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Jeong-Oh Kim teaches Intro to Poetry sitting with students on Library Lawn

Career Outcomes

Your Success Story Is Waiting. An English Major trains you to pay close, critical attention to textual, visual and narrative forms of evidence; think broadly, analytically, and imaginatively; and communicate with subtlety, clarity, and precision. These skills will serve you well in careers ranging from those focused on teaching and communication to journalism, non-profits, law, marketing, and business. More importantly, whatever career you choose, your English major will feed your lifelong passion for exploring, understanding, bridging, and creating.

Alumni Stories

Anne Machalinski ’02 (Literary Studies)

Headshot Anna MachalinskiAfter graduating with a Major in Literary Studies, Anne worked in the field of media buying/planning, but quickly realized it was not the right fit for her. Going back to her love of reading and writing, Anne pursued and earned a Master of Science in Journalism at Columbia University. She began exploring a variety of career opportunities and is now a Senior Editor for UCLA Health. Thinking back on her experience at Vanderbilt and how it has led to her current career, Anne says, “All of my work has incorporated skills I learned with an English major: critical thinking, reading comprehension, clear and persuasive writing. Having an English major gave me the flexibility to try out a few different things without feeling pigeonholed into one path.”


Emma Cofer ’09 (Creative Writing)

Headshot of Emma WaldmanWhile at Vanderbilt, Emma knew she had a passion for language and storytelling. It drew her to the English major in Creative Writing and, eventually, toward brand strategy. As a lead brand strategist at Google, she solves problems, finds meaning, and tells stories for a living. Her degree has helped her on this pathway, as she learned how to “unpack the value of every single word,” build a “range of references, allusions, and stylistic tools to draw on to tell stories,” and even “empathize with the human experience to uncover insights to drive business.” She can’t imagine a more helpful set of skills for her career.


Patrick Neligan ’13 (Literary Studies)

Head shot PatrickA major in Literary Studies prepared Patrick to earn his M.A. in Public Relations at Georgetown University and set him up for success as a senior account executive with Public Purpose PR, a public relations firm serving the health care industry. During his studies at Vanderbilt, he learned how to process and analyze copious amounts of content to convey complex ideas–a sought-after skill in the workplace. Patrick also says, “The focus on gender roles, equality, and respect in the collaborative environment of the Department of English really helped me to be a better colleague and professional.”