English & Creative Writing

The English curriculum at Centralia College ranges from pre-college and college-level composition and literature courses to technical and creative writing.

Communicating ideas, sharing experiences, and using language are skills critical to all professions, as well as to daily life. Centralia College's English program incorporates the study of a wide variety of literary genres with history and art courses to cultivate a broad understanding of the cultures, issues, and events that shaped them.

Do you enjoy exploring your world through reading? Creative writing? Research? According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers' Job Outlook 2021 survey, verbal communication, written communication, and analytical/research ability consistently rank among the top five skills employers seek, yet report they have a hard time finding in job candidates. Cengage/Morning Report (2018) found that 54 percent of employers say that it is difficult to find employees with good communication skills, and 64 percent say that finding employees skilled in critical thinking is a challenge. As rapidly changing technologies restructure jobs of the future, these skills – central to an English major – will become even more important, helping people transition between several careers in a lifetime.

Careers in writing, teaching, and publishing are naturals for an English major, and more options beckon: studying English also prepares you for careers in law, publishing, medicine, and the fine arts. English majors work in technological fields, too, writing content for websites and social media; technical writing, too, is an ability employers seek. If skill with words is important in a field, that field is open to an English major who goes on to earn a B.A. Here are some examples:


English majors work at all levels of K-12 and college, teaching both analytical and creative writing, literature, and journalism. Students interested in this pathway may apply to work as a writing consultant at our college writing center. Centralia also offers courses in classic American and British literature, as well as special topics like Science Fiction, Women’s Literature, Non-Western World Literature, and Children’s Literature.

Creative writing

Centralia offers courses in beginning and intermediate creative writing for students who want to expand the kinds of writing they can do, as well as a literary arts journal, Spilled Ink, for those who’d like to learn about publishing, production, and digital design. Businesses seek good writers to develop content and entertainment for online platforms.


An AA in English is an excellent basis for focusing on journalism at a transfer institution. English majors can take courses in other disciplines, like Communication Studies, to help prepare for work in print, digital, radio, internet, and other media. Students interested in this path might be interested in taking elective course in the Fine Arts department, like Radio Broadcasting and Digital Photography.

Publishing and public relations  

The careful reading and advanced writing skills learned by English majors prepare them for professions like editor, copywriter, PR representative, technical writer, and more. Many organizations, whether profit or non-profit, need people who can write swiftly and effectively.

The medical humanities

As medical mistakes have gained headlines, medical schools have become increasingly open to admitting students with English degrees who have an edge in communication, as well as the ethical values learned from courses focused on humanities, like English and literature. A double major in English and a science discipline can be an excellent path for a student considering a career in health sciences.


Lawyers write constantly and must use their critical thinking skills to interpret law and apply it to cases. English majors learn to read carefully, critically, and to analyze complex material in depth: excellent preparation for legal studies.


In addition to skills employers seek noted at the top of this page, “soft skills,” like ethical awareness and empathy, rank highly. Courses in literature and writing help develop these skills. Students who are interested in majoring in English with a view to bringing writing skills to a business career might also be interested in taking Humanities electives, such as Introduction to Ethics or Humanities and Cultural Values.

English Education Plan

Degree: Associate in Arts
Emphasis: English

Note for Students

  • To satisfy the 3-5 credit diversity requirement, students may wish to take ENGL 233 Children's Literature, ENGL 260 Non-Western Literature, or ENGL 160 Women in Literature.
First Year  
Fall Quarter
  • ENGL& 101 English Composition I - 5 credits
  • Humanities Distribution - 5 credits
  • Social Science Distribution* - 5 credits
Winter Quarter
  • ENGL& 102 Composition II - 5 credits
  • Elective (Literature or Creative Writing) - 5 credits
  • Humanities Distribution - 5 credits
Spring Quarter
  • Literature Elective - 5 credits
  • Health and Fitness Distribution - 3 credits
  • Quantitative Skills Distribution - 5 credits
  • Social Science Distribution - 5 credits
* History is recommended for a Social Science Distribution.
Second Year  
Fall Quarter
  • Literature Elective - 5 credits
  • Humanities Distribution - 5 credits
  • Natural Science Distribution - 5 credits
Winter Quarter
  • Literature Elective - 5 credits
  • Natural Science Distribution - 5 credits
  • Social Science Distribution - 5 credits
Spring Quarter
  • Literature/Creating Writing Elective - 5 credits
  • Literature/Humanities Elective - 2-5 credits
  • Natural Science Distribution - 5 credits

ENGL& 101 English Composition I

An expository writing course encouraging students to think and write clarity and conciseness; to organize and develop their ideas; and to express themselves sharply, economically, and grammatically. Students must meet mandatory placements to enroll. Prerequisite: placement into ENGL& 101 or 2.0+ in 5 credits of ENGL 099 or WRT 105 or BTEC 221.

ENGL& 102 Composition II

A course in argumentative and persuasive writing, methods of research, development and preparation of original source-based papers and projects. Prerequisite: completion of ENGL& 101 with a minimum grade of 2.0.

ENGL& 111 Introduction to Literature

Introduces the major genres, techniques and themes of literature by examining the work of a variety of classic and contemporary authors.

ENGL& 113 Introduction to Poetry

Introduction to modern poetry (mid-19th c. to present) through the study of major English language poets: their lives, influences, and works. Prerequisite: ENGL 101

ENGL& 114 Introduction to Dramatic Literature

Survey of dramatic literature from classical Greek to modern plays, emphasizing basic elements of plot, character, language, and the traditional genres of tragedy and comedy. Students will attend two plays at their own expense.

ENGL 160 Women's Literature

Examines literature written by women to understand how gender, class and race shape their experience and their writing. Genres will include poetry, short stories, nonfiction, fiction and drama. College-level reading and writing skills expected.

ENGL 180 Short Fiction

Survey of short story as representational vehicle in romanticism, realism, modernism, horror, satire, science fiction, magical realism. Primarily American in focus; includes cross-cultural comparisons. College-level reading, writing skills expected. Creative writing options. Prerequisite: college level reading and writing skills.

ENGL 204 Introduction to Shakespeare

Learn about the life, times and works of William Shakespeare, how Elizabethans' likes and dislikes, superstitions, and social order influenced this golden age of the theatre by studying six of the Bard's 37 plays.

ENGL 208 Introduction to Creative Writing

Writers will move beyond the traditional "academic essay" into an exploration of literary genres to include poetry, creative nonfiction, short fiction, and drama. Prerequisite: college-level writing: test into ENGL& 101.

ENGL 209 The Hero's Quest: Survey of English Literature 7th Century

Surveys how medieval and early Renaissance English writers explored issues like the relationship between rulers and subjects, God and free will, and the war between the sexes. Covers the Beowulf poet, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and more.

ENGL 210 The Crisis of Faith: Survey English Literature 1616

Surveys late Renaissance through Enlightenment writers like John Donne, Ben Johnson, Andrew Marvell, John Milton, Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, and Samuel Johnson, emphasizing how writers reflected social concern about faith, politics, and gender roles.

ENGL 211 Survey of English Literature: 1798 - Present

This survey studies how, amid political, technological, religious, and artistic ferment, English literature was transformed by the Romantic poets, the rise of the Victorian novel, and the innovations of modern fiction, drama, and poetry.

ENGL 220 American Drama

Presents six classic American plays which deal with society and family expectations. Students will view, analyze, discuss, and write on the literary components and substance of these plays.

ENGL 222 Screenwriting

An introduction to the theories, methods, and processes of writing a screenplay. Students will apply what they learn and complete a full-length screenplay at the end of the quarter.

ENGL 233 Children's Literature

An examination of the diverse body of literature written for children and adolescents, as well as techniques used to read aloud to children. Classics and contemporary works will be approached chronologically and thematically. Prerequisite: ENGL& 101.

ENGL& 235 Technical Writing

An alternative to ENGL& 102 for science and engineering majors, focused on writing with clarity, objectivity, audience awareness, proper formats as well as research techniques, problem-solving, critical thinking and development of source-based writing. Prerequisite: completion of ENGL& 101 with a minimum grade of 2.0.

ENGL& 244 American Literature I

Surveys three American literary movements: Puritans, Colonialists, and American Renaissance / Transcendentalism. Examines rise of a distinctly American literature, focusing on themes of faith, work, self-government, race and gender. Prerequisite: ENGL& 101 with 2.0 or better or instructor permission.

ENGL& 245 American Literature II

American literature from Civil War to World War I: Gilded Age of industry/capital, labor movement, postwar race relations, westward expansion, gender issues/ suffrage, shift from romanticism to realism/naturalism in prose and poetry. Prerequisite: ENGL& 101 w/2.0 or better or instructor permission.

ENGL& 246 American Literature III

Surveys development and diversification of American literature from Roaring 1920’s to the present, including modernist innovations in poetry/prose, the Beats, Harlem Renaissance, Latino/a, Asian American, Native American, feminist, environmental, science, and dystopian fictions. Prerequisite: ENGL& 101 w/2.0 or better or instructor permission.

ENGL 249 The Great American Novel

Explore development of the American novel, its major themes and stylistic techniques, focusing on classics by writers like Hawthorne, Melville, Twain, Chopin, Hemingway, Faulkner, Morrison, as well as evaluating contemporary works. Prerequisite: ENGL& 101 with 2.0 or better or instructor permission.

ENGL 250 Literary Themes

A major theme is followed through important works of fiction, poetry, and drama. Themes vary depending on the instructor and the quarter in which it is offered.

ENGL 251 Science Fiction

Surveys rise and development of science fiction, focusing on short stories; students may address novels in course projects. Explores common themes; science fiction as social commentary; technology; war; relationships; race; gender; defining "human." Creative writing options. Prerequisite: ENGL& 101.

ENGL 260 Non-Western World Literature

Literature of the non-western world, ancient times to the present: Middle East, India, Africa, China, Japan, Americas focusing on how literature expresses these cultures' spiritual traditions, political values, gender issues, environmental beliefs. Prerequisite: ENGL& 101 with 2.0 or better or instructor permission.

ENGL 271 Intermediate Creative Writing

Students will hone their creative writing, workshopping, and revising skills while working on an individual project. Prerequisite: ENGL 208 and instructor permission.

ENGL 272 Advanced Creative Writing

For serious students who wish to prepare a manuscript for publication and/or writing program admission. Emphasis on workshopping, and revising of an individual project. Prerequisite: ENGL 271 and instructor permission.

WRT 105 Writing in the Workplace

Study a variety of workplace communications, along with proper use of grammar, sentence structure, mechanics and vocabulary within those communications. Prerequisite: 5 credits of ENGL 098 with 2.0+ or placement into ENGL 099/WRT 105.

University of Washington, Washington State University, and other four-year public and private colleges


Kelly Erickson
Associate Professor
Office: TAC 315
Email Kelly Erickson