Students in a Drop Hammer Reading Session

For Students


Check Your Buffalo State Email: The department will communicate with you via email, so please check several times a day.

Student Resources

All students in English Department majors, are assigned a faculty advisor. Your advisor will assist you in navigating course requirements and help you successfully move towards graduation. 

Your academic advisor is a valuable resource whose work goes beyond helping you choose courses. Your academic advisor is a resource for you within the department, such as:

  • Helping you choose appropriate classes
  • Helping you navigate your degree requirements (required credit hours, upper division credits, etc.)
  • Helping you with forms, such as pass/fail forms
  • Explaining all of your options if you are having difficulty in your courses
  • Connecting you with campus resources that may help you
  • Keeping you informed of important dates (filing for graduation, add/drop periods, course withdrawals, etc.)
  • Discussing other issues that pertain to your academic career, such as post-graduation plans. 

The English Department is home to a vibrant student community of writers, emerging scholars, future teachers, and leaders. The wealth of student groups in the department offers students in all of our majors the opportunity to find an intellectual and creative home.

BSC Cinephiles: For film buffs, students interesting in film, students who want to expand their study of film outside the classroom, or just students interested in watching movies and discussing them. 

Learn about BSC Cinephiles

Western New York Network of English Teachers  

Buffalo State English Education Student Association  

Sigma Tau Delta: The international English Honor Society. Our chapter, Alpha Pi Chi, works on academic and social programming, service projects, and fundraising.

Learn about Sigma Tau Delta

The student lounge is located in Ketchum 322.  We hope this space will be a welcoming and comfortable place for you to relax, read and study in, and that it serves as your department home. 

Hours: The lounge will be open during department office hours, roughly 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. If the lounge is not open during these times, please see the secretaries on the second floor to open the space.
Ventilation: As the weather allows it, please leave the windows of the lounge open to allow for extra ventilation.

Noise: Please be mindful of the noise levels while you are using the lounge and use common sense measures (headphones, ear buds, etc.) to make sure the space is comfortable for everyone. The lounge is next to classrooms and offices and should be treated accordingly.

Personal Property: Do not leave personal property in the lounge or leave it unsupervised. We are not responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged personal items.

Books: The books in the lounge are for student use. Please feel free to use/borrow the materials in the lounge. Also, be careful to not leave your own texts unsupervised, so they do not get confused with the material that is available for general student use. 

Food and Drink: 

  • There is small coffee maker and fridge in the lounge for your use, but please clean up after yourselves and keep the space tidy.
  • Occasionally, we will leave food/snacks in the lounge for students, particularly if there is food left over after an event.
  • If you are using the microwave or the coffee maker, please make sure they are plugged into surge protectors. 

Cleaning Supplies: Cleaning materials (wipes, sanitizer spray, and hand sanitizer) are available for your use while in the lounge. If these materials need to be replenished, please let the department secretaries know.

Questions or Concerns? 
Contact the Department

Portrait Cover

Portrait Magazine

Portrait is the Student Literary Arts Journal at Buffalo State. Portrait, at its core, hopes to allow our student body an outlet to express themselves and share their art, whether it be visual, literary, or somewhere in-between.

Learn More About Portrait

Read the Current Issue

Preparing for Success

Take the Correct Number of Classes
For most students, this is 15 credit hours (5 classes), though for some students 12 credit hours (4 classes) or 18 credit hours (6 classes) are better options. What will be best for you will depend on a number of factors, including your financial aid requirements, work or home demands, etc. 

If you have questions about this, you should check with your academic advisor.

Take the Right Mix of Classes
For freshman and sophomore students, your schedule should be a combination of General Education courses and lower division courses in your major.
 Students in their junior and senior years should be taking mostly upper division courses in their major, with a couple of gen-ed courses. Keep in mind that you need to take a certain number of upper division courses (300 and 400 level courses) to earn your degree. 

If you have questions, please contact your department advisor (your advisor is listed in your Degree Works sheet).

Minors, Certificates, Concentrations, Double Majors 
For many students, you will have room in your course of study to add an additional program, so explore your options. You need at least 120 credit hours to earn an undergraduate degree, so you should speak with your academic advisor about what kinds of minors, certificates, or even double majors might be good fits for you. 
While the college offers many options, the department offers minors in Literary Studies, Writing, Film, and English Education, and a certification in Technical Writing.  The college offers interdisciplinary minors in Women and Gender Studies, African and African American Studies, and Indigenous Studies. Other departments, like Philosophy, Art, and Theater also offer minors that have been popular with English Students.

Acquaint Yourself with Campus and Campus Spaces
Find where you want to study during the day (a quiet corner in the library, the study carrels in the fireside lounge in union, etc). 
Figure out where you can work on assignments, print up papers, get quiet studying/reading done, etc. Familiarize yourself with library services like course reserve and interlibrary loan. 

Make Use of the Student Lounge
Our lounge is located in Ketchum 322 and is open during business hours. There are tables, seating and work areas for you to use, and all the books and materials in this room are for student use (feel free to borrow or keep a book if you would like). Please feel free to use this space to study between classes. 

Student Lounge Information

We want you to have a successful semester back on campus and excel in your courses. Some early organization will go a long way in helping you do this. 

Course Books

  • Make sure you have all the books you need for your courses
  • Check the book requirements through the bookstore
  • For courses that offer more than one section, please make sure you are choosing the correct CRN number. 

Options for Finding Course Books

  • See if the book is on course reserve for your class.
  • Butler Library
  • Public library
  • E-versions (through libraries or amazon)
  • Free copies in the public domain
  • Check the lounge to see if there is an extra copy.

Create a File System for Your Work
Setting up your file organization system early will make organization easier once the semester begins.

Make Redundant Copies of Your Work
Save your files to your computer, to an online file storage system (like Google docs or Dropbox), and to a thumb drive. 
Make sure you are backing everything up weekly

Submitting Work Through Blackboard or the Web
Consider writing your work in a word processing program, and then cutting and pasting it into Blackboard. This keeps a record of your work, and you will not lose the work if the browser freezes, the Wi-Fi goes out, etc


  • Print out a copy of your full syllabus, including all of the policies, grading scales, etc.
  • If your professor is using Blackboard, take time the first week of class to go through the entire course and course materials. 

Carefully Read Your Syllabuses in their Entirety 
Understanding what is in the syllabus—policies, grading criteria, the grading scale—is key to your success. This is the document of record for the class, so it is important that you understand what is being asked of you, including what format your work needs to be submitted in, etc. 

Understand Your Professors’ Policies
Familiarize yourself with and understand policies for attendance, late work, submission policies, etc.  If you are doing sessions using Zoom or Teams, understand what your individual professor is requiring in terms of participation, camera activation, etc.
Calendar Your Assignments
Physically write down when your assignments are due (including the times). Include both smaller assignments (weekly responses or journals) as well as big projects (papers, exams, group projects). This will help you easily see what is due when, so you can plan accordingly. We recommend using a physical planner for this. 

  • The bookstore has academic weekly pocket planners for about $6.00. 
  • If you do not want to buy a planner, many websites offer free printable PDF downloads that you can staple together or paste into notebook. 
  • Most word processing programs, like Microsoft Word, have free planner templates

Online Templates:
Day Designer, Free Planning Printables   

Passion Planner, Free Downloads 

Schedule Enough Time for Big Projects
For big projects and papers, you should be preparing drafts and revisions in order to produce the best possible work. Please give yourself enough time to do this. We strongly recommend you use our Writing Center, which is taking virtual appointments, as you work on your drafts and revisions.

Writing Center 
Make Sure You are Citing Information Correctly
Improper citation can lead to academic misconduct charges, failing the course, and expulsion from the college. 

Academic Misconduct Policy 

We are happy to respond to your questions and concerns. We are here to help you. If you are having trouble in a course, are confused and need clarification, or if you just have a question, we encourage you to reach out to us! All of your faculty keep weekly office hours for students, and they check email regularly during the academic year.

Quick Questions
If you have a quick question about something (an assignment, due date, or policy) the easiest way to address it is usually to just send your faculty an email. 

Before Contacting Your Faculty Member:

  • Check your syllabus to see if the information is provided there (check the policies and course schedule)
  • Check other course documents your faculty member has provided (assignment descriptions, guides, rubrics, etc.) 
  • Look through all the folders and areas in Blackboard
  • Check discussion board posts, Blackboard announcements, etc. as your question may have been answered there.

If you have gone through all the documentation provided for your course, and still cannot find an answer to your question, by all means, contact your faculty member for help.

Tips for Contacting Faculty:

  • Use your Buffalo State email, not your personal email, as this makes sure your message does not end up in our spam folders.
  • Contact your professor using the method they have provided—usually their Buffalo State email. Messages that are sent through Blackboard do not get forwarded so these may be missed.
  • If your faculty member provided rules or guidelines for sending email, follow them.

Remember that email is professional communication and should be treated accordingly. Include a relevant subject line (including the course you are in). Spell check your email. Use a proper greeting and signature.

 *Email Etiquette for Students

*From OWL at Purdue

Think of email in terms of business hours and give plenty of time to respond.

  • If you send an email on Monday at 9 a.m. about an assignment due that Friday at 5 p.m., you likely have plenty of time to get your question answered. If you send that same email on Friday at 8 a.m., there is less chance that you will get your response in time.
  • If you have an assignment due in the morning, do not wait until the night before to email your professor.

If You Do Not Get an Immediate Response

  • Be patient. Remember, just like you, professors are juggling classes, family and home life, etc. We will get back to you as soon as we can.
  • If it’s been a few days and you have not heard back from your faculty and your question has not been answered, send a polite follow up email.
  • If this still does not address your concern, email the English Department at and we will try to help.
  • If you need help with something that is more extensive that a quick question, then it is probably better to attend your faculty’s Office Hours or set up an appointment.

Office Hours
Office hours are times faculty set aside every week exclusively to meet with students. For most faculty, office hours function on a drop in basis, as such, you may stop by and find and other students are already there. You may find office hours here:

If you need to meet privately without other students dropping in, or if you are unable to make your professor’s office hours, you should ask to make an appointment. When contacting your faculty to ask for a meeting outside of regularly scheduled faculty office hours, provide 2-3 possible meeting times when you are available. Please keep in mind that different faculty have different standards for appointments. For some faculty, if they set time aside exclusively for you in their calendar, and you do not show up, they may count it as an absence, etc. Make sure you understand, or ask for your faculty’s standards when asking for an appointment.

Staying Connected

  • Check out our department Social Media on Facebook and YouTube for updates on department activities and news.
  • Make sure you are checking your email several times a day.
  • Keep in eye out for reading series, film series, student group meetings, talks, etc.

I feel I am being unfairly treated in my course. What are my options?

A: If you are having issues in a course that have not been resolved by speaking to your instructor, you have other options available to you. If the course is an English course, you may contact the department ( to set up a meeting with the chair to discuss your concerns. If the course is offered by another department, you can contact the main office of that department and express your concern, and ask to be put in contact with the department chair. If you feel you have received an unfair final grade in a course, you can file an Academic Appeal (petitions and appeals are handled by the Academic Standards office).