Profile of English Departments (HDS 3)
Findings and Trends
- Among English departments that were granting degrees in 2007, total enrollment in undergraduate courses was 1,228,570 in fall 2017 (with an average enrollment of 1,156.8 per department).2
- On average, English departments awarded 30.8 bachelor’s degrees per department in the 2016–17 academic year (a statistically significant decrease from five years earlier). Students also completed an average of 15.8 minors in English per department.
- Total enrollment in graduate-level English courses was 38,530 in fall 2017 (with an average enrollment of 36.3 students per department). The average number of students pursuing an advanced degree was 54.8 per department that granted such degrees, a statistically significant decline from 2012.
- English departments employed 24,060 full- and part-time faculty members in fall 2017, with an average of 22.7 faculty members per department. Fifty-nine percent of these faculty were either tenured or on the tenure track. A fifth of faculty in the discipline were employed part-time (a statistically significant decline from 2012).
- Forty-four percent of English departments hired a new permanent faculty member for the start of the 2017–18 academic year, and 58% of the departments had a faculty member come up for tenure in the previous two years.
- Women constituted 58% of the faculty members in English departments in fall 2017. Fifty-two percent of tenured faculty members were women, compared to 63% of faculty members on the tenure track (this share reflects a statistically significant increase from 2012) and 62% of those off the tenure track.
- While 92% of English departments provided research support for full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty members and 74% offered such support for full-time nontenured or non-tenure-track faculty, only 25% offered such support for part-time faculty.
Supporting Student Careers
- Sixty percent of English departments rated the career services at their college or university “good” or “very good” for their students, while 7% rated the services “poor.”
- A relatively large share—approximately a third—of English departments had a professional program (such as journalism or teacher credentialing).
- English departments stand out for the substantial share of departments offering undergraduate students occupationally oriented activities, such as presentations by employers or alumni, internships, or coursework. It is the only surveyed discipline in which more than 80% of the departments provided such opportunities.
Engaging the Digital
- While 46% of English departments had one or more faculty members specializing in the digital humanities (one of the largest shares in the humanities), only 32% had formal guidelines for evaluating digital publications for tenure and promotion.
- In the 2016–17 academic year, 26% of English departments offered fully online courses, while 11% offered hybrid courses. Departments offered an average of 7.6 fully online courses and 4.3 hybrid courses (each average was calculated over the number of departments offering a course of that kind).
- 2Students who enrolled in more than one course in the discipline are counted in each course in which they enrolled. The same is true for the graduate course enrollment values given below. Medians for all “per department” quantities mentioned in this section are available in the corresponding data tables (please see the Appendix, Part B).