AB in English in the Philippines

The Bachelor of Arts in English (ABE) is a 4-year degree program which centers on the theoretical aspects and practical applications of the English language and literature. Not only does this course aim to furnish students with deep insights regarding the nature of the language, but also with the unique features and structure as well.

Its curriculum was designed in a way that it will equip students with the right knowledge and skills in order for them to become articulate English speakers and achieve a high level of English proficiency in general.

Some of the subjects covered include:
  • Basic Communication Subjects (e.g., Preparatory English I & II; Business Communication)
  • English Subjects (e.g., History of the English Language; Advanced English Grammar)
  • Literature Subjects (e.g., Literatures of the World; Childrens Literature)
  • Linguistics Subjects (e.g., Phonology; Sociolinguistics)
  • Research Writing Subjects
  • Technical Writing Subjects

The AB in English program is taught through classroom-based frontal instructions conducted by teachers, as well as writing exercises, projects, speech exercises, and oral exams.

Some subjects under the ABE curriculum require students to conduct observations in a school or a workplace setting, in order for them to get exposed to the practical applications of the theories and principles that they learn in the classroom. Furthermore, written reports, analyses, and reflection papers about these observations are also required to be submitted.

Is English Studies a profession?

English Studies is NOT a profession. However, a graduate of AB in English can pursue careers in academics, call centers, broadcasting, advertising, publishing, business, law and public service. Graduates of ABE can also work as English teachers, provided they take additional teaching units and pass the Licensure Examination for Teachers. Furthermore, AB in English can serve as a good preparation for further studies in the fields of linguistics, literature, and law.

What are the admission requirements for ABE?

Requirements at each school may differ, but these are the common requirements:
  • Must be a high school graduate.
    Those who did not complete high school education may opt to first attend Alternative Learning System (ALS) and pass the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) to qualify for college. However, some universities only offer selected courses for PEPT passers admission.
  • Must pass the college entrance examination.
  • Must pass the interview conducted by the college/university admission officer
  • Medical laboratory results and health certificate
  • Good Moral certificate from the previous school (sometimes from enrollees Barangay)
  • Some schools require you to pass a qualifying test implemented by the English Department
  • Some schools require a particular rating in the National Secondary Assessment Test (NSAT)
  • Some schools require a particular grade in English

What skills will help you succeed in this course?

  • English Skills – the ability to read, write, and communicate well in English is necessary because obviously, most of the literature and required reading materials are in this language.
  • Writing Skills – students must have the ability to write with clarity because aside from being asked to construct several written compositions, they are also required to write a thesis.
  • Reading Comprehension – this skill is necessary because AB in English involves a lot of required reading materials that students must read and understand.
  • Communication Skills – the ability to present information both in verbal and written form. You will be required to accomplish written reports on assigned tasks and present them orally to your professors and classmates
  • Interpersonal Skills – the ability to communicate and interact harmoniously with other people will definitely help you work on group projects and class activities with your classmates.
  • Analytical Skills – this course entails literary analysis tasks, which is why students must have the ability to delve deeper and analyze the underlying meaning of texts.
  • Creativity – the ability to come up with unique concepts that you might use in writing assigned essays and other literary pieces.

How difficult is this course?

This course is of average difficulty. AB in English is under the field of liberal arts, and can be considered as not as difficult as programs in the field of natural sciences and other technical courses.

How long does it take to complete AB in English in the Philippines?

Normally, the ABE program takes 4 years to complete. Some schools who apply the trimester school calendar system do the program in 3 years.

On The Job Training / Internship

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) does not require students under the AB in English Program to undergo an internship period.


  • Communication Arts – this field of specialization centers on the theories and practical use of human communication and the different kinds of media, such as print, electronic media, broadcast, advertising, theater or film, and communications research.
  • English as Second Language – this specialization focuses on helping students enhance their command of English for professional purposes. Not only will the students develop English fluency, but will also improve their accuracy in terms of English communication.
  • Language – this specialization centers on improving the students competencies with regard to the English language, and widen their knowledge of the discipline as well. Aside from that, this specialization also focuses on the practical application of the different English language competencies.
  • Literature – this specialization is for students who wanted to acquire a profound knowledge on literature written in the English language. This field focuses on various English literary pieces from different parts of the world, and aims to equip students with relevant skills such as literary analysis and critical writing skills.
  • Applied Linguistics – this field of specialization centers on providing students with in-depth knowledge of the English language, to enable them to apply it in different contexts such as in the field of education, journalism, and translation.

Is there a board examination for ABE?

There is no board examination for AB in English graduates.

If you plan on working in the government sector, you can take a competency examination called the Civil Service Examination. Those who pass the Civil Service Examination are conferred a civil service eligibility, which is a basic requirement for entrance to government service.

If you want to pursue an academic-related career, you will be required to acquire additional teaching units and take the Licensure Examination for Teachers.

Career opportunities for ABE graduates

  • Jobs related to English Studies

    • English Teacher – after acquiring additional teaching units and passing the Licensure Examination for Teachers, an AB in English graduate can work as an English Teacher.
    • Personal English Tutor – this job entails private English tutoring of students at home. In the Philippines, most of the clients for this job are of Korean, Chinese, or Japanese nationality.
    • English Language Trainer – this position is most common in BPO companies. The job of a language trainer is to train call center agents with regards to their grammar, accent, and diction.
    • Marketing Communication Specialist – this job involves reviewing of literature related to the assigned marketing project, writing draft speeches for the senior management, as well as preparing brochures or video presentations.
    • Public Relations Officer – manages the reputation of a particular organization or company. Some of the job duties include, developing and implementing PR strategies, organizing events (e.g., press conferences; exhibitions; press tours ), writing and editing documents (e.g., magazine articles; annual reports; speeches), facilitating the production of publicity handouts,as well as updating the organizations website.
    • Academician – an instructor or a professor in a particular academic institution, which provides education under the field of English Studies
    • Editor – responsible for reviewing content, supervising writers, and asking for revisions, until the written content is ready for publishing.
    • Foreign Service Officer – this job involves drafting diplomatic notes, preparing foreign policy papers, conducting international conferences, promoting Philippine interests abroad, and undertaking consular tasks.
  • Jobs not related to English studies that graduates can apply to

    • Government Employee – working in one of the government departments or agencies.
    • Call Center Agent – the job duties of call center agents include obtaining client information through phone interviews, informing clients and explaining procedures by answering questions via phone calls, and accomplishing sales goals set by the management.
    • Telesales Representative – this job involves generating leads through cold calling, conducting presentations or product demos (via phone or the internet), closing deals and meeting sales quota.
    • Administrative Staff – personnel responsible for the organization and management of office duties and tasks; positions that include office secretary, personal assistant and office clerk
    • Freelancer working online – doing online jobs for clients abroad, such as data entry, article writing, SEO, customer support, administrative support etc., which mainly depends on your skills
  • Career Opportunities Abroad

    There are job opportunities abroad for graduates of AB in English, particularly for English teachers, in countries such as Korea, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Thailand, Qatar and Oman. (source)
  • Salary Levels

    Since AB in English graduates have a wide choice of career paths to take, the salary levels vary greatly. However, if you want to pursue a career in teaching (English teacher), the salary range for fresh graduates is between PhP 8,000 to PhP 12,500 a month, and those with a 1-4 year experience can earn PhP 11,000 to PhP 16,000 per month. More experienced teachers and those holding advanced positions, have a monthly income between PhP 15,000 to PhP 21,000. (source)

Reviews of AB in English graduates:

J. C.
Studied AB English with Applied Linguistics (slightly different course)
at University of San Carlos , Cebu City
Graduated: 1997

Why did I choose this course:
Initially, I took up Comp. Sci. Because at that time, it was the 'rage' and many graduates were taking up computer courses. On my 2nd year, I realized I am into English and many of my subjects were credited anyway. So all in all, it was definitely a good decision to shift to AB English, plus I was told the batch I was with was the pioneering batch for the Applied Linguistics department, wherein education units were incorporated to the curriculum.

About my college education:
The good thing about taking AB English, albeit many would say, it is a general course... similar to Liberal Arts and probably something that people who are not quite sure of what to take would take, but I can honestly say that AB English does give you a view of all possible aspects, whether you wish to pursue another career after you graduate, when you wish to teach, or even take it as a pre-law course. The possibilities are endless.

My current job:
I am technically holding the DARP Supervisor's position. DARP stands for Documentation, Analysis, Reporting & Planning. This department takes care of all documentation and as the dept says, reporting, analysis, and planning. I work for a BPO company which means all data and recording has to be submitted to the right people: QA, Managers, etc...

At the same time, since I initially joined the company as Language Trainer, I take care of special training given to agents, focusing on Speech and Communication. As a pioneering employee, I created the training plan for newly hired employees. I don't technically belong to the Training Dept, but from time to time, if there are agents who are in need of special 'training', they're given to me to be trained.

I also do specialized training, upon request, for other English schools. An example was a request to do Speech and Pronunciation Training for 3 weeks to the teachers of an English Academy (for Korean students).

Am I using what I learned in college:
I would say, yes, practical and at the same time, learning all about the different countries' literature, may not have been as useful... but having that additional knowledge certainly didn't hurt.

I would definitely say what I learned during my college years was and is very useful. Learning how to prepare for a Lesson Plan was very important during my teaching years. Being able to properly analyze data and put thoughts into words definitely made me a better Supervisor and Lead to my office mates. Being well informed with Speech, Grammar and Pronunciation is a definite plus as I do my training.

How long did it take to find a job after graduation:
Actually, it didn't take long. After I graduated, I already knew I wanted to teach, so I sent my resumes to schools and landed an English teaching job in one of the best schools in Cebu.

Do I recommend studying AB English with Applied Linguistics:
In the BPO industry, starting salaries for good speakers, especially if you're an AB English graduate would range from 12k-15k. If you enter the bigger BPOs and you have the technical background and experience from other call centers, your rate would definitely go higher, around 15k-18k.

As a Language Trainer, salary range would be from 18k-20k, and it will definitely go up the longer you stay with the company.

Based on my experience, while I don't 'check the waters', so to speak, and go from one call center to another, I find this job very fulfilling, not only because I feel I am property compensated, but because I see that I am able to change, help, and improve someone in terms of language and speaking proficiency. I see how these agents who once have had challenges with the English language become better speakers...and customer service representatives.

Advice to people who are thinking of studying this course:
If you have love the English language, then I would say, 'yes, ' go for it. I believe, whether it is AB English, or any other course, if you do not have the heart for it, you will either regret taking the course, or simply shift to another one.
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