College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences

The Cal Poly Pomona B.A. in English

Meaning of the English B.A. Degree

English degrees prepare students with core competencies that give them the versatility to move into multiple professional areas, and the B.A. in English at Cal Poly Pomona facilitates this by pairing critical thinking with creative thinking, and cultivating communication skills through the rigorous study of language and literacy, texts and contexts. Our major options in Literary Studies, English Education, and Applied Language Studies are unique from other universities in that they capitalize on the department’s multidisciplinary structure, combining five different academic fields — literature, linguistics, rhetoric, composition, language — to prepare dynamic professionals, capable of achieving success in many career paths.

The degree reflects the University’s vision of being “an inclusive polytechnic university”: it is open to students of all skill levels and is structured sequentially to facilitate development and growth of preexisting skills into career-level expertise. Foundational classes in literature, writing, linguistics, language, and theory advance students to upper-level, seminar-style courses where they practice this learning. The program culminates in two unique course experiences. First, a “Senior Experience” capstone course asks students to reflect on their coursework and apply their learning in unique ways. Second, an “Engagement Experience” course asks students to demonstrate their mastery of these skills in professionally relevant settings, from internships to coursework in editing and web development.

Because of the dynamic nature of their education, graduates of CPP’s English department are prepared for jobs within disciplines such as teaching, publishing, advertising, research, writing, professional writing (technical, grant, etc.), and public relations.

Quality of the English B.A. Degree

The English degree generates versatile professionals. Successful students can both demonstrate the skills of the discipline and apply them beyond the field. Across all three options, the curriculum foregrounds general surveys in year 1, filters students through disciplinary training in years 2 and 3, and culminates in advanced practice of this learning in seminar-style courses. At CPP, students build their critical reading skills through encounters with a diverse array of texts (literary, expository, linguistic, multimodal), write for different settings (academic, web, newspapers), learn to present their work to different audiences, and engage in responsible and productive research. Among the multiple ways these skills are taught, practiced, and reinforced, students learn how to perform and stage dramas, write and recite poetry, research and present scholarship, and generate original web-content with feedback from professional authors. A regular lecture series, poetry workshop, and a robust undergraduate research program promote the co-curricular element of the degree.

Integrity of the English B.A. Degree

The department ensures the integrity of its degree program through the senior capstone experience. The capstones in all three options ask students to produce an extensive writing portfolio that combines previously-written work, revised materials, new scholarship, and a reflective essay that ties them together. These portfolios are gathered, anonymized, and reviewed by department faculty using a rubric that aligns with the program’s learning outcomes. That information is analyzed by a committee that reports its findings to the program, makes suggestions for improvements, and engages in meaningful discussion about student learning. This information is cross-referenced with students’ indirect evaluation of their growth through a senior exit survey, which includes both a digital survey and an in-class interview moderated by two faculty members. The English Education option combines assessments from peers, faculty, and mentor-teachers to round out the evaluation, and these are evaluated every few years through the CCTC accreditation process.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Critical Reading: Students will critique—make and defend judgments based on internal evidence or external criteria—literary, expository, and/or linguistic texts.
  2. Writing: Students will (a) write with an awareness of audience, purpose, form, and other rhetorical concepts and (b) know the conventions of Standard Written English.
  3. Research: Students will (a) locate appropriate research using common databases and (b) synthesize research coherently to build effective arguments.
  4. Linguistics: Students will understand the grammatical structure of language and how this knowledge is used in interpreting the structure of texts.
  5. Literature: Students will be able to analyze how literary texts use language to achieve a purpose and convey the aesthetics/style of an author or period.

Additional Outcomes for Literary Studies

  1. Diverse Literary Traditions: Students will understand the diverse social, cultural, and historical contexts in which texts are produced, influenced, circulated, read, and analyzed. Students will explain how categories of human diversity—i.e. race, gender, ethnicity, disability, etc.—inform personal identities and their relationship to structural inequity.
  2. Genre: Students will differentiate the medium-specific elements of literary genres and how those elements contribute to the reader's or audience's interpretation of a work, as well as the historical and cultural contexts in which these genres are deployed.

Additional Outcomes for English Education

  1. Diverse Literary Traditions: Students will understand the diverse social, cultural, and historical contexts in which texts are produced, influenced, circulated, read, and analyzed. Students will explain how categories of human diversity—i.e. race, gender, ethnicity, disability, etc.—inform personal identities and their relationship to structural inequity.
  2. Effective Teaching: Students will demonstrate knowledge of teaching methods (e.g., strategies, techniques, etc.) aligned with teaching theory, including knowledge of essential elements in lesson planning, as evident by delivering an engaging and age-appropriate demonstration lesson.
  3. Understanding of Learning Literacy: Students will demonstrate knowledge of approaches to reading and writing instruction, such as effective methods to scaffold student literacy learning (e.g., 6th-12th grade), and awareness of the Common Core State Standards.

Additional Outcomes for Applied Language Studies

  1. Linguistic Features of Language: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the linguistic features of language, including grammar, morphology, pragmatics, phonology, and syntax.
  2. Linguistic Research: Students will demonstrate skills in empirical data collection, analysis, and interpretation.
  3. Competence in a Language Other than English: Students will apply knowledge of a language other than English to demonstrate metalinguistic and cultural awareness.

Other Accreditation Documents

Curriculum Map (PDF)

MQID (PDF)