6 Reasons You Should Become an English Major

Man studying alone on his Macbook at the library showing bunch of books behind him.

Flickr user Chris Devers

It’s not uncommon to hear academics advocating for college freshman to pursue STEM degrees, claiming that these skills are the most marketable in our economy. But despite all the changes in media, education, and business, the skills that come with an English degree are both necessary and desired. So, no, you don’t have to teach if you don’t want to (but there’s nothing wrong with it if you do!) Read on to find out some benefits to an English major that you probably haven’t considered yet.

A Jack of All Trades

By reading a variety of literature from different authors, you’re gaining a bigger perspective of the world. You’re also learning about a variety of subjects all at once: history and religion, politics and science, art and business, and everything in between. With this expanded worldview, you’ll have all the tools you need to contribute expertise to a variety of fields.

Great Wanderlust Potential

If you want to combine a love for teaching with a love for travel, an English degree will give you the chance to make a living traveling the world. You can teach ESL to students in countries across the globe. And as one of the most sought-after languages, you’ll have no trouble finding programs that are in need of your stellar English skills.

A Path to Grad School

Many English majors go on to attain a Master’s degree or Ph.D., but you don’t have to limit yourself to literature or writing; there are many other graduate programs you can take, such as law, business, or history. Critical analysis is a key skill learned in an undergraduate English program, so you can, for example, dissect complex legal cases or brainstorm ad/copy for marketing projects. Or you can always go a more traditional route and take on a journalism or communications focus.

The Evolution of Media at Your Fingertips

Whether it’s a print copy of a novel that has creases in the spine, or a vast library of eBooks all on the convenience of your mobile phone, it’s clear that changes in technology correlate to changes in consumption of media. As an English major, you’ll understand the shifts and trends of different kinds of media and be able to comfortably navigate these different avenues of artistic expression.

Communication is in High Demand

Likewise, with the surge of social media and mobile app usage, the nature of communications is constantly evolving. For this reason, many tech companies are taking English majors’ expertise in communications seriously and hiring them to consult on methods of staying on top of trends that keep their business running.

In fact, major government agencies like the NSA and tech companies like Google are becoming more aggressive in their search for those holding English degrees, hoping to utilize their oral and written communication skills to analyze current aspects of technology and forecast future developments.

Become the Writer You Always Dreamed to Be

Many people write, but few are gifted writers. Whether you’re writing full-length novels, business memos for a large corporation, legal briefs for a high-profile court case, or lesson plans for your students, the writing skills learned in a college English program will serve you well in virtually any career.

In most cases, you’ll be assigned multiple short papers in each class per semester, with a capstone paper in your senior year to wrap up everything you’ve learned. By the time you graduate, you’ll have written hundreds of pages of prose and analysis, so no matter which job you end up in, you’ll be able to pick up quickly on the jargon and styles required to communicate within that field.

While there is still a stigma attached to humanities majors, much of this is based on unfounded bias. From attending law school to teaching English as a Second Language, using the numerous skills learned in this field will be productive in both your personal and professional lives.