Advice from Recent Graduates



Notes from the Field


Advice on Career Tracks

You already know that an English major or minor prepares you well for careers in teaching, publishing, the legal world, and public relations. But that’s just the beginning. These days, your degree in English can lead you to all sorts of places....

Medical Humanities:

  • This emerging interdisciplinary field merges literature with medicine to better understand illness narratives, bioethics, women’s health history, and cultural understandings of the body.

  • The medical humanities field “helps physicians, nurses, social workers, mental health professionals, chaplains, social workers, academics, and all those interested in the intersection between narrative and medicine improve the effectiveness of care by developing these skills with patients and colleagues” (Columbia University Program in Narrative Medicine).

  • “The humanities and arts provide insight into the human condition, suffering, personhood, and our responsibility to each other... Attention to literature and the arts helps to develop and nurture skills of observation, analysis, empathy, and self-reflection -- skills that are essential for humane healthcare. The social sciences help us to understand how bioscience and medicine take place within cultural and social contexts and how culture interacts with the individual experience of illness and the way healthcare is practiced” (NYU Langone Medical Center).

 

Business and Tech:

  • More and more businesses are looking to English majors for hires. Studies show that humanities majors demonstrate abilities that many tech and financial businesses seek in employees, including communication skills, interpersonal development, and recognizing and assessing complex situations and deals.

 
"The older I get, the more I realize the power of words and the power of words in making you think...The best CEOs and leaders are extremely good writers and have this ability to articulate and verbalize what they're thinking,"
–  Logitech CEO Bracken Darrell.

 

Engineering:

  • “By its very nature, engineering is creative and directed to human uses...Like literature, engineering sometimes works not by satisfying recognized needs but by creating the needs it satisfies” (Chronicle of Higher Education).

  • MIT Professor Deborah Fitzgerald on the humanities and engineering: “The Institute’s mission is to advance knowledge and educate students who are prepared to help solve the world’s most challenging problems...But the world’s problems are never tidily confined to the laboratory or spreadsheet. From climate change to poverty to disease, the challenges of our age are unwaveringly human in nature and scale, and engineering and science issues are always embedded in broader human realities. So our students also need an in-depth understanding of human complexities — the political, cultural, and economic realities that shape our existence — as well as fluency in the powerful forms of thinking and creativity cultivated by the humanities, arts, and social sciences.”

 

Sources:

http://medhum.med.nyu.edu/about

http://www.narrativemedicine.org/mission.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/logitech-ceo-bracken-darrell-loves-hiring-english-majors-2013-6

http://chronicle.com/article/Building-a-Bridge-Between/235305/

http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/04/30/mit-humanities-are-just-important-stem/ZOArg1PgEFy2wm4ptue56I/story.html



Do you have advice for English majors or graduate students?