Declaring a Major or Minor

By the end of the second year, each student should be ready to formally declare a major program. Follow these steps to declare a major or minor in the Department of English at Western Michigan University.

Declaring a major or minor in English

Stop by the Department of English advising office to meet with one of the department advisors. The advisor will go over your degree requirements with you using Degree Works. The advisor will also go over your transcript to see what you have already taken and explain what you still need to do to complete the major or minor.

You cannot have both a major and a minor in English.


All students must have at least a major and a minor, or a double major in order to graduate from WMU.

Minors to complement an English major

We believe first of all that if you have a second great love after English, you probably will not go wrong by minoring in that area. Beyond that principle, the best minors to complement an English major will depend upon exactly what you intend to do after graduation. If you are flexible or undecided about what minor to have, here are some suggestions:

  • If you are planning to go to graduate school in literature, a minor in another liberal arts area is eminently appropriate. Foreign language deserves a special mention because some graduate programs require competence in a foreign language and an undergraduate minor may allow you to do coursework in foreign literature. Other good minors include history, philosophy, religion and especially world literature.
  • If you are planning graduate work in creative writing, the liberal arts areas also work well; but you should consider in addition areas such as communications and journalism. The School of Communication has courses in the production and critique of various different media that may use or require script writing.
  • If you are planning to work in business or for a non-profit organization, a minor in some business area is clearly appropriate; for those of you with a more humanitarian bent, a minor in non-profit administration is often the way to go. Minors in organizational communications, mathematics, or statistics may also support a business ambition; and a foreign language, especially Spanish, would support employment in an international business.
  • If you are planning to work in government, political science can be a good minor. Otherwise, the same recommendations that work for business also can work here. If you anticipate a career in social work, competence in Spanish can be useful or even necessary.
  • If you are planning to earn a living by writing, editing or publishing either free-lance or in an organization, a minor in communications or journalism is appropriate. In addition, also consider a minor in imaging (located in the Department of Paper Engineering, which has courses introducing students to different aspects of publishing including inks, papers, color management and computer graphics.


Prerequisites are classes that you must take before you are allowed to take another class. They are prerequisites because they prepare you for the more advanced course and therefore must be taken first.