English school allows you to earn several different types of English degrees. An associate’s degree is a two-year commitment. An associate’s degree in English is not very common, but many schools offer an associate’s degree in liberal arts or humanities and give you the option of specializing in English or literature. An associate’s degree lends itself best to the person who cannot fulfill a four-year commitment. The pre-requisite for an associate’s degree is a high school diploma or GED along with following the admission’s guidelines for entrance into the school you are choosing to attend.
A bachelor’s degree in English is the most common choice of English degrees. It is a four-year commitment or approximately 120 credit hours. The pre-requisite for earning a bachelor’s degree is a high school diploma along with following the admission’s guidelines for entrance into the English school or university you are choosing to attend.
A master’s degree in English can be completed in one to two years, but a bachelor’s degree is a pre-requisite along with following the admission’s guidelines for the university you are choosing to attend.
A PhD in English can be obtained in a few years of coursework followed by writing a doctoral thesis. A master’s degree is a pre-requisite to earning a PhD.
Associate’s English Degree
You can earn your associate’s degree at most schools. An associate’s degree is typically a two-year commitment. It is not uncommon for some students to take classes on a part-time basis, so it may take longer than two-years to fulfill the requirements of a two-year degree. A two-year degree is around 60 college credits. An associate’s degree in English is not very common, but many schools offer an associate’s degree in liberal arts or humanities and give you the option of specializing in English or literature.
An associate’s degree lends itself best to the person who cannot fulfill a four-year commitment. It also can be a money saving option for a person on the path of obtaining a bachelor’s degree. In most cases, the credits from the associate’s degree can be transferred toward the completion of a bachelor’s degree. The pre-requisite for an Associate’s degree is a high school diploma or GED along with following the admission’s guidelines for entrance into the school you are choosing to attend.
There are many advantages of earning an associate’s degree. One advantage is that it is a lesser time commitment than other degrees. This means that you can enter the work force and begin earning money sooner than if you were pursuing another degree. A second advantage is that an associate’s degree has a lower cost.
Another advantage is that there is more flexibility in times the classes are offered. There are usually more evening classes offered for those students who may be working during the daytime hours. Also, many times the classes for an associate’s degree are offered at more convenient locations. Although you will not have the earning potential of someone with a bachelor’s, master’s degree or PhD, you will have a greater earning potential than a person has only earned a high school diploma or GED.
Because of the growing competition for limited jobs, the biggest disadvantage of an associate’s degree is that it’s difficult to compete for jobs with more and more people who have earned a bachelor’s degree. In some cases, an associate’s degree will not be enough to qualify you to even apply.
The types of jobs for which an associate’s degree will qualify you are entry- level positions in many businesses. English specific associate’s degree holders should try for entry-level positions in fields such as public relations, research, writing, and journalism. They will also be marketable in careers such as paralegal or legal assistants, bill and account collectors, social and human service assistants, and pre-school teachers.
Bachelor’s English Degree
You can earn your bachelor’s degree at an English school. A bachelor’s degree in English is the most common choice of English degrees. It is a four-year commitment or approximately 120 credit hours. The pre-requisite for earning a bachelor’s degree is a high school diploma or GED. You must also follow the guidelines for admission into the college or university that you choose to attend. Each institution will have its own criteria and application process, but most will require some, if not all, of the following items.
- First, you must fill out an application. You must also pay the application fee. Many times you can apply online at each individual school, or you can use something called the Common Application. Many colleges accept the Common Application as a replacement for their own application. This allows you to only enter your information once, but send it to multiple schools. The non-refundable application fees average from $35 - $65.
- Second, you must send your high school transcript. Some schools will send a form requesting this information directly to the school. Others will send it to you, and you must give it to your guidance office.
Third, you must submit your test scores from the SAT or ACT. These standardized tests help schools determine if you are able to do college-level work.Many colleges and universities require you to submit several letters of recommendation. These can be written by a teacher, counselor, or other adult. Make sure to give them plenty of time before the deadline.
Private colleges often ask you to write an essay. Take the time to develop your essay so that it is a sample of your best work. Ideally it will set you apart from others and make you stand out as someone to be accepted into the school.
Some colleges require an interview and some simply recommend it. This gives you an opportunity to connect with someone who will have a say in whether or not you are accepted into the program. It is a chance to emphasize your strengths. Think of your application as a mirror that reflects you as a person. Make sure that you represent yourself in the best way you can.
A bachelor’s degree in English will open more career path options for you than an associate’s degree.
- It will help you advance in your career and increase your salary.
- It will help you develop critical thinking skills.
- It will prepare you for graduate studies.
The disadvantages of a bachelor’s degree are:
- The cost and time commitment.
- It is more expensive to earn a bachelor’s degree than an associate’s degree
- it takes twice the time.
However, there are many advantages to earning a bachelor’s degree.
- The first advantage is job potential.
- You will also have preference over candidates who have lesser degrees or no degrees
- You will have the potential to make more money than someone without a bachelor’s degree.
There are many more career opportunities for a person with a bachelor’s degree in English. A few of the careers you might consider are:
Public relations, communications, web writing, and journalism are other fields that welcome English degrees. Even lawyers many times earn a bachelor’s in English before continuing on to law school.
Master’s English Degree
A master’s degree can be completed in one to two years, but a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year university or college is a prerequisite. You must also follow the guidelines for admission into the college or university you are choosing to attend.
For admission to most master’s degree programs, individuals must take the GRE (Graduate Record Examination). The GRE is a standardized test that is a requirement for admission to many graduate schools both in the United States and in other English-speaking countries. It was created in 1949 by the Educational Testing Service. It measures analytical writing skills, critical thinking, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. It is not testing any specific field of study but rather a way to test all graduates in tasks of general academic nature.
The GRE test scores are used differently from school to school, department to department, and from program to program. Sometimes only the verbal score is of interest. Other times only the quantitative score is used. It is important to know that admission to graduate schools depends on other factors besides GRE scores-- letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and GPA. Each school can usually provide you with information on how your GRE scores will be used. Contact the person in charge of the graduate admissions for the specific program in which you are interested.
One advantage of a Master’s degree is that it will allow you to enter a more advanced arena of scholarly discourse regarding literary texts. It will also prepare you for doctoral studies, if that is something in which you are interested. Another advantage is that it allows you to advance in your career and increase your salary. It will qualify you to teach at a community college level. It will also gain you a solid career in writing, editing, literary research, journalism, public relations, marketing, communications, web writing, or the education field. There can be openings for individuals in non-profit organizations. Even the government will hire individuals with English degrees as press secretaries or public affairs specialists. The bottom line is that there are many employers who welcome the skills that one has upon graduating with a Master’s degree in English.
The disadvantage of a master’s degree in English is that it has a higher cost than a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree. It also takes more time and effort to acquire than a bachelor’s degree or an associate’s degree.
The bottom line is that if career advancement is important to you, a master’s degree will be worth the effort.
The PhD is the highest degree you can earn at an English school. The prerequisites for earning a PhD in English are a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. A typical PhD in English allows you to teach literature at the university level. Another common job is that of an author or lecturer.
Admission to graduate study is very competitive. Usually a GRE of at least 650 is required along with a high undergraduate GPA (3.7 or higher is common). The average length of study required to earn a doctorate in English is between five and 7 years, sometimes more.
Funding is available in the forms of fellowships, traineeship, research assistantship, teaching assistantship, and also using loans or personal assets. Fellowships are stipends that allow you to do your own research and course work without any work (teaching or research) obligations. Many are competitive and require writing proposals and filling out applications. Traineeships are more common in biological sciences and involve working in various labs in return for your stipend. Research assistantships grants pay for work that you complete on a research project. These are also more common in sciences. A teaching assistantship is pay for work assisting in an undergraduate course. It is very important to have a plan for how you are going to pay for your PhD as the cost is very high.
Some questions to ask as you consider a potential PhD program are things like: “What is the reputation and university ranking of the school? How about the department?” “What is the mission of this department?” “What is the location?” “Who are the program faculty whose work excites you?” “What is the structure the program uses?” “What requirements does the program have?” “What are the expenses (cost of living, housing, child care, health care)?” and “What is the mix of funding and how many years are students funded?”
- One advantage of earning a PhD is the prestige and sense of accomplishment. You will be called “Doctor.” Another advantage is the personal satisfaction of accomplishing your goal. Another advantage is that you will have highly advanced skills of reading, writing and arguing, all of which are very useful in other settings like businesses, nonprofits, and the government.
- One disadvantage of earning a PhD is the cost involved. In science and other subjects, there are often grants that are given to fund the cost of tuition for doctoral students. However, with English that is not always the case. Graduate study can cost between $20,000 and $40,000 per year. It is very important to research how you will fund your doctoral studies.
- Another disadvantage is the time that is involved. Some graduate students in English will be in school for at least five years and some of them as many as ten years. It often takes longer to complete a dissertation in English than in other subject. You will need to decide if you are willing to postpone pursuing a permanent job and your other interests to pursue this type of degree.
- Finally, employment opportunities in academic settings are scarce and can be hard to obtain, especially in the humanities. Most research indicates that job prospects are bleak for doctorates in English, especially if they are intending to work as professors.
Last Updated: 09/12/2012