BA English

This course is in clearing

This course is in international clearing

Studying English will enable you to explore past and present cultures and societies through a wide range of perspectives and in a variety of different literary genres. Learning about and applying different theoretical approaches such as post-colonialism, historicism and feminism will open your eyes to different ways of considering literary texts and wider culture.

At the University of Birmingham, our internationally renowned academic staff have a huge range of literary specialisms across the full historical range to the present day. Our programme offers you an exciting core programme in English Literature, while also giving you the opportunity to explore pathways in the closely-related fields of Creative Writing, Film Studies, English Language and Drama. You will also have access to unparalleled resources for the study of Shakespeare through our colleagues at the Shakespeare Institute and collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company, including a residential trip to Stratford-upon-Avon in your second year.

rsc-collaboration

Course fact file

UCAS code: Q300

Duration: 3 years

Typical Offer: AAB (More detailed entry requirements and the international qualifications accepted can be found in the course details)

Start date: September

Contact

Admissions and Recruitment Co-ordinator
Sophia Robertshaw

Telephone enquiries
+44 (0)121 414 5511

Email
english-ug-admissions
@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Details

BA English offers a flexible, wide-ranging English Literature degree that draws upon extensive academic expertise in the School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, which includes the internationally-renowned Shakespeare Institute.

Our foundational first year gives you an excellent grounding in the major historical periods and genres of literature, inviting you to engage with a variety of authors and texts, encounter new ways of thinking about literature and improve your analytical and writing skills. You will also have the opportunity to explore areas of creative practice.

In your second year, you will benefit from our Shakespeare resources on our innovative Shakespeare modules and our residential trip to Stratford-upon-Avon to work at the Institute and benefit from our connections with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

You will be able to tailor the course to suit your interests with increasing flexibility in module options in second and third years, with specialist modules in subjects ranging from ‘Fantasy and Fandom’ to ‘Last Year’s Novels’ and ‘Imagining the Digital’. You will also have the option of combining your literary study with one of several disciplines by choosing to take a Creative Pathway: Creative Writing, Film, Drama, and English Language.

Why study this course

  • Wide range of disciplines to explore- the Department of English Literatureis a central part of the School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, along with the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics, Drama and Theatre Arts, Film and Creative Writing, and the Shakespeare Institute. As an English student you will benefit from teaching and expertise from across the School.
  • Guest lectures- you will be able to enjoy regular guest lectures and readings from visiting writers. Recent guests have included novelist David Lodge, poet and writer Jackie Kay, poet Simon Armitage, playwright Simon Stephens, theatre director Greg Doranand poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy.
  • Shakespeare Institute and RSC collaboration- we have a unique provision for the study of Shakespeare: the Shakespeare Institute, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, is a world-leading centre for international Shakespeare scholarship. You will also benefit from our exciting five-year collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) which will see the reinstatement of the iconic studio theatre, The Other Place. You will be able to access creative and teaching spaces at The Other Place, as well as the expertise of RSC artists and practitioners; you will also have the opportunity to attend RSC productions and events.
  • Research excellence- over 85% of our academic research was judged to be ‘world-leading’or ‘internationally excellent’in the 2014 national Research Excellence Framework exercise. Research and teaching areas cover both the traditional literary canon and cutting edge areas of literary study such as postcolonial literature and twenty-first century digital literary culture.
  • Stratford Residential- our very popular residential study trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, which includes lectures, creative workshops, theatre trips and other cultural activities, offers academic and creative inspiration and the opportunity to socialise with staff and fellow students.

Hear from our students

[Video above - English graduation 2013]

English Literature open day talk

[Video above- Dr Daniel Moore delivers the 2014 undergraduate open day talk on studying English Literature at the University of Birmingham]

Modules

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.

First year

Our first-year modules in BA English will introduce you to key genres of English Literature across a wide historical and international span, and train you in new ways of thinking about literature. By studying core modules on ‘Poetry’, ‘Prose’and ‘Plays and Performance’, you will develop the close reading skills needed to analyse all kinds of texts, from medieval plays and early modern poetry to contemporary drama. You will also develop new understanding of how the historical and cultural contexts in which literature is produced and read can shape its meaning.

Alongside these literature-focused modules, ‘Language for Literature’, taught by expert colleagues in English Language, will develop your technical skills and understanding of how literary texts are put together, and how literary language works.

Enhancing these traditional subjects, the first year is also an opportunity for you to explore more creative options, according to your interests. Two ‘Creative Practice’ modules give you the chance to sample topics in Creative Writing, Film, Language or Drama. You will have the option of focusing more closely around these subjects in the second and third years of your BA English degree. Alternatively, you can choose to take one of our ‘Comparative Literary Cultures’ modules and develop your knowledge of European literature in translation, trans-Atlantic literary relations or medieval literary contexts.

In addition, you will also take a Module Outside the Main Discipline (MOMD) in e.g. History, Psychology or Modern Languages. This is an excellent opportunity to continue a subject you enjoyed at A Level, or to pursue a brand new interest.

Detailed description of first year modules

Second year

In your second year you will be able to either keep your main focus on Literature or combine your study of literature with another discipline on one of our Creative Pathways: Film Studies; Language; Drama; and Creative Writing.

You will take our core Shakespeare modules ‘Elizabethan Shakespeare’ and ‘Jacobean Shakespeare’.

You will also choose ‘Histories of Literature’modules to deepen your knowledge and understanding of different literary periods. If you are on the Literature pathway you will choose one from each period (A, B, C and D) or, if you are taking a Creative Pathway you will choose one from the Medieval or Early Modern periods (A or B) and one from the Romantic/Victorian or the Modern/Contemporary periods (C or D) and will take two options in your chosen area.

Histories of Literature will include modules such as:

  1. Chaucer and his Legacies; Popular Fiction before the Novel; Songs and Sonnets
  2. Epic Ambitions; Stories of the Novel; Writing the Restoration
  3. Romantics and Romanticisms; Victorian Literature; The Fin-de-Siècle
  4. Making it New; Literature after 1945; Twenty-First Century Literature

You will also either take another Module Outside Main Discipline or choose one ‘Themes in Literature’ option module from a selection such as:

  • The Gothic
  • Tragedy
  • From Plato to Postmodernism
  • Shakespeare’s Sisters
  • Writing Fiction
  • Modern Drama
  • North American Cinemas
  • The Language Poets Use
  • Transatlantic Literary Relations
  • Colonial/ Postcolonial

Detailed description of second year modules

Final Year

In your final year, you will write a 12,000-word Dissertation on a topic of your choice, guided and supported by a supervisor who is an expert in your area of interest.
You will also be able to choose four modules from a very wide range of Special Subjects, working closely with specialists in each field on modules such as:

  • Chaucer: Pre-Modern Writing and Post-Modern Reading
  • Contemporary North American Writing
  • Fantasy and Fandom; Gossip, Scandal and Celebrity
  • Imagining the Digital; Last Year’s Novels
  • Literature and the Law
  • The Modernist Novel
  • Paradise Lost: Texts and Contexts
  • Postcolonial Poetry and Poetics
  • Postmodern Historical Fictions
  • Remembering World War One
  • Shakespeare’s Afterlives
  • The Work of T. S. Eliot
  • Victorian Literature and Science
  • Bringing Out the Bodies: Technology, Transhumans and Skin
  • Utopia and Its Discontents
  • The Pre-Raphaelite Circle
  • Hardy and Lawrence
  • Politics and Terror in the Age of Revolutions
  • Senses of the Past: Nineteenth-Century Literature and History
  • Henry James and Edith Wharton
  • Religion and Literature in Renaissance England
  • Nation and Identity in Nineteenth-Century America
  • World Comics

If you have chosen to take a Creative Practice pathway, you will take two of your Special Subject Modules in this area e.g. ‘Writing screenplays’ (Creative Writing), ‘Cold War Film’ (Film), ‘Voices in Fiction’ (Language) or ‘Victorian Drama’ (Drama).

Detailed description of final year modules

Year abroad

You will have the option to take a year abroad between your second and final year at one of a wide range of carefully selected partner institutions from around the world.

Fees and funding

Standard fees apply 
Learn more about fees and funding

Scholarships
Learn more about our scholarships and awards

Entry requirements

Number of A levels required: 3

Typical offer: AAB

Required subjects and grades: A level English Literature or A level English Language and Literature grade A

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.

Additional information:

Other qualifications are considered – learn more about entry requirements 

International students:

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.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS at www.ucas.com.

Learn more about applying.

Joint Honours combinations

You can also combine the study of English Literature with other disciplines on other Single Honours programmes we offer, or on the English Literature pathway of our Joint Honours programmes:

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

Contact

Admissions and Recruitment Co-ordinator
Sophia Robertshaw

Telephone enquiries
+44 (0)121 414 5511

Email
english-ug-admissions
@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Learning and teaching

University of Birmingham students are part of an academic elite and learn from world-leading experts. We will challenge you to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers.

You will have a diverse learning experience, including:

  • lectures
  • small group tutorials
  • independent study
  • and peer group learning, such as delivering presentations with your classmates

Support

You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to Higher Education.

  • Personal tutors - You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and welfare advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.
  • Transition review - you will undergo a formal transition review during your first year with an academic member of staff. They will see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support.
  • Academic Skills Centre - the centre aims to help you become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.
  • Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) - the AWAS team will provide guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level. You will receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, tutorials and email correspondence.
  • Student experience - our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They will offer research opportunities, study skills support and help you prepare for your post-university careers. They will also organise social events, such as field trips, to help you meet fellow students from your course.

Assessment methods

Assessments - you will be assessed in a variety of ways to help you transition to a new style of learning. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. Assessments methods will vary with each module and could include:

  • coursework, such as essays
  • group and individual presentations
  • and formal exams

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so you can learn from each assignment. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take. If you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is provided to help you prepare for future exams.

The principal means of assessment for English are coursework essays and written exams.

Contact

Admissions and Recruitment Co-ordinator
Sophia Robertshaw

Telephone enquiries
+44 (0)121 414 5511

Email
english-ug-admissions
@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Related staff

Employability

[Video above - Dr Daniel Moore discusses careers and employability during the English Literature open day presentation]

Studying for an English BA at Birmingham is an unparalleled opportunity, not only to engage with a diverse cultural, textual and linguistic discipline, but also to develop skills in intellectual analysis, critical thinking and articulate expression. These skills last a lifetime and qualify you for many possible careers.

You will also be encouraged to acquire practical skills that you will find just as useful in your future career, including oral presentation, professional documentation, group work and the use of information technology.

English graduates from the University of Birmingham have a high rate of employability for the subject, and we are ranked in the Top Ten universities nationally for graduate employability. 93% of our English graduates go into work or study within six months of graduation.

Our graduates have started careers with employers including the BBC, Headline Publishing Group, Mirror Group Newspapers and Oxford University Press, in roles such as account executive, editorial assistant, marketing assistant and sales and events coordinator. About 25% of English graduates pursue postgraduate study to specialise in an academic area or prepare for careers such as law and teaching.

Alumni profiles

Quote by Alumna Henrietta Brealey

Developing your career

Employers target University of Birmingham students for their diverse skill-set and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of our wide range of opportunities you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.

  • Careers events - we hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, marketing and working with charities to help you meet potential employers and learn more about these sectors.
  • Global Challenge - you can apply to work overseas on an expenses-paid placement during your summer vacation through our Global Challenge initiative.
  • Work experience bursary - we encourage you to apply your skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer. Our work experience bursaries allow you to apply for funding to support you during unpaid internships.
  • Cultural Internships - our innovative Cultural Internships offer graduates the opportunity for a six month paid internship at a leading cultural institution in the West Midlands. These internships will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market. Our current partners include Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham REP, Birmingham Royal Ballet, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust, Library of Birmingham.

There are also internships available at our own cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you will need to think about engaging in some extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and network of contacts.

  • Undergraduate Research Scholarship Scheme - our College of Arts and Law undergraduate research scholarship scheme enables interested students to work on a current academic research project being run by one of our academic researchers. Undergraduate research scholars gain work experience over the summer after their first or second year and have the chance to develop skills in both collaborative and independent research.
  • Personal Skills Award - our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects.
  • Guild of Students - there is a vast number of student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students, which cover a wide variety of interests.

Contact

Admissions and Recruitment Co-ordinator
Sophia Robertshaw

Telephone enquiries
+44 (0)121 414 5511

Email
english-ug-admissions
@contacts.bham.ac.uk