The English Major and Where It Can Take You


Majoring in English will help you become a terrific reader, researcher, and writer. It will give you the skills that are in demand in every field, and open up a wide variety of career paths.

At Mississippi State, we see English as a broad field that encompasses the study of literature, language, and writing in all of its forms. You will have the opportunity to take courses such as Form and Theory of Poetry, Shakespeare, Principles of Legal Writing, Women in Literature, Creative Writing, Studies in Post-Colonial Literature, History of the English Language, Teaching English as a Second Language, and Writing Pedagogy. The result is a flexible degree that emphasizes the interconnections between literature, language, and writing. If you want to learn about the specific requirements for the degree, you can find our majors handbook here. If you want to see some sample classes, here is a list of featured classes from this current semester.

When thinking about your future, we encourage you to visit our careers page. We have also assembled a group of career mentors, professionals who have taken their English degree into a wide variety of fields, to advise you during your time at Mississippi State. You can also read about individual alumni and where their degree has taken them here.

Here are some of the most common career paths that English majors take, although this just a small sample:

Technical and Business Writing: this involves everything from user manuals, to official documentation, to business-to-business marketing reports.

Editing: Working as an editorial assistant or copyeditor (freelance or in-house).

Advertising/Public Relations: this can include writing press releases or a corporate blog to developing wholesale public relations and branding strategies.

Social Media Manager: of Fortune 500 companies, 62% have Twitter accounts, and 58% have Facebook pages. English majors are ideal people to manage a corporation’s ongoing communication in social media.

Corporate Training, Educational Administration, or Literacy Training: many English majors, especially those with graduate work or training in teaching, go on to work in the administration of educational institutions, or in providing specific training in writing in-house for corporations.

Website Development: this can include producing website from scratch, or managing the publication and generation of information as a form of public relations for a corporation or organization.

Government and International Affairs: this can include working as a communications officer, a legislative aid, or even as a lobbyist.

Museums, Galleries, and Public Humanities Activities: this can involve many of the communications and press release responsibilities of a public relations job, but it can also include grant and proposal writing.

Non-Profit Organizations: dedicate your career to following through on your social values; your work may include public relations and communication, events planning, or grant and proposal writing.

Law: with a focus on close reading and lots of practice writing, English makes an ideal pre-law degree.

Researcher: this can involve everything from market research for businesses to publications researcher (who might research story and script ideas). Additional areas of work can include research work in libraries and government agencies and even with search engine marketing and optimization.

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