What Can I Do with an English Degree?

English is one of the most versatile degrees you can get at university. Our courses teach reading skills and analysis, as well as professional level writing and editing skills that are in demand in business, law, education and publishing. What most students do not realize is that English degrees are most marketable when you have clear career goals and build a résumé that makes the most of opportunities for hands-on learning. Our faculty will provide the individual attention and experiential learning you need for the future you imagine.


Publishing – Publishing was a $28 billion industry in 2022, but it is also a competitive field. Tusculum provides students with hands-on, résumé -building work through our two department publications. Our visiting writers and professional memberships also provide students with opportunities to network and get advice from published authors.

Education – Demand for educators is high. You can choose to obtain teacher certification in four years through our English education program, or you can focus on content through our general English or literature concentrations and add an extra year to get a Master of Arts in Teaching.

Business – English skills are marketable for careers in business because graduates are skilled in written communication. Pair an English major with a minor in marketing or public relations or focus on our business writing courses. English majors may pursue a Master of Business Administration after graduation or a career in technical writing or grant writing.

Law – English is one of the top majors for law school applicants. In addition to strong communication skills, English can give you strong research skills, expertise in constructing a narrative for the jury and practice in argumentation.

Internet – English majors are content creators for a variety of web-based businesses and may pursue careers in social media management using their writing skills.


Dr. Anne Acker

Chair of English and Languages

Associate Professor of English

Subject Areas: British Literature, World Literature, Myth and Fantasy

Contact: eacker@tusculum.edu


Professor Vicky Johnson-Bós

Associate Professor of English

Subject Areas: Composition Studies, Appalachian Literature, English Education

Contact: vjohnson@tusculum.edu


Dr. Joshua Martin

Assistant Professor of English

Subject Areas: American Literature, Poetry

Contact: jmartin@tusculum.edu


Professor Holly Ratcliff

Assistant Professor of English

Subject Areas: Composition Studies, Fairy Tales & Folklore

Contact: hratcliff@tusculum.edu


Professor Wayne Thomas

Dean of the College of Civic and Liberal Arts

Executive Director of Tusculum Arts Outreach

Subject Areas: Scriptwriting and Theatre

Contact: wthomas@tusculum.edu


Professor Kelsey Trom

Editor of “The Tusculum Review”

Harriett Reaves Neff ’21 Chair of Fine Arts

Associate Professor of English

Subject Areas: Fiction, Editing and Publication

Contact: ktrom@tusculum.edu



English at Tusculum University offers students the opportunity to work on two publications: “The Tusculum Review” and “Sit Lux.”

The Tusculum Review” is an international literary journal. Students serve as assistant editors, learning publication design and corresponding with authors. You can find the website for TTR here. [Embedded link:  ]

“Sit Lux” is our campus literary journal, featuring original literary and artistic work by Tusculum students.


The complete list of English courses available can be found in the Tusculum University catalog. Here is a sample of what you may take as an English major, besides survey courses in British, American and World Literature:

ENGL 204 – Introduction to Poetry

ENGL 205 – Introduction to Short Fiction

ENGL 206 – Folklore and the Fairy Tale

ENGL 207 – Myth and Making

ENGL 217 – Science Fiction

ENGL 218 – Media Writing

ENGL 219 – Theatre of the World

ENGL 227 – Appalachian Literature

ENGL 228 – Minority Voices in American Literature

ENGL 233 – Writing for Organizations

ENGL 240 – Intermediate Creative Writing

ENGL 245 – Nature Writing and Environmental Literature

ENGL 312 – Editing for Publication

ENGL 320 – Poetry Workshop

ENGL 321 – Fiction Workshop

ENGL 328 – Concepts of Language

ENGL 332 – Genres in Shakespeare


Creative Writing


English (General)

English Education

We are a community of writers, editors, literary scholars and content creators committed to building our communities through creativity and professionalism. A degree in English at Tusculum can lead to a career in education, publishing or journalism. It can also take you to law school, business school or anywhere else you have the drive and imagination to go with exceptional writing skills.

“Tusculum’s creative writing program is a form of home. The creative writing experience at Tusculum is certainly rare, if not one of a kind.” – Justin Phillip Reed, 2013 graduate and winner of the National Book Award for poetry in 2018


Serina Marshall


students standing on city sidewalk
Lizandra Rodriguez

Lisandra Rodriguez

It’s simple to say I enjoyed my time within the English department at Tusculum University, but it was so much more than enjoyable. It was, quite literally, life-altering. Before attending TU, I was overly shy and loathed talking in front of a class. I can’t say I’m completely absolved of my social anxiety; however, the English faculty and students helped me open up. For the first time, I found myself wanting to take part in class discussions. Not only that, but I found myself excited about attending English Department events. Which brings me to the best part about the English program at Tusculum: the professors. My time at TU flourished only because my professors provided us with opportunities to grow not only as writers, but as people.


Macy Woods ‘22
Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in literature

Macy Woods

College was a hectic time for me, to say the least. Transferring to a new school after earning my associate degree during a pandemic was terrifying, and the transition from a community college to a bigger university where I barely knew anyone shot my anxiety through the roof.
However, Tusculum University’s English program quickly took me in and helped me grow. I met some amazing professors and students who helped me both find my place in our program and thrive there. I was given opportunities I never imagined I’d receive. I got to be both assistant editor and assistant nonfiction editor of Tusculum’s international literary journal, “The Tusculum Review,” and play a part in the creation and launch of its 17th volume in the fall of 2022. Then, I was able to help submissions for TTR’s 18th volume.
While I was in my positions on TTR, I was asked what bigger project I’d like to undertake, because all Journal Production course students have to have projects to broaden our journal/audience. I had met and been in workshops with some great young writers as a Tusculum student. I wanted to represent these talented students and give them a place to submit their work. So, I asked my editor if I could start an undergraduate literary journal, which is now named “Sit Lux.”
The table of contents in the first edition was full of diverse writers from various majors and backgrounds. I got the chance to introduce many of these writers at a reading at the Old Oak Festival that year, and it was great to see the happiness from everyone involved in this process and hear the positive feedback from students and professors.
I’m glad “Sit Lux” has given many of Tusculum’s young writers a place to publish their work, many for the first time. As an editor, it’s my mission to bring these talented writers’ stories to light so that audiences can enjoy their stories and support them in their endeavors.

Meeting our mission

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GROW YOUR COMMUNITY. A degree in English will train you to write any argument for any audience. Our program will give you the research and information literacy skills to sift fact from error, as well as the writing and media skills to create your own personal and professional content.

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BUILD YOUR RÉSUMÉ. English majors at Tusculum have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience through editing two publications: “Sit Lux” (our campus literary journal) and “The Tusculum Review,” an acclaimed international literary journal. The courses Editing for Publication, Media Writing, Grant Writing and Writing for Organizations will help you scope out the career possibilities for your degree.

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DISCOVER NEW WORLDS. English at Tusculum offers students a rich selection of courses in literature featuring different genres, cultures and historical periods. Whether it’s Theatre of the World, Myth & Making or one of our survey courses, students gain insight into culture and ideas through the art of interpretation.

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FIND YOUR PLACE. Writing and reading require community. English majors at Tusculum propel each other forward in an environment of mutual encouragement, mentored by a caring and dedicated faculty.

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KNOW YOUR POTENTIAL. Our students excel in publishing and scholarship. Whether you are meeting or corresponding with professional writers, interning at a law office or publishing your own work, the experience of studying at Tusculum will give you a head start on the future.

Program Success

Justin Phillip Reed, a 2013 graduate, earned the National Book Award for poetry in 2018 for his collection “Indecency.”

Serina Marshall ’20 published “Handpicked,” her children’s book about adoption.

man standing at a podium
Anup Kaphle

Anup Kaphle, a 2007 graduate, is executive editor of Rest of the World, previously managed international reporting teams as BuzzFeed News’ deputy foreign editor and oversaw digital efforts for the foreign desk at The Washington Post. He also served as editor-in-chief at the Kathmandu Post, the leading English-language daily newspaper in Nepal, and worked with Anthony Bourdain at the James Bear Award-winning Roads & Kingdoms, an online publication.

The poem “I Miss the Silence” by Elizabeth Massengill, who is scheduled to graduate in 2024. was chosen in 2023 as a finalist for Hollins University’s Poetry Contest, with many competitors coming from nationally known higher education institutions.

The Gary Garrison Playwriting Award for Ten-Minute Plays, an honor bestowed by “The Tusculum Review,” garnered 581 submissions in 2022.

Two of the essays published in Volume 17 of “The Tusculum Review” were listed as Notable Essays and Literary Nonfiction of 2021 in “Best American Essays 2022” — Priscilla Long’s “After Long Silence” and Suphil Lee Park’s “An Escape Clause.”

Two essays published in The Tusculum Review’s 2020 issue were listed as Notable Essays and Literary Nonfiction of 2020 in “Best American Essays of 2021” – Robin Storey Dunn’s “Gimme Shelter” and Jamie L Smith’s “Mythology Lessons.”

At the Appalachian College Association Annual Summit 2022: A Community of Support, Kelsey Trom, associate professor of English, presented “LGBTQ+ Narratives in Class and on Campus: Cultivating Inclusive Academic Communities” with students Rory Church (Political Science/English ’23) and Cole Robertsen (Creative Writing ’23).

girl sitting on a couch
Macy French

Student Macy French’s poems — “Irreducible in This Space” and “If Sylvia Plath Were Southern” — were accepted for publication in the October 2017 issue of Lady Blue Literary Journal.

Student Jennie Frost’s poem “בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית” published by Anomaly Literary Journal in 2016, and two poems — “13 ways to properly dispose of childhood” and “like linen on a line” — were published by Kudzu Literary Magazine, an Appalachian journal.

Student Macy French’s poem – “Nature and Nurture in Binary” – was published in 2016 in the Sucarnochee Review.

This fall, Liza Rodriguez (’22, English Creative Writing) will attend the MFA program at the University of South Carolina, where she will study fiction writing and work as a Graduate Teaching Assistant.

Curtis Owens Awards

students holding awardsTusculum students vie annually for the prestigious Curtis Owens awards in four genres–poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama. The awards, endowed by 1923 Tusculum alum Curtis Owens and his wife Billie, are judged by visiting writers, and student winners have gone on to the highest levels of writing and editing achievement. Among the judges have been: Ada Limón, now U.S. Poet Laureate; fiction writer Crystal Wilkinson; playwright David Muschell; essayist and Fulbright scholar Ethel Morgan Smith; poet and nonfiction writer Amy Wright; fiction writer Mark Powell; essayist Erin Tocknell; playwright Amy Zipperer; and fiction writer Kellie Wells.

Editing and Publishing

A Tusculum degree prepares students not only for careers as writers but also in editing and publishing. Joseph Borden (Creative Writing ’15) is a Book Editor at Fox Chapel Publishing after working as an editor at The Hickman County Times upon graduation, then for Nashville’s American Blackguard.