Why be an English Major?

An undergraduate English major is a great choice for a student who arrives at the University of Puerto Rico with good skills in English; nevertheless, many English-proficient students in Puerto Rico are reluctant to become English majors, thinking perhaps that an English degree is only good for teaching English. They prefer to apply their English skills to the study of more profitable fields, and their parents agree.

However, English is actually a highly marketable major which offers superlative preparation for communication-rich fields like law, politics, business administration, journalism, broadcasting, screenwriting, ministry, sales, public relations, advertising, hospitality, publishing, library science, and many others. English helps you to develop your writing, thinking, and communicating skills and provides a broad base of culturally diverse texts (both written and oral) on which to build your career or future graduate studies. It also provides you with an opportunity to consider long-standing human questions and conflicts and the different ways in which thinkers and writers throughout history have approached or resolved them.

Many people associate English with the reading of many long literary works (and this is definitely an important part of the major); however, there is much more to it than that. There are two English majors in the College of Humanities at the Rio Piedas campus: Literature (INGL) and Linguistics and Communication (LOCU). While Literature does involve extensive reading of classic works by long-dead authors, it also includes lively interpretation of contemporary fiction, poetry, film, oral history, performance, and drama, development of the creative art of writing, and consideration of interdisciplinary fields like Women’s Studies or Caribbean Studies. Linguistics and Communication make considerable use of written texts of various kinds but pay particular attention to oral discourse and interaction. Courses in this second prong of the English Department’s offerings address such issues as language and gender, personal/sexual/social/cultural identity, rhetorical theory, power and ideology, intercultural and interpersonal communication, historical change in language, dialect variation, etc.

For more information about the options available to an undergraduate English major after graduation, go to the following web sites:


For general information regarding admission to the UPR and selection of a major, go to the Student Information webpage at: http://estudiantes.upr.edu

Click here to join the English Majors Association.