Student Advice

What is it Like to Study English at University?

Ben Maples  · Aug 4th 2021

English is a degree that requires a lot of reading and a lot of writing. However, it’s also one of the few degrees that can get you a job almost anywhere.

Students talking

What are the usual pitfalls and clichés that you’re going to come across? Well, we’ve compiled a list of FAQ’s that students often have, check them out!

What do I need to study English?

A passion for the subject that you happen to be studying is always helpful, but more than that, you need to have a real interest in it.

Maybe you’re even doing creative writing; in which case, we recommend that you work on writing more and more. A lot of students spoke about creating a blog for their university or for themselves before they started so as to get into the routine of writing all the time.

English is an incredibly competitive subject – every year, thousands of more people apply for the course, than actually get places. Because of this, a lot of universities are picky and most set very high-grade requirements. The reason for this is because of how difficult the course can be; they need people that are able to actually deal with the coursework and the workload.

How much reading is involved?

According to students studying English, there is a phenomenal amount of reading. There is a huge amount of reading because you will be studying a lot of different authors and will have to be citing sources as you go along too. Also, you might want to look at refining your writing skills, in which case reading more will help you to do so.

The reading itself will take up a lot of your time as you will have to be reading a number of books by certain deadlines. If you want to get into a routine with this, we recommend joining a book club or something along these lines before you go to university, as you’ll be more used to reading to a deadline by then.

How difficult is it to study English?

English ranks among some of the hardest degrees you can do. The deadlines aren’t flexible, and there’s a lot of work to get through, and that’s just the first year!

However, the degree is interchangeable, which means that you’re able to have a more varied pool of jobs to pick from than if you were to do something more vocational. That being said, as with every degree, it is often as difficult as you make it.

What is it like to study English at university.

How much coursework is there involved when studying English?

There is an awful lot of coursework in an English degree. Lots of essays and a huge amount of independent learning too.

However, try not to be overwhelmed by this as many students have said that the workload can get a little easier in later years, but this will very much depend on not only the course you’re studying, but also the university you’re attending and the lecturers you have. It’s worth bearing in mind, that the coursework situation will also have varying degrees of things that you will and won’t want to talk about.

Unlike a psychology degree, where all elements of the subject have to be both respected and studied, an English degree will be a little more scattered, so be prepared to write somethings that you won’t necessarily be interested in.

In terms of modules, an English degree will cover multiple topics. The modules also depend which particular area of English you are studying. For instance, English literature has very different modules compared to English language.

The modules for English literature are:

  • American literature
  • English language
  • History of English literature
  • Indian writing in English
  • Mass communication and journalism
  • Modern age
  • New literature
  • Romantic age

English literature focuses mainly on works of English, historical and contemporary alike, and will therefore focus on the appreciation and study of classic works of literature.

As for English language, the most common modules in an English language degree are:

  • Applied linguistics
  • British literature
  • Creative writing
  • English composition
  • English grammar and usage
  • Expository writing
  • Literary theory
  • Studies in rhetoric
  • Synatic structure

An English language degree is the focus on more specific forms of the English language and also focuses on the grammatical side of the language as well as how linguistics develop over time.

How much does it cost to study English?

It’s almost impossible to get the exact costing of an undergraduate English degree as costings really do tend to vary depending on the university that you happen to be studying at, however, an estimated £8,500 – £12,000 tuition fee undergraduate degree is a fair estimate. Prices can be either side of those prices depending on the university and the tier of the degree that you do.

What’s my job likelihood after studying English?

The likelihood of a job at the end of a degree is difficult for everyone, however, with an English degree, you’re more likely to find work, than those with more vocational degrees. However, the jobs in question won’t always be necessarily related to your degree, as an English degree can be interchangeable with so many different jobs.

The jobs that are best for you after your English degree are:

  • Academic librarian
  • Advertising account executive
  • Advertising copywriter
  • Arts administrator
  • Digital copywriter
  • Editorial assistant
  • English as a foreign language teacher
  • Information officer
  • Lexicographer
  • Magazine journalist
  • Marketing executive
  • Newspaper journalist
  • Primary school teacher
  • Public relations officer
  • Records manager
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Writer

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