The Department of Literatures in English seeks to foster critical analysis and lucid writing. We also strive to teach students to think about the nature of language and to be alert to both the rigors and the pleasures of reading texts of diverse inspiration.

English majors engage with English, American, and Anglophone literature of an astounding historical span and global variety, and are trained to respond to what they read in a rich and complex variety of ways—from expository essays and scholarly inquiries to class discussions and creative writing of their own.

Students develop their own programs of study in consultation with their major advisors. Some focus on a particular historical period or literary genre, or combine sustained work in creative writing with the study of literature. Others pursue interests in such areas as women’s literature, regional literature, literature and the visual arts, or critical theory. 

Sample classes

  • Africa in Hollywood
  • Comic Books and Graphic Novels
  • Communicating Climate Change
  • Literature and Medicine
  • Medieval Romance: Voyages to the Otherworld
  • Poetry and Poetics of the Americas
  • Shakespeare in the 21st Century


All information below is based on the 2022 First-Destination Post-Graduate Survey. Lists are not exhaustive; rather, they are a sampling of the data. If you would like more information, please email as_careers@cornell.edu

What can you do with a degree in English? 

Graduate School:

In 2022, 30% of English students embarked on graduate school journeys. They pursued various advanced degrees, with 26% focusing on their MA, 19% working towards a JD, 14% dedicated to an MS, and more. Their graduate field interest ranges from law (21%) to English language & literature (14%) and creative writing (12%).

These ambitious individuals have chosen to continue their education at prestigious institutions like Columbia University, Vanderbilt University, Northwestern University, and Stanford University. 


59% of English graduates secured employment, and the majority entered sectors in education (19%), communications/media (15%), and technology (12%). Cornell University and Google were the top 2022 employers.

Where 2022 English Graduates Work

EmployerJob Titles
Amazon Web ServicesTechnical Writer
AppleSiri Writer
Comcast/NBCUniversalData Quality Editor
Louisiana Supreme CourtLibrary Assistant
McKinsey & CompanyPublishing Intern
Musee MagazineWriter
Penguin Random HousePublicity Assistant
Politics and ProseBookseller
The Paris ReviewEditorial Intern
W.W. Norton & Company Critical Editions Intern