Skip to main content

Beginning in Fall 2023, the department known as “English” at Boise State will expand into four new, distinct departments: English Literature, Linguistics, Writing Studies and Humanities and Cultural Studies. Boise State will present the new departments, prefixes and degree programs in the 2023-24 catalog.

Seeing that the academic and professional needs of the student population within the department had grown beyond what a general English department could serve well, the College of Arts and Sciences initiated a change process in the spring of 2021. Through program analysis and conversations with faculty, a plan was developed and approved by university administration and the State Board of Education to restructure the English department into the four new departments. The college has suspended all graduate English programs for now.

College of Arts and Sciences Dean Leslie Durham said, “I’m incredibly grateful for the work of the faculty and staff over the past two years as they have created new programming and departments. Change is always hard, but when I consider the multiplying effects of the pandemic, the fact that this group has been able to innovate in such profound ways is nothing short of extraordinary. The intellectual and emotional labor of everyone involved has been intense, and I am optimistic and excited for the opportunities ahead. I am particularly excited about the ways in which these units will be able to support our students in new ways.”

Learn about the new departments

English Literature

The English Literature department at Boise State University prepares students for a variety of futures by developing skills of critical inquiry, analytical reasoning, and oral and written communication, which are transferable to any profession. Faculty offer expertise in British, American, and other national literatures; interdisciplinary humanities; and a range of genres including fiction, poetry, drama, and film. Faculty are committed to innovative, student-centered teaching and learning in a variety of formats including online, hybrid, and face-to-face instruction; internships and experiential learning; and student-faculty collaborative research.

English Literature projects and programs:

  • Books in Every Home
  • Hemingway Literary Center
  • Literature for Lunch
  • Melville’s Marginalia Online
  • The Idea of Nature Public Lecture Series

Visit the English Literature website.

Humanities and Cultural Studies

The Department of Humanities and Cultural Studies is an interdisciplinary program that combines the study of literature in global contexts, film, rhetoric, and culture with cutting edge theory and innovative pedagogy to prepare students for a life of inquiry and a meaningful career in the twenty-first century. HCS equips students with humanities skills like critical thinking and analysis, oral and written communication, empirical and qualitative reasoning to effectively participate in, contribute to, and creatively and collaboratively respond to the grand challenges of our time.

Humanities and Cultural Studies projects and programs:

  • Writing for Change Journal
  • The Third Cinema Research Group
  • The National Book Foundation Visiting Writers Series

Visit the Humanities and Cultural Studies website.


The linguistics major provides excellent preparation for a variety of careers demanding a nuanced understanding of language and its use, as well as strong critical thinking and communication skills. The major also prepares students for traditional graduate degrees in linguistics and related fields. Linguistics students gain practical, locally driven experience and a deeper understanding of the complexities inherent in a diverse world. Our graduates acquire the analytical tools and expertise needed to develop an open-minded, equity-focused orientation to language and use their expertise for collaboration with and in service of the wider community. The linguistics major provides the opportunity for close study of how language works and of the connections between linguistics and such related fields as anthropology, sociology, psychology, language teaching, and computer science.

Linguistics programs and projects:

  • Project SHINE
  • English Language Support Programs
  • Linguistic Society of Boise State
  • The Mary Ellen Ryder Linguistics Lab

Visit the Linguistics website.

Writing Studies

The Department of Writing Studies envisions a future where people are engaged, flexible, and ethical learners and writers who lead meaningful lives of connection and contribution. To work toward this vision, DWS supports, leads, and learns with writers in classrooms, careers, and communities.

The major degree programs in writing studies offer courses and opportunities for students to write and support, lead, and collaborate with other writers in a variety of contexts. The BA in English Teaching fulfills Idaho certification requirements and prepares students to teach in secondary schools around the country. The BA in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication prepares students to work in a number of professions and communities where effective and ethical writers are needed or to pursue graduate programs in related fields. DWS graduates are successful creators, creative thinkers, curious learners and workplace writers with the rhetorical expertise needed to continue learning and to collaborate with others in a range of careers that involve the analysis, production, editing and coordination of traditional, digital and multimedia texts.

Writing Studies projects and programs:

  • First-Year Writing Program
  • Boise State Writing Center
  • Boise State Writing Project

Visit the Writing Studies website.