Why English?

Why should you study Professional Writing & English Studies at Trine, or for that matter, study English anywhere? There are a lot of reasons, but here we’ve tried to answer some of the most common questions from both students and parents.

Who should major in English?

Anyone. Everyone. You. Seriously, as a discipline English tends to attract a diverse student population. Some were class Valedictorians in high school, while others struggled outside of their English classes. The core requirements are an interest in reading and writing. If you despise both, you will not likely be a happy major.

What job can I get with an English degree?

This is a common concern among both parents and students, as an English degree doesn’t align with an obvious job title. Journalism majors become journalists and accounting majors become accountants. What does an English major do?

The obvious answer is to teach English. However, job opportunities extend far beyond just the field of academia to include business document editors, political speechwriters, journalists, advertising copywriters, and publishing professionals.

Sounds great, but will I be able to find employment?

While it is impossible for any program to guarantee long-term employment for a graduate, English majors are not at a disadvantage. In fact, contrary to popular myth, English majors find employment at rates right in line with most other majors including math, psychology, and other social sciences.

But will I be able to pay my bills?

Again, it is impossible for any program to guarantee a future level of income. However, students who major in the liberal arts are, on average, quite competitive with their classmates in other majors. Straight out of college liberal arts majors tend to make slightly more than those in science and math, but less than those in engineering and other pre-professional fields. By age 56 to 60, however, that difference has been reversed, and liberal arts major make slightly more than those who majored in pre-professional fields. What this means is that a liberal arts degree is a long-term investment. This investment is strengthened by a graduate degree, which this program is designed specifically to help you achieve.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — Occupational Employment and Wages (May 2012)
Position ~ Salary Range*
Technical Writer $38 – 101,000
Web or Copy Writer $28 – 118,000
Publicist $30 – 100,000
Editor $30 – 100,000
English Professor $32 – 115,000
High School English Teacher $37 – 85,000
Communication Director $30 – 100,000
Social Media Specialist $30 – 100,000
* The average salary for each of these careers is usually in the middle of this range.

Do employers value an English degree on a résumé?

Yes, and perhaps more than you’d expect. Employers often seek out liberal arts (English, music, history, etc.) majors. Employers frequently prize skills that are developed in English courses, such as communication, flexibility, and critical thinking, over specific technical training.

What are these “skills” an English major develops?

Besides those previously mentioned, an English degree can help to expand your worldview and teach you to do critical analysis of the world around you. What does that practically mean? It means that reading regularly actually improves the connectivity of your mind. It makes you a more empathetic person who is more capable of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. It also makes you better able to assess a situation, see problems and opportunities from multiple perspectives, choose a clear path forward, and communicate that to others. No business would turn that down. In addition, reading has been linked to better sleep, less stress, and a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

I know the famous business leaders of the world, but did anyone ever get famous studying English?

Sitting in a room alone reading novels from 200 years ago? No, that’s not likely a way to make your high school reunion jealous. However, the skills previously mentioned are developed through that reading and writing, and once developed they lead to a wide variety of career paths. Who was an English major? Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, for one. Not a political person? What about famed television interviewer Barbara Walters? Throw into that mix Oscar winning director Steven Spielberg, former baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti, and former Disney CEO Michael Eisner.