English Literature Masters Degree Program Information
Numerous career options are available to graduates with a master's degree in English Literature. Some of the most popular career choices can be found in the fields of teaching, writing and journalism. Nearly half of the editors and writers in publishing started their careers as journalists, copywriters or Web content writers.
Master's Degree in English Literature
The master's degree program combines writing with critical analysis of English literature. Students working towards a master's degree will typically focus on one genre or movement in English literature. The focus of the degree is on developing strong writing and analysis skills as well as knowledge of literary theory and history. Most master's degree programs in English literature allow candidates to design and individualize their courses of study based on interests and research topics for the graduate thesis.
Admission requirements for graduate-level studies in English literature vary from school to school. All applicants, however, require bachelor's degrees, GRE scores and strong writing samples that demonstrate the academic potential of their chosen research topics. Not all programs in English or comparative literature require bachelor's degrees in the same field; some even consider backgrounds in other fields to be assets.
Master's degree programs are structured around lectures, class discussions and writing. However, a few required courses are shared among English literature programs and include the following:
- Composition theory
- Literary theory
- Thesis project
- Topics in English literature
Career and Salary Info
Because many options are open to those with master's degrees in English literature, graduates may have a harder time than most settling into their careers. Some pursue further academic research at the Ph.D. level, while others prefer the steady income of a university professorship; a few make their livings as editors or writers. Business or administrative backgrounds can help graduates land jobs in the publishing industry. Other careers choices open to graduates exist in the fields of human resources, public relations and advertising. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income for public relations specialists was $51,280 in 2008 (www.bls.gov).
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