary styles of Native American authors and the cultural systems from which they draw. The course surveys traditional foundations of various types of native literature through sound, music, natural cycles, spirituality and mystic symbols.

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  • LIT 364 Literature by Immigrants of Color
    4 credits

    Students in this course examine literature, film, and expository articles to investigate ways that people of color represent their experiences as immigrants to the U.S. Throughout the course we analyze how various texts present the main themes, perspectives, and socio-cultural contexts of contemporary immigration, which has historically been shaped by racialized discourses and racist gatekeeping practices. We also interrogate how the concerns articulated by immigrants of color intersect with broader social categories such as race, gender, sexuality, age, religion, and citizenship status. Through lectures, discussions, compositions, and small-group activities, students will critically examine the complexities of acculturation and the creativity it takes to balance one¿s cultural heritage with life in another country as a racialized ethnic minority.

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  • LIT 365 Asian Women Writers
    4 credits

    This course explores the rich tradition of Asian women's literary voices expressing their chosen themes in novels, diaries, anonymous folk poems, short stories, and lyric verse from ancient times to the present. Relevant aspects of geography, history, culture, and language support interpretations of representative works; regional focus may vary. All selections are read in English translation.

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English Teachinig: Classic Literatures

Choose two of the following in classic literatures

  • LIT 341 American Literature: Beginnings-1870
    4 credits

    This course surveys illustrative works from the beginnings of European settlement to 1870, introducing students to the study of that literature and sharpening critical reading skills. Emphasis is on the development of literary technique and on the cultural context of literary works. Readings may include religious and political documents, Native American tales and orations, exploration and captivity narratives, slave narratives, journals, novels, plays, and poems.

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  • LIT 342 American Literature: 1870-Present
    4 credits

    This course surveys illustrative works from 1870 to the present, introducing students to the study of that literature and sharpening critical reading skills. Emphasis is on the development of literary technique and on the cultural context of literary works. Topics covered include the rise of modernism, its impact on a diverse population and various responses to modern culture, as well as changing perceptions of religion, race, gender, environment, the future, the self and the community. Students are introduced to a range of contemporary critical approaches to literature.

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  • LIT 371 English Literature: Beginnings-1800
    4 credits

    In this course, students survey important and influential texts of the medieval, Renaissance and early modern periods. Emphasis is placed on literary history and the development of the English language as the vehicle of literary expression. Attention is also given to literary analysis and to the application of various interpretive approaches.

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  • LIT 372 English Literature: 1800-Present
    4 credits

    In this course, students survey important and influential texts of the last two centuries. Emphasis is placed on literary history and the development of the English language as the vehicle of literary expression. Attention is also given to literary analysis, and to the application of various interpretive approaches.

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  • LIT 377 Shakespeare
    4 credits

    This course provides a systematic study of Shakespeare's unique literary and dramatic achievements. Close readings and written exercises focus attention on Shakespeare's mastery of the English language and the craft of poetry. Students typically read a selection of plays including histories, comedies and tragedies.

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English Teachinig: Communication Course

Choose one of the following in communication (3-4 credits)

  • COMM 231 Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
    3 credits

    Students learn the characteristics and process of interpersonal communication including perception, speech and language, nonverbal behaviors, listening and feedback, conflict and conflict resolution, the ethics of interpersonal communication, relationship development and maintenance. The ability to recognize cultural similarities and differences is emphasized, as is the ability to recognize one's own communicative biases and behaviors. Evaluation is based, in part, on the ability to recognize characteristics of interpersonal communication and apply verbal and nonverbal interpersonal strategies in a wide variety of social and work situations. Overlap: Comm 232 Interpersonal Communication Theory Seminar.

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  • COMM 233 Introduction to Intercultural Communication
    3 credits

    This introductory course explores definitions of intercultural communication, traditional spheres of influence that shapes intercultural encounters globally and locally, and skills that can assist students to improve intercultural communication. Students experience intercultural communication situations and episodes in class and in the community. Skill building for interculturally sensitive communication in a variety of settings including work, family, and daily encounters are discussed and analyzed. Current events involving the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota are explored for students' responses and recommendations for improved communication strategies.

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  • COMM 333 Intermediate Intercultural Communication
    4 credits

    Intercultural Communication has a global perspective and engages students in reflectively thinking about the growing interdependence of nations and peoples. Students develop their ability to apply a comparative perspective to cross-cultural communication episodes in interpersonal interactions. Students research topics of interest that compare two or more cultures in some aspect of their social, economic, or political values and practices. Through field experiences, in class exercises, and readings, students learn the dynamics and skills needed to engage in respectful and sensitive communication with others whose beliefs, values, and attitudes are different than their own. Students are engaged in e-discussions with students from around the globe for 5 weeks. This requires some knowledge of D2L.

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  • COMM 351 Communication in Work Groups
    4 credits

    This course covers theory and practice of communication in small task-oriented groups. Communication topics include team management, models of group problem solving and decision making, leadership, building cohesiveness, resolving conflict, managing diverse views, negotiating roles, and norms. Students learn to interact productively in small task groups as members and leaders. Numerous group activities, group assignments and laboratory work require an extended class time and group meetings outside of class. Overlap: COMM 351T Communication in Work Groups Theory Seminar.

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