BA (Hons) English Literature

About the course

Study English Literature with us and we’ll help you grow from passionate reader into critical thinker and literary scholar.

You’ll be taught by research-active academics who bring fresh thinking to our accessible, engaging courses. This means you’ll study literature written in English by writers from all parts of the globe, whose voices are relevant and important in our modern world.

We’ll introduce you to writers who will open doors to contemporary worlds and cultures remote from your own, and also help you explore more familiar literature in ways that challenge your preconceptions.

Whatever your taste in literature, our courses will interest and provoke you. From The Tiger Who Came to Tea to Jane Eyre, from Paradise Lost to Zadie Smith’s Swing Time, we’ll broaden your literary horizons and hone your critical thinking.

A core module in your first year will equip you to read and interpret both traditional and contemporary literary texts critically as a scholar of English literature. Alongside this you can choose to study international and American literature or revisit Shakespeare and consider his cultural relevance today through fictional, cinematic and TV adaptations.

In your second year you’ll focus on period-based literature from the Renaissance onwards and gain an understanding of literary history, from Elizabethan verse and drama, via Augustan poetry and the emergence of the novel in the 18th century, to the radical transformations of the Victorian age, and the emergence of modernity in the 20th century. You’ll also have the opportunity to consider ways of reading that go beyond textual analysis or historical context, such as understanding literature through the political or ideological lens of Marxism, feminism and post-colonial theory.

You’ll have the chance to specialise in your final year, tailoring your degree to reflect your own interests. Themed options include children’s literature, young adult fiction, Renaissance tragedy, 21st century American literature, European crime fiction, literary adaptations and the culture of print in the 18th century.

If you have a particular interest or independent research idea you can choose to work with a supervisor to write an extended dissertation. Previous dissertations have focused on subjects as diverse as anthropomorphism in Beatrix Potter’s animal tales; Black British identity in young adult fiction and grime music; women in Shakespearean tragedy; and slavery and the frontier in early American gothic short stories.

Why choose this course?

We give you: 

  • A fresh take on traditional writing and the opportunity to study contemporary works that speak directly to our everyday lives
  • An expert academic team to support you and build your confidence as you develop into a literary scholar
  • A flexible programme of study, allowing you to concentrate on areas you find especially interesting
  • Teaching rated excellent by 92.14% of our students in the 2018 National Student Survey
  • CV-building potential through work placements and extra-curricular activities

What job can I get?

Employability is central to everything we do. Our courses equip you with transferable, intellectual and personal skills and experiences that are valued by employers in a wide range of industries. Past students have gone on to careers in teaching, publishing and the media, journalism and marketing. Many of our graduates go on to higher levels of study, engaging in research in their chosen fields.

For those interested in teaching, all Humanities graduates are guaranteed an interview with the School of Education.