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Last Updated: May 05, 2021

Studying English Language and Literature in US

In the US, English Language and Literature degree programs can be pursued at different levels namely at undergraduate, Master's, and doctoral levels. This program is among the most sort-after fields of study in the humanities stream. Most of the careers in this field are very competitive and with the transformation of the economy, new professions are being pursued, allowing students to make most of their background in the English Language and Literature.

The importance of learning language and literature often lies in the speaking and writing skills that students acquire by attending these courses and since these skills are required despite the kind of major students take, students often try to opt for the subject at least as a minor. As for students who want to major in the course, they require decent reading and writing skills along with an idea of what they will encounter when they move ahead with these courses.

This course deals with the History of English Language and the History of English Literature along with subjects like British Literature, American Colonial Literature, Literary Criticism, Literary Theory, African-American Literature, etc. among other subjects.

Benefits of Studying English Language and Literature

Pursuing a course in English Language and Literature is beneficial for students in the manner that it inculcates a love for reading both fiction and non-fiction from different parts of the world. Learning the language phonetically and phonemically enhances their grasp on the language making them good at rhetoric, writing, and even in developing new content from scratch based on their foundation in extensive reading. The course may seem dry to people outside the field but once a student gets introduced into the field, it will be evident that even the independent works assigned to them requires a lot of effort.

The course is for those students who love to work by themselves and learn more from books than classroom teaching since the classroom here is a tool for providing materials and for shaping up ideas from texts that have already been read and understood by the student. The lively discussions conducted in class along with the innovative assignments provided to students ensure that the student learns to think outside the book and to incorporate various ideas they have gathered over the years all the while assimilating it into their work.

Students will learn the art of self-expression, persuasion, interpretation, etc. from the canonical authors and this knowledge will help them work in all fields of work since every field requires some form of writing skill that cannot be avoided. They will be able to use these skills in the fields of journalism, mass media, website development, publishing, editing, copywriting, proofreading, content writing, etc., and keep on polishing their style according to the changing times.

Enrolling for a Degree in English Language and Literature

Students often choose to study English Language and Literature as their degree due to the general assumption that the course is all about reading fiction and non-fiction. While these works are included in the course, it is not even one-tenth of what the course actually entails. Choosing to learn the course must then be a well-calculated choice since the course can take around 3 to 5 years in all and the student would still be learning the basics.

The cost of studying English Language and Literature is anywhere between $17,800 to $46,000 depending upon the university the student is chosen in. At the same time, Ivy League colleges can have a fee structure that borders above $50,000. The cost of tuition is then dependent on the place the student is studying in, the college they are admitted in, and various other factors which keep changing from year to year.

Bachelor’s Degree in English Language and Literature

Also known as English degree programs, Bachelor's in English language and literature covers different aspects such as creative writing, literature, linguistics, and teaching. During the 4-year course, students learn the skill to interpret rhetorical theory, composition, and literature with the help of historical and social contexts.

The course aims at developing critical thinking and analyzing skills in students through extensive reading and writing activities. Students will have to critique prose and poetry by placing theory alongside them and find creative ways of looking at texts rather than reading just for pleasure. They will also have to traverse through literary criticism from Aristotle to the age of theory.

Studying for the course will mostly contain no group activities as students will have to spend more time reading in libraries than in class. They will have to focus on the materials provided and use the class as a supplement to the materials provided. Researching and independent study often develop the student’s abilities as they find their way through classical literature into modern fiction.

Course Requirements for B.A.

The core courses vary from university to university when it comes to B.A in English Language and Literature. But the courses that often overlap in most universities of merit are as follows-

Career Opportunities after B.A.

Owing to the critical thinking and analysis skills that students gain from bachelor's degree programs in English language and literature they get employment in various fields like-

Master’s Degree in English Language and Literature

By completing a Master's degree, the career options increase manifold for students. To complete the Master's degree programs in English literature will take a full-time study of two semesters for most students. For most colleges, the M.A. degree is available for students after they have completed 2 years of their Ph.D. program. Some other colleges like the Stanford University offer a Coterminal M.A program for students who excel in their undergraduate program and want to continue their education into their Master’s. Such students are expected to take 2 courses each from literature before and after 1800.

The other M.A programs often include a subtopic to the program like Creative Writing so as to develop the content and shape Language and Literature into the art of creative writing. The difference between a Master’s degree from Bachelor’s is that here students will have to write more assignments that are content and theory specific even though the theoretical framework for the same might overlap from the undergraduate course.

The critical thinking and analyzing abilities developed through extensive reading and research aids the student in approaching a Ph.D. with more confidence and knowledge than other students in general.

Course Requirements for M.A.

The course requirements for different universities change according to the preferences and specializations of faculties. The generic content frame from which the texts are chosen for study are-

Career Opportunities after M.A.

Some of the most popular careers on completing the masters along with the average annual salary are given below:

Ph.D. in English Language and Literature

A Ph.D. degree in English language and literature will usually take 5-6 years to complete. Admission to such a program mainly depends on the student's GRE scores, previous academic performance, recommendations of former instructors along with writing ability.

Enrolling in the degree will require the scholar to complete their coursework which includes 14 courses or 135-140 units according to the university they apply in along with qualifying examinations and dissertation requirements. They will have to submit a proposal for the dissertation after their course work has been completed after which they will have to present it in an oral examination and defend the dissertation from a chair in order to attain their Ph.D. Some universities offer students the opportunity of obtaining an M.A. degree if they have completed the first two years of their Ph.D. degree.

Career Opportunities after Ph.D.

Traditionally, an individual with a Ph.D. in this field took a job as a professor, earning a median salary of $61,000. The Modern Language Association has found that most the pupils with English literature Ph.D. are opting for jobs outside academia, which includes jobs like

Top Universities for English Language and Literature

Some of the top universities for pursing English language and literature in the Us according to the Us news are -