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English Language and Literature Major: Information and Requirements

Bachelor's degree programs in English language and literature promote skills in literature interpretation, writing and critical thinking. Find out what students can expect while enrolled and learn about popular career choices for graduates.

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Essential Information

Bachelor's degree programs in English language and literature are also widely known as English degree programs. These 4-year programs typically offer concentrations within the degree, such as creative writing, linguistics, literature and teaching.

English majors develop skills in interpreting literature through social and historical contexts. Students with a creative writing concentration often have specialized workshops, where they refine their creative writing skills. Students may study British, American and global literature from its beginnings to modern authors.


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  • American Literature
  • British Literature

Bachelor's Degree in English

In addition to general education courses, English majors study a wide variety of authors and genres. Along the way they learn about criticism and theory, rhetoric, composition and linguistics. Mastering these subject areas will help students acquire a deep understanding of history and literature, while developing their ability as a writer. Common course topics may include:

  • Grammar
  • Creative writing
  • Poetry
  • British literature
  • American literature
  • Modern literature

Popular Career Options

Graduates of bachelor's degree programs in English language and literature have strong writing, communication and critical thinking skills that are attractive to employers in a wide variety of fields. The most common professions for graduates are in publishing, journalism, public relations, web content development, and teaching.

Continuing Education Information

Additional English education opportunities are available in master's and Ph.D. programs. Master's degree programs in English offer students advanced skills in oral presentation, writing and critical thinking. A master's degree program also prepares the student to teach literature and writing at the college level. An English Ph.D. program may offer opportunities to emphasize in a particular area of study, such as women's studies, medieval studies or global studies. Ph.D. degrees prepare the student for a research career.

Bachelor's degree programs in English language and literature offer courses that help students develop aptitudes in literary theory, critical thinking and writing. Graduates often seek employment in areas such as education, journalism, and publishing.

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