What to Do With an English Literature Degree (Guide)

An English literature degree offers a wide range of career options for graduates, thanks to its versatility and transferable skills. With a passion for literature and critical analysis, English literature graduates can pursue rewarding careers in various fields.

What to Do With an English Literature Degree

Key Takeaways:

  • English literature graduates have diverse career options.
  • Jobs for English literature degree holders include writing, editing, tutoring, and teaching roles.
  • An English literature degree serves as a foundation for further education in areas like literature, technical writing, marketing, and journalism.
  • Many English-related careers offer the flexibility of remote work.
  • Strong communication, critical thinking, and research skills are essential for success in the field.

The Importance of English Literature Courses

English literature degrees offer a comprehensive curriculum that encompasses a wide range of courses, ensuring students develop a deep understanding of language, literature, and critical analysis. These courses include the study of composition and rhetoric, history and literary forms, and critical theory, among others.

One of the key components of English literature courses is the study of composition and rhetoric, where students learn how to effectively communicate and articulate their ideas through writing. This skill is highly valued in various professional settings, as strong written communication is crucial in today’s digital age.

English literature courses provide students with a diverse range of literary works to explore. Through the study of different genres, time periods, and cultural contexts, students develop a broad knowledge base and the ability to critically analyze and interpret literature.

The study of history and literary forms is another important aspect of English literature courses. By examining literature within its historical and cultural context, students gain a deeper appreciation for the complexities of literature and the ways in which it reflects and shapes society.

Critical theory is also a significant component of English literature courses, as it equips students with the tools to critically analyze texts and engage in meaningful literary discussions. This theoretical framework allows students to approach literature from different perspectives and enhances their ability to think critically and evaluate complex ideas.

Table: Components of English Literature Courses

Course Description
Composition and Rhetoric Focuses on developing strong written communication skills
History and Literary Forms Examines literature within its historical and cultural context
Critical Theory Equips students with tools for critical analysis and interpretation

Graduates’ Career Paths

Graduates with an English literature degree have a wide range of career paths to choose from. They can pursue careers as English professors, copy editors, managing editors, and copywriters. These professions allow individuals to apply their strong communication and writing skills in different fields and industries.

English professors play a vital role in teaching and inspiring students about the power of literature. They guide students through various literary works, encouraging critical thinking and analytical skills. Copy editors, on the other hand, ensure the accuracy and clarity of written content by checking for grammatical errors, inconsistencies, and formatting issues. Managing editors oversee the entire editorial process, ensuring the quality and coherence of a publication or project.

Copywriters are responsible for creating persuasive and engaging content, whether it’s for advertisements, marketing campaigns, or websites. They harness their creativity and writing skills to craft compelling messages that resonate with the target audience. Other career options for English literature graduates include content writing, freelance tutoring, and freelance writing or editing. These flexible careers provide opportunities to work independently and collaborate with clients or companies.

English literature graduates have the ability to adapt their skills to various industries, finding success in fields such as publishing, journalism, marketing, media, and education. By leveraging their strong communication, critical thinking, and writing abilities, graduates can carve out fulfilling career paths that align with their interests and strengths.

Additional Career Opportunities

English literature majors have a wide range of career opportunities beyond the typical paths. The skills and knowledge gained from their degree program make them adaptable and marketable in various industries. Graduates can explore careers in marketing, public relations, advertising, journalism, media research, and more. With the rise of remote work, there are also opportunities for English literature graduates to work from anywhere in the world.

Table: Post-Graduation Career Opportunities for English Literature Majors

Industry Career Paths
Marketing Content writer, social media manager, market researcher
Public Relations PR specialist, media relations manager, communications coordinator
Advertising Copywriter, advertising account executive, creative director
Journalism Reporter, news anchor, editor
Media Research Media analyst, market researcher, data analyst

These are just a few examples of the many career paths that English literature majors can pursue. The ability to effectively communicate, analyze information, and think critically are highly valued in these industries. Graduates can leverage their strong writing and research skills to excel in their chosen field.

“The skills acquired during my English literature degree have served me well in my career as a marketing manager. The ability to craft compelling narratives and analyze market trends has been invaluable.” – Emily, Marketing Manager

English literature majors should also consider pursuing freelance opportunities, giving them the flexibility to work on their own terms. Freelance writing, editing, and tutoring are viable options that allow graduates to utilize their skills while maintaining a flexible work schedule. With the increasing demand for quality content and remote work opportunities, freelance careers are becoming more viable and rewarding.

Overall, English literature graduates have a world of possibilities and can carve out successful careers in various industries. Their passion for literature, combined with their strong communication and analytical skills, sets them apart and makes them valuable assets in today’s job market.

Skills Developed in English Literature Programs

English literature programs cultivate essential skills that are highly valued in the job market. Graduates develop strong communication skills, both written and verbal, which are crucial for effective communication in various professional settings. They also acquire critical thinking and analytical skills, enabling them to analyze complex information and think critically about different perspectives. Additionally, English literature programs enhance research skills, reading comprehension, and the ability to articulate ideas effectively.

Effective communication is a fundamental skill developed in English literature programs. Through the analysis and interpretation of various literary works, students learn how to express their ideas clearly and persuasively. They gain a deep understanding of language and how it can be used to convey meaning and evoke emotions. This skill is highly transferable and can be applied in a range of careers, from writing and editing to public speaking and marketing.

Critical thinking is another key skill honed in English literature programs. Students learn to analyze and interpret texts, evaluate different arguments, and identify underlying themes and messages. This ability to think critically and critically evaluate information is highly valued in the workplace, as it enables individuals to make informed decisions, solve problems creatively, and adapt to changing circumstances.

Skills Developed Benefits in the Job Market
Strong communication skills Effective communication in various professional settings
Critical thinking and analytical skills Ability to analyze complex information and think critically about different perspectives
Research skills and reading comprehension Ability to conduct thorough research and understand complex texts
Articulation of ideas effectively Clear and persuasive expression of ideas

“The skills developed in English literature programs, such as strong communication, critical thinking, and research abilities, are highly sought after by employers. These skills not only make graduates highly marketable but also equip them with the tools to succeed in a wide range of careers.”

English literature programs also enhance research skills and reading comprehension. Students learn how to access and evaluate credible sources, synthesize information, and present their findings in a clear and concise manner. These research skills are invaluable in today’s information-driven society, where the ability to find and interpret data is essential in making informed decisions.

In conclusion, English literature programs provide students with a diverse set of skills that are highly applicable in the job market. Graduates possess strong communication abilities, critical thinking and analytical skills, research proficiency, and the ability to articulate ideas effectively. These skills make English literature graduates highly desirable in a variety of careers, ranging from writing and editing to education and marketing.

Choosing the Right College Program

When considering an English literature degree, it is important to choose the right undergraduate college program. English majors study a wide range of subjects, including composition, survey courses, British and American literature, critical theory, poetry, drama, short stories, novels, and linguistics. These courses provide a comprehensive understanding of the English language, literature, and critical analysis.

By selecting a college program that offers a diverse curriculum, students can explore various aspects of English literature and develop a well-rounded knowledge base. It is also beneficial to consider programs that provide opportunities for practical experience, such as internships or workshops, which can enhance skills and provide real-world exposure to potential career paths.

Table: Recommended English Major Courses

Course Description
Composition A course focused on improving writing skills and developing effective communication techniques.
Survey Courses Courses that provide an overview of English literature throughout different periods, exploring major authors and works.
British and American Literature Courses that delve into the rich literary traditions of both British and American authors, offering insights into cultural and historical contexts.
Critical Theory A course that introduces students to various theoretical frameworks for analyzing and interpreting literature.
Poetry, Drama, Short Stories, Novels Individual courses that focus on specific literary genres, allowing students to explore different forms of expression in depth.
Linguistics A course that explores the structure and function of language, providing a foundation for understanding how language shapes literature.

By selecting the right college program and taking advantage of the diverse range of courses offered, students can gain a comprehensive understanding of English literature and prepare themselves for a successful career in the field.

Graduate Degrees and Supplemental Training Options

An English literature degree serves as an excellent foundation for pursuing graduate degrees or supplemental training in various fields. Graduates can consider further education in areas such as technical writing and editing, marketing, education, journalism, and communications. These advanced degrees and additional training can open up doors to more specialized career opportunities and enhance marketability in the job market.

Technical Writing and Editing: Pursuing a graduate degree in technical writing and editing can provide English literature graduates with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in this field. This specialized training equips individuals with the expertise to create and edit technical documents, such as user manuals, instruction guides, and technical reports, in industries such as technology, engineering, and healthcare.

Marketing: A graduate degree in marketing can blend the analytical and creative skills developed during an English literature degree with knowledge of consumer behavior, branding, and digital marketing strategies. This combination can lead to exciting career opportunities in advertising, market research, public relations, and digital marketing.

Education: English literature graduates who have a passion for teaching and working with students can pursue a graduate degree in education. This degree can lead to careers as English teachers at the elementary, secondary, or post-secondary level. It can also provide opportunities for educational leadership roles, curriculum development, and instructional design.

Journalism and Communications: English literature graduates with a love for writing and storytelling can consider graduate degrees in journalism or communications. These programs provide training in journalism ethics, news reporting, multimedia storytelling, and strategic communication. Graduates can pursue careers as journalists, content creators, communication specialists, or media researchers.

Professional Organizations in the Field

Joining professional organizations in the field of English literature can provide numerous benefits for graduates. These organizations offer valuable resources, networking opportunities, and access to industry insights. Some notable professional organizations in the field include:

Modern Languages Association

The Modern Languages Association (MLA) is a leading professional organization for scholars, teachers, and students in the field of language and literature. It organizes conferences, publishes academic journals, and provides resources and support for its members. Joining the MLA allows English literature graduates to stay up-to-date with the latest research, connect with fellow professionals, and enhance their knowledge and skills.

American Literature Association

The American Literature Association (ALA) is dedicated to the study and promotion of American literature. It hosts annual conferences, publishes journals and newsletters, and supports research and teaching in the field. Becoming a member of the ALA gives English literature graduates the opportunity to engage with scholars, educators, and writers who share a passion for American literature.

PEN America

PEN America is a renowned organization that champions the freedom of expression and supports writers and literary professionals. It advocates for writers’ rights, provides grants and fellowships, and organizes events and initiatives to promote literature and free speech. English literature graduates can benefit from joining PEN America by accessing resources, participating in writing programs, and connecting with a diverse community of writers and literary professionals.

By joining these professional organizations, English literature graduates can expand their professional network, stay informed about industry trends, and gain access to valuable resources and opportunities for career advancement.

Scholarships and Financial Assistance

Pursuing an English literature degree can be financially challenging, but there are scholarships available to support students in their educational journey. One such opportunity is the UNCF scholarships specifically tailored for students pursuing English literature degrees. The UNCF offers various scholarships that provide financial assistance to students attending UNCF-member colleges. These scholarships help alleviate the financial burden and enable students to focus on their studies and career goals.

To explore scholarship opportunities further, it is important for English literature students to keep a close eye on the UNCF website and reach out to the organization for guidance and support. Additionally, individual colleges and universities often offer scholarships for English literature majors. These scholarships can help cover tuition costs, textbooks, and other educational expenses, making it more accessible for students to pursue their passion for literature.

UNCF Scholarships for English Literature Degrees

Here is a table summarizing some of the UNCF scholarships available for English literature degrees:

Scholarship Name Eligibility Criteria Award Amount
UNCF General Scholarships Open to all majors, including English literature Varies
UNCF STEM Scholars Program Open to STEM majors, but also considers English literature students with a STEM focus Up to $25,000 per academic year
UNCF Regional Scholars Program Open to students from specific regions, including English literature students from those regions Up to $5,000 per academic year
UNCF Visual Arts Scholarship Open to majors in visual arts, including creative writing and other related fields Varies

These scholarships are just a few examples of the financial assistance available to English literature students. By taking advantage of these opportunities, students can alleviate financial burdens and make their educational journey more accessible and affordable.

“Scholarships provide opportunities for students to pursue their passions without the added stress of financial burdens. By offering scholarships specifically for English literature degrees, organizations like the UNCF are supporting and empowering the next generation of literary scholars.”

Preparation for Success in the Field

For anyone considering pursuing a degree in English literature, it is crucial to have a genuine love for literature, history, and rhetoric. The field requires a deep appreciation and understanding of literary works, as well as the ability to analyze and interpret them critically. English literature majors should possess strong research, writing, and editing skills, and be detail-oriented in their approach to studying and analyzing texts.

One of the key skills for success in the field of English literature is the ability to think critically and consider ideas from multiple perspectives. This skill allows English majors to analyze complex texts, identify underlying themes and symbolism, and engage in meaningful discussions about literature. Critical analysis is an essential component of studying English literature, as it encourages students to delve deeper into the meaning and significance of literary works.

Research and writing skills are also paramount for success in the field of English literature. English majors must be able to conduct thorough research to support their arguments and interpretations of literary texts. They should be proficient in finding and utilizing credible sources, and be able to integrate this research seamlessly into their writing. Strong writing skills are necessary for expressing ideas clearly and effectively, and for crafting compelling arguments and analysis.

Skills for Success in English Literature:

  • Genuine love for literature, history, and rhetoric
  • Critical analysis and interpretation of texts
  • Strong research skills
  • Proficient writing and editing abilities
  • Attention to detail

“The study of English literature opens up a world of knowledge and creativity. By cultivating a love for literature and developing critical analysis, research, and writing skills, English majors are well-prepared for success in the field and in various careers that value strong communication and critical thinking.”

Table: Key Skills for English Literature Majors

Skill Description
Critical Analysis The ability to analyze and interpret literary works
Research Skills The ability to conduct thorough research and utilize credible sources
Writing and Editing Proficiency in written communication and the ability to craft compelling arguments and analysis
Attention to Detail The ability to identify and analyze subtle nuances within literary texts

Exceptional UNCF Schools for English Literature

UNCF-member schools are renowned for their commitment to academic excellence and providing students with a well-rounded education. For individuals passionate about English literature, these schools offer exceptional programs that foster a deep appreciation for the written word and critical thinking skills. With a focus on liberal arts education, UNCF-member schools provide a comprehensive curriculum that combines the study of literature, language, and cultural analysis. Students can expect to engage in thought-provoking discussions, explore various literary genres, and refine their writing abilities.

Table: English and Literature Programs at UNCF-member Schools

School Location English and Literature Programs
Spelman College Atlanta, GA English, Comparative Women’s and Gender Studies, Africana Language and Literature
Morehouse College Atlanta, GA English, Cinema, Television, and Emerging Media Studies
Xavier University of Louisiana New Orleans, LA English, English Education, African American and Diaspora Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies
Tougaloo College Tougaloo, MS English, English Education, Philosophy, Fine Arts

These UNCF-member schools not only provide top-notch education but also foster a supportive community of faculty and staff who are dedicated to helping students succeed. With small class sizes and personalized attention, students can expect to receive mentorship and guidance from experienced professors who are passionate about literature and its transformative power. Additionally, UNCF-member schools often offer various resources, such as writing centers and literary publications, that further enrich students’ educational experience.

“Studying English literature at a UNCF-member school has been an enriching experience. Through thought-provoking discussions and engaging coursework, I’ve developed a deeper appreciation for language and storytelling. The support and guidance from my professors have been invaluable in shaping my understanding of literature and preparing me for future success.”

Exploring Beyond the Classroom

UNCF-member schools recognize the importance of experiential learning and offer students opportunities to apply their knowledge outside the classroom. Students can participate in internships, research projects, and community engagement initiatives that allow them to explore real-world applications of their English literature studies. These hands-on experiences provide valuable skills and insights that enhance students’ professional development and prepare them for a wide range of career paths.


In conclusion, an English literature degree offers a world of possibilities for graduates. With its versatility and transferable skills, this degree equips individuals with the tools necessary to excel in a variety of careers. The strong communication, critical thinking, and research abilities developed during the program make English literature graduates highly sought after in the job market.

Whether pursuing roles in writing, editing, teaching, or other fields, English literature graduates can leverage their skills to thrive in the professional world. The degree’s flexibility allows for exploration and growth, as graduates can pivot to different industries throughout their careers.

With the ability to work remotely becoming increasingly prevalent, English literature graduates have even more opportunities to shape their careers according to their desired lifestyle. By combining their passion for literature with their acquired skills, English literature degree holders can make a significant impact in their chosen field and contribute to the world of words and ideas.


What career options are available for English Literature graduates?

English Literature graduates have a wide range of career paths to choose from, including English professor, copy editor, managing editor, copywriter, and English teacher. Other options include content writing, freelance tutoring, and freelance writing or editing.

What additional career opportunities are there for English Literature majors?

English Literature majors can explore opportunities in marketing, public relations, advertising, journalism, media research, and more. With the rise of remote work, English Literature graduates can also pursue careers that allow them to work from anywhere in the world.

What skills are developed in English Literature programs?

English Literature programs develop strong communication skills, both written and verbal, critical thinking and analytical skills, and research abilities. Graduates also acquire reading comprehension and the ability to articulate ideas effectively.

How should I choose the right college program for English Literature?

When considering an English Literature degree, it’s important to choose a college program that offers a comprehensive curriculum. Look for programs that include courses in composition, rhetoric, history, literary forms, and critical theory.

What are the graduate degree options and supplemental training available for English Literature graduates?

English Literature graduates can pursue further education in literature, technical writing and editing, marketing, education, journalism, and communications. These advanced degrees and additional training open up doors to more specialized career opportunities.

Are there any professional organizations in the field that English Literature graduates can join?

Yes, some notable professional organizations for English Literature graduates include the Modern Languages Association, American Literature Association, PEN America, and the Western Literature Association. These organizations provide resources, conferences, and networking opportunities.

Are there any scholarships or financial assistance available for English Literature degrees?

Yes, the UNCF offers scholarships specifically for students pursuing English Literature degrees. Additionally, students can explore scholarship opportunities offered by individual colleges and universities.

What skills should English majors possess for success in the field?

English majors should have a genuine love for literature, history, and rhetoric. They should possess strong research, writing, and editing skills, be detail-oriented, and able to think critically and consider ideas from multiple perspectives.

What are some outstanding UNCF-member schools for English Literature?

Most UNCF-member schools offer English and literature programs, as they are typically liberal arts colleges. These schools provide a high-quality education in English Literature and offer a range of courses and resources to support students’ academic and career goals.

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