Should I Major In English Or Journalism?

"I am still searching for a college to attend based on my interests. I know for sure that I am interested in English, and I might be interested in Journalism. Creative writing is what I love to do. I don’t actually honestly read newspapers. But I also know I’m not too likely to make a living writing creatively. I’m a lot more likely to find a job doing something practical like journalism. So my question is whether I should be looking for a school that offers journalism or one that offers a great English program. Which should I major in?"

asked by Winifred from Tulsa, OK

There is nobody who can tell you what you should major in, but given what you have said about your situation, it definitely seems that you are leaning strongly toward English, and not toward Journalism. You are correct that journalism is a more practical industry than creative writing (as in you are more likely to land a job and pull in a regular paycheck), but that does not mean that majoring in English is an unpractical decision. It comes down to what you want to do after college. And you do not really sound like you are set on becoming a journalist, so English may suit you just fine.

If you major in English instead of Journalism, you will have a lot more opportunities to study creative writing than you would if you majored in Journalism. You would also be able to read more English literature, which would help you with your writing as well.

The great thing about creative writing though is that you do not necessarily need to major in English or Journalism or anything related to do it. Most of it comes from your experiences and your passion, and you can have some amazing experiences even in totally different fields.

So you could consider majoring in something totally unrelated. After all, if you are worried about a practical line of work, you can find more pragmatic choices than becoming a journalist. You could even major in science or engineering. Other majors to consider that are more writing related include PR or advertising. If you major in science or engineering, though, you could aim to become a technical writer.

Another thing to remember is that a bachelor’s degree is the first step toward a master’s degree. If you are thinking about continuing on to graduate school, an English or Journalism bachelor’s degree would allow you to continue on to get advanced training in the subject area you choose.

You also might go on to medical school or law school. English majors comprise a huge number of medical school and law school students.

There are a ton of possibilities, so there is no need to confine yourself. Whichever degree field you choose, you can find time to write creatively. Ask yourself what you want to do to pay the bills, whether it is related to writing or something else, and choose your major based off of that. You can also always just start out as an English major and take it from there.

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