English Language and Literature Majors

A bachelor's degree program in English language and literature may offer specializations in American or British literature, comparative literature, literary criticism and more. Read on for more information about what you can learn in a degree program, courses you can take and practical experience opportunities. Information on graduate degree programs is also available. Schools offering English Language & Literature degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kinds of English and Literature Degrees are Available?

Most 4-year colleges and universities offer Bachelor of Arts programs in English, and many will allow you to choose a concentration in writing or literature. In select programs, you can further specialize in American, British or European literature. Additionally, some schools offer English degree programs with teaching concentrations that can prepare you to become licensed as a secondary school English teacher. Other concentrations for English majors might include language and rhetoric, Third World or minority literature, literary criticism or comparative literature.

Concentrations Minority literature, American literature, British literature, literary criticism, European literature
Common Courses Philosophy, history, mathematics, literature, creative writing
Learning Environment Traditional classroom and online degrees are available
Degree Levels Bachelor's and master's degrees are available
Possible Careers Editor, teacher, grant writer, research assistant, publicist

What Courses Will I Take?

Typically, your education will start with general education courses in topics such as history, philosophy, math and composition. From there, you'll likely take classes in literature, theory and writing, through which you might study classic writers like Shakespeare, learn to compare and analyze different types and styles of literature and study the mechanics and history of the English language. If you choose a teaching concentration, you'll also take courses in education and be required to student teach. Specific topics of study could include:

  • English literature
  • Film theory
  • Twentieth-century literature
  • Creative writing
  • Poetry
  • Linguistics
  • Literary theory
  • Literary criticism
  • Women's literature
  • Grammar

Many schools have student-run literary magazines that you could get involved with, and you may be expected to participate in workshops and seminars. If you choose a writing concentration, workshops probably will be an integral part of your program, and you and your classmates will critique each other's work.

What Are My Options for Online Study?

Online bachelor's programs in English are rare, but they can be found. As a distance education student, you'd likely take the same courses as your on-campus counterparts. Some programs might require you to complete your general education requirements at a local college campus.

What Can I Study on the Graduate Level?

Many schools offer Master of Arts or Master of Fine Arts programs in English. In these programs, you might have the option of concentrating in creative writing or literature, and you may be expected to produce a book-length work of literary criticism or fiction. These programs can be taken online or on campus. If you choose an online program, you'll likely be expected to spend a week or two on campus each semester for workshops and other events.

What Can I Do With My Degree?

With a bachelor's degree in English, you could have many job options available to you. Some popular careers include:

  • Teacher
  • Editor
  • Copywriter
  • Critic
  • Speech writer
  • Publicist
  • Research assistant
  • Book buyer
  • Literary agent
  • Grant writer

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Purdue University

    Purdue University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Purdue University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • American University

    American University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at American University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Johns Hopkins University

    Johns Hopkins University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Johns Hopkins University:

    • Master
    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint John's University

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    Popular programs at Saint John's University:

    • Doctoral

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  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Saint Joseph's University

    Saint Joseph's University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Saint Joseph's University:

    • Certificates

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  • Full Sail University

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  • Penn Foster Career School

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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Colorado State University Global

    Colorado State University Global responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Colorado State University Global:

    • Bachelor Degrees

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