Teaching and the English Major


          As you probably know already, many students who major in English plan to become teachers.  In Pennsylvania, undergraduates who wish to teach at the high school level can be certified to teach after only four years, provided that they complete a double major in Education and a “content area.”  (Other “content areas” besides English include Biology, Chemistry, various foreign languages, Math, and Social Studies.)  If you already know that you want to teach a particular subject at this particular level, you can complete your degree in eight semesters and be properly credentialed for a full-time teaching position in a public school system in Pennsylvania and a number of other cooperating states. 

          Students who are less certain about their career goals, or who have academic or personal interests that extend beyond their content areas, often choose to complete a bachelor’s degree in a traditional arts and sciences discipline and to obtain their teaching certification as part of an M.Ed. degree.  Because this approach requires an additional two to four semesters of schooling, it costs more than the option described in the previous paragraph.  On the other hand, for students who wish to study abroad, or who wish to take part in one of our undergraduate honors programs, or who simply need more flexibility in their schedules than they can manage under the first option, this is sometimes the better choice.    

          Students who wish to teach literature or writing to students at the community college level will have to pursue at least a master’s degree, and students who are interested in full-time positions at four-year colleges should plan on pursuing a Ph.D.  The Department of English and Theatre has a strong record of placing well-qualified majors into excellent graduate programs.

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