There are many things you can with words. Write them. Read them. Analyze them. Edit them. Share them. Create with them. If you’re a word person who is also looking to take their career to the next level, a master of arts degree in English could open up opportunities of all kinds.
What can you do with a master’s in English, though? The answer is: probably a lot more than you expected.
What to Do With a Master’s In English: Write or Edit
A full-time career in writing or publishing is a common goal among English majors. This could certainly mean striving to become an author in the genre and format of your choice. Or maybe you’re interested in the other side of the industry: working in development, acquisitions, or as a copy editor at a press. But a writing career doesn’t necessarily limit you to the world of literary and commercial publishing.
Some people might still associate an English degree with only creative or academic writing. However, as content marketing becomes one of the most important ways to reach potential customers and clients, writing and editing have become extremely coveted skills in the corporate world. Working for a creative agency has long been a good option for those with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in English, but, today, companies and organizations of all kinds employ in-house writers and editors.
What to Do With a Master’s In English: Teach
You typically don’t need a master’s degree to teach English at the high school level; earning a bachelor’s degree and meeting all of the other teaching requirements in your state is usually enough. However, a graduate degree could help you move up your district’s pay ladder or lead to other opportunities such as department chair.
If you want to teach English, but your undergraduate degree isn’t in secondary education, a master’s degree could provide the courses you need to fulfill certification requirements in your state. Additionally, private high schools often have different hiring processes than public schools, so a master’s in English could also lead to teaching or administrative positions in these learning environments. A master’s in English can also prepare you to teach ESL (English as a second language) courses in the United States or teaching English language and literature abroad.
What about teaching English at the college level? A master’s degree in English is often the minimum requirement to teach introductory writing and literature courses at colleges and universities, usually as a part-time or adjunct instructor or for teaching at the community college level. And that leads us to our next entry on the “What can you do with a master’s in English?” list: use it as a stepping stone to earn your doctorate.
What to Do With a Master’s In English: Earn Your Ph.D.
If you’re called to a life in academia and your passion is literature, a Ph.D. in English or literature (or a related topic within that realm) might be your end goal. Most colleges and universities require a Ph.D. for full-time, tenure-track positions. (Although an MFA in creative writing — or even an impressive publishing history — may be sufficient in some cases.) If you are especially interested in a particular author, genre, or time period, a Ph.D. program is an excellent way to become an expert in that area. If you accept a faculty position after you earn the doctorate, in addition to teaching and advising, you’ll also conduct independent research in your area of expertise.
A master’s degree in English or a related area is almost always necessary to enter a Ph.D. program. An online degree program, such as the one offered by National University, will allow you to prepare for your next educational endeavor while still working full-time.
What Can I Do With a Master’s in English Besides Teach or Write Creatively?
Humanities degrees are known for honing the soft skills that are in demand by industries of all kinds. Here’s just one example: English, along with history and political science, is a common area of study for people interested in going to law school. With the attention to detail, and the analytical and writing skills English majors develop during their studies, it’s clear why so many go on to successful legal careers.
According to lists from LinkedIn and LiveCareer, among the desired skills that companies need most are creativity, persuasion, organization, critical thinking, and research skills — all hallmarks of the skills developed when earning a degree in English. Specific to tech careers, ZipRecruiter’s top ten list puts communication skills at number two, and documentation skills at five. In other words, a master’s in English can take you further than teaching, writing, or editing as professional options.
If you’ve been asking yourself, “What can I do with a master’s in English?” for a while, it might be time to take the next step — looking for and comparing online degrees. To get started, visit our Master or Arts in English program page.