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The Compass: The Newsletter of the College of Humanities & Social Sciences
To download past issues of CHSS newsletters, please visit our publications section.

What Can You Do With a Degree in English?

About two-thirds of our majors are working towards certification in elementary or secondary education; the remaining third are interested in pursuing other career options. Some plan to attend graduate school with the object of acquiring a professional degree (M.A., Ph.D., etc.). The majority, however, go directly into the job market, putting their skills in research, writing, and critical thinking to work in a wide range of careers.

Possible Career Paths
Many of our majors pursue work related to the English major in teaching, publishing, creative writing, and journalism. One recent graduate, for example, wrote a successful memoir; another is now an executive editor for several medical publications; and a third taught and ultimately became headmaster at a private boarding school for boys with learning disabilities in northern New England.

Our majors have also done well in careers we never could have foreseen, pursuing opportunities that came about through their own unique interests. One graduate, for example, works for the national chapter of his fraternity; another works for a national rugby association; a third, an avid skydiver, sells software that enables skydivers to stream videos of themselves tandem skydiving online; and a fourth, who interned with fashion designer Betsey Johnson while at Rowan, worked in the New York City fashion world after graduation and is now employed at a public relations firm in San Francisco.

How to Prepare for a Specific Career Path
It is crucial that you start planning your future as soon as you enter the English Department. You should:

  • Consult frequently with an academic advisor in the department, and plan your major with possible careers in mind. This is especially crucial if you plan to attend graduate school, as many programs require specific curricular work (e.g. foreign languages) beyond or within your major. Also, you may wish to consider a double major, minor, or interdisciplinary concentration (e.g. journalism) to help you prepare for a specific career. Check Rowan's online catalogue for our list of majors and concentrations.
  • Visit the Career Management Center on campus. Rowan University's Career Management Center, located on the second floor of Savitz Hall, offers a wide array of resources for students and alumni. The CMC provides individual career counseling, as well as a series of workshops devoted to starting career searches, writing job letters and resumes, and interviewing effectively. It is equipped with a reference library of books, internship and job listings, and vocational biographies, and it coordinates a year-long schedule of on-campus interviews as well as hosting Career Fairs, Recruitment Weeks, Federal Government Day, and Teacher Job Fairs.
  • Consider internships. You should consider pursuing at least one and ideally two internships during your time at Rowan. These internships may be paid or unpaid, and may be taken for academic credit with the assistance of a faculty advisor. Most students plan internships for the summer. You can research internship possibilities in the Career Management Center or find your own through independent research or personal contacts. Students in past internships have worked for political candidates, volunteered in museums and historical archives, and written for local newspapers.
  • Take advantage of opportunities on campus. Extracurricular activities, together with your academic training, can help prepare you for a specific career. If you plan to become a writer or journalist, for example, make sure to get involved in campus publications (e.g. The Whit, Avant, Venue) while you are at Rowan.

Further resources:

Useful books (some of which are available in the Career Management Center library):
Great Jobs for English Majors by Julie DeGalan and Stephen Lambert
Careers for Writers and Others Who Have a Way with Words by Robert W. Bly
Careers for Bookworms and Other Literary Types, 3d edition, by Marjorie Eberts
What Can You Do With a Major in English: Real People, Real Jobs, Real Rewards by Shelley O’Hara
Careers in Publishing by Blythe Camenson
Great Jobs for Liberal Arts Majors by Blythe Camenson.

Other Websites:
Internships at National Public Radio
Jobs with non-profit organizations (like Teach for America)

Other English Major Career Advice Websites: