College of Arts & Sciences English

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Advantages of an English Degree

Some Reasons to Consider English

  • English majors read literature. Did you ever enjoy "losing yourself" in a good book? As an English major, you will get to do so all the time, with opportunities to take classes in fiction, drama, or poetry, ranging from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Virginia Woolf and Toni Morrison, from Emily Dickinson and Nathaniel Hawthorne to Louise Erdrich and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. What's more, you will get to explore regional authors (like Kathleen Norris, Willa Cather, and Kent Meyers) and specialized topics in literature (such as postmodernism or American Indian literature).
  • English majors are passionate about language, literature, and life in discussions with their classmates and teachers, becoming part of a lively community that cares about the written word.
  • English majors write. They write essays, keep web logs and journals, and, for those with a creative bent, write poetry, fiction, and plays. If you want to strengthen your writing skills, discover yourself as a writer, or work toward getting published, an English major is a natural path to those goals.
  • The English major hones any student's ability to think critically and write well--a great foundation for students contemplating law school, politics, medical school, and a host of other graduate or professional programs.
  • Employers want people who can communicate effectively. After surveying 120 major American corporations, the National Commission on Writing--founded by the College Board--concluded that "writing is a 'threshold skill' for both employment and promotion, particularly for salaried [professional] employees" and that "[p]eople who cannot write and communicate clearly will not be hired and are unlikely to last long enough to be considered for promotion."
  • You can combine an English major with one of USD's many other majors, giving you a competitive edge. For instance, our English majors have doubled with political science, art, business, biology, psychology, Spanish, or computer science. When you're competing for a job or a spot at a graduate school, a double major that includes English offers a powerful advantage. Other students who want to teach have chosen English Education as a major.
  • English faculty inspire and mentor students like you. English professors share current thinking based on their own professional scholarship and creative work, and help you prepare to present your work at IdeaFest and other conferences.
  • English majors travel the world teaching and writing. English majors from USD have taught English in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Uzbekistan, and Venezuela, gathering material to include in their writing while experiencing the world.
  • English majors tend to "think outside the box" when it comes to the careers they choose and the lives they lead.