Frequently Asked Questions
Georgetown’s English faculty are an amazing group of teachers and researchers and, according to a recent survey of English majors, rated as one of the best aspects of taking English courses at Georgetown. Faculty interests include all periods and genres of British and U.S. Literature, Film, and Culture, and Creative Writing. Faculty adopt a variety of approaches to reading texts and attend to the theory and history of genre and drama. They also specialize in Critical Race, Class, Disability, Ethnic, Environmental, Gender, Performance, and Queer Studies, among others. You can read more about our professors on our faculty page!
Studying English is about more than talking and thinking generally about books, although that is certainly a fantastic place to start. It involves both learning from and analyzing the language, form, perspective, philosophies, cultures, and/or ideologies that make up what you’re reading. Additionally, studying English can help you to better understand yourself and the world around you, and come to a sense of what is humanly important. As an English major, you will encounter literature from a diverse variety of cultures, hone your ability to read perceptively and critically, as well as study in conversation with intellectually curious teachers and fellow students.
We offer a wide variety of classes, such as “Early Modern Epic,” “Heroes and Vikings,” “New York Stories,” “Disability and the Arts,” “Black Women Writers,” “Victorian Lit: Globalization,” and “Creative Nonfiction Writing.” Most classes rely upon some combination of lecture and student discussion. You will have the opportunity to learn and talk about how literary artists have imagined the world and your place in it. English professors often work to involve students in the production of knowledge in their classrooms. If you are interested in having inspired discussions about how language and culture come to affect and influence our society, then you will really like English courses.
Class size depends on the course level. General electives are the largest and have about 25-30 students. Senior Seminar courses are much smaller and typically have 12-18 students.
English majors are curious and motivated. Some are creatively motivated and write fiction, nonfiction, screenplays, and poetry. English majors are also cultural critics who enjoy reading, interacting with and reflecting on texts and who enjoy writing critically to produce an analytical argument. At Georgetown, English majors are active beyond campus. They participate in a range of programs and internships in order to engage with the world around them. You can read some stories of recent English Major alumni to get a better idea of what an amazing community Georgetown’s English department is!
Georgetown’s English department has plenty of exciting programs and opportunities for majors. If you are interested in journalism, check out the Journalism minor. If you are interested in poetry and talking about or meeting with contemporary writers, you can read about becoming a Lannan Fellow. If you are interested in Shakespeare, you can spend two weeks in London and Stratford-upon-Avon seeing and studying their plays. The English department also offers an AB/MA program for those interested in graduate study.
The English Honors Thesis program is a competitive opportunity for selected students to work closely with a faculty member on a long-term creative or analytical writing project. Successfully completing an Honors project is a way to demonstrate organization, research and writing skills that can make an English major more competitive on the job market or when applying to graduate programs.
Yes! Over 30% of English majors are also double majors, and many English majors minor in another field. Majors like History or Psychology pair well with the English major. At the same time, pre-med and pre-law undergraduates frequently couple Biology or Government majors with English. You can also develop other skills with a double major in English and a STEM field, such as math, chemistry or computer science. You can also minor in English, even if you are a member of the business or nursing school.
Absolutely! Over 90 percent of recent college graduates with Humanities and Liberal Arts degrees are able to find the job that begins their career, according to a national report done by Georgetown’s Center on Education and the Workforce in 2015. That number is very similar to rates of employment for recent grads with degrees related to Mathematics or Computer Science.
What kind of job do you want? An English major opens up many doors. Employment opportunities for people with Bachelor’s degrees are very similar and many employers are more swayed by your work and internship experience than your major. That being said, large numbers of English majors find jobs in education or in management positions as well as in media, the arts, or in the legal field. You can see the kinds of jobs Georgetown English majors get in the Career Center’s yearly Post-Graduation Outcomes reports. Also, you can check out the English Major Alumni page to see what kinds of careers Georgetown English majors pursue.
Some big-time CEOs love hiring English majors. Employers are increasingly looking to hire people who have “soft skills,” which range from communication to being able to gather and synthesize diverse sources of information. English courses – especially the Senior Seminar – prioritize student-led discussion and long-term research papers, which give students opportunities to learn how to write, research and communicate more effectively. Keep in mind that many employers were English and humanities majors themselves!
There are reports showing that people with Liberal Arts degrees earn less at their first job than other majors, but those reports also show that this gap only exists at the very beginnings of a career. In fact, the gap closes significantly over time. Another important factor in earnings is where rather than what you study. Good news: graduates from Georgetown have the fourth-highest annual income of any university in the country.
“I’ve decided to declare as an English major. I know you’ve heard a lot about how English majors and liberal arts majors don’t get jobs or don’t make as much money as people with math or computer science or economics degrees, but that’s not exactly true. I can get a job – a job that I actually want – with my English degree, and I can spend my time in college studying a subject that gives me a sense of fulfillment and allows me to take amazing classes and actively engage with topics that matter to me. As an English major, I can better understand the world and my place in it, meet amazing people, and network with amazing professors.”