Literature, Film and theatre studies

Career prospects

Graduates hugging

Your future starts here

Studying a degree within the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies, provides you with the skills, expertise and confidence you need to succeed in life after graduation.

What can I do with a Literature, Film or Theatre studies degree?

Careers within journalism, media, the performing arts and publishing are typical dream destinations – and our graduates often end up landing permanent jobs within these areas. However, it’s worth taking the time to consider your talents and the skills you develop as a LiFTS graduate and investigating all available career routes.

  • Marketing, public relations or advertising presents an opportunity to make the most of your writing skills and creative flair.
  • Legal careers may possibly require further qualification, but LiFTS graduates have the foundational skills in communicating accurate, evidenced and persuasive arguments.
  • If you’re interested in building better community relationships, a career in applied theatre may await.
  • Your ability to think critically, question and analyse information is an in-demand skill in any number of industries, as well as being an essential quality in anyone who wishes to pursue further HE study.

But be prepared - few graduates from any subject, step directly into their ideal role, but this is especially the case within the highly competitive fields which attract graduates from creative degrees.

Many of our academics are practising professionals within the arts and media. This means that alongside teaching you, they continue to work within and develop their knowledge of their respective industries. Dr Annecy Lax is Senior Lecturer in Drama, as well as being a playwright and theatre producer. She recommends a multi-faceted approach to building your career.

“You need to be prepared to use and develop other areas of expertise, like IT skills, customer service, managing budgets and so on, to serve and promote your main area of authority, whether that’s writing, filmmaking or the performing arts. Your early career experiences may not always feel like they are directly related to your degree or to your eventual goal, but you are collecting the building blocks of a portfolio-style career, which will call on your different strengths at different times. A job that looks different to the norm might be right for you.”

Freelancing can feel like an intimidating prospect, but if you want to build a career as a performer or theatre-maker, journalist, writer or filmmaker, it can be your route into a truly rewarding lifestyle.

You will be able to concentrate your energies on what you love to do best – although you need to accept that being your own “brand”, managing your own finances and organising your own workload is all part of the deal. Freelancing typically involves a combination of securing existing short-term opportunities with the creation your own projects.

A number of our graduates have taken the freelance route into self-employment, setting up as publishers, theatre companies and writers. At Essex, we will endeavour to make sure you feel confident to work in this way, with our practitioner staff always on hand to advise you on practicalities, such as securing funding and finding networking opportunities.

How will you support my career development?

We want to help you see how your degree skills transfer to the career you want. In your first year the module “Writing in Society: The Art of Communication” looks at the skills which each LiFTS discipline develops and gives them context within the professional world. Through the assignments you will develop key employment skills such as teamwork, self-assessment and you will be given guidance on writing your CV.

Former graduates and other experts are invited to give presentations on the careers they built on the back of their degrees from within the creative disciplines. You can also choose to include a Placement Year within your degree. We’ll help you to find a relevant opportunity and ensure that you make the most of a great chance to improve your career prospects.

What are my opportunities?

Our Student Services Hub is on hand to help you find placements and internships – and offers a lot more besides. It provides an on-campus job shop, one-to-one careers advice, hosts workshops on employability skills, and offers support if you want to start your own business. You can also sign up for the Big Essex Award, which identifies the skills you’ve developed over the course of your studies and records your achievements on your degree transcript.

The Employability and Careers Centre also runs Careers’ Fairs throughout the year and there are further opportunities to develop your skills with a number of Student’s Union societies, such as broadcasting with Rebel Media, Theatre Arts, Film, Writing and Public Speaking.

At Essex we run a unique internal internship scheme. Frontrunners offers our students the opportunity to work within a University department or team. As well as giving you the chance to earn alongside your studies, a Frontrunner internship will develop your professional skills and prepare you for the world of work. 

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme is ideal for students who want to explore life in academia. It offers applicants the chance to assist our academics on a current research project. Once again, as well as developing your research skills these research placements are fully paid.

The Essex Students’ Union also offers you the opportunity to grow your CV as a volunteer with a wide variety of organisations. Our students have volunteered at Colchester Zoo, local healthcare settings and schools, festivals and foodbanks.

Our graduates

We're proud of the journeys our graduates are on. From the opportunities they've experienced and the variety of career paths they have embarked upon, our graduates are sharing their stories with us.

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Career support for life

You don't need to have your future all planned out. Our Careers Services offer friendly, professional support and one-to-one advice to students and graduates.

Find out more