||The degree in English Literature is the most flexible and universal degree a university offers. It conveys the original idea of the university, a course of study that universally refines one’s intelligence. Literature is a discipline that develops in the student the ability to think, to discover, and to process knowledge at a very deep level. It is so much more than reading stories and writing poems.
Jim saw an advertisement for a position as a bank officer trainee and decided to apply. A few days later he received a call from the bank manager informing him that he had been hired and that he had been chosen from over a hundred applicants. Surprised, Jim asked what was the deciding factor. The answer: “your degree in English Literature,” the manager stated. “People who graduate in English are very intelligent and have the necessary skills to learn a variety of tasks quickly.”Why Study Literature and Writing?
The primary reason to study literature is that it is fulfilling, not just during the college years, but throughout life. Walking away with a Literature B.A., students take with them reading and writing skills that will prove a source of entertainment and comfort over the whole of life’s journey.
Graduates in literature and writing are culturally literate: They read the great books; contemplate the great issues; and become acquainted with the world’s great works of art. The writers they read write about life, about the essential ideas that have intrigued human beings from the beginning — Who am I? What is the meaning of life? Is there more to life than I see around Me? Etc. — but also the historical and contemporary issues of different ages. The student of literature gets saturated in these fundamental concerns expressed by the great poets and thinkers throughout time.
What Are A Literature Major’s Career Opportunities?
First, there are the traditional occupations:
What Employers Are Looking For?
- Writing. There are a host of writing possibilities. Some choose to become poets or novelists. Others choose to work in business. Almost every company, the government, and most other organizations need writers to process information and communicate with the world.
- Editing. Like writing, organizations need people who have a feel for language, who understand how to use that which is acceptable, effective, and interesting.
- Teaching. There are always needs for English teachers in preparatory schools, in middle and high schools, in community colleges, at online institutions, and in four-year colleges and universities.
- Other Occupations: Literature majors can be found in the arts, public relations, politics, administration, fundraising, advertising, and broadcasting, to name a few.
Students have always been concerned with connecting their course of study with a job they can begin immediately upon graduation. Surprising to many, the process doesn’t quite work this way. Yes, some can prepare for specific jobs, such as an elementary teacher, and others know someone who will hire them upon graduation, but most students are developing skills for jobs they have yet to conceive. More than half of all graduates end up working their entire lives in occupations different than what they studied in college. Many prepare for a specific job and then have to be re-trained upon hiring, and many others prepare for jobs that won’t exist four years after they entered the university. However, among these inconsistencies is a set of skills desirable to employers, and the majority of them are the hallmarks of the Literature/Writing Program. Here are some of the most desired skills and how they are developed in our major:
- Communication — Reading, writing, and speaking are the most common forms of communication, and all are fostered in the Literature/Writing Program.
- Writing — In literary studies and creative writing, students write in a host of genres and learn to operate by the principle, “all forms of writing improve all other forms of writing.” Learning to write in so many different rhetorical genres prepares a student for any kind of writing task.
- Analyzing — In the study of literature, students analyze a variety of texts: poems, stories, novels, plays, and non-fictional works. They also learn that all forms of life, including historical cultures, every form of discipline, and life itself are texts that are open to analysis. Few majors create the ability to size up a situation that Literature does.
- Critical Thinking — Many disciplines these days are concerned with instilling critical thinking skills in their students. In the study of literature, it is a natural part of the process of how we understand and assimilate of knowledge.
- Research — In the very earliest phase of MUM’s Literature/Writing Program, students learn the primary essentials of research: how to acquire valuable information, how to assimilate research into an essay, and how to document acquired research.
- Passion — Employers want employees who are passionate about their occupation, and it is a commonplace that Literature/Writing majors are passionate people, passionate about studying literature and passionate about creative writing.
- Organizing — Students engage in numerous projects throughout the major that demand good organization, such as structuring essays, doing research, and involvement in a variety of creative writing projects.
- Speaking — Most of the courses in this major have speaking and presentation elements and emphasize the elements of ideal public speaking.
- Self-Motivated — As students progress through the major, they become increasingly self-reliant. Success demands that students take control of the factors that will lead to their desired goals, such as high course grades and honors designation, acquired skills and knowledge, timely graduation, and preparation for graduate school.