An English and Creative Writing Degree

writing
question
help

#1

Recently I’ve been looking into undergraduate courses for myself, and I was researching universities as well as the courses provided. I did find a particular university of interest, and I did read and go through the information on their site about the courses. I also binge-watched youtube videos about the university. Though I still wanted to get some extra information from other people. English is one of my best subjects and I enjoy writing and creative writing. So I thought of doing an undergraduate degree in either these two courses; English Literature and Creative Writing or English Literature and Drama.

I wanted to get some help and advice on the degree, so I have a few questions for those who have experience or just have some general advice for me.

What can I do with an English and Creative Writing degree after I’ve graduated? I am interested in screenwriting, so could I be a screenwriter? What other options are there for a career with this degree?

And if I do pursue to do a degree with English Literature and Creative Writing, what are the things that I should expect in the course at university? Any advice on the course, or things to be wary of?

Thanks in advance for your help!


#2

My knowledge may be limited to Denmark, but as far as I know, becoming a screenwriter doesn’t necessarily require a degree. It can help but the experience needed can be self taught, as with any creative field. Getting into screenwriting usually requires networking and past experience creating films.
As for what you can do with a degree in english or litterature, you can work in libraries, publishing, or teaching as the most obvious fields. As with most humanitarian fields, you might need to get a little creative to figure out the right field to work in. English could in theory qualify you to work as a journalist in certain places and with litterature on top you could become a book reviewer.
I wouldn’t think too hard about jobs, though. Getting a degree is hard work, you should choose a field that you actually want it in.


#3

So, this is 100% subjective, so take it for what it’s worth. Coming out of university with those degrees won’t help you get a job…and you’ll need a day job if writing is your career path. Personally, I’d concentrate on a major that gets you a “post university job” and use your electives to concentrate on the Creative Writing and Literature side of things. If you really do want to have English in your major, I’d do what you can to focus on marketing or technical writing, both of which use a lot of the “written” word in jobs that you can make a living at.


#4

Creative degrees are… Hard to find jobs for, to say the least. I mean, we do get good jobs at cafés! But the field is so competitive and the jobs are few. So, connections is the most important in my experience.

@sheniegul If you want to become a screen writer, start writing. With most creative degrees, you decide to get a degree in it because you want to learn more - or because you actually want to do something with the degree. Like eventually taking a doctorate, go into researching or teaching. Many end up teaching. (Probably myself included. I am taking my degree so I can teach art and/or photography)

I’m actually gonna tag @Nevervane - she’s a screenwriter so she might have some tips for you.


#5

I graduated with my bachelors in 2016. Majored in writing, took a double minor in journalism/professional and technical writing. I graduated in May. I live in a small town and found a job in my field in December. I wrote e-books for a startup. I lost the job 4 months in and haven’t really tried again, but I was still able to get it. I think it depends where you are.

My other fellow writing degree buddies went down the path of a masters, trying to become college professors. Many of my journalism friends have stable jobs with local papers/magazines. It completely depends on your location, I feel.

My advice: go in undecided and try from there. Explore different courses doing your pre-reqs.


#6

Hi! Thanks for your help.

I’ll have a look into that. Although I’m looking into English universities and since the education system is different to America, I don’t believe they have any majors or minors in university, it is just one course. I don’t recall seeing anything on the university’s website as well.


#7

Hi! Thanks for your contribution and advice.

With the university I’m interested in, I believe they help out with agents and networking for the specific career/interest of that student. For example, there was a film student on youtube who study’s at that university and was assigned to an agent to help out with her career as an actress. However, I still have to research a bit more into this and make sure that it’s 100% correct.

I’m aware that creative degrees can be a bit hard when it comes to jobs, as you said so yourself. So I am considering of undertaking a different degree of interest in the future, I want to have as many opportunities as possible for myself. However when it comes to screenwriting, I do have hopes for employment after my degree in the current country I’m in. The film industry here is still developing, and frankly, its only just starting to thrive internationally, and so when it comes to screenwriters I do feel like employment would be available. But of course, I still don’t know for sure!


#8

Hi! Thanks for your advice.

I don’t want to be too undecided when it comes to choosing my course, afterall I don’t want to apply to a course and dislike it, then regret that I didn’t choose another. I’m not sure if I have the opportunity when it comes to exploring different courses after I’ve applied to one, but I’ll have a look into it.


#9

You’re very welcome! I hope it helped.

It sounds like you’re very aware of your choices and I think it’s a good idea to consider undertaking an additional degree.

It does sound promising the industry is growing in your country. I’m super jealous! I’d recommend reaching out to other screenwriters in your community. Maybe there’s a community of screenwriters where you can all help each other out.

Also, if your uni has that kind of programme, then hot damn, jump on it. That sounds amazing!


#10

Haha thank you!!

That’s actually a great idea, I don’t know how I can find other screenwriters though. I live in a small city so I’m not sure if there is a community of writers or clubs, maybe in the bigger cities. I can try looking on social media, perhaps I could find somebody there!

I’m currently a senior in highschool, this is my last year and I’ll be graduating in December of this year. It’s kinda scary but exciting! So I haven’t applied to the uni yet, nor is it certain that I’ll be accepted. I have just started my research and consideration into university courses, that’s all. I also wanted to be early rather than be late and freak out about the situation.


#11

Facebook and Twitter is always a good place to start :smile:

Good luck with graduating HS and with everything else!


#12

Just a little note, I’m an Australian senior high school student studying overseas and is interested in applying to English universities. So please bare in my mind that the educational system may be different to yours. :blush:


#13

Looks like I have to download social media again, haha.

Thanks so much for your wishes, I hope I graduate peacefully. :sweat_smile:


#14

I went to college for a Writing degree (it was called just Writing, but it was probably the same as a Creative Writing degree would be). I ended up double majoring in Computer Science and getting a job in that field, so I really can’t say what kind of job you could get with only the English and Writing, but I will say that I used my Writing degree as proof of great communication skills during the job interview. And I also know that there are some jobs out there that accept any kind of college degree, so you could consider that if you want to do what I did and write in your spare time while working an unrelated job.

As for what things you can expect for your courses, I’ll share my experience. I had a mix of writing-related classes and literature-related classes. On the writing side, I started with a creative writing class that taught some general principles, and then I had one or two classes each that focused on one area specifically: fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. I had a final class that was basically advanced level writing where we could focus on whatever type of writing we wanted to do most and get individual help and feedback while also learning about how to get published. On the literature side, I basically had a sampling of many different kinds of literature while also learning some literary theory. If you major in English Literature, as some of my friends did, I would expect you to do much more reading than I did, as well as many more essays that analyze books.

Advice? Really my only advice is to make sure you’re always working on your writing, even when you don’t have a course related to it in a particular semester. The same goes with reading quality books. I found that a lot of what college had to offer was in the form of the library or the other resources that are just sitting there waiting for students to use them. I spent entire afternoons in the library, picking books off the shelf to see if they had anything useful to say, taking advantage of the quiet study atmosphere to push myself to write for an hour, and generally just trying to learn as much as I could. I also walked down to the local public library a lot in order to get access to a wider selection of books. College offers a lot of time for studying outside of class, so take advantage of it!

I can’t think of anything to be wary of because my teachers were all great. :slight_smile:


#15

I like everything in your post, but especially the part where you double majored and got a job in a different field.

Getting a job with JUST an English/Writing degree is bloody hard these days. Frankly, if that’s the only degree, I’d consider it money wasted.

@sheniegul regarding screenwriting, find out how much screenwriters are making in your country before you get set on that direction. I’ve heard a lot of countries other than the US pay a pittance. In the US there are degrees in screenwriting to be had – and they’re valuable – but ultimately you get your work by living in Hollywood and becoming a production assistant (e.g., slave) and working your way up.


#16

Wow! Thanks so much, I really appreciate you giving me this advice.

I’m going to note all this down.


#17

That’s so true. I’ll definitely do some more research into screenwriting and see what I can find. I hope I can find some resources online.

Do you guys have any other suggestions for degrees that also relate to English in some way, and that might be better when it comes to employment? I’m going to look into some more tonight, but I’m interested if you know any.

Thanks for your help again! :smile:


#18

My wife has a masters in English Literature and Creative Writing (I think her undergraduate was in English). I think the Creative Writing part requires a specialty. Hers was poetry. And if you want to study English Literature, you better be a fast reader. I think she was reading more than one novel a week, and that didn’t include her other classes.

She taught English for a couple of years and then went into the business world. The writing degree helped her be a better writer so it helped her in her jobs in business.


#19

Well, I originally worked as a technical writer, but I eventually moved into Instructional Design which is so frickin’ fun. Both are very heavy on the writing. The former, nowadays, wants technical people, though. The latter field has split into designers and developers. Developing is both artsy and technical and more lucrative. That said, I make six figures a year as an ID (primarily designer), and I work from home and work only four days a week. So I ain’t complaining!


#20

What exactly is Instructional Design? I’m in finance (got a math degree) and am jealous of your career haha. I always wanted to go the design route, but I figured STEM would give me a better shot at a job