English, Literature Concentration, Teacher of English Licensure (5-12), B.A.


Teachers who graduate from our program are English majors, so they have robust content knowledge in literature study, in writing practices, and in engaging in critical dialogue. Our candidates also have extensive preparation in creative teaching practices meant to invigorate English classroom teaching. Additionally, our teachers graduate with knowledge of and commitment to anti-bias/anti-racist pedagogy to help address inequities in local schools. Graduates of our English Education program have earned accolades and recognition for the depth of their preparation to enter as new-career teachers ready to contribute meaningfully to their students' learning.

Topics Covered

  • Backwards design for lesson & unit planning
  • Fresh approaches to writing & literature instruction
  • Post-colonial literature, young adult literature, Native American literature, Asian-American literature
  • Creative writing, the role of rhetoric in writing, public & academic writing practices

Program Highlights 

Our English Education and English Department faculty hold positions in national organizations (e.g., NCTE, WMWP), and publish regularly in the field.

Our faculty to student ratios are small, and within English Education, a committee of faculty focused especially on ELA teacher candidates ensures that students get robust preparation and support.

Faculty in our program model and teach fresh approaches to writing instruction (for creative, academic & public writing), to literary study, and to addressing social issues (race, social class, gender, sexuality, ability).

Our department supports a literary journal, a campus newspaper, internships, scholarships for conferences, as well as a host of campus events all of which round out a very strong preparation in various facets of the discipline.

  • Almost 400 hours

    of fieldwork preparation

  • Participation in national & regional ELA organizations

  • Recent graduates chose from multiple job offers


Requirements for Teaching English in Middle and Secondary Schools

Westfield State University's educator preparation programs are approved by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and accredited by the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP).  The Westfield State University program for licensure of teachers of English has been recognized by the National Council of Teachers of English.

Students wishing to be licensed to teach English at the Middle or High school levels must complete the following:

  • Requirements for all English Majors (noted below)
  • Course work in the Literature Concentration (noted below)
  • Professional Sequence, Middle and Secondary (noted below), using ENGL 0350 as the appropriate methods course and ENGL 0322 as the appropriate practicum seminar
  • The following core course:  PSYC 0101  (as a pre-requisite for PSYC 0203)

To be recommended for ENGL 0350, and the teaching practicum, students must have a 2.7 cumulative average in courses counting toward the Literature Concentration, 24 completed credits in Literature, and permission of the Program Director or Chair.

Student progress toward meeting Advanced Standing in Teacher Education is monitored at the end of the sophomore year (57 credits). Please see section on Licensure for Teaching under Academic Policies.  Student teacher placement are limited to within a 30-mile radius of campus.

In order to be eligible for student teaching, a student must have completed all required course and field work, have an overall GPA of 2.8 (including transfer work), and have a passing grade in the appropriate Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (e.g., Communication and Literacy and subject matter test).

Students strongly are encouraged to use English department advising materials for information about recommended sequencing of required course work.

Requirements For All English Majors
  1. A minimum of 45 credits is required within the English major.
  2. Completion of at least two college semesters of one foreign language is required, unless during high school the student has (a) completed three years of study of one foreign language, or (b) completed two years of study in each of two foreign languages. A student may also satisfy the foreign language requirement by passing a proficiency examination designed nationally and administered locally.
  3. Students who transfer into the English major from other institutions must complete 21 credit hours in English at Westfield State University.

Students may satisfy three of the required six credits in the Literary and Philosophical analysis area of the core with any of the courses on the following list. English Education students may satisfy all 6 of the required Literary and Philosophical analysis credits with courses from this list.

Literature Concentration, Teacher of English 5-12 Licensure, B.A. - 45 credits

*Note: The 45-credit concentration is taken in addition to the professional course sequence for teacher licensure preparation.

Literary History, Genres, and Critical Approaches - 18 credits

Diverse Literary Traditions Courses - 9 credits

Writing Courses - 9 credits

Pedagogy Courses in English - 9 credits

Required courses:

Professional Sequence: Middle and Secondary (Grades 5-12)
Additional Graduation Requirements

All students must meet the University Graduation Requirements and complete a common core of studies, distributed among the different academic areas as detailed in the Common Core.

English - Literature Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate understanding of literary history by analyzing literary texts in relation to literary movements, genres, or periods
  • Demonstrate ability to employ concepts and methods from major literary theories and critical approaches in original critical writing. 
  • Demonstrate ability to investigate connections between cultural contexts (domestic or global) and the English language and literature in English. 
  • Demonstrate competence in locating and using library resources, including book collections and scholarly research databases, and in selecting and integrating source materials in critical essays, using MLA documentation style.
  • Demonstrate understanding the ability to write clearly, engagingly, and persuasively in literary analysis and other genres.
  • Demonstrate ability to apply learning in the major to professional and applied settings, as evidenced in such activities as teaching practica, internships, graduate school and career exploration, and participation in conferences and societies. 
  • Demonstrate effective and informative oral and presentation communication skills.
Westfield State English student works with another student in the Reading and Writing Center