BA English Literature and International Relations
Whether you explore post-colonial literature or debate the ‘Arab Spring’, our BA English and International Relations degree lets you explore the world from different perspectives.
Our students examine some of the world’s most pressing problems as they are represented in literary works and as they are analysed through the study of International Relations, a specialist area of politics.
In your English literature modules, you will read more of authors and genres that you may already know (from tragedy to Gothic, from Shakespeare and Dickens to Plath and Beckett). But you will also encounter 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. As you progress through your degree, your module choices become more diverse and specialised: you can do archive work on Studying Manuscripts, or look at the politics of literature in Class Matters. 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 our research and its impact outside the classroom. 96% of our students say that staff are good at explaining things (National Student Survey, 2021).
In international relations, you will learn how to apply political theories and techniques to the issues that make news headlines across the globe. You will have the opportunity to choose from a wide range of specialist core and optional modules, which cover topical issues such as European political integration, international terrorism, and politics in the Middle East. In certain modules, you will have the opportunity to take part in United Nations and Middle East simulations and gain an insight into the political process. You can also take part in other activities that are related to the subject, such as the Department of Politics and International Relations' weekly politics radio show and learn other useful skills such as presenting and audio editing.
We place a strong emphasis on 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 and international relations is a discursive process in which we learn by sharing our ideas, and so we are determined to keep class sizes small enough so that everyone feels able to contribute. We provide detailed and thorough feedback on your written work within 15 working days: this is crucial to your development as someone whose career will involve the writing of clear and persuasive documents.
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. In international relations, you can undertake a two-week placement as part of our module on British government and politics. This is an opportunity for you to gain first-hand experience of working with an MP, charity, pressure group, local councillor or media organisation. You can also carry out longer placements during summer vacations.
In your second year, it may be possible for you to spend a term studying abroad at one of our partner institutions in the USA, Canada, Australia and countries across Europe. Learn more about studying abroad.