Studying English promises more career opportunities today than it did a decade ago. With the growing economy, there is always a space in any organisation, government or private, for someone who speaks persuasively and thinks critically, who has the ability to organise people and read situations. With a second degree in the relevant filed, an English graduate would no doubt stand a better chance, because the courses in English Honours would introduce her/him not only to the creative uses of the language, but also to different fields of social, political, historical, economic, psychological, and aesthetic thought as such would be the texts and the authors one would study today in the English Honours syllabi, which has become completely interdisciplinary. While, students of English would continue to do well in the traditional areas of teaching, journalism, publishing, they would also explore their careers in the corporate world, in non-government organisations (NGOs), and the various research institutes in the field of gender studies, development studies, foreign policy studies, etc.
If teaching in a college or a university is what you love, then the opportunities are plenty, with new central universities being established, and more to be established in the future; foreign universities also are likely to set up their campuses in India. Apart from the regular universities, the Indian
Institutes of Technology and the Indian Institutes of Management and several other technical institutes, and deemed universities, also offer courses in English, and so they require English lecturers and researchers. Once you qualify the National Eligibility Test (NET) conducted by the University Grants Commission, after completing your MA, you will be eligible for the position of assistant professor in a college. Further, with a PhD, you could become an assistant professor in a university.
Research opportunities in English are available in the different fields of specialisation like translation studies, Indic studies, Indian English studies, gender studies, postcolonial studies, etc. While teaching in a college or a university, or after completing your PhD, you can apply for research projects to institutions like the UGC, Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), etc in India, and also to different organisations and universities abroad.
School teaching is also an exciting career option. With a BEd, you can become a teacher at the middle or the high school level.
The media is today one of the most powerful institutions in the country. It indeed functions as the fourth state. You can have a fascinating career, and also make a great contribution to society, arguably, more than what a politician and a bureaucrat does. A degree in journalism after your BA English Honours would introduce you to the world of print and electronic media. The world of advertising would take you to the pinnacle of professional success if your language does wonderful things to your thought and vice-versa.
With a Masters in Arts and Aesthetics, which a few universities like Jawaharlal Nehru University offer, you could become an art critic or an art curator.
The publishing industry in India has also experienced tremendous growth over the years, with the readership increasing consistently. With MA in English you can also join a publishing house as a copy-editor. Or, if you possess the gift of creative writing, with or without a degree in creative writing, you may become a writer of fiction or non-fiction.
As reading and writing will develop your communication skills, making presentations and participating in group discussions would enhance your interpersonal skills, and understanding authors and texts would bring about an ability in you to study any subject and situation critically; you will have great opportunities in the corporate world, especially as a human resource manager, with or without a second degree in the field.
Skill set required
. Analytical skills
. Logical thinking
. Grammatical use of the language
. Love for extensive reading
. Computer skills
Institutions at a glance
Best five colleges for English in India
. Presidency, Kolkata
. St Xavier’s, Kolkata,
. St Xavier’s, Mumbai
. St Stephen’s, Delhi
. Lady Shri Ram, Delhi
The author is assistant professor, Centre for English Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.