State-of-the-art spaces: The English major

Wondering what it might look like to be an English major at CSU? This creative, deep-thinking major finds itself occupying the lesser-known spaces around campus, quietly analyzing literature, passionately writing stories and poems, learning the art of the narrative essay, and taking a deep dive into the fascinating world of literacy, rhetoric, and linguistics. You’ll find our English majors all over campus, studying and learning in classic CSU buildings like Eddy hall and Clark, to pondering the history and stories behind the art in the Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising. It’s so much more than a major for book lovers. Take a look into the academic spaces of CSU’s English major.

outdoor shot of CSU's eddy hall. students sit outside at tables studying and eating

Welcome to Eddy Hall! This is one of the main buildings you’ll find a CSU English major in, a colorful, multi-story space with classrooms, study nooks, and meeting rooms that have been the birthplace to so many inspired works and deep, analytical discussions.

close up of hands taking notes in an english class

If our visit to the English major’s academic spaces told us one thing, it would probably be this: English majors at CSU do their learning, their deep thinking, their literature discussions, and their creative wordsmithing everywhere from tucked-away meeting rooms to quiet, unassuming classrooms to CSU’s prettiest outdoor spaces, inspiring museums, studios, and even at events. Where do English majors learn at CSU? Literally everywhere.

a teacher discusses narrative with an english class

In the Advanced Fiction Writing workshop, students take a deep dive into the structure of stories, and even deeper, society’s expectations of the structures of stories. From start to finish, the professor and students look at the bones of storytelling, and then they question the idea of what constitutes “good storytelling” in the first place. Get ready to peel back some layers in this one.

a professor kneels down to discuss a short story with students at desks

This short fiction class reads (you guessed it) short stories and discusses the various ways the authors created scenes, themes, and beyond. In this particular class, small groups were formed to discuss the objects of a story: What objects exist in this story? Why do you think the author included them? How do the move the story forward? Overheard: “Hmm, but is God an object in this story?”

an english student looks at a women's suffrage dress display and takes notes

The Short Fiction class took a field trip to CSU’s Avenir Museum of Design and Merchandising, where they did a writing exercise around the various displays. This particular display was showcasing historic garments from the women’s suffrage movement.

An english student wanders through a room of women's suffrage dresses in a museum while doing a writing exercise

Students are encouraged to think of objects in three ways as they walk around the museum: How do objects become stories themselves? How do objects fit into stories and how do they work to carry the story forward? What are the existing stories of these objects?

english majors and greyrock review staff discuss an upcoming issue

If you haven’t heard of the Greyrock Review yet, get excited. English majors primarily make up the staff of this literary journal, and it gets really hands on really fast. Greyrock Review staff does all the work in selecting poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and artwork for each final publication, as well as going through the entire publishing and book-creation process with a local book press.

a small group of literary journal students plan the next issue.

These Greyrock staff members make tough calls like how to organize the final art and writing selections in the publication, as well as what the cover design and size should be, and which press they should hire to make the books.

Want to explore more about English at CSU?

It’s amazing writing and communication skills. It’s social justice work. It’s deep conversation and lifelong connections. It’s your favorite stories, classic and new. Discover everything you can do with a background in English.


Prairie Smallwood

Prairie Smallwood is a writer and content creator for the Office of Admissions at Colorado State University. She is passionate about education and exploration, and knows that going to college can be both an adventure and an overwhelming experience. She aims to create content that helps students through that journey — the wonderful, the scary, and everything in between.