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5 Things You Can Do with a BA in English

Updated on September 11, 2010

The hit musical Avenue Q features a song titled ‘What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?’ The conclusion it seems to draw is ‘not a lot’. English Literature degrees are often derided as offering little in the way of career opportunities for graduates. While it’s true that English Literature isn’t the most career-focused of degrees, there are still plenty of options available to graduates.

Those capable of financially supporting themselves may well find internships are a great way to bolster their resumes and lay the foundations of a successful career. There’s also a wide range of post-graduate courses that eagerly accept talented English graduates. These include subjects such as Law, Journalism, Psychology, Teacher Training and an almost infinite multitude of others.

Not everyone is capable of taking on non-paying internships or incurring further student debt. Whilst an English degree may not allow graduates to instantly enter high paying or highly rewarding employment, it still opens the door to plenty of new opportunities. These are five that any English graduate should consider.


While many sales roles require no higher education, English graduates are well-positioned to walk into more competitive sales roles than those without a degree. Some sales roles offer uncapped commission, making them a great short-term stop-gap for graduates looking to save some money. Employers know that successfully completing an English literature degrees requires excellent communication skills, which is a vital attribute for any salesperson.


How many websites are there on the internet? Millions? Billions? More? Whatever the actual figure, a staggering amount of websites exist and they all require contributions from talented writers. English graduates that have spent years honing their writing skills are in a perfect position to take advantage of this. A short time spent searching the internet will turn up plenty of guides and articles on how to make money writing content online. One major benefit of this is that you can set your own hours, prolonging the period during which you can stick to the alternative time scheme of a university student and avoid an adjustment of the nine-to-five.


English is the world’s second language. Who better to teach it than someone who’s spent several years studying it? While much of Europe will require you to complete some form of teacher training course before letting you loose in the classroom, many places are desperate for native English speakers. The Far East offers perhaps the biggest market for those interested in earning some money and experiencing different cultures. Countries like China, South Korea and Japan normally require no more than a degree in any discipline before you can become a TEFL teacher. The best part is that these countries will typically pay an English Literature graduate a higher salary than a graduate in any other subject!


Even during a recession, with competition for jobs at its fiercest, most major companies are still looking to take talented graduates on board. Many career websites offer a breakdown of available graduate schemes. These companies regard English graduates as intelligent individuals capable of working alone and meeting deadlines. Graduate training schemes are an excellent way to begin a career in an array of different areas. From government departments to international corporations, every major organization requires a steady influx of talented graduates.


Copy writing is another really direct way of drawing on skills perfected during a degree course in English. Whether producing advertising copy for products or distributing information for politicians, councils or government departments, there are many opportunities available. The field is highly competitive and positions are rarely advertised, but a well-worded speculative approach to prospective employers should be well within the capabilities of any English graduate. Perseverance is the key in securing one of these positions.

Are you glad you graduated with an English Literature degree?

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These are just five ideas for earning money immediately after graduation. The hours an English graduate will have spent doing research for essays will have given them most of the tools that they need to discover money-making opportunities and chances for career progression. While they may not walk into a job analyzing Shakespeare or Chaucer, there are plenty of ways in which English graduates can draw upon what they’ve learnt to get ahead in the working world.


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      Mano Ranjani.G.M 3 years ago

      B.a english is best course and i enjoyed my ug course with interesting subjects....

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      indu 4 years ago

      iam happy by doing b.a in english