• scroll
  • point
  • floor
  • pieces

Welcome to the English Studies Program

Students who major in English Studies (formerly English Education option) at Fresno State join a diverse, lively community of learners and thinkers who share a passion for bringing the powerful world of literacy to others. The program is designed to prepare future middle school and high school English teachers. Many of our graduates go on to earn a teaching credential and move directly into secondary teaching positions throughout the Central Valley. Others go on to graduate programs and careers in school counseling, student services, or continue to pursue advanced literature and writing Studies.

English Studies majors explore literature and literacy in the world today with a focus on equity and teaching English language arts in a diverse society. Majors complete core requirements and choose one Extended Studies area from the following:

  • Rhetoric and Writing Studies
  • Creative Writing
  • Linguistics (Language Awareness or TESOL)
  • Literature
  • Speech
  • Theater

Program coordinator: Dr. Alison Mandaville (email)


Breanna Aivazian

English teacher, Clovis East HS


Byanca Leyva

English teacher, McLane HS

A Path to the Classroom

For Breanna Aivazian, a chance to save money on college by living at home felt like a gift to her future self. For Byanca Leyva, a meaningful job at her high school alma mater felt too good to pass up.

Ms. Aivazian and Ms. Leyva are just two among dozens of Fresno State alumni who, as of Fall 2020, have landed new jobs teaching English and language arts at area high schools.

They are among a steady stream of newly minted Fresno State graduates each year who earn a single subject teaching credential in English, and then within a year find themselves immersed in the day-to-day life of a high school classroom, doing the job they’ve trained for.

Read more about their paths to the classroom on Fresno State News.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between the English major (Literature or Creative Writing options) and the English Studies major?

In both majors, students take core courses in literature  textual analysis, and writing. Both learn to engage a wide range of authors, periods, and genres of literature deeply and skillfully.

English majors extend this study of literature with additional coursework in specialized literature or creative writing. English Studies majors take courses that explore educational contexts for the language arts, including issues in literacy, society, and communication. 

What is Subject Matter Competency?

Achieving what's called Subject Matter Competency (SMC) in English Education means that you have completed a program approved by the state of California that prepares you to train and work as an English teacher in California middle or high schools.

At Fresno State, the English Studies major coursework, combined with a final reflective portfolio process, can establish Subject Matter Competency.

Students with any bachelor's degree can also choose to demonstrate SMC through the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET) in English.

What happens after I graduate with my B.A. in English Studies?

With your B.A. in English Studies and established subject matter competency, you can apply to the Education Credential Program to earn a Single-Subject Credential in English.

Most students complete the credential program, which involves further coursework and student teaching, in 2-3 semesters. 

What if I discover that teaching isn't for me? Is the English Studies major only for future English teachers?

Although most students who major in English Studies do plan to become middle and high school teachers, others go on to varied careers. The skills gained through an English Education major are helpful for many jobs.

At any time, before or after you graduate, Fresno State's Career Services office can help you prepare for other careers.

Quick links