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A degree in English Studies will equip you for a wide variety of professions and employment, as well as for advanced postgraduate study of English and related disciplines.
93% of our 2019-20 leavers secured employment or went on to further study 15 months after graduating (source: HESA Graduate Outcomes). Many continue to study with us for a postgraduate qualification, taking advantage of our Durham alumni tuition fees discount.
English Literature equips students with many transferrable as well as subject-specific skills, so it's unsurprising that students advance into a wide variety of professions such as media, law, and publishing, but also translate their specialism into sectors like video games design, management consultancy, or arts organisations.
I am now an Account Manager at Greenhouse Communications – a PR and communications agency that supports businesses, organisations and activists to tackle the climate crisis and drive positive environmental change. Since I joined Greenhouse two years ago, I’ve helped to amplify campaigns for charities like ActionAid and Surfers Against Sewage, and even attended the annual climate conference COP27 in Egypt last year.
This infographic illustrates some of the graduate-level jobs into which our recent English students have progressed, according to alumni surveys.
I'm now working as a trainee sports reporter with MailOnline/the Daily Mail after completing my News Associates studies. My degree taught me to read carefully, think critically, and write precisely, all skills which are essential in journalism. Studying literature provides you with interesting frames for thinking about the world we live in; you might, for example, draw parallels between Shakespearean plays and the current political landscape, or between ancient tragedies and the emotional rollercoaster of sport. Being able to think creatively is always an advantage.
That English students can succeed in a varied range of professions today is not surprising - and importantly English is a future-proof skill as well.
In a world that is rapidly changing through technologies like AI, it's hard to predict what specialised skills will be needed in future.
In 2020 the World Economic Forum's Future of Jobs report tried to anticipate the skills that would be needed over the next few years. Here are their top 5 - and our thoughts on how English equips students with these.
I am a Graduate Trainee at Christie’s in London. English in particular is a very independent degree and managing my research, especially when writing my dissertation, taught me how to manage my time efficiently. Being able to digest large amounts of information and then translate them into my own research is an essential part of my role and the workload at Durham prepared me well.
Currently I am doing a law conversion master’s course in London on the journey to becoming a solicitor. My undergraduate degree has been extremely helpful in the skills I’ve developed – skills that have transferred comfortably into the work that I do now. My written communication is excellent, I am proficient in analysing texts for the benefit of convincing and logically based arguments, and generally a confidence in my work that I can take to any job or application that come my way.
I work in charity marketing and communications. My degree helped me by sharpening my critical thinking, research and writing skills. I also developed interpersonal and communication skills.