BA English and Classical Literature & Civilisation

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If you have a passion for exploring the developments and similarities in culture and society through the ages, this is the perfect degree course for you. On the English side of your programme you can chose to follow either a Literature or Language pathway throughout the three years of the programme; both disciplines interrelate very well with the study of Classical Literature and Civilisation.

If you choose to follow the Literature pathway you will explore the written word from medieval to modern times, investigating the ways in which the literary culture of the English-speaking world throughout history has engaged with and shaped society. In your Classical Studies you will reach back even further in this exploration, studying the literary, philosophical and political texts at the heart of Greco-Roman culture, along with its historical context, archaeology and contemporary relevance. There will be many opportunities to investigate the resonances between the two sides of your study, including the huge influence of Classical prose and poetry on the English literary corpus.

If you choose to follow the Language pathway, your English study will provide you with a deep understanding of the way in which the English language works and, more generally, the linguistic, social and political issues surrounding language and its use. This understanding will feed into your study of the history and culture of the classical world and its relevance today. Similarly, the understanding that you gain of the roots of modern civilisation will support your exploration of language as it is used in contemporary society. You will also have the chance to study the use and development of language throughout the ancient and modern worlds, with opportunities to take classical language modules, as well as modules on the history and development of the English Language.

Course fact file

UCAS code: QQ3V

Duration: 3 Years

Places Available: 12

Applications in 2013: 74

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

Start date: September

Details

Our Joint Honours English and Classical Literature & Civilisation programme offers you the opportunity to combine Classical Literature & Civilisation with one of two English pathways, either Literature or Language.

Your first year of study is split equally between English and Classical Literature & Civilisation. Following this, you have the option to alter the balance of your study, meaning that you could change to a major-minor weighting. In your final year you have the option to maintain your second-year balance, switch your major subject to your other discipline or revert to an equal balance. If you wish you can maintain an equal balance of study between English and Classical Literature & Civilisation throughout your degree.

First year

English Language:Your first year modules will introduce you to many different aspects of language and its use. These will provide you with a good grounding in the technical and conceptual analysis of language, social and political issues of language, and the ways in which language is taught and learned. Another core first year module introduces you to key skills in carrying out language research, with a theoretical and practical introduction to its objectives and methodologies. These modules combine to create an excellent foundation for your study and research in subsequent years.

English Literature:Your first-year modules in Joint Honours English will introduce you to the 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.    

Classics:This year gives you a grounding in Greco-Roman culture, its historical contexts, and its continuing impact on the world we live in. In addition, you may choose to study Greek or Latin language.

Second year

English Language:In your second year you have a range of modules to choose from. You could develop your technical linguistic skills with core modules in ‘Phonology and Morphology’ and ‘Grammar’, or you could build on your interests in ‘Language acquisition and Literacy’, ‘Sociolinguistics’, or the ‘History of the English Language’.

You could also do a year-long module on analysing texts in different contexts. A core module in this second year is the research skills module in which you will investigate and present projects of your own choosing.

English Literature: The second year of your degree is an excellent opportunity to build on the new interests and passions that you discovered in your first-year modules.

You can choose between modules in ‘Histories of Literature’ to deepen your knowledge and understanding of all literary periods from medieval to the present day.

You will encounter Shakespeare’s work through two exciting modules taught in collaboration with Birmingham’s world-leading Shakespeare Institute, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, and working closely with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

You will also have the option of exploring our ‘Themes in Literature’, from ‘Gothic Fiction’ to ‘Tragedy’.

Classics:Our core modules take you to the heart of the Rome of Cicero and Augustus: through their literary, philosophical and political texts, we encounter the Romans at a time of crisis as Republic gives way to Empire. You also make your choice from our unique range of options in literature, culture, language, myth, religion, art, philosophy, archaeology and history. 

Final year

English Language:In your final year you will complete a Dissertation or Language Investigation, the culmination of your development as an undergraduate researcher. Apart from this, your final year modules are entirely optional and you can choose from a wide range of modules – ‘Language, Gender and Identity’, ‘Ordinary Creativity’, ‘English Language Teaching’, ‘Language and the Mind’, ‘Words’, and many more.

English Literature:In your final year, you will choose from an impressive range of Special Subjects, working closely with specialists in each field.

You will also have the option to 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.  Alternatively, you might opt to take four Special Subjects instead. 

Classics:In the first semester, our unique practical course in Athenian Drama brings to life the form of artistic expression which was the soul of Athens’ participatory democracy. In the second semester, we put tragedy and comedy in the context of other writings philosophical, political and historical, through which Athenians achieved lasting insights into the challenges of living together as a community. Once again, you make your choice from our menu of options, which changes from year to year. The highlight of the final year is your dissertation: a substantial research project on a subject of special interest to you.

Why study this course

In English you have an unparalleled opportunity, not only to engage with the materials of a broad and diverse cultural, textual and linguistic discipline, but also to develop skills in intellectual analysis, critical thinking and articulate expression. We believe that we are partners in learning with our students, and our programme is designed to ensure that you are a fully supported and an active learner.

  • All English Literature students take a year-long Shakespeare course, drawing on the unique resources of our internationally-renowned Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon.
  • BEDSOC (Birmingham English Department Society) is very active in organising social events, for example trips to the theatre and theme nights out such as Hawaii night.
  • ? Students at Birmingham will also benefit from frequent lectures and readings from award-winning writers and industry professionals. Speakers in recent years have included novelist David Lodge, poet and writer Jackie Kay, poet Simon Armitage, playwright Simon Stephens and theatre director Greg Doran.
  • English literature graduates from the University of Birmingham have a higher than average rate for employability for the subject and are ranked in the top 10 universities nationally for graduate employability.

English Literature open day talk

Dr Daniel Moore delivers the 2014 undergraduate open day talk on studying English Literature at the University of Birmingham.

The English language half of your programme engages with the structure and character of the language including:

  • Phonology, lexis, grammar, and discourse
  • The variation of the English language
  • Theories and methods of linguistics
  • Methodologies and practices of linguistic research
  • The history and development of the English language

You will gain a broad range of knowledge and understanding of the English language, and critical skills in the close reading and analysis of texts.

English Language open day talk

Dr Jeanette Littlemore delivers the 2014 undergraduate open day talk on studying English Language and Linguistics at the University of Birmingham.

Classics, the study of ancient Greece and Rome, provides a true all-round education, encompassing literature and drama, myth, religion and history, as well as philosophy and art. Classical Literature and Civilisation is an innovative degree, and a fascinating subject to study as part of a Joint Honours combination, through which you will encounter the ancient world in all its diversity.

Classics is right for you if you are fascinated by ancient cultures, and like reading and thinking for yourself. You don’t need to have done Classics before. If you haven’t studied Latin or Greek, specially designed modules are on offer to help you explore the original texts behind the translations; if you have, we can take you forward from whatever level you have reached. Our distinctive emphasis on using literature, history and archaeology in the study of the ancient world, and the range of expertise available, ensures a wide choice of times, countries and cultures may be studied.

Classical Literature and Civilisation open day talk

Joint honours open day talk

Dr Craig Blunt delivers an undergraduate open day talk about studying Joint Honours at the university.

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: ABB

Required subjects and grades: For the English Literature pathway, A level English Literature or English Language and Literature grade A is required.

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

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.

Learning and teaching

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. At Birmingham we advocate an enquiry based learning approach, from the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner, qualities that are highly sought after by employers. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself.

Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).

Support

To begin with you may find this way of working challenging, but rest assured that we will enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues, and a formal transition review during your first year to check on your progress and offer you help for any particular areas where you need support.

Our Academic Skills Centre also offers you support with your learning. The centre is a place where you can develop your mathematical, academic writing and general academic skills. It is the centre's aim to help you to become a more effective and independent learner through the use of a range of high-quality and appropriate learning support services. These range from drop-in sessions to workshops on a range of topics including note taking, reading, writing and presentation skills.

From the outset, you will be assigned your own Personal Tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies, providing academic and welfare advice, encouraging you and offering assistance in any areas you may feel you need extra support to make the most of your potential and your time here at Birmingham.

The Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) will provide you with individual support from an academic writing advisor and postgraduate subject-specialist writing tutors. You will receive guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level which can be quite different from your previous experiences of writing. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, feedback through email and tutorials.

Student experience

Supporting you throughout your transition to University, offering research opportunities and study skills support and helping you develop and prepare for your post-University careers - our Arts and Law Student Experience Team strive to help you get the most out of your academic experience.

Assessment methods

Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching. You will be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject and find things out for yourself. We will enable you to make this transition to a new style of learning, and the way that you are assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time at Birmingham.

You will be assessed in a variety of ways, and these may be different with each module that you take. You will be assessed through coursework which may take the form of essays, group and individual presentations and formal exams (depending on your chosen degree).

During your first year you will undergo a formal 'transition' review to see how you are getting on and if there are particular areas where you need support. This is in addition to the personal tutor who is based in your school or department and can help with any academic issues you encounter.

At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed for that particular programme of study. You will receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, so that you can learn from and build on what you have done. You will be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you should fail an exam we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is made available to enable you to learn for the future.

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

Employability

English

[Video above - Dr Jeannette Littlemore discusses careers and employability during the English Language open day presentation]

[Video above - Dr Kate Rumbold 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 – skills that 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 uses of information technology.

50% of vacancies advertised for new and recent graduates don’t specify a degree subject, and English graduates enter a wide range of careers including advertising, journalism and media, government, law, publishing and teaching at every level. About 25% of English graduates pursue postgraduate study to specialise in an academic area or prepare for careers such as law and teaching.

English graduates from Birmingham have a high rate for 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.

Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal. This is a unique careers guidance service tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team who can give you expert advice. This includes individual careers advice and events to give you insight into the professions and employers of interest to arts graduates. Our ‘Creative careers’ series is always popular with our students, and features events with employers and professionals from areas such as advertising, PR and communications, careers in journalism, publishing and writing, and careers in the theatre.

English alumni profiles

Careers events

We also hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, marketing and working with charities; we’re developing links with local arts organisations to create some amazing opportunities for students; and you can even apply for our ‘Global Challenge’ to work overseas on an expenses paid placement during your summer vacation. We also encourage all our students to apply their skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer; the work experience bursary scheme enables students to apply for funding for placements in those career fields where they are often unpaid.

Classical Literature and Civilisation

Graduates of Classical Studies develop a wide range of skills which are highly attractive to employers. Studying Classics involves analysing the ancient world in a political, social, and cultural context. This helps the development of skills in research and analysis of complex information, working independently and as part of a team, and articulate communication of judgments and arguments. You will also have the opportunity to carry out self- directed project work which helps self-management, organisation and research skills. The study of Latin and Greek develops analytical and verbal reasoning skills, as well as discipline and application, and it supports the use of a rich and varied vocabulary.

The University of Birmingham has employability rates for graduates of our Classics programmes above the national average. They have a high average starting salary of £18,000 per year, and go into work or study within six months of graduation. Our graduates go on to careers in a wide range of areas such as law, the civil service, business, education and the media, with employers including central and local government, museums, cultural and heritage organisations, charities and a range of commercial companies. Specific jobs include PR and communications, human resources, legal work, library work, events planning and tourism.

Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal. This is a unique careers guidance service tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. This includes individual careers advice and events to give you insight into the professions and employers of interest to our graduates, including our ‘Careers in Heritage, Museums and History’ event.

We also hold events covering careers in teaching, event management, law marketing and working with charities. The newly developed optional professional skills module allows students in their second year to gain experience in a working environment which can lead to the development of further valuable skills. Placements are offered with the support of local employers, and we are developing links with heritage and cultural organisations to create more opportunities for students.

In addition, our students are encouraged to apply their skills in the workplace by undertaking internships in the summer; the work experience bursary scheme enables students to apply for funding for those career areas where placements are often unpaid. You can even apply for our ‘Global Challenge’ to work overseas on an expenses paid placement during your summer vacation.

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you will need to think about engaging in some extra-curricular activities while you're at university to broaden your skills and your network of contacts. This can include the many societies at the Guild of Students and also the many voluntary opportunities offered with local arts organisations. 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.

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 the College's 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.

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 are a unique opportunity to learn fundamental, transferable business and interpersonal skills, through experience of real work in an established cultural institution. Our current partners include Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery, Birmingham REP, Birmingham Royal Ballet, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust and the Library of Birmingham. We have plans to expand the scheme to include our own major cultural assets, such as Winterbourne House, the Lapworth Museum, and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. This scheme will give you professional experience to set you apart in a competitive graduate market.

We also offer voluntary work which complements your studies by helping you gain practical experiences in occupational settings while contributing back to society. This can bring new skills that will be useful throughout your future and can make a positive impact on your learning whilst at university. Volunteering enables you to develop skills such as communication, interpersonal skills, teamwork, self-confidence and self-discipline all of which can be transferred into your studies.

Your Birmingham degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.