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What do Michael Eisner (Disney CEO), Barbara Walters (journalist), Conan O’Brian (television host), Grant Tinker (NBC), Mario Cuomo (governor), Ann Mulcahy (Xerox CEO), Sting (singer), Mitt Romney (politician), and Steven Spielberg (director) have in common? That’s right—they were all English majors!
English majors go on to an incredibly diverse set of jobs. Their ability to read and analyze complex materials, to communicate precisely to diverse audiences, and to write effective prose in different genres sets English majors apart. While these skills can be assets in many careers, English majors’ two noteworthy characteristics distinguish them in the job market: creativity and empathy. These dispositions are valued in almost every field.
Although a true education is more than getting job skills, increasingly students and parents are concerned about job prospects. Often, people think the only jobs English majors qualify for is English teachers, but that is hardly the case.
While academia organizes on disciplines, the job market searches on job skills, and the English major boasts impressive qualifications for excellent and available jobs. The English majors’ skill set is not the literature they know and love (although cultural capital always helps careers), but the ways that they have learned to research, to analyze, to structure, to find patterns, to construct and disassemble meaning, to synthesize, to empathize, to organize, to argue, to persuade, to communicate, to situate, to style, to design, to innovate, and to create. Here’s but a few things English majors do with these skills:
WRITERS: Ever think about what you read on the web? It’s all written communication—the arena of the English major! Writers are needed for news (journalists), for technical publications, for science, for grants, for social media, for copywriting, for creative pieces, for scripts, and for freelance stories.
If you have a predilection for a field you want to write in, marry your English major with a minor in the field you intend to write in—especially if science or technical writing is your interest. Remember precision in language is of central importance in these fields.
RESEARCHERS: English majors know how to research, and how to do it well. This skill is required in almost any business. Market research, literature research, media research, medical research, educational research, trend research—English majors not only get the data, but they read the patterns.
MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT: Like the web, much of what appears in our media-driven world is (gasp!) scripted… and someone has to write it, plan for it, design it, and bring it into being. Your ability as a creator of unique individual ideas (and your understanding of how these ideas have developed in the past) distinguishes the English major from many other majors that value repetition of known elements over individual innovation. Plus, you understand narratives, and most media relies on stories.
The English major with technical skills plays a central role here. Marry your BS degree with a minor in Computer Science, Communications, Art (graphics), or the subject you want to create media about, and your credentials become that much stronger. Get an internship and try your hand at developing websites, marketing strategies, public relations campaigns, or creating computer game narratives. At MU, we’ll give you the versatility you need to make it happen.
BUSINESS, FINANCE, AND GOVERNMENT
Analytical, research, critical thinking, and communications skills make the English major a valued resource in both big corporations and small businesses. Whether you are in marketing, public relations, web development, or human resource management, English skills are an asset. In addition, our government needs skilled and thoughtful researchers, analysts, speech writers, campaign managers, and decision makers. Whether working in the local, state or Federal government, English majors make a difference to our communities’ futures.
If you are considering a job in business or finance, try to minor in Business or Economics. If you are thinking about a career in public service, consider a minor in government or International Studies, and definitely look at The Harrisburg Internship Semester.
A number of forward=thinking future professionals use the English major as a springboard for advanced degrees.
Interested in law? The English major creates a foundation of analytical and rhetorical skills, with complex reading strategies, that enable students to tackle the dense prose of our legal communities. Minor in government or economics or a discipline related to the type of law you hope to practice. Focus on precise reading and interpretation skills. Consider The Harrisburg Internship Semester.
Interested in medical school? The movement in the medical humanities makes English a sound choice for a double major to help you get into med school. Med schools now want their future doctors to understand and empathize with their patients more—and with English comes empathy, as reading about different situations and experiences broadens your understanding of people’s perceptions.
Last but not least--if you want to teach, we have the best school in PA for future Language/Communications/English Arts teachers. We are Middle States Accredited and PDE certified, plus you’ll get the latest in education trends. And then we’ll give you a year of training in the classroom with our PDS model of student teaching.
IF you major in English Education, your minor will be Education, and we have strategically selected those courses for your professional success and accreditation. We teach you not only those skills of the English major mentioned above, but how to teach those skills as well.