Bachelors In

English Degrees

The complete guide on what you’ll learn, job prospects, university programs, and saving time and money.
on June 30, 2020

Why We Love It

  • $64,910
    Potential Avg. Salary*

* Salary & growth data is based on the recent Bureau of Labor and Statistics data published at for 27-3041 Editors 11/2021. Based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.

A bachelor of arts in English is a flexible degree that prepares you for success in a diverse variety of careers. You’ll learn how to write clearly and professionally and how to analyze written texts—skill sets which are prized by most modern employers. English degree graduates commonly find work as writers, editors, journalists, bloggers, and businesspeople, and with additional education can work as teachers or professors.

What is a Degree in English?

While many people assume English majors are aspiring teachers or professors, a bachelor of arts in English is a flexible degree that prepares graduates for a variety of careers. English majors focus their learning on refining their writing skills and interpreting literary texts, and these skills prepare graduates to communicate clearly and effectively in businesses of all types. English majors commonly move on to work as writers, but they may also find work as project managers, business analysts, or marketers.

While a bachelor of English won’t qualify you for teaching in public elementary, middle, and high schools, you can earn the appropriate licensure in a one-year transition to teaching program after graduation from your bachelor’s degree program. Additionally, you can teach English at the college level by continuing your education and earning a master’s or Ph.D. in English. With a master’s degree, you can secure adjunct and full-time teaching positions, and with a Ph.D., you can pursue professorships.

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What Courses Would I Take For a Major in English?

  • Literary Interpretation
  • Creative Writing
  • Argumentative Writing
  • Technical Writing
  • Fiction Writing
  • Business Writing
  • Classical Mythology
  • Writing and Research Methods

What Jobs Can You Get with a Degree in English?

As technological advances have created diverse, mobile workforces, the ability to communicate clearly over email and instant messages has become more important than ever. Additionally, writing is an important component of delivering requirements to development teams for web projects. These changes are creating an increased demand for individuals who learned how to communicate effectively and clearly in a bachelor of arts in English program.

How Long does it take?

A bachelors in English will have a typical length of 4 years in a full time schedule. That said, there are many ways to speed up the timeframe by either taking more units via online coursework, community college, or taking free classes at that could transfer to universities in the US.

Online English Degree

Many universities offer online bachelor degrees in English and/or English and Literature (listed below). Students are required to complete around 120 credit hours. There are several concentrations that students may choose from such as professional writing, American literature, African-American literature and British literature. Some programs may also be divided into tracks such as a professional writing track, technical communication track or literature track.

If you already have a degree in English, literature or related studies, you may choose to join an online graduate program. Master’s degree programs require completing around 30 credit hours. Some programs include 35 credit hours of courses in addition to 90 credit hours of practicum experience. Doctoral degrees in English and Literature can be completed in five years. Most of the doctoral degree programs are offered as a mixture of online and on campus courses.

What Can You Do With an English Degree?

Studying English as a university degree is not just limited to mastering the language regarding speaking, writing or listening. Actually, this may just be a prerequisite of your study and not involved in its core curriculum. Studying a degree in English is more concerned with advanced levels regarding the history of the language, how culture, history and geography can affect the spoken language. You will also study English literature and how the language adapts.

What does an English and Literature student learn?

English and literature academic programs include courses related to linguistics, glossary, grammar and phonetics, the history of the language, English literature in various ages and places, and how new words and phrases can be added to the language. The following are the most common courses that are included in English and Literature academic programs:

  1. Rhetoric and writing
  2. Critical analysis
  3. English literature
  4. American literature
  5. World literature
  6. Modern fiction
  7. Writing short stories
  8. Shakespearean drama
  9. Analyzing literature
  10. World literature
  11. Critical theory and practice
  12. The works of John Milton

Students may also choose to study specialized or professional use of English as creative writing, film studies, drama, journalism and travel writing.

Now I have the English and Literature Degree…where can I work after graduating?

There is a wide variety of career options available for English graduates taking into consideration the importance of English language in English and non-English speaking countries. The jobs can be related to the various types of English content, international communications or related to teaching or developing the language itself. The following are some examples you can consider for your future after earning your degree:

  1. Content writing and optimization: English and literature graduates have unique skills to develop high quality content that is designed in an optimal way to the targeted audience.
  2. Journalism: You will have a better ability to express your thoughts in a clear, effective and amusing way which is an essential quality for a professional journalist.
  3. Translation: if you completed your degree in English and you are a native speaker of another language, you may consider working in the translation between these pair of languages. Career options for translation are almost limitless.
  4. Advertising, marketing and public relations: the common quality needed for these jobs is the ability to reach out to people in an effective way.
  5. You can choose to be an author or writer and create your own impact on the world.
  6. Other jobs you may also consider include an English teacher, social media manager, librarian or a Lexicographer.

Should I Choose an English and Literature Degree?

Learning languages enhances your communication skills not only when using this new language but also if using your own native language. Studying languages is the main gate towards understanding the culture and the structure of people speaking this language. Considering English is an international language increases this benefit by widening the scope of people, business and culture that you can reach using this language.

The following are common skills that students can develop while studying English:

  1. Excellent written and oral communication skills
  2. Critical analysis and evaluation
  3. Ability to express opinions and views in an organized and well-structured way.

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Best Jobs for English Degrees

Individuals with bachelor’s degrees in English commonly continue their studies after graduation to earn teaching licenses, master’s degrees, or doctorate degrees in order to qualify to teach in schools or colleges. Others take ancillary writing positions as marketers or journalists, and some move into publishing, working as copy editors, literary agents, or acquisitions editors. Many also move into general business roles and utilize their writing skills to create effective communications and presentations.

How to save time and money

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About the Author
Grant founded with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.

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