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What Can You Do With an English Degree?


What do all these people have in common?

  • Sting, rock musician.
  • Conan O'Brien, talk show host.
  • Steven Spielberg, filmmaker.
  • Michael Eisner, CEO of Disney.
  • Angelo Bartlett Giamatti, former President of Yale University and Commissioner of Major League Baseball.
  • Hank Paulson, former Treasury Secretary.
  • Mitt Romney, politician and entrepreneur.
  • Grant Tinker, television producer and former CEO of NBC.
  • Andrea Jung, former CEO of Avon Cosmetics.
  • Harold Varmus, Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Director of the National Cancer Institute.
  • Bob Woodward, journalist who broke the Watergate scandal.
  • Mario Cuomo, former Governor of New York.
  • Barbara Walters, television journalist, producer, and host.
  • Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court Justice.
  • Anne Mulcahy, former CEO of Xerox.
  • Judy McGrath, former CEO of MTV.
  • Emma Watson, actress.
  • Stephen Fry, actor.
  • James Franco, actor.
  • Joan Rivers, comedian.
  • Martin Scorcese, filmmaker.
  • Renee Zellweger, actress.
  • Jodie Foster, actress and director.
  • Hugh Grant, actor.

Of course you know the answer: they were all English majors.

Lots of students shy away from an English degree, even if they love to read and write, thinking that all it qualifies them for is teaching, writing novels, or starving.

Not true! An English degree gives you the ability to communicate well and think clearly and analytically. People who have these skills are rare, and these skills are in demand everywhere. As you can see from the list above, being an English major doesn't narrow your opportunities. It broadens them.

Are you interested in IT?

You could become an IT Project Manager, planning IT projects within a company and making sure they are executed efficiently, at an average salary of about $85,000.

Or maybe you'd like to be a marketing manager, someone who creates advertising and marketing campaigns for businesses, at salaries ranging from $55,000-$100,000 plus.

How about public relations, with salaries ranging from $50,000-$105,000 and more?

Or you could be a fundraiser, a grant writer, a financial editor, a lawyer, a researcher, a doctor, a copywriter, a story analyst, a novelist, a screenwriter, a television producer...the possibilities are endless.

Below are some links with more information on what kinds of jobs English majors get after they graduate.

  1. Careers After an English Major
  2. Jobs for English Majors
  3. What Can I Do with an English Degree? 20 Jobs for Writers
  4. Best Paying Jobs for English Majors
  5. What Can You Do with an English Literature Degree?

So if you love reading, if you love writing, if you love language, be an English major.