5 Things You Didnʼt Know About Being an NYU English Major
Great books, great minds, great possibilities
With over 170,000 words in the English language, it makes sense that being an NYU English major opens up an array of academic opportunities and a world of career options. “If you want to major in English at NYU, my advice is to go for it,” says Elena Guerra, an English major on the creative writing track. “With the incredible flexibility of the program and the diverse classes that are available, you can personalize your English major to be exactly how you want it.” So, whether you’re studying African feminist writing in Accra or delving into the history of cinema as a Dramatic Literature major, the English department will expose you to great books, great minds, and great possibilities.
1. You Can Choose Your Own Adventure
English majors have their choice of three paths at NYU: English with a literary studies concentration, English with a creative writing concentration, and Dramatic Literature. But how do you decide which route to take? Students on the creative writing track study literature with a focus on the craft of writing, including analysis and revision. On the other hand, the interdisciplinary Dramatic Literature major unites literature, performance, and playwriting. “The creative writing track is great for anyone who wants to explore their options,” affirms Elena. “You get to play around with writing, discover some new styles, and learn from some fantastic professors while doing so.”
2. You Can Study with Honors
As an NYU student, you’ll take rigorous, exciting classes no matter what you study. But for those particularly ambitious—and exceptionally talented—English majors, there’s the English Honors program. In addition to the standard 10 English course requirements, honors students take the Senior Honors Thesis and Senior Honors Colloquium. These small classes focus on scholarly conversation, research, and methodology and include guest speakers and presentations. The competitive program culminates in writing a 40- to 60-page thesis during your senior year.
“Being a part of the English Honors program was, without a doubt, my favorite aspect of my NYU experience,” says Hanna Saadat Khosravi, an English and History double major. “Like many avid readers, I spent years amassing texts and ideas that I hoped to write about one day. The program grants students the opportunity to dedicate a year to pursuing their personal, carefully honed literary interests. Additionally, the opportunity to learn from a professor one-on-one is like attending a personal seminar every week. It’s a truly remarkable academic experience.”
3. You Can Take Your Talents Abroad
The best cure for writer’s block is a change in perspective. And the best way to do that is to see the world while you study abroad. NYU English majors can follow in the footsteps of literary giants, studying Nietzsche in Berlin or Kafka in Prague. NYU London offers a number of courses on literature and theatre, with a side of Shakespeare, complemented by excursions to plays, museums, and galleries. There are also a variety of other study away sites that are eligible for credit toward the major. These include Abu Dhabi, Accra, Buenos Aires, Florence, Paris, Madrid, Sydney, and Tel Aviv.
4. You Can Save Lives and Deliver Justice
College is a time of exploration, and one of the many benefits of a liberal arts education is that you’re not limited to one field of study. At NYU, we encourage undergraduates to keep their academic and professional options open and engage with the world around them. That’s why prelaw and prehealth aren’t majors. Instead, any aspiring lawyer can self-identify as prelaw while majoring in the subject of their choice. Likewise, as a prehealth English major, you can prep for med school while honing your craft as a writer. After all, the best lawyers and doctors come from a variety of backgrounds and bring a wealth of knowledge to their practice.
5. Your Degree Can Open Doors and Turn Pages
In addition to journalists and authors, NYU English alums have become professors, judges, CEOs, doctors, and architects. That’s because English majors develop the skills to be exceptional writers, problem solvers, and collaborators, making them prime candidates for pretty much any job. “I selected English as my major because it would allow me to read and write bountifully for four years. But what I quickly realized was that my English major would also teach me how to read. That means learning how to think, analyze, critique, empathize, and interpret not only literature but also the world around us. It is the greatest gift that my time at NYU gave me,” attests Hanna.
Postgraduation, Hanna will work as a researcher and assistant editorial producer, focusing on research for visual storytelling projects. “While working on my thesis, I realized how fulfilled I felt by my research. Telling human stories is essential to building a more just and compassionate future, and that is always my goal,” she explains. So whether you want to use your words to change the world or just hone your writing skills, an English major will allow you to turn the page and start your next chapter.