What can I do with my English degree?

Knowledge and skills

  • Development of critical thinking and the ability to convey complex theories and concepts
  • Problem-solving and flexibility
  • Time management through juggling different module assessment requirements
  • Written and verbal communication through report writing and presenting
  • Teamwork and leadership through group projects
  • Planning and project management through independent research tasks
  • Independent research through seminar work and assignments
  • Constructing a reasoned argument by evaluating texts
  • A knowledge of history, culture and society.

Career options

Students with an English degree graduate with numerous transferable skills, however specific career paths are less obvious, since it sets you up to pursue a diverse range of occupations and sectors. These include roles with the creative and cultural industries (including film/TV/ radio, publishing, journalism, advertising, marketing, heritage management) and beyond such as education, business, banking and finance. There are also opportunities which have more of a focus on social responsibility, justice and sustainability such as international aid/ development, the environment/ renewables, politics, and the public sector. Indeed, some English students consider graduate schemes (such as The Local Government Graduate Development Programme, or the Civil Service Fast Stream) or undertaking a law conversion course.

If writing and creating is your passion many media organisations, publishing houses and tourism companies hire English graduates for their creative thinking, attention to detail and ability to communicate across numerous formats and platforms. If technology is one of your main drivers, it could mean a career within web content management or social media.  

English offers such a broad range of career choices that it can sometimes be overwhelming to choose where to go next. It's important however to remember that you are able to decide on your own direction, resulting in a career path which is more individual and driven by your personal interests, motivations, values and strengths. No matter the direction, studying English has given you the ability to communicate, create and appreciate the world around you, and this is extremely desirable to employers.

Researching your career options 

With such a wide range of careers open to you as an English graduate, it is important to make sure you explore and research your options thoroughly so that you can make informed decisions about your future.

Take a look at the Prospects, TargetJobs and the professional associations websites for inspiration:    

Where to look for work experience

Employment opportunities

Below is a snapshot of what some of University of Plymouth English graduates told us they were doing six months after graduation. For some graduates, these jobs serve as ‘stepping stones’ to professional posts by providing relevant workplace experience:

  • creative copywriter
  • senior creative designer
  • website content writer
  • communications and web marketing assistant
  • reporter
  • web support advisor
  • research analyst
  • recruitment consultant
  • web content executive
  • junior account executive
  • assistive software trainer
  • writer
  • website coordinator
  • english intervention support worker
  • SEO content writer
  • public relations account manager
  • english teacher
  • editorial assistant
  • graduate management trainee
  • research executive
  • pharmaceutical executive
  • account manager for a digital marketing agency
  • self-employed writer and editor
  • product information executive
  • graduate marketing trainee
  • corporate fundraising researcher
  • web developer.

Employers

Further study

Some of the careers chosen by English graduates will require or benefit from further study, so this should be considered carefully. The University of Plymouth offers the following postgraduate study options that could be of interest to English graduates:

You should consider the financial implications of further study as well as selecting a programme that suits your interests, learning style and future career direction. The following websites are a good starting point for exploring postgraduate options, but you may also benefit from talking to a Careers Consultant about your particular situation.

Some useful websites to help you find a suitable post-graduate programme:

Careers Service support

Accessing support from the Careers Service couldn’t be easier, come along to the Careers Service Helpdesk in the Student Hub or access our 24/7 online resources.

There is a wide range of support available from skills workshops to events, placements and internships advice, 1-2-1 appointments and help getting started with LinkedIn.

Our bite-sized Skills Workshops can give your career the boost it needs. Choose from a range of topics:

  • effective career planning
  • job hunting techniques
  • finding part-time work
  • CVs and interviews
  • mastering LinkedIn
  • and more.
Workshops are delivered by the Careers Service, however they are also an opportunity to learn from your peers, share experiences and ask questions. Visit myCareer to see the full range of activities and to book your place.

Connect with graduates

Build your network and job sector knowledge using LinkedIn’s alumni tool. This will allow you to see the career journeys of graduates from your programme, the qualifications they completed, the skills they developed and employers they worked for. You can then ‘connect’ with people of interest.

  • Search LinkedIn for ‘University of Plymouth’
  • click on ‘Alumni’
  • filter the results by subject, sector, company or location.

For more information about the alumni tool click on LinkedIn alumni tool guide. If you are looking for help to set up or learn how to make the most out of your LinkedIn profile, click on the LinkedIn guide for students or come to one of our workshops.

Other advice and guidance

Gain work experience

Undertaking work experience in your first and second years will help you stand out from the crowd when the time comes for you to complete applications for graduate employment and further study. Work experience develops valuable skills and qualities that employers are looking for and is essential for many roles. It can also help you to confirm or rule out particular career choices. Furthermore, experience in the workplace can bring you into contact with people who may be able to assist you at the beginning of your career.

You have plenty of options open to you. You could apply for a placement year, work part-time around your studies, undertake volunteering or approach organisations directly to negotiate short periods of work experience. Some organisations offer paid internships over the summer or of one year’s duration.

The University of Plymouth Students’ Union also offers a wide range of volunteering opportunities.

Clubs & societies   

Engaging in a sport or society shows employers you are engaged and seek out opportunities, it also helps you improve your teamwork, communication and negotiation skills. Committee members develop leadership, diplomacy and organisational skills and will gain experience of meetings, handling funds, and society promotion

You may choose to join a society that is specifically linked to English or take the opportunity to explore the huge range of clubs, societies and sports, all of which can help you to broaden your horizons and explore new interests.

Tutor and academic support

Your tutor and other academic staff are an excellent source of support for your career development. They will have experience and contacts across industry and academia, so do approach them for advice and insights into careers you are considering. Your tutor will ultimately be writing references for your employment or further study applications, therefore establishing a positive relationship with this person is invaluable.