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BA (Hons) English Literature and Journalism

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.

Combine passion for reading with first-rate skills for your career
Combine passion for reading with first-rate skills for your career
Ranked in top 20 in the UK for Journalism, Publishing and PR
Ranked in top 20 in the UK for Journalism, Publishing and PR
Global literature approach from different eras and cultures
Global literature approach from different eras and cultures

This course includes the sandwich year options of:

Work Placement*

Study abroad*

*No fees are charged for this year

Why choose this course?

  • You’ll get 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 and programme of study, which introduces you to the methods and approaches of different disciplines, allowing you to concentrate on areas you find especially interesting
  • We’ve created an intensive, engaging degree designed to make you a confident, employable journalist for the digital age. Created in close collaboration with industry professionals, it not only develops the central journalistic skills of research and storytelling but also equips you to use these skills powerfully across a whole range of modern-day media platforms.
  • You’ll explore print, digital, photographic and broadcast journalism, work on breaking stories as part of live newsroom days, and take placements with exciting potential employers. You’ll also be given voice coaching, learn to use industry-leading technologies and have the option of spending a life-changing year studying overseas.

What's the course about?

A degree in English Literature and Journalism will help you grow from passionate reader into a critical thinker and literary scholar; it will also develop your practical, professional writing skills, shed new light on how the media works, and get you some hands-on experience that employers are really looking for.

On a degree in English Literature and Journalism, 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. 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. You’ll also develop your journalistic skills in exciting ways: you’ll learn the different requirements of writing ‘news’ and ‘features’, while learning how to carry out research, conduct interviews, and structure your writing in order to get published.

You’ll be taught by academic staff who bring fresh thinking to our accessible, engaging courses. Some are active researchers of international standing who bring their own passion for their discipline into the classroom; others are dynamic teachers with extensive industry experience.

Whatever your taste in literature, there will be something to 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 Literature 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 revisit Shakespeare and consider his cultural relevance today through fictional, cinematic and TV adaptations; or to deepen your understanding of Gothic writing by tracing its origins back to the Romantic era.

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 twentieth 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 literary study to reflect your own interests. Themed options include children’s literature, young adult fiction, Renaissance tragedy, European crime fiction, literary adaptations and the culture of print in the 18th century.

Your study of English Literature will enhance your ability to analyse and synthesise complex ideas, and to express yourself clearly in both written and spoken English. These skills will be hugely beneficial to your study of Journalism, but this part of your course will extend your range far beyond just print media. As the course progresses, you’ll discover how journalism varies across video, radio and the internet, hear from inspiring industry guest speakers, and take placements in real newsrooms.

What will I study?

Students of English Literate and Journalism will be taught in a variety of ways according to the characteristics of each module. Many are taught via weekly lectures and weekly seminars. Workshops are used in English Literature to discuss subjects in more depth and encourage independent analysis, and in Journalism for modules where the degree of practical skills taught is enhanced by the supervision of experts in their field. You may be expected to contribute to online discussions and to download and read lecture notes from StudyNet, our virtual learning environment.

Student Blogs

Jade - Week at a glance

My uni week at a glance

I usually have classes three to four days a week, each semester is different but I always start my week by doing the reading for my earlier classes. Being an English literature student, I spend the majority of my week reading, I make my notes in the books as I go along. Any additional articles that I’m required to read are done alongside the main reading, I make separate notes for any pre-reading I do. Generally, if PowerPoints are being used, they are put up the day before so I will take notes from these so I know what to expect in my upcoming lectures.

When in classes I make my notes as I go, after classes I go to the library and type-up my notes from prior to class and in-class to combine everything. I also make use of the library whilst there, and do wider reading around my previous class so that I clear up any confusion and help inform the module as a whole. This step also helps when it comes to assessments, any wider reading I do around that text is potentially something I can use in my assessments or exams. I also meet with friends from my course a few times a week to talk about our classes, this also helps if you haven’t quite grasped a concept, as they can help!

A few weeks into each module, the assessments start to come out, so my week starts to be built around assessment research, planning and writing. This is where the wider reading I do during the module at the beginning can start to come into play. Once I know what question(s) I’ll be answering I can refer back to reading I have already done and made notes on. Quite often this will save me time researching as I’ve already done a portion of it in advance!

Once I’ve started writing my assessments, I go to the centre for academic writing, with sections of my essay, this is a great help and has helped to improve the quality of my essays massively. They’re open to any student new or returning so I do recommend seeing them! This isn’t a weekly thing but definitely becomes part of my routine once the semester is underway!

I also make sure that that I leave plenty of time for relaxing and socialising, this is such a major aspect of my week. I go to the gym, meet up with my friends and watch my favourite TV shows and films. It is all about balance!

Student Blogs

Jade - Things you should know

Things you need to know before studying English Literature at university

Hi! Here’s what I think you should know before studying English Literature!

Reading, Reading and More Reading 📚

As you can imagine, an English literature degree revolves around reading, but the course content is amazing so it isn’t boring! Taking regular breaks can help to make the load easier. I often switch between modules whenever reading just to change it up! If you love reading this is definitely the course for you! If not, don’t worry this course could even help you learn to love to read! 📖

Assessments 📝

Studying literature is not just written essays and exams. Although this does make up a large portion of how you will be assessed, English literature will have you presenting, leading sections of a class or working on group projects. Of course, each module is different, so all assessments will be made clear at the beginning of the module by the lecturer, as well as module choice days to give you a little insight before you start the course. 🔍

Class Types 📕📗

Each of the modules run differently. Most will include lectures, generally, they will consist of your lecturer presenting you with information regarding the topic that week. These tend to be followed by a seminar, where you will discuss that week’s reading with classmates and lecturers - each of these tends to be 50 minutes long. 🕐

The other option is participating in workshops, these generally run for two hours, they are a bit more interactive that lectures and seminars and involve more group work 👭👫👬

All the different class types have their benefits, you can bounce ideas off other students, and you will learn something new every time you step foot in a classroom!

Time Management 🕝

Learning at university is much more independent that what most people are used to, it can be quite daunting, but it really is nothing to worry about! There is so much support available that even if you are taking a while to adjust, the lecturers will be there to help you! It is important to remember to relax whilst at uni, but it is very easy to get distracted and go on a Netflix binge 📺👀

You need to develop a bit of discipline so you can use your time wisely and find a good balance between working, your social life and relaxing. It’s all about finding the right balance for you! ⚖️

Adjusting to uni life can be tough, but take the adjustment at your own pace and you’ll do fine! Remember it isn’t all about studying, make sure you have fun and enjoy yourself too🎉🎊

Student Blogs

Jade - Why I chose Herts

Why I Chose Herts

Hi! I’m Jade and I’m going into my third year of studying English literature at the University of Hertfordshire. I commute into uni as I only live about 40-minutes away and personally found this the better option for me.

Before starting uni, I had studied A-Levels in English literature, History, Media Studies and German. After A-Levels, I went on to work full-time for a few years to try out a different field and narrow down what I wanted as a career. I started tutoring alongside my full-time job and fell in love with it, I had toyed with the idea of teaching before, but I was always unsure. At this point I knew teaching was the right fit for me. I applied to Herts through clearing as I had missed the original UCAS deadline. All the staff were super helpful, and I had my offer through, and place secured within two days of sending off my application. I chose to study Literature as I LOVE to read, and it was my best subject throughout school. Herts was my first choice, it was easy for me to get to, it fitted around my home life and finances. Both campuses are full of life with plenty of activities throughout the week!

The libraries are amazing and always have books on hand to enrich your studies, especially when it comes to writing assignments – the library will become your second home – or third if you’re moving away from home!

Herts do as much as they can to get you involved in uni life, the on-campus gyms are affordable and their facilities are amazing, there are even free classes on offer!

Don’t panic, applying to uni can be scary but just jump in, this is the quickest and best way to make friends. Talk to as many people as you can and enjoy your time at uni, it isn’t as scary as you think!

Thanks for reading and good luck!

Student Blogs

Mercedes - Unibuddy

Alumni Stories

April Wilson

  • Current role: Media and PR Coordinator
  • Year of graduation: 2017
  • Degree course: BA (Hons) English Literature with Film and MA Journalism with Media Communications
'Try and get as much work experience as possible. It can be challenging to find placements, but you can also gain valuable experience from taking part in the societies available in the University.'

We asked April...

What is your current role and how did you get to this point in your career?

I currently work as a Media & PR Coordinator at the University of Hertfordshire. I think what helped get me to this point in my career was my willingness to try as many different experiences as possible. I’ve done everything from fundraising for charity to running my own online magazine. Trying (and making mistakes!) helped me to not only figure out what I enjoy doing but also gave me valuable work experience.

How did your studies at the University of Hertfordshire help shape your career?

My studies have helped me to develop the skills that have been essential in my current role. Through my studies on my postgraduate course, I was able to start my current role armed with knowledge from the start. 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.

What made you decide to study at this University?

The main reason the University appealed to me was the proximity to London. I liked that it was easy to commute into London if I needed to, but that it wasn’t as expensive as living in London or as noisy!

What was the best or most useful thing about your course?

The most useful thing I learnt from my postgraduate course was to have confidence in my presenting skills, which was down to the support of my peers and lecturers who made me feel more confident in my abilities. In my undergraduate course, the most useful thing was the writing and research skills the course helped me to develop, which I apply to my work ethic in my current role.

What is your stand-out memory from your time at the University?

My stand out memory of studying at the University is probably receiving my grade for my Masters dissertation. Although, I was proud of my work - I still had the usual doubts about what grade I was going to receive and I was genuinely shocked when I received the grade I did. I worked really hard for my grade and it definitely made all the long study sessions worth it!

Are you still in contact with friends you met at the University of Hertfordshire?

I am still in touch with lots of the friends I met at the University of Hertfordshire and, in fact, they now make up some of my closest friends! The people I met are one of my favourite experiences of my time studying at the University and I think the number of activities available at the University make it so easy to meet new people.

What advice would you give your younger self if you were starting at the University tomorrow?

The advice I would give myself is to make sure I take the time to stop and assess how I am doing throughout the year. I often thought that I wasn’t doing enough with my time when I was actually doing a lot. I think stopping and looking at my workload more would have helped with my priorities. My other piece of advice would be to have fun and enjoy the experience!

Do you have any advice for University of Hertfordshire graduates who are considering a career in your industry?

Try to get as much work experience as possible. It can be challenging to find placements (especially as a lot of the time they are unpaid!) but you can also gain valuable experience from taking part in the societies available at the University – our student-led media outlet is especially great for those aspiring for a career in media. The Career Hub also offers some great placements for graduates (which are paid!).

What are your future career plans / ambitions?

In the future, I plan to complete a PhD in Film Studies. I am particularly interested in looking at representation in films and how this is interpreted through social media.

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.’

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.