Literature is where I go to explore the highest and lowest places of human society and in the human spirit, where I hope to find not absolute truth but the truth of the tale, of the imagination and of the heart.

Salman Rushdie




Welcome to the Department of English

The English curriculum at Montana State University is a rich and challenging program taught by faculty who are highly qualified as scholars and teachers of literature, writing, and language, as well as winners of many awards for teaching excellence and scholarly achievement.

Students in English are expected to become skilled readers and writers through the study of language and literature. The program encourages students in the pleasures of rigorous, thoughtful reading, writing, and thinking. Students will gain knowledge of literature from various cultures and eras, especially British and American literatures, both canonical and emergent; demonstrate an understanding of critical approaches to the study of literature; and become aware of the relationship between culture and literary studies. Students in the teaching option in addition will learn about methods of teaching English and give promise of excellence in secondary teaching.

As a strong pre-professional major, English prepares students for entry into a number of graduate fields, including English, law, and library science, as well as for careers in teaching, journalism, public relations, management, and technical or professional writing.


Students at Conference Faculty at Spring 24 Graduation


College Collage

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Department of English Program Assessment

Program assessment helps determine whether students can integrate learning from individual courses into a coherent whole and graduate with the knowledge, skills and abilities outline in the Program's learning outcomes.

Program assessment is the  process of establishing program learning outcomes, and assessing student performance for each outcome. At the most basic level, program assessment is the process of 1) Setting goals  2) Gathering information about progress toward those goals and 3) Taking action on the information received. Program assessment is described in each department's Assessment Plan, which include outcomes, threshold values, curriculum maps, and assessment schedules.

Department specific program assessment goals and accreditation information are located on the Department of English Program Assessment web page.

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Student Travel/Conference Resources

Students must apply for additional funding sources prior to applying
for the English Department student travel fund.

Undergraduate Scholars Program Travel/Conference Application

Undergraduate students who have been accepted to present research or creative projects at academic and professional conferences are eligible to apply for support through the USP Travel/Conference Award.

CLS Dean's Student Travel Fund

The Dean's Student Travel Fund program provides grants for students to present original research, papers, or posters at professional and academic conferences.


Graduate Professional Advancement Grant

The Graduate School provides awards to support travel opportunities for existing MSU Bozeman graduate students to conduct poster or oral presentations at professional conferences or scholarly research.

English Department Student Travel Fund

The English Department provides the opportunity for students  (undergraduate, graduate, post-bac) to apply for assistance with travel expenses to present or co-present original research, papers or posters at conferences.

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Student Scholarship Opportunities


Montana State University Cat $cholarships

MSU CAT $cholarships

The MSU Cat $cholarships process is used to apply for scholarships awarded by colleges, departments and the Office of Financial Aid Services. To be eligible for and accept any scholarship awards, students must create an account with MSU Cat $cholarships. The Cat $cholarship system will automatically match students to all scholarships the student is eligible for based on the information provided in the application. 

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Department of English Scholarship Awards

To be considered for Department of English scholarships, students must apply through Cat $cholarships.

Mary Beth Vender Fay Scholarship


We remember the vibrant life of Mary Beth Vender-Fay through her book and, especially, through the scholarship provided in her name. That the life of this brilliant, human, and energetic soul was far too short is a cause for sadness; that her memory lives on in this scholarship is and will be a continual cause of celebration.

Duane J. Hoynes Scholarship

Duane J. Hoynes Photo

When he retired, Professor Hoynes developed an endowment for scholarships for English students. Students since 1983 have benefited from his on-going support and caring.


John P. & Margaret K. Parker Scholarship

John Parker Photo

Dr. Parker's wife, Margaret, created an endowment in his name, to reflect his ongoing interest in and commitment to students in English.

Margaret Gina Sachs Scholarship

Care and compassion

In 1997, on the anniversary of Margaret Sachs's death, an endowed scholarship was created in memory. The Margaret Gina Sachs Memorial Scholarship is awarded in alternate years to students in English and in Agriculture.

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Department of English Awards & Contests


Edith R. Mirrielees Contest
for Creative Writing

This prize is given in the memory of Edith Ronald Mirrielees, a former resident of Montana and a creative writer of distinction.


The Inkling Awards

The Inklings Awards honors the many students whose outstanding contributions have made the English Department a vibrant, intellectual and creative community.


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Yellowstone Writing Project

At Yellowstone Writing Project, we are teachers who write and writers who teach.We are professionals who seek out other professionals to create an engaged learning community. We believe in professional collaboration that  starts with human connection and challenges us to find and enact the highest potential in our students and ourselves.

We believe in teaching as a community endeavor, not an isolated activity in a single classroom but work made better through conversation, shared writing, and revision much like the act of writing itself.

We believe that writing enriches classrooms, students and teachers and that a rich engagement with writing does more and is more important than simply making individual students better writers. Writing forms communities, offers a multiplicity of perspectives, opens doors, and fosters a creative and diverse approach to ideas and cultures.

More information can be found on YWP's website regarding the Yellowstone Writing Project.


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Department of English
Montana State University
P.O. Box 172300
Bozeman, MT 59717-2300

Tel: (406) 994-3768
Fax: (406) 994-2110
E-mail: [email protected]
Location: 2-176 Wilson Hall

Department Chair:
Dr. Kathleen Ryan
[email protected]