The study of English language and literature improves our ability to think, read, write, and speak on a highly sophisticated level. Mastery of these critical skills is crucial to success in any career. The CSU Bakersfield English Department is committed to making the entire university community more articulate, better educated, and more productive citizens of the world we inhabit.



The English Department at California State University, Bakersfield offers two undergraduate Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree programs:

  • The English Major in Languageand Literature (EMLL), which offers both breadth and flexibility for a diversity of career opportunities
  • The English Major with Credential Emphasis (EMCE), a single-subject preparation program designed for students who wish to teach in California secondary schools

The English Department also offers three different minors:

  • English Literature
  • Linguistics
  • Children’s Literature

For graduate students, CSUB offers a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in English, as well as the following post-baccalaureate certificates:

  • Writing
  • Children’s Literature
  • Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL)
Please click on the links at left for more information about the English Department at CSUB.

Open Quote
I initially chose English because of my love for books. I was a reader long before I was a writer and, though I didn't much care for writing when I began, I could not resist a good story. […] They always say that the chances of becoming a professional writer and doing what you love are slim to none. They were wrong, and my experience at CSUB showed me that. Close Quote
Kayla Freer, B.A. in English 2012
Content Writer in the Social Gaming Industry

English Graduates Share Stories



Nancy Vera

BA and MA in English at CSUB

Nancy Vera

Accepted to the PhD in Comparative Literature at University of Maryland with TAship and full funding.

Congratulations Nancy!!!

A Brief Interview of Nancy by Prof MacQuarrie

PM: Nancy, why did you decide to pursue a PhD in Comparative Literature?

Nancy: I decided to pursue Comparative Literature for the freedom that it gave me to study both Spanish and English writers and to focus on "in house" racism or colorism in Latin American texts.

PM: What are your career goals?

Nancy: I'm hoping to be a full time researcher in Latin American studies and be a critic like Crystal Parikh.

PM: Have you already visited College Park, and if so what was it like?

Nancy: Yes, I have and it is very "English" the buildings are Greek and it feels a bit hipster -- guitars, sandals, hammocks, Frisbees, and a turtle mascot.

PM: Was the application process for the PhD pretty challenging?

Nancy: What was most challenging was the personal statement, the writing sample, and getting good recommenders.

PM: What is your advice about being successful at getting accepted?

Nancy: My primary piece of advice is to study for the GRE well ahead of time and to be willing to take it numerous times. It is a brutal test.

PM: Were your GRE scores essential to your acceptance at UMD?

Nancy: No, they weren't, but I wasn't accepted at some institutions because of my GRE scores.

PM: Were you accepted at any other programs?

Nancy: Yes, I was accepted into the PhD in English program at Binghamton -- SUNY (State University of New York) Binghamton.

PM: Did you apply to any California PhD programs?

Nancy: Yes, I applied at various University of California schools but wasn't accepted.

PM: It is so damn difficult to get into UC PhD programs these days. I think it is to do partly with population density.

Kelly Aragon (who just glided insouciantly into the office and is spinning around in a desk chair): How long did it take you to get to get into a PhD program?

Nancy: it took me four years to receive my BA in English and another two years to receive my MA in English, so I will be starting my PhD at the age of 24.

PM: You punk kid! That is quite young to get into a PhD. Very brilliant.

Why did you decide to apply at University of Maryland?

Nancy: First because it is on the East coast, and I've always wanted to live on the the East coast. I love that there is such a good train system, and the states are so closely interconnected. I want to travel up and down the coast.

PM: What is another reason?

Nancy: Perhaps the most important reason is the professors there. I found professors who were doing research in my field and one of them was Dr. Ontiveros who was at UM.

PM: Did you meet the professors during your visit.

Nancy: Of I course I did, and they were extremely welcoming. They greeted me with a hug and made sure I felt comfortable. One of the professors even stood up from behind her desk where she was working and gave me a warm welcoming hug.

PM: Wow! That sounds fantastic. I wouldn't touch my students with a ten-foot pole!

PM: Are you going to miss Bakersfield?

Nancy: Probably not -- well, I will miss the people but not the weather.

PM: What about family?

Nancy: My family is very happy for me, but my mom is a bit sad that I will be so far away. My sister will definitely appreciate more bathroom time so that she can fix her damn hair! (smiley face emoticon)

PM and Kelly: Congratulations again! Anything more you'd like to add?

Nancy: Thank you, thank you. I did want to say that I liked that this program at CSUB has so much freedom.

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