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Options with your subject: English

The skills you gain through studying an English degree are marketable in most career areas. Find some ideas about what you could do…

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. To find out what jobs would suit you, log in to My Prospects.

Work experience

As English is a non-vocational course, the skills developed outside your study are also vital in developing a well-rounded CV. While at university, for example, many English students write for student newspapers and magazines, get involved with student radio or film societies, or volunteer in the community or local schools. The combination of evidence of skills gained from work experience and extracurricular activities, as well as through study, can help boost your job prospects.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

English graduates find opportunities with many different employers. Public and private sector organisations such as the National Health Service (NHS), educational institutions, local and national government, financial and legal firms, and voluntary and charitable organisations employ English graduates in a range of roles, including administration, research, finance and general management.

Other typical employers include publishing companies, advertising, marketing and public relations agencies and media organisations. The retail, leisure and tourism sectors also typically recruit English graduates.

Find information on employers in media and publishing, marketing, advertising and PR, and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

The major strength of all English graduates is the ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing. Studying English also develops skills in:

  • independent working;
  • time management and organisation;
  • planning and researching written work;
  • articulating knowledge and understanding of texts, concepts and theories;
  • leading and participating in discussions;
  • negotiation and teamworking to present ideas and information;
  • effectively conveying arguments and opinions and thinking creatively;
  • using your judgement to weigh up alternative perspectives;
  • critical reasoning and analysis;
  • using IT.

Further study

Some English graduates choose to continue their academic studies by doing an MA or a PhD, while others choose to study more vocational postgraduate courses in areas such as teaching, journalism, librarianship or law. Such courses allow you to study in an area you wish to enter as a career. More information on funding for postgraduate study and research is available from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) .

English graduates may also decide to undertake further study in areas such as marketing and management, finance, human resource management and business to enhance their knowledge of a specific career area.

To learn more about further study and find a course that interests you, see postgraduate study in the UK and search courses and research.

What do English graduates do?

Just under 60% of English graduates are in employment six months after graduating. A fifth are in full-time further study, with a further 7% combining work and study.

Common jobs for English graduates include marketing associate professionals, journalists, newspaper and periodicals editors, authors, writers, translators and public relations professionals.

Graduate destinations for English
Destinations Percentage
Employed 58.6%
Further study 19.9%
Working and studying 7.1%
Unemployed 8.6%
Other 5.8%
Types of work entered in the UK
Retail, catering and bar work 21.4%
Secretarial and numerical clerks 15.1%
Marketing, PR and sales 12.2%
Caring and education work 9%
Other 42.3%

For a detailed breakdown of what English graduates are doing six months after graduation, see What Do Graduates Do?  

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.


Further information

  • Council for College and University English (CCUE)  - supports the teaching of English literature, English language and creative writing across UK further and higher education.
  • The English Association  - resource for those interested in English at all levels, from primary to higher education.
  • Intute: English  - resources to help English students with studies and research. This website is no longer being maintained but content will remain available until July 2014.
Written by AGCAS editors
September 2012

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