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 Rankings by Subject, 2022).
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. 90% of students agreed that our staff are good at explaining things in the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics (2021 National Student Survey).
In your first year, you study six modules, three in English language (English Language and Society, Sounds, Grammar and Meaning and one optional module e.g. Globalisation and Language) and three modules in English Literature (Genre and Context, Research and Criticism, and a choice of either Poetry in English, Creative Writing or Persuasive Writing). 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: from Editing the Renaissance to Class Matters, from English in the World to Child Language Development and Language and Migration. In English Language, the core module Language and Communication in Professions will enable you to understand how language is used in various professional contexts. 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.