English involves reading, thinking, and writing critically and creatively. It is diverse and can lead to a wide range of careers in various sectors and industries.

Graduate destinations

52,540 students were studying this subject in 2014/15.

Top five graduate destinations:

  1. Education
  2. Wholesale and retail
  3. Information and communication
  4. Professional and scientific
  5. Accommodation and food services

What courses are available?

Universities and colleges in the UK are offering courses in the following subject areas:

English can be combined with a wide range of subjects, including history, biology and psychology.

Subjects combinations and available course options include:

  • single, joint, and multiple subject combinations
  • full-time, part-time, and distance learning, as well as source courses with a placement (sandwich courses)
  • qualifications ranging from BA (hons) degree through to master’s, including a small number of HNCs and HNDs in relevant sectors

A number of universities offer four-year undergraduate courses, and may offer the opportunity to study or work abroad as part of the degree. 

Are you considering an accelerated degree? Click here to read more about the possibility of completing your undergraduate course in two years rather than three. 


Entry requirements

A levels – to get onto a degree in this subject area you will usually need a minimum of two A levels, with three A levels, and A – B grades required for the most popular courses. Entry requirements range from CCC to AAB, with the universities and colleges most commonly asking for ABB. English A level is usually required. Other useful subjects to hold for English degrees include any humanities subject – such as history, geography, or drama.

In addition to A levels or equivalent, you will also need five GCSEs (A – C) including science, English, and maths. 

Scottish Highers – Entry requirements for Highers (the most common qualification) range from BBBB to AABBB, with universities or colleges most frequently requiring AABBB. Occasionally, universities ask for Advanced Highers to supplement Highers. If Advanced Highers are requested, universities or colleges typically ask for ABB.



Some courses may require you to attend a formal interview or a sample seminar to demonstrate your skills and interests. This may involve a small reading task, where you will discuss your ideas about a piece of writing with a course tutor. 

Personal statement

English courses are hugely popular, so universities are looking for:

  • evidence that you are well informed and passionate about the subject – for example, if you are applying to a literature course you could discuss your favourite writer or genre, or your favourite novel and why you like it
  • a proven enthusiasm for the subject, which could be demonstrated by:
    • relevant work experience/shadowing
    • your own blog
    • a discussion of an essay or project you enjoyed writing
  • an ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing
  • the capacity to think critically and creatively

How to write your personal statement


If you want to combine work and study while earning a salary, you could consider an apprenticeship. Which apprenticeships are available, and how you apply, depends on where you live.

Find out more about apprenticeships across the UK.

Each apprenticeship sets out occupational standards for specific job roles, designed by employers. The standards outline the skills, knowledge, and behaviours required to demonstrate that an apprentice is fully competent in the job role.

Higher apprenticeships (Level 4)

Degree apprenticeships (Levels 5 – 7)

Key areas of employment

English graduates are employed in a wide range of sectors, and are well placed to gain highly sought after jobs requiring excellent communication skills, writing, or undertaking research. Key areas of employment include:

  • teaching
  • journalism and publishing
  • marketing communications
  • public relations
  • advertising
  • digital media
  • arts administration
  • business management
  • film and television​

Related careers

Examples of related careers include the following jobs :

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