Student Recruitment / Retention

Why Study English?

Why Study English?

“This site is for those students who are choosing a subject to study at degree level. It contains information and advice about preparing for uni, what it’s like to study English, and the opportunities an English degree may create for you.”


This area of the website covers student recruitment and admissions trends, and you may also wish to look at the area on Diversity & Inclusion. According to HESA, there are about 52,000 full-time and part-time undergraduates studying English in any year, which equates to an annual intake of around 17,300 (single and combined students). (More information can be found in the HESA tables ‘Subject of Study’. Numbers appear to be relatively stable over a number of years, but of course national statistics may mask local problems in recruitment. No one knows how students will react to the introduction of the new fees in 2012, especially in regard to non-vocational subjects where future earnings are not easy to predict.

The discipline also needs to ensure that its intake is representative in terms of social group and gender (see Is English a Young, White, Female, Middle-Class Subject? in a recent Newsletter) . Women comprise about three-quarters of the undergraduate intake and it has been commented that the most obvious way for the discipline to increase its numbers is for it to make itself more attractive to males.

In the new funding regime students (especially those from less financially secure homes) may be persuaded away from English towards more vocational disciplines. Anna Richardson, at the Centre for Employability through the Humanities, has written a report on links between post-16 subject choice and future career plans in AS-Level English students which sheds some light on young people’s perceptions of the relationship between the study of English and future career prospects.

You may be interested in a list of famous English graduates we have compiled in order to demonstrate to potential students the range of careers that are possible with an English degree.

whystudyenglish_postcardAs well as containing statistical information, this section includes details of a postcard and website published by the Subject Centre to promote the discipline to potential students.