How Do I Apply My English Degree?
By Nick Mount
Students of English gain a rigorous training in the skills of critical thinking: reading and interpreting texts, analyzing complex data, making judgments, marshalling evidence and presenting arguments of their own. You're learning to think clearly and critically and to write with grace, precision, and force. International organizations, governments of all kinds, professionals, large and small businesses all depend on these skills. Besides many professors and authors of English literature, we count among our alumni publishers and editors, radio and television producers, journalists, business executives, filmmakers, lawyers, judges, and many other professions. Check out for example what best-selling author Joy Fielding has to say in a short video about her U of T English degree at http://alumni.utoronto.ca/
That's the official line, pretty much direct from my Department website. Unofficially, it's certainly true that English students end up in these and many other rewarding careers. (A guy I did my MA with is now a spy with CSIS: I'd tell you his name, but then I'd have to kill you.) But no post-secondary degree is a guarantee of any job, especially today. Besides, an undergraduate degree isn't really about getting a better job: it's about having a better, richer life, while you're here and after. It's about the books you'll read, the ideas you'll encounter, the friends you'll make, both intellectually and socially. If you're willing and able, an undergraduate degree in the liberal arts lets you join a conversation that's bigger than here and now, and much bigger than yourself. University graduates shouldn't be the ones looking for work for themselves; they should be the ones who fix our broken societies to make sure there's work, play, and justice for all.
Nick Mount, English Department, University of Toronto, and 3M National Teaching Fellow.
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but for all of the professions listed above you need a masters degree. Yes, an English BA Degree is rewarding intellectually but practically for finding a career/job? No. The education system here takes too long. |
Posted on May 22, 2012 at 10:28
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