Getting an English studies degree

In the academic life of every student comes a point when he or she must decide what path to follow and what to do for the rest of his or her life. Some people know this from very early ages and all of their schooling is focused on that direction, while others leave this decision for later times, when they have gotten an idea about what different disciplines and areas entail. An English studies degree is one of the majors widely pursued by students from each of the above mentioned categories. Scholars who dreamed all their life to become teachers and share their knowledge and wisdom with others are choosing the undergraduate and then university programs in English studies, while students who discover the great variety and beauty of the English language in high school or college go down the same road. Getting an English studies degree is not all that difficult, but it requires some kind of passion for literature and for the English language in general. There are many areas covered by an English studies degree, such as literary theory and criticism, linguistics or discourse analysis or the history of the English language.


If you want to pursue an English studies degree in literature for example, you will encounter a great variety in courses and topics covered, as this area of study is not limited to British or American literature, but encompasses all written or spoke texts in English, which can have their source in several cultures, such as Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa or India. The courses you will be required to take in order to get your English studies degree will include writing and composition, which will help you develop skills in professional or academic writing, as you will need to produce clear texts, persuasive and cohesive. Other courses that are part of an English studies degree in literature are of course the study of literary masterpieces and established writers, such as Hemingway or Hawthorne from American literature or Shakespeare and Dickens in the British literature. History and theory are also focused on, as well as multicultural literature, such as studies in Jewish literature. Students pursuing an English studies degree will also take rhetorical courses, aiming at developing skills in writing persuasive arguments.

Completing your education and getting an English studies degree can take from as little as one year to four or five, depending on the particular area you want to specialize in and the university program of your choice. If you already have an undergraduate major in English, you may only require two semesters of full time coursework or, if you want to pursue a career in education, it may take you up to five years to complete your degree, including the final exams and thesis. But the rewards are worth it, as an English studies degree can help you build a strong career not only in education, but also in a wide range of other fields, such as law, market research, advertising, public relations and obviously, writing or publishing.