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What is English?

English language studies takes into consideration the historical and practical uses of the English language. Through their study, students interested in careers in English language can employ their skills in the fields of literature and composition as well as becoming fluent in English as a second language.

What 3rd Level Courses are Available?

  • Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in the following subject areas:
    • English as a Foreign Language – the study of English as a second language by a non-native speaker.
    • Linguistics – the study of language and its structure, including grammar, syntax, and phonetics.
    • Literature Studies – the study of written works of the imagination such as poetry, drama, and narrative fiction.
    • TEFL – the practice of teaching English as a foreign language, especially in a country where English is not widely spoken by the native population.

Studying English in College

Most first year study involves an overview of the subject. This will offer students a great introduction to the English language either as a second language or for further study in one of the many major sub-disciplines of the field such as literature and composition. Studying English as a foreign language will involve a lot of oral and aural practice and reading for non-native speakers, alongside practical work and in-course assessment.

Depending on the sub-discipline, students will likely move towards doing more independent work as their course progresses. This may consist of translation projects, longer oral presentations, composition or literary analysis. Most English language courses combine exams, oral presentations, and written practical work.

Most undergraduate English language courses run for three or four years and in some cases universities will facilitate work experience.

It is common that humanities-based courses will require students to complete long-term research projects including a final dissertation or Capstone project, ensuring the completion of a rigorous curriculum and to prepare students for post-graduate studies and/or a career in their field.

A bachelor’s degree is adequate for some non-research and teaching careers in English language. For example, graduates with a bachelor’s degree may start as journalists or content writers, or may work in jobs that value good written and verbal communication skills such as social media management, marketing, and administration. In addition to these positions, many students with a BA in English go on to teach English literature, composition, or as a second language abroad.

Career Options

Graduating from college with a degree in English will serve you well in the job market as it provides you with a wide variety of marketable skills such as great written and verbal communication skills, the ability to write and edit original content, as well as an in depth knowledge of multiple forms of media.  This opens up almost limitless career paths to explore in teaching, literary research, publishing, and marketing.

Many recent graduates will enter into ‘entry-level’ positions, working as editorial assistants, content writers, or as sales representatives. Some will work as research assistants, library technicians, or go on to teach.

Other careers in English language that require a higher degree of responsibility will typically require further education, training and/or experience to qualify for, eg. teaching, research, and management positions.

Most English students go on to work as content writers and editors for websites and print publications. Their work involves the ability to write clearly and quickly to provide information and entertainment to consumers. This work can be adapted for use in social media, journalism, marketing, fiction and non-fiction writing, editing, and publishing.

Related Jobs Include:

  • Digital Copywriter
  • Editorial Assistant
  • Journalist
  • Academic Librarian
  • Social Media Manager
  • Archivist
  • TEFL Instructor
  • Copy-Editor
  • Secondary School Teacher
  • Private Tutor
  • Literary Researcher
  • Lexicographer

Further Study

An undergraduate degree in English is often the first step to go onto further postgraduate study often involving specialization in particular fields and areas of English language and literature and/or undertaking work in new, sometimes interdisciplinary fields, such as creative writing, marketing, or more focused literary research.

Visit postgrad.ie for more information


What points do I need to study English?

  • Different courses and different colleges will have different entry requirements. It’s always best that you check with the individual higher education institution which is available on their websites. As a general rule Leaving Cert students should have a minimum of six subjects which should include: Two H5 (Higher Level) grades and Four O6 (Ordinary Level) grades or Four H7 (Higher Level) grades. Subjects must include Mathematics, English, Irish or another language.

Are there any particular qualities you need to study English?

  • You need to be able to work well independently and with other students as well as being able to communicate well, both in speaking and in writing. As much of the work you’ll do centres on reading and writing, the degree will require patience an self-discipline in order to complete close critical readings and lengthy, intensive research projects.
  • You need to be driven and passionate about the English language. You’ll need to have a firm grasp on the general concepts you’ll be studying. Finally, you’ll need to be determined, confident, and curious.

Where can I study English?

  • Explore your options here.

Did You Know?

  • Hundreds of new words are added to the English language annually!
  • More people have learned English as a second language than there are native English speakers!
  • A panagram sentence is any sentence that contains every letter in the English language!
  • All pilots, no matter where they are from, have to identify themselves in English while flying!


Ethan Moser

Art History Courses
Careers in French Language


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