The College of Liberal Arts & Sciences offers a BA and a BGS, as well as a MA, MFA, and a PhD in English. The study of English language and literature fosters self-knowledge and cultural understanding. The department teaches students to write clearly and effectively and to read good literature with understanding and pleasure. It offers courses in three general divisions. (1) Literature: Through reading, discussion, and writing, the student develops powers of appreciation and criticism. (2) Language: Courses describe and explain the historical development of the English language and its present structure. They also may introduce the student to works written in earlier forms of the language. (3) Writing: Through reading, discussion, and practice, the student learns to write informative and imaginative prose. Courses in the writing of fiction, poetry, playwriting, screenwriting, and nonfiction prose are offered.
Sample of Related Skills
- Read a range of literature in English and exhibit a knowledge of genres, literary history, and literary criticism
- Read texts closely and think critically, with openness, confidence, and acuity – understanding that literary texts are complex and resist simple interpretation
- Write with clarity and compose well-argued essays
- Know how to conduct productive research in literary studies, equipped with a basic understanding of the major approaches to literary criticism
- Experience literature as a powerful way of knowing about cultures and the lived life
Popular Career Paths
Advertising & Public Relations: Concerns communicating the message of certain products, programs, and organizations and generally requires creativity and strong communication skills.
Business Administration & Management: Allows one to utilize strong communication skills to effectively manage employees, develop correspondence, write business memos and proposals, and more.
Teaching: Requires capabilities beyond knowing and loving the subject, such as curriculum development, classroom management, lesson plan development, and classroom modification.
Technical Writing: Includes taking complex material and making it more user-friendly and/or writing documents, manuals, books, etc. for those who are already familiar with the material.
Writing, Editing, & Publishing: Involves careers in newspapers and magazines, book publishing, freelancing, arts and entertainment, and radio and television.
Explore More Career Paths
- 101 Best Websites for Writers: Jobs and Markets - helpful resources for writers
- Desert Sage Book Editor - step-by-step instructions on how English majors can work as freelance book editors
- Glossary of Writing Careers - 50 jobs related to writing; also includes a job board
- Ten Things to Do with an English Degree - information and videos on career ideas for English majors
- The Author's Guild - resources including a Model Book Contract and Writer's Legal Guide
- Writers Guild of America - tools and resources for writers, including information on various fields of writing
- Writing Careers for the 21st Century - information on up-and-coming careers in writing
Jobs to Consider
Places to Seek Employment
Educational Institutions, Especially in Higher Education
Corporate Companies: HR/Communications Divisions
Newspapers and Magazines
Advertising, Marketing, & Public Relations Firms
Local, State, & Federal Government Agencies
View specific employers by state.
- Identify your areas of interest in English, literature, and writing so you can focus your academics and experiences toward these fields.
- Become familiar with the required professional qualifications associated with careers that interest you (i.e., advanced degrees, licensure and/or certifications).
- Gain direct experience within the areas that interest you most through research projects, independent study, internships, part-time jobs, student organization involvement, or volunteering.
- Register for HireJayhawks.com and subscribe to the Internship Newsletter to receive automated weekly emails with specific internship information.
- Consider joining a professional organization related to your area of interest in English, and, if possible, attend local and/or regional conferences to make connections with professionals working in your field.
- Earn a minor or take additional coursework outside your major when relevant to your career goals.
- Maintain a strong GPA if you are considering pursuing graduate or professional school.
- Consider getting involved with a student organization at KU related to your area of interest, such as: Students Tutoring for Literacy, Jayhawk Writers on Campus, Kiosk Magazine, and Bleeding Kansas Horror Club.
- Develop your resume and tailor it to your area(s) of interest: sample resume (pdf).
Job and Internship Search Resources
- Bookjobs.com - job and internship resources, general information on the world of publishing, an informational video, and more
- Ed(2010) Whisper Jobs - job and internship listings, as well as salary and contact information for various companies in the publishing and journalism industries.
- Free Fashion Internships- Listings of postings by companies seeking fashion interns, as well as other fashion industry advice
- Internships-USA - internships in media
- Kansas Arts Commission - list of jobs and internships in the arts found under the "resources" tab; also helpful resources for poets under the "programs" tab
- Kansas Press Association - journalism position announcements in the state of Kansas
- Magazine Publishers of America - job and internship banks for careers in the magazine industry
- StudentFreelance.com - list of freelance opportunities for students only
- Techwritingjobs.com - job listings and tips for careers in technical writing