English Literature is a time-honoured and highly respected choice of degree, having been studied since the 19th century at some of the world’s oldest and most prestigious universities. A long list of famous names – from world-renowned authors and poets to actors, journalists and television personalities – have studied English Literature at university. Find out why it’s such a great degree course and why it could be the right choice for you.
You love reading
Unlike other degree courses, English Literature is all about the study of novels, poems, short stories and plays, which means you get to spend your time reading creative works rather than textbooks. If you’re someone who is always reading and love to lose yourself in a book, English is something you’d likely enjoy studying. That’s not to say that an English Literature degree isn’t demanding, as you’ll have to analyse a wealth of challenging material and will also have to do research using essays and theoretical works, but it can be a very rewarding and enjoyable subject of study for the right type of person.
You prefer independent study
Studying for an English Literature degree typically means you won’t have a great deal of timetabled contact hours, with the amount of time spent in lectures and seminars being as little as 4-8 hours per week. This is because the degree course asks students to undergo extensive independent study, with a great deal of reading, writing and research to be done in your own time. If you enjoy working independently and thrive in this type of learning environment, English Literature could be the perfect course for you.
We’ve all heard the old wives’ tale that English Literature will lead only to a career in teaching, and although there’s nothing wrong with that, this is a huge misconception. A degree in English Literature is in fact highly respected amongst employers, appealing to them because of the many transferable skills students acquire during their studies. Many English Literature graduates enjoy successful careers in media, journalism, publishing, PR, marketing, advertising or even Law.
English Literature students are typically able to express themselves clearly and fluently both orally and in writing, which is an invaluable skill in the workplace, but they will also develop skills in communication, problem solving, analysis, time management, team-working and presenting. These transferable skills are in high demand across a variety of fields, giving English graduates a wide variety of career choices.
It is often said that good readers make good writers, which is why many people who choose to study English Literature are keen writers themselves. The close analysis of a range of literature will influence your own works and help you develop your voice as a writer, so if you have dreams of being a published author, this is the degree that will help you get there. Most English Literature degrees also offer students the chance to take creative writing modules, allowing you to share your work with other writers and earn credits doing what you love.
If you are interested in studying English Literature at university, attending summer school is a great way to get a feel for the subject and get a head start on your peers. Immerse Education’s Summer school in Cambridge UK offers a fantastic English Literature programme led by expert tutors, in which participants learn how texts are analysed at university level and beyond. This two-week course at the Cambridge summer school is an inspiring opportunity for avid readers and writers as they learn how to closely read, interpret and analyse literature at an advanced level.