Every young person expecting to enroll in a University program goes through a moment of doubt and fear, wondering which program is best for them and trying to understand whether majoring in said program will help them have a fulfilling professional career.
While some programs are known for being a big hit in the corporate environment, that doesn't mean that graduates from less traditional academic backgrounds can't have the opportunity of a fulfilling career.
Such is the case of English majors. A common misconception is that English majors all turn out to be teachers in the end, with low paying wages and not a lot of space for growth. But we are here to tell you that is not true! People who choose to pursue an English degree have a wide spectrum of professional possibilities and can have successful careers.
Do you want to know more? Keep reading!
Do you know how you can prepare to study an English major?
What is the English Curriculum in University?
To understand the types of jobs that English majors can aspire to, we first need to look at the courses English majors go through in university. What you study in school determines a lot of the skillset you will have once you leave school and the type of jobs you can aspire to.
While it is true that curriculums are quite different in various universities we will share the syllabus from two of the best Canadian institutions to give you an idea of what you can expect when pursuing your English degree. One of them if more literature based while the other one has a communications and media approach.
York University is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario. It is Canada's third-largest university and has a Bachelor in Arts (BA) in English which is managed by the Department of English. Their curriculum includes the following courses:
- An Introduction to Literary Study
- A Writer's Introduction to Literary Forms
- Literature and Law
- Literature and Health
- Literature and Business
- The Literary Imagination
- Literary Theory I
- Race: Writing & Rewriting a Powerful Idea (Race: Theory and Literature)
- Prose Narrative
- The Short Story
- Horror and Terror: Variations on Gothic
- Coming of Age in Fiction
- Apocalyptic Science Fiction
- Children's Literature, 1590-1900
- Comics and Cartoons I
- The English Detective Novel
- Canadian Literature
- African American Literature
- Introduction to Postcolonial Literatures
- Introduction to British Literature
- Introduction to World Literature
- Introduction to Creative Writing
- Psychoanalysis and Approaches to Literature
- Diaspora Theory
- Healing Fiction: Literature and Medicine
- Filming Literature
- Dada, Surrealism, and Early Avant-Garde Movements
- Women in Literature: A Comparative Analysis
- Literature of the Fantastic
- Travel Writing in English
- The Art of the Personal Essay
- Literary Nonfiction
- Modern Drama
- Modern Canadian Fiction
- Indigenous People, Legend and Memory
- American Poetry
- American Literature: 20th Century
- Harlem Renaissance
- Powers of Persuasion: Argument and Prose
- Contemporary Literature
- Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama
- 18th-Century Novel
- Creative Non-fiction and Mixed Genre
- Studies in Literary Theory: Cultural Studies
- Food and Writing
- Frye and McLuhan
- Feminist Theory
- Queer Theory
- Literature and Philosophy
- Environmental Justice Literature
- Masculinity in American Film and Fiction
- Poetry by Women
- The Rise of the Novel
- Plays and Counterplays
- The Theory and Practice of Autobiography
- City Texts and Textual Cities
- Gay Male Literature
- Canadian Graphic Novel
Ryerson University is a public research university located in Toronto, Ontario, that has an English BA managed by the Department of English. Their courses are as follows:
- Literatures Across Borders
- Intro to Non-Fiction
- Critical Thinking I
- Academic Writing and Research
- Approaches to English Research (second year)
- Literary and Cultural Theory (third year)
- Practicum: Writing in the Arts
- Making Digital Work
- Writing Poetry
- Writing Fiction
- Grammar Principles for Editors
- Making Little Magazines
- Literature and Culture
- Romantic Explorations
- Research Design and Qualitative Methods (second year)
- Studies in Word and Image
- Film and Literature
- Popular Literatures
- Studies in Visual Cultures
- Shakespeare and Performance
- Narrative in a Digital Age
- Gender and Sex in Literature and Culture
- Literatures of Exile and Migration
- Urban Literatures
- Literature and Colonization
- American Literatures
- Special Topics in American Literatures
- Literatures of the Caribbean
- Women's Texts, Global Contexts
- Film/Lit: Middle East, North Africa
- Literatures of Asia and its Diasporas
- Indigenous World View
- Canadian Literatures
- Special Topics in Canadian Literatures
- Decolonizing Literature
As you can see, even if both programs are quite similar, the Ryerson program has a more practical approach to the digital world and even introduces some courses like magazine editing. This means that it is important to research the course curriculum when choosing the university where you will do your English degree since the approach can be quite different and result in very different practical knowledge for students such as you.
English Major Jobs
Sometimes people are under the impression that English majors only job opportunities are in the world of teaching and academia. This couldn't be further from the truth. People who major in English in university can pursue careers in writing, publishing, communications, and education. They often work in the media, schools, financial institutions, healthcare centres, and a wide variety of businesses.
- Marketing and Communications
- Content and Project Specialist
- Technical Writing
- Digital Publishing
- Website designer
- Business administrator
- Public Relations specialist
- Print journalist
- TV or radio broadcaster
- Editor or publisher
- Speech writer
- Technical writer
- English teacher
- Literacy program administrator
- Communications consultant
- Advertising executive
- Public servant
You can also work in areas such as the civil service, the non-profit sector, and the business world.
Likewise, with the surge of social media and mobile app usage, the nature of communications is constantly evolving. This is why many tech companies are taking English majors’ expertise in communications seriously and hiring them to consult on methods of staying on top of trends that keep their business running.
On the other hand, if you choose to keep studying, a degree in English can also be used as a stepping-stone to graduate studies or another professional degree such as law, medicine, veterinary medicine, or education. Graduate degrees that can also be completed in English include: Master of Arts (MA) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).
Find out more about the courses you should take to pursue an English degree.
Get Ready For Your English Major With Superprof
Are you a high school student looking to perfect your skills to get into university? Are you a university student who needs a bit of help with your English courses? Well, Superprof is here to help!
Our platform is the perfect place for students and private tutors and teachers to connect, start sharing knowledge and reach common goals. With only a few clicks you will be able to find a wide network of over 1,300 English tutors in Canada who are more than ready to share their tips and tricks with you.
All of these tutors come with a very specific background and profile so we are sure you will find the tutor that aligns with your expectations and needs. With that in mind, we do have a few tips to help you select the best possible private tutor for you:
- Make a quick search in your area, if you are open to online tutoring you can even look for tutors in other cities and provinces across Canada.
- Make sure you know what your objectives are: are you looking to ace a test? Do you want to get into a certain university program? Are you struggling with an English subject? If you have this clear in your mind it will be easier to express your needs to your prospective tutors and see if they can actually help you reach your goals.
- Have a budget in mind. To give you an idea of what a private English tutor in Canada might cost, the average hourly rate at the moment is $25 dollars. That said, you might be able to find less expensive prices, as well as tutors who charge more. This happens because some tutors have more experience, teaching background and diplomas and they set their rate accordingly.
- Make sure you make time for your lessons. If you are going to invest money in tutoring you should also consider the time investment you will make. How many hours a week will you spend in your classes or lessons and doing exercises and homework? Plan ahead so this doesn't come as a surprise.
- Look at the tutors' profiles thoroughly. Check out their professional and academic background, their teaching experience and approach and of course don't forget to look at other students' reviews to learn more about them from another perspective!
Once you find the right tutor you can set up a first session as interview to figure out if you are aligned and have the right vibe. If you do, it is time to get to work and become a true English champion with Superprof!
Find more resources for your English major here.
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