What can I do with my English degree?

Communications and Engagement Assistant Fatima Malik, a final year English student,  has written about the great skills you gain from completing an English degree and what career paths you can go down. Are you an English student and unsure what your options are? Read on to see Fatima’s suggestions and how specific skills can help in a range of industries.


English as a degree choice is often overlooked as a discipline with viable career options. Unlike traditional vocational courses, an English degree doesn’t have a defined ‘next step’ in terms of careers. This ambiguity in career destinations should not be a put-off but rather seen as an asset of the course. With this degree, you have the freedom to go into any industry or field you wish. English students are usually conjured up in images twirling their pens and leisurely reading. This is a reductive presentation of how English undergrads really spend their time at university. Students leave their degree with a marketable skill-set that any employer would be interested in such as:


Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal – This is a sought- after skill in any profession and typically seen at the top of most job descriptions as highly-desired. After writing countless essays, English undergrads develop a sophisticated and coherent writing style which would be essential for roles in journalism and publishing for example. Proof-reading and copy editing are some other skills to add to the list. Being able to express and articulate your point well is something English students master in their seminar discussions, being key to roles in sales where you may have to deliver a pitch persuasively.


Critical reasoning and analysis – English undergrads tend to have a great attention to detail and a critical eye that lends well to being precise yet insightful with the tasks they do. Such a meticulous and methodical approach is essential for secretarial and administrative roles where accuracy is crucial for organising diaries, typing notes or sorting files. If you wanted to work in the field of law, critical thinking would also come in handy when gathering evidence, building an argument and then evaluating it for a case.


Creative and imaginative thinking – The ability to think creatively is needed for any high pressure environment involving problem-solving. Original and inventive thinking is particularly important if you’re thinking of working in a classroom with children. In this scenario, being innovative and engaging is imperative to capturing a student’s attention as well as adapting your style to tailor to different abilities. Creativity is also in-demand in the PR and Communications industry where crafting social media posts and creating content involves an artistic brain for design.


Researching skills –  Years of sifting through academic journals to find relevant sources has helped English students harness their researching skills. For every point made, a critics quote or reference is accompanied in one’s essay.  This act of researching, assessing and collating information reflects much of the work done by government bodies and Think tanks. Drafting policy proposals and reviewing current policy strategies requires strong researching skills – a quality listed highly by the Civil Service for example.


All in all, English is a multi-faceted degree which equips students with a variety of skills for their future career aspirations – whatever they may be!