As an English major, you will open yourself up to many opportunities in various types of careers. As part of practicing for such careers, English majors often participate in internships. Among these opportunities are the following courses in which you may complete internships for college credit.
English 4890 & 4891: Practicum: Careers in Writing
An internship is a “field experience” course: it’s an academic course (you earn course credit and work with a professor), but most of the work occurs at an internship “field site,” the professional workplace where you agree to intern. Internships provide on-the-job experience in the fields of writing and communication, and they offer opportunities to work with committed professionals and to learn about careers available to English majors.
Our students have interned with Pitt County Arts Council, Stop Human Trafficking of Eastern NC, United Way of Pitt County, Carolina Style Magazine, Cornerstone Leadership Academy, and Irons Law Firm. Within ECU, they have worked with the North Carolina Literary Review, Tar River Poetry, University Writing Center, ECU Marketing and Communication/Office of Admissions, and the Donne Variorum and the Digital Donne project.
You can earn 6 semester hours (s.h.) towards the major or minor by completing both ENGL 4890 and ENGL 4891. Both are available as web-based campus courses. Each course is 3 s.h., and includes 140 hours of on-the-job work with a significant writing component. If you are interested in internship opportunities, download this handout with more information (Undergraduate Professional Communication Internships in English (PDF)) or contact Dr. Brent Henze, Internship Coordinator.
Why intern, and how does it work?
- Apply your skills and knowledge as an English student in a professional workplace
- Work alongside professionals and experience how professionals communicate in their jobs
- Receive on-the-job mentoring and academic support and professionalization before graduation
- Build a portfolio that showcases your talents as a communicator
Who is eligible to complete an internship?
The internship counts as an undergraduate English elective toward the English major, the English minor, and the Certificate in Business and Technical Writing. Students not affiliated with English can also complete an internship for elective credit.
Where can I intern?
Any supervised professional work setting can serve as an internship field site. Think local businesses, municipal or government offices, non-profit or civic organizations, churches, libraries, schools, university offices–any place where professionals use their communication skills to get things done.
Internship sites may be in the local area or elsewhere. English students have completed internships as far away as Peru and Washington, DC.
Past internship placements have included:
- Local and regional businesses
- Area nonprofits
- Regional civic organizations
- Campus programs and organizations
- Area publications
As an English major or minor, you have the flexibility to compete in a rapidly-changing economy. Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers including publishing, business, industry, and the public sector. Some career paths include:
- Writing, editing, and publishing
- Grant-writing, fund-raising, and providing outreach
- Developing and curating information for the Web and social media
- Training in professional settings
- Serving as public information officers for businesses and municipalities
- Preparing technical materials and documents in a variety of industries (e.g. Cisco and Nortel)
- Solving problems related to language and pattern recognition (e.g. for the CIA/Department of State)
- Teaching English and/or English to Speakers of Other Languages
- Developing materials and textbooks for language arts courses
The Department of English takes career planning very seriously. With an English degree, you can pursue nearly any kind of graduate study, and our graduates have earned advanced degrees in law, medicine, library science, counseling, business, teaching, journalism, and many other fields.
English Professional Seminar
English 4999: Professional Seminar is a one-credit free elective course offered each fall. This course is designed to help you think about careers in English. We emphasize that English is a major that prepares students for non-linear career trajectories. The Professional Seminar course provides you with models of what a variety of English-oriented careers might look like. In addition, this course helps you start down your chosen career path. In the seminar, you will explore career and graduate school options, practice marketing yourself via print and digital means, prepare resumes and other professional documents, and reflect on the skills you’ve developed as English majors as part of completing the English Senior Portfolio.
The Career Center
A part of the Division of Academic and Student Affairs, The Career Center assists students and alumni in planning for life after graduation. The Center provides career counseling, workshops, programs, and professional development for all ECU students. Counselors in the career center help you to locate opportunities, use databases, prepare cover letter and resumes, and identify promising careers. You can make an appointment with the career counselor who works with English majors by calling 252-328-6050. The Career Center is located at 701 E. Fifth St.
More English Career Info
Want to learn more about the importance of an English degree? Check out our Informational Flyer (PDF) or the media reports listed below on the importance of degree programs like ours:
- Faculty Focus’ story on The English Major. If Only.
- The Chronicle of Higher Education’s story on How Do Humanities Majors Fare in the Work Force?
- U.S. News and World Report’s story on Why Majoring in the Humanities Can Be a Great Career Move
- The Washington Post’s story on The world’s top economists just made the case for why we still need English majors
- Business Insider’s interview about why the liberal arts major is the future
- Inside Higher Ed reports, “Study finds humanities majors land jobs and are happy in them“
- Paul Corrigan’s report “Want a Job with that English Degree?“
- The Washington Post’s story on the importance of liberal arts training in conjunction with STEM (science, technology, engineering, math)
- Business Insider’s report on why so many medical doctors were English majors
- The Washington Post’s take on unexpected career turns and how your major can help with lots of opportunities
- The Huffington Post’s take on why employers prefer English majors
- The Wall Street Journal reports on how the salary divide between humanities and science majors narrows over time
- The American Express Open Forum’s reporting on why English majors are the hot new hires
- The New York Times‘ “Triumph of the English Major“
- Salary.com’s list of 8 college degrees that will earn your money back
- The Best Argument for Studying English? The Employment Numbers
- The Future of Work, Jobs Training, & Skills by the PEW Research Center