The Nature of the English Major and Minor
English is the perfect major for you if you love books and reading and want to know more about the forms, history, and functions of literature.
But English is also a great major for anyone interested in language, in writing, in the history of ideas, in the questions that have always challenged and fascinated humans, and in the interaction of history, philosophy, religion, psychology, art, and the other major disciplines.
The major provides an excellent preparation for careers in business, public service, education, law, and many other areas. Some students major in English because they plan to become teachers, but most English majors pursue other career paths. In fact, The Wall Street Journal reports that communication, the ability to clearly articulate your point of view, will be the most valuable job skill in 2013. The development of analytical thinking, evidenced-based writing, and editing skills makes English not only an extremely marketable major, but the perfect minor for all other majors.
Majoring in English lets you:
- Explore the English and American literary traditions
- Develop your abilities as a reader and interpreter of literature
- Understand the role of critical perspective in any analytical situation
- Enhance your pleasure in the enjoyment of literature
- Improve your abilities as a writer and editor
"When you think job opportunity, you probably think technology, science, and business. You may think that a professional degree is a singular path to your success. Think again. In this economic situation in which no job is assured, most jobs are scarce, and few employers are waiting for you to knock on their doors, you need more skills than just one. In today's mobile economy, you need a set of skills that you can transfer from job to job, that allows you to be flexible, have options, be ready for the position that is available today, and may exist tomorrow. What investment in learning can provide you with more mobility and flexibility, and subsequently, with better and more fulfilling job opportunities? You may think: technology, science, business. Think again. Think Humanities."
- Arts and Humanities in the 21st Century Workplace
- Why study liberal arts?
- Liberal arts majors that pay the most
- Find out why English majors are the hot new hires.
- Steve Strauss offers several reasons why he prefers to hire English majors, including their critical thinking skills and writing abilities.
- According to The National Association of Colleges and Employers, English was one of the top paying liberal arts majors for new college graduates in 2012, with an average starting salary of $40,200.
- Read more about must-have job skills for 2013.
- Read Michael Bérubé's article "My View: What will you do with an English degree? Plenty."
Liberal Arts Jobs: What They Are and How to Get Them. Peterson's Guides, updated semi-annually.
Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Dept. of Labor, updated annually.