The study of English language and literature is a diverse and historied one. From the classical greats of Shakespeare and Chaucer to more modern day masters, students pursuing a degree in English will read and write critical papers about numerous influential works that have lasted (or will last) throughout the ages. As a versatile major with a plethora of focuses, English develops and sharpens critical thinking skills, enhances reading and writing talents, and instills a great appreciation for the written word.
As can be expected, classes for the English major have a heavy focus on literature and writing. In addition, however, many English classes also center around history, culture, and various forms of the writing art such as poetry. Courses can include: Victorian literature, modern American authors, creative writing, British literature before 1900, nonfiction writing, and linguistics. Students tend to work at or submit work to literary magazines, write lengthy critical analysis papers, and might choose to focus on a particular author, era, or genre. Students attracted to the major tend to have a passion for reading and writing, manage time well, and are creative thinkers.
An English degree is a gateway to a multitude of career opportunities. With polished skills in writing, communication, and close reading, graduates can look forward to diverse careers such as: literary agents, technical writers, editors, public relations, business managers, novelists, poets, and TV/film writers, among countless others. Whether it’s through entertainment, fine arts, education, business, or other communication fields, English graduates have a strong hand in spreading the power and influence of the written word.
English fun fact: Shakespeare’s epitaph was a curse for anyone who dared disturb his grave, it reads: “Good friend for Jesus’ sake forbear / To dig the dust enclosed here: / Blest be the man that spares these stones, / And curst be he that moves my bones.”
Celebrities who studied English: Emma Watson, actress; Stephen Fry, actor, writer, TV host; Hugh Dancy, actor; Michael Eisner, former CEO of Disney; Jodie Foster, actress; Sally Ride, physicist, astronaut.
The average starting salary for a graduate with a bachelor's degree in English Language and Literature, General is $40,400