Say it Clearly with a Degree in Writing or English

A degree in English or writing could be your ticket to a career as a writer, editor, journalist, educator or several other exciting occupations that rely on your use of the written and spoken word. You can apply the skills gained with a degree in English or writing to multiple fields in education, business and other professional settings. Whether you’re contemplating a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree or even a Ph.D., you’ll have many options.

An English or writing degree typically focuses on studying and analyzing literature, both classical and contemporary, and includes writing and composition. Studying English and writing is a reading-intensive program and provides students with an opportunity to refine their operational, grammatical and organizational skills. An English or writing degree can prepare you to enter a classroom to teach the literary classics or instruct composition. Still, it can also pave the way for a career as a technical writer, journalist or public relations specialist.

Black authors like James Baldwin, Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison have made marks on literature, tradition and history, helping shape our culture, politics and awareness by adding to the American discussion through their clear and clever writing. Contributions like theirs are notable and laudable, reminding us all that more cogent, well-written voices like theirs are needed and required.

Careers for English and Writing Majors

An English or writing degree can be the key to an array of exciting and challenging careers, such as:

  • Editors
  • Reporters, correspondents and broadcast news analysts
  • Technical writers
  • Writers and authors
  • Marketing
  • Interpreters and translators
  • Public relation specialists

Female student writing at a tableWith such a broad range of career opportunities, there is also a range of salaries, ranging from $31,000 to more than $70,000 annually. The job forecast is exceptionally high for interpreters and translators, with a 20% expected job growth. The anticipated growth rate for public relations specialists and technical writers is 7%.

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Coursework for English and Writing Majors

English and writing majors will gain exposure to film, poetry, plays and more. Other possible requirements include courses that cover particular periods, focus on specific geographic areas or help students develop research skills. Some schools permit or require majors to select a track or concentration area, such as British poetry, African American writers, gender, sexuality or another theme, genre or historical period. Writing majors might focus on creative writing by taking courses on literary forms like graphic novels, poetry and scriptwriting. Other schools offer more specific writing tracks in literary prose, poetry and nonfiction writing.


Tougaloo Chapel

Tougaloo Chapel

UNCF Schools to Consider

More than 25 UNCF-member HBCUs offer degrees in English, including:

Scholarships, Organizations and Programs

Several professional organizations may be appropriate for those with an English or writing degree, depending on their specific industry, including Black Editors & Proofreaders, The National Organization of Black Journalists (NABJ), the National Association of Independent Writers & Editors (NAIWE), the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals, the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), the National Black Public Relations Society, the Public Relations Society (PRSA) and the Public Relations Student Society of America.

douglass winner with donor and Uncf reps

2020 Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship recipient with donor (left) and UNCF representatives

Several scholarships are available through UNCF. The UNCF General Scholarship Awards are an excellent opportunity for any student going to a UNCF-member college, regardless of their major. The UNCF/Koch Scholars Program offers scholarships, mentorship, academic support and networking opportunities to undergraduate African American students. The Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Scholarship Program awards a $10,000 scholarship to one exceptional HBCU senior each year who has demonstrated high academic achievement, strong leadership skills, commitment to community service and unmet financial need.

Reach out for guidance by submitting a major interest form if you are interested in a career for an English or writing degree. Submit the form on our website to get started. And follow us on UNCF social media channels to receive notifications about our scholarships and member HBCUs. Reach out today!