• Undergraduate Careers


  • The Value of an English Degree

    As an English major at DU, you'll immerse yourself in the literary traditions of the English language, exploring texts and cultural concepts across cultural and political borders. While you learn to interpret challenging prose and the intricacies of poetry, you'll also build excellent oral and written communication skills, research skills, and problem-solving skills that you can apply to almost any career field after you graduate.

    In today's fast-paced digital world, the ability to write with clarity and purpose is a rare talent that is highly sought by employers across industries. From publishing and editing to journalism, marketing, consulting, law, nonprofit work and beyond, our students have gone on to thrive as professionals and engaged members of their communities.

    The English program is also a platform from which you can launch graduate-level work. Whether you wish to continue your studies in English or branch out into a master's or doctorate in another field, the skills you learn as an English major will empower you to approach any subject matter with confidence.


    Below are just a few of the skills, adapted from the Modern Language Association, that students acquire in our English program:

    Academic Skills

    Workplace Skills


    Identify, investigate, and creatively solve problems

    Critically engage with, distill, organize, and synthesize large and diverse bodies of information

    Work independently

    Meet deadlines

    Master multiple research methodologies

    Implement feedback from various sources, including supervisors and peers


    Write in multiple genres, across a variety of platforms, and for different audiences

    Engage with colleagues about topics important to the field

    Classroom Learning

    Able to thrive in team-based learning and problem-solving environments

    Communicate effectively in a group


    Below is national data, from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, about professional employment among English majors who graduated in 2018:





    Career Wheel Web Content


    Library Science

    Many students come to the English major because they are bibliophiles—they love books and reading. English majors use books and reading in order to gain a deep understanding of how the written word can structure knowledge, how to use reference materials in order to tackle research, and how to organize this research in informational platforms that are accessible to others: essays, blog posts, websites, and even Twitter. These are also the skills of librarians, who build websites, digitize archives, and manage social media, in addition to managing library collections and keeping abreast of new books, journals, and databases in a specific field. While many librarians work in traditional spaces like schools and universities, others work at museums, hospitals, and even businesses. To learn more about library science and how to become a librarian, see the American Library Association’s Careers page and the University of Denver’s Master’s in Library and Information Science.


    Science Writing / Technical Writing

    As a writing-intensive major, a degree in English prepares you for many writing-related careers, including those in science and technical writing. Science writing can range from public-facing content like newspaper or magazine articles, to reports disseminated within science communities. Key to science writing is the ability to translate complex, highly technical jargon and concepts into easily digestible formats. Double majoring in English and Biology, for example, sets you in good position for entering this field. To learn more, see the National Association of Science Writers.

    Not infrequently, technical writing acts as a stepping stone towards science writing. Technical writers create manuals, installation guides, online help sections, quick reference guides, white papers, and more. They translate complex procedures into simple ones, often using a blend of words and images to communicate ideas. Technical writers work in many sectors, including healthcare, pharmaceuticals, engineering, and finance. Many technical writers major in English, and a double major or minor in a science-related field is a plus. To learn more about technical writing, and employment in this field, see the Society for Technical Communication.


    Environment and Sustainability

    Stories are ecological sites wherein humans and non-humans interact dynamically and expressively, and majoring in English teaches you how to think ethically and cohesively about the world. Many of our courses think explicitly about the relationships between human and non-human communities through topics such as “nature poetry” and “the pastoral,” for example. We know many of our students care deeply about the environment; English courses can be channels for registering our reactions to the landscapes in which we work and can offer new ways of thinking about our place in the biosphere—and advocating for it. When partnered with a Biology major or minor such as Ecology and Biodiversity or a Geography major or minor such as Environmental Science or Sustainability, you will coordinate learning that is invested in exploring ethics alongside scientific method.


    Social Justice

    English majors spend a great deal of time empathizing with people in different circumstances than their own, caring what happens to different characters and seeing the world through their eyes. It is no surprise, then, that many English majors are also passionate about social justice and chose to work on the variety of causes that fall under this umbrella. Often, such work is done for non-profit organizations that address issues like racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, gender equality, homelessness, poverty, and food insecurity. English majors can put their skills to use in the management of these companies, as well as in their communications departments, and are especially valued for their grant-writing abilities. English majors sometimes find employment working in communications for political candidates that address these social justice goals. English partners well, then, with majors or minors in Critical Race and Ethnic Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies. Use your English degree to do important work for any of Colorado’s non-profit organizations.



    As people who spend a great deal of time constructing arguments based on complex and subtle language, English majors have long been recognized as ideal candidates for the legal profession. English or literature ranks within the five most-common degrees students obtain before going to law school, and it ranks within the top five again for degrees that prepare one for the highest LSAT scores. An English degree, then, is an excellent first step towards all the occupations that the legal profession entails, from trial clerks and judges, to all kinds of government work including politicians (more than half of U.S. senators have a law degree) and FBI agents, to various high-ranking jobs of various sorts in the organization structure of corporations or non-profits (like contract administrators and compliance officers). You might continue your education at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, and from there to any number of the major firms or other fulfilling careers where their graduates end up.


    Business and Marketing

    Employers want to hire English majors. In fact, recent studies have found that English majors are some of the most desirable candidates for hiring consultants. The reason for this status is that an English degree trains students in a host of skills that business owners want their employees to have, most importantly the ability to communicate well and the capacity to think creatively. English majors, then, are able to find employment in the communications and human resources divisions of businesses, as well as a host of other business fields, including marketing, management, and user design and experience. Importantly, the skills an English major teaches you are useful not only in traditional business settings, but in newer and emergent companies and fields as well, be it a local family-owned business, a global tech company, or the business of the future. An English degree pairs well, then, with any number of degrees from the Daniels College of Business, including Business Information and Analytics, Management, Marketing, or even Finance (never underestimate how important it is for a money manager to make themselves understood).


    Arts, Media, Entertainment, Publishing

    The creativity and communication skills fostered by the English major go far in the world of arts and media, from journalism to stand-up comedy to video game development. An English major is a brilliant complement to skills like graphic design, photography, or even event planning, helping you develop your own unique style and to back it up in writing. At DU, our alumni and faculty have wide experience in all areas of publishing and can suggest a variety of internships and opportunities. As an undergraduate, you can get involved with Foothills Literary Magazine or the Denver Quarterly, and a postgraduate, you can take advantage of DU’s renowned summer Publishing Institute.

    For those interested in multimedia pursuits, an English major pairs well with work in DU’s innovative and groundbreaking Emergent Digital Practices program, which blends art, design, media, culture, and technology studies. If you’re interested in journalism or in communicating via channels from film to social media and beyond, check out the class offerings and resources (including internship listings) of DU’s Department of Media, Film, and Journalism studies.



    Chances are you came to the English major because of a special teacher, and teaching at all levels is what keeps our shared project of learning and growth going. DU’s English major offers a concentration in English Education for students interested in becoming K-12 teachers. Morgridge College of Education enables our English majors to develop and hone their skills in different aspects of Education like Curriculum Development, Gifted Education, and Early Childhood Learning. Likewise, Mordridge’s dual degree program (BA+MA) enables DU students to complete both degrees in only five years. (Interested students must begin the enrollment process during their sophomore year.)


    Counseling, Psychology, and Social Work

    A degree in English can help you cultivate the empathy and the close-listening and communication skills necessary for compassion-driven careers such as social work and counseling. It pairs well with a minor or double-major in DU’s Department of Psychology and can be followed up with a master’s in social work at DU’s Graduate School of Social Work.



    Have a passion for literature but not sure what to do with it? Want to major in English but interested in a career path not listed here? Need to convince your parents that an English major is a good option for you? English majors go on to work in every field under the sun: famous English majors from other institutions include chef and food writer Samin Nosrat to actress Emma Watson (Brown University) to astronaut Sally Ride (Stanford). There are plenty of resources at DU to help you find a career path that matches your passion, or to help you develop one out of your English major. To get started, reach out to your English advisor or visit the DU Career and Professional Development website to browse resources or set up an appointment 





This portfolio last updated: 28-Jul-2022 9:30 AM