Careers and employability
An English degree from Nottingham will give you a distinct advantage in the graduate job market. It indicates to potential employers that you are an intelligent, hard-working individual with excellent communication skills, who is bright and flexible enough to undertake any form of specific career training.
- Professor Svenja Adolphs, Head of School
Students and employers talk about the benefits of the placement scheme which is offered by the School of English for students to gain authentic work experience.
Five years after graduation, Nottingham English graduates earned on average £29,700, which is the third highest earnings for English graduates at any UK university and £5,681 higher than the median for all universities.
Nottingham was also 3rd in the Russell Group with earnings £2,959 above the Russell Group median. This was the highest rank of any subject at Nottingham. These are official statistics provided by the UK government in 2017.
English students from Nottingham have gone on to work in a wide range of different fields. These areas may include:
- Media work (publishing, TV research, journalism)
- Advertising and marketing
- Accountancy, finance and banking
Librarianship, museum and specialist archive and collection work
Business, consultancy and management
- Working as communications officers for charities, political organisations and government
- Local and central government administration and politics
- Primary or secondary school teaching
- Teaching English as a foreign language
- University research and lecturing
- University administration
View some of our graduate profiles below and see where their English degrees have taken them:
Undergraduate profiles Distance Learning profilesMasters profiles Research profiles
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Students are encouraged to develop vital employability skills.
The School and the University provide many opportunities for you - both within and outside your studies - to enhance your CV and to make yourself as employable as possible by the time you have completed your degree. You can do this in any number of ways, including:
- Taking a Nottingham Advantage Award module
- Completing a work placement
- Becoming a volunteer
- Applying for a project-based dissertation in your final year
- Joining the leadership of the student-run English Society
- Acting as student ambassadors for the University, assisting with Open Days and UCAS Offer Holder Days for prospective students
- Writing for School, University or student publications
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Volunteering benefits the wider community and contributes to your personal development.
I gained transferable skills such as confidence, active-listening, and the ability to motivate, encourage and inspire.
Student Ambassador for the Literacy Project
School of English Volunteering
The School of English offers unique volunteering opportunities. Our students may have the opportunity to apply for schemes including:
The Literacy Support Project
The Literacy Support Project aims to help raise literacy standards in primary and secondary schools in the local area. Students can also complete a Nottingham Advantage Award module, in order to be accredited for their voluntary work.
Viking for Schools and Anglo-Saxons for Schools
Staff and students of the Centre for the Study of the Viking Age host various Viking workshops and Anglo-Saxon workshops for primary schools. Through workshops, the children learn about the Vikings and their relevance for their own history and culture. At the same time they are introduced to the various academic disciplines that provide knowledge about the Viking Age, such as archaeology and the study of language and literature.
Second- and final-year students may have the opportunity to act as mentors to new students. Students also have the option of taking a Nottingham Advantage Award module, in order to be accredited for the work that they do.
Shared Reading Groups
The School participates in two shared reading group initiatives that engage with the local community and help to promote the health benefits of reading aloud in group contexts:
- The Dementia Reading Group
- The Communtiy Reading Group
First Story works to foster the creative confidence of secondy school pupils by organising creative writing workshops with an established author, playwright or poet in the area. Student volunteers complete voluntary placements as 'Shadow Writers' to support creative writing workshops and take pupils on tours of the campus' creative writing hotspots.
Student Volunteer Centre
A great place to find out about volunteering. The centre, which is part of the Students' Union, has lots of projects for students to get involved in. These range from one-off sessions to a regular commitment throughout the academic year.
Careers and Employability Service
The service also offers information about how to become a volunteer.
Why do our students volunteer?
- To make a difference
- To give something back to the community
- To gain valuable work experience
- To develop and use skills that help improve your employability
- To meet new people
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Work placements provide extracurricular opportunities for students to gain hands-on experience.
In terms of qualities, I'm looking for someone who's flexible, who's a great multi-tasker, who's able to prioritise, who is self-motivated, has great communication skills and who is absolutely passionate about the arts.
Manager, Nottingham Lakeside Arts Centre
Current partners may include
- Angry Robot, a publisher specialising in fantasy and science fiction
- Bromley House Library, an independent library situated in the centre of Nottingham
- DH Lawrence Heritage Centre, celebrating the life and work of D.H. Lawrence with links to local history as well as literary research
- Manuscripts and Special Collections, an archive of unique material housed at King's Meadow Campus at the University of Nottingham
- the External Relations team at the University of Nottingham
- New Perspectives theatre company, the largest single provider of touring theatre to the East Midlands' network of rural community venues
- Nottingham Playhouse, the theatre-in-education arm of a large regional producing theatre
- Nottingham Lakeside Arts, a multi-arts centre in the East Midlands established on the University campus in 2001
- Linguistic Profiling for Professionals, is a business unit within the School of English, made up of a team of research and administrative staff who deliver expert professional communication skills training to individuals and organisations across various sectors
- Writing East Midlands, a writer development agency for the region, running creative writing events and projects
These employers represent the varying needs of small and medium enterprises in Nottingham. They range from creative organisations and arts administration to marketing companies, charities, local archives and more.
I’ve learnt that my love of books and literature need not end with my degree and is something I can build a successful career from.
Completed a placement at Writing East Midlands
If you want to find out more about what our students gained from their placements, please read our placement profiles.
Training and Support
Students apply for placements on a competitive basis, completing application forms, writing CVs and attending interviews. Students receive feedback throughout this process, are supported during their placement and are encouraged to reflect on their experiences.
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Nottingham Advantage Award
The Nottingham Advantage Award is an extra qualification, allowing graduates to stand out in the job market.
The award is open to all undergraduate students and there is a range of modules available.
School of English Advantage Award modules:
Career Planning Skills for English Students
Through this module you will reflect on your personal development, employability, career path and job-seeking skills. You will have access to advice and guidance from alumni, postgraduates, the careers team and visiting employers. You will also attend sessions on employability skills, work experience and the job market, as well as receiving input on application forms, CVs, interviews and postgraduate study.
This module is available to those who volunteer on the School of English Literacy Support Project and is an excellent way of gaining accreditation for your volunteering role. It provides the opportunity to reflect on your own volunteering practices and to acquire other important transferable skills, including classroom management and lesson planning skills and communication, mentoring and interpersonal skills.
One of our volunteers won a High Performance prize for her work with the Literacy Volunteers Project. Read the entry from the Nottingham Advantage Award blog.
Peer Mentoring for English
Second-and final-year students acting as peer mentors to new students can take this accompanying Advantage Award module to develop an understanding of the role of a mentor. Through the module you will reflect on your mentoring support experience and personal development in relation to your employability.
There are a large number of University-wide modules to choose from. Examples of popular modules include:
- Experian Leadership Programme
- Internships and Placements
- PR Project Management
- Work Experience Module
- Language Classes
- Skills for Employability
- Student Ambassador
- Insight into Education
More information can be found on the Careers and Employability Service page about the Nottingham Advantage Award.
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The final year project-based dissertation module is for those interested in ‘hands-on’ aspects of English.
The project-based dissertation typically involves a placement or period of observation and activity with a partner from within or outside the University. By taking this dissertation option, you will be able to gain experience not only of independent research as with any dissertation, but also of working in a professional environment.
Examples of the types of project-based dissertations that final year students have undertaken are below:
The Letters Page
The Letters Page is a literary journal in which the stories, essays, poems, interviews and reportage featured are all written in the form of letters. The journal develops links with writers and publishing professionals across the world, and offers opportunities for students to learn key writing and publishing skills through hands-on experience. Professor Jon McGregor, the School’s writer in residence, is chief editor and oversees a student editorial team.
Theatre projects at Nottingham Lakeside Arts
- Creativity in Action: Analysing the process and performance of the Christmas Show for children and young people
- Creativity in Action: Analysing the process and performance of a new play in a regional context
Youth and Adult Literacy projects
- Reading between the lines: evaluating the School of English Literacy Support Project
- Reading aloud for wellbeing: Designing and implementing literary materials for reading groups
Nottingham Playhouse projects
- Programming the set text: education and economics
- Adapting the fairytale: Analysing the process and performance of Jack and the Beanstalk by Mike Kenny
- Sport on stage: Analysing the process and performance of Diary of a Football Nobody by Billy Ivory
Behind the Scenes at the (Archaeology) Museum projects
- Behind the Scenes of the Museum: Language & Knowledge
- Behind the Scenes of the Museum: Contextualizing Material Culture
DH Lawrence Heritage project
- The Impact of Literary Heritage: Understanding and Evaluating the DH Lawrence Festival
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Careers and Employability Service
The University's Careers and Employability Service offers support and guidance.
The Faculty of Arts team have expertise in supporting arts students and graduates, and will assist greatly in the transition to the next stage of your career.
Our dedicated Faculty of Arts team have specialised knowledge of the career fields popular with students in the School of English.
Services on offer include:
- Careers advice
- CV reviews
- Drop-in sessions
- Graduate job fairs
- Latest vacancies listings
Second year History student, Laurence Britton, introduces the Careers and Employability Service.
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Nottingham Internship Scheme
The Nottingham Internship Scheme offers students a series of paid positions in the Easter and summer vacation periods.
For more information about the Nottingham Intership Scheme please click here.
Below are some videos of successful Internship applicants from the School of English.
English student, Shannon Berridge, talks about her summer internship at Strafe Creative.
English student, Ben Garry, talks about his internship as a digital marketing executive and how he improved the online visibility of his clients' businesses and that of his employer, Impression.
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