Many articles have cropped up lately, some of which were highlighted here, that praise the English major, promising lucrative career opportunities after graduation. Most of these articles focus on an English major’s ability to write and the careers best suited to this ability (marketing, public relations, etc). Two recent articles, however, focus not just on writing prowess, but on an English major’s ability to deal with complex material, citing this as vital to future success.
In his article “The Value of a Liberal Arts Education in Today’s Job Market” Dr. George B. Forsythe states that, while perhaps broader than other college disciplines, “a liberal arts education produces lifelong learners,” thus allowing “students to excel in critical thinking.” Forsythe goes on to list the abilities required for workplace success: critical thinking, effective communication, integration of knowledge, and global awareness, all of which are gained through a typical liberal arts education.
Similarly, in the article “My View: What Will You Do With an English Degree? Plenty” Professor Michael Bérubé describes two highly successful men, both with Master’s degrees in English, and attributes their success to their choice of study. The first man, Martin Dempsey, studied Joseph Conrad and William Butler Yeats in college and went on to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Likewise, Harold Varmus became the director of the National Cancer Institute, the National Institutes of Health, and the Nobel Laureate after concentrating on Anglo-Saxon literature in college. Bérubé states that by immersing themselves “in dealing with complex material that requires intense concentration… [These men] honed their intellectual skills,” which became useful “anywhere there is thinking to be done.”
What both authors strive to communicate is this: Less important than what English majors learn are the kinds of learning the study of English cultivates. By dealing with complex and difficult material throughout college, English majors hone their abilities to comprehend and communicate future complex concepts. These skills apply to various other disciplines, many of which provide numerous fruitful career paths. Yet another way majoring in English can help you achieve big career goals.
Read the full articles here: