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Internships, Careers & Graduate School

Students often wonder what an English major might lead to. The answer, from our perspective, is almost anything.

All English courses investigate the vital function of language and literature in being human. We ask students to read critically but imaginatively, think originally and insightfully, and write energetically and compellingly in both print and digital platforms. This set of skills makes our students sought after employees in a wide range of professions, and makes them excellent cadidates for graduate and professional study.

Internships & Careers

Recent graduates have pursued careers in law, medicine, publishing, teaching, mass communications, technology, government service, public relations, film and theatre and even the fragrance industry, showing the bredth and depth of ability and experience our majors have.

We recommend that, while here, students seek out independent research experiences as well as internships to explore various fields of inquiry and employment. There are many sources of financial support for such student pursuits, including the following.

We highly recommend you compliment your academic work with internships (login required) in fields of interest to you.

Graduate School

Many students at Davidson go on to pursue graduate or professional degrees. From the class of 2016, roughly 20 percent currently is pursuing graduate work, and others plan on continuing their education in the future. An English degree from Davidson does not mean that you must continue to study English post graduation; the major provides you the ability to present yourself clearly and think creatively, which can easily transfer into other areas of study such as law, business and medicine.

We recognize the importance of financial support to our students pursuing graduate studies. To this end, we encourage our theses advisees to consult with their individual directors about possible funding opportunities, and about the prospect of graduate school in general.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about advanced degrees in literature study and creative writing.

Why should I consider a master’s degree in English?

  • You can expand your knowledge of the English language and literature, and continue to pursue the subjects that interested you in your undergraduate studies.
  • If you’re planning on entering a job field directly related to English (teaching, public relations, content management), employers may look more favorably on your application if you have a master’s degree, and you may have an easier time transitioning into the workforce than those without master’s degrees.
  • Many people who have master’s degrees in English enter fields not directly related to English (such as law and business) and the creative and communicative skills they developed in the classroom are easily applied to their careers.
  • Your professors and peers at graduate school can provide networking and connections to the job market.
  • It may make you a stronger candidate for a doctorate program.

What are some examples of master’s degrees in English?

  • English Language and Literature
  • Contemporary Literature
  • Teaching and learning English as a second language
  • English Linguistics

What kind of jobs can I get with a master’s degree in English?

There are three main categories depending on the direction/focus of the degree program: Educational positions, either domestic or abroad; public relations positions, which include technical writing (firms) and advertising/scriptwriting; and writing-based positions, which include journalism (newspaper, magazine) and managing digital content (blogs, other online forums).

What schools have recent Davidson graduates attended for master’s degrees in English?

  • In state: UNC-Chapel Hill, Wake Forest
  • Out of state: Washington University, University of Virginia, NYU, Columbia, Georgetown, Emory, Vanderbilt
  • Internationally: St. Andrew's, Scotland

Do you have to get a master’s degree before applying to a doctorate program?

While master’s programs offer students an opportunity to hone their specific research agenda and methodological approach, doctorate programs can and do offer admission to select competitive candidates applying without master’s degrees. Indeed, recent graduates of the Abbott English Honors Program are uniquely poised in this regard, since many of the honors theses—and especially the critical theses—could be used effectively as writing samples for doctorate applications. While financial aid is not usually available for master’s students, doctorate students are often admitted with generous funding packages in the form of fellowships, research assistantships, and/or teaching assistantships.

What about a master of fine arts degree in creative writing?

People who enroll in MFA programs are pursuing advanced preparation in creative writing in the hopes of improving their craft. Such creative writing programs give students access to established writers, which in turn may help in getting an agent/publishing.

How are master of fine arts in creative writing programs taught?

There are two types of master of fine arts program: low-residency and full-time.

  • Low-residency: you are only in class with the professor for a few weeks a year in intensive seminars, and the rest of the time you submit your assignments to your professors/classmates for revisions. These programs tend to take two years.
  • Full-time: much more akin to the traditional classroom environment.

Where have recent Davidson students gone for master of fine arts degrees?

Boston University, Columbia University, the New School, NYU, UT Austin, the University of Michigan, the University of Arizona, Virginia Tech, the University of Central Florida and Texas Tech.