A person holding a pile of books in the university library

An English Literature degree teaches you creative thinking and rigorous analysis, which sets you up for a variety of job opportunities.

English degree graduates can be found in numerous sectors, filling a variety of roles  from journalist to teacher, and marketing manager to legal advisor.

In this blog post, Dr Christopher Pittard, Senior Lecturer in English Literature, explains what jobs you can get with a degree in English Literature.

Studying English Literature at degree level will set you up to pursue careers in fields where communication and critical thinking are important. You’ll also get to explore history and politics, society and culture, human relationships and identities, and how we choose to live. And you’ll have the freedom to choose topics that you’re interested in  whether that’s classic or contemporary literature, women’s writing or crime writing. 

You’ll study complex, challenging issues and you’ll become an expert in reading, analysing and discussing written works that inspire you. You’ll also develop the skills to produce powerful writing and presentations in ways that engage and influence an audience.

These skills are highly transferable, which means a degree in English Literature is well respected by potential employers and can lead to a successful career in various industries.

 
An English Literature degree can set you up for a variety of roles
An English Literature degree can set you up for a variety of jobs

Here are some example of jobs you can do with an English Literature degree:

  • journalist 
  • copywriter 
  • teacher
  • paralegal 
  • marketing executive
  • editor
  • museum curator
  • freelance writer
  • librarian 
  • publisher 
  • web editor
  • author
  • social media manager
  • PR manager

But this list isn’t exhaustive; there are numerous other careers in fields where strong communication and written English skills are top priorities. For example within sectors such as media, advertising, law, retail and leisure. 

There are also plenty of companies that recruit English Literature graduates. PR agencies such as Edelman and Brunswick and publishers like Penguin Random House and Harper Collins have a range of editorial, writing and content management roles. 

 

The major problems of today are all based around the interpretation of texts – how do we identify ‘fake news’ and misinformation? How do people persuade others of a point of view? How have writers imagined the end of the world, and how do these narratives shape reactions to global dangers? Being able to read between the lines has never been more important, and an English literature degree gives you the tools to do exactly that.

Dr Christopher Pittard, Senior Lecturer in English Literature

Once you’ve started a degree in English Literature, you have the option to choose a customised degree if you want to combine your studies with an interest in history or media studies.

Graduates from our English Literature with Media Studies degree have gone on to work for BBC News, BBC Radio 1 and 2 as editors, producers and presenters. Others have gone on to work for Wiley, Random House, Bloomsbury and the Sunday Times. We also have graduates working in the cultural sector – one is Curator of Digital Content at the V&A Museum in London.

Portsmouth really is the perfect place to study literature – Charles Dickens was born here and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a resident. Rudyard Kipling’s work was also inspired by his early years in the city. There is such rich literary heritage here and a lively literature scene.

 

I love the course because of the broad variety and the concepts I can explore, there is never a dull moment contextually and I love learning all about different periods of literature.

Emily Hopper, Student, BA English Literature

Dr Christopher Pittard is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature. His main research focus is on the popular culture of the nineteenth century, especially the emergence of popular genres in the Victorian fin de siecle and detective fiction in particular.