BA (Hons) English Language and Literature

About the course

Our BA English Language and Literature enables you to combine your study of the structure, development and use of English as a world language with your reading of literature written in English from all parts of the globe.

You’ll be taught by research-active academics who bring fresh thinking to our accessible, engaging courses. 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.

You’ll enrich your study of English literature in its cultural and historical contexts through modules on the history of the English language. You’ll balance your reading of poetry and drama with analyses of how language is used in the media, to inform or persuade. The common link between the two disciplines will be your analysis of language and how it operates in literature and in real life.

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. You’ll also be introduced to English Linguistics, the scientific study of our language, from how language develops in children, to the ways it reflects society and how it changes over time.

Your second-year core modules will focus on English grammar and the sounds of English, and you’ll also study period-based literature from the Renaissance onwards, gaining an understanding of literary history, from Elizabethan verse and drama to the emergence of modernity in the 20 th century. A core module in English Literature will introduce you to a range of theoretical lenses which you can apply to your further study of texts.

You’ll have the chance to specialise in your final year, tailoring your degree to reflect your own interests. English Literature options include children’s literature, young adult fiction, 21 st century American literature and literary adaptations, amongst others.

Alongside these, a module on Corpus Studies in English Language will allow you to bring your literature and language interests together. Using Sketch Engine, a text analysis tool that enables you to search vast databases of language, you’ll be able to search literary texts to identify how particular words have been used in novels or literature. With more than 15 billion words available to you, you’ll be able to ask questions no one has asked before and pursue uniquely creative research projects.

Why choose this course?

We give you: 

  • An understanding of applied language, to underpin your future career
  • A fresh take on both traditional writing and contemporary works that speak directly to our everyday lives
  • A supportive, research-active academic team
  • A flexible programme of study, allowing you to concentrate on areas you find especially interesting
  • Access to huge online databases, including literary texts, to drive your original and creative research
  • CV-building potential through work placements and extra-curricular activities

What will I study?

Our English Language and Literature students benefit from being part of a supportive, research-active academic community. From tutorials and group work to eye-opening psycholinguistic experiments, we use a range of engaging, student-centred teaching methods to help you work confidently and creatively.

You’ll dive into real-life data, get involved in research and learn from guest experts. You’ll have the opportunity to get involved in activities that will complement your studies, such as working for the student newspaper or radio station. Not only do these enhance your experience, they also make for a more impressive CV.

What job can I get?

Employability is central to everything we do. Over the years many of our English Language and Literature graduates have gone into teaching or speech and language therapy, as well as translation, publishing, journalism, marketing, law and business. Many go on to higher levels of study, engaging in research in their chosen fields.

Your transferable analytical and intellectual skills, including a critical approach to language use and effective communication, are valued by employers from a wide range of industries.

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