Ask an Expert GRADUATES / JAN. 27, 2017
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What can I do with a degree in English Literature?

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Dilemma:

I am in final year of studies and although there are still a few months left until graduation I can’t help but stress about what to do next. Most of my friends are applying for graduate schemes, but with a degree in English Literature, there aren’t that many graduate jobs out there for me.

My professors tell me I should consider getting a postgraduate degree that will make me eligible for an academic career, but I’m not sure that I am interested in teaching. I’d much rather pursue a career in something else. Maybe something like marketing or business. What should I do to increase my earning potential in the long run?

Kyriaki says:

You may be surprised to learn that many people often find themselves in the same situation as you and as such, they don’t really know what to do with an English Literature degree. However, there are many options to choose from apart from the most obvious one, which is teaching. But, if you don’t want to become an English teacher or lecturer, perhaps you would prefer a position in one of these sectors: administration, finance, research, general management, marketing or advertising.

Getting a postgraduate qualification degree in marketing or business is a really good addition to an English Literature degree. It can introduce you to the world of advertising, marketing, public relations, media and publishing. If this is something you think you can see yourself doing, you need to start looking into it today. There are lots of universities that offer this option and you won’t struggle to find a course that meets your needs in terms of the modules and lessons being taught. If you are interested in the UK, sites like Prospects, FindAMasters, and UCAS can help you find a postgraduate course in no time.

At this point, I would say that a postgraduate degree in any subject other than teaching can open up many career options with very fantastic salaries. Generally, Master’s and PhD holders usually earn much more money than bachelor degree holders. The choice of subject will pretty much depend on what sector you want to go into and what you want to get out of your career.

Then again if you want to start work immediately after university, applying for graduate schemes isn't such a bad idea. Just because you didn’t study computer science doesn’t mean you can’t enter a graduate scheme. In fact, there are many employers who offer graduate placements and internships which can give you the perfect conditions to start from after university.

If you need some help to decide what to do next, you can take a look at the following resources:

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