If you love to curl up with a good book, then majoring in English might be for you. But there's a lot more to studying English than just reading novels, short stories, plays, and poetry by English-speaking writers. You'll have to examine what you read and come up with opinions about it. For example, you might have to explain a book's main theme or show what it reveals about cultural stereotypes. You'll then have to share your views in class discussions and in papers.
One of the great things about majoring in English is that you can bring your personal interests into your studies. For instance, you can focus on the literature of a certain time period, location, or author.
English majors read, discuss, and write about the literature and culture of English-speaking people. They also learn about the history, structure, and use of the English language.
SOME GENERAL INFORMATION FOR XXXXXXX MAJORS FROM COLLEGEBOARD.COM
Are You Ready To...?
Write twenty-five-page papers
Read literary criticism
Discuss your ideas
Compare different ways of interpreting the same work
Manage your time well so you can complete all the reading and writing you are assigned
Get practical experience interning, editing or writing for the school newspaper or literary journal, or peer tutoring
Attend readings and participate in other related activities
Consider studying Joyce in Dublin, Shakespeare in Cambridge, or another author in his own country
It Helps to Be ...
A person who loves to read different types of texts and who enjoys analyzing this material.
A person with strong writing and speaking skills.
A person who is creative and who likes to work independently will be a good fit.
You'll probably begin your studies by taking surveys of British and American literature. These courses often cover large stretches of literary history. For example, you may take a class that examines American literature up to 1900 or British literature up to 1700. Expect short papers and a final exam. A typical final involves matching quotes to their authors or scenes to their texts, responding to short-answer questions, and writing a short essay.
Alvernia College provides LINKS relevant to English majors.
Career Services at the Univesity of North Carolina at Wilmington provides a list of links of interest to English majors (go to CAREER SERVICES and then clink on their Related Web Sites.
SO YOU WANT TO GO TO GRAD SCHOOL [IN ENGLISH]? The author of this June 3, 2003 article from the Chronicle of Higher Education attempts to discourage undergraduates from attempting to earn a Ph.D. in English. The author notes that, "The Modern Language Association's own data -- very conservative and upbeat in my opinion -- indicate that only about one in five newly-admitted graduate students in English will eventually become tenure-track professors.
SOME SKILLS AND VALUES APPROPRIATE FOR THOSE MAJORING IN ENGLISH
Alvernia College (Reading, Pennsylvania), after quickly answering the question What Can I Do with a Major in English, lists Skills, Values, Leisure Activities, and Strategies (for increasing your career options. some SKILLS AND VALUES appropriate for those majoring in English.
The question WHAT CAN I DO WITH A MAJOR IN ENGLISH is answered quite well by the University of Texas Career Exploration Center with "a list of job titles and job descriptions of entry-level positions for which graduates with a B.A. in English might be hired."
The Mississippi State University English Department answers the question WHO WOULD MAJOR IN ENGLISH with a list of English majors who were successful as a writer or successfully made non-traditional use of their English degree or degrees.
CAREER OPPORTUNITIES WITH AN UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE IN ENGLISH
The Texas Christian University (TCU) English Department gives a list of "FAMOUS PEOPLE" (rock stars, movie stars, athletic stars, and other economic parasites) who majored in English. Perhaps better role models can be found.