The SDSU English Department has been offering courses of study since it was established in the 1880s. Initially, the courses offered by the department were designed to be both practical and cultural. A minor in English was first offered in the 1930s, and a major in English/Journalism was begun in 1945. At that time, the English Department was a part of the Division of General Science. English as a separate major first appeared in the 1952-53 catalog, at which time the department was a part of the Division of Sciences and Applied Arts.
A graduate degree, the M.S. in Language Skills, was first offered in 1956. This degree was a composite of English and Speech. The M.A. in English was authorized in 1966 and first appeared in the 1968 catalog.
In 1993, the English Department began offering two B.A. options with different requirements: the English Option and the English Education Option for students interested in secondary education. This division into options followed an intensive study of our curriculum that resulted in the curricular redesign to reflect the requirements for teacher certification in English.
In 1994, after the same curriculum study, the department instituted two M.A. tracks: Studies in Literature and Studies in Language and Rhetoric. Within each of these tracks, students could complete their degree by writing a critical thesis (Graduate School Option A) or taking additional coursework with a written exam (Graduate School Option B).
In 2010, the department instituted a second option for completion of the thesis project, a critical thesis with a creative component. In addition, the department also instituted a third B.A. option: English with Writing Emphasis.
In 2015, the department underwent a major curriculum revision for all three of its majors, with these changes taking effect in 2016.
In 2016, the college eliminated its coursework requirements and began requiring a minor for graduation. English benefited from this through its diverse minor portfolio, including its offered minors in English, Professional Writing, and Peace and Conflict Studies as well as its affiliation with numerous other minors, including American Indian Studies, Film Studies, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. The department changed the Studies in Language and Rhetoric track to the Studies in Writing and Rhetoric track.
In 2017, the department changed the critical thesis with a creative component to a creative thesis. In addition, it began offering students a third option for completion of the degree, the creative and/or critical portfolio (Graduate School Option B).
In 2018, the department deployed an official assessment plan, which emanated from our participation in the university’s assessment academy.
Also in 2018, the college underwent a restructuring and changed its name to the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.
In 2019, the department began offering a fully online English M.A. degree.
In 2020, the department will undergo an Institutional Program Review, its first since 2012.