College of Arts and Sciences

Department of English

Department of English

Navigation + Search
Home / Introduction to Undergraduate Programs / Careers for English majors / The Value of an English Major/Education in the Humanities

The Value of an English Major/Education in the Humanities

Evidence that an English major is practical:

1) English majors tend to achieve well-paying careers. Midcareer salaries of English majors are equivalent to those of Biology majors and Nursing majors, higher than those of Psychology and Anthropology majors, though lower than those of Engineering or Accounting majors. (source: Wall Street Journal Report on Salaries by College Major)

2) Humanities majors including English have higher acceptance rates to medical school than social science or natural science majors. (source: Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Report)

3) English majors score higher on the GMAT than Business majors. (source: Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Report)

4) Two thirds of CEOs say that the most important skills they look for in college graduates are critical thinking and written communication skills, skills which the English major provides. (source: Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences Report and Huffington Post)

Liberal arts majors salary comparison:

Those who graduate with an English major earn the second highest starting salaries of all liberal arts majors. “Class of 2014: Top-Paid Liberal Arts Majors” NACE: National of Colleges and Employers. 14 May 2014. http://www.naceweb.org/s05142014/top-paid-liberal-arts-grad.aspx

Discussions of the value of the humanities:

Berube, Michael. “The Humanities Declining? Not According to the Numbers.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. 1 Jul. 2013. http://chronicle.com/article/The-Humanities-Declining-Not/140093/

Brooks, David. “The Humanist Vocation.” The New York Times. 22 Jun. 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/21/opinion/brooks-the-humanist-vocation.html

Cummings, Anthony M. “The (Forgotten) Utility of the Humanities.” Inside Higher Ed. 10 Oct. 2013. http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2013/10/10/history-shows-humanities-have-vocational-utility-essay

Edmunson, Mark. “The Ideal English Major.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. 29 Jul. 2013. http://chronicle.com/article/The-Ideal-English-Major/140553/

English, James. The Global Future of English Studies. Hoboken, NJ: Blackwell. 2012.

Giang, Vivian. “Logitech CEO: I Love Hiring English Majors.” The Business Insider. 20 Jun. 2013. http://www.businessinsider.com/logitech-ceo-bracken-darrell-loves-hiring-english-majors-2013-6

Gopnik, Adam. “Why Teach English.” The New Yorker:  27 Aug. 2013. http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2013/08/why-teach-english.html

Klinkenborg, Verlyn. “The Decline and Fall of the English Major.” 22 Jun. 2013. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/23/opinion/sunday/the-decline-and-fall-of-the-english-major.html?_r=0

Martinuzzi, Bruna. “Why English Majors are the Hot New Hires.” Open Forum. 11 Jul. 2013. https://www.openforum.com/articles/why-english-majors-are-the-hot-new-hires/?extlink=of-social-twt-o

McCabe, David. “How Not to Defend the Humanities.” Huffington Post. 14 Jul. 2014. (available at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-mccabe/how-not-to-defend-the-hum_b_5366150.html)

Rader, Dean. “English Majors, Once Disdained, Now Back in Demand.” The San Francisco Chronicle. 14 Jul. 2013. (Available at http://bathtubbulletin.ning.com/profiles/blogs/4569347:BlogPost:55652 )

Strauss, Steve. “Why I Hire English Majors.” Huffington Post. 23 Jun. 2013. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-strauss/hiring-english-majors_b_3484409.html

“This Week in Small Business: Hire an English Major.” The New York Times. 15 Jul. 2013. http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/15/this-week-in-small-business-hire-an-english-major/

Weissmann, Jordan. “The Best Argument for Studying English? The Employment Numbers.” The Atlantic. 25 Jun. 2013. http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/06/the-best-argument-for-studying-english-the-employment-numbers/277162/