Do you love to write? Have dreams of being a professor, a professional blogger, a literary critic, a journalist, a librarian, an editor? If so, Dordt’s English major is for you.

As an English major, you’ll discuss what you read and write with your classmates and with Dordt’s dedicated English faculty. You’ll learn how to communicate well with those around you, and you’ll express yourself in ways that are both creative and innovative.

Dordt alumni who majored in English have followed a wide variety of career paths, including as published authors, marketing directors, CEOs, freelance writers, professors, and librarians. Major in English, and you’ll have many opportunities to make an impact in God’s world.


English at Dordt

Be challenged. Be changed.


Program Options

At Dordt, you’ll study under professors who feel the excitement and value of literature. They’ll help you analyze and evaluate literary works from a Christian perspective, considering the moral vision and worldview of an author, along with the literary elements of his or her work.

Your professors will help you become both critically aware and charitable in the way you approach words and the world. You’ll examine how authors use language to create imagined worlds and communicate meaning. You will see how literature from a variety of time periods and cultures challenges or affirms our values and enriches our lives.

Students in our program and in core classes will be taught to:

  • Write with clarity, precision, and grace in a variety of forms and for a variety of audiences.
  • Be independent learners, able to search for, assess, and integrate into their writing and thinking ideas on literature as well as other subjects.
  • Perceive literature as a way of knowing truth.
  • Engage literature from a variety of time periods and cultures, discerning its truths, lies, and assumptions, and responding to its challenges and truths.
  • Apply the lifelong skills of interpretation not only to literature but also to biblical studies, art, music, and film.
  • Develop a Reformed place to stand on language and literature.


Students learn to write best from those who write well, which is why Dordt's English department offers a particularly strong writing emphasis. All of our professors are practicing writers who write and publish stories, poems, professional articles, essays, and op-ed pieces. Several have published books, some of which have included work by talented students. Our professors believe that what they write—and also how they see and feel and think—is shaped by and should reflect their faith in a God who holds eternal ownership of every inch of our world.

You'll learn to write with clarity, precision, and grace in a variety of forms and for a variety of audiences; to perceive literature as a way of experiencing the truth about being human; to read critically; to be able to interpret and understand literature from a variety of time periods and cultures; to apply these skills of interpretation in all areas of life; to find a Reformed place to stand on language and literature; and to be independent learners, able to search for, assess, and integrate information on literature as well as other subjects and areas of life.

  • Build your résumé by writing for The Diamond (student newspaper), the Signet (yearbook), The Canon (student literary magazine), or the college Marketing and Communication Office.
  • Read your work at an annual student public reading and compete for cash prizes in the annual Purple Martin writing competition.
  • Become one of a growing list of students who has won awards in the college division of the Iowa Poetry Association competition and has had poems published in the association’s annual anthology, Lyric Iowa.
  • Get published in a professional journal for teachers, as some of our English education students have.
  • Be part of a writing class team that composes documents to solve real problems—from an EMT training guide for the local ambulance squad to marketing materials for a women’s ministry in Cambodia.
  • Serve as a teaching assistant working with underachieving college writers.
  • Dig deeply into ancient, medieval, or modern literature as you sharpen your skills in reading, analyzing, and interpreting.
  • Participate in an internship such as working in a publishing company on the Chicago Semester Program.

Learn More

Check out our program strengths and get to know our facilities.

Dr. Bob De Smith

Dr. Bob De Smith
Professor of English
Department Chair

CL 2222
(712) 722-6296

Dr. Bill Elgersma

Dr. Bill Elgersma
Professor of English

CL 2228
(712) 722-6263

Luke Hawley

Luke Hawley
Associate Professor of English

CL 2225
(712) 722-6268

Dr. Josh Matthews

Dr. Josh Matthews
Associate Professor of English

CL 2226
(712) 722-6250

Howard Schaap

Howard Schaap
Associate Professor of English

CL 2224
(712) 722-6253

Rose Postma

Rose Postma
English Assistant Adjunct

CL 1112

Dr. Shaun Stiemsma

Dr. Shaun Stiemsma
Associate Professor of English

CL 2227
(712) 722-6251

Dr. Leah Zuidema

Dr. Leah Zuidema
Vice President for Academic Affairs

CA 334
(712) 722-6333