Careers and Employability Service

What can I do with my degree in English Literature?

English Literature careers

The jobs listed below are a selection of those which may interest English Literature students and graduates and offer the opportunity to use your degree directly.

Secondary school teacher

To teach in state schools (excluding academies and free schools) in England and Wales, you must complete a period of “initial teacher training”, such as a one-year Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) course or school-centred training, which leads to Qualified Teacher Status. History is a popular subject so it is important to build up teaching-related experience during your undergraduate degree and to apply each for teacher training.
Job profile of a secondary school teacher from the Prospects website
Job profile of a secondary school teacher from the TARGET Jobs website

I want to work in Teaching


This covers the production of books, magazines and online publishing, generalist or specialist (including academic publishers). Graduates may work in editorial roles or in business roles such as production and marketing. 

I want to work in Publishing


Journalists research, write and present stories, features and articles across a range of media platforms – newspapers, magazines, television, radio and internet. Experience gained in student journalism will be helpful in breaking into this area.

I want to work in Journalism

University lecturer

As well as teaching through lectures and seminars, academic staff in higher education also carry out research and a wide range of administrative and pastoral tasks. Although a teaching qualification is not required, you will need a higher degree, normally a PhD. Competition is strong for entry-level academic posts.
Job profile of a higher education lecturer from the Prospects website
Job profile of a higher education lecturer from the TARGET Jobs website

I want to work in A University

Teacher of English as a Foreign Language

This is a popular option and still relatively easy to get, although you would be wise to get the CELTA Certificate in TEFL as this will make the better jobs available - it can be done in one month. The JET scheme each year takes about 200 British graduates to Japan to teach English for one or more years and pays well - it is usually advertised in October each year with a closing date in November.

I want to work Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Please note that some of these careers may require further study.

You may be interested in graduate roles outside of English Literature. There are many employers who are looking for graduates with good degrees but that don’t have a preference for the subject studied. To explore different career options see:

People in some subject roles may be self-employed

Thank you to Prospects for the content on these pages.


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Last Updated: 19/08/2022