From the category archives:

English Majors

Liberal Arts Degree = Hot Ticket

by Dr Davis on February 3, 2016

“The ‘Useless’ Liberal Arts Degree Has Become Tech’s Hottest Ticket” from Forbes says:

“Studying philosophy taught me two things,” says Butterfield, sitting in his office in San Francisco’s South of Market district, a neighborhood almost entirely dedicated to the cult of coding. “I learned how to write really clearly. I learned how to follow an argument all the way down, which is invaluable in running meetings. And when I studied the history of science, I learned about the ways that everyone believes something is true–like the old notion of some kind of ether in the air propagating gravitational forces–until they realized that it wasn’t true.”

And then there is this:
“Add up the jobs held by people who majored in psychology, history, gender studies and the like, and they quickly surpass the totals for engineering and computer science.”


Marketing English Majors

by Dr Davis on February 2, 2016

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article called “Feeding English Majors in the 21st Century.”

Not taking skills for granted became a mantra for the course, spurred in part by Katharine Brooks’s guide, You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path From Chaos to Career. Former English majors gave talks — through class visits or via Skype — on their careers, which helped associate the major with a narrative of professional plenitude rather than scarcity.

We had real-world examples in class, too. The director of a local nonprofit health foundation talked about the challenges of getting social-service agencies to collaborate, and credited her literary training with teaching her to locate seemingly “disparate, unrelated stories within a larger story.”


Why Have English Majors?

by Dr Davis on August 27, 2015

The New Yorker has an article entitled “Why Teach English?” that answers the question of why English majors exist. It’s an interesting read overall. But I found this section particularly intriguing.

No civilization we think worth studying, or whose relics we think worth visiting, existed without what amounts to an English department—texts that mattered, people who argued about them as if they mattered, and a sense of shame among the wealthy if they couldn’t talk about them, at least a little, too. It’s what we call civilization.

Even if we read books and talk about them for four years, and then do something else more obviously remunerative, it won’t be time wasted. We need the humanities not because they will produce shrewder entrepreneurs or kinder C.E.O.s but because, as that first professor said, they help us enjoy life more and endure it better. The reason we need the humanities is because we’re human. That’s enough.


Wildly Successful English Majors

by Dr Davis on August 26, 2015

Business Insider has a post on famous, successful people with English majors.

The list includes business tycoon Mitt Romney and a former governor of New York.

It also includes Sting, the former CEO of NBC, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Barbara Walters, and the seventh commissioner of Major League Baseball.

The most inspiring, to me anyway, is Steven Spielberg.

Thanks to my colleague Al for pointing out this.


English Major Jobs: Fun List

by Dr Davis on August 25, 2015

Sell Out Your Soul, the blog of a PhD in humanities who quit academia, has a post of 35 Awesome Jobs for English Majors. They are, in fact, awesome jobs and was last updated in 2015.

Jobs include:
Search Engine Marketing
Direct Response Copywriting
Public Relations
Corporate Blogger
Policy Analyst


English Degree = Opportunity

by Dr Davis on August 24, 2015

A Washington Post article from ten years ago shows that the question of what to do with an English major has been around for several years and that there are more varied answers than teach. Perhaps our students are sometimes focused on what they already know. They’ve been in school for 16 years, so of course they should teach.

The article introduces different people who graduated with English majors and have done other jobs.

Dinsmore sold his English degree and teaching experience to hiring managers as an advantage, not a hindrance. “Although I admitted that it was a different field, I described the ways in which my teaching skills would translate to that of computer support tech: patience, ability to put myself in the user’s shoes, comfortable speaking in front of crowds.”


Best-Paying Jobs for English Majors

by Dr Davis on August 23, 2015, in the career advice section, has an article entitled “Best-Paying Jobs for English Majors.”

10) Technical Writer
Median Salary: $49,100

9) Marketing Communications Manager
Median Salary: $50,500

8) Managing Editor
Median Salary: $53,000

7) Marketing Director
Median Salary: $53,200

6) Human Resources Generalist
Median Salary: $54,000

5) Nonprofit Executive Director
Median Salary: $55,200

4) Web Developer
Median Salary: $58,500

3) Proposal Manager
Median Salary: $65,000

2) IT Project Manager
Median Salary: $67,000

1) Sales Account Manager
Median Salary: $67,300

One of my English majors in my business and professional writing class researched this topic for his long report and we’ve used the handout he constructed in our welcome packages for freshmen and transfer English majors ever since.


English Majors’ Careers

by Dr Davis on August 22, 2015

Vox Education has an article updated on June 2, 2015 that discusses what folks of different liberal arts majors do with their degrees.

careers of English majors

I think a lot of folks who are English majors think those are the only possible careers.


Medical School Lures English Majors

by Dr Davis on August 21, 2015

NPR on May 27, 2015 has a story by Julie Rovner on a medical school revamping requirements to lure English majors.

Dr. David Muller is Mount Sinai’s dean for medical education. One wall of his cluttered office is a massive whiteboard covered with to-do tasks and memorable quotations. One quote reads: “Science is the foundation of an excellent medical education, but a well-rounded humanist is best suited to make the most of that education.”

At first it is about Mount Sinai’s own program. Eventually, however, they get to the relevant parts for non-Mount Sinai students:

The effort has worked so well, in fact, that Mount Sinai is expanding it, opening it to students in any major from any college or university. Eventually half the class will be admitted via a slightly reconfigured program, which has a new name: FlexMed.