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How you'll learn – University of Reading

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  • "When you practise reading, and you work at a text, it can only give you what you put into it. It's an old moral, but it's completely true." Zadie Smith

How you'll learn

English Lit Reading Books GroupAs a student in the Department of English Literature you will become part of a lively academic community. We use a wide range of teaching and assessment methods so that all our students have the opportunity to fulfil their potential. We support our students' personal and professional development so that they thrive during their time with us and in the world beyond.

"The English Literature department really does have a community feel, and it is so easy to get to know people through classes and extra curricular groups and activities. All the staff are so invested in your learning, and will be there to encourage and aid you throughout your time at the university with an entirely genuine interest and enthusiasm."

 - Billie Thomas, BA (Hons) English Literature



Eng Lit LearningYou'll be learning in three main different ways: lectures, seminars, and essay tutorials. Lectures are hour-long talks delivered by our expert academics. Seminars are round-table discussions that involve about 15 students and a member of academic staff. These small groups allow you to exchange ideas about the topic at hand. Learning at Reading is not simply a case of listening - here, we debate, discuss, and collaborate to generate new ideas about the texts that we study. Small-group teaching is at the heart of what we do: your lecturers will know you by name and you will become part of a supportive community of learners.

At Reading, we believe in the importance of one-to-one feedback as part of a bespoke learning experience. For each of the modules in your second and third year you will have one-to-one meetings with an academic to discuss your progress and ways in which you can improve your assessed work. Every student at Reading is assigned an Academic Tutor, who meets with you regularly throughout your degree to offer advice about your academic progress. Personal feedback will help you to achieve your goals and improve your own literary skills.

Supported, self-directed study

We make sure that you have plenty of time to read the texts that we ask you to study. We review our curriculum regularly to help you to manage your workload. Your Academic Tutor will offer one-to-one advice on how to get the most out of your reading and how to prepare effectively for seminars and lectures.

Download week in the life of an English Literature Student (MS Word -15k) to see how a typical week unfolds for First Year student Esme Ashcroft.

If you'd like to find out more about what life is like in the Department, take a look at our blog .

learning RESOURCES

The Open Access collections at the Special Collections ServiceAs a student in the Department of English Literature you will have access to superb learning resources. The academic library on campus has recently undergone a multi-million pound upgrade. Our extensive digital resources mean that you can carry out research in your halls of residence, in the Department of English Literature dedicated study space - or even in one of the many coffee shops on campus!


How will you be assessed?

Your learning will be assessed regularly and you will get plenty of feedback to help you develop your ideas, arguments, and writing style. You won't just write essays and exams: we use a wide variety of assessment methods, including learning journals, presentations, placement reports, and special projects. Our assessments encourage you to learn new skills and give you the opportunity to play to your strengths. In your third year, you'll have the opportunity to write a dissertation: a large-scale piece of individual research with personal supervision from academic members of staff.

See the world as you study


The University of Reading's Study Abroad scheme gives you the exciting chance to spend a term or a full academic year studying at a university in another part of the world. In recent years, our students have studied abroad in the USA, Canada, Australia, and Germany. This is a fantastic opportunity to have a great adventure whilst continuing your education. You'll get to experience life in other cultures, make new friends and increase your resilience. You will come back to Reading even better prepared - intellectually and socially - to flourish in your final year. 

Your lecturers are also researchers

At Reading, all of your lecturers and seminar leaders are active researchers in the field of English Literature. That means that your learning will be based on the most recent ideas and developments in our field. You will benefit from your lecturers' expertise, and in seminars you'll become part of a shared conversation about the way our subject is developing. You can be part of the process of discovery: students' ideas help to shape the research of the future.


Request a prospectus

To learn more about English Literature, take a look at the information in our prospectus.

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