English Language and Literature, General

English is a classic degree. It’s one of the most popular and long-standing major options for students entering college-level education. Defined, English majors study composition. This degree, more than any other, is reading-intensive and expects that students will hone their communications skills (both verbal and written), organizational abilities, and critical thinking. Research, intense attention to detail, and an understanding of multiple other subjects come into play, making this liberal arts major versatile and useful in any industry. English degrees are available at multiple levels, including associate, baccalaureate, master, and doctorate.  

Associate Level

Associate’s degrees in English will provide a basic foundation for the field of study and even provide the qualifications for an entry-level position. Keep in mind that English is a competitive field, though, and many applicants will have baccalaureates. At the associate level, curriculum will include an introduction to technical writing, world classics, advanced reading, expository writing, and be peppered with editing, copyediting, and likely even some creative writing. Programs typically take 2 years to completed when attending full time.

Baccalaureate

A baccalaureate degree elevates competitiveness within the industry. Intense diving into the world of advanced literary analysis, compositional writing, and creative writing is on the curriculum at this level. Most English major programs separate out literature by periods and offer a number of courses that focus on race, ethnic, or sexuality subjects. Key movements, innovations, and themes will be traced from the earliest works to present because, as Ezra Pound said and is often quoted in English departments, “Literature does not exist in a vacuum.” Naturally a multidisciplinary study, there are often requirements on how many course to take outside of the English department, as well.

One of the most common misconceptions about becoming an English major is that every graduate wants to teach. While this isn’t the case, attaining a bachelor’s in English can be an excellent path to teaching. If this is the career goal, the school will need a teacher-training program and most states require licensure and certification to begin working. With this level of education, graduates are able to teach 12th grade and below.  

Career paths for graduates with a baccalaureate in English who don’t want or intend to teach include: Content Writer/Manager, Content Strategist, Content Marketer/Marketing Manager, Technical Writer/Editor, Digital Copywriter, News Reporter, Journalist, Public Relations, Corporate Blogger, Policy Analyst, Search Engine Optimization Specialist, eCommerce Analyst, Social Media Manager, Brand Strategist, Editor, Freelance Editor, Publishing, Grant/Proposal Writer, TV/Radio Writer, Boutique Agency Worker.

Master Level

English is one of the industries that still puts significant weight to academic prestige. Earning a master’s degree in English does two things: one, it will improve your competitiveness within the field, along with streamlining opportunities for higher positions, such as managing editor or for the manager title in general. Two, it improves academic authority. Teaching English in a public school also requires a master’s degree. These programs can typically be completed within 1 or 2 years.

Doctorate Level

If you want to teach at the university level, a doctorate used to be the only qualifier, but MFA programs now qualify graduates to become professors. Competitively, though, a PhD always looks better. An MFA is a Master in Fine Arts and, yes, it is different than a traditional Masters. Lasting between two to three years, the goal of these programs is to complete a publishable work by matriculation. MFAs in English aren’t as widespread as those in Creative Writing, but they are available and are considered terminal degrees.

doctorate in English is the highest, terminal degree in this area of study. Programs span anywhere from five to seven years and are heavily focused in an area of concentration. PhDs often come with a commitment to teach on-campus and the expectation will be to publish scholarly work.  

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Colleges

“…ucla has a great student atmosphere: it includes great school spirit, rich history, excellent academics and research programs, and a well-rounded student body. it is also situated in west la, which is a great environment in itself to explore social...” – Kevin

“…Harvard is a place of innovation and discovery. It is a community of scholars, who are very intelligent, ambitious, and collaborative. The most distinctive feature of Harvard is the vibrant energy that characterizes its student body, and that drives...” – CLAUDIA from CAMBRIDGE, MA

“…by far the most diverse, relaxed campus full of happy, friendly students of all ages. clean, green and exuding student pride everywhere you go. the best choice anyone could ever make!” – Dahlton from Jackson, CA

“…An outstanding university that provides limitless opportunities for superb education, involvement in various clubs and organizations, and the all-important ability to network among peers and colleagues. Penn State goes above and beyond to properly...” – Shane

“…The environment is incredibly welcoming and you'll always find a place to fit in. It's definitely challenging, but incredibly rewarding. Personally, I adore it.” – Whitney from Berkeley, CA

“…The University of Florida is a prestigious public university dedicated on accepting prospective students with not only a yearning for higher education, but a passion for involvement in extracurricular activities which allows the student to grow...” – Shawna from Gainesville, FL

“…Yale is a great place for an academic challenge and usually great socially, but it can be isolating for students from lower-income families due to the large number of extremely wealthy, boarding school/magnet school kids. The residential college...” – Taylor

“…The University of Chicago is known more for its academic rigor and all-encompassing intellectualism than its campus life or party scene. This is far from true, however! If you're looking for hard-hitting academics, a picture-perfect campus, top-notch...” – Chris from Houston, TX

“…Between the Common Core and the city of New York, it is difficult to conceive of an education more intellectually stimulating than that which Columbia provides. The Core allows students to engage with the great thinkers of the past, while New York...” – Nathan from Cincinnati, OH

“…Cornell University is an unparalleled college, filled with opportunities. Currently, I am in the Arts and Sciences College and though I wish to aspire to be a doctor, I am given the chance to study Latin and Ancient Civilization as a minor and to...” – Lisa from Commack, NY

“…A 360 degree experience. You get rigorous academics, competitive sports powerhouse, and lively social scene. A place to grow and explore.” – Kelly from New Hudson, MI

“…Duke is a top-notch research university with a massive amount of school spirit. There is no typical Duke experience - each student makes it his or her own. However, the most successful students are entrepreneurial types who are not afraid to take...” – BlueDevil

“…My school is big on traditions and is overall a very friendly campus. The professors are willing to help you one on one to help you get the grade you need and deserve. I rate my school a 10 from 1-10 because its a very big happy family who look out...” – Amanda from Houston, TX

“…UCF is a very high quality university that is more affordable than most. The university has an abundance of ways to help you get through your college expenses through book and work study programs. The campus is great! All the essential necessities a...” – M from Winter Garden, FL

“…it is a great school because of the atmosphere, teachers, and everything that has to do with austin. it is at an awesome location. i feel welcomed and happily plan to live and get a job here.” – Emile from Dallas, TX

“…Boston University is an elite university that is constantly improving. It is a very expensive college but has a lot of resources for its students. Students who wish to attend should be somewhat independent and not afraid to take full advantage of the...” – Daniel from Staten Island, NY

“…Arizona State University is a great school. I attend the Walter Cronkite School for students of Mass Communication and Journalism and I love the experience I have gained from the college. I feel prepared for future jobs and work experience. ” – Kirsten from Phoenix, AZ

“…Purdue University is filled with surprises. No one would expect a school in central Indiana to be one of the most diverse, most academically rigorous, most involved, healthiest, and inspiring universities in the world. It is literally difficult to...” – Evan from Placentia, CA

“…NYU isn't for everybody, but if you want to become more independent, meet lots of interesting and diverse people, and eat a variety of food NYU is the perfect place for you. Even though sometimes it can feel like only wealthy people belong here, you...” – India from Bryn Mawr, PA

“…UNC Chapel Hill is an outstanding school with outstanding people. The school work is challenging, but it is rewarding. The university introduces you to people from all walks of life and exposes you to some of the most gifted professors and students...” – Rebecca

“…Being at Princeton feels a lot like winning the lottery on a daily basis. The people are incredibly interesting and I'm being challenged like I've never been challenged before. It's a place for those who love to work hard and play hard.” – Annika from Eugene, OR

“…The University is a wonderful school because of its diverse student body, strong academics, and recreational facilities. There are so many great tutoring and advising resources available for me whenever they need help with certain classes. Also, I...” – Maria from Tucson, AZ

“…USC is the place for opportunities. You are not only paying for a great education, but also connections and resume builders that will help you get where you want in life. USC is a school for leaders and overachievers. ” – Madison from Los Angeles, CA

“…The perfect word for Brown is nonpareil, as in it is completely unmatched in the world of colleges. I honestly feel that there is such a collection of classes, students, opportunities, and experiences unique to only Brown that makes it special beyond...” – Quinn Li from Canajoharie, NY

“…This school is inclusive, and has a great sense of community. I love visiting my friends here. The education is amazing.” – Peyton from Ellensburg, WA

“…I rate UPenn at a 10 out of 10, I love my school and everything about it. I think what really makes us great is the oppurtunity to have a well rounded education so critical thinking is put at the center of all classes. In addition it is a beautiful...” – Ami from Philadelphia, PA

“…The campus, food, organizations, people, academics, and nightlife of Michigan State University are unlike any other. MSU is full of down-to-earth, nice people who want to have fun but also focus on their academics. Though it is a big campus, it is...” – Lauren from Westland, MI

“…Northwestern is a great school, blending first class academics and Big 10 sports in a way that typically isn't seen among comparable universities. Students are bright and are typically highly motivated, passionate, and active in leadership roles....” – Kayla from Camdenton, MO

“…There is no other place I would have chosen to pursue my higher education. Ohio State offers rigorous academics as well as plenty of organizations for students to participate in! In short, Ohio State offers everything you could ever want.” – Cherieanne from Chattanooga, TN

“…The Campus is basically a miniature city within Syracuse. There are always activities to attend and ways to get involved. The classes are tough, but very rewarding if you put in the effort.” – Catherine from North Sutton, NH

“…Great friendly campus in the middle of cornfield, USA. Classes are theoretical and challenging in the engineering dept. However, it's easy to take a variety of other classes (art, history, dance, etc), regardless of your major.” – Alleycats from Urbana, IL

“…UC Davis is a beautiful campus, with endless opportunities in all areas of interest. There are many research and academic internships, as well as being well-rounded with sport, music, and art opportunities. Every student can find clubs and academic...” – Kaitlyn from San Jose, CA

“…UGA offers an ivy league education, for a public school price. Situated in Athens, GA: ranked the #1 College Town that Rocks by Rolling Stones magazine in 2007 and one of 29 Must Visit places by LA Times magazine in 2009, there are plenty of things...” – Darien from Senoia, GA

“…FSU is an immense college with a beautiful campus and diverse student body. The college boasts hundreds of extracurricular programs and clubs, so there is something for everyone. Florida State is a leader in many disciplines and builds leaders.” – Carla from Tallahassee, FL

“…The University of Miami is a prestigious school with a lot to offer. The school is diverse and gives a small university feel in a big town environment. The University of Miami is a great place to go to school because it provides a good degree, has...” – Maureen from Webster City, IA

“…San Diego State University provides an amazing academic experience for all students who enroll here. There is always something happening on campus no matter what time of day. The environment is so welcoming, and everyone you meet is so nice and...” – Anonymous

“…Georgetown University Law Center is an amazing combination of high quality academics and networking opportunities. Everyday there is something going on..an Alumni cocktail, the book launch of a member of staff, judge, politician etc. There are many...” – Charlene from Washington, DC

“…indiana university has the most beautiful campus in all of indiana and is surprisingly very easy to get around despite how large it is. the students and professors are great and really easy to get along with, and are always willing to help out in any...” – Kyle from Merrillville, IN

“…UCI is a very quiet school in terms of partying, but there are always activities going on throughout the day that any student can participate in. The school is fantastic in Academics and has many research opportunities. ” – Bi0N3rd

“…The perfect place for stars looking to shine. Our stars do not only show up at night. They shine during the good times of our country, contributing to society in a positive way. They also shine during the bad times of our country, standing up for...” – Khiana from Newark, NJ

“…The atmosphere of Baylor is very relaxing. The people on campus are really friendly. It is easy to make friends on a campus this size.” – Chalice from Pflugerville, TX

“…The University of Oregon is not only a beautiful campus but offers the kind of liberal arts studies that I prefer. The excitement of living on campus and attending favored sporting events has contributed to my enjoyment at this school. I look forward...” – Katharine from Claremont, CA

“…WSU has become my home away from home. The people are great and you truly feel like you're part of a family (I recommend going to the football games if you don't feel this way). The only bad part is the cold weather, so be prepared!” – Isabella from Hoquiam, WA

“…UMD, College Park is a school full of opportunities and great education. It has a campus feel, but is large enough to feel like it's own town and easy access to Washington, D.C. and other commercial areas, providing plenty of opportunities for...” – Jennifer from Western Maryland

“…Clemson University is a community that strives to promote equality among it's students, promote environmental sustainability through numerous on-campus programs, and provide a rigorous education for preparation for their career field. Clemson also...” – Matthew from Mount Pleasant, SC

“…Northeastern has an excellent sense of community and immediately upon entering you feel right at home. The professors are helpful and they want to see their students succeed. The athletics and the multitude of on-campus activities give students a...” – Bailey from Queensbury, NY

“…in my opinion, this school is underrated. it is an excellent university with excellent professors and spectacular school spirit. it can definitely compete with other texas universities. ” – Christopher from Houston, TX

“…The University of Notre Dame is a privately funded, Catholic, liberal arts university. It is most well-known for athletics, especially football, ethics and social justice studies, and the Mendoza School of Business. Notre Dame also boasts a beautiful...” – Marcus from WI

“…Central Michigan University has the best professors for the Recreation Department! Everyone here is a family and the people really do care about your well being and future. This college has made me a better person through it's programs.” – Jelina from Mt. Pleasant, MI

“…It is a beautiful campus and will make you proud to be a bull. There is always stuff going on around campus and a lot of fun ways to get involved. Academics are taken seriously and managable with work. ” – Brenna from St. Petersburg, FL

“…I transferred to OU from Marietta College and I believe it was one of the best decisions I've made in my life. I had much anxiety being a minority student on a campus with about 30,000 students but OU offers so many organizations that cater to the...” – Proud Bobkitty

“…Pitt literally has something for everyone. There are majors/minors/certificates in nearly anything you could think of, over 400 clubs, and Pittsburgh is a city that offers a wide variety of living arrangements, tons of restaurants, and entertainment...” – Angelica from Pittsburgh, PA

Boston College
Chestnut Hill, MA

“…bc is a great university that is geared for all types of students. it is a liberal arts university with schools in business, nursings, arts and sciences, and education. everyone at bc is friendly and outgoing, and it is a great choice for a college...” – Anonymous from Chestnut Hill, MA

Auburn University
Auburn University, AL

“…auburn has something special about it that i cannot quite put into words. you have to experience it to understand what people mean by the auburn family, and after you are there, you will never be the same. i have learned the value of being an auburn...” – Sara from Auburn, AL

“…Vanderbilt University is an institution geared towards challenging its students academically in order to ensure a successful future. However, there are resources such as 24-hour tutoring and extensive office hours to help with the rigorous work. With...” – C from Georgia

“…Great school for adventurous students. If you want to start a career, this is your first step. You get to enjoy the city while getting a great education.” – Katie Rose from Northampton, PA

“…The University of Virginia is an excellent school for prospective students seeking a challenge. UVA presents a traditional atmosphere for personal, social, academic and professional development. The school's reputation is well deserved and I have...” – Andrew from Purcellville, VA

“…texas state is a picturesque school full of life, diverse, with a river that runs through it, and also full of people that are willing to help you on anything from personal problems, to math homework. ” – Genesis from Houston, TX

“…Johns Hopkins offers rigorous academics and research opportunities, and caters to a wide variety of academic interests. The smaller size of the school makes it feel like a home and connects you to the rest of your peers. There is a sense of unity...” – Vanessa from Thousand Oaks, CA

“…The campus is beautiful and not too spread out. All of my classes have been wonderful thus far, and really are shaped to my interests. There are so many study enhancements in this community to make sure that students do succeed. ” – Taelor from Columbia, SC

“…OSU & Corvallis has so much to offer (year-round) it's sometimes hard to know where to start. It has a beautiful, relaxed campus with nearly 25,000 students & Corvallis' central location provides easy access to plenty of activities in less than 3...” – Earl from Tangent, OR

“…lsu is culturally and socially diverse, making it an exceedingly welcoming place. classes are varied and pander to the interests of many different types of students. every event is culturally rich and provides a fantastic experience.” – Nicholas from Cypress, TX

“…Colorado State University has given me the best college experience I could dream of. There are opportunities for anything you could imagine - and these opportunities are everywhere! Everyone is friendly, and all anyone wants is for each and every...” – Bailey

“…Georgia State is full of diversity! I love how many different people I can meet in just one hour. Many majors, opportunities, clubs, and organizations are offered here.” – Lydia from Lawrenceville, GA

“…Virginia Tech is a beautiful place full a good people and food. The community is very welcoming and engaging to students. There is a wide variety of courses and you will always find something to do that you like.” – Delaney

“…Liberty is the most exciting university in the world. I love being able to have professors who care about not only my educational career, but my spiritual life. There are more opportunities than can be counted offered to me here.” – Carrie from Ruckersville, VA

“…Emory is surprisingly the perfect grounds for culturing new ideas. Even though it doesn't have a football team, Emory is still high in spirit and makes up for it in swimming and soccer. Above all, Emory is the perfect combination of nature-esque...” – Sindhu from GA

“…U of Iowa is an institution that invites young minds to grow and develop with the help of highly educated leaders. Family values are important within the administration and add value to the environment within the grounds of the university. Service is...” – Eric from Pingrey Grove, IL

“…Rice is outstanding in all areas of college life, from academics, to partying, right down to the weather. I was a little hesitant to leave New York for Texas and pay a little bit more than my other college options, but honestly Rice was worth the...” – Janet from Carmel, NY

“…i very much love this school. the academics are amazing since the staff is so willing to help students with any problems or questions. the school offers many opportunities for students to go beyond their comfort zones to experience new things as they...” – Marcela from Northridge, CA

“…this school offers a diverse curriculum. studying abroad is heavily encouraged, and mandatory for multiple majors. the professors want you to succeed, you need only ask!” – Scott from San Diego, CA

“…1. George Mason has a compact campus, but plenty of people. 2. There are a ton of fun unique activities to try out. 3. GMU is definitely diverse!” – Anon.

“…the university is a very beautiful place if you ignore all the construction being done at the moment. everyone at the school are extremely nice people and are there help you. there are tons of opportunities for you to have fun and also be successful...” – adrian from pittsburgh, pa

“…If I were to describe DePaul in three sentences i'd have to say, it's very unique, as in location, religion, as well as culturally. There are so many different kinds of people here, ones you wouldn't expect to have similar interests, and ones that...” – Gina from Edina, MN

“…The students here are all brilliant, motivated, inspired people. Everywhere you go there is amazing science happening, and every individual has terrific opportunities through the UROP program and the many research connections that MIT has to gain...” – Jedidiah from Acton, ME

“…Rutgers New Brunswick has the prestige of being one of the 8 earliest founded colleges in the nation and is often ranked within the 100 best colleges in the world, for less than half the cost of an Ivy League school. Research opportunities,...” – Joanna

“…University of Denver is an AWESOME school! The small and focused class sizes allow students to get a wonderful education and the professors truly care about the students well being. It also offers a wonderful social life with sororities/fraternities,...” – Tara from Highlands Ranch, CO

“…The George Washington University is full of internship and job opportunities. Studying at the center of politics, many students share valuable connections and memorable experiences. With embassies, museums, monuments, students can always find...” – Washington, DC

“…Pace University is a great school that has afforded me so many fantastic opportunities I would not have received had I gone elsewhere. Pace has the most fantastic location in the heart of downtown Manhattan, making it ideal for anyone who wants to...” – Sarah in Brooklyn, NY

“…The place where God wants me. The place that makes that's helping me become a better person. The place where I will make lasting friendships and life-changing, world-impacting decisions.” – Camila from Encino, CA

“…Lots of walking.Great scenery. Many fun extracurricular and exciting course opportunities.” – Arlandra from Cincinnati, OH

“…An open and beautiful campus with people who also share those qualities. The staff here are amazing and do their jobs here with the goal to educate the students that pass through so that they may carry the wisdom gained throughout their lives....” – Mehigan from King George, VA

“…utsa has a diverse student population, a wide range of student services (including an excellent gym facility, complete with cooking courses, personal trainers, and rock-climbing wall), and a rapidly growing academic program with professors from all...” – Catherine from Helotes, TX

“…The college is in a commuter type of college so most people there do not live on the dorms. However, the people that I have met at this college are really nice and the academic advisers (at least for my major) are extremely helpful. The only con I...” – Jazmin C.

“…i attended girl's state at ku this summer. ku has an absolutely gorgeous campus, a friendly environment, and so many great programs to choose from. i cannot wait to attend ku in the fall of 2017. ” – adrienne from dodge city, ks

“…Iowa State has a beautiful campus: a large lake, a scenic atmosphere, and beautiful buildings. I could not believe the outstanding facilities I was able to tour nor the close but large feeling of the campus itself. Definitely ready to start my...” – Kaitlyn from De Witt, IA

“…The Open Curriculum serves the purpose for student to explore ad take their academic path into their own hands. The University is known for its music school: Eastman School of Music. An Awesome Science and Engineering College, with the added bonus...” – Orin from Brooklyn, NY

“…Beautiful campus, friendly and happy students, excellent academics. Amazing campus life, great school spirit, and great sports. Inviting atmosphere and great amenities!” – Jonna from Chapel Hill, NC

“…I actually applied to the University of San Francisco last minute. It was a choice that always lingered in my brain, but I never thought I would go that far from home. Without touring the school or talking to anyone from the school, I chose this...” – Amie from Phoenix, AZ

“…NC State is a large school with a small school feel. You can walk around campus and always see a familiar face. There are always new people to meet as well. ” – Shayna from Germantown, MD

“…west virginia university offers an amazing experience that is second to none. not only are there very competitive programs on campus, but the mountaineers have become a staple in the world of college athletics. excitement looms in the classroom and...” – Jonathon from Morgantown, WV

“…Fordham University is a family with open arms waiting for you to walk in. Once you enter into the family, you are embraced and encouraged to tap into all of the family's resources. These resources WILL help your intellectual, moral and...” – Constantine from Randolph, NJ

“…The campus, really nice... The professors, friendly if you know how to network and talk to them... The people here, really friendly and getting to meet/know new people isn't a task at all. The school is very nice, they provide fun activities almost...” – Joe, On Campus, Stony Brook University

“…the university of colorado at boulder is a an amazing school with not only a great location but also a great academic program. boulder is a great city for any kind of person, athletic or not. with so much to offer both academically and with extra...” – Ana from Parker, CO

“…On a Scale of one to ten I give Florida International University an eight. FIU deserves an eight because they really care about the student and try and help in everyway they can to make sure each and every student is successful. They provide...” – Saxon from Tampa, FL

“…the campus is beautiful and there are so many helpful students and staff (and plus all of the student programs they offer!). there are plenty of ways to get involved on campus through clubs or greek life or even a job on campus. the academics are a...” – Kaitlin from Merced, CA

“…Florida Atlantic University is a fantastic school. Florida Atlantic University has a beautiful, growing campus in sunny Boca Raton. Florida Atlantic University has excellent professors that are more than happy to help students in all aspects of...” – Andy from Coconut Creek, FL

“…UCSB is an amazing university located in beautiful Santa Barbara, California and is surrounded. UCSB will provide any student with great academics, a healthy social life, ways to get involved and most importantly a degree that you can be proud of. I...” – Katy from Murrieta, CA

“…Brigham young stands as a precedent for student education. It is a pinnacle of cleanliness of word and of character. It is a school like no other with the honor code as a standing tradition to be upheld by the students and the faculty. ” – Kaitlyn from Riverton, UT

“…Dartmouth Creates a welcoming atmosphere during orientation and then, unlike other schools, mantains it. Administration is approachable due to the small size. The students are accepting and encouraging of one another.” – Big Green!