Why Major in English?
As an English major at UCCS, you will start by doing what you love: reading, writing, analyzing, and discussing what you’ve read and written. You are probably familiar with this part of the degree. What happens because of these activities is crucial to long-term professional success. The insights you develop from these activities contribute to:
- clear and audience-aware communication
- critical thinking for problem-solving
- innovative and creative ideas and insights
- empathy that contributes to inclusiveness
- resourceful research abilities
- insight into cultural and historical contexts
These are skills that employers are looking for! Just as importantly, these are skills that prepare you for professional success in a wide variety of careers.
Successful English Majors
WRITERS: Many successful creative writers were English majors. For example, the poet Yusef Komunyakaa graduated from UCCS. He went on to earn a Pulitzer Prize in poetry for his 1994 collection Neon Vernacular. Komunyakaa helped found the UCCS Student Literary & Arts Journal, riverrun, while he was a student here
TEACHERS: Many UCCS English majors have become exceptional teachers and community leaders. For example, Brittni Darras, English teacher at Rampart High School in Colorado Springs (District 20), graduated from UCCS and is a leader in the movement to end teen suicide. You can see her superb teaching, leadership, and communication in her TedxMileHigh talk “The Fight Against Teen Suicide Begins in the Classroom.”
OTHER CAREER OPTIONS: Many successful lawyers, editors, non-profit leaders, community organizers, librarians, journalists, and politicians were English majors. Consider a wide variety of career options for English majors from our Career Options page. English Career Information
Successful English Majors
Some of the most successful English majors might be in fields you expect, but some might surprise you! For example, what the following people have in common is that they were all English majors:
- Matt Damon – actor & Oscar-winning screenwriter
- Andrea Jung – former CEO of the Avon Corporation & non-profit leader
- John Legend – singer, song-writer, & recording producer
- Anne Mulcahy – former CEO of the Xerox Corporation
- Conan O’Brien – comedian & television host
- Sally Ride – astronaut & physicist
- Mitt Romney – U.S. senator (R-UT) & presidential candidate
- Steven Spielberg – film director, producer, and screenwriter
- Clarence Thomas – U.S. Supreme Court Justice
- Barbara Walters – journalist & television host
- Bob Woodward – investigative journalist
As this list indicates, you can be successful in a wide variety of careers after completing your degree in English.
Supporting Your Choice to Major in English
- Foley, Daniel. “People are Surprised What My English Degree Got Me.” Entrepreneur. August 10, 2016.
- Luther, David. “32 Reasons You Need to Major in English.” Zippia: The Career Expert.
- Koenig, Rebecca. “Great Jobs for English Majors.” U.S. News & World Report. March 4, 2019.
- Bird, Michele. “21 Celebs Who Made Majoring in English Look Too Damn Cool.” BuzzFeed April 25, 2018.
- George Mason University English Department. “Famous English Majors.”
- Giang, Vivian, Lynn Guey, and Max Nisen. “16 Wildly Successful People Who Majored in English.” Business Insider May 16, 2013.
- Kelley, Anne. “40 Famous and Amazing English Majors That Should Make You Want to Pick Up the Major.” The Odyssey Online February 13, 2018.
- Kolmar, Chris. “23 Celebrities with an English Major that May or May Not Surprise You.” Zippia: The Career Expert.
- Shultz, Becky. “14 Successful English Majors Who Proved that Their Liberal Arts Degrees Did Serve a Purpose, Mom.” Bustle February 24, 2015.
- University of Arkansas Little Rock English Department. “Famous English Majors.”