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Who Majors in English?

Many people wrongly assume that the typical English major has already read all or most of the important literature available in print and that he or she already writes at an advanced level.

These are largely false assumptions.

Often the student entering a bachelor's program in English has not read or written that much more than students who chose other majors. This makes sense when you consider that students entering engineering often know little or nothing about engineering when they first begin their program. The same is true for most other disciplines: psychology, anthropology, nursing, physical therapy, physics, and so on.

However, students who choose to major in English do share some common characteristics:

  • Intelligent: English majors are bright and usually rank above average in intelligence.
  • Thoughtful: English majors are the type of people who think about life, culture, and their role in the world.
  • Dedicated: English majors tend to put in the time it takes to be successful. They seldom look for ways to get out of work and often do more than is expected.
  • Interested: English majors are interested in the world around them.
  • Verbal: English majors are often talkers. They frequently engage in conversation and discussion and use debate as a means to better understand their world.
  • Looking for a Rich Life: Although an English degree can lead to many lucrative careers, English majors tend to be people who are more concerned with shaping a rich life for themselves than getting rich in life.

Whether English majors eventually become writers, editors, governors, astronauts, educators, lawyers, journalists, or any of the hundreds of other occupations to which English majors are drawn, these students tend to be self-motivating, independent thinkers with a deep interest in life and a strong desire to understand themselves and their role in the world.

Click here to return to the main English program page.