Writing / Editing

Writing / EditingFeatured Alum: Emily Koenig Hapka, Digital Content Editor

The Value of a Degree from St. Thomas: "My English and COJO classes provided me with a great mix of real-world experience and a creative understanding of the written word, which helped me build on skills necessary for my current job as a digital content editor."

Advice for a Writing and Editing Career: “Work to get internships or volunteer positions early on--it will help you narrow in on the type of writing/editing you will actually enjoy in the future. Write and submit to your favorite publications or conferences--professors are often wonderful and willing to help edit or craft query letters."


A career in writing and editing is a natural fit for an English major. There are a variety of different, specialized paths that this professional sector can branch off into, including freelance work, grant writing and editing, magazine writing, journalism -- both broadcast and print, as well as careers in publishing.

Writing/Editing Career Tips from Alumni

"After having time to reflect on my college career, and my actual career (which lets me write for a living) I have boiled down my success to these three practical steps: 1) Get involved early--Find organizations on campus that will help build your skills outside of the classroom; 2) Look for internships--Work with your school’s career department to find an internship before you graduate; 3) Never underestimate the power of the elevator pitch--Figure out your strengths and know how to ‘sell yourself.'"  – Melissa Fassbender, Editor of Product Design & Development

"Live wide. Go after every opportunity, even if it doesn't perfectly align with your current career goals. It will not only cultivate you as a person, but also make you stand out to hiring managers. Also, you never know when that experience may come back to get you ahead when your career trajectory shifts." – Cortney Dirks Napurski, PhD Candidate & Health and Sports reporter for Fox9 News

"My path to a successful freelance writing career was difficult. It took more than five years before I could quit my part-time jobs and depend entirely on writing. My first year I made only small revenue from my writing, and I lived on very little money. Now, I have found that many of the connections I made during the early years, including my very first year, are just starting to come to fruition now. It is important to tell people you are a freelancer, give them your contact information, and be patient. Being a freelancer is about curating and maintaining relationships as much as it is about writing. Become good at fostering connections with everyone you meet and make yourself available when they need you. It helps to have a natural tendency for thrift and resourcefulness." ­– Jacob Kulju, Freelance Writer

Other Majors and Minors you can pair with an English degree:
Alumni reinforce the importance of taking a wide range of literature and writing courses. In addition, they’ve singled out courses they’ve found particularly useful for their current positions.

ENGL 121- Critical Thinking: Literature and Writing; ENGL 255 – Introduction to Imaginative Writing; ENGL 300 - Theory and Practice of Writing; ENGL 323 – Writing Creative Nonfiction; ENGL 326 – Professional Editing; ENGL 361 – Shakespeare and the Early Modern Era; ENGL 366 – Victorian Literature; ENGL 421/422 – Literary Magazine Practicum; COJO 258 - Writing/Designing for the Web; COJO 268 - Advertising Copywriting; COJO 350 – Magazine Writing; Literary Journalism

Clubs/Internships:

Writing Center; Advertising Club; Sigma Tau Delta; Aquinas Honors Society; NCAA Council; Campus Scope; Tommie Media; Internship at Tiger Oak Publications; Writing and Communications internship at Kocina Branding and Marketing Company; Internship at Mpls/St. Paul Magazine; Digital Marketing internship; Business Editing internship

Additional Activities and Training:

Presenter at the R.S.V.P Conference; Student Worker in Art History Department at UST