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< Back to question What are some viable career options for an English major? Show more Show less

A question that every English student ever has received is “Are you going to be a teacher?” To which most of us would reply noncommittally. While it is true that many students who major in English go on to study postgraduate degrees and become teachers, lecturers, professors and the like, it seems that many don’t realise the breadth of career optionsEnglish majors have.

The entertainment sector Show more Show less

English majors can become writers, screenwriters, copywriters, actors, critics, and even more.
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English majors can become film critics

Among the multiple possible career paths English majors can embark upon, film criticism is one of the most prevalent and, arguably, rewarding ones they can choose. Not only is there a deep connection between the two disciplines, but film criticism can be understood by writers on a much deeper and more comprehensive level.
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The Argument

Since there are no official professional requirements for becoming a film critic and, because of the widening scope of the Internet and various video-making mediums like YouTube, English majors have unprecedented access to the art form today. Since being a film critic naturally entails writing journal articles that can appear online, in newspapers, magazines, radio, and television, writing itself is the ultimate baseline for such a career. Knowledge of the intricacies in storytelling, character arc, and literary allusions or influences in film, as well as the ability to write succinctly and interestingly, helps propel the quality of criticism and the legitimacy of the critical source. The Houston Chronicle states that, "Courses in journalism, English, communication or broadcasting play a crucial role in becoming a film critic. Obtaining a bachelor’s degree in these areas gives you an advantage when seeking future employment with online or print publications."[1] The entertainment industry needs young writers and journalists to discuss movies in new and intriguing ways, and film criticism is certainly one way for English majors to build their own career within the film sector.

Counter arguments

The connection between film criticism and English majors is slimmer than this argument describes. Yes, film critics must know how to write their articles well, but majors like screenwriting and film studies work better with the skill because they are more directly tied to the art of filmmaking. English majors going to school building analytical essays and reading classic literature are less naturally inclined to gravitate toward the entertainment industry, and their discipline in novels does not necessarily translate well to the medium of film. Again, there are other "writing" majors that would more appropriately match what major entertainment companies are looking for in young job applicants, and this argument does not account for that.


[P1] Knowledge of the intricacies in storytelling, character arc, and literary allusions or influences in film, as well as the ability to write succinctly and interestingly, naturally produces better quality of film criticism. [P2] English majors possess heightened awareness of and an analytical eye for stories, characters, and literary allusions. [P3] Therefore, English majors can become film critics.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P2] Major other than those in English and journalism are more inherently tied to films and filmmaking, especially because they focus more heavily on films themselves rather than stories in essays or classic literature, which are entirely disparate art forms. [Rejecting P3] English majors should not necessarily become film critics.



This page was last edited on Monday, 8 Jun 2020 at 18:27 UTC

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