5 Blunt Reasons Why People Think English Literature is an Utterly Useless Degree

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For most students with hopes of going onto teaching or working as a writer, English Literature seems like a good fit, however a minority of students will actually end up landing their dream jobs.

Most other students will graduate with a somewhat meaningless degree, and struggle to find relevant work in their field.

The big question is, why do people think studying English literature is so useless, and is there some truth to this line of thinking?

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Is english literature useless?

Aimless Toiling And Literature Analyses

Most people who study English literature enjoy the analyses they have to do for assignments.

At some point however, a lot of students feel as if they are over-analysing literature to the point where they’re really just grasping for straws!

Making points about literature that have been made hundreds of times before can get highly tedious and repetitive, both for lecturers and for students.

If you don’t want to get stuck in the never-ending cycle of over-analysing written material, you might want to avoid studying English literature.

Better Enjoyed in Own Time

Just because you enjoy literature doesn’t mean you must study it to a degree level!

If you have a soild appreciation for the written literature, don’t just immediately jump to doing a degree, unless it is something you want to actively do work in.

Many students find that the very act of doing a degree in a subject that they personally enjoy, makes them dislike that subject since they are no longer doing it for fun.


High Drop-out Rates

while drop-out rates don’t mean the course is useless, it certainly indicates some level of student dissatisfaction.

Depending on the institution, drop-out rates can be as high as 10%.

An interesting fact is that English literature graduates are usually predominantly female, and when students finish the course, 98% of any given cohort usually all graduate with 2:1 or above.

All this data essentially shows that many people originally apply to the course, but once they realise it’s not for them, they drop out.

This leaves the course full of true english literature lovers who end up all getting amazing degree classifications.

The minority of male students studying English literature is interesting and perhaps eludes to recent research showing women are better English speakers than men!

Questionable Employability

Just on the merits of studying English literature, don’t expect to be getting tons of phone calls from employers looking to hire you.

Very few jobs will have ‘English literature graduate’ pasted across the advert as a core requirement.

In addition, thousands of graduates leave university with a literature degree however only a handful of them go on to use this certificate in any formal positions of employment.

It however has to be said that English literature graduates typically have an incredible command over spoken English language in addition to writing skills.

This usually confers an additional advantage when they do apply for jobs and graduate schemes in completely different fields.

There are a myriad of jobs that english literature students can apply for however, as always, competence and experience must be demonstrated.

Mind-numbingly Boring

This might seem like a personal opinion, but suprisingly, quite a few students who enrolled on English degrees complained of how dull the course was!

It is very easy to find an English literature degree boring especially if you have very little interests in written literature.


While English Literature degrees provide students with a rich diversity of text based themes and concepts, it takes a unique person to thrive and utilise the knowledge properly.

Students who are usually successful after studying such degrees typically have a natural drive to explore literature through time and the way narrative techniques have evolved.

The high drop-out rates for English Literature degrees is a testament to the rigor of the course and its tendency to snuff out students lacking in passion for it.

There are many alternative courses you may study however you should always be aware of your motivations, and whether jobs will be easy to find once you graduate!

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