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Careers Centre

English - using your degree


Popular career areas for English students:

A degree from Scotland's first university is an excellent start to any future career. St Andrews has a reputation for excellence and the ability to attract the brightest students worldwide. With this as a starting point you are well on the way to impressing future employers.

The skills you gain through studying English are marketable in most career areas. Perhaps the major strength of all English graduates is communication skills, both in speech and in writing. However, you also develop a wide range of skills and attributes, all of which are highly valued by employers across all sectors.

Further study is a popular choice for English graduates. Some English graduates choose to continue their academic studies by doing an MA or a PhD, while others choose to study more vocational postgraduate courses in areas such as teaching, journalism, librarianship or law.

Typical employers include: banks; publishers; advertising agencies; PR companies; accountants; local government; UK Home Civil Service; the National Health Service (NHS); retailers; finance; educational institutions; voluntary and charitable organisations; the media; libraries; leisure industries; the tourist trade; social services; as well as a wide range of local, small to medium-sized enterprises.

Review your degree skills

The profile below identifies the skills that can be developed through the study of your discipline based on subject benchmark statements developed by UK higher education academic communities. It may help you to identify the valuable skills that you can offer to potential employers.

Where do our English graduates go?

Recent English graduates
BBC4 - Production Assistant Winkreative - Photographer Pernod Ricard - Whisky Ambassador   
Nerd TV - Researcher James Purdey & Sons - Marketing, PR & Events Coordinator    University of St Andrews - Director of Student Development and Activities
Graduates who are established in their profession

ClientEarth - Development Manager (Major Gifts)

Goldman Sachs - Account Manager

Reuters News Agency - Sector Specialist, Finance

John Lewis Aberdeen - Head of Branch

Canongate Books Limited - Desk Editor

The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday - Consumer Affairs Correspondent

Alex Meltham

Alex graduated in 2012. She is an Associate with Ernst & Young LLP.

Read Alex's case study


Theo Hoppen

Theo graduated in 1997.  He is a Solicitor with Stowe Family Law LLP.

Read Theo's case study.


 Visit the Graduate Destinations page to see what graduates and postgraduates from your School are doing now.

Network with alumni

Many jobs and internships are not advertised.  One of the best ways to find out about these ‘hidden opportunities’ is by networking.  Networking can also help secure a job that is publicised or is part of a training scheme.  Your contacts can open doors, set up meetings, help prepare you for interviews, and provide you with an inside look at a company or industry. 

How to contact alumni

There are two main ways to contact alumni on-line:

  1. Saint Connect - brings together alumni and current students to facilitate networking, enable informal mentoring, provide industry discussion groups, and enable graduates and students to stay up to date with their student societies and sports teams.
  2. LinkedIn - most comprehensive resource to connect with alumni is the University of St Andrews LinkedIn – Alumni Tool. There are also many LinkedIn St Andrews Groups, mainly based on location, which you can join to network with fellow students and alumni, eg St Andrews North America Careers Link.

Postgraduate study/research

In 2014, 26.4% of English graduates went on to do further study.  
Advisers are able and willing to discuss postgraduate applications - vocational and academic. 

Summer internships/work experience

Campus Opportunities

Work experience is becoming ‘essential’ in the UK when it comes to securing graduate level employment.

During the 2015-16 academic year, more than 90% of the UK’s leading graduate employers offered paid work experience programmes for students and recent graduates. Altogether, 55% of St Andrews finalists had completed some element of work experience with a graduate employer whilst at university – much higher than the survey average. More than two-fifths had a part-time job during term-time and three-fifths had some form of casual vacation work.Source: High Fliers –The UK Graduate Careers Survey 2016.

Case studies


Key links and resources

Career related