English Advising Guide

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What is English?

A B.A. in English provides students with the opportunity to study great works of English and American literature, as well as technical writing and principles of rhetoric.  A concentration in Creative Writing, which emphasizes the art of writing quality fiction and poetry, is also available. 


Career Opportunities in English

  • Freelance Writing
  • Public Relations
  • Advertising
  • Business Writing
  • Editing and Publishing
  • Middle and High School English Teaching
  • Pre-Law


Salary Trends in English

Unlike more vocationally-oriented majors, such as majors in business, engineering, or the health professions, A&S majors tend to study a greater range of topics outside of their immediate major area. This greater breadth provides an interdisciplinary perspective that complements the more linear education in the student’s major area. 

As a result, A&S majors are compatible with a wide-range of career options. A large 2012 survey of employers found that 81% of employers will consider any degree, so most employers do not require a specific degree. So A&S majors typically find post-graduate employment at rates comparable to more vocationally-specific degrees, Furthermore, longitudinal studies which have followed college graduates over time have shown that Arts and Sciences graduates' rates of salary growth often exceed those of more vocationally-specific majors. For example, a 2010 longitudinal survey of college majors after graduation found that:

“Occupationally specific degrees are beneficial at the point of entry into the labor market but have the lowest growth in occupational status over time. Students earning credentials focusing on general skills, in contrast, begin in jobs with low occupational status but subsequently report the greatest growth.

Another longitudinal study concluded that:

"Employment across educational fields is almost identical for individuals aged 35-44, and beyond age 45, humanities graduates actually have higher rates of employment than those in other fields. After age 45, humanities and social science majors’ salaries overtake those of counterparts in other fields."

Finally, A&S majors have on average the highest rates of increase from starting to mid-career salary, with Math, Philosophy, International Studies, Physics, Political Science, Chemistry, and Journalism all scoring in the top 10 among all majors in rate of salary growth to mid-career.


High School Preparation

Standard English courses


How to Major in English

Stop by—or call—the English Department and set up an appointment with the Department Chair, Steven Trout.

(251) 460-6146


Special Programs, Co-ops, Internships

Editing and publishing internships (1-2 credit hours) are available for selected juniors and seniors.  The English Department has a longstanding relationship with Negative Capability Press, a premier local publisher of nationally and internationally distributed books of poetry.  Student interns work closely with Dr. Sue Brannan Walker, the Director of the Press, and oversee the production of a book from start to finish.  Other internship positions are available with Studies in American Culture, a journal edited by Professor Bob Coleman, as well as other scholarly publications. 


English Highlights

Professors in the USA Department of English are extremely active researchers and authors; many have national—or even international—reputations in their areas of expertise.  At the same time, they care deeply about teaching.  Students find their professors friendly, open, and available for consultation outside of class.

The Department is also home to the Stokes Center for Creative Writing, which hosts annual presentations by acclaimed writers, and affiliated with the USA Center for the Study of War and Memory, the Gender Studies Program, and the African-American Studies Program.  


Study Abroad Opportunities

Studying abroad is an exciting and meaningful experience that will contribute to your academic and personal development.  Participating on a study abroad program can be one of the most profound decisions of your college life, and can lead to many new and interesting opportunities.  It can help develop your critical thinking skills, sense of independence, and confidence.  When you depart on your study abroad program, you will go with excitement, trepidation, and uncertainty about the world and your place in it.  When you return home, your deep connection and affection for your host culture will be overwhelming, and will only be matched by a newfound respect and appreciation for your home.

Study abroad is the opportunity for USA students to spend time in a different country while earning credit towards your degree through taking classes, interning, volunteering, and more.  There are many different types of study abroad available to you at USA. They include faculty-led programs, international exchange programs, and direct-enroll and affiliate programs. 

Students on faculty-led programs will travel as a group led by USA professors and take classes in various locations. All courses taken on these programs are USA courses and offer USA credits that will apply to your degree. International Exchange programs are partnerships with specific universities around the world with which USA has a special, reciprocal relationship. Students enroll directly at the host university, and students from the host university attend USA. USA affiliate programs allow students to enroll at a partner university or program through a third-party provider. GPA requirements vary by program.

You should think of the Study Abroad Office as a one-stop shop for information related to your study abroad experience. The Study Abroad (http://www.southalabama.edu/studyabroad/) team is excited to assist you as you navigate through the process of choosing a program, and will help you from the advising stage until you return from your program.  You can get started by coming to meet with an advisor during Walk-In Advising hours. During an advising session, you can gain general information about the many programs available, how the application process works at USA and general guidance on where to begin.

Be sure to visit the OIE Study Abroad website at http://www.southalabama.edu/studyabroad/ to begin your research.  The website contains information on how to get started, financing your program, and a comprehensive list of pre-approved study abroad programs and partners. While researching a passport or visa programs, consider the following: eligibility requirements, location, course offerings, and costs.  You should also meet with your faculty advisor for assistance in selecting a program based on courses related to your degree.

Studying abroad can be one of the highlights of your university career, giving you wonderful and challenging experiences that will allow you to grow both academically and professionally. Where will you study abroad?


Academic Plan

Following an academic plan will help you stay on track to graduate in four years. 

To see a sample academic plan for English, please click here.  Degree plans provide only a suggested schedule; make sure to meet with your academic advisor to find the actual schedule that is right for you.

To see a sample academic plan for English - Creative Writing, please click here.  Degree plans provide only a suggested schedule; make sure to meet with your academic advisor to find the actual schedule that is right for you. 

For additional degree information, visit the undergraduate bulletin.


For More Information

Please contact Steven Trout, the Chair of the Department, for more information.  He can be reached at (251) 460-6146 or strout@southalabama.edu.

You can find us on campus at:

English Department
Humanities Building Rm. 240
5991 USA Drive, N.
Mobile, AL 36688

Department website