English

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.
Relevant to

Key stats

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

  • 87% UK
  • 13% international
  • 81% full-time
  • 19% part-time

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.

English is a hugely diverse subject that varies from university to university, so it’s worth thinking carefully about what sort of topics you would like to study. Many universities offer a range of different modules, from renaissance poetry to post-colonial literature, so students are advised to look at the specific modules each course offers and decide what best suits their interests.

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. 


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. 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. 

Selection

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

Apprenticeships

From teaching assistants to journalists, and compliance officers to publishing assistants, there are apprenticeship routes available if you want a practical route to ‘earn while you learn.’ More and more businesses are making products and services available online, which means they need articulate staff with creative and imaginative writing skills to promote and attract business from a global marketplace.

There are intermediate, advanced and higher level apprenticeships available in related career areas and industries, including:

  • Creative and digital media – e.g. publishing assistant
  • Advertising and marketing communications – e.g. junior content producer
  • Teaching assistant/learning support assistant
  • Events management and creative arts – e.g. venue technician
  • Broadcast journalism and television – e.g. broadcast production assistant

Find out more about apprenticeships



Where can I find out more?

Visit these professional bodies’ websites: