CLASS College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
Youngstown State University
Department of English - Home  

Mission Statement

The Department of English at Youngstown State University believes that educated citizens must use language effectively and appreciate the diversity and complexity of their culture. To this end, the department seeks to improve students' abilities to read and write, to think analytically and creatively, to appreciate the aesthetics of literature, and to value diverse cultures.

In addition, the department strives to develop and disseminate insights related to literature, writing, language, culture, and pedagogy through excellent teaching, research and scholarly activity, service to the University, and broad-based community involvement.

Welcome to the English Department!

The English department offers numerous degree and certificate programs, including

Bachelor of arts (BA) degrees in Englishand Professional & Technical Writing (PTW);

Undergraduate minors in English Studies, British and American Literature, Professional & Technical Writing (PTW), Linguistics, and Creative Writing;

Master of Arts (MA) degrees in English and in English with a PTW focus;

a consortial master of fine arts (MFA) degree;

Graduate certificates in Literature for Children and Young Adults, Teaching of Writing, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), and Professional & Technical Writing (PTW)

The department also advises students seeking teaching licensure in Integrated Language Arts and in Middle Childhood Language Arts.

Please call 330-941-3414 for more information.

Sketch by Jody Udell, 1989

Our Faculty

The Department of English has a large, dedicated faculty of full-time, part-time, and graduate student instructors. 


We value our students. Advising is an essential part of your progress through YSU. As an incoming freshman, your very first advising will be with the college advisors. But after that, you’ll be advised by faculty members in the English department. Advising falls into two categories:

Getting Registered: Until you accrue 32 credits, you are required to see an advisor. This requirement is meant to help: beginning a major and navigating all the requirements can be confusing. We are here to help you.

Planning Your Professional Future: Part of our job as advisors—and maybe the most interesting part—is helping you to plan for your future, whether it be going to work directly after graduation or continuing in graduate school. For this part of advising, we need to get to know you.

To set up an advising appointment, either call the English Department at 330-941-3414 to make an appointment to meet with the department chair, Dr. Gergits, or e-mail Dr. Gergits or one of the program coordinators, each of whom can either advise you or else route you to an appropriate advisor:

Chris Barzak, Creative Writing and NEOMFA liaison
Steve Brown, Graduate Director
Jay L Gordon, Professional and Technical Writing (PTW) Coordinator
Alyssa Lenhoff, Journalism Coordinator
Corey Andrews, Literature Coordinator

The Composition Program

English 1539, 1540, 1550, and 1551

Co-Coordinators: Mr. Guy Shebat and Ms. Amy Flick

The English department offers several composition courses. English 1539 and 1540 are developmental; they are intended to help prepare students for the college-level writing courses (1550 and 1551). Students who complete either 1539 or 1540 with a C or better go straight to 1550. English 1550 and 1551 are considered two parts of a year-long sequence; 1550 must be taken before 1551. 1550H and 1551H are Honors sections; most students in those sections are members of the Scholars and Honors programs.

Course Descriptions and General Syllabi for the courses are available on this site. Your instructor will provide more detailed information about textbooks, assignments, and calendar.

Information about English as a Second Language is available here, too. This information is aimed at instructors; it intends to help them with assessing and supporting students for whom English is not their native language. For more information, contact Steve Brown, the ESL Coordinator.

English Department Courses

The English department offers a wide range of courses in literature, professional and technical writing, creative writing, and journalism. Please see the department's complete list of course descriptions for more information.


English Festival
An annual program that promotes and cultivates reading and writing, reaching out to thousands of students in Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.

The official publication of the Student Literary Arts Association (SLAA).
A collaboration between the YSU Journalism program and several professional media outlets in the region.

Poetry Center
Through its yearly series of readings and other presentations, the YSU Poetry Center seeks to promote and celebrate the life of the written word.

Penguin Review
YSU's annual literary magazine.

Press Day
An annual, day-long series of workshops and hands-on training sessions geared for high school journalism students and their teachers or advisers.

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