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What Can You Do with an English Degree?

What Can You Do with an English Degree?

Do you like versatility? Options? If you do, and you also love literature, the written word, critical thinking, and creativity, then English studies could be the perfect fit as a college major. Not only will studying English give you career flexibility, but it will also almost certainly be a career boredom buster by offering variety in your work and the opportunity to use your creative side.

Is an English Degree Worth It?

While some may feel that an English major is a “fluff” degree, nothing could be further from the truth. The corporate world is replete with opportunities to utilize your English skills, so, YES! An English degree is worth it. Excellent communication, both written and verbal, is the cornerstone of getting the right message across in the right tone, whether to employees, customers, stakeholders, or the broader public. Your English knowledge and skills can prove invaluable when creating and making presentations, holding productive meetings, making public appearances, conducting research, marketing a product, creating a social media post, or writing a news story. The broad spectrum of skills developed through English studies will equip you to effectively educate, persuade, inspire, critique, and challenge in any number of settings. The English degree will also teach you to use logic to think through complex problems, assimilate disparate information, and develop creative solutions. And, once done, you’ll have the skills to artfully articulate your ideas.

Skills Gained from an English Degree

So, what specific skills will you gain from Ottawa University’s online English program? Through the higher cognitive analysis of a diverse range of world literature, you will gain sensitivity to multiculturalism and the power of the written word. By looking at issues from multiple viewpoints, you will develop the critical thinking skills many employers are looking for when developing holistic, creative solutions to broad challenges and goals. You will also be able to discern and evaluate themes, plots, characters, and writing styles and appropriate that knowledge to the current human condition and world events. Specific attention is given in the program to such issues as peace, social/environmental justice, and the flexibility to accommodate shifts in canonicity, theory, and pedagogical research, all while supporting individual exploration.

Personal and Professional Career Growth

Throughout your English courses, you will develop your own expressive writing style and abilities by exploring the techniques and impact of successful authors. This will help you identify important personal issues, grow your empathy for others, and discover your own voice, which will help you uniquely meet your employer’s communication needs. The research aspect of the degree reinforces critical thinking skills, as well, and develops resourcefulness in finding and assimilating diverse information. Developing these broad and critical skills will open the door to any number of English degree jobs that will allow you to showcase your personal style.   

Ottawa University’s online programs offer convenience and flexibility for professional career growth. “Deciding to go to school fully remote prior to the pandemic was intimidating, but it showed me that I can rely on myself to get what I need done. My self-motivation has soared in this program, and that will translate into my life and my career after graduation”, said Sydney Phillips ‘21. Sydney shares her exciting career aspirations now that she has completed her online English degree through Ottawa University, “I would love to work at a publishing company, particularly one that makes an effort to share diverse and inclusive stories. I want to be the reason someone finds their next favorite book!”

English Degree Courses

The written, verbal, and critical thinking skills outlined above will be fostered throughout your English classes. Our online English program offers introductory courses, English survey courses, dedicated writing courses, theme-based courses, English seminar courses, and a capstone course. Keep in mind that the upper-level research and criticism requirements of the degree program intentionally prepare students for graduate school and professional careers, as well.

Introductory Courses (one required)

  • Contemporary Literature - Consists of analytical and reflective reading of contemporary American fiction, poetry, and drama.
  • Sports Literature - Provides students with an introduction to a variety of literary works from several genres of sports literature.

English Survey Courses

  • Ancient to Medieval - Engages in primary analysis and response to significant literature from antiquity through the Renaissance.
  • Renaissance to Romantics - Provides students with an introduction to some of the major literary works and ideological movements of the Western world during the 18th and 19th centuries.
  • Victorians to Moderns - Engages the student in primary analysis and response to significant literature from late nineteenth-century Modernism through post-colonial and post-modern configurations.

Dedicated Writing Courses (one required):

  • Advanced Expository Writing – Refines expository writing skills.
  • Creative Writing – Develops skills in writing drama, poetry, and fiction.

Theme-Based Courses (three required)

  • Reading Relationships - Unpacks the theme of human relationships.
  • Baseball Literature - Examines a variety of literary works written about baseball from its inception to the present.
  • Image and Text - Explores how image and text work together to make meaning in contexts such as illustrated literature, film, advertising, visual poetry, performance art, and graphic novels.
  • Environmental Literature - Focuses on the portrayal of physical environments and the connections between these environments and human spheres of influence.
  • Literature of Personal Discovery – Explores questions of identity and self-definition.

English Seminar Courses

  • Literary Criticism - Identifies major trends in the history of critical thought from Plato to Derrida.
  • Seminar in American Literature - Analyzes major American literature.
  • Seminar in British Literature - Analyzes major British literature.

English Capstone Course

  • Integrative Seminar in Criticism - Guides students in the development of an integrative project that demonstrates achievement of the learning outcomes in the English major.

What Can You Do with an English Degree?

If you’re interested in pursuing English studies, you’re probably asking, “What can you do with an English Degree?” Fair question. The truth is, the communication, writing, critical thinking, and research skills you develop as an English major provide an essential foundation for English degree jobs in journalism, publishing, advertising, editing, education, government, law, and more. And with the increasing demand for web-based publications, the employment of salaried writers and editors is expected to grow, including jobs for social media experts, bloggers, and other interactive media contributors. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here are a few of the versatile jobs open to the English major, with most offering the potential to move into management with the right experience and/or education.

  • Technical Writer

Prepare instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily.

  • Social Media Coordinator/Manager

Create, curate, and/or manage content for an organization’s social media sites. 

  • Editor

Review short or long copy to verify facts, check grammar, assess cohesion, rework text, and evaluate print worthiness of documents, manuscripts, articles, and news stories. Managing editors assign articles and manage a writing team.

  • Freelance Writer

Develop a niche or provide broad-based copy to clients. Create a portfolio that showcases your work and implement a marketing strategy for securing jobs to increase your likelihood of succeeding in this highly flexible role.

  • Public Relations Specialist/Manager

Create distinct messaging for an organization in the form of press releases, correspondence, speeches, articles, internal documents, campaigns, publications, and more. Serve as a spokesperson to the media or at events.

  • Proofreader

Ensure documents or manuscripts are error-free before being printed or disseminated to the public.

  • Marketing Specialist

Write marketing copy for advertisements, blogs, fundraising campaigns, social media, infographics, and advertorials, as well as articles or messaging for an array of other marketing materials.

  • Journalist

Write news stories, conduct research, become a disc jockey, work behind the scenes, or anchor the news.

  • Human Resources Generalist

Communicate essential employment information to employees, organize and implement training procedures/programs, and create/maintain company policies, among other duties.

Other Careers for English Majors

What else can you do with an English degree? The skills needed for English degree jobs, such as writing, research, and critical thinking gained from an English program are highly beneficial for pursuing a law degree or for working as a paralegal. With a secondary education concentration, you can use your English degree to teach at the high school level. Or you can earn a master’s degree/Ph.D. to work as an author, a book or movie critic, a publisher, or a college professor.

What is the Salary Outlook for an English Major?

The English degree jobs described above vary widely in their salary ranges. As a baseline, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows writers earning an average of $69,510 in 2021; editors, $63,400; technical writers, $78,060; public relations specialists, $62,800; and journalists in the mid to upper $40s.

Get Ready to Start Your English Career!

It’s time to hone your English skills and turn them into a lucrative career in English. Our enrollment advisors are here to help. Contact us today to get started!

See Also:

Interesting Careers for English Majors

Best Education for a Teacher

Professional Development for Teachers

Posted: 05/19/2022 by OU Online
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