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Skills and Careers

Identifying, developing and applying your skills

In 2012-2013, the School will launch a new module for first year students entitled 'Identifying, developing and applying your skills'. The module explores a range of areas in which students on English and Linguistics pathways can best apply their subject-specific skills within and beyond the university context. By providing training and support for enhancing students' communication, teamwork and presentation skills, the module makes explicit the breadth of English literary and language studies as a rich foundation for lifelong learning. The module also establishes and facilitates ongoing links between students, employers and practising professionals, and identifies the skills which are sought in the workplace. The module is structured around a programme of lectures, workshops and fieldwork exercises. Each of the workshops targets a particular skill already introduced in the other ENG and ENL modules, and demonstrates how the skill in question can be enhanced and transferred in various fields. The module equips students with a firm understanding of the conceptual, analytic, organisation and communication skills acquired during undergraduate study, and with the ability to refine and apply those skills effectively in social, cultural, academic and employment contexts.

The School of English is committed to helping students realise their potential at undergraduate level and, in line with the University's Education Strategy for 2011-2016, our curriculum has been developed 'to meet the changing needs of students, employers and society.' We work closely with colleagues in the Careers and Learning Development Services to provide our students with access to opportunities and facilities for enhancing their employability, and we encourage students to seek recognition for their extra-curricular activities by way of the Degree Plus programme.

Potential Careers

English is one of the most flexible degrees available in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The degree develops individuals' time management skills, independence of thought, collaboration and teamwork, creativity, and critical intelligence. A degree in English equips students for a wide variety of careers. Our graduates have entered careers which include:

  • English as a foreign language teacher / as a second language teacher
  • Primary School Teacher / Secondary School Teacher
  • Higher education
  • Legal services
  • Advertising Account Executive
  • Arts Administrator
  • Librarian
  • Charity Officer
  • Editorial Assistant
  • Marketing executive
  • Newspaper Journalist
  • Radio / TV programme researcher
  • TV and film production
  • Public Relations Officer
  • Writing

Annie Kelly is reading for a PhD at the University of St Andrews

Career Profile

Annie Kelly, journalist and writer:

I studied for my BA Hons in English and French at Queen’s University from 1981-86. To arrive there, as a shy and bookish 18-year-old, felt like beginning my own adventure story. And so it proved. Shyness evaporated halfway through Freshers’ Week as I joined the social whirl, discovering the Students’ Union, the local pubs and clubs, and making lifelong friends. I loved my subjects (in my first year I took Spanish as well) and, under the guidance of my English tutors, literary friendships were forged with Yeats, Hughes, Gaskell and Dickens. During my first year I lived at 77 Malone Road, then Aquinas Hall, and many years previously, a Bishop’s Residence, where Louis MacNeice wrote his poem Snow. That famous poem always reminds me of my time at Queen’s, of learning to see ordinary things afresh and finding that the world was ‘...suddener than we fancy it.’  Queen’s opened up many new worlds... [read more]

Former Graduate Students in Academic Employment

Among our former students who have entered academic careers are:

Dr David Coleman is Lecturer in English at Nottingham Trent University. His AHRC-funded Ph.D. at Queen's, 'Indelible Characters: Sacramental Themes in Sixteenth-Century English Drama', was completed in 2004.

Dr Kevin De Ornellas is Lecturer in English at the University of Ulster at Coleraine. His AHRC-funded Ph.D. at Queen's, 'Troping the Horse in Early Modern English Literature and Culture', was completed in 2003.

Dr Alan Gillis is Lecturer in English at the University of Edinburgh. His Ph.D. at Queen's, 'Awakening Constellations: History in Irish Poetry of the 1930s', was completed in 2001.

Dr Carolyn Jess is Lecturer in Film at the University of Sunderland. Her DEL-funded Ph.D. at Queen's, 'Cinematic Shakespeare: Regenerative Authority and the Sequel Phenomenon', was completed in 2004.

Dr Edel Lamb was an ARC (Australian Research Council) Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Sydney and returned to Queen's as a Lecturer in Renaissance Literature in 2012. Her AHRC-funded Ph.D. at Queen's, 'The Children's Playing Companies of Early Modern London: Childhood, Theatre, Identity', was completed in 2006.

Dr Emilie Morin is a Lecturer in English at the University of York.  Her Ph.D. at Queen's,  ‘“A Lingering Dissolution”: The problem of “Irishness” in the work of Samuel Beckett’, was completed in 2006.

Dr Aaron Kelly is a Lecturer in English at the University of Edinburgh. His Ph.D at Queen's, '"Utterly resigned terror": the thriller and Northern Ireland since 1969', was completed in 2000.

Dr Stephen Kelly was a Lecturer in Medieval Literature at the University of Kent 2001-2003 and was appointed Lecturer in English at Queen's in 2005. His Ph.D. at Queen's, 'Hermeneutic Encounters with Piers Plowman', was completed in 1998.

Dr Paul Maddern commences a Lecturer in English at the University of Leeds in 2012. His Ph.D. at Queen's, 'The Seamus Heaney Digital Archive: The Public Performance of Poetry', was completed in 2010.

Dr Naomi McAreavey is Lecturer in English at University College, Dublin. Her AHRC-funded Ph.D. at Queen's, 'Gendering lrishness: Women and Writing in Seventeenth-Century Ireland', was completed in 2006.

Dr Stuart McWilliams is Lecturer in English at Åbo Akademi University, Finland.  His AHRC-funded Ph.D. at Queen's, 'Magic and Possibility: medievalism and the idea of the occult', was completed in 2010.

Dr Michael McAteer is Lecturer in Irish Writing at Péter Pázmány University in Hungary. His Ph.D. at Queen's, '"Dead faces laugh": Imagination and History from Standish James O'Grady to George Russell and W.B. Yeats', was completed in 1998.

Dr Ryan Perry is Lecturer in Medieval Literature at the University of Kent. His DEL-funded Ph.D at Queen's, 'The Cultural Location of Handlyng Synne', was completed in 2004.

Dr Victoria Price is Lecturer in Theatre Studies at the University of Glasgow. Her AHRC-funded Ph.D. at Queen's, 'Discursive Prostitution: Repositioning Women in Early Modem Literature and Culture', was completed in 2004.

Dr Karen Smyth is Lecturer in Medieval Literature at the University of East Anglia. Her DEL-funded Ph.D. at Queen's, 'Temporal Consciousness in the Poetry of Thomas Hoccleve and John Lydgate', was completed in 2001.

Professor William Watkin is Professor of Contemporary Literature and Philosophy at Brunel University. His Ph.D. at Queen's, 'In the Process of Poetry: The New York School and the Avant-Garde' , was completed in 1999.