Putting Your Degree to Work

Following an address to faculty, students, and alumni at M.U.W. on October 15, 2004, Bill Bradley (Olympic gold medallist, NBA star, former senator and candidate for the presidential nomination) answered this question posed by a student: “What advice do you have for those of us who want to go into politics?” His response started this way: “Learn how to write an English sentence.” After talking about the importance of writing skills, he went on to say that aspiring politicians should learn the history of their country and have a grasp of its imaginative literature—its poetry, fiction, and drama—as these convey the goals and ideals of its people. As Bradley’s response indicates, an English major’s skills and knowledge are in demand everywhere.

With such a broad range of possibilities before you, you might be having trouble choosing among them, but there are lots of resources to help you decide how to put your English major to work for you.

The Career Center on campus has excellent computer resources to help you assess your own skills and interests and to help you research fields you don’t know much about yet.
The Arts and Sciences liaison is Cassandra Latimer, Assistant Director of the Center; her expertise is in helping students, including students with humanities degrees, to research job possibilities.

The English Advising Office can also help. We can often put you in touch with M.S.U. English professors and others who have experience in career areas that interest you, and we have several books you can read in the office or check out:

As you get ready to make use of these resources, give some thought to which of the skills you have developed as an English major you would like to make the center of your career: Writing? Reading? Analysis? Research? Or is it all about the literature for you? Whatever your answer to that question, the following will help you get started thinking about the possibilities:

If you’re not drawn to any of these possibilities, remember not to rule anything out-- English majors find jobs everywhere:

Contact person: Dr. Thomas Anderson,
Director of Undergraduate Studies

written by Dr. Kelly Marsh