What kinds of careers are open to English majors?

Graduates have been recruited in many fields, specifically because their English major insures that they have speaking, writing, and critical thinking skills; jobs will train you for the rest. The Office of Career Services is especially focused now on working with liberal arts majors from their freshman year with self-study, and internships to help students prepare for careers. In addition to being a foundation of a liberal arts education, the English major or minor provides an excellent platform for post-graduate study in fields including law, medicine, literature, business, and the creative and performing arts. Our majors and minors have careers in publishing, business, finance, accounting, human resources, consulting, social work, civil service, film, the arts, education, and more.

Why should you be an English major?

Nikki Wiart of Maclean’s: Why a liberal arts education pays off

Georgette Phillips and Donald Hall in The Washington Post: Liberal arts or business education? Both, deans say.

Adam Gopnik in The New Yorker on why you should study English

Christina H. Paxton in The New Republic on the tangible benefits of studying the humanities

Carolyn Gregoire in The Huffington Post on the practicality of an English major

Jordan Weissman in The Atlantic on the employability of English majors

Wake Forest Magazine on the importance of the humanities

Are employers looking for English majors?

Bruna Martinuzzi in Open Forum on why English majors are the hot new hires

Steve Strauss in The Huffington Post on why he hires English majors

Jeffrey Dorfman in Forbes on the return on investment for English majors

Business Insider on successful people who majored in English

Have Wake Forest English majors gone on to successful writing careers?

Yes. We recently celebrated a program called Words Awake, which is a reunion of the many Wake Forest alumni who went on to great writing careers, such as Ben Brantley, the chief theater critic for The New York Times; Frances O’Roark Dowell, an award-winning writer of young adult fiction; Doug Waller, a best-selling nonfiction writer and former Time magazine correspondent; Iraq War veteran Matt Gallagher, author of the novels YoungBlood and Kaboom; novelist Clint McCown; and YA novelist Emily Giffin.

The English Department is a tight knit-group of majors and minors who get to know their professors (successful writers themselves), and have opportunities to learn from guest authors and speakers brought in regularly.

What kinds of events does the English department coordinate?

The English Student Alliance organizes film screenings, socials, career panels, and scholarly and creative presentations. English majors and minors sometimes intern at the Wake Forest University Press, which focuses on the publication and promotion of Irish poetry. There are also some opportunities available at WFDD, the local NPR station, which is also housed on campus. In their spare time, English majors hear from scholarly speakers and authors such as Gillian Flynn, author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller Gone Girl, or, Ta-Nehisi Coates. MacArthur Genius Grant Recipient Ben Lerner recently spoke as part of our poetry and fiction reading series. Each April, the Wake Forest University Press collaborates with student literary magazines for a slam poetry open mike in downtown Winston-Salem.

Other career-related resources

WFU Office of Personal and Career Development

WFU Pre-Law

We encourage students interested in applying to graduate programs (MA and/or Ph.D) in English to consult Dr. Omaar Hena, director of our MA program, for general advice about graduate programs in English.


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English Department
PO Box 7387
Winston Salem, NC 27109
336-758-5383 | english@wfu.edu
C201 Tribble Hall (campus map)