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BA English Language and Literature
On our BA English Language and Literature programme, develop your understanding of English as a living and dynamic global language whilst exploring a diverse range of literary texts from Britain, America and beyond.
Our teaching in English language places a strong emphasis on applying theory to real-life situations, and on transferable skills such as problem-solving, team-working and data-analysis. You will learn about how to research issues in the social sciences and how to conduct fieldwork. You will enhance your knowledge of grammar and phonetics as well as learning about how language is used in different social settings, how language is acquired by children and adults, and how our uses of English are being re-shaped by the media. Reading’s Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics has more than 50 years of excellence in the field, and we’re in the top 150 universities in the world for these subjects (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023).
You will study the same number of modules in English literature as in English language. Our literature curriculum has everything you would expect from a department with a century-long reputation for innovative research. You will read more of major authors like Shakespeare and Dickens, Sylvia Plath and Samuel Beckett, but you will also be able to explore the most exciting contemporary writing in English from around the globe. Whether your interests are in creative writing, publishing studies or children’s literature, you will be able to develop your own interests with expert help. 94% of students in the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics said that their course challenged them to achieve their best work very often or fairly often (National Student Survey, 2023).
In your first year, you study six modules, three in English language and three modules in English Literature. Your second year modules in English Language build your skills in grammar, phonology and sociolinguistics. In Literature, 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 will also research a dissertation on a subject of your choosing, in either English language or English literature, with one-to-one advice and support from your supervisor. Alternatively, if you are more focused on the practical sense of your degree, you may choose to carry out a Professional Communication Project. By the end of your three years with us, you will be an independent learner and a confident communicator.
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 education and in the media. Our students have been very successful at winning places on the University’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme, and have worked on real research projects on multilingualism, child language development, digital editing and archive studies.