English Literature Degree

Study English Literature in the USA

Introduction to English Literature degrees

An English literature degree in the USA offers a comprehensive exploration of the world's literary heritage, encompassing everything from classic literature to contemporary literary trends. Students in this program analyze and interpret a wide range of literary texts, gaining a deep understanding of language, culture, and storytelling.

American universities provide access to extensive archives and rare manuscripts, allowing students to conduct in-depth research and study original texts. The multicultural nature of the USA also ensures exposure to a wide variety of literary traditions and perspectives.

Graduates of English literature programs in the USA find themselves well-prepared for many career paths, including writing, editing, teaching, publishing, and more, as they develop strong analytical, communication, and research skills through their studies.

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Types of English Literature Degrees

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English Literature:

A Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English Literature is a foundational undergraduate degree that offers a profound exploration of the written word. This program delves into the vast world of literature, covering various genres, authors, and historical periods. Students analyze and interpret literary works, honing critical thinking, writing, and communication skills. They engage with classic texts and contemporary voices, fostering a deep understanding of the human experience. A BA in English Literature opens doors to various career paths, from writing and publishing to education and beyond. It equips graduates with a rich cultural and intellectual foundation, making it an excellent choice for those passionate about the power of storytelling and language.

Master of Arts (MA) in English Literature:

A Master of Arts (MA) in English Literature is a postgraduate degree that delves deeply into literature. This program is designed for students who want to explore classic and contemporary literary works, develop advanced critical analysis skills, and engage in scholarly research. MA students often choose a specific focus, such as a particular period, literary movement, or author. They study diverse genres, from poetry and prose to drama, and gain a comprehensive understanding of literary theory and criticism.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in English Literature:

A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in English Literature is the pinnacle of academic achievement. This advanced program delves deep into literary analysis, research, and critical theory. Doctoral candidates undertake extensive scholarly research, often culminating in a dissertation contributing significantly to the field's knowledge. The PhD equips students with the skills to engage with literature critically, uncover new insights, and make substantial contributions to literary scholarship. Graduates often pursue academic careers as professors or researchers, but their critical thinking and analysis expertise is also highly valued in diverse fields, including publishing, journalism, and consulting.


Jobs and Careers

A degree in English literature opens doors to a diverse range of careers. Graduates often find employment in fields that value strong communication, critical thinking, and analytical skills. They can become editors, content writers, or copywriters in the publishing and media industry. Another option is teaching at various educational levels, including becoming a high school English teacher or pursuing higher education as a professor. Many English Literature graduates also excel in marketing, public relations, and communications roles. Additionally, some choose to enter the world of journalism, research or even venture into creative writing as authors or scriptwriters, making their mark in the literary and entertainment industries.


Entry-level positions, such as content writers, copy editors, or public relations specialists, often offer $35,000 to $50,000 annually. With experience and expertise, these figures can rise substantially. High school English teachers earn an average salary of around $60,000 to $70,000, while college professors may earn significantly more, with salaries ranging from $70,000 to over $100,000. Marketing, advertising, and management careers offer potential earnings exceeding $80,000 annually. Creative writers, authors, or journalists may start with modest incomes but can achieve higher pay through successful publications and projects.

Where can I study English Literature in the US?

To learn more about leading English literature degrees in the USA, find the top ranking English Literature universities in the QS World University Rankings 2023 below:

  1. Harvard University
  2. University of California, Berkeley
  3. Yale University
  4. Columbia University
  5. Stanford University
  6. University of California, Los Angeles
  7. Princeton University
  8. University of Chicago
  9. New York University (NYU)
  10. University of Pennsylvania
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English Literature FAQ

What are the entry requirements for an English Literature program in the USA?

To pursue an English literature program in the USA, international students typically need a high school diploma or equivalent, English language proficiency (e.g., TOEFL or IELTS scores), and a completed application, including transcripts and letters of recommendation.

What are some top universities in the USA known for English literature programs?

Some renowned universities for English Literature programs in the USA include Harvard University, Stanford University, and the University of California, Berkeley. These institutions offer world-class faculty and extensive resources for literature studies.

Do English literature programs include creative writing courses?

Many English literature programs in the USA include creative writing courses. These courses allow students to explore their creative talents, enhancing their writing skills while studying classic and contemporary literature.

What is the job outlook for English literature graduates in the USA?

English literature graduates in the USA can pursue careers in education, publishing, journalism, marketing, and more. The job outlook varies, but strong communication and critical thinking skills make graduates adaptable and valuable in various industries.

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