English Literature - BA (Hons)

UCAS Code:
Full-time: Q320
Part-time: apply direct to the University
Attendance:
Full Time (3 years), Part Time (6 years)
Starting:
September 2016, September 2017
Campus:

Taught by passionate, experienced lecturers, this course looks at all the major genres of English Literature, from children’s writing to science fiction, including elements of drama, film, poetry and language analysis. You will develop your close reading ability, written and spoken presentation skills, and capacity for original thought throughout the course; all highly-regarded skills sought by employers.

New for 2017/18

English Literature

If you’re looking to start this course in 2017, it's important to know that the content and structure are undergoing a substantial review and are likely to be different to what is outlined here. We’ll publish more detailed information about the changes over the next few months. If you’re starting in 2016, the course content/structure won’t be affected by the review.

Sign up for course updatesBenefits of our new curriculum

What's covered in the course?

  • Following a common first year with other English courses, you will select module options to cover the areas of study that most appeal to you.
  • You explore different periods of writing such as the Victorian era, the Romantics, Modernist and post-modernist works. You will explore the post-colonial era, including English language works from Africa, India and the Caribbean.
  • Your module choices may include titles such as: Multiculturalism, 21st Century Poetry, Shakespeare Studies, or Art, Literature and Theory.
  • You will have the chance to undertake an independent study project on a literary subject of your choice, giving you chance to show off the skills you have learnt in an area of particular interest to you.
  • On the 21st Century Poetry module, described by one external examiner as 'exceptionally innovative and exciting', you have the chance to write, produce and publish a personal anthology of poetry and images.

Why Choose Us?

  • The course takes every opportunity to provide inspiration from the world around you, including an opportunity for overseas study through the Erasmus programme.
  • Regular guest lectures from visiting writers will give you inspiration and industry insight.
  • You not only have the advantage of our Moodle online learning environment, but also WebCorp language analysis technology and eMargin for text annotation.
  • Some of our research, which helps nourish your course content, was rated by the latest Research Assessment Exercise as 'world-leading'.
Applying for a September 2016 full time course?

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This course is open to International students

School of English

Discover the School of English

Visit our School site for more student work and extra information.

Visit the School website

Where our students go

Our students have gone on to work with companies such as:

  • Ellowes Hall Secondary School
  • Macro- Pierre White

And in jobs such as:

  • Teacher
  • Bar Manager

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

UK students

You must have the minimum of 5 GCSE's at Grade C or above which MUST include English Language C+. No other equivalence (including Key Skills) will be considered.

Essential

280 UCAS tariff points from A/AS Level with a minimum of 3 A Levels

Typical Offers
UK Qualification Requirements 2016/17
GCE A Level/ AS Level Grades BBC required. 280 UCAS Tariff points from 3 A level subjects including English at grade C or above. This may also include General Studies and Critical Thinking. Remaining points can be made up with AS levels in different subjects. AS level in the same subject of an A level will not be accepted..
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass with 60 credits, 45 at level 3 and 15 at Level 2 including English at Level 3.  Distinction/merit in 18 credits at Level 3 plus answer set essay question.
BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years) D*D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years) DMM (280 UCAS points) in related area (e.g. Media, Performing Arts).
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years) D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points
International Baccalaureate Diploma 26 points overall
Irish Leaving Certificate 280 points, including 4 higher level passes
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher 280 points, including 3 higher level passes
Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options) 120 tariff points combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points
Other qualifications
If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.
EU/International students
Essential
EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements 2016/17
IELTS 6.0 overall with 5.5 minimum in all bands
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses). 26 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.

 

International students who cannot meet the direct entry requirements can begin their degree studies at Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC).

The UCAS tariff is changing

If you're considering applying for this course to start in September 2017 onwards, it's important to know that the UCAS tariff system is changing.

UCAS tariff points – the points system most universities use to compare different qualifications – will be introducing a new system on how points are calculated.

More about the new tariff

Unconditional Offers

Unconditional Offers

If you are a full-time undergraduate applicant for 2016/17, and show particular potential, we may be able to make you an unconditional offer if you make us first choice and satisfy certain criteria.

To be considered you must hold, or be predicted to achieve:

280 points or above from three A levels (equivalent to grades BBC or above)
or
predicted DMM at BTEC level

You will also be required to attend an interview.

More about unconditional offers

Stressed about exams?

Stressed about exams?
We’ve got your back.

We’ve created a range of advice from experts and our students, including next steps if your exams don't go that well.

Get exam help

UK or EU students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2016 FT 3 years £9,000 per year Apply via UCAS
PT 6 years £1,125 per 15 credit module
Sep 2017 FT 3 years £9,250 per year Apply via UCAS
PT 6 years TBC

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form instead.

International Students

Award Start Mode Duration Fees
BA (Hons) Sep 2016 FT 3 years £12,000 per year Apply via UCAS
Sep 2017 FT 3 years £12,000 per year

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

Our courses include activities such as performance, exhibitions, field trips and production of works or artefacts which may require you to purchase specific equipment, instruments, books, materials, hire of venues and accommodation, or other items. Many of these activities are essential and compulsory parts of your learning experience.

The link below gives you an estimate of the possible costs associated with key activities on specific courses. Please bear in mind that these are only estimates of costs based on past student experience and feedback. The actual costs could vary considerably (either greater or lower than these estimates) depending on your choices as you progress through the course.

All our students are provided with 100 free pages of printing each year to a maximum total value of £15.

Find additional costs for your course

Guidance for UK/EU students

UCAS

UK and EU students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

Applying through UCAS
 Register with UCAS
 Login to UCAS
 Complete your details
 Select your course
 Write a personal statement
 Get a reference
 Pay your application fee
 Send UCAS your application

Non-EU (International) students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and submit it together with scan copies of your original academic transcripts and certificates.

2) Through a country representative

Our in-country representatives can help you make your application and apply for a visa. They can also offer advice on travel, living in the UK and studying abroad.

3) Through UCAS

If you are applying for an undergraduate degree or a Higher National Diploma (HND), you can apply through the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

You can request a printed form from your school or nearest British Council office. You will be charged for applying through UCAS. Birmingham City University’s UCAS code is B25 BCITY.

Your personal statement

Your personal statement is a highly important part of your application. It gives you a crucial opportunity to say why you’re applying and why the institution should accept you.

Here are the key areas you’ll need to address:

Course choice

Why does this course appeal? What areas are of particular interest?

Career plans

If you have a specific career in mind, say how your chosen course will help you pursue this goal.

Work experience

Mention any work that is relevant to your subject, highlighting the skills and experience gained.

School or college experience

Highlight skills gained at school/college, eg summer schools or mentoring activities.

Non-accredited skills or achievement

eg Duke of Edinburgh Award, Young Enterprise scheme.

You should also mention your future plans – if you’re planning to take a year out, don't forget to give your reasons. Talk about any subjects you’re studying that don’t have a formal assessment and any sponsorships or placements you’ve applied for. And don't be scared to add in details about your social, sports or leisure interests.

Get more information on writing personal statements.

This course is available part-time

Got any questions?

Search our Frequently Asked Questions for a range of information about our courses and studying here.

Loans and Grants

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible undergraduate financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

Year one

Approaches to Reading Criticism (semester one)
15 credits

This module introduces students to a range of critical theory including debates about what might define an author, the role of the reader, what constitutes a text, intertextuality, semiotics, formalism, defamiliarization, cultural materialism, feminism and postcolonial literary theory.

These aspects of reading will be examined in relation to a range canonical, non-canonical, print, digital and film texts, as well as key writings in literary theory. Students will be encouraged to engage directly with scholarly material, and to produce their own online resources in the form of an individual reflective blog.

Drama (semester one)
15 credits

The module is a structured and purposeful introduction to staging, interpretation, reception and styles of representation. Specific topic covered include:

  • Key critical and theoretical perspectives relating to issues of staging, audience, writing for the stage, theatre space and critical approach to performance.
  • Key examples within the scope of an extensive historiography and review of Western performance practices.
Reading Literature: Prose (semester one)
15 credits

This module enables students to consider prose in a variety of forms from the Renaissance to the present day. While the central focus is on fiction, we will also examine some other forms such as letters, essays, biography and autobiography.

Studying Language (semester one)
15 credits

This first language module provides an introduction to the field of linguistics and language studies. It starts by discussing the history of the English language and focuses in particular on its very beginnings during the Old English period.

It further includes sessions on pragmatics, that is the study of how speakers use language when communicating with each other, and on politeness, investigating ways in which language can be used to express politeness. In the second half of the semester, several sessions focus on language acquisition, language and the mind as well as phonetics and the sounds of English.

Approaches to Reading - Contexts (semester two)
15 credits

This module will give students the opportunity to contextualise the critical concepts and practices of reading covered in 'Approaches to Reading: Criticism'. There is a strong emphasis on practical fieldwork, and students will learn how to apply a number of research methodologies to reflect on how reading, literary and cultural contexts might vary (e.g. according to mode, historical period or social community).

Tasks may include: conducting a research interview, designing and interpreting survey results, using archive material, producing a bibliography, close reading exercises, critiquing essays and reviews. The module will include a field trip and guest lectures, showing how English studies are relevant to our local communities (e.g. in relation to book festivals, museums and art galleries).

Adaptation (semester two)
15 credits

This module introduces students to the creative and critical processes involved in translating narrative from one medium to another. Continuing from the semester 1 module, Drama, it gives students the opportunity to apply their knowledge of dramatic theory and form through practical work, while encouraging the development of imaginative writing skills in different genres.

Through historical and genre case studies, it provides an introduction to ideological and formal questions in the study of adaptation. Work undertaken may include a case study on (for example) Shakespeare adaptation in film, prose and drama; rewritings of Ovid's Metamorphoses in poetry and drama.

Reading Literature: Poetry (semester two)
15 credits

This is an introductory module to English poetry that requires students to examine a range of English language poetry from the Middle Ages to the present and so demonstrate awareness of the formal properties relating to these types, the relationships between poetry and historical moment, and the critical/technical language required for degree-level analysis. It asks students to develop and engage with personal preferences through the production of a mini-anthology.

Describing Language (semester two)
15 credits

The module builds on the first semester module Studying Language and further develops some of the topics covered in this previous module. Thus, it discusses varieties of the English language, that is to say different accents and dialects spoken in the UK but also abroad.

It comprises classes on the history of English with a focus on Middle English and it includes several sessions on the importance of grammar. Towards the end of the semester, students then get to know the field of literary linguistics, which combines the study of linguistics and literature.

Year two

Literature 1830-1880
30 credits

This module examines the literature of predominantly the early and mid Victorian periods. Late Victorian culture will be considered, but not to an extent that it overlaps with the early part of Literature 1880-present. We will read mainly novels and poetry, both closely and with respect to their conditions of production. The grounding influence of Victorian culture on our own will be explored through some consideration of film adaptations, although this will not be a dominant concern.

Any three literature modules
30 credits

Year three

Literature 1880-present
30 credits

This module examines the literature of the long twentieth century which is generally envisaged as 1880s to the present. The idea is to place Modernist writings from their origins in European Realism, Naturalism and Symbolism through to Joyce, Woolf and Beckett then to contemporary writing. It is generally accepted that Modernism in prose writing ceased sometime in the 1940s, however in poetry, Basil Bunting was writing Modernist verse in the 1960s.

We will consider some significant texts in English and in translation, since the European context becomes important to understand the culture of Modernism. We will then chart some of the features of late modernism, post-modernism and the contemporary as writers respond to and shape post-war culture. We will draw on visual material such as photography and film in order to clarify stylistic and chronological argument.

Besides British fiction and poetry, we will take examples from Ireland and the Indian sub-continent as these demonstrate how post-colonial writing reads a narrowly English literary tradition against itself. Issues of gender and social class will be related to literary form across this wide historical period.

Any three literature modules
30 credits

Course Structure

Following the common first semester, you will begin to customise your study by selecting module options that complement your core studies.

As you progress through the course, your selections from Literature modules will carry greater weight and, in your final year, will account for all of your study.

Your core programme will revolve around the exploration of writing from different periods, such as the Victorian era, the ‘Romantic Century’, the years following World War II and the Postcolonial era (including English-language works from Africa, India and the Caribbean). It will also include a Critical Method module.

During the final stage of your studies, you will have access to a wide range of module options. Choosing between titles such as Black British Writing, 21st Century Poetry, Shakespeare Studies or Genre and Gender, you will be able to maintain a broad overview of English literature or develop a specialism in an area of particular interest. You will also have the opportunity to complete an independent study project.

Teaching breakdown

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37 Time in lectures, seminars and similar MidnightBlue
63 Time in independent study RoyalBlue

Assessment breakdown

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7 Written exams DarkOrange
82 Coursework FireBrick
11 Practical exams #fece5a

Student stories

Sarah Read

Sarah Read is sharing her knowledge of English literature with the next generation in her career as an English teacher and has recently had her own creative work published for the first time.

My knowledge of the key skills necessary for teaching English such as analytical approach and original thought definitely had their origins during my study at Birmingham City University. The English Department hugely exceeded expectations.


Summer showcase

Our students celebrate their work in the end of year Summer Showcase. It's an opportunity to look at the work you and other students have produced and value your outstanding achievements.

View more examples of student work...

Reviews

These independent reviews show what our students really think:

"Allowing students to be independent in their learning and growth. Gives us choices and options when deciding what we want to study, and allows us to develop our own understanding. Also the university provides a lot of resources and help for students in all aspects of university, looking for jobs, etc."
Anonymous
www.university.which.co.uk

Read all Which? Uni reviews

Study and work abroad

If you are interested in undertaking part of your studies abroad, the Erasmus scheme may be of interest to you. It allows higher education students to study for part of their degree in another European country.

It is open to undergraduates in their second year (or above) and offers a unique opportunity to enhance your CV and experience new cultures. If you study with us you will have access to an Erasmus co-ordinator, who can provide information about which institutions we have links with.

Find out more

Further Study

We offer a respected MA English Linguistics and Research degrees (MPhil or PhD) in all areas of English. Postgraduate study in a range of other disciplines is available through the wider University. For further information on courses contact Birmingham City University Choices - Tel: +44 (0)121 331 5595 Email: choices@bcu.ac.uk.

Student experiences

Hip hop Shakespeare with the Sonnet Man

English and Drama students recently had the chance to work alongside the Sonnet Man, a US rap artist who delivers Shakespeare’s sonnets set to hip hop beats.

Emma Blyth, a second year student, said: “The Sonnet Man was able to create in me even more admiration for Shakespeare’s work."

More about Sonnet Man's visit

Student stories Jim Crace

Author of 11 Novels

Author Jim Crace graduated in 1968 with a BA (Hons) in English Literature and has had more than his fair share of critical acclaim, with the New York Times calling one of his many novels "engrossing and suspenseful" and the Daily Telegraph saying "he has the imagination of the poet."

Jim, who has also worked as a freelance journalist for The Sunday Times and the Radio Times, is a former student of the Birmingham College of Commerce (now part of Birmingham City University) and still lives close to the city.

Jim's 11 novels have been translated into 28 languages from Norwegian to Portuguese and from Japanese to Hebrew. Accolades for his work have included the Guardian Fiction Prize, the GAP International Prize for Literature, the EM Forster Award, and he has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize (1997 and 2013).

Employment Opportunities

Due to their ability to analyse and interpret text, accurately communicate information, work independently or collaboratively and present material with confidence.

English graduates are highly employable. Our alumni have found employment in arts administration, teaching, lecturing, law, media and marketing, management, research and writing, politics and public relations, social work and social administration and librarianship, information services and many other areas.

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

Firewalking

BCU Graduate+

Through our courses we give you the skills and experience needed to get a head start when applying for jobs. But we offer something extra too – Graduate+.

Our unique programme gives you the chance to develop valuable skills outside of the more formal classroom learning. We award points for Graduate+ activities (including firewalking!) and these can be put towards a final Graduate+ award.

More about Graduate+

Our approach to employability

We are committed to preparing students for successful employability and professional careers. We have an innovative approach to employability that will help you obtain an interesting and well-paid graduate job.

Read our Employability Statement to find out more.

Jim Crace novelist

Learn from industry experts

You could have the chance to learn from industry experts with guest masterclasses and visiting authors.

Novelist Jim Crace visited to carry out a series of workshops with students, giving feedback on their work and an insight into the world of professional writing and the publishing industry. Student Nabiyah Saddique said: "It was beneficial to students like me who want to write and be an author by career, to see how his experiences have shaped him and how he has created such beautiful pieces of work from these experiences."

Jim also enjoyed the chance to work with the students: "Everybody tried their hands at pitching an idea, writing the opening paragraphs of a novel, and line editing. It was testing and daunting but nobody fell short. The level of commitment and ability was astounding. London publishers should be beating a path to the School of English; it houses writing talent in abundance."

International Students

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

Studying in the UK is better

Overseas students studying in the UK are happier and have a better learning experience compared to those studying in other countries.

The International Undergraduate Students: The UK's Competitive Advantage report asked 365,754 international students studying outside their home country to give their feedback on what it's like to study in this country. And the UK scored top in every aspect.

So if you're looking at studying with us, you'll be making a good choice.

Overall measures: ranked positions
UK
Australia
Canada
NZ
US
Undergraduate 2014 2014 2014 2013 2014
Recommendation 1 4 3 5 2
Overall satisfaction 1 4 3 5 2
Arrival overall 1 2 4 5 3
Learning overall 1 4 3 5 2
Living overall 1 2 5 3 4
Support overall 1 4 5 3 2

Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC)

International students who have a serious interest in studying with us but who perhaps cannot meet the direct entry requirements, academic or English, or who have been out of education for some time, can enter Birmingham City University International College (BCUIC) and begin their degree studies.

BCUIC

BCUIC is part of the global Navitas Group, an internationally recognised education provider, and the partnership allows students to access the University’s facilities and services and move seamlessly through to achieving a Bachelor’s degree from Birmingham City University.

Learn more about BCUIC

Curzon facilities eatery
Curzon facilities staircase
Curzon facilities student hub

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities.

The Curzon Building

This course will be held at our newest facility, The Curzon Building, part of our City Centre Campus.

The £63 million building provides you with a unique learning space, featuring plenty of informal ‘break out’ areas available, creating an open, sociable atmosphere. There is also a new home for the Students’ Union, with its location moving to the restored Victorian pub The Eagle and Ball. Both City North and Millennium Point libraries have moved to the new building.

The dedicated social learning spaces ensure you’ll have the perfect facilities to work independently and confidently, having the time and support you need.

All this ensures that The Curzon Building is a vital support hub and a true central location for students in Birmingham City Centre.

Dr Robert Lawson

Lecturer and BA Course Director

Dr Robert Lawson completed his ESRC-funded PhD thesis at the University of Glasgow in 2009 which focused on urban adolescent language use in Glasgow. During the course of his PhD, he completed a period of overseas research training at the University of Arizona, taught a range of undergraduate courses at the University of Glasgow and University of Stirling, and presented at a number of international conferences.

Since starting in his role at Birmingham City University, Dr Lawson has continued to focus on language use in Scotland and the UK, as well as the application of sociolinguistic research beyond academia. In the academic year 2012/13, he was seconded to the University of Pittsburgh as the recipient of the Fulbright Scholar's Award in Scottish Studies, during which he completed a major edited volume about sociolinguistic research in Scotland and started a longer term project examining the application and impact of sociolinguistic research beyond academia (with Dr Dave Sayers).

Dr Lawson is also working on a project with Dr Ursula Lutzky which analyses patterns of interruption and turn-taking in the television show 'Mock the Week' and examines these patterns in relation to issues of institutional sexism in the entertainment industry.

UK prospective students:

UK enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5595

EU / International prospective students:

International enquiry form

+44 (0)121 331 5389

Already applied?

Email the applications team

+44 (0)121 331 6295