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An English major may not be vocational, but it’s far from a useless degree. In fact, English degrees accounted for a whopping 56,860 conferrals in 2020, making it a top-rated degree program for college students.
Ambitious students who pursue an English degree open many doors to wide-ranging personal and professional opportunities. Those with a passion for reading and writing and the capacity to communicate through various channels may find English programs most suitable for their academic and career goals. Here are five benefits of an English major.
1. Challenging Curriculum
An English curriculum is more than simply writing stories and poems. Students who pursue English in college participate in a challenging courseload that comprises reading and analyzing different texts, researching, and developing and transcribing ideas on paper in an articulate way.
Many colleges allow students to choose an English concentration, such as:
- English literature
- Creative writing
- English Education
- Language composition
Specializing in a specific area of English study provides relevant coursework for students to hone their skills and interests. For instance, students concentrating on language composition will learn how to address different types of audiences in various tones and points of view.
While students can maximize their language composition skills in any field, this curriculum best prepares them for copywriting or marketing roles.
2. Diverse Perspectives
An English major helps students gain diverse perspectives that allow them to understand the world, especially through stories written by underrepresented voices.
In some regard, an English major is a kaleidoscope of human behaviors and emotions, global issues, ideologies, histories, and societal discourse, encouraging people to engage bravely and respectfully amid their differences.
For example, nonfiction and fiction books create space for people to offer insight into what it’s like living with disabilities or how Muslim women genuinely feel about their identity, racism, and feminism.
3. Creative and Critical Thinking
English degree programs foster creative and critical thinking. Like all art forms, literature is subjective and capable of various interpretations.
Many literature courses ask students to find the meaning behind what they’ve read and to share their ideas with others in essays and reviews. Independent analysis and decoding of texts help students further develop out-of-the-box thinking that they can apply to their careers.
4. Transferable Skills
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) highlights the 1,717,220 English degree holders currently employed across several industries, including education, arts and media, leadership positions, law, and business and finance, earning an average of $51,000 annually.
English majors appeal to employers because of their transferable skills. Journalists leverage research, organization, and editing skills to write news articles. Technical writers utilize critical thinking and visualization skills to translate complicated topics into layman’s terms.
Regardless of the type of writing, an English degree can help graduates obtain work across diverse industries. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), 77.5% of employers deem written communication as a top skill in the workplace.
5. Deeper Connections
Empathy means different things to different people, from feeling sympathetic or pity for another person to demonstrating weakness. Yet, empathy is critical for understanding others and responding to situations appropriately.
A recent study found that 42% of Americans feel empathy has declined since 2020, with 73% in agreement that the world be better if people were more empathetic.
Along with developing diverse perspectives and critical thinking, English majors learn empathy from literature. With enhanced empathy, students with English degrees can empathize with societies about current world issues and bring about positive change through the development of sound solutions.
An English Major Can Transform You
In addition to nurturing desirable skill sets for the workplace, majoring in English can transform you personally. When you study English, you cultivate natural curiosity and an affinity for finding meaning in unlikely places.