General English Literature
Get Your Degree!
Request More Info >

General English Literature Overview

Do you love to lose yourself in a good book? If so, then English Language Literature may be the right major for you. Students study different types of literature from around the world. You will read a lot of different genres and authors. After exposing yourself to many different books, stories, poems, plays, and excerpts, you will develop skills to analyze them and research to support your opinions. You will think critically as you read and write when you examine the author, culture, time period, and genre of these incredible literary works.

Classes will vary depending on the university in which you attend. Typical English language literature will include both British and American literature, the history of the English language, children's literature, Shakespeare, literary criticism, time period literature, environmental literature, literature by ethnic minorities, literature by women, and poetry.

Required Skills

A passion for literature is crucial for success. You should love finding the deeper meaning in books, stories, plays, and poems. You will read, discuss, and write about various forms of literature in your classes. Be open to subjects that you do not necessarily excel in, one example is poetry. Your professors will help you learn how to analyze and understand new genres. Studying literature will open your mind to new perspectives and points of view. Classes will include discussion of literary works using examples from the text to back up your conclusions.

English majors spend the majority of their time reading, researching, writing, rewriting, and editing. Creativity and writing skills will help you finish your writing assignments, while time management skills will help you stay on top of your reading. Most assignments will be worked on individually with the occasional group project. Don't hesitate to start a study group with classmates to better understand difficult literature.

Any sort of experience writing and researching will help you in your classes and future career. Get involved in your school newspaper or yearbook, or volunteer as a peer tutor.


There are many career opportunities for someone with an English Language Literature degree. You can go into almost any graduate program with a background in English because of your strong reading, writing, and thinking skills. If you love to write you could become a book author, write scripts for plays or television shows, poetry, magazines, or newspapers, find a job doing technical writing or even public relations. You would also be well-prepared to teach English at the middle and high school level or continue your education to become a university professor.

Employers tend to like English majors due to their superior critical thinking skills. Graduates have successfully found work in untraditional fields such as business, sales, entrepreneurship, marketing, social work or personal services.

Your salary can vary greatly depending on your career choice. However, the average reported starting salary for graduates with a degree in English Language Literature is $36,162 with a mid-career salary of $63,510.

Add to Notebook

Search Colleges

Find your best fit major

Major at a Glance

Top statistics for this major

College Ranking by Major

Click rankings below to view the top colleges in this Major
Yearly Graduations
Average Starting Salary
Average Mid-Career Salary

Related Majors

Explore all the majors withing the field of English Language & Literature

Example Careers

Here is a small sample of the careers that a degree in General English Literature might open up.

English Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education
Salary data is estimated by College Factual using 2013 data provided by PayScale.
We can help you make the best choice of a college major
Apply for Scholarships