Arts & humanities

Top universities where you can study languages, literature & linguistics

An English literature degree will incorporate elements of history, sociology, philosophy, critical thinking, visual culture and more, teaching students to place works in their proper context and providing an understanding of how societies create art and how ideas in great works of writing can create profound changes in society.

Most degrees also include an element of critical analysis which is invaluable; students take ideas from philosophers and critics and learn how to apply them not only to texts but to the societies which created them, including their own. By the end of the degree you should be able to deconstruct ideas and see how and why they work. You will also have vastly improved your written and spoken communications skills, learned how to put together or take apart a convincing argument and have developed the ability to absorb new and complex ideas quickly and effectively.

Unlike degrees in say, accountancy, engineering or computer science, the study of literature does not lead to a set and profitable graduate job. The path of the English scholar is somewhat more oblique, but all the more rewarding for it. People generally study English literature for their love of the subject rather than to pursue a lucrative career.

It does provide transferable skills and Literature graduates go on to a wide range of careers. Many become writers, copywriters, newspaper or magazine journalists, some even make it as script writers or novelists. Others find work as teachers, editorial assistants or work in the arts, marketing or PR. 

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