English Literature Courses

By Jessica Hetley - Last update

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To take an English course or not to take an English course, that is the question!

Whether tis nobler in the mind to learn about the great works of some of the greatest writers of all time or suffer in a sea of ignorance. Or something like that. A course in English literature is an absolutely fascinating study in some of the greatest literary works of all time.

Whether you are fan of James Joyce, Shakespeare, Dicken, Bronte or Bukowski, there is always something to learn from a book. Taking the time to dedicate yourself to the study of books and words can be an amazingly rewarding experience.

What can I learn from an English Literature course? I did all the important ones at school.

Perhaps. But if you truly love the English language, and the incredible tales that it has been used to tell them, there will be something for you on an English literature course. There are also a great many different levels for you to study at, meaning no matter how much you have learned so far, there will be amazing new aspects to consider on every single course.

The subject of each course differs as well – some courses will focus on Irish literature, while others may take a more global view. Make sure you have read all the information about each course, and level at which you will graduate before making your application.


A diploma qualification is the lowest of all the qualifications on offer, but that does not mean that it is not deeply enjoyable. This is best recommended for people who make the study of books their hobby, rather than their raison d’etre. A diploma will teach you all about literature, with an overview on the art, rather than a deep, entrenched study of specifics.


Taking an English literature course at undergraduate level is the first real step to a professional career as a scholar. It is the standard qualification that most literature-related jobs will look for. You will (normally) spend at least 3 years studying the subject in considerable depth and will learn all the basic aspects of literature.


This is the highest level of qualification on offer. Students beginning a post-graduate programme will need to have attained a BA in the subject (or a related field) before commencement. These courses are normally one year in length and focus on one specific aspect of literature, which you will then study in great details. These qualifications are held in high regard by employers, as it shows that you are educated above the average degree.

What can I expect to do when I have finished?

A qualification in English Literature is an interesting choice. It is looked down upon by some employers who feel that it is not evidence of a desire to focus on a specific career, but this is not the case. If you would like to work within the publishing industry, then a degree in English Literature is well regarded. Equally, if you aspire to become a writer, then learning about the great writers that have come before you should be considered essential.

For anyone looking to go into a deeper study of classic English language works, then taking as high a level of qualification as you can should be part of your plan. A career in academia, whether it is as a researcher or as a teacher is made possible with a degree in English.

It doesn’t matter why you want to study literature – there are many courses at several different levels available to choose from. Whatever the reason you decide in the end, it is sure to be a fascinating experience.

Jessica Hetley

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