English Degree Programs: A World of Literary Possibilities

Unlock the power of language with an English Degree! Learn about degree levels, specializations, and find the perfect program to shape your future in literature and beyond.

English Degree

Did you know that famous personalities like Emma Watson, Hugh Grant, and Toni Morrison all share a common thread – an English degree?

Studying English offers more than just insights into captivating books and stories; it also arms you with capacities that can be used in many job fields.

Curious to uncover the hidden gems of English degree programs?

Let’s start.

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What is an English Degree?

An English degree dives into the heart of language and literature, exploring the written word’s impact on society and culture. It’s a versatile field that teaches you to analyze texts, think critically, and communicate effectively.

In today’s dynamic society, the ability to effectively articulate one’s thoughts and concepts is of utmost importance. Pursuing an English degree can enhance these proficiencies, molding you into a skilled wordsmith capable of forging meaningful connections with others through the potency of language.

An English degree fosters personal growth and lays the foundation for a successful career in various fields. 

No matter if your ambitions lie in teaching, writing, editing, or even law, the expertise you gain from an English program will serve as priceless tools for your career path.

Types of English Degrees

English degrees come in all shapes and sizes, catering to diverse aspirations and career paths.
As you progress through the different levels of English degrees, exciting possibilities, and rewards await you at each turn.

Get ready to delve into the various stages of English degrees and discover how they can open up new avenues to your future achievements.

English Certificate

A certificate program in English sharpens your language prowess and lays the groundwork for literature appreciation. Ideal for those eager to polish their reading, writing, and communication skills, these programs typically span six months to a year.

Entry requirements:

  • High school diploma or equivalent

Certificate perks:

  • Strengthen language skills for personal and professional growth
  • Pave the way for further education in English

Associate Degree in English

An associate degree in English, a two-year endeavor, delves deeper into literature, language, and composition. There are numerous benefits to obtaining an associate degree in English or related subjects, such as expanding one’s knowledge of literature, language, and culture. 

Additionally, pursuing an associate degree can lay the foundation for future academic pursuits, such as a bachelor’s degree in the field. 

Entry requirements:

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Standardized tests (such as SAT or ACT)

Bachelor's Degree in English

A bachelor’s degree in English, requiring four years of study, offers a comprehensive exploration of literary analysis, critical thinking, and creative writing.

Entry requirements:

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Standardized tests (such as SAT or ACT)
  • Application essays and personal statement

Bachelor’s degree benefits:

  • Acquire in-depth knowledge of diverse literary periods, styles, and authors.
  • Gain transferable skills like analytical thinking, problem-solving, and compelling communication.
  • Pursue careers in fields like teaching, journalism, marketing, or law.

Master's Degree in English

A master’s program lets you specialize in areas like creative writing or literary criticism. You’ll improve your analytical skills and deepen your understanding of the English language.

Entry requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in English or in a related field
  • A statement of purpose
  • Letters of recommendation

Master’s degree rewards:

  • Develop expertise in your chosen English studies niche
  • Advance your career in academia, research, or professional writing
  • Potentially earn a higher salary compared to bachelor’s degree holders

Doctor of Philosophy

A Ph.D. in English represents the pinnacle of academic achievement in this domain, taking 4-6 years to complete. 

Entry requirements:

  • Master’s degree in criminology or a related field
  • Strong academic record
  • Research proposal 

Doctorate advantages:

  • Become a respected authority in your area of research
  • Forge a career in academia, research, or top-tier leadership roles


The entry requirements for a degree in English may vary depending on your university and state. However, here we have outlined the general qualifications that are frequently asked for.

Discovering Specialties and Concentrations in English Degree Programs

English degree programs are like treasure troves, with exciting specialties and concentrations catering to your unique interests and career goals. 

Focusing on a particular area of study enables you to delve deeper into the subjects that ignite your passion, amplifying your educational journey with even greater satisfaction.

Uncover some of the most sought-after specialties and concentrations in English degree programs, their benefits, and the career paths they can lead to.

Creative Writing

Creative writing is perfect for those with a flair for storytelling and a vivid imagination. This concentration teaches you how to craft compelling narratives in various genres, such as fiction, poetry, and screenwriting.

Unleashing your creativity via creative writing not only helps you establish your voice and flare but also teaches you how to provide and receive constructive feedback, allowing you to take your writing talents to new heights.

Literary and Cultural Studies

Linguistics offers a scientific approach to studying language, exploring its structure, history, and social aspects. This concentration suits those interested in understanding how languages work and evolve.

Investigating language acquisition and development can shed light on how we learn to speak and write, which is a fascinating area of research. Additionally, delving into the social and cultural dimensions of language usage can provide insight into its contextual application and how it mirrors the beliefs and norms of our community.

Rhetoric and Composition

Rhetoric and composition focus on persuasive communication and the craft of composing effective written texts. This concentration is ideal for those interested in teaching, writing, and analyzing various forms of discourse.

Plus, you’ll be able to understand and guide others in mastering various writing styles, making you a versatile wordsmith.

English Education

English education is the perfect choice for those who aspire to inspire future generations by teaching English language and literature. This concentration equips you with the pedagogical tools and knowledge required to become an effective educator.

As you deepen your appreciation for language and literature, you’ll inspire the same passion in your students. Perhaps most significantly, via student teaching placements, you will get practical experience, allowing you to apply what you have studied in a real-world situation and prepare yourself for a successful future in education.


Linguistics offers a scientific approach to studying language, exploring its structure, history, and social aspects. This concentration suits those interested in understanding how languages work and evolve.

Investigating language acquisition and development can shed light on how we learn to speak and write, which is a fascinating area of research. Examining the social and cultural implications of language usage can provide valuable insights into its diverse contexts and how it mirrors our society and its principles.

Unraveling the Courses & Curriculum in English Degrees

Entering a world where language, creativity, and concepts become a reality – this is the experience of pursuing an English degree.

English degree programs strike a balance between core courses and electives, building a solid foundation in literary analysis, language, and composition while allowing you to dive deeper into subjects that pique your interest.

Here are some of the typical classes you might find in these programs:

Shakespearean Studies

Venture into the spellbinding universe of Shakespeare and examine his most renowned plays, such as “Hamlet,” “Macbeth,” and “Romeo and Juliet.” This course helps you grasp Bard’s distinct language and exceptional storytelling while shedding light on the cultural and historical backdrop of his masterpieces.

American Literature

Discover the colorful mosaic of American literature, spanning from its early origins to modern works. This course delves into a wide array of authors, styles, and literary movements, illustrating the progression of American literature and how it mirrors the nation’s past and character.

Creative Writing

Awaken your inner wordsmith by mastering the art of creative writing. This course hones your abilities in crafting captivating narratives, intriguing characters, and vivid settings across multiple genres, such as fiction, poetry, and screenwriting. Additionally, you’ll learn to critique and refine your work effectively.


Plunge into the captivating mechanics of language with a linguistics course. You’ll investigate the structure, history, and societal aspects of language, acquiring insights into language development, acquisition, and evolution.

This course is excellent for those eager to comprehend the science underpinning language and its role in human communication.

On-campus vs. Online English Degrees: Which Path to Choose?

As you get started to pursue your English degree, two distinct paths emerge: on-campus or online.

Each comes with unique advantages and challenges, and the right choice hinges on your preferences, learning style, and circumstances.

Let’s delve into the factors worth considering when weighing your options between on-campus and online English degree programs, empowering you to make an informed decision that aligns with your needs and aspirations.

On-campus English Degrees

Studying on campus provides a traditional, immersive experience where you can engage with professors, classmates, and academic resources in person. On-campus programs often foster a sense of community and offer numerous opportunities for extracurricular activities and networking.


In-person interactions with professors and classmates

Access to campus resources (libraries, computer labs, etc.)

Opportunities for networking and extracurricular activities

A structured learning environment


Potentially higher costs (tuition, housing, transportation)

Limited flexibility in class scheduling

It may require relocation or a daily commute

Online English Degrees

Online English degree programs offer flexibility and convenience, allowing you to learn from anywhere with an internet connection. These programs often appeal to working professionals, parents, or those with geographical constraints who still want to pursue higher education.


Flexibility in scheduling and learning pace

Lower overall costs (tuition, no relocation or commuting expenses)

Access to a broader range of programs and institutions

Ability to study from anywhere with an internet connection


Limited face-to-face interaction with professors and peers

Potential challenges with time management and self-discipline

It may require additional effort to network and engage with classmates

Picking the Perfect English Degree: Factors to Keep in Mind

After surveying the vast array of English degree programs, encompassing both on-campus and online options, it is now imperative to scrutinize the specific elements that will enable you to select the ideal program to meet your exact requirements.

To facilitate this process, we have compiled some practical advice to aid you in making an informed decision, guaranteeing that your educational voyage will align with your aspirations and preferences.

1. Accreditation

Ensure that the English degree program you have in mind is accredited by a reputable accrediting organization. Accreditation is a mark of quality and credibility, indicating that the program meets established academic standards. Employers and other educational institutions often look for accredited degrees when considering job applicants or transfer students.

2. Cost and Financial Aid

Consider the financial aspects of pursuing an English degree, including tuition, housing, and other expenses. Compare the prices of different programs and explore the availability of financial aid, scholarships, and grants. Remember that financial aid is frequently granted based on academic performance, economic necessity, and criteria specific to the program.

3. Faculty Expertise

The quality of the faculty is a vital component of any English degree program. Research the professors’ backgrounds, publications, and areas of expertise. Seek a program with faculty who share your interests, as their guidance and mentorship can significantly impact your academic experience and success.

4. Career Services and Support

Investigate each institution’s career services and support. Look for programs that provide resources like career counseling, job placement assistance, and networking events. These services are crucial in bridging the gap between your academic pursuits and a thriving profession.

5. Alumni Network

A strong alumni network can provide networking opportunities, mentorship, and connections in your desired field. Research program graduates’ accomplishments and career paths to gauge the potential outcomes and opportunities that may await you after completing the program.

What can you do with an English Degree?

An English degree is like a Swiss Army knife, versatile and equipped for many tasks. This versatile degree has paved the way for countless successful careers in diverse fields, showcasing the power of effective communication and critical thinking skills.

Career Outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, job prospects for English degree holders are promising in various fields. 

For instance, the demand for technical writers is projected to grow 6% from 2021 to 2031. Similarly, public relations specialists can expect a growth rate of 8%, while jobs for editors are projected to decline by 5%.

Salary Potential

English degree holders can also anticipate competitive salaries.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, as of May 2021, the median annual wage for technical writers was $78,060, while public relations specialists earned a median yearly wage of $62,800. Editors’ annual median salary was $63,350 during the same period.

Top English Degree Jobs you can get:

Technical Writer

Technical writers create clear, concise, and informative documents, such as instruction manuals, product specifications, and research reports. They take complex technical information and present it in a way that’s easy to understand for specific audiences.

Average Salary - Job Positions

Average Salary

$78,060 per year

College Degree Type Needed For Job Position

Degree Level


Grant Writer

Grant writers research, prepare, and submit proposals to secure funding for projects and programs. They work closely with nonprofits, educational institutions, and government agencies to understand their goals and craft compelling proposals to help them secure the necessary financial support.

Average Salary - Job Positions

Average Salary

$78,060 per year

College Degree Type Needed For Job Position

Degree Level


Writers and Authors

Writers create various types of content across different mediums, such as ads, blogs, books, magazines, and scripts. They need to have versatile skills and adjust their approach accordingly.

Average Salary - Job Positions

Average Salary

$69,510 per year

College Degree Type Needed For Job Position

Degree Level



Editors review, revise, and polish written content to ensure clarity, accuracy, and consistency. They work with writers to improve the overall quality of a piece, whether it’s a book, article, or other form of written communication.

Average Salary - Job Positions

Average Salary

$63,350 per year

College Degree Type Needed For Job Position

Degree Level


Public Relations Specialist

Public relations specialists help organizations maintain a positive image and communicate effectively with the public. They create press releases, develop media strategies, and coordinate events to promote their clients or employers.

Average Salary - Job Positions

Average Salary

$62,800 per year

College Degree Type Needed For Job Position

Degree Level


High School English Teacher

A high school teacher educates students in reading, writing, and critical thinking. They create lesson plans and grade assignments and help students develop a strong foundation in English language and literature.

Average Salary - Job Positions

Average Salary

$61,820 per year

College Degree Type Needed For Job Position

Degree Level


*Please be advised that the average salary provided by the BLS may deviate significantly from state to state and occupation to occupation, depending on various factors.

Top Colleges for English Degree Programs

Choosing the right college is an important step in your English degree journey. Some of the nation’s most prestigious institutions offer exceptional English Majors that can help you excel academically and professionally. 

Here’s a glimpse into five popular colleges known for their English degree programs

Princeton University

Nestled in the charming town of Princeton, New Jersey, Princeton University boasts a distinguished English program. At Princeton University, students dive deep into literary works, from time-honored classics to modern-day gems, thanks to a curriculum centered around critical thinking and literary analysis.

Columbia University

Columbia University is located in bustling New York City and offers a dynamic English degree program. Their curriculum delves into diverse literary genres and encourages interdisciplinary studies. The university provides an outstanding education – with access to top-notch resources, students can truly submerge themselves in literature.

Harvard University

Nestled in the historic city of Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard University proudly houses an esteemed English degree program recognized far and wide. Harvard’s curriculum offers an extensive selection of courses, enabling students to study various literary periods, genres, and critical approaches while honing their writing and analytical skills.

Stanford University

At the heart of Silicon Valley, Stanford University’s English degree program combines tradition with innovation. Their English program invites students to investigate literature from multiple perspectives, such as gender, race, and culture. This approach cultivates a comprehensive understanding of literary works and their influence on society.

Yale University

Yale University, located in picturesque New Haven, Connecticut, is celebrated for its English degree program. Yale’s curriculum strongly focuses on the historical and cultural contexts of literature, helping students develop a deep appreciation for the written word and its power to shape human experience.

Featured Colleges

FAQ about English Degree Programs

An English Degree will help you develop valuable skills like critical thinking, effective communication, creativity, research, and analytical abilities.

You’ll also improve your writing, reading comprehension, and presentation skills, which are highly valued across various industries.

After earning an English Degree, you can continue your education with a Master’s or Doctorate in English, Comparative Literature, or Creative Writing.

You can also attend workshops, conferences, and seminars for professional development or pursue certifications in related fields like teaching, editing, or technical writing.

English Degree holders can explore alternative career paths in advertising, public relations, journalism, publishing, copywriting, content creation, marketing, grant writing, and technical writing.

They can also work in fields like library science, human resources, and project management.

English degree programs often provide research opportunities in literary theory, cultural studies, and linguistics. To get involved, talk to your professors, join research groups or clubs, attend conferences, and apply for research assistant positions or internships within your university.

Prerequisites for an English degree program vary by institution. Typically, to pursue this path, you should have a high school diploma or GED, satisfactory scores on standardized tests, and a solid foundation in English, literature, or related fields. Some programs may also require writing samples or letters of recommendation.

A Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English focuses on the humanities and liberal arts, emphasizing literature, language, and culture.

A Bachelor of Science (BS) in English is less common and may have a more technical or interdisciplinary focus, combining English studies with subjects like science or technology.

English majors can explore various writing opportunities, such as writing for campus newspapers or literary magazines, participating in creative writing workshops, or working on collaborative projects with peers. Internships and work-study programs can also provide real-world writing experience.

Thesis or capstone project requirements vary depending on the institution and the specific English degree program. Some programs may require a senior thesis, research paper, or capstone project, while others may offer these as optional opportunities for students seeking a more in-depth academic experience.


  • English Degree Programs are great for those who love literature, language, and culture and open up many career opportunities.
  • There is a positive outlook with various job positions, from teaching and writing to marketing and law.
  • You can choose from different degree levels, like certificate, associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate. And there are specialties like creative writing, linguistics, or literary theory to dive into!
  • When you’re choosing a program, think about factors like accreditation, courses that match your interests, and available financial aid. Don’t forget about career services and extracurricular activities too!

Let your passion for literature, language, and culture guide you toward a bright future!

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