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How to Become an English Professor/Lecturer?

Update on 2024-04-15

How to Become an English Professor/Lecturer?

Who is an English Professor/Lecturer?

Simply put, English professors/lecturers teach courses in English language and literature, including the different branches of literature such as Comparative Literature, Australian literature, Commonwealth Literature, etc. Apart from this, some English professors also teach specialized components of the English language, such as Linguistics, Literary theory, Critical thinking, Literary criticism, etc.

Major Responsibilities of an English Professor/Literature

On a daily basis, in the classroom, English professors/Lecturers initiate and moderate classroom discussions.

Simple tasks such as:

  • Maintaining student-attendance records
  • Grading students on tests
  • Keeping discipline in the classroom, etc.

Advanced tasks of English professors/Lecturers may

  • Design and organize course curricula
  • Keeping abreast, of the most recent literary developments.
  • Prepare handouts on novel structure, poetry, translation, etc.
  • Serve administrative duties such as HOD (Head of Department).
  • Some professors may also guide and advise students on specific career matters.

 How to Become an English Professor/Lecturer?

A deep-intensive knowledge in literature, current literary trends and fluency in English which is above average is required by the student to be eligible to become an English professor/Lecturer.

Apart from these skills:

  • Earn a Bachelor’s degree

A Bachelor’s degree in English is a 3-year undergraduate course. It builds the foundation required for students to gain advanced knowledge later on. It provides basic critical thinking and writing skills needed to pursue an English professor career.

The analysis and interpretations of literary texts are taught with reference to historical and economic themes of the times the text was written in.

  • Earn a Master’s Degree

A Master’s degree is a 2- year undergraduate course. English professors need to hold a postgraduate degree from a recognized board, to be able to teach. A Master’s is very important since it provides a deeper knowledge of critical theories, linguistics, mythology, and millions of other small details required to properly self-analyze a literary work.

  • Earn a Doctoral Degree

A Doctoral or Ph.D. is a 3- 5-year course. Becoming a professor requires the candidate to hold a doctoral degree in English or a relevant branch of English. The student must be ready to give a thesis or research work of up to 3,000 to 5,000 words. The student must pass a comprehensive exam and showcase his skills acquired in English so far.

  • Appear for the NET Exam

Candidates who have secured at least 55% marks in their post-graduate degree without rounding off are eligible to apply for the National Eligibility Test. It is a test that checks the eligibility of the candidates for the post of Assistant Professor.

It is one of the toughest exams with a pass rate of merely 6%.

There are no maximum attempts for candidates. It is also known as the UGC-NET exam. 

Courses to Pursue After 12th to Become an English Professor/Lecturer

To become an English professor/Lecturer in India, one must pursue a Bachelor’s in English, from a recognized University. 

Some of the requirements and eligibility criteria of Bachelor’s are listed below:

  • 10+2 pass, with a minimum of 50% aggregate marks, with English as the compulsory subject.
  • Admissions are usually based on the merit-list or personal interview.

Some of the requirements and eligibility criteria of Master’s are listed below:

  • A relevant Bachelor’s degree from a recognized university, with an aggregate score of 60% and above.
  • Admission is usually through entrance exams or the merit-list.

Top Institutes for BA (English) and their Fee Structure 2024

Name of the College Average Fee
Miranda House, DU Rs. 14,000/-
Stella Maris College, Chennai Rs. 7,200/-
SVSU, Meerut Rs. 31,500/-
Sri Agrasen Kanya PG College Rs. 8,000/-

Top Institutes for Masters in English and their Fee Structure

Name of the College Average Fees
IGNOU, Saket, Delhi Rs. 10,800/-
St.Stephens College Rs. 14,000/-
Indraprastha College for Women Rs. 10,500/-
Maharishi Dayanand University Rs. 7,000/-

Some colleges conduct screening exams, and personal interviews for prospective candidates, while some have a look at your marksheet. Whatever be the case, if you have a passion to teach and change the world through books, you can always opt for online or freelance classes too. 

What is it like to be an English Literature Professor in India?

A typical day in the life of an English teacher is a field job. From American History of the 90s in the morning to African contemporary literature in the evenings, it is no boring job.

Below, we have provided some valuable excerpts from current English professors, sharing their stories:

  • “Being a teacher requires significant work outside of work. Typically, a teacher will have one small assignment to grade on a daily basis. But there’s just something about being an English professor that I cannot get enough of”.  - Mohd. Wasim
  • “My life might seem overwhelming to some but to me it’s great. I’m a full-time husband and father, an English professor, and a freelancer. My day starts at 7 am and ends at 11 pm. But if I could go back with the option of changing my career, I simply would not. - Nikhil Saini
  • “Despite focusing on my schoolwork, and assignments from Monday to Friday, I sometimes rarely manage to find time for myself. Apart from this, I have six kids to take care of. It might seem tiring and hectic, but as soon as I open the books, I feel at peace”. - Karan Singh Rawat
  • “If you ask my lovely wife and sweet kids, I spend too much time with my ‘school family’ than the one at home. If not with them, then my books keep me company. However, they have also come to love storybooks and novels, and I and my family have now started to keep ‘Reading-days” on our weekends. It is the best part of our weekends”. - Vimal Kumar Sain

How much do English Professors Get Paid?

The average pay of an English professor in Delhi is around Rs. 25,000/- to Rs. 35,000/-.  Below is an interactive chart that shows the average salaries of different occupations.

How much do English Professors Get Paid?

Is English Professor/Lecturer a Career Option for me?

If you have this question in your mind at the current moment, sit down and think:

  • Do I enjoy reading novels? Can I go on and on about novels and my favorite character till everyone in my friend circle asks me to shut up?
  • Do I feel a thrill when I am about to reach the climax of a story?
  • Are there characters that make me cry and others that make me fall in love?
  • Most importantly, do I feel a need to spread the feelings I come across while reading and analyzing a text, to others?

If your answer to the above questions was mostly “yes, duh”, then I am happy to announce, being an English professor is the best career option for you!

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