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English Vs. Journalism Degrees: What's the Difference

English and journalism degrees are both available at the undergraduate and graduate levels as bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. Degree programs in either English or journalism can prepare students for careers in journalism and writing; however, what students study in these degree programs can vary.

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Overview of English Degree Programs

English students primarily study novels, plays, poems and short stories written by English-speaking writers. Individuals also study the history and use of the English language. Students can streamline their degree to focus on areas that interest them, such as a particular author or literary period. In addition to studying literature, students also explore film, television and journalism.

Career Options

The types of careers available to graduates depends on the degree they earn. For example, a bachelor's degree in English can prepare students for careers as technical writers or copy editors. Other possible jobs include work in marketing, administration and elementary or high school teaching.

Popular job titles for graduates with a master's degree include postsecondary teacher, technical writer and high school teacher. Possible job titles for graduates with a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in English include associate, assistant and full professor.

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Overview of Journalism Degree Programs

Journalism students learn to write, edit and report news articles for broadcast and publication. Journalism students also explore legal issues such as libel. Typical course topics include copyediting, mass communication, reporting, media law and magazine writing. Students can pursue concentrations that interest them, such as photojournalism, which teaches students how to take photos and edit them for newspapers, magazines and websites.

Career Options

Obtaining a bachelor's degree in journalism is the starting point for this field. A degree in communications or another relevant area of study is also acceptable. Many employers find job leads from journalism professors at colleges and universities. They may also get leads from newspaper editors where students have worked or interned.

Career options for journalism students can include traditional jobs as newspaper reporters, journalists, broadcasters and print editors, as well as employment in marketing and communications. Individuals may work as managers, specialists, coordinators or directors in these fields, including professional blogging and advertising.

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