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BA (Hons) English Literature and Media

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
Specialise in the literature genre and period of your choice
Specialise in the literature genre and period of your choice
Giving you up to date media skills and a great speaker programme
Giving you up to date media skills and a great speaker programme

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

  • 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
  • Real-world skills - Learn how to create and publish content on a broad range of formats including print multimedia and within online platforms
  • A bridge between theory and practice - Students studying this course will gain a theoretical and critically reflective understanding of media whilst gaining practical skills as an author and publications designer.

What's the course about?

A degree in English Literature and Media will help you grow from passionate reader into a critical thinker and literary scholar, while learning how to apply similar skills of analysis to other representations of the world, through cinema, television, magazines, the internet, and the ways in which people communicate with each other.

On a degree in English Literature and Media, 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. We’ll also develop your critical awareness of the media, sharpen your practical skills and get your career off to a flying start. In a fast-paced, multifaceted media world, people with the ability to write, design and harness new technologies are in high demand.

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 Media, especially when coupled with practical skills which help to prepare you for your future career. Design your own app proposal, create a hard-hitting ad campaign, build a brilliant website and craft an inspiring feature article -- all supported by our industry- experienced team. Working across different platforms and for different audiences, you’ll develop a packed portfolio that will demonstrate your skills, adaptability and ambition.

But you’ll need more than practical know-how to get published. So, we’ll develop your understanding of the global media industry, its influence on society, the legal and ethical contexts of your work and the impact of emerging technologies. 

What will I study?

Students of English Literate and Media 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 Media 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

Kate Stephenson

Meet Kate Stephenson who has excelled in the publishing industry since graduating. She currently works as the Education Editor at National Geographic Kids magazine.

Current job roleEducation Editor
Year of graduation2013
Course of studyBA (Hons) English Language and Communication with Journalism and Media Cultures

Kate Stephenson

University experience

Kate always knew that she wanted to work in the media and her unique degree gave her the flexibility to understand the logistics behind magazines as well as develop her writing and communication skills. The variety of topics and modules covered in her course enabled her to understand a lot about her dream career and enable her to develop valuable skills for working in the industry.

While studying, Kate took every opportunity offered to her. Her lecturers gave her opportunities to network with their colleagues for the industry enabling Kate to secure work experience and explore different career opportunities upon graduation.

She also worked as part of the Students’ Union student media, called Triden Media, writing regularly for their newspaper and magazine. Kate says, ‘Take advantage of every opportunity while it’s on offer and dive in as much as possible.’

The future

In the future, Kate hopes to further develop and grow the project she is working on at National Geographic and their educational content. One of her recent projects was launching their Primary School resource service by writing the curriculum.

‘Take advantage of every opportunity while it’s on offer and dive in as much as possible.’

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.