CAREER PATHS FOR ENGLISH MAJORS
The English Major is a highly versatile degree that prepares students for a diverse range of professional careers, including law, academia, teaching, publishing, editing, copywriting, journalism, television, communications, development, marketing, business, nonprofit work, and so on. As an English Major, you become distinctively adept at writing, critical and creative thinking, perceptive reading, analysis, and argumentation. Many employers and law and business school admissions committees know this, showing preference for applicants with a degree in English. Because English Majors read literature written by authors from a range of cultural perspectives, they also learn to approach our complex world with nuance, empathy, and a sense of fairness and inclusion. English Majors are poised to succeed in many kinds of careers and to bring rich perspectives to the professional fields they enter.
1. Know what your skills are and how to describe them:
Writing with precision, clarity, complexity, nuance
Writing for different kinds of audiences
Argumentation and logic
Navigating multiple viewpoints
Engaging in productive analytical discussion with others
Summarizing others’ ideas
Crafting nuanced responses to others’ ideas
Synthesizing multiple sources
Reading closely and perceptively
Reading difficult texts
Approaching texts through multiple perspectives
Recognizing patterns and anomalies
Analyzing textual details
Identifying the significance of textual details
Recognizing how cultural systems and institutions work
2. Resources to help you learn about and explore career paths:
We encourage you to make an appointment with Career Services early in your time at Tulane so you can begin exploring career possibilities.
Afterwords is an interview series for, by, and about students of literature. Resources include understanding job options, Networking, Writing Resumes & Cover Letters, Interviewing, as well as Volunteer Services for those who recently completed degrees in literature.
TAYLOR Your Life (SISE 4820/6820) is an eight-week, one-credit career development course offered each semester by the Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking. The course applies methods of design thinking to the process of career development. Students learn to ideate and prototype possible career paths and to enter the community in targeted ways that facilitate career development.
Talk to the Director of Undergraduate Studies or to the Center for Public Service about internship possibilities in a range of fields. Internships provide an important experience that can introduce you to particular kinds of jobs and to specific organizations, giving you the chance to explore the relationship of your major to the workplace. Internships are also often gateways to successful career paths: as an intern, you’re likely to gain skills and experience that will appeal to employers, or you may make valuable contacts with individuals or your sponsoring organization. (Many internships can receive 3 ENLS credits and count toward the Major.)
English Department Career Events for Majors
Watch for career-development events sponsored by the English Department and designed especially for English Majors. These might include guest speakers from various fields, workshops, alumni panels, or lunches/dinners with alumni.
Informational interviews are excellent practice for exploring and understanding careers. An informational interview is not a job interview; rather, it’s an interview you initiate, not to ask for a job but to obtain information about specific kinds of careers and organizations. To learn how to schedule and conduct an informational interview, make an appointment with Career Services.
Informational Interviews with Tulane English Department Alumni
Contact the Director of Undergraduate Studies if you’d like to contact Tulane English Department Alumni to conduct an informational interview. We have alumni working in a wide range of careers, and many of them have expressed enthusiasm about being in contact with our majors.
3. Our Alumni
Many of our alumni have gone on to law school, medical school, or business school. Others have pursued PhDs in English or related fields, or MFAs in Creative Writing or Journalism. Our alumni are currently doctoral students in English at such universities as Stanford, UC Irvine, Emory, Rice, and Stony Brook, and our Creative Writing students have gone on for MFAs at Columbia, Brown, NYU, Washington University in St. Louis, Florida State, and so on. Our alums have been admitted to Masters programs in Journalism at Columbia, NYU, Boston University, Northwestern, and Emerson, among others. Our alums have a variety of careers in teaching, writing, editing, publishing, and journalism, and many have successfully pursued careers in a wide range of other fields in which writing, creativity, and critical thinking are crucial—business, marketing, development, project management, communications, nonprofit work, and so on.
Below is a list of what some of our own alumni are doing:
Other job titles of our alumni