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What Is an English Major?

Well, let's see. It depends. Do you just mean someone who likes to read, likes to write, and wants either to enjoy both or to make a living at reading or writing? Do you mean someone with the Literature Option or with the Professional Writing Option? Or do you mean just someone smart enough to look for a major that will land an inside job with no heavy lifting?

What Can a Major Do?

Hey, it's almost like what can't a major do? Sure, there are some pretty technical things some majors learn, but anybody can learn technical details!

A major can go into advertising, business management, education (both teaching and administration!), government, politics, and writing of many kinds--freelance (ah, the time to think!), journalism, military (yup), science, industry, and even television and film (Michael Eisner is an English major).

Of course, some of these mean you might want to choose a minor carefully or (why not?) a second major, but the English major is what makes you able to take on all kinds of jobs. After all, you learn to think, not just to memorize, you learn to read critically, not just to skim mechanically, and you learn to write effectively, not just to plop down some words.

And if you want, you can go on to graduate school in maybe more fields than any other undergraduate major will prepare you for:

  • British Literature
  • American Literature
  • Rhetoric & Composition
  • Technical & Professional Writing
  • American Studies
  • Comparative Literature
  • Law
  • Education
  • Library Science
  • Religious Studies
  • Political Science
  • Administration
  • Business
  • Classics
  • History

Where should you stop? Nowhere. Whew. And why should you stop? As you start out and continue, you keep learning new stuff all the time, and that will lead you into many new lands of imagination and experience.

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