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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

“You know you’ll still be serving me coffee when we’re thirty right?” 

“So I’m guessing you want to be a teacher?” 

“I know you love English, so can you edit my paper for me? It’ll be fun for you!”

These are all phrases that English majors have heard time and time again. It’s not a major that most people are encouraged to do, like STEM majors. It’s not one that peers seem impressed by, and it’s not one that many parents want to show off to their friends. The English major is, I believe, the underdog of the humanities department, and should be revived just like STEM majors.

There isn’t one career that doesn’t require strong communication skills. Even if you’re in the most basic entry-level position of a company, you’re still going to have to write emails to the heads of your department and use communication skills to move up in the company. If you want to apply for a different job, the person who words their resume well to show off their experience is going to get the interview over the person who has the experience but doesn’t know how to express it. 

Many may wonder that if since all the English major is good for are communication skills, why not just major in communication? This is a valid question, and it is very important to note how different communication and English really are.

The former focuses mainly on communication in media and how it is used to persuade the audience. The classes are very generalized and broad, which really require you to find a specialization or certificate to complement the major so that you have more concrete and specific skills when you graduate.

With the English major, the classes you take are already decently specialized. You are required to learn about the history of English literature and practice the skills you are learning in every class. You can also get a specialization on top of the English major in a field like creative writing or technical writing. The thorough practice of these skills means that when you graduate, you will have an excellent ability to express your thoughts in a way that makes people want to keep listening.

While the English major does not provide you with “hard” skills like STEM majors (that will lead you down a very specific career path), the “soft” skills learned in English can be applied to all fields. If you’re a person who does not know exactly what they want to do after college in terms of a career, choosing a major where you have a lot of options afterward can be a great choice. There are also so many career paths besides teaching and writing that you can do with your major. Marketing, publishing, and media content creation are just a few examples of fields that want to hire English majors for their ability to not just communicate, but also tell a story. You can also go on to so many different things with more schooling after you finish your undergraduate years. It is entirely possible to be an English major and still be on a pre-med or pre-law track. This diversity can even make you stand out as a candidate for these schools later on, as you are showing that you are honing many different skills rather than just one. 

The skills that I have already learned in the classes I have taken have shown me how valuable the English major can be. I know that when I graduate with both my major and specialization, I will be a competitive applicant in whatever job I decide to apply to. So, the next time someone makes fun of you for deciding to major in a language you already speak, know that you are studying something that will help you throughout your entire life!

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Kate Dahlman

U Mass Amherst '24

Kate is a senior English major with a minor in business and a certificate in Professional Writing and Technical Communication at UMass Amherst. She is very passionate about all things literature! When she isn't studying or writing an essay, she loves to read, cook, and work out. She loves being apart of Her Campus at UMass!