What Can I Do With An English Major?

The answer is simple; you can do almost anything.  Recent graduate Christina R. (’14) explains her own journey to understanding why English matters.


Our graduates have an excellent placement record; 90% of our majors are employed or enrolled in graduate programs within six months of graduation.  Our alumni reveal the diversity of careers for English majors.  Below are just a few of the most common alumni career pathways.

Higher Education Administration

Many of our graduates love to learn, are passionate thinkers and outstanding communicators.  They don’t want to teach, but they love the sort of environment college provides.  Higher Education Administration is an appealing pathway for these graduates.  These students often pair their English major skills with on-campus work experiences in Admissions, Student Life or the Center for Student Opportunity.  After graduation, they step into careers in Admissions, Student Life, International Education, Student Support Services and a variety of other first jobs.  After a few years of work, some even go on for graduate degrees in Higher Education Administration.

Library and Information Science

English majors love books; that goes without saying.  However, they also develop strong skills in communicating about and organizing information into patterns that are meaningful and that make sense to others.  For some of our graduates, a career in library and information science is the right choice.  Some students interested in this pathway pair their degree with work in the Alma College library and after graduation, pursue a graduate degree in library and information science.  Others focus on developing technological skills needed to go on to careers in information management, including supplementing their major with courses in digital rhetoric and new media, or working for the Alma College IT department.

Editing, Professional Writing, and Publishing

Whether the goal is breaking into publishing or developing a career in grant writing, students who want to write and edit for a living have a lot of opportunities.  Students interested in careers in public relations or marketing can pair their degree with campus work in those fields and internship experiences.  Recent alumni have used course experiences like our grant writing class to secure entry level positions in that field.  Other students have made use of off-campus study in Chicago, New York and London as a way to intern with publishing houses and build a network they can use when they graduate. 

Teaching English (K-12)

Students interested in teaching English find our program prepares them well for a career in teaching.  Our graduates find themselves well-prepared, not just for the English subject test, but for the classroom.  Because we value discussion-based classes and creative pedagogy, students are exposed to teaching that engages and that recognizes different learning styles.  We offer opportunities to develop a deeper understanding of teaching writing through writing minor courses, and we encourage future teachers to develop the visual and digital literacy necessary to teach modern learners.

Graduate Studies in English, Film, or Composition

Graduate studies in English is a highly competitive field and we work with students interested in this pathway to ensure they are going to compete well.  We offer students interested in graduate school unique opportunities to work with faculty on their research, gain teaching experience through teaching practicums in composition or introductory literature courses and extensive opportunities to gain experience presenting their own research at local, regional and national conferences while they are still undergraduates.  Whether a student is interested in an M.F.A. in creative writing or a Ph.D. in English or composition, our program has an excellent track record of getting our graduates into strong programs that offer our graduates tuition waivers and teaching assistantships.


Would it surprise you to learn that many English majors end up in careers in fields like Finance?  Why?  English majors tend to have a strong understanding of audience and an ability to translate complex concepts to an audience of non-specialists.  These skills mean that many English majors turn an entry-level position as an office assistant into careers in managing communication, building teams and using their critical and creative abilities to solve problems in the business world.