You may decide to study English because you love to read, write, think, discuss, and/or explore. You may pick English because you love your high school English teachers and want to help students the way your teachers helped you. You may even even pick the major because you love grammar!
There are many reasons why you could LOVE English, but love of language is often central to an experience with English—you have a craving to tell a story or express a feeling; a desire to make an argument; a passion for an author who describes the world in a way that “nails it” or that presents it in an invigorating, new way; an urge to understand why language has evolved the way it has.
A passion for the subject has never been difficult to develop, but in a world focusing more on jobs and the vocational function of education, one concern that has arisen for folks who love English (and especially their parents) is: what can you do with an English major?
It is a common misconception that all English majors must want to teach English or that they are destined to write novels. As we explain on these web pages, a wonderful feature of the English degree is that it enables you to study something you love, whether it’s ancient rhetoric, Victorian novels, or fiction writing, AND positions you to work in the world in a variety of interesting professions.
An English major isn’t a ticket straight into a profession the way an accounting degree, for example, generally leads directly to a job as…an accountant. However, an English major prepares you for almost any career because you graduate with the ability to read well, write well, think well, and relate well to others.
By reading and writing about literature, you study the human condition, and can develop empathy to learn how to work well with others. You foster critical thinking and problem-solving skills that enable you to learn how to learn and consequently, to adapt and thrive in the workplace. At WKU, our curriculum builds in discussions of career planning, opportunities for internships, and mentoring from our fantastic faculty, which will help you bridge the gap between your studies and an eventual job. Read up on our alumni to get an idea of possible career directions.
An English major can definitely help you get a job, but, more than that, it will also help you develop a meaningful life. Our program will help you find, interpret, and create meaning in your life. You will think big thoughts, explore interesting ideas and cultures, see how you fit into the world, express your own ideas in compelling ways, tell your own stories, and chart your own experience.