Department of Languages and Literature

Careers for Students

Careers for Spanish Majors and Minors

Knowledge of another language and culture is an increasingly valuable asset for people entering the job market. Benedictine's Spanish major emphasizes cultural and communicative competence so that successful completion of the program enables graduates to use their Spanish in a professional environment. The Spanish language faculty and the University work closely with students to help each identify and pursue a career path chosen from a variety of areas such as government, business, advertising, law, journalism, the sciences, the arts and education. As more and more middle and high schools require second language study, the University also offers teacher certification in Spanish in order to respond to the growing need for Spanish and bilingual teachers.

Careers for English Language & Literature Majors and Minors

The English Language & Literature major is an unusually versatile major when it comes to post-graduation job opportunities. The kinds of skills one learns while studying literature—critical thinking, interpreting complex information, articulate self-expression, cogent writing, persuasive argumentation, research strategies—are abilities valued by employers in a wide array of fields. Here are a few examples:

  • Publishing and editing
  • Advertising and public relations
  • Business administration and management
  • Counseling and social work
  • Research
  • Technical writing
  • Web content design and development
  • Library work
  • Education and teaching
  • Graduate study in literature or another field

The English Language & Literature Program and Pre-Law Study

"There are important skills and values, and significant bodies of knowledge that you can acquire prior to law school and that will provide a sound foundation for a legal education. These include analytic and problem-solving skills, critical reading abilities, writing skills, oral communication and listening abilities, general research skills, task organization and management skills, and the values of serving faithfully the interests of others while also promoting justice."

–from "Statement on Prelaw Preparation" prepared by the Pre-Law Committee of the
American Bar Association Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar

With its focus on close reading, rigorous analytical and research skills, and careful oral and written argumentation, the English Language & Literature major at Benedictine offers an ideal preparation for law school. Indeed, in a survey of law school deans, English/literature was one of the four undergraduate majors most often recommended for students wishing to study law. From our introductory theory and methodology class (LITR 2299) to our intensive capstone research course, Senior Seminar (LITR 4399), the English Language & Literature curriculum provides challenging, individualized instruction and produces graduates who routinely gain admission to nationally recognized law programs.

English Language & Literature majors and minors interested in studying law should consult an advisor for guidance in selecting courses that will help prepare them for law school. These may include classes in history, philosophy, economics, and/or political science.

The English Language & Literature Program and Pre-Medical Study

Many students interested in pursuing medical studies assume that an undergraduate science major (for instance, in biology) is indispensable for admission to and success in medical school. But prospective pre-med students have many educational options, including the possibility of majoring or minoring in a humanities field such as English Language & Literature. Here are some quick facts about English Language & Literature and pre-medical study:

  • Literary study emphasizes attention to detail, analytical rigor, strong research skills, and outstanding oral and written communication—all assets for medical school applicants and physicians alike.
  • Medical schools do not require students to major in the sciences to be considered for admission. Indeed, even premier medical schools like Harvard ask applicants to "demonstrate aptitude in the biological and physical sciences…, but not to the exclusion of the humanities and social sciences."
  • In an informal survey of students who applied to medical school between 2000 and 2004, Amherst College found that "non-science majors... did just as well as the science majors in gaining acceptance" and concluded that "majoring in science doesn't in itself make any difference to the odds of acceptance."
  • And finally: Harold E. Varmus, a 1989 winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and former director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), majored in English at Amherst and went on to receive an M.A. in literary studies from Harvard University.

So if you're a pre-med student who also enjoys reading and writing, you may wish to consider pursuing a major or minor in English Language & Literature. With a curriculum that offers challenging, individualized instruction, our students become articulate and intellectually adept graduates who are well-prepared to tackle the rigors of both medical school and post-university life.

Poetry has been the longest pleasure of my life.

– Shirley Hazzard