What is an English degree?
An English degree in either track – literature and language, or writing – provides students with an overarching understanding of literary analysis, the structure and use of the English language, and writing across a wide variety of genres and audiences. Do you have a passion for creating stories, developing a deep understanding of texts, and using your own words to create both strong narrative and strong arguments? A degree in English builds critical analysis and problem-solving skills, develops reasoning and communication acumen, and builds capacity to think and write with empathy and inclusivity. Your options are limitless as you approach a working world that needs skillful writers and creative thinkers.
Why study English at Furman?
It’s rare to find a small, undergraduate university with the extensive range of English courses that Furman offers – nearly 70. English at Furman opens your mind to texts and films from around the world and in every time period, and gives you tools for analyzing and interpreting them. The Department of English canvasses everything from film noir and immersion journalism to writing poetry and the Victorian novel – all taught by highly trained and award-winning faculty who challenge you to think and write at a high intellectual level.
You will work closely with faculty at every juncture in your education, whether that is working on paper revisions, submitting a paper to a conference, preparing for graduate school or simply talking about a favorite text from your class. The major is also a flexible one perfect for double majoring with another discipline – the English department has double majors in almost every department in the university, including religion; biology; earth, environmental and sustainability sciences; and communication studies. Plan a visit to Furman’s beautiful campus or start your application today.
How will you learn?
You’ll journey through landscapes, cultures, historical periods and engaging critical issues with options to study away, conduct research, and create your own challenging projects in literature and writing while developing critical thinking and reasoning skills. You may encounter texts as varied as 14th-century English literature or slave narratives from the Americas. Or you might find yourself polishing professional writing skills, writing a screenplay or poem, critiquing a film or crafting journalistic headlines. Zooming with professional authors, field trips to significant literary locations, and presentations of class work add another dimension to your education.
Every year, students embark on a semester abroad in the British Isles led by English department faculty. Build memories that last a lifetime, explore cultural and literary landmarks in the United Kingdom. Two-week residencies are available at Trinity College in Dublin and in Shakespeare’s birthplace, Stratford-upon-Avon. You will learn with renowned scholars from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and attend performances at the famous Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
Central to the British Isles study away program is London. You’ll spend six or more weeks in England’s capital immersing yourself in the life of the city and studying English literature, history, politics and culture under the supervision of Furman faculty and visiting scholars from Birkbeck, University of London. You’ll attend plays at the Royal National Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, and other world-class venues, and visit sites like Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. You’ll also have the opportunity to explore any number of historical and cultural sites on your own.
Dive into a May Experience (MayX) with the Writing with Writers program. For three weeks in May, students study with an accomplished author in a different literary genre: poetry, prose fiction or creative nonfiction. Guest writers-in-residence teach a workshop (ENG 225), give a public reading and share their life experiences with students. Other MayX classes have included Why We Swim and True Crime Writing, as faculty explore niche topics with students over a few weeks.
Faculty members guide you from the first creative insight to a mature final piece of scholarship or creative writing. You may devise your own summer research project, and each student will research and write a publication-length paper or creative pieces in the senior seminar.
Students’ recent projects have looked at Victorian spiritualism, science, and psychic detection, compared Western and non-western subjectivities, and outlined the narrative structure of video games. Other students have examined psychoanalytic readings of Faulkner’s “Absalom, Absalom,” written and edited poems with the department’s poets, assisted Old English studies through bibliographic work, provided research and interviewing assistance for a book on gender representation in Shakespeare, and discovered troubadour-style musical rhythms in “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.”
Student researchers have presented at many conferences and conventions, including the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research, the annual British Studies Student Symposium at Rhodes College, the Sigma Tau Delta International Convention, and the Southern Literary Festival. Students also showcase their work at Furman Engaged, a day-long exhibition of undergraduate research, performances and presentations.
Nearly 70% of students complete internships during their time at Furman, and we are committed to helping you find the right position to develop your skills and knowledge. Among other places, interns have worked for law firms, public relations firms and advertising agencies, libraries, news agencies, political leaders, publishing houses, and in telecommunications.
Careers for English majors
The English department is intent on broadening your scope of opportunities to choose from, both postgraduate and during your time at Furman. The skills afforded by an English degree can be applied to an endless selection of careers and numerous advanced degrees.
Some sample fields and vocations are:
- Television production manager
- Public relations manager for global corporation
- Technical writer
- Financial analyst
- Management consultant
- English professor
- Clergy member
- Neuroscience professor
- Advertising and marketing professional
- Corporate sales representative or account manager
- Hospital chaplain
- Digital content producer
- K-12 teacher
- Postsecondary teacher
- Magazine editor
- Higher education administrator
- Communications officer for nonprofit
- Software developer
- Mental health professional
- Physician assistant
- Brand manager
- Research specialist
- Video game writer, narrative designer
- Product and marketing specialist
- Business development and marketing manager
- Human resources manager
- TV screenplay writer
- Fundraising manager
- Sales manager
Featured English courses
100%English courses taught by a faculty member who holds a Ph.D. or an M.F.A
97%English students who participate in any engaged learning experience
69%English students who study away
41%English students who choose to double major
Meet the faculty
English majors can go on to a variety of careers and fields with their highly marketable skill set and their understanding of how humans create stories in order to make meaning out of their lives. Critical thinking, communication, and a keen, analytical eye are some of the competencies English majors bring to the fore.
A degree in English is a springboard to careers such as journalist, television production manager, public relations manager for global corporation, technical writer, financial analyst, management consultant, lawyer, novelist, English professor, clergy member, neuroscience professor, advertising and marketing professional, corporate sales representative or account manager, hospital chaplain, digital content producer, K-12 teacher, postsecondary teacher, magazine editor, higher education administrator, communications officer for nonprofit, software developer, anesthesiologist, mental health professional, nurse, physician assistant, pediatrician, librarian, brand manager, research specialist, copywriter, video game writer or narrative designer, product and marketing specialist, business development and marketing manager, human resources manager, TV screenplay writer, fundraising manager, sales manager and a seemingly limitless variety of other professions.
The average salary for English majors is $75,096, according to Data USA.
The English B.A. at Furman is a four-year program.