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, in 2012 The Wall Street Journal reported that communication, the ability to clearly articulate your point of view, would 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.
- “As advancing technology takes over more of the world’s left-brain work, the skills of deep human interaction, of leadership, are increasingly in demand. What a liberal arts education gives you – critical thinking, clear communication, the lessons of Homer – is growing more valuable, not less,” says Geoff Colvin, senior editor at Fortune.
- WSJ Small Business Expert David Kalt says, “A well-rounded liberal arts degree establishes a foundation of critical thinking. Critical thinkers can accomplish anything…A critical thinker is a self-learning machine that is not constrained by memorizing commands or syntax.”
- “You wouldn’t believe how great a field business is for English majors. You have to be creative, and, unlike those who actually graduate with a business degree, you have no preconceived notion of what business should be. It’s a much easier transition than for those who have an idea already set in stone in their minds.” – Chris Shuptrine in The Pioneer
- Forbes: That ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech’s Hottest Ticket
- Washington Post: Tech companies are hiring more liberal-arts majors than you think
- 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.
- 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.”
- Read and listen to the NPR story: “A Top Medical School Revamps Requirements to Lure English 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
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.