Department of English, Philosophy and Modern Languages

English Program

Why choose to major in English?

There are any number of good and valid reasons to pursue a degree in the liberal arts: the desire to read and write, desire to get a solid liberal arts education, and the desire to have a career. From a purely career aspect, a degree in English most fundamentally teaches students how to think critically and write effectively. Because English majors have spent years analyzing the written word, they are adept at analyzing problems and seeing multiple points of view. Furthermore, because they frequently write papers and give presentations, English majors have highly-prized skills in verbal and written communications.

In addition, the study of literature develops an appreciation for language, culture, and values. 

Academic rigor and career preparation aside, perhaps the most compelling reason to choose a major in English is because you enjoy reading and/or writing and want to spend your college years pursuing those activities.

What’s the program like?

The Department of English offers a major in English, the option of a teaching certificate in secondary English instruction, and a minor in English.

The degree in English is a highly customizable degree and allows students to pursue individual interests and goals. English majors may choose an emphasis in writing, literature, or linguistics. In addition, all English majors take 25 credits of required coursework to provide a foundation in the language, literary criticism, and literature. Additionally, students are urged to pursue the study of a foreign language.

What can I expect to learn?

English majors by necessity spend a good deal of their time reading and writing, so you can expect to become a more thorough and thoughtful reader, as well as more analytical, creative, and interesting writer. You can also expect to build your skills in:

  • Influencing and persuading
  • Clarifying ideas
  • Problem solving
  • Comparing interpretations
  • Thinking independently
  • Creative writing
  • Seeing multiple, alternative points of view
  • Giving oral presentations
  • Developing hypotheses
  • Summarizing ideas
  • Editing

Advantages of English at MSUB

  • Committed faculty
  • Small classes—the average upper-division English class enrolls fewer than 15 students, which provides close interaction with faculty 
  • Opportunities for scholarships—each of the past several years, the English Department has awarded over $4000 in scholarships to English majors
  • Individual advising
  • Cooperative educational opportunities
  • Opportunities for student participation—Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, The Rook
  • Strong preparation for graduate school and careers
  • An enriching liberal arts educatio

Careers for English Majors

Thinking and writing are two critical keys to success in the job market and have broad application in any number of career paths, including:

  • Business
  • Marketing
  • Journalism
  • Non-profit
  • Education
  • Administration
  • Public relations
  • Education
  • Public service/administration
  • Technical writing
  • Seminary/ministry
  • Law
  • International business/relations
  • Preparation for an advanced degree

Yeah, but how do I get a job?

The key for English majors on the job market is to use those critical analysis skills that they have honed as English majors to understand what the hiring organization desires and which problems the organization needs solved and then to figure out how their skills can solve those problems.

English majors also would do well to invest in an internship experience during college to “try out” different careers and gain valuable experience in different industries.


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