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. View article »

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Video Transcript

English vs. Journalism 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 sometimes also explore film, television, and journalism.

Journalism students learn to write, edit, and report news articles for broadcast and publication. They 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.

Careers for English Program Grads

Possible careers for graduates of an English program depend greatly on the kind of degree they earn and their area of specialization. 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.

Careers for Journalism Grads

Many graduates of journalism programs work different jobs in the fields of media, communications, and production. Obtaining a bachelor's degree is the starting point for this field, not only because students learn the required journalistic skills, but also because employers may find job leads from journalism professors or editors of newspapers where students have interned or worked.

Career options for those who hold a bachelor's degree in journalism 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, coordinators, or directors in these fields, including professional blogging and advertising.

Those who are interested in work as specialists within the field, such as investigative reporters and science journalists, sometimes choose to earn a graduate degree, as graduate journalism programs typically offer areas of concentration in topics such as investigative reporting, the arts, politics, science, and business. While an advanced degree is not required to specialize in a particular area of journalism, it can give a competitive edge.

English degree programs study the English language and various writers, while journalism students study writing and reporting for different news media. Graduates with an English degree can pursue various jobs based on the level of their education, including technical writer and teacher, and graduates of journalism can pursue jobs as reports, editors, and directors, among others.

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