Students in the English program benefit from the diversity of our student body, the close relationship with our local community, and small class sizes and individual attention. 


Students in HPU’s English program learn from experienced faculty who are experts in their fields. Many of the English faculty members are practicing creative writers and have published award winning work. Follow the links to learn more about our faculty


Students can choose from offerings in literature, writing, publishing, or film and media, and the curriculum includes works by British, American, Asian, local, and post-colonial writers.  

Recent popular courses include Crime & Justice in American Pop Culture; Monsters in Literature and Pop Culture; Television Studies; Sex, Power, & Narrative; Fairy Tales & Gender; and Shakespeare on Screen. Learn more about our courses in English and Writing


The English program offers many opportunities for creative writing, editorial experience, and tutoring students in composition. Students who want to work extensively in an area can earn a minor in Editing & Publishing, Film & Media Studies, or Writing by taking four extra courses.  

HPU provides students the option to move directly into the Master’s in Education Program. Students can obtain both their BA in English and Master of Education  degree in teaching English in just five years by taking concurrent courses in their senior BA year. 


The career placement company, Zippia, selected HPU as the top English program at a private university in Hawaii and 7TH IN THE NATION based on the success of our majors in completing the degree and finding well-paying jobs after they graduate. 

Anything you want. The English major teaches core skills and content: 

  • Skills in critical thinking, reading, and writing prepare students for a wide range of career paths. 
  • Content in literature, media, and creative writing prepares students for careers in creating and teaching literature and media. 

 All English majors are partnered with a faculty mentor in their second year who helps them choose courses for their career path and make connections in the community. 

Recent graduates have found careers as 

Professors (English, religion, Korean literature) and teachers (JET program, Teach America, high schools in the US and abroad); lawyers; spokespersons for government agencies, non-profits, and corporations; film festival programmer and film marketer; arts administrator; game designer; small business owners; librarian; publicist; editors; creative and technical writers; journalists; and administrators at major corporations. 


Famous English majors include 

Actors: Harrison Ford, Katharine Hepburn, Emma Watson

Comedians: Chevy Chase, Conan O’Brien, Joan Rivers 

Musicians: John Legend, Paul Simon, Sting 

Politicians: Carol Browner, Mitt Romney, Pete Wilson 

Supreme Court Justices: Thurgood Marshall, John Paul Stevens, Clarence Thomas 

CEOs: Michael Eisner, Judy McGrath, Anne Mulcahy 

Scientists: Rollo May, Sally Ride, Harold Varmus 

And of course, writers and editors in every industry, including Dr. Suess 

Did you know that employers seek job candidates who are skilled in complex thinking, creativity, and communication? 

A recent survey of industry leaders found that the most-sought after skills in the age of artificial intelligence are the same skills emphasized in humanities degrees: complex-problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, emotional intelligence, and a variety of communication skills. The aspects that make us unique as humans are the very skills that can’t be automated. [1] 

English majors are in demand and have some of the lowest unemployed and underemployed rates of all majors. [2] 

Did you know that the median salary for English majors is comparable to majors in biology, environmental science, and psychology? 

The median starting salaries for these majors, and several others, are all in the mid-50,000 range. But more importantly, English majors have higher gains in salary than many other majors, meaning that twenty years after completing their BA degree, many English majors out earn STEM majors. [3] 

Did you know that a BA in English can prepare you for law or medical school? 

 English majors earn some of the highest scores on the GMAT, LSAT, MCAT, and GRE. The major’s emphasis on critical thinking and writing is great preparation for graduate study in a variety of fields. [4] 

[0] http://humanitiesworks.org 

[1] https://www.inc.com/melanie-curtin/the-10-top-skills-that-will-land-you-high-paying-jobs-by-2020-according-to-world-economic-forum.html 

[2] https://www.cbsnews.com/news/english-majors-rejoice-employers-want-you-more-than-business-majors/ 

[3] https://cew.georgetown.edu/cew-reports/valueofcollegemajors/ 

[4] https://dailynous.com/value-of-philosophy/charts-and-graphs/ 

Student Testimonials

“My teachers expanded my world view, and pushed me to write from perspectives that I never considered before. I gained experience through the editing and publishing process. The amazing professors in the English department gave me the assets to pursue my dream as a narrative designer for video games, and they have even motivated me to start my own game project: coming soon to a phone near you!”

Linda Rector, class of 2017

"Studying English requires me to be critical of others, society, and especially myself. Being an English major has not only broadened my understanding of the world, but it has also given me the tools to succeed in any career I choose. No matter how the world progresses, there will always be a need for critical thinking and good writing skills."

Dustin Connis, class of 2018


English students study written, aural, and visual forms of communication, including a wide range of texts: film, stage, and other media; fiction and non-fiction; poetry and prose. The English B.A. degree provides students with written and oral communication skills, helps develop their creativity, and hones their persuasive and critical thinking abilities. The program prepares students to be successful in a wide variety of endeavors. The writing, research and critical thinking skills students acquire from the major and the Writing minor are essential to high-level work in virtually every business or institution. The uses to which students can put the skills they learn, the fields in which they can excel, are limited only by their imaginations.  

The goals of the English program are 

(1) to develop students’ critical thinking, reading, and writing skills;  

(2) to foster students’ engagement with social and ethical issues raised in the texts they study; and  

(3) to cultivate students’ aesthetic and intellectual appreciation of texts from diverse genres, historical periods, and cultures, including those of Hawai‘i and the Pacific.  


Program Learning Outcomes 

Program Requirements

40 credits of upper-division work makes English a great option for transfer students, double majors, minors, and a semester of study abroad (https://www.hpu.edu/study-abroad/getting-started.html). 

Admissions Requirements

Department News


HPU English alumna and recent graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Jovi Nazareno shares how HPU's English program prepared her for success:

When Jovi Nazareno graduated from Mililani High School on Oahu, she knew that she wanted to study in Hawai‘i for college. She wanted to attend a university that offered small class sizes, personable and knowledgeable professors, scholarships, and a strong campus community. HPU was the perfect fit.

“HPU provided me with a firm foundation,” said Nazareno. “It was a great experience, from the classes to the professors, it was fantastic. I loved it. The scholarships that HPU offered were a huge factor for me. It was also nice to stay with family and not be on my own.”

HPU was the first private institution that Nazareno attended. She knew early on that she was interested in double-majoring in English and psychology. The courses at HPU inspired her to begin connecting psychology, English, and education – specifically how psychological factors could help or hinder the development of writing skills.

Read the full article here.



HPU announced its new minor in the College of Liberal Arts. The minor in editing and publishing provides students with a focused curriculum that emphasizes practical experience in the editing and publishing fields. The minor was designed as a classroom-to-career pathway for students interested in editing and publishing.

“The editing and publishing minor is the only one if its kind in Hawai‘i,” said Associate Professor Christy Williams, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of English and Applied Linguistics. “HPU's English program is unique because undergraduate students have the opportunity to work on a variety of publications for course credit. Other universities in Hawai‘i have literary publications, and some give course credit for a single publishing class, but HPU is the only place where students can gain experience working on different kinds of publications while earning credit toward their degrees.” 

Read the full article here. 

A complete list of courses in the editing and publishing minor can be found here.