What Can You Do With a PhD in English?

Sep 22, 2018

Obtaining a PhD in English gives prospective individuals a good understanding of the English language and allows them to easily change their writing style to suit an audience. This in turn helps them to secure jobs such as public relations and fundraising managers and editors.

Those who pursue a PhD in English will spend their time taking various courses on literature within a certain time period and area. They will also take classes related to linguistics and composition as well as sentence structure. Though their degree concentration may differ, each graduate will have taken core courses that prepare them for careers like those listed below.

PhD In English Careers/Salary

Individuals who obtain a PhD in English will take classes in creative expression in writing, reading and writing of poetry, linguistics, literature, English education, composition theory, rhetoric theory, and independent period literary research. In addition to these classes, prospective graduates will also have to become fluent in the language to which their major is focused. Extensive knowledge of literature and an understanding of writing styles and English language structure will open the door to a wide range of jobs. You will find some of these jobs listed below, along with job growth and median salary information.

Job Title Median Salary (2017)* Job Growth (2016-2026)*
Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts $40,910 -9%
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers $111,280 10%
Editors $58,770 -1%
Technical Writers $70,930 11%
Post-secondary English Language and Literature Teachers $64,910 10%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

PhD in English Jobs

Reporters, Correspondents, and Broadcast News Analysts

Reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts gather information related to stories that are assigned to them by a news director or editor. Additionally, they set up and conduct interviews with individuals who have information or expert knowledge on the subject that they are covering. Furthermore, they provide constant updates to their articles and make sure to review all facets of their articles to ensure accuracy.

Public Relations and Fundraising Managers

Public relations and fundraising managers collect data on individuals to determine the age and background of a client's audience. These same individuals also work directly with business executives to develop the company's corporate identity. Additionally, they spend their time writing press releases and providing information to the media. Individuals within this job will also educate their clients on how to communicate information in a clear and concise way to the public.


Editors review content and make changes to correct spelling, grammatical errors, and punctuation issues. They adjust the flow of writing to ensure that it is readable and that all facts that are presented within articles are vetted and accurate. Additionally, they work closely with writers to assist them in creating new content for publication.

Technical Writers

Technical writers work closely with product designers and developers to better understand their products and create clearer instructions for the end user. They determine what their clients need and use drawings, animations, charts, diagrams, and photographs, to help individuals better understand the material that is provided to them. Furthermore, they determine the best forms of media for delivering information to consumers in an effective manner.

Post-secondary English Language and Literature Teachers

Post-secondary English teachers spend their time preparing coursework and assignments for their students. They teach the ins and outs of writing and go through the various elements that make up specific types of writing styles. These same individuals also teach students how to think critically about the information they are presented with and help them to develop good verbal and written communication skills. Additionally, they will set up lesson plans that align with the curriculum requirements and work with students to ensure that they have a good grasp and understanding of course material.

While many who achieve a PhD in English tend to go into academics, there are many other options within the media and production fields for such individuals. They will have the knowledge and the know-how necessary to provide businesses and clients with clean and polished literary works that are easy to understand and to digest.

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