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Q&A - English Programs

What other areas of study are related to my English program?

English studies teach you how to examine language and literature, providing graduates of top English programs with skills in critical thinking, reading comprehension and analysis. Similar undergraduate degrees specialize in the application of English skills to related fields. Many comparable degree programs offer an online study component, similar to an online English program.

Journalism programs base curricula largely on the study of English, since journalists are writers by definition. Journalists research the background for a story, often by interviewing several people, and write a cohesive, unbiased report on an assigned topic. Reporters often follow very strict style guides, so a grasp of grammar and vocabulary is essential for success.

Public relations programs focus on effective communication skills. As with English programs, strong writing abilities are extremely valuable in this field, where typical job duties include drafting press releases, writing speeches, handling internal corporate communications and managing branding. Public relations programs are found within marketing departments or journalism schools at most universities.

High school English teachers often begin their careers by earning a bachelors in English, followed by professional certification and state licensing. They create the foundation for a lifetime of reading and writing skills by improving students’ literacy, reading comprehension and literary analysis skills.

What internships should I pursue during my on-campus or online English degree program?

A well-chosen internship gives an English student valuable experience and the opportunity to make professional contacts. The best English programs offer internships through partnerships with local businesses. Students in online English programs can investigate job openings through the English department on campus, and often internships may also be acquired independently of school.

Publishing companies offer a rich environment for English majors to experience the business world and sharpen their skills. Typical job duties for an intern include proofreading, copyediting, visual design, research and editorial support. Working in print is common, but technologically savvy students can find opportunities to work on web design, photography and social media.

Special interest groups such as professional or charitable organizations hire interns for assistance with public relations, advertising or internal publications. Many groups like this specifically seek to expand their online presence through social media, and English majors with strong writing skills and a grasp of technology are frequently sought after. These groups can provide a good internship experience for students in an online English program.

Some colleges offer summer programs for gifted and talented youth and pursue English majors to assist in teaching. The Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University seeks out English majors to teach writing to its summer attendees. This program has sites throughout the country and also would be a good fit for an online English student, as interns need not be Johns Hopkins students.

Are there any movies or TV shows that I might enjoy during my English degree program?

In 1999, Ten Things I Hate About You was a popular film starring Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger, and it briefly spawned a sitcom by the same name in 2010. This modern-day adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew was scripted in a high school setting, and poetry features prominently in the storyline. English majors from both online English programs and traditional schools will be amused by Shakespeare’s timeless sharp wit.

English majors can relate to much of the setting in Wonder Boys, a film originally released in 1995 that stars Michael Douglas and Robert Downey, Jr. Douglas plays an English professor and novelist suffering from writer’s block and questionable moral ethics. This dark comedy is laced with references to creative writing and pokes fun at academia from the point of view of an English teacher.

Under the Tuscan Sun, starring Diane Lane, is a film about the life of a successful writer after her marriage falls apart. Lane’s character, unmoored by the change in her personal circumstances, travels to Italy and stumbles into a new life amid the beauty of Tuscany. Aspiring writers will appreciate the idea that a writer’s craft is portable. In this award-winning movie, the protagonist meets and falls in love with, naturally, another expat writer.

Are there any accelerated campus-based or online English programs to help me finish my degree faster?

While accelerated programs for a bachelors in English are somewhat rare, they can be found. The English department at Southern Oregon University offers a 3-year program in English and writing. This intensive program offers a small student-to-faculty ratio to assist students through the concentrated curriculum.

Accelerated programs that combine bachelors and masters degrees in English are more common. University of Oklahoma’s English department is 1 example, offering a 5-year program during which undergraduate English majors concurrently take graduate-level English classes. Carnegie Mellon offers a similar program where undergraduate English majors can complete an MA in Professional Writing in 2 semesters instead of the typical 3.

Saint Joseph’s University offers an accelerated program that awards a double degree in English and professional communications. This program offers the dual degree in 120 credit hours, which is the standard number of credits required for a single major. Graduates of this program are especially suited for producing effective communications in the corporate environment.

California Baptist University offers 1 of the few accredited English programs online for its bachelors in English. With a minimum of 24 credits already earned or transferred from another school, the BA in English can be completed in 16 months. Classes may also be taken on campus.