Why Major in English?
Why study English? Perhaps you were recently inspired by a literature class, or you see yourself as a lifetime reader. Perhaps you love writing – poetry, fiction, blogs, movie reviews – or you’ve wondered how to find a career where ideas are shared, taught, valued, and debated.
If these or other questions have ever crossed your mind, you may have wondered what a major or minor in English can do for you.
A Future with Options: What You Can Do with English
Studying English prepares you for a wide range of professions in law, publishing, writing, web design, teaching, management, consulting, and the arts. Most importantly, the degree in English gives you mastery of the skills needed to have options in a competitive world, for that second or third career.
The competencies and capacities you develop as an English major—creativity, linguistic precision, analytical and persuasive writing, interpretive dexterity, and empathy—are in demand in the 21st century. Quite simply, in the information age, you must be able to write and communicate. A major or minor in English says to future employers that you are an excellent reader—of texts and of people—and that you can communicate ideas with clarity, accuracy, and verve.
The degree at SCSU is specifically designed to help you focus on your options. You can choose among three areas of specialization – Literature, Creative Writing, and Professional Writing – or pursue a degree in Secondary Education (for future middle and high school teachers). Moreover, our small classes are designed to give you a solid grounding in the history of ideas as well as “practical” training for your career.
A Degree for the Information Age: The Facts
“But can I really get a job with an English major?”
Yes. Not only can you get a job, but a degree in English is far more competitive than often perceived, as indicated by a growing body of research about what employers are looking for in an “information” age almost entirely devoted to writing, communication, and informed reading.
"Why we need the liberal arts," for facts and first-hand information on the real financial value of a humanities degree.
The Huffington Post's "In Defense Of The 'Impractical' English Major" for discussions of the many benefits—practical and economic as well as more intangible—of college-level English study.
Visit the Dear English Major website for extensive information on jobs and career prospects in English, including interviews with English graduates now working in a wide array of different businesses, industries, services, and government and not-for-profit agencies.
An Examined Life: What You’ll Find at Southern
English offers more than just preparation for a job. At Southern, we focus on helping you develop your whole life as reader, thinker, citizen, and human being. Study of the English language and its literature puts you in the middle of a vital conversation with cultures, societies, and histories around the globe. It gives you profound insight into the depths of human psychology, motives, emotions, and thoughts. And it equips you to productively understand lives and experiences far removed from your own accustomed frames of reference, as well as to understand yourself and your own experiences more deeply and richly.
In any given semester, you’ll meet fellow English majors studying Chaucer alongside Writing for the Web, or the English Renaissance along with courses in the Victorian Novel and Fiction Writing, or the history of Comics and Graphic Novels along with the History of the English Language.
Beyond classes, we have activities and student organizations that help you explore your vocation, or calling, as an English major. Those of us who are poets and fiction writers participate in the regular readings and publication of Folio, our undergraduate creative writing journal. Those who love literary history, film, and talking about books get involved with BookMarks, the English student club which hosts parties, movie nights, etc. And those who want to turn literature into community outreach get involved with Sigma Tau Delta, the English honor society, which hosts social gatherings and service events.
To see what some of our students are saying and doing, take a look at The Swoop! (The English Department Bi-Annual Newsletter) or watch one of the student-produced “What is English?” videos below.
Students Envision their English Degrees