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Undergraduate Career Preparation

An English major is both timely and timeless. It helps you become an engaged citizen in today’s complex world, and it gives you the skills to get a job upon graduation. But it offers more than that: an English major also prepares you for the challenges of tomorrow and for jobs and career paths that don’t exist yet. This major trains you to be a flexible, adaptable thinker and excellent communicator, traits that will always be in demand, no matter the industry.

Indeed, the skills that you’ll gain in the English major will serve you throughout your entire life. An English major is “obsolescence-proof”: the knowledge and skills that you gain in your English major will never become outdated. They will only grow and deepen as you move forward in your career, and should you later decide to change your career path, the English major’s transferable skills will serve you well.

Career possibilities for English majors are nearly limitless. Our graduates go on to work in expected fields (writing, publishing, communications, media, law, teaching, marketing), unexpected fields (medicine, finance, social work, technology) and everything in-between. Of course, we understand that parsing infinite career options can feel very daunting. Rest assured, we are here to help:


Each autumn semester, we offer a course specifically designed to assist English and other humanities majors explore and prepare for their post-graduation careers. The course is currently offered under English 2150. It is a three credit course and is typically taught by Senior Lecturer Jenny Patton

Course description

This course is designed for English majors and other students who are interested in exploring and preparing for their post-graduation careers. We begin by reflecting on individual students' strengths and preferences and thinking about job activities and careers that might complement these. We also examine specific work environments (e.g., corporations, universities and nonprofits); the value of attending graduate or professional school; and the role that internships, undergraduate research and networking play in career development. In addition, we look at how to organize and manage an internship and job hunt; how to put together strong resumes, cover letters and portfolios; and how to interview well via phone and Skype and in person. 


If you have questions about the course structure or content, please contact Jenny Patton (.220).

Students may earn academic credit through the English department for internships that provide them with opportunities for exploring potential career fields and work environments and/or preparing them for post-graduation, entry-level employment. Academic credit may be earned for both paid and unpaid internships. Students should seek approval of their internships for academic credit prior to beginning the work itself. 

Approval process

To find out whether your internship qualifies for academic credit, email Elizabeth Falter (.44). Your email should contain the following information:

  • Your Ohio State name.#
  • Name of the organization with which you will intern
  • Name and email address of the person who will supervise your work
  • A brief description, three or four sentences, outlining your internship duties and responsibilities
  • Dates of the internship and the number of hours you will work each week
  • Term in which you hope to receive credit for the internship

If your internship is approved for academic credit, we will work with you to ensure that you are enrolled in the appropriate number of credit hours of English 5191, the department's internship course. This course is not a traditional, in-person course; however, participating students must meet a few other requirements (reflection exercises, etc.) in order to earn a grade of "Satisfactory" and receive credit for their internships.

If students have questions about internships, earning credit or English 5191, they should contact Elizabeth Falter (.44).

The English major helps students develop many skills, including ones that employers specifically look for in college students and graduates. The National Association for Colleges and Employers (NACE) has done extensive research on the skills and traits that lead to career success, and they found eight competencies linked to career readiness, all of which the English major specifically helps students develop:

  • Critical Thinking/Problem Solving
  • Oral/Written Communications
  • Teamwork/Collaboration
  • Digital Technology
  • Leadership
  • Professionalism/Work Ethic
  • Career Management
  • Global/Intercultural Fluency

Beyond these important competencies, English majors have a myriad of other skills, including but not limited to:

  • Finding the right words
  • Thinking fast
  • Expressing ideas
  • Grasping complexity
  • Seeing through others’ eyes
  • Getting to the point
  • Telling stories
  • Identifying patterns
  • Making inferences
  • Appreciating diversity
  • Thinking creatively
  • Managing ambiguity
  • Re-framing problems

These transferable skills are what makes an English degree so versatile and so valuable.

Further reading

Additional Resources