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Why Study English at UW?|Department of English

Why Study English?

English graduates can do anything. In a culture increasingly driven by information and its communication, we stand at the hub. Trained in the understanding of how words work, and how we make meaning in the world-or how the world makes meaning through us-English majors are uniquely prepared for the twenty-first-century. (See our Goals and Objectives. Lovers of literature, professional writers, authors, theorists, we are ready to lead in any profession where critical, creative, and communicative abilities matter-which is pretty much everything.

            But don’t trust us. Listen to the experts:

JobBound.com: "An English major with good work experience, who can think critically and write effectively, is a very attractive candidate."

BUSINESS & FINANCE

Foster Thomas, higher education consultants: “There is a reason why these candidates get snapped up by the likes of Goldman Sachs and McKinsey and, eventually, Columbia Business School. The reason is this: Strong critical thinking and leadership skills.”

The Chronicle for Higher Education: “The liberal arts always situate graduates on the road for success. More Fortune 500 CEOs have had liberal arts BA's than professional degrees. The same is true of doctors and lawyers. And we know the road to research science most often comes through a liberal arts experience.”

CNN Money: “Strong communications skills are the single most important attribute a [job] candidate can have and also the one most lacking among job applicants.”

ELECTRONICS & ENGINEERING

Vivek Wadwha, Director of Research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke University:

"When students asked what subjects they should major in to become a tech entrepreneur, I used to say engineering, mathematics, and science—because an education in these fields is the prerequisite for innovation, and because engineers make the best entrepreneurs. That was several years ago...It takes artists, musicians, and psychologists working side by side with engineers to build products as elegant as the iPad." 

ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS

Michael Eisner, Disney CEO: "Literature is unbelievably helpful because no matter what business you are in, you are dealing with interpersonal relationships. . . . It gives you an appreciation of what makes people tick."

LAW

Princeton Law Review: “If you major in English, say, or History, you’ll still be on the right track. Crucial to a pre-law major are critical reading, writing, and thinking skills. After all, as a lawyer, you will be required to draft cogent arguments and solutions to problems, then communicating those arguments and solutions effectively to persuade and convince a judge or jury.”

MEDICINE   

Medschoolhell.com, an advice site for aspiring doctors: “English majors perform better on the verbal reasoning section of the MCAT.
It’s been known for a while that students who practice verbal reasoning and deduction throughout college outperform other students on the verbal reasoning section of the MCAT which is often the most difficult section for students.”

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