English Language Degree
An English Language degree is a bit different from an English Literature degree. Although you will have to still study elements of literature, there are a number of key differences.
When studying an English Language degree, it’s worth bearing in mind that you will not be exempt from reading or from important parts of literature, it just won't be as much of a focus as it is on an English Literature degree.
With an English Language degree, you will learn about the history of the language, it’s uses, it’s constant change and evolution and you will also learn about the different ways that English Language is used in the world today, which will also open up a myriad of jobs with an English Language degree as well.
The degree is also very very useful for foreign students looking to study a new language as well, as you will learn what makes the English language works. It won't teach you the English Language, much the same way a French degree does not teach you French, but will make you aware of the different vernaculars, tenses and speech patterns.
So, what can you do with an English Language degree?
What can I do with an English Language degree?
An English Language degree opens up an avenue for a number of different careers with English Language degree as there are a number of different English Language and Communication degree jobs.
Lots of people who have an English Language degree will often look into the possibilities of becoming a Journalist. A Journalist is someone who reports on various news pieces. These can be videotaped or written-word, either way, you will need to have a very strong command of the English language and a very good handling of how English translates in various mediums.
Along the same lines, many people look into the possibilities of becoming an Editor or an Editorial Assistant, which is where you will be charged with the quality control and indeed the overall message of a story before it is put out into the world. It’s near-impossible to find entry-level positions in this career, so you will most likely have to find work as a Journalist first, before you end up looking at this career in more detail.
Another job that you will be able to look into is a career as a Digital Copywriter. A Digital Copywriter is someone who produces written content for webpages. This means you will normally be asked to interpret the work of a client and produce an accurate representation of their message while still retaining the elements that will keep people interested.
Stephen Fry famous for his roles in Jeeves and Worcester, Blackadder, A Bit of Fry and Laurie and as the former host of the TV show QI, studied English at the University of Cambridge.
A slightly more left-field path that a number of students take, is that of a Lexicographer. A Lexicographer is someone who specialises in the discovery of new words and phrases. This is a career that is focused one ensuring that dictionaries are up-to-date and also that various pieces of text are correctly transcribed and detailed, often for people from foreign countries, who don’t speak English.
What A Levels do I need for an English Language Degree?
You will need to have an English A Level before you apply for an English Language degree. It’s difficult to see any university accepting anyone onto an English Language course without an English A Level or equivalent.
As for the UCAS Tariff Points, these will vary from university-to-university and will depend on the requirements that year, it’s best to speak to your university before you apply and see what is required.
How will I be assessed for an English Language degree?
An English Language degree is an entirely theoretical degree with littl-to-no practical elements at all. As a result, you will need to be prepared for writing. A lot of writing.
This is a degree that will primarily have work assignments, coursework, reports, dissertations and examinations as well as one-on-one sessions with tutors. Assessments vary depending on the university, but almost all will follow the same format of theoretical and written-based work to be completed and marked.
What skills will I learn from an English Language degree?
An English Language degree will equip students with a great number of special skills to hep them later in life, not just in the world of work.
The first, and possibly the most obvious skill, that you will learn is your command of written language. Many students see a marked improvement in their written skills (which are usually already of an exceptional standard prior to this) and will see their skills receive more honing. You will be able to write more concisely and more attentively. You will also gain skills in how to write for specific mediums, for instance, you will learn that writing for a newspaper is a lot different than writing for a magazine or for a website.
Independent working becomes a much easier skill for people too. As this is a degree that is suited more towards a soloist career-path, you will mainly be required to work on your own and without assistance, a lot of the time. While the ability to collaborate and work with others is an essential life skill as well as an essential work skill, it is very important that you are capable of working independently.
The degree is also very very useful for foreign students looking to study a new language as well, as you will learn what makes the English language works.
Research becomes an important tool in your extensive arsenal as well, as you will be required to research the topics you're speaking about. Research can be anything from a quick two minute Google search or a full-on five hour research session, pouring over written manuscripts or speaking to information sources, and your note-taking and your overall attention-to-detail will need to be very impressive as well.
Balance is another important skill that is needed in life, work and in certain tasks. When looking to become a Journalist or any other job that involves an English Language degree, you will need to be able to play devil’s advocate or to tell both sides of the story in the best way that you can.
Will an English Language degree get me a job?
There is no guarantee of a job at the end of any degree, though an English Language degree does carry a bit more weight than most degree, as the skills you learn and develop are both ubiquitous and important.
Many students find themselves doing a lot of work experience or apprenticeships or internships, a lot of which are unpaid after completing university, however, this is common for virtually all students postgraduate, even if you studied at a postgraduate level.
If you have the ability to find a work placement while studying your degree, then you will likely have a much easier time of finding a job, as there is a distinct possibility that you will have developed a number of key and useful contacts as a part of this, and if you have use them!
What can I study after an English Language degree?
This will depend on what path you choose to take; many students look into the possibilities of studying a joint honours degree(/advice/student/joint-honours-degree/), which combines two degrees, like an English Literature and Language degree.
Another possibility is to look into the possibilities of studying at a postgraduate level. This usually means studying a Masters degree in English Language or studying a PGCE degree, if you wish to go into the world of teaching.
You will need to have an English A Level before you apply for an English Language degree.
Many students, however, decide to study different designations of English Language afterwards. This means focusing on areas such as Creative Writing, Linguistics (especially on an English Language and Linguistics degree), Literature (or an English Language and Literature degree), History or even another subject entirely!
Many celebrities covered lots of different English degrees at university, for instance, Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series and Sam in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, studied English at Brown University, taking a two year hiatus from acting. National treasure himself, Stephen Fry (who also read the Harry Potter audiobook series), famous for his roles in Jeeves and Worcester, Blackadder, A Bit of Fry and Laurie and as the former host of the TV show QI, studied English at the University of Cambridge.