Careers In English Literature

English Literature

Today, we live in a world where thankfully, there are a plethora of career options, fit to everybody’s liking. A lot of us grew up with Harry Potter and Enid Blyton, and over the years, this affinity for reading grew up to be more than just a hobby. Everyone who’s irresistibly drawn to those big, heavy, hardbound books, (or, you know, kindles)  has thought of pursuing a degree in English Literature, only to be hit with the question – what next?

English Literature, despite common misconceptions, is a lucrative career option. Although definitely leaning to the creative side, pursuing a degree in English Literature also entails reading and analysing a hefty amount of print, deciphering works of fiction and finding the meaning behind words.

English literature is a highly acclaimed field of study because there is always a demand for copywriters in companies, and people who have a strong grip overwritten and oral proficiency in English. Out of the many career options available, here are five common fields where a degree in English Literature is useful, or even necessary.



A career in the media is as high paying as it is taxing. Careers extend to everything from scriptwriting, directing, dialogue writing, blogging and filmmaking. A career in the media is glamorous, but has long working hours with little to no break. Journalism, on the flip side of media, pertains to writing about events and opinions, writing articles for newspapers and being up to date with current events. A career in journalism entails hard work and persistence, and a flair for using words to stir people’s emotions.


Recently, more and more people opt for freelance work, which means, they write sporadically for magazines, companies, newspapers and online journals.They don’t attach themselves to a certain company, or one fixed job, but are flexible in their approach. Getting started as a freelancer requires immense talent and tactful time management. Graduates can take up job at an IT or Digital Marketing sector as a content writer, copywriter, proof-reader, and editor.


You can take up a job as an advertising copywriter, creative executive or director, campaign manager, event organizer, PR manager, and others, as English literature students are known for their creativity, communication skills, writing skills, imagination, logic and reasoning. The advertising industry is known for its employees with a different way of thinking, their quirky and upcoming ideas, and their liberalism.


Acting is one of the many fields you can enter into, without needing a degree in that specific subject. Many English Literature majors, the Shakespeare nerds, the drama club kids with a cornucopia of quotes from Othello, choose to pursue a career in the theatrical arts after they graduate. An English literature degree equips you with an understanding of complicated texts and the feelings behind the texts, which in turns helps them to enact these feelings.


One of the most common fields English Major Graduates enter into is education, which has ample prospects. Graduates can either choose to teach secondary schools, or with further study, can conduct lectures in universities and colleges. Other than conventional teaching, graduates can choose to teach English as a second language to foreigners, or can even get high paying jobs as translators in governments and consulates.


As English Literature is a non-vocational course, students pursuing English Literature are expected to do activities to build their resume simultaneously. This means, students have to snag internships and jobs related to their chosen field of work, or have a portfolio displaying their work in the subjects. This isn’t necessary, but employers always hold people with work experience and/or records of personal work of more importance, as compared to those with only a degree to show. Blogging, writing reviews, interning at magazine companies/newspapers, attending and conducting workshops to share your skills, reviewing books, restaurants or movies in your free time, spending time making short films, or writing scripts are all things you can do to make yourself stand out to a potential employer.


Besides obvious top choices like Oxford, Stanford, Cambridge and Harvard, here’s a list of Universities best known for their English Literature course.

  • Yale
  • Princeton
  • University of Sydney
  • National University of Singapore
  • University of Toronto
  • UCL
  • University of British Columbia
  • Lady Sri Ram College
  • Xavier’s College
  • Delhi University


  • Excellent written and verbal communication
  • Creative thinking
  • Analytical and critical thinking
  • Ability to understand and learn large chunks of information
  • Ability to understand abstract concepts and ideas
  • Being in touch with human psychology and behaviour

All in all, English Literature is a field where you need to have a passion for the subject and its related fields. It is not a theoretical field with rote learning, as it requires a basic understanding of philosophy, history, psychology and a love for words.


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