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English Careers / Double Majors

  1. Dec 17, 2004 #1
    Does anyone know of any high paying jobs that can be achieved with an English degree(s)? What the the pay ranges?

    Also, how does doing a double major work? Can this allow you to get a Bachelor's degree in say, Biology and English?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 17, 2004 #2
    My friend has a BA in English, it's a 4 year degree in the US if you are not familiar with it. Anyways according to him, "you can do two things with an English degree, work at mcdonalds or wipe your ___ with it." Now granted he is just one unhappy guy but the reality is with just an english degree alone it can be tough to find a job. Coincidently my friend is going to medical school, so the degree DID help him do that, since you need a 4 year degree to apply to medical school. Teaching is one option but the pay is really low for English teachers with just a four year degree. My cousin has an English PHD, now that is a different story, he's director of the English department at some private university so he makes decent money. But with just a four year degree it will be harder to find work. Of course I think that is the case for any major.

    About Biology well I have "heard" there are many many biology majors, so again with just a bachelors it might be really tough. Now you say doing both English and Biology? Well if you really really do enjoy both fields then of course you should do it and of course you will eventually find a job i'm sure. Just do what you love and do it well and everything will work itself out in the end.

    One thing about the biology and english degree is that it might take alot more time, maybe a year and a half or so more than normal, depends on the course outlines etc, since they are very unrelated majors. If it was say, physics and math, then it would probably be about 1 year more than usual. The usual being 4 years.

    Another thing about the biology and english major is that it leaves you room for options about what to do when you graduate. You will have the biology degree meanign you will most likely have all the pre-requisites for say medical school etc. You can also go to law school etc. There are many options out there, I would do some more reading and possibly look at the course outlines for the university you plan to attend and see what courses you will take and what interests you.

    About jobs with the English degree you could also work for say a newspaper etc. Landing a job there might be harder, and there are probably degrees specific to journalism I imagine? The trick is to be really good at whatever you do.
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2004
  4. Dec 17, 2004 #3
    There are specific degrees for journalism, and thanks for the information. I'll have to think about what I want to do still, but I'm sure I'll decide eventually. Regardless, it's really a shame that English isn't appreciated enough for English degrees to have more value.
  5. Dec 17, 2004 #4
    It is a shame, that's the case for many degrees. I wouldn't let my post deter you though, I'd wait for more input, and if you really love it, just go for it anyways. The last thing you want to do is get a degree in something you will hate doing. Remember my recommendation is just based off what my friend said and what I think in general, which probably is not very significant(I don't have an english degree). Also don't forget there is opportunity for further study in English if you enjoy it. What I mean is there is always masters and phd degrees out there.
  6. Dec 27, 2004 #5
    Hi Dooga,

    To answer your question; yes there are high paying jobs that can be had that are considered to be on the "conventional track" for an English major:

    a) journalism as mentioned, although an easier route would be the journalism major
    b) technical writing can pay very well once established with experience.
    c) editing
    d) writing for publication (could be fiction or non-fiction depending on the genre, political essays, etc). These kinds of jobs are really what you make them. Some are low paying, some high paying.
    e) any kind of job where general literacy and good writing and analytical skills are valued. And this could be literally anything under the sun. Sales and marketing for example has a lot of liberal arts majors.

    for your purposes, coupling a Biology and English degree together could lead you very easily into Technical Writing (for a biotech or consumer health company), and Editing, for trade publications, science mags, educational publishers, etc. Have you considered, for example, a science degree and a law degree? People that understand the science behind patents, for example, and who have a law degree, would be perfect for working in an intellectual property law practice or as in-house counsel to a technology firm.

    I have fully experienced the disconnect between things you enjoy doing and things that pay the bills. However, I believe firmly that you can find balance in your professional life if you simply try hard enough.

    And also, getting an education is not a 4 year event culminating in graduation. Dont get wrapped up in thinking that you are stuck with your degree. You can always return to school and get another degree.

    There are really exciting things going on in science all the time. If you have the resources to complete a science major, I would highly recommend it. And if you want to couple it with a lib arts degree, all the better. You will be more rounded than most of your peers.
  7. Dec 28, 2004 #6
    Heya Dooga,

    I would like to echo phantom and yanoz and encourage you to consider a double degree. Here in Finland a quite big percentage of the people go to uni and a double degree is becoming more usual all the time.

    Regarding high paying jobs, the only one not mentioned would be translator. I can not give you monthly salary ranges, but I have understood that their salaries are quite good, especially if they can take specialized works in any field (law, biology, whatever). Naturally, the double degree would be a benefit there as well...
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