BA (Hons) English Literature with a Language

About the course

BA (Hons) English Literature with French, German or Spanish - UCAS Code: Q3R9

BA (Hons) English Literature with Mandarin or Japanese - UCAS Code: Q3T9


A degree in English Literature with a language will help you grow from passionate reader into a critical thinker and literary scholar, with a truly international approach on the world around you.  You can combine the study of English Literature with a minor in a modern language – a choice of French, German, Japanese, Mandarin or Spanish.


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 study literature written in English by writers from all parts of the globe, whose voices are relevant and important in our modern world. To complement this, by learning a language you will gain access to new cultures and perspectives, acquiring a skill which is highly valued by employers looking for global citizens.


You’ll be taught English Literature by research-active academics who bring fresh thinking to our accessible, engaging courses. Our languages team are consistently rated by students as being outstanding teachers.


In your first year, you’ll start to learn your chosen language at a level determined by your previous experience of that language, and you’ll start to learn about aspects of the culture and lifestyle of the people of those countries in which that language is spoken. 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 to deepen your understanding of Gothic writing by tracing its origins back to the Romantic era.


In your second year, whilst continuing to learn your chosen language, 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 20th 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 your final year, as well as having more advanced language skills, you’ll have the chance to specialise in your final year, tailoring your degree to reflect your own interests. Themed options include children’s literature, young adult fiction, Renaissance tragedy, 21st century American literature, European crime fiction, literary adaptations and the culture of print in the 18th century.


If you have a particular interest or independent research idea you can choose to work with a supervisor to write an extended dissertation. Previous dissertations have focused on subjects as diverse as anthropomorphism in Beatrix Potter’s animal tales; Black British identity in young adult fiction and grime music; women in Shakespearean tragedy; and slavery and the frontier in early American gothic short stories.


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 linguist and a literary scholar
  • A flexible programme of study, allowing you to concentrate on areas you find especially interesting and make connections between your subjects
  • Teaching rated excellent by 92.14% of our students in the 2018 National Student Survey
  • The prospect of boosting your employability by learning a language
  • Transferable skills such as using your own initiative, problem solving, communication and cultural awareness that employers value.

What job can I get?

Employability is central to everything we do. Our courses equip you with transferable, intellectual and personal skills and experiences that are valued by employers in a wide range of industries. Over 96% of University of Hertfordshire students are in work or further study six months after graduating, according to the latest Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey. 


Employers really value second languages, and students who study languages are better positioned to operate in our increasingly multilingual and multicultural world.  According to the Confederation of British Industry, “… British businesses are well aware of the advantages of employees being able to communicate with at least basic proficiency in the language of clients, customers and suppliers.” (CBI 2017)


Past students have embarked on successful careers in teaching, publishing and the media, journalism and marketing. For those interested in teaching, all Humanities graduates are guaranteed an interview with the School of Education. Many of our graduates go on to higher levels of study, engaging in research in their chosen fields.