UBC Student browsing the 2016 Career Fair


English explores literature and language in a global context, through various genres, in historical perspectives, and through critical and theoretical approaches.

English encompasses two program areas: literature and language. Literature offers the opportunity to explore works from different periods, regions and genres. Language explores the structure, function, and use of language. In a world dominated by texts - informational, artistic, cultural - literature and language construct and comment on the human experience.

Get experience at UBC

Building your career takes more than attending academic lectures. Get involved with research and complement your studies with relevant research and applied experiences. Whether you choose one of the experiences listed below or one of the many other great opportunities available, you’ll learn new things, make new friends, network, and set yourself apart. It all counts.

Journalism and Journals: The Ubyssey and The Garden Statuary

Write for The Ubyssey or work on the department’s peer-reviewed undergraduate journal. The Garden Statuary covers a wide range of creative and academic work.

Go Global 

Imagine student life in the United Kingdom; enjoying a cup of tea in the morning before class, then catching the latest production at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in the evening. Perhaps you would like to experience Australia and explore the depths of the great barrier reef or watch sunsets at night on Bondi beach with friends. All of this while taking a travel writing class, or even a Gothic literature class. You can immerse yourself in new cultures and languages with Go Global, all while finishing your degree.

Our recommended exchange destinations include, but are not limited to:

United Kingdom

Continental Europe Australia & New Zealand Asia

University of East Anglia

University of Edinburgh

University of Manchester

University of Sussex

Cardiff University

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Sciences Po Paris

Universiteit Leiden

Uppsala Universitet

University of Auckland

University of Melbourne

University of Sydney

University of Queensland

Korea University

National University of Singapore

You can take on an international internship, participate in a Global Seminar, go on exchange or even conduct research abroad. Check out all the ways you can Go Global.

Arts Co-op Program

Discover what many students in your major already know: gaining paid, full-time, relevant experience through Arts Co-op will help you explore how your writing, research, and analytical skills can transfer to different workplaces. Explore your career options in arts organizations, not for profits, government, and the private sector, and with employers across Canada and abroad. Graduate with career skills, experience, and a network of professional contacts that will give you a competitive edge after graduation.

Community experience

Work and learn in community settings like non-profits and inner city schools. Take a course with a community-based experiential learning (CBEL) component and develop an understanding of community contexts and the systemic factors underlying community needs. Whether it’s a course or signing up for Trek & Reading Week placements, or a grant project in community, you’ll build skills in real-world settings and make invaluable connections with people in community.

Arts Internship Program

Exciting internships are being created with grass-roots organizations, not for profits, and local festivals. Many internships require strong writing skills: ideal for English majors. Develop your skills in social media, blogging, interviewing, journalism, and communication in an exciting internship. Meet industry contacts, gain relevant experience and unleash your creativity in apart-time internship this year. 

Student Directed Seminars

Senior undergraduate students either participate in or initiate and coordinate small, collaborative, group learning experiences through student-directed seminars. Motivated students can develop courses on topics they are passionate about. Past seminar topics include: Gothic Literature; Science Fiction; and Representations of Vancouver through Poetry and Prose.

Using your degree

An English major is one of the most future-proof degrees that one can pursue. The world we live in is increasingly dominated by texts, representations, and signs. The ability to absorb, comprehend, assess, and communicate this flow of information is critical. Being able to adapt different styles and stories to convey a message; to present information that can persuade others; and to draft documents all set English graduates apart.

Career possibilities

English graduates go on to pursue careers in a variety of fields. Communication lies at the heart of society and culture and the English graduate’s ability to think both innovatively and critically is essential to success in our ever-changing, global and knowledge-based economy. While this is not an exhaustive list, and does not include obvious careers such as teaching or law that are often considered by English graduates, it offers a starting point for researching a number of other options.
Public Relations Specialist
Corporate Communications
Sales and Marketing Director
Web Developer
Online Social Media Specialist
Communications Strategist
Media Relations Coordinator
Non Profit Administrator
Film or TV Editor / Producer
Digital Content Editor
Publisher / Editor
Technical or Corporate Trainer
Multimedia Developer
Grant Writer
Speech Writer
Public Policy Advisor / Policy Analyst
Government Relations Consultant
Fundraiser / Philanthropy Officer
Project or Event Manager
Volunteer Coordinator
Program Facilitator
Multimedia Specialist
Hospitality and Tourism Manager
Technical Writer
Librarian or Digital Archivist
Software Developer
University Administrator
Community Relations Manager
Human Resources Manager
Talent Acquisition Specialist
Industry Liaison Officer
Campaign Coordinator

Academic possibilities

An English degree prepares students for further study in a variety of fields including:

  • Business
  • English
  • Education
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Library and Archival Studies
  • Media Studies
  • Public Policy

Alumni profiles

Kelsey Dundon, BA 2004

Kelsey never thought she would be creating advertising campaigns and branding businesses for some of BC’s leading companies. As head copywriter for a top Vancouver communication and advertising firm, Dundon creates what she calls personalities for her clients. 

Jouel Tiu, BA 2002

Jouel is a communication specialist for Inter IKEA Systems B.V. in the Netherlands, where he oversees the design and production of internal publications including manuals, magazines, and online channels for IKEA franchises around the world. He credits his whirlwind career to the Arts Coop Program.

Amanda Sayfy, BA 2003

Amanda uses the skills and experience learned both through her leadership experience and her English Literature degree in her work as Philanthropy Officer at BC Children’s Hospital. “Being a strong writer is a definite benefit in the social profit sector. I am able to tell the story of the impact donors have on clients’ lives.”