Subject Guide

English Literature Degree

Uni Compare  · Sep 24th 2020

The English language was first spoken in early medieval times and is now recognised as one of the most spoken languages on Earth.


Whether you’ve got an English literature degree or even an English Literature Foundation degree, your command of language, analytical skills, and ability to structure an argument are fantastic assets for a wide range of careers with English Literature degree. Here, we’re going to give you a whistle-stop tour of all manner of English degree jobs so that you never again need to wonder, ‘What can you do with an English degree?’

So you'll likely find yourself asking, what can I do with an English Literature degree? Well, check out the next section.

English Literature Degree

What can I do with an English Literature degree?

So what jobs can you get with an English Literature degree?

Many English Literature graduates become writers. It’s exciting to work in TV, radio, and theatre, but will require firmly wedging your foot in the door as early as possible; try looking for internships, work experience and open calls for script submissions. Additionally, writing books - fiction or non-fiction - isn’t known for being straightforward or lucrative, but some people do successfully beat a path this way after their English degree.

Journalism is a competitive field, and even more so with the decline of print media, but there are still lively and interesting roles to be had in magazine, web, newspaper, radio, and TV broadcast journalism. Those with an eye for detail might do well as a sub-editor.

Journalism an ideal career if you enjoy meeting new people and get a buzz out of working to deadlines. Similarly, writing copy for marketing, or creating web content for businesses offers daily variety and can provide the opportunity to work flexibly as a freelancer, or have security with one particular company.

Other English Literature degree jobs include entering politics (politicians have teams of people working on their scripts for speeches, who will likely have an English Literature and Politics degree), PR or marketing. Book lovers may look to enter publishing, typically as an editorial assistant or proofreader, which will be very helpful if you also have an English Literature degree online or a Masters degree English Literature online or any other kind of distance learning English Literature degree.

What can you do with an English Literature degree?

Of course, the archetypal career path after an English degree is to become an English teacher. A postgraduate teaching qualification takes just a year and equips you to work as a primary, secondary or further education teacher.

It’s a job for life, though the work life balance is notoriously challenging. If you want to use your English literature degree UK and communication skills, but without the intensity of a school setting, you could consider becoming a private tutor, while graduates with an English language degree might like to pursue a career as an EFL teacher. This can be done locally, or you can travel across the world with it.

David Duchovny, known for his role as Moulder in The X Files obtained a BA and MA in English Literature from Princeton University and Yale University respectively.

Your cultural knowledge could be a help in finding roles in libraries, theatres or museums, in lexicography, as an arts administrator, or in archiving. Some students choose to work towards a further qualification, studying for a master’s in a specialised field. If you get a PhD or DPhil, you could become an academic, carrying out research and lecturing at university in your specialist subject.

Finally, many English graduates take on a conversion course for law or a joint degree for a Law and English Literature degree. The skills developed on the English degree (such as selecting evidence, evaluating ideas, structuring an argument and analysing meaning) are an excellent fit for the legal field.

It is not only the official language of the UK but also USA, Australia, Canada and Ireland.

Studying a degree in English Literature involves a lot more than solely reading and writing, and English literature isn’t only studied by bookworms. English literature includes the study of plays, prose and poetry and spans continents and centuries and is an incredibly diverse subject. The study of English Literature coincides with Language, Social Sciences and History to construct a picture of how literature influences, and is influenced by changes in society.

What A Levels do I need?

English skills are important when applying for an English literature course, and most will require an A-level in the subjects either separately or in the combined A-level subject itself. Per usual accurate university English Literature degree requirements will vary depending on the institution, and degree course and students are advised to research their choices to ensure they understand what they need for admission.

Some universities will ask for at least 360 UCAS tariff points, and a minimum C grade in relevant subjects, while others may ask for AAB and a B grade.

English Literature Degree

What are my study options?

There are many subjects that students can study alongside English Literature, from Theatre, Modern Foreign Languages, English Literature and Film studies degree, English Literature and Creative Writing degree, and Screenwriting, as well as choosing to study the two subjects together, or separately as a single degree. Studying a joint honours degree offers candidates the opportunity to gain a broad set of skills and is perfect for those who are torn between two subjects and will also slightly lessen the workload for your English Literature degree reading list.

English related degrees tend to last three years unless students decide to enrol onto a year studying abroad which usually takes place during the second and third years increasing the degree length to four years in total.

What should I expect from studying English Language?

Most universities offer limited modules during the first year and in some cases throughout the second year for individuals to cover core topics, and after this will then allow students flexibility in module options to let them obtain a specialised and personal degree.

The majority of degree courses have core modules that students need to complete, these set the path for students and give them the insight knowledge that they must utilise when continuing with their degree. Core modules allow students to learn the ‘basics’ in certain areas and to ease the path of progression throughout the degree years.

How will I be assessed?

Regarding assessment, individuals should expect it to be mostly written coursework with essays, analysis and in some cases, presentations, projects as well as a final year dissertation.

Many English Literature graduates become writers.

What skills will I learn from studying English Literature?

Candidates learn professional skills of self-management and research as well as functional skills of close reading of texts, communicating ideas and forming a literary argument. University offers students a great experience to grow as individuals as well as gain confidence which can prove invaluable in interview situations.

Students who attend university will gain skills that they can use later in life, such as time-management and organisation, as well as social skills through presentations and group work.

Why study English Literature?

Studying English related degrees are for those who love language, how it is formed and received in all aspects and those who spend most of their time reading the next chapter will enjoy this course.

English Language will give candidates a thorough understanding of how we communicate with each other and the tools needed to entertain, persuade and inform others about the use of words. Students with excellent English skills or who have studied social sciences or humanities subjects at A-Level or BTEC classification level will feel more comfortable with this degree.

English literature will give students the chance to develop their writing and communication skills and is concerned with more than just the bestsellers in the bookshops or the Harry Potter that you have on your shelf at home. This degree combines literary knowledge with unique skills of cultural and historical understanding as well as close analysis.

English Literature Degree

What happens after I graduate?

Although English degrees do not offer students with particular careers with an English Literature degree path or job when they graduate, the broad nature of the courses will allow students to consider a number of sectors to enter.

Individuals can choose to go into research, teaching, law, or to study a postgraduate course.

Will it help me get a job?

The skills gained through this type, of course, are still valuable to employers, especially the ability to conduct close analysis and impressive grammar and English skills.

What types of jobs can I get from studying English Literature?

Students may work in HR, admin, PR and marketing, as well as choosing to become an academic or to re-train in law or to become a teacher.

Specific jobs with English Literature degree include; journalist, librarian, author, lexicographer, advertising, editorial assistant or to teach English at a school in the UK or another country.

Your cultural knowledge could be a help in finding roles in libraries, theatres or museums, in lexicography, as an arts administrator, or in archiving.

What can I study after English Literature?

There is an exciting range of research degrees and Master’s programmes available at postgraduate level for graduates who wish to continue with their studies, including MA in English Literature, Creative Writing, American Literature, Ancient Literature, English Language and Literature degree, Linguistics, Black Literature, English Language Teaching, Children’s Literature and much more.

Famous English Literature studies alumni

Stephen King, the notorious author who wrote The Shining and Carrie studied BA English at the University of Maine, USA and Sigourney Weaver, an actor who is best known for the Alien films studied BA English at Stanford University, USA.

Also, David Duchovny, known for his role as Moulder in The X Files obtained a BA and MA in English Literature from Princeton University and Yale University respectively.

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