by Amy Nawrocki, English Department Chair, Director of the Division of Arts and Humanities, University of Bridgeport
Every few decades, the question arises again: why pursue an English degree? And yet, after centuries of transformation in higher education, this degree and those closely related to it (communications, professional writing, etc.) remain some of the most popular and vital in America. Why? The short answer is skills; the long answer is that people love to read and write. As someone with an advanced degree in creative writing, I can say that this is certainly the most satisfying career path I could have chosen.
With a bachelor’s degree in English and Professional Writing like the one at University of Bridgeport, students will be prepared to enter the job force as experts in analytical thinking and written communication. Students learn the skills to communicate effectively in scholarly, professional, and personal ways. Those skills include how to:
- Write clearly and effectively in a variety of forms, adapting writing and analytical skills to all rhetorical situations
- Read critically, research effectively, and document sources ethically
- Adapt creativity, critical thinking, and speaking skills to communicate effectively in professional environments
These are the kinds of skills that employers of all kinds are looking for. As important are the skills that help us connect to each other, build empathy, and tell our own and each other’s stories. With a degree in English, you gain knowledge of the diversity of human experience, across cultures and time. This background helps English majors effect change and become leaders, whether that is writing for clients, shaping the voice of a business, collaborating with others, or sharing knowledge with the community. In these ways, graduates from the English program are prepared for careers in variety of fields, including business writing, journalism, copywriting, editing, publishing, public relations, and communications. They are also qualified to pursue graduate training leading to careers in secondary education, library science, or law degrees.
One of our former majors, James Novoa, is now an adjunct professor at UB. He writes that after getting his degree, “The options for other ventures opened up to me. I got TOEFL and publishing certificates. I wrote proposals for friends and their startups, found short gigs with copywriting projects, wrote articles for fashion blogs and soon for small celebrity news websites. I even went into publishing in New York for a bit before deciding to get my MFA. Teaching allowed me a way to give back.” Others have taken advantage of the internship program through the School of Education at UB and are preparing to pass the torch to high school students. Class of 2020 graduate Emilia Rivera turned her degree into a free-lance editing business and then a position as acquisitions editor at a major publishing house.
UB’s English and Professional Writing major is flexible enough for students to pursue a double major or add a minor or two in Business, Psychology, Education, or a dozen other options. It also meets all the requirements of a Master of Science in Secondary English and has options for online and non-traditional students.
Expertise in critical thinking and in written communication is vital for graduates faced with the daunting task of contributing to the 21st century economy. An English and Professional Writing degree at University of Bridgeport can fully prepare them to excel in a global, interconnected world as thinkers, workers, and citizens.
Professor Amy Nawrocki is English Department Chair and Director of the Division of Arts and Humanities. She is the author of eleven books including six poetry collections, three books on Connecticut History, a memoir, and a guide to Connecticut Farms and Farmers Markets, as well as numerous poems and essays published in print and online. Her poetry collection, Mouthbrooders, was a finalist for the Connecticut Book Award, and her memoir The Comet’s Tail was the winner of the Living Now Mind Body Spirit award.