We’ve all heard it a hundred times.
“What are you going to do with an English degree?”
“What are you going to do with a history degree?”
Or “What are you going to do with an art degree?”
Frankly, regardless of what degree you get, you’ll get asked this a dozen times. It often feels like people want to pigeon-hole you based on your major before you even get out the door.
This new series is designed to highlight what you can do with your degree–especially outside the box jobs and sectors that may not be the “obvious answer” for what you can do with your degree.
In this article, we’re featuring five English majors–none of whom are pursuing teaching like so many people expect. Stay tuned for features about history majors, political science majors, and more. If you would like to be featured in an upcoming piece of the series, please fill out this form.
I am an English major still pursuing my degree, but I am accepted into medical school and intend to become a doctor for the military. Although it may have required less additional courses on top of my pre-med and Biology minor requisites to earn a degree relating to science, I decided to study English. Not only do I love my classes and the opportunity to read so often, I have come to realize how truly interdependent language and medicine are. Many of my science professors and the doctors I have spoken with encouraged my decision, for no matter how well one studies medicine and no matter how much science one learns, if a doctor cannot simply explain the importance of their prescriptions or persuade their patients to actually follow any recommendations, what good is the medicine?
I was an English lit major in college and seriously thought about going into education, but had teachers tell me it would be better to do a straight English major and get my teaching cert after undergrad. Instead of pursuing education, I now work in marketing/PR and have specialized knowledge in SEO. I first worked at a reputation management company and am now at a more traditional marketing agency. While I don’t get to talk/write about novels as much as I’d like, my English degree (and liberal arts education) has made me a great writer and communicator, which is incredibly beneficial in marketing. I can read more technical articles or look at a client’s website in an industry I’m unfamiliar with and utilize my research and reading comprehension skills to write high-quality content!
I was an English major in college, and I am currently a freelance editor and copywriter. The countless assigned essays and timed essay questions placed throughout my degree gave me a wealth of experience and tools that I need to thrive in a work environment that requires quality, speed, and creativity. There is a huge demand for these types of positions: Many businesses need someone to write or polish their newsletters, write amazing social media posts, and contact potential clients. With that in mind, I do wish that I had taken more business and marketing courses than I did, since they are such valuable tools for standing out and excelling in this field.
I’m a librarian now, but I worked as a journalist through graduate school–both of which use my degree but in different ways. While I don’t use my immense knowledge of Jane Austen novels that frequently, being an English major made me a better writer, which is invaluable. It also made me write quickly–which is an absolute necessity in today’s workplace. Being assigned three classic novels a week also taught me to read very quickly, which helps when I’m on deadline and need to read an entire government report on my “lunch break.”
I’m an English major and I work as managing editor for a non-profit company. While my role is transitioning from simply editing to managing marketing projects, my English degree is still helpful because it exposed me to literature and helped me hone putting my thoughts into words on paper. I even got to take an editing course as an elective for my degree (which I thoroughly enjoyed and still use to this day).