What Can You Do with a University...

What Can You Do with a University English Degree?

by Susan Huebert
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

If you study Education, Medicine, or Law in university, you have a clear career path. With an English degree, the career path is more difficult, but finding a good job is still possible. With the skills that come through studying English literature, people can prepare themselves for a wide variety of jobs.

A university degree in English involves studying books, essays, and other writings from many different eras. Some students concentrate on a certain time period, such as the nineteenth century, or on a certain type of writing, such as poetry. Still, most students start with courses that cover many different eras and types of literature before they choose a specialty. This gives them the chance to study different types of writing and to develop their own skills.

Some of the most important benefits that come from an English degree are the ability to read and understand difficult texts, to find their important themes, and to write about them in a way that helps others to understand. This skill can be very useful in fields like law, where people often have to read and understand many pages of documents in a short amount of time.

English literature students might learn about politics and ambition through the works of William Shakespeare or Jonathan Swift, and they might learn about the struggle for better working conditions through the novels of Charles Dickens or Émile Zola. These insights could lead to careers in journalism or politics, where people need to know about many different issues and how they relate to people’s needs.

Publishing and technical writing are good choices for graduates of English programs. Studying famous writers helps people to understand effective communication and how to get an idea across clearly and concisely. Some people go on from English degrees into technical writing. This branch involves writing procedures manuals and other instructional documents. For example, technical writers might work with factories to update instructions for welding cars together or with hospitals on writing procedures for taking care of surgical patients.

Marketing and communications are other areas where English literature graduates can work. Many companies hire communications specialists to write press releases or to contact other people who want information on the company. The writing practice that people get from studying English gives them the skills they need to write clearly in newsletters and other communications for investors and others who are interested in different companies and organizations.

Teaching is also a good option for people with English degrees, whether they teach their own subject or something related to it. English as a Second Language teaching is good for people who want to work with newcomers, and other subjects can also fit well with English studies.

Librarianship is a good option, since people with a background in English literature already know about books and how to get the best from them. Even financial jobs are possible, although working with words is quite different from dealing with numbers.

A degree in English might not seem very useful these days, but it can give a good foundation for many different jobs. With the reading and writing skills that people gain through their English studies, they can find many possibilities open to them.

Stanford University. “Careers After an English Major.” https://english.stanford.edu/information-for/undergraduates/careers-after-english-major.

Top Universities.com. “What Can You Do with an English Literature Degree?” https://www.topuniversities.com/student-info/careers-advice/what-can-you-do-english-literature-degree

University of Toronto. “Careers by Major—English.” https://www.utm.utoronto.ca/careers/careers-by-major-english.

University of Waterloo. “Undergraduate Programs: English.” https://uwaterloo.ca/future-students/programs/english.

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