Why study English at MC?

Do you enjoy reading for deeper meaning and making connections between the aesthetic, historical, cultural, political, and philosophical contexts of a text? The English major emphasizes the study of linguistics, the various schools of literary criticism, and a broad range of literature. You will read with discernment, analyze and interpret literary form, structure and style in various genres of writing. You will be trained to orally articulate your ideas with confidence and write with clarity and conciseness. These skills will help you succeed whether you future path is academic or professional.

A major in literature in English teaches you analytic and critical thinking skills that can be applied to any field, whether you pursue an academic or professional path. Our graduates go on to work in as social workers, lawyers, public defenders, pastors, business managers, communications managers, teachers, writers, editors, marketing professionals and much more.

Maryville College Works is a comprehensive career preparation program that is integrated into the College’s four-year liberal arts curriculum. Key components include assessment, advising, networking and professional experiences.

On campus opportunities

Student staff members of The Highland Echo publish a 10-page campus newspaper every other week during the semester. Impressions, an annual publication and bimonthly online literary magazine, features artwork, creative writing and poetry submitted by MC students. Sigma Tau Delta, a national English honor society, publishes two literary journals of student work and holds an annual convention at which students may present academic work and creative writing.

Meet a current student

photo of Megan RobertsonMegan Wright Robertson ’19
Hometown: Maryville, Tenn.

Pairing an English literature major with minors in history and Appalachian studies allows Megan to apply her literary analysis and writing skills to the broader world and her home region. She gains practical experience as a Writing Center consultant and Impressions (MC literary magazine) production manager. She also studied in London in 2018 and later interned with Blount County Records and Archives Management. “I hope to make a career in freelance editing, ministerial media production and creative writing – gotta stay busy,” she said. “My professors have encouraged and enabled me to study the topics that interest me most, and my current internship with the College’s Career Center has given me confidence for my job search.”


Outcomes of Recent Gradsclick or touch to open

Featured Graduates

Marquis ChappellMarquis Chappell '16
Currently: Teacher at Esperanza Academy in Lawrence, MA

MarQuis credits MC’s English department for preparing him to teach English and reading to 7th and 8th graders at Esperanza Academy, a private, all-girls school. “I am grateful to my English professors and the coursework at MC. The various approaches to reading and interpreting literature I was taught prepared me to guide my students through the various challenging works I have them reading now.”

Kelly WrightKelly Wright ’14
Currently: Pursuing a Ph.D. in Experimental
Sociolinguistics at the University of Michigan

Rigorous and relevant coursework, faculty advising, the Senior Study requirement and an internship with alumni and well-respected linguists Michael Montgomery ’72 and Paul Reed ’04 helped prepare Kelly for study after MC. She completed a master’s degree in linguistic theory and typology from the University of Kentucky in May 2017 and is now working on her doctorate. Her research falls in the domain of neuroscience, studying how social information enters and effects the time course of visual and aural language processing by studying electrochemical signals in the brain. “My Maryville College education prepared me for graduate school. Period. Full stop,” she said. “I would not be doing what I am doing right now – being a working linguist – without the interest, compassion, patience and attention of my advisors and everyone at the MC Career Center.”


Jonathan Brent ’12
Currently: Pursuing a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto

After studying at MC, Jonathan attended the University of Chicago and earned a master’s degree in Religious Studies. He then moved to the University of Toronto to pursue medieval studies, a passion he found at Maryville College. “I’ve been interested ever since I did the survey of ancient to medieval literature in college with Dr. [Sam] Overstreet,” he said. “The relationships that I was able to develop at MC were invaluable in providing a sense of direction and a sense of confidence in my ability to pursue this and come out of it in a successful way.”

Graduate School Placements

Emory University, English
Florida State University, Law
Georgetown University, Communications
Mercer University, Law
Pennsylvania State University, Education
SUNY Albany, English
Union Theological Seminary, Systematic Theology
University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Folkloristics
University of Tennessee Knoxville, Clinical Counseling, Creative Writing, English
Education, Library and Information Sciences, Social Work
University of West Florida, Earth Science
Vanderbilt, Education