BA (Hons) English Language and Literature

Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, examinations may be replaced by an alternative form of assessment during the academic year 2020/2021. Please refer to the Programme Specification on these pages for further details.

Balance your reading of poetry and drama with analyses of language
Balance your reading of poetry and drama with analyses of language
Global literature approach from different eras and cultures
Global literature approach from different eras and cultures
Access huge online literary text databases to pursue your research
Access huge online literary text databases to pursue your research

This course includes the sandwich year options of:

Work Placement*

Study abroad*

*No fees are charged for this year

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's the course about?

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.

Your main campus is de Havilland

You’ll share this campus with students from business, law, education, and humanities subjects. The student housing is close to our Sports Village which includes a gym, swimming pool and climbing wall. You can get breakfast, lunch, or dinner in our on-campus restaurant on days you don’t feel like cooking. You can also use the common room to play pool, video games or just to hang out with friends. Want to pop over to the other campus? You can take the free shuttle bus or walk there in just 15 minutes.  

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.

Alumni Stories

Alex Olney

Meet Alex Olney who has applied his skills in communication to the gaming industry. He is currently a Senior Video Producer at Nintendo Life.

Current job roleSenior Video Producer
Year of graduation2015
Course of studyBA (Hons) English Language and Communication

University experience

While not his first choice of university, Alex is grateful that he applied to the University of Hertfordshire through Clearing as whilst at the University he discovered and explored his passion for everything linguistic. This passion has had a profound impact on his life since graduating.

He says, ‘Studying a language gave me confidence and a deeper understanding of human and non-human communication and has allowed me to create a distinct idiolect that identifies me as a creator and, more importantly, entertains tens of thousands of people every day.’.

He credits his success to the support he received from his lecturers who encouraged him throughout his studies: ‘The lecturers were not only well informed about the subject matter but had a genuine passion for language.’ He states that they pushed him to explore languages so much so that ‘it became a driving force in my everyday life.’.

Alex also believes that the transferable skills he learnt while at the University have helped him throughout his professional life including time management. He states that he learnt effective time management skills to ensure that he never leaves projects and deadlines to the last minute and plans out in advance what is required.

The future

Alex really enjoys his current role at Nintendo as he likes the hands on nature of producing content but would eventually like to manage and become a head of the video editing department.

‘Studying a language given me confidence and a deeper understanding of human and non-human communication and has allowed me to create a distinct idiolect that identifies me as a creator and, more importantly, entertains tens of thousands of people every day.’

Alumni Stories

April Wilson

Meet April Wilson who used the diversity of her course to gain new experiences and learn. She is currently a Media and PR Coordinator at the University of Hertfordshire.

Current job roleMedia and PR Coordinator
Year of graduation2017
Course of studyBA(Hons) English Literature with Film
MA Journalism with Media Communications

University life and experience

April initially decided to go to the University of Hertfordshire due to our close proximity to London. She liked that it was easy to commute into the city for shopping and concerts, but that Hatfield wasn’t as expensive to live in!

While studying, April gained valuable experience which helped her develop essential skills for her current role which meant she was able to start ‘armed with the knowledge’ she needed.

However, the most useful thing she learnt from her postgraduate course was having confidence in herself and her ideas, especially when presenting. She credits this to ‘the support of my peers and lecturers who made me feel more confident in my abilities.’

She adds that her undergraduate degree helped her develop the writing and research skills which she applies daily to her current role and her approach to work.

Not only did April gain experience from her studies, but the extra-curricular activities she took part in also helped develop her skills. She says, ‘The writing and video editing experience I was able to gain from my time volunteering for societies at the University was also essential in helping me to have the skills that are valuable within my role.’

Future aspirations

April is also willing to try new experiences to help her gain valuable work experience in a variety of roles. She has previously, done everything from fundraising for charity to running my own online magazine.

In the future, April hopes to continues her studies and complete a PhD in Film Studies. She is particularly interested in looking at representation in films and how this is interpreted through social media.

The writing and video editing experience I was able to gain from my time volunteering for societies at the University was also essential in helping me to have the skills that are valuable within my role.

Please note that some of the images and videos on our course pages may have been taken before social distancing rules in the UK came into force.