BA English Literature
Find out how we're adapting during COVID-19.
Explore a range of writers from across the globe and every period of history, from the middle ages right up to the present, with our BA English Literature course.
Our English Literature degree will enable you to examine in greater detail authors and genres that you may already know (from tragedy to Gothic, from Shakespeare and Dickens to Plath and Beckett). But it will also introduce you to aspects of literary studies that may be less familiar to you, from children's literature to publishing studies and the history of the book. Our academics have published research on everything from medieval poetry to contemporary Caribbean and American fiction, and they will help you to develop your own literary enthusiasms.
Our first year core modules ensure that all of our students have the advanced skills in literary analysis necessary for undergraduate work. We explore the different ways that literary texts respond to their cultural context (Genre and Context); we trace the development of poetry in English over time and across the globe (Poetry in English); we examine how literary texts accrue new meanings in the process of interpretation (Research and Criticism). You can take additional modules in other subjects in your first year, but you also have the option to study creative writing; non-fiction persuasive writing, or twentieth-century American literature. In the second year, you choose modules that range from Renaissance lyric poetry to contemporary fiction. In the third year, your module choices are more diverse and specialised: you can do archive work on Studying Manuscripts, or look at the politics of literature in Writing Global Justice. Everyone in our department, from new lecturers to professors, teaches at every level of the degree: this gives you the benefit of our expertise and makes you part of the conversation about the ways that English Studies is developing. 96% of our students say that staff are good at explaining things (National Student Survey, 2021).
On this course, you will have the option to study creative writing modules throughout your degree. Our lecturers and professors of creative writing are all writers who work at the highest professional levels.
Throughout the degree, we prioritise small-group learning within a friendly and supportive environment. In your first and second years, you will have a mix of lectures (which can be quite large) and seminars.
We believe that the study of English Literature is a discursive process in which we learn by sharing our ideas. For this reason, all our third year teaching takes place in seminars taught by research-active experts in the field. We will provide detailed and thorough feedback on your written work. This is crucial to your development as a writer, whether you intend a career in creative or professional writing.
For more information, please visit the Department of English Literature website.
Throughout your degree you will be thinking about the career choices that will enable you to thrive after graduation: we will help you put in place the skills and experience that you need to launch that career. Our innovative placement scheme gives you the chance to undertake an academic placement in commerce, industry or the arts. You can also take a placement module on languages and literature in heritage, in education, and in the media. Students on our Communications at Work module also undertake a short placement to explore the ways in which the skills and knowledge gained in their studies have direct application to the workplace.
In your second year, you can spend a term studying abroad at one of our partner institutions in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe and the USA. To find out more, visit the Study abroad website.