A Degree in English

English studies are excellent preparation for any pursuit that requires breadth of mind, creative thinking and well-developed communication skills.

Professional schools, such as medical, business, and law, often encourage undergraduates to major in English as they complete their pre-professional courses.  The B.A. in English can provide an excellent foundation for many advanced-degree programs.



Transferable Skills

An English degree offers the top skills employers seek, including:

  • Leadership 
  • Ability to work in a team 
  • Communication skills (written, verbal) 
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Flexibility/adaptability
  • Technical skills
  • Interpersonal skills 
  • Organizational ability

Source: Job Outlook 2016, National Association of Colleges and Employers


Some Careers in English

CareerMedian SalaryMarket Growth
Media and Communication Worker$45,220 9 – 13% 
Human Resources Specialists$58,350 5 – 8% 
Poets, Lyricists, Creative Writers$60,250 2 – 4% 
English Language and Literature Teachers, Postssecondary (advanced degree)$61,990 9 – 13% 
Marketing Specialists$62,150 14% + 
Nonprofit/Community Services Management$63,530 9 – 13%
Technical Writers$70,240 9 – 13%
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers$104,140 5 – 8% 
Lawyers (with professional degree)$157,700 5 – 8% 
Medicine (advanced degree)$187,200+ 9 – 13%

Source: O*NET Online, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment & Training Administration

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Graduate Study

This degree also provides a solid foundation for graduate study in:

  • Law
  • Business
  • Medicine
  • Many other advanced graduate programs

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Notable People With an English Major

  • Harold Varmus (Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Director of the National Cancer Institute)
  • B.F. Skinner (behavioral psychologist, National Medal of Science) and Benjamin Spock (pediatrician, best-selling child care author)
  • Rachel Carson (marine biologist, conservationist, Presidential Medal of Freedom)
  • Toni Morrison (Nobel Prize), Rita Dove (Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize), Stephen King, Tom Clancy, etc.
  • Steven Spielberg (Hollywood director, producer, screenwriter)
  • Emma Watson (Actress, Activist)
  • Anne Mulcahy and Andrea Jung (former CEO’s of Xerox and Avon)
  • Angelo Bartlet Giamatti (Yale University President, Major League Baseball Commissioner)  
  • Grant Tinker, Judy McGrath, and Michael Eisner (TV network and studio CEO's)
  • Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, Gretchen Morgenson, and WSU alum Helen Thomas (nationally recognized journalists)
  • Mario Cuomo (former governor of New York)
  • Sally Ride (physicist, astronaut, first woman in space) 
  • John Paul Stevens and Clarence Thomas (U.S. Supreme Court Justices)
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