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.
We give you:
You can also study English Literature in combination with another subject:
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.
Our English Literature students can choose a work experience module, Literature at Work, which explores English in the classroom and aspects of the literary heritage industry. The module is centred around a six-week work placement where you’ll gain valuable transferable skills. Our students have worked as school classroom assistants, in publishing houses or attractions such as London’s Charles Dickens Museum and Dr Johnson’s House.
A natural step from studying global literature is to go out into the world and experience it for real. We encourage our English Literature students to take a year’s study abroad at one of our many partner institutions across the world. If you’re reading African American literature and choose to study in the American South you’ll see the legacy of slavery or the birthplace of the civil rights movement at first hand. Your year will broaden your horizons and enhance your understanding of the literature of other cultures – it may even inspire your dissertation subject.
*Tuition fees are charged annually. The fees quoted above are for the specified year(s) only. Fees may be higher in future years, for both new and continuing students. Please see the University’s Fees and Finance Policy (and in particular the section headed “When tuition fees change”), for further information about when and by how much the University may increase its fees for future years.
The University of Hertfordshire offers a great choice of student accommodation, on campus or nearby in the local area, to suit every student budget.
72 - 168 UCAS points
IB – 72 points from a minimum of 2 HL subjects at H4 or above. Find out more about international application requirements.
GCSE Maths grade 4 (D) and English Language grade 4 (C) or above.
The University of Hertfordshire is committed to welcoming students with a wide range of qualifications and levels of experience. The entry requirements listed on the course pages provide a guide to the minimum level of qualifications needed to study each course. However, we have a flexible approach to admissions and each application will be considered on an individual basis.
All students from non-majority English speaking countries require proof of English language proficiency, equivalent to an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each band.
If you do not have the required IELTS or equivalent for direct entry on to your degree programme, our Pre-sessional English and International Foundation courses can help you to achieve this level.
For country specific qualifications, please visit our Your Country page.