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Careers for Majors

English majors at Washington and Lee go on to pursue a wide variety of careers. Over the past century, W&L English majors have gone on to pursue professions in the following fields: business, including advertising, banking, human resources, marketing, and real estate (34%); education at all levels (18%); law and legal professions (10%); arts and architecture, including arts administration (5%); journalism (5%); government and public service (4%); and medicine and health professions (4%). Smaller proportions have pursued careers in publishing, the ministry, the armed services and law enforcement, agriculture, and the non-profit world. For information about planning for careers after W&L, please visit the Career Development Center website. Liberal arts college humanities are in demand in the workplace. Read the study.

As these statistics reveal, over a third of our graduates are in business, where writing and oral communication skills are prized; others have become literate lawyers and humane medical doctors. We are proud of our writers and literary editors, who participate in the creation of literature, and of our teachers and professors, who bring to their own students their sense of literature's variety and potential to enrich our lives. An English major opens up possibilities: within recent years our graduates have gone on to pursue careers in theater, film-making, exercise physiology, criminology, advertising, veterinary medicine, environmental activism, speech therapy, publishing, and politics. Our majors have won Fulbright scholarships and have served in the Peace Corps and Teach for America. Washington and Lee University English graduates have won places at some of the nation's top graduate programs in English.

Majoring in English qualifies you for many areas of postgraduate work, not only literature and law. With only 33 credits to complete, an English major can handily undertake a second major, or can fulfill requirements of one of Washington and Lee's interdisciplinary programs (Africana Studies; Medieval and Renaissance Studies; the Shepherd Poverty Program; Environmental Studies or Women's Studies). An English major can complete all the required courses for a medical school application or a career in the health professions; nationally, English majors have a very high acceptance rate to medical schools.

Teaching Certification

A W&L English major, with its distribution in three areas, prepares students well to embark on teaching careers. Students interested in certification for teaching may obtain it through W&L's Teacher Education program, though many English majors pursue careers in private school teaching without certification.