LJMU strongly backs English at degree level



National campaign highlights the value of English degrees

LJMU today hosts sixth-form pupils from across Merseyside to demonstrate the value of an English degree to young people’s careers and lives.

The visits are part of a week-long campaign showcasing the skills and competencies the subject can offer, as well as countering ‘misleading myths’ about English’s contribution to the nation.

From online interviews and conversations with experts and authors to in-person exhibitions and guest lectures, the push for English is being orchestrated by the national #EnglishCreates campaign.

Backed by graduates such as David Baddiel, Jeanette Winterson and Patience Agbabi, #EnglishCreates is led by University English (the English national subject association), in association with English departments at UK higher education institutes, including Oxford, Reading and LJMU.

It comes at a time when some universities are closing courses due to a steep fall over the last decade in the number of young people studying the subject at A level and beyond, although applications to university are now rising again.

Dr Kathryn Walchester, Subject Leader for English at LJMU who is on the national working group for the campaign, said: “Studying English develops transferable skills essential for the modern world, such as critical thinking and communication, as well as allowing students to engage with diverse ways of seeing the world.”

Lucy Alice Williams, an English Literature MA student at LJMU said: “I eagerly came to university in 2020 with a passion for English.

“A few of the academic skills I have developed during my BA and MA are critical thinking skills, comprehension, research skills and many more. However, my studies have also allowed me to flourish personally, developing my confidence, motivation, adaptability, creativity, and the ability to acknowledge issues and create solutions. Studying English provides people with opportunities to discover oneself on both a professional and personal level.

Ellen Plumbley, who studied both Bachelor and Master’s degrees at LJMU, said: ““My English degree has allowed me to gain transferable skills that will help my employability and that have already contributed to my interpersonal skills and my overall confidence. Participating in public speaking, research tasks, and critical thinking has been unquestionably beneficial to my ability to articulate ideas and observe and engage with others, and has allowed my writing, analytical, and creative abilities to thrive.”

The #EnglishCreates campaign is built around several key points, including:

  • English creates crucial skills for employment and social change in Communication, Critical thinking, Collaboration and Creativity. Together, these are described as Storycraft, skills highly valued by business and social leaders.
  • English is a key contributor to the creative industries, the fastest growing part of the UK economy.
  • Arts and Humanities graduates have the same employment rate as science graduates.
  • Average graduate starting salaries are up to £23,000, comparable with Psychology, Law, Business Studies and Chemistry.
  • English graduates enjoy the joint fourth highest annual average wage growth, at 6.2%, higher than graduates of Physics (5.9%), Business (5.8%) and psychology (5.6%)

For a full list of events, running from 3–7 June, visit https://universityenglish.ac.uk/events/

English at LJMU:

  • English consistently receives excellent student satisfaction scores in the National Student Survey. In 2023, 100% of our students were satisfied with the teaching on the course.
  • In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) more than half of LJMU research outputs, and two thirds of our impact case studies, received the highest possible rating of four stars. This means that the majority of our research has been deemed 'world-leading in originality, significance and rigour'. Our overall REF score was the third highest in LJMU, and our score for research impact was the highest in the University

IMAGE: A theatrical production of Milton's Paradise Lost, a set text at degree level.



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