Odyssey Class

What Major Publications Have to Say About the English Major


It's abundantly clear that the English major provides crucial skills for a variety of jobs:

“… interpreting and analyzing complex texts may be one of the best ways to develop critical thinking skills across disciplines, from English to science, law, and business." 

Forbes says that a major in the humanities is a “wise financial investment.”

“Humanities majors have taken their lumps on many fronts recently. Their defenders often respond with appeals to the ways in which the humanities add to the richness of life in nonmonetary ways. That is certainly true, but the humanities have been selling themselves short. In addition to adding invaluably to our culture, humanities majors are a wise financial investment as well.”

Meanwhile, according to The Atlantic, the job numbers for humanities majors are better than you might think:

“… humanities students aren't actually faring that terribly on the market. That's according to the most recent survey of the college graduate labor market by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce. As of 2010-2011, the most recent year with available data, recent humanities and liberal arts majors had 9 percent unemployment. That's right about on par with students in computer and math fields (9.1 percent), psychology and social work (8.8 percent), and the social sciences (10.3 percent).” 

In fact, the National Association of Colleges and Employers says the situation is improving faster than in many other fields:

The full-time job offer rate for graduating seniors who applied for a job has improved for the Class of 2014, according to results of NACE’s 2014 Student Survey…. Surprisingly, the improvement appears to be totally located among students majoring in some of the weakest academic areas emerging from the recession, the liberal arts and sciences and education.”

How could this be true? Well, in part because English majors have the "ability to construct and deconstruct complex narratives," as Jarod Anderson writes:

"People understand the world through stories. This concept is important to marketing and to making the case to potential donors in a nonprofit context, but it’s more than that. Every business, every occupation needs to own and tell its own story. Moreover, defining and understanding any organization’s story is just the beginning. The story then needs to be told through a variety of lenses depending on the intended audience. Studying English gives us the tools to deal with these complex and essential issues (and much more)."

Take it from Steve Strauss, "best-selling author, USA TODAY columnist, [and] leading small-business expert," writing in The Huffington Post:

"I love English majors. I love how smart they are. I love their intellectual curiosity. And I love their bold choice for a major. Most of all, I love to hire them."