This programme allows you to combine an interest in ways in which language is used in everyday situations with an enthusiasm for the in-depth study of literary texts. There is an equal balance between the two disciplines throughout the three years.
On the Language side you will have the opportunity to study the ways in which the English language has developed over time, variation in language use, the ways in which language is acquired by both native and non-native speakers, and the study of language use in different social contexts.
On the Literature side you will have the opportunity to explore a range of approaches to the study of literature, gaining a good grounding in all genres and periods of literature and will also have the opportunity to take a module in an area of creative practice such as Creative Writing, Film or Drama.
On both sides you will be able to specialise in areas of interest as you progress and there are many opportunities to interrelate the two sides of the programme through module choices and research projects, this being a connection upon which we place great emphasis and which we are always keen to explore.
Please be aware that the following information is intended to provide prospective students with an indicative guide of the modules offered by the School. However, our research is constantly exploring new areas and directions of study, therefore some modules may be dropped and new ones offered in their place.
First-year language modules cover the essentials of English Language for undergraduate study: the technical and conceptual analysis of language (‘Theories of Language’ and ‘Sounds, Structures and Words’) and the key skills in carrying out language research (‘Investigating Language’).
Your Literature modules (‘Poetry’, ‘Prose’ and ‘Plays and Performance’) will introduce you to a range of genres and periods and help you to develop the close reading skills needed to analyse all kinds of texts from medieval plays and early modern poetry to nineteenth-century novels and contemporary drama.
As a key feature of the first year, you will have the opportunity of combining the study of the two disciplines in the module ‘Language for Literature’ which allows you to explore how these disciplines enrich each other.
Details of first year modules
On the Language side you will continue to develop your research skills in the core ‘Research Skills in English Language’ module and will choose two modules from a list of options such as:
- History of the English Language
- Language Acquisition and Literacy
- Phonology and Morphology
- The Language Poets Use
- Voices in Fiction
On the Literature side of your course you will be able to choose between modules in ‘Histories of Literature’, with options such as:
- Chaucer and his Legacies
- Popular Fiction before the Novel
- Songs and Sonnets
- Epic Ambitions
- Stories of the Novel
- Writing the Restoration
- Romantics and Romanticism
- Victorian Literature
- The Fin-de-Siècle
- Making it New
- Literature after 1945
- Twenty-First Century Literature
You will also have the opportunity to engage with Shakespeare’s work in two exciting modules (‘Elizabethan Shakespeare’ and ‘Jacobean Shakespeare’) taught in collaboration with Birmingham’s world-leading Shakespeare Institute, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, and working closely with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Alternatively, you will have the option of exploring one of our 'Themes in Literature' modules, from a list such as:
- The Gothic
- From Plato to Postmodernism
- Shakespeare’s Sisters
- Writing Fiction
- Russian Theatre
- North American Cinema
- The Language Poets Use
- Transatlantic Literary Relations
- Rude Writing: Satire and its Targets
Details of second year modules
In your final year you will undertake independent research which will be the culmination of your development as an undergraduate researcher. This can either be a 20-credit Language Investigation and a 20- credit Literature Extended Essay, or you can choose to complete a 40- credit Dissertation in one discipline.
Apart from this, your final year modules are entirely optional. You will choose two Language Special Subjects from a list such as:
- Discourse and Society
- English Language Teaching
- Health and Discourse
- Language and the Law
- Language and the Mind
- Language, Gender and Identity
- Linguistic Theory
- Ordinary Creativity
You will choose two Literature Special Subjects from a list such as:
- Chaucer: Pre-Modern Writing and Post-Modern Reading
- Contemporary American Fiction
- Fantasy and Fandom
- Gossip, Scandal and Celebrity
- Imagining the Digital
- John Donne and the Metaphysical Poets
- Last Year’s Novels
- Literary Modernism
- Literature and Politics in the 1930s
- Literature and the Law
- Lyrical Ballads
- Medieval Manuscripts
- The Modernist Novel
- New York, New York
- Paradise Lost: Texts and Contexts
- Plays, Pageants and the Spectacular
- Postcolonial Poetry and Poetics
- Postmodern Historical Fictions
- Reading and Writing Scotland
- Remembering World War One
- Shakespeare’s Afterlives
- Shakespeare and Music
- Spenserian Landscapes
- The Work of T. S. Eliot
- Victorian Literature and Science
- Victorian Literature and Travel
- PoMo Historical Fictions
- Bringing Out the Bodies: Technology, Transhumans and Skin
Details of final year modules
You will have the option to take a year abroad between your second and final years as part of your course at one of our carefully selected partner universities, where we have close personal ties with academic staff and a good knowledge of their programme in English Language. Potential destinations include, but are not limited to, the University of Bari, Italy, the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, USA, the University of Melbourne, Australia and the VU Amsterdam, Holland.
Number of A levels required: 3
Typical offer: AAB
Required subjects and grades: Grade A in A level English Literature or A level English Language and Literature is required.
General Studies: not accepted
International baccalaureate update
Please note that we have reviewed our policy on the IB Diploma for 2016 entry and our offers will now focus on performance in Higher Level subjects. For more information and details please read our 2016 IB Diploma requirements.
We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.
Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in the Birmingham Foundation Academy, a specially structured programme for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on the foundation academy web pages.
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