BA Art and English Literature
Our BA Art and English Literature degree lets you engage in substantial practical work in the studio, develop your understanding of ideas and theories in contemporary art, and explore English literature from every era and across the globe.
You will see how debates across the creative arts are reflected in dynamic ways across the two subjects.
Join a lively community at Reading School of Art. You can explore a vast range of media, experiment with emerging art forms and develop as an artist. You will complement your practical art with modules in contemporary art theory and the history of art. The studios are busy places with events, screenings, performances and exhibitions regularly taking place. You will receive a dedicated space, accessible 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, and a studio tutor to help develop your individual and professional practice.
Trips to museums and art galleries help prompt thoughts on how art is displayed and received. You will gain professional experience by taking part in your own exhibitions, public art commissions and events. Your teaching staff are artists, curators and researchers of international standing and will encourage regular exhibitions and open debate.
94% of students in the Department of English Literature said our teaching staff were good or very good at explaining things (National Student Survey, 2023).
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 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 the English 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.
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 and seminars.
Placements and collaborations are actively encouraged throughout this joint degree, and there is also the option to experience life in another country by studying abroad. Throughout your course you will receive advice and guidance in career development.
All students are encouraged to work with different artists and designers in hosting events and exhibitions. External exhibitions have included Urban Utopia, a partnership between Fine Art and Deutsche Bank where 35 students curated their work in the new Capitol building, Bracknell, and an exhibition at the Beaconsfield Gallery in London.
You are also expected to undertake placement opportunities. Past students have enjoyed internships at Studio Voltaire and Frieze Art Fair. Others have performed at the ICA, taken part in an Arts Council-supported film project at the Museum of Rural Life and participated in an international exhibition at the Seoul Institute of Arts in South Korea. Alternatively, in English, a unique Literature, Languages and Education module enables you to combine the study of the practical use of English with a short placement.
Find out more about career prospects and placement opportunities.
Regular field trips to national and international museums, art institutions and galleries allow you to consider the diverse conditions in which art is displayed and received. There are also many opportunities for you to apply to study abroad: Reading School of Art has links with universities in countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, France, Switzerland and Finland.
Learn more about studying abroad.