Published: 17 May 2017

What can you do with a degree in English?

Graduates of English literature and creative writing are provided with the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue a wide range of exciting and stimulating careers. Read on to discover which jobs English graduates are best-suited to; from the obvious to the potentially unexpected.

Are you passionate about the written word, but not sure how a degree in English literature and creative writing will help you write your future?

One of the best things about a degree in English literature and creative writing is its flexibility in the job market. A degree in this challenging, creative and stimulating field of study will provide you with a range of valuable transferable skills and can open the door to a variety of careers. 

What skills will an English degree teach me?

As a student studying for an English literature and creative writing degree you will develop strong communication and written English skills, as well as research and critical analysis skills.

Alongside these degree-specific skills, you will also gain a range of key transferable skills. These include employability skills such as attention to detail, time-management, organisation and self-management, all of which are highly valued by employers and can open the door to a world of employment opportunities.

What job can I get with a degree in English?

English graduates are perhaps most obviously qualified for professions such as:

  • Journalism
  • Management
  • Communications
  • Publishing
  • Media industries
  • Teaching
  • Writing
  • Arts administration

However, as a graduate of an English literature and creative writing degree you may find that the skills and knowledge you acquire will prepare you for a successful career in other, perhaps unexpected, areas of work.

“I like how there are many job opportunities which can come from having an English Literature degree, as many transferrable skills are learned and developed throughout the degree.”
Rosie Sparrow, BA English Literature

Unexpected career paths for English graduates

Marketing and PR

Marketing is all about how words and images can influence people, and English literature graduates’ remarkable communication skills make them strong candidates for roles in this exciting area. Today every company needs a marketing presence, so jobs are available in most sectors, from retail and manufacturing, through to Higher Education and charitable.


Strong attention to detail, research and analysis skills, and the ability to make sense of complex written materials give English literature graduates an edge in the world of Law. It may come as a surprise to many that you don’t need a degree in Law to pursue a career as a paralegal, legal secretary, law reporter, and more.

Public sector

Good communication skills, and the ability to understand and address opposing viewpoints, make English literature graduates well-suited for work in the public sector. There are a wealth of roles on offer, from politics and public relations, through to project planning and administration. One of the best things about working in the public sector is the opportunity to positively impact the country you live in.

Business and finance

English graduates with their substantial reading lists are adept at dealing with large volumes of information. Pair that with strong attention to detail (and a solid Maths GCSE) and English graduates could find themselves well-prepared for a successful career in business and finance.

Social media

In recent years, the internet has transformed the world we live in. Social Media is now more important than ever, as more and more companies turn their attention to enhancing their internet presence. With roles in marketing and customer relations up for grabs, English literature graduates’ strong communication and writing skills make them the perfect candidates for careers in this up-and-coming area.


Here at Surrey, our English literature and creative writing degrees ranked number one for student satisfaction in the 2016 National Student Survey and top ten by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017.

Discover more about where a degree in English literature and creative writing from the University of Surrey could take you. Explore some of the top jobs our English alumni have secured since graduating and learn more about careers and employability at Surrey, including our world-renowned Professional Training placement programme.

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