Forgotten Majors Series: What Can I Do with an English Degree?

by
Student, English Education, Purdue University

Feb   2012

Fri

17

This 10-part series will look at those forgotten majors: the ones that do not seem to have job fairs, the ones that make people ask “What will you do with that?” and the ones that find students saying “I like the subject, but what do I do with my degree now?”

English Major

Likes reading.

Enjoys writing.

Has a knack for grammar and proper writing.

Longs to spend time analyzing literature.

If this describes you, you might think that an English degree is the right major for you, but you might not know what all you can do with an English degree! As someone who is working towards an English degree, I found myself asking the same question. I thought that my only option was to add on a teaching endorsement so that I could teach English. Although I love teaching, I started to think I wasn’t so sure about going into the profession. Reconsidering my choice, I started to research what I could do with my English degree just in case. Wow! I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could do so much more than I ever expected with this degree.

Editor

Naturally, English majors have an enhanced understanding of the English language and how to write properly. English majors can use this enhanced knowledge to land a job as an editor with a publishing company or magazine.

Technical writer

English majors who also have a desire to do something in the science or technology fields might find technical writing to be their calling. Most technology companies and big companies staff several copywriters and editors to write and edit instruction manuals, training materials, and correspondences between the company and its clients. This type of writing gives students a chance to write for companies that have a background in a variety of fields because so many diverse companies utilize technical writers.

Radio/TV/journalism

English majors naturally have the skills needed to peruse a job in journalism as they already have the writing component mastered. Also, they are often the type of people who are able to research and interact with people to obtain facts and information about stories. This type of work also allows English majors who are sociable to have a chance to meet people from a variety of backgrounds.

Lawyer

A career in law is often an extended path that English majors take once they have obtained their English degree. Law students must be able to write a logical argument and provoke emotions from the judge and jury to win their case. With a solid ability to express themselves, English majors often find careers in law to be a rewarding way to give back to society and help others.

Public relations

A career in public relations requires written and oral skills in communication. Public relations positions provide English majors with an opportunity to interact with businesses and partners by increasing the publicity and awareness for the company.

Skills English majors have:

  • Enhanced oral and written communication
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Ability to interact and communicate with others
  • Ability to effectively spell, write, and edit material

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About Megan Sietsma

Megan Sietsma

Megan Sietsma is a student at Purdue University, pursuing a degree in English education with a minor in Linguistics and Reading, and plans to graduate in May 2012. Megan also currently works as a Technical Writer and Research Assistant with Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE) at Purdue University. Megan stays active on campus and in the community through her involvement with Purdue University Dance Marathon, Junior Achievement, and the Greater Lafayette Holocaust Remembrance Conference. Outside of school and work, Megan enjoys reading, creative writing, watching movies, and spending time with her family and friends.

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