Careers

If you are considering a major in English you are probably attracted to the program because you enjoy literature, the study of language and writing. You may wonder, however, whether English is a practical field of study. What future prospects does it open to you? There are, in fact, many jobs for which a student with an undergraduate English major may qualify. 

Here are some career possibilities for which you can prepare as an English major at Oakland University. Note that you can supplement your major with courses, concentrations and minors in other fields (described to you) to gain useful and versatile preprofessional skills.

Advertising
Students who are interested in an advertising career should consider the possibility of combining an English major with courses in film, the visual arts, journalism, psychology and business administration. Take several writing courses, and concentrate on developing imagination through literature and the arts.

Business
An English major with a concentration in Computer and Information Science or Management gives students a humanistic background and practical knowledge and makes it possible to apply for entry level positions in business and industry. Business executives tell us they need this combination. With the CIS or Management concentrations, English courses in analytical and persuasive writing and business and technical writing are essential.

Community Services
Opportunities in human service are increasing. Jobs are available, for example, in senior citizen projects, in community education programs and in local library outreach programs. An English major with emphasis on writing and a concentration in social services (including some courses in gerontology) should offer preprofessional training for community service. For work with children, speech and drama courses are particularly useful. Insights gained from the study of literature provide valuable perspectives for people working in all kinds of service occupations. If you are considering a college major in English you are probably attracted to the program because you enjoy literature, the study of language and writing. You may wonder, however, whether English is a practical field of study. What future prospects does it open to you? There are, in fact, many jobs for which a student with an undergraduate English major may qualify. Here are some career possibilities for which you can prepare as an English major at Oakland University. Note that you can supplement your major with courses, concentrations and minors in other fields (described to you) to gain useful and versatile preprofessional skills.

Law and Government
Although law schools require no specific combination of undergraduate courses, a major in English has traditionally provided access to legal careers because of the analytical, verbal, and research skills literary study develops. Pre-law students should supplement the major program with courses in philosophy (especially logic), political science and history. Students interested in a variety of federal, state or local governmental careers will find English a useful area of study. They should choose courses in writing - especially advanced and business writing. Oakland University offers concentrations in American studies and in public administration, as well as a Pre-Law concentration to help students prepare for careers in law and government.

Teaching
Students who wish to teach at the high school, college or university level should consult with a departmental adviser on effective curricular programs to prepare them for this field.

The Arts
Students interested in the fine arts, especially theatre and film, can supplement the English major with a minor in theatre or a concentration in film. They should consider the business aspects of the arts (scheduling, promotion and publicity) as well as performance among their career options.

Writing, Publishing and Journalism
A traditionally popular career choice for English majors has been publishing work in a variety of forms: technical and professional writing for business and industry; magazine or newspaper writing and editing; editorial work for book publishers; and publications work for many businesses, hospitals, and public and private institutions which use newsletters, pamphlets or journals to communicate with employees and the public. Careers in book sales and marketing also appeal to people who want to connect their interests in literature with job possibilities. Students considering such careers should read widely, take some advanced writing courses, and try to gain some writing experience working for university publications. Courses in accounting and management can provide useful background while experience with the visual arts improves employment opportunities.