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
Continual updating of content to reflect sought after skills
Continual updating of content to reflect sought after skills
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?

Are you a passionate reader who enjoys writing? On this course you’ll grow from a passionate reader into a critical thinker and literary scholar; you’ll develop your practical and professional writing skills, look behind the scenes at how the media works, and get some hands-on experience that employers are really looking for. You’ll be equipped to use your skills powerfully across a whole range of modern-day media. 

We’ll introduce you to writers who will open doors to contemporary worlds and cultures, remote from your own, and 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, you’ll broaden your literary horizons and hone your critical thinking. 

What’s more, you’ll study at a TEF Gold rated University, the highest rating for teaching and support.  

Applying for this course is easy. Simply add us to your UCAS account by using the institution and course code mentioned in ‘Key information.’ There is no interview for this course. We’re just interested to hear why you want to study this subject at degree level. If you haven’t done either or both of these subjects before, that’s fine. You’ll likely have hobbies or extracurricular experience that show what skills you already have that you can bring to the University. 

What's the course about?

You’ll follow a flexible programme of study, which introduces you to the methods and approaches of different disciplines, allowing you to concentrate on areas you find especially interesting. 

You’ll benefit from an intensive, engaging degree designed to improve your confidence and communication skills supported by a community of practitioners and theorists. This combined degree not only develops the skills of research, literary scholarship and storytelling but also equips you to use these skills powerfully across a whole range of modern-day media platforms. 

In your first year, a core literature module 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 deepen your understanding of Gothic writing by tracing its origins back to the Romantic era. In the first year of your journalism studies, you will be introduced to three key skills—research, writing and interviewing and think about the ethical dilemma journalists face every day. 

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. In journalism, you will learn the skills of broadcast radio, how to find news, create a magazine and study some of the great journalism campaigns from Watergate to the Black Lives Matter campaigns. 

Work placement/study abroad option: Between your second and final year, you’ll have the option to study abroad or do a work placement for up to a year. Not only will this give you an amazing experience to talk about but will also give your CV a boost. If you’d rather go straight to your final year, that’s absolutely fine too. You’ll decide in your second year with us, so there is still plenty of time to think about this. 

In your third year, you’ll have the chance to specialise, 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. In your final year of journalism, you will have the opportunity of doing work experience within journalism or a related field, studying international reporting, creating your own journalistic website, and building a journalism portfolio. Through our pitch-to-a-professional scheme, you may get the chance to try out your ideas on a professional journalist and meet industry practitioners through our series of talks by people working in the communications industry, some of whom are former graduates of UH. 

To see all your modules, see the ‘What will I study?’ section below. 

'Media Matters' Guest Lecture series 

Each year the School of Humanities hosts the Media Matters Guest Lecture Series featuring a range of industry professionals, giving talks on their experience in the industry. These lectures are recorded by our final year students and available on our Media Hub. Some of our previous speakers have included: 

  • Lewis Wiltshire, Head of Sport, Twitter UK 
  • Tobi Rachel Akingbade, showbusiness journalist who studied journalism and other media subjects at UH 
  • Ren Behan, Food blogger and journalist 
  • Terry Mitchinson, Welwyn Hatfield Times Editor 
  • Uche Amako, UH journalism alum and sportswriter.

Your main campus is de Havilland  

You’ll share this campus with students from business, law, sport, 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?

Degree programmes are structured into levels, 4, 5 and 6.  These correspond to your first, second and third/final year of study.  Below you can see what modules you’ll be studying in each.   

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

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.

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.