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English Literature


While majoring in English and history, Jill Bosserman used her liberal arts coursework to develop critical-thinking skills and gain perspective on her place in the world.

Majoring in English Literature

College Magazine ranks Purdue’s English Department #1 in the United States, and it’s easy to see why. Our degree programs offer individualized attention and access to excellent teachers and experts who shape how people think about literature, linguistics, and writing.

While pursuing a BA in English, students may select from three distinct concentrations: English Literature, English Education and English Language in a Global Context. In all three, students have access to unique learning communities, internships, scholarships, study abroad opportunities and more, providing them with the foundations for collegiate success, and beyond.

The English Literature student is a reader. In this concentration, students read authors who have shaped the English-speaking globe and practice the skills necessary to negotiate a complex world. By reading and writing about literature, you learn the kind of adaptive thinking, empathy, and creativity that the job market demands and that global citizenship requires. The study of English also promotes ethical thinking, curiosity about other times and places, and the ability to imagine alternatives to the status quo. Ultimately, reading and writing are forms of considerable power. As the British Romantic poet Percy Shelley put it, “Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the World.” As an English Literature student, you learn how to exert your power responsibly in whatever world you find yourself.

A flexible and versatile program, English also lets students take electives in Creative Writing and Professional Writing, English Language, and English Education.

Upon completion of the program, English majors may choose graduate school or employment in an industry, which may or may not be related to their interest in English. Student experiences have included:

  • English Teacher
  • Web Publisher
  • Bilingual Educator
  • Journalist
  • Technical Writer
  • Marketing Director
  • Production Assistant
  • Graduate or Professional School

Average Starting Salary: $42,041

All Purdue University College of Liberal Arts majors prepare students with the skills identified as contributing to professional success: communicating and listening well, an understanding and appreciation of diverse points of view, creative thinking and problem solving, a collaborative mindset, the ability to synthesize complex ideas and communicate them clearly, and a Boilermaker work ethic.

Within the field of English, students develop skills that are applicable to many different careers. These skills may include, but are not limited to:

  • Exceptional writing for multiple audiences, and in multiple styles (stories, poems, reviews, reports, memos, essays, and critical analyses).
  • Deep reading (how to read patiently, with empathy and insight; how to recognize patterns in texts; and how to express your observations about them effectively).
  • Creative and literary thinking (metaphorical and other non-literal reasoning; historical and global awareness; connecting the dots and telling stories with data).
  • Analytical and research skills (how to take texts and ideas apart for a greater understanding of the whole; how to find, compile, and synthesize important information).
  • Cutting-edge presentation skills (how to produce, read, and understand images and digital texts; how to present your ideas in the most effective manner).

English majors may choose to enter into the workforce using the skills they have acquired at Purdue or to attend graduate school upon completion of their degree. Past graduates have gone on to:


  • Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Glassdoor
  • Reddit
  • IBM
  • Center for Global Impact
  • Tippecanoe School Corporation
  • Holbrook Early Childhood Center

Graduate School

  • Columbia University, School of Journalism
  • Indiana University, Robert H. McKinney School of Law
  • University of Connecticut 
  • Kent University
  • University of Florida

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