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What Is the Difference Between an English and Journalism Degree?

While English and journalism degree programs both teach analytical and writing skills, they prepare you for different professions. Read on to learn more about the differences between these degree types and professional possibilities.

English Degree vs. Journalism Degree

Through an English degree program, you'll study literature and writing as well as develop effective communication and critical-thinking skills. A degree program in journalism may prepare you to write, report, analyze and comment on significant news events. Although both disciplines study the mechanics of the English language and have an emphasis on writing, English degree programs can be used in a variety of different professions, whereas journalism programs teach you to apply your writing skills specifically to careers with newspapers, online journals and other news reporting outlets.

Important Facts About English and Journalism Degrees

English Journalism
Common Courses Literary theory, American, British literature and world literature, literary genre studies, writing seminars etc. News writing, profile writing, reporting, print media, law, ethics, history of journalism, digital journalism etc.
Degree Levels Bachelor's, master's and doctoral Bachelor's, master's and doctoral
Concentrations Creative writing, literature, rhetoric, literary criticism, professional writing etc. Business journalism, sports journalism, Latino issues etc.
Possible Careers Teaching, marketing, business, writing, advertising, journalism etc. Journalism
Median Salary (2018) $62,170 (for all writers and authors) $43,490 (for reporters, correspondents, and broadcast news analysts)
Job Growth (2016-2026) 8% 9% decline

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

English

Degree programs in English explore works of literature and develop the language skills needed to execute effective writing, critical thinking, literary research and rhetorical analysis. Most universities and liberal arts colleges offer undergraduate majors and minors in English or related concentrations. While course content and credit requirements vary from program to program, the main academic focus is to develop a command of the English language.

Journalism

Through undergraduate and graduate journalism programs, you can concentrate on a particular aspect of journalism, such as photojournalism. Some writing courses may overlap with courses found in English programs; however, journalism programs also incorporate communication and media studies.

Career Possibilities and Advanced Degrees

The communication skills you develop in an English degree program can be used in a wide variety of professions. Master's degrees in English can also prepare you for doctoral study and careers in academia. Ph.D. programs in English are based on independent, in-depth research and can prepare you to teach at the collegiate level.

Master's degree programs in journalism can help you advance in a specific field of journalism, such as broadcast journalism. Ph.D. programs are research-intensive, and they can lead to advanced academic teaching, mass communication and journalism positions.