Arts & Sciences


Language is power with a Bachelor of Arts in English

The world needs storytellers and critical thinkers. The English major fills that need.




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Stories are a window into what is most important for people and studying literature will help carry you through your life and human relationships. English majors study literature from a range of periods and cultures in a variety of genres and forms, and also practice both creative and analytical writing.  As an English major, you’ll develop sophisticated critical reading, writing and speaking skills, cross-cultural fluency, and a firm grounding in the humanistic traditions of moral, intellectual and artistic work. A critical thinker can go into any field, but students who go into English are responding to the opportunity to tell their stories and respond to those of others.  


The English major is built around a core of survey courses, but you have the opportunity to customize the electives to pursue the types of literature they are most interested in. Also unique to FinnU’s English program is the ability for you to select the books you’ll explore in certain classes through a student-created syllabus. Doing so helps drive the inclusion of diverse voices. The English degree culminates in a Senior Capstone that focuses on a subject area of your choosing.

Featured Minor Offering – Creative Writing

The study of literature and creative writing are intimately and inextricably linked, but the creative writing minor will provide an avenue for those interested in this form of original expression to develop their passion and skills with the goal of developing as artists and communicators. Creative writers learn to recognize the technical features of literature and replicate or modify them in their own writing.

English student

carolyn dekker english


The small student-to-faculty ratio provides strong opportunities for mentorship and honing communication skills that can lead to a variety of different career paths.

English majors work in writing, editing, print and digital publishing, as well as education, business, politics and social services.  The English major is also excellent preparation for graduate school in education, the humanities or law school.


There are a number of student groups and activities on campus that appeal directly to English majors and storytellers.


Every year, students, faculty, staff and the community come together around a single book.The author visits campus to give a reading and engage in dialogue with classes and student groups.


The Helsinki Slang Literary Magazine is written and edited by students. The students who work on the magazine enjoy creative writing and sharing their work.


Write-ins provide students and faculty a time to focus solely on writing and obtain feedback on their writing. Join the faculty and fellow students in the library every November as they participate in a write-in and celebrate the joys of writing as a community.

“Finlandia prepared me for my career by helping me form the kernel of interest that would eventually become my Creative Writing focus, and by providing me with mentors who took a truly active approach toward my studies by always encouraging me to read more, write more, and learn more whenever possible.”

Max Malone ('14)

The Degree

Progress Sheet

The Classes

Course Descriptions


Dr. Dekker gives insight into upcoming “Organizing with Dr. King” open classroom seminar

March 10, 2021

As part of the Spring 2021 Campus Read Anti-Racist Open Classroom Series, Assistant Professor of English Dr. Carolyn Dekker will be opening up her African American Literature class to the public. The topic of Dr. Dekker’s class will focus on “Organizing with Dr. King“. Students have been reading excerpts from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s book, Why We Can’t Wait. They looked at “Bull Connor’s Birmingham,” “A New Day in Birmingham,” and the famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

“The format […] Read More

Dr. Virtanen dives into upcoming open class on ‘Racism and White Nationalism in Finland Today’

January 28, 2021

Dr. Hilary-Joy Virtanen will present the second lecture in the Spring 2021 Anti-Racist Open Classroom Series on Tuesday, February 2 at 4:10 pm. She will be discussing “Racism and White Nationalism in Finland Today” as part of her regularly scheduled History and Culture of Finland course. The event is free and open to the public. Please register here. In anticipation of the event, Dr. Virtanen provided some insight into what participants can expect and why it’s an important […] Read More

Kendi’s “Stamped From the Beginning” selected as Campus Read, Anti-Racist Open Classroom Series Announced

January 18, 2021

The Campus Read Committee is pleased to announce the Spring 2021 Anti-Racist Open Classroom Series, which will complement the selected Campus Read book, Stamped From the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi.

“We chose Stamped from the Beginning and Stamped as the Campus Read books for this year because Ibram X. Kendi’s work as a historian of racist ideas and antiracism can help provide such a powerful tool with which to think about history and about America’s present moment,” […] Read More


  • Global Perspective: Identify, summarize and classify significant works of literature and explain their importance within a global framework.
  • Analytic and Critical Thinking, Communication: Produce original, sophisticated, clear and revised judgments on a range of literary texts and topics.
  • Personal Perspective, Global Perspective, Analytic and Critical Thinking: Summarize and analyze the reception of various texts in both their own period and the present. Relate the texts and their reception to relevant issues and themes.
  • Creative Insight: Formulate and use interdisciplinary approaches to synthesize and produce sophisticated and novel arguments with scholarly potential.
  • Communication, Analytic and Critical Thinking: Construct and argue positions related to a range of topics in literature. Demonstrate ability to articulate the value of both the positions themselves AND the process of knowledge production and dissemination in the field of literature and writing.



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Faculty and Staff

Carolyn Dekker

Assistant Professor, English


Mark Lounibos

Associate Professor, English


Jason Oyadomari

Associate Professor of Biology & Dean of Suomi College of Arts and Sciences

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