University Career Center

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All academic programs offered at the UM help students develop valuable transferable skills. In our diverse world, effective communication skills are becoming increasingly important, making English a central liberal arts concentration. As an English major you will study the structure, content, and cultural context of imaginative literature in all genres; explore theories of language, literature, and culture; and develop your ability to mold and interpret language in speech and writing. Through this study, you will develop a broad range of research, analytical, and communication skills.

Related fields include Linguistics, Classical Studies, Communications Studies, Screen Arts and Cultures, History, History of Art, Music, and Theater.


Research and Project Skills

Designing/directing projects
Organizing ideas/ information
Developing hypotheses
Solving problems
Using information resources

Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills

Analyzing and interpreting text
Comparing information and interpretations
Applying theoretical approaches
Developing critical evaluations
Thinking independently
Synthesizing ideas and themes
Applying close reading and interpretation

Writing Skills

Abstracting information
Explaining data
Drafting and editing documents
Editing and revising text
Writing clearly and persuasively
Writing creatively

Speaking Skills

Influencing and persuading
Assessing the needs of an audience
Presenting alternative viewpoints
Clarifying ideas
Making oral presentations
Shaping general ideas into specific points and programs


Employers seek out individuals who can demonstrate excellent verbal and written communication skills, teamwork and interpersonal skills, initiative, and a strong work ethic. Student organizations and campus employment offer valuable opportunities to add to the skills you are developing in your classes. The Undergraduate English Association is responsible for a fortnightly newsletter, sponsors various events, and publishes an annual literary magazine, Xylem, of poetry, prose, and artwork. Other options include study abroad, off-campus employment or volunteering in the community. Finally, a summer internship may be the best way of all to test out a career field and develop marketable skills.


The excellent communication skills developed by English concentrators are applicable to a wide range of careers whether in business, communication, government, or public service. For example, writing skills are equally useful whether working as a journalist, high school teacher, or web designer. Many concentrators go on to graduate or professional school. The list below is a sample of careers undertaken by English graduates.

Research and Project Skills

Research Assistant
Librarian open book icon
Law librarian open book icon
Legislative aide
Congressional researcher
Convention planner
Bookstore manager
Buyer, retail store
Market researcher
Psychometrician open book icon
Patient education officer, HMO
Program coordinator

Critical Thinking and Analytical Skills

Programmer / Analyst open book icon
Attorney open book icon
Counselor / Psychologist open book icon
Social worker open book icon
Foreign Service officer open book icon
Curriculum planner open book icon
Industrial analyst
City manager open book icon

Writing Skills

Creative writer
Technical writer
Speech writer
Drama, art, open book icon music critic
Web writer
Newsletter writer
Publications coordinator
Editorial assistant
Web designer
Advertising copywriter
Reading specialist

Speaking Skills

K-12 teacher
College instructor open book icon
Peace Corps / Teach for America teacher
Speech Therapist open book icon
Sales manager
Training consultant
Public relations representative

open book icon = Further Study Required

For more career information, see O*Net at


The Department of English offers four concentration options: the General Program, Honors, Creative Writing, and Teaching Certification. English 298 (What is Literature?) is a prerequisite for all programs. Students planning to concentrate in English should contact the department for printed information or look up the website and then consult a concentration advisor.

Department of English Language and Literature
3187 Angell Hall

Newnan Advising Center
1255 Angell Hall


At the English website, you will find profiles of UM English majors in all kinds of careers:

To begin connecting to professionals in fields that interest you, create your own LinkedIn account:

To identify internships or job opportunities, visit Handshake:

Maize Pages list hundreds of organizations for students to get involved in:

On-campus jobs (work-study and non work-study jobs) are listed at:

The Career Center
3200 Student Activities Building

The Career Guide series was developed by the University of Michigan Career Center, Division of Student Affairs, in cooperation with the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. ©2011 Regents of the University of Michigan