What are the Different Types of English Degrees?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2019
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Different schools will offer different English degrees, both in content and in level. One may work toward a bachelor's degree in English, for example, and then move onto a master's degree or even a PhD. Within the broader subject of English, specific English degrees can be obtained as well: writing degrees focus on different types of writing, such as creative writing or technical writing; literature degrees allow a student to study a specific genre or time period of literature; and English degrees that focus on education prepare a student to teach English in primary or secondary schools.

A student who attends a college or university can focus on specific English degrees or simply a broader degree program that touches on all aspects of the English language. An English major will study both literature and writing, and while studying in the broader degree program, an English major may choose to declare a concentration, or specific area of focus in which to become an expert. An English major may therefore obtain an English degree with a concentration in creative writing, technical writing, British literature, post-modern American literature, and so on. This allows the student to gain a general knowledge of the English language while still focusing in on a specific area.


Writing degrees are types of English degrees that focus exclusively on the form, function, and analysis of the writing process. Students who obtain such a degree may be preparing for a career as a technical writer, a creative writer, a marketer, and a variety of other jobs that require extensive and in-depth knowledge of the English language. Students who focus on writing can also become writing teachers, or writing program instructors at schools and other educational institutions.

English degrees that focus on literature may lead the student down a general literature path or a more specific course of study on a particular genre of literature. The options here are quite broad, and a student may choose to become an expert on one author or literary movement as well. Some students choose to focus on literary translations, especially if that student can speak, read, and write in more than one language. This can prepare the student for a career as a translator, a professor or teacher, a literary critic, an editor, or even a writer. Students who want to teach English at the college or university level very often must obtain a postgraduate degree; master's degrees will allow the student to teach at the college level in some cases, but to become a professor, one will need to obtain a PhD.


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Post 3

@Clippers - Great question. I think you should look outside of the field of English. As long as you are reading a lot of novels you will get all the training you need in vocabulary, grammar, form and all the other tools you need to write.

What is harder to find is imagination and experience. Learn as much as you can about the world and then you will begin to see stories everywhere.

Post 2

One day I want to write novels. I have never really known what course to take when I get to college.

Is it best to focus on English or should I try to get experience in another discipline like history or sociology or even science that might inform my writing later?

Post 1

I went to a small liberal arts college in the Midwest and they had three different English degrees that they offered.

There was Literary Studies, Creative Writing and Rhetoric and Discourse. many of them had overlapping classes and it was pretty easy to double or even triple major.

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