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The English Literature curriculum at Reading is pioneering, contemporary, and comprehensive. The wide range of expertise among our teaching staff means that you can study literature in English from every period of history and from across the globe.

Our degrees are flexible, allowing you to choose the modules that best suit your interests. After the groundwork of Part 1, you will choose your individual pathway through the broader period or thematic modules of Part 2 and a wide range of specialised options in Part 3. You can, in effect, design your own degree by picking the modules that appeal most to you.

We are proud of the range of options available to our students. Many of our modules are unique to Reading because they reflect the research specialisms of our expert teaching staff.
Please note that modules may change due to developments in the curriculum, the research interests of staff, or the relocation of staff.

How our degrees work


Your first year will teach you new methods for getting to grips with literature, including literary theory and criticism, textual analysis and comparison.


During your second year, you will be able to pick from a wide range of modules covering key historical periods, themes and concepts. Here at Reading we allow you to choose all six of the modules in your second year, giving you a real breadth of experience and expertise.


In your third year you delve further into specialised fields of expertise. You will also have the opportunity to carry out a personalised research project in the form of your dissertation. This project is on a subject of your choice and will involve individual supervision and mentoring from one of our academic team.


Please note that module content described in the films and leaflet below are relevant for September 2023 entry only.

Your degree in a nutshell

A groups of book stood on end as viewed from above

Read about the wide choice of modules available to you throughout your degree.

Genre and Context

Hear from Dr Chloe Houston how this first-year module will help you understand two pairings of historical moment and genre: the Renaissance stage and the Victorian novel.

Research and criticism

Hear from Dr Nicola Abram how this first-year module provides a secure foundation in both the practical skills and theoretical literacy needed for the degree-level study of literature.

Poetry in English

Hear from Professor Peter Robinson how this first-year module helps you gain skills of close reading that are foundational to the study of English, as well as an overview of the history of poetry in English.

20th Century American Literature

Hear from Professor David Brauner how in this first-year module, you will engage with work by white and African-American writers, covering a number of genres and sub-genres, from poetry, the short story and drama, to crime fiction.

Introduction to Creative Writing

Hear from Professor Conor Carville how in this first-year module you will develop your skills in creative writing across a range of genres. 

Diverse study options

Become part of a diverse and inclusive community of readers and writers, united in our passion for our subject.

Read our Department of English Literature brochure 

Read our joint degrees leaflet 

Read more in our Literature and Languages Foundation Year leaflet