The English major focuses on the reading and writing of the English language, which includes studying great works of literature, learning the proper use of grammar and punctuation, and developing research and writing skills.
Students are exposed to a broad selection of literature including classic novels, short stories, poetry, and even plays. Literature courses focus on specific genres of literature such as fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, as well as time periods like Renaissance, Medieval, modern American, contemporary world, or twentieth-century British literature. Students may even be able to take courses that specifically focus on the literary works of great authors like Shakespeare, Jane Austin, J. R. R. Tolkien, and more. Writing and research skills are developed in courses in rhetoric, composition, research methods, and literary theory, as well as those focused on creative, fiction, and essay writing.
Some online English programs allow students to choose concentrations that are tailored to their academic interest. Common concentrations include English linguistics, technical communication, creative writing, American literature, film studies, and teaching of English. English majors typically complete various types of reading and writing intensive assignments. These types of assignments often require them to interpret literature and explain book themes, character development, and more. They not only develop the skills necessary to access, research, and analyze information, but the ability to create professionally written documents and utilize oral communications for various purposes.
In turn, English graduates are critical readers, exceptional communicators, and skilled learners. The literacy, critical thinking, and problem solving skills possessed by English majors allow them to embark on many different career paths. Those interested in putting their writing skills to good use can pursue careers in communications, journalism, publishing, and other forms of media. The field of education is often a common choice leading to teaching and research positions.