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English Literature - BA (Hons)

Currently viewing course to start in 2024/25 Entry. Switch to 2023/24 Entry

Looking for a highly-prized English Literature degree course that you can tailor to your individual interests and career aspirations? The BA (Hons) English Literature course will support you in developing your critical faculties, instilling in you the power and responsibility of informed reading and analysis, whilst deepening your appreciation for literature....

  • Level Undergraduate
  • Study mode Full Time/Part Time
  • Location City Centre
  • School School of English
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Overview

In order to ensure our courses are contemporary and that we offer a fantastic student experience, this course is being revalidated and there may be some changes to the course and modules on offer. The updated course information should be available on our website by July 2023.

Looking for a highly-prized English Literature degree course that you can tailor to your individual interests and career aspirations?

The BA (Hons) English Literature course will support you in developing your critical faculties, instilling in you the power and responsibility of informed reading and analysis, whilst deepening your appreciation for literature. 

You will develop your writing, close-reading and research skills and learn to express your arguments coherently and persuasively. In the School of English, you will be taught by respected academics and practitioners offering a diverse range of modules. 

You will study literature from all of the major periods, movements and genres. You will also have the opportunity to study cinema, art and philosophy. Your degree will allow you to tailor your studies to your individual interests and career aspirations with both a local and global outlook.

Professional Placement Year

This course offers an optional professional placement year. This allows you to spend a whole year with an employer, following successful completion of your second year, and is a great way to find out more about your chosen career. Some students even return to the same employers after completing their studies.

If you choose to pursue a placement year, you will need to find a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study. You will be able to draw on the University’s extensive network of local, regional, and national employers, and the support of our Careers teams. If you are able to secure a placement, you can request to be transferred to the placement version of the course.

Please note that fees are payable during your placement year, equivalent to 20% of the total full-time course fee for that year.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

English as a discipline continues to be relevant to the lives we lead and is central to a wide range of contemporary and social contexts. It is this fact on which the School has built its philosophy and approach to English as a subject, which has interdisciplinary reach beyond its own boundaries.

Understanding how language works in practice, engaging with multiple forms of communication, examining how language and literature engage with societies and cultures past and present, and the place of English in a global context, are all vital aspects in understanding how the discipline connects with the wider world, enabling you to focus on the production, interpretation and negotiation of meaning and to understand the world from a variety of perspectives.

You will benefit from student-focused and research-informed teaching in a friendly and supportive learning environment where you will be taught by respected academics and expert practitioners who encourage a community of experimentation, innovation and inclusivity.

Our graduates are characterised by their extensive subject knowledge, critical thinking and intellectual curiosity, reflected in the skills and abilities that enables them to adapt to a wide range of career paths and employment opportunities.

The School contributes to the cultural life of Birmingham and the wider West Midlands by: working closely with partner colleges and schools; maintaining close links with cultural institutions such as the Birmingham and Midland Institute (BMI) and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG); and working with agencies such as Writing West Midlands. The aim is to provide opportunities for the community to engage with the discipline and the University.

The English Literature course is designed in a way that as you progress through each module, the tasks gradually become more and more independent so you don’t even really notice. It has taught me that university should be a place to try out new things and not be afraid to do so. I know for sure that I would not have had the confidence to challenge myself before joining BCU.

Joshua Morgan

Why Choose Us?

  • Top 15 for English student satisfaction and graduate prospects (Complete University Guide 2023).
  • You will be taught by world-leading academics and expert practitioners who encourage a community of experimentation, innovation and inclusivity and create an environment in which your learning can flourish.
  • The programme offers multiple opportunities for you to collaborate across disciplines in order to gain new perspectives on the relevance of your study in the wider world.
  • English is a subject highly-prized by employers for the range of transferable skills it develops. Equipped with a strong subject knowledge, you will develop the ability to work as an independent researcher, to communicate effectively in spoken and written forms, to critically evaluate the work of others, and to respond imaginatively to original briefs.
  • English is a global language; its culture has an international reach. Understanding the effects of this and how English has been shaped and reshaped by its engagement with the world at large is a key principle of the programme. You not only have the opportunity to contextualise English in this way as part of the taught programme, but can also apply to undertake part of your studies abroad at one of our exchange partner universities.
  • Our teaching staff are also expert researchers in English Language and Literature. 94% of research in English at BCU was judged to be either world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) in REF2021.

BA English Literature Overview

Open Days

Join us for an on-campus Open Day where you'll be able to meet us in person. You'll get the chance to learn about courses in subject talks, chat to students and explore our campus and accommodation. We'll post you a detailed event programme to help plan your day and find your way.

Next Open Day: Saturday 24 June 2023

Book your place

Entry Requirements

These entry requirements apply for entry in 2024/25.

All required qualifications/grades must have been achieved and evidenced at the earliest opportunity after accepting an offer to help confirm admission and allow for on-time enrolment. This can also include other requirements, like a fee status form and relevant documents. Applicants can track their application and outstanding information requests through their BCU mySRS account.

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

UK students
Essential

112 UCAS tariff points.

Level 2 qualifications
GCSE GCSE English Language and GCSE Maths at grade C/4 or above. If you do not have these or are not undertaking them, we accept other Level 2 equivalents, or we may ask you to pass BCU's GCSE equivalency tests.
Irish Leaving Certificate (Ordinary Level) See level 3 entry requirements under Irish Leaving Certificate for full details.
Scottish National 5 English Language and Maths at grade C or above. If you do not have these or are not undertaking them, we accept other Level 2 equivalents, or we may ask you to pass BCU's GCSE equivalency tests.
Plus one of the following Level 3 (and above) qualifications
A Level and Advanced VCE
  • BBC / 112 UCAS points
  • Must include English Language or Literature A-Level at Grade C or above.
  • In lieu of English Language or Literature A Level, subjects that include an element of essay writing will be considered as an alternative, i.e History, Religious Education, The Sciences, Philosophy, Film Studies, Communication Studies & Creative Writing all include a component of this. Applicants will be required to submit a satisfactory essay set by the department.
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.

AS and AS VCE

  • Considered with a maximum of 3 other Level 3 qualifications (AS Levels must be in different subject to A-Levels) to obtain 112 pts
  • Must include English Language or Literature A-Level at Grade C or above.
  • In lieu of English Language or Literature A Level, subjects that include an element of essay writing will be considered as an alternative, i.e History, Religious Education, The Sciences, Philosophy, Film Studies, Communication Studies & Creative Writing all include a component of this. Applicants will be required to submit a satisfactory essay set by the department.
  • A maximum of 4 subjects are considered. These can be other A/S Levels (as long in a different subject) A-Levels or Level 3 equivalents.

Access to HE Diploma

  • Pass with 60 credits overall. At least 45 credits at Level 3 with a minimum of 18 credits in English related area at merit or above.
  • Language, Literature and Culture subjects preferred but other subjects also considered.
  • Applicants may be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English.
  • Pearson BTEC National Extended Diploma (2016 – present)
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) (2010 - 2016)
  • BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (2002 – 2010)
  • DMM
  • Applicants will be requested to complete an essay set by the department unless they are already holding or are working towards an A-Level in English at grade C or above.

Foundation Studies (Art and Design, and Art, Design & Media)

  • Distinction
  • Applicants will be requested to complete an essay set by the department unless they are already holding or are working towards an A-Level in English at grade C or above.

IBO Certificate in Higher Level

  • Students who do not complete the IB Diploma will be considered on the basis of their IB Certificates if they obtain a total of 14 points or above from three Higher Level Subjects
  • Considered with other acceptable level 3 qualifications to meet 112 UCAS Tariff Points
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
  • Applicants may be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English.

International Baccalaureate Diploma

  • Obtain a minimum of 28 points overall, including English Language or Literature at Higher Level
  • For students who do not already hold a GCSE in English Language at Grade C/4 or above Standard Level English Language (not literature) English A - Grade 4 or above or English B - Grade 5 from the IB Diploma will be accepted
  • Applicants may be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English.

Irish Leaving Certificate (Highers)

Pass the Irish Leaving Certificate with a minimum of 112 tariff points, achieved in five Higher level subjects. This must include English Language taken at Ordinary Level (minimum grade O1-O4 (or A-C/A1-C3)) and Higher level minimum grade H1/H7 (or A-D / A1-D3) up to and including 2016

OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma

  • DMM
  • Applicants will be requested to complete an essay set by the department unless they are already holding or are working towards an A-Level in English at grade C or above.

Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher

  • Achieve a minimum of 112 tariff points achieved in either three Advanced Highers or from a combination of two Advanced Highers plus two Highers.
  • Where three Advanced Highers have been taken achieve a minimum of grades CCD
  • Where a combination of Highers and Advanced Highers have been taken you must achieve (grades of CD in two Advanced Highers plus grades of CC in two Highers).
  • Must include English Language or Literature or combined Language and Literature subject
  • Applicants may be requested to complete an essay set by the department if subject doesn't contain any English.

T-Levels

  • Merit overall
  • Applicants will be requested to complete an essay set by the department unless they are already holding or are working towards an A-Level in English at grade C or above.
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.
Additional information for EU/International students
Essential

Please see your country page for further details on the equivalent qualifications we accept.

In addition to the academic entry requirements listed above, international and EU students will also require the qualifications detailed in this table.

EU/Non-EU (International) Qualifications Requirements
IELTS

Minimum overall score of 6.0, with 6.0 in writing and no less than 5.5 in the remaining three skills.

If you do not meet the required IELTS score, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English courses. Please note that you must have a Secure English Language Test (SELT) to study on the pre-sessional English course. More information.

Mature Applicants

Applications from mature students (21+) with alternative qualifications and/or considerable work experience will be considered on their merits.

Fees & How to Apply

Please select your student status to view fees and apply
  • UK Student
  • International Student

UK students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • £1542 per 20 credits
  • Year 1 - 60 credits
  • Year 2 - 60 credits
  • Year 3 - 60 credits
  • Year 4 - 60 credits
  • Year 5 - 60 credits
  • Year 6 - 60 credits

Fees for Part-time students

This course can be studied on a Part-time study basis. The cost per year of study is based on credit requirements for that year.

International students

Annual and modular tuition fees shown are applicable to the first year of study. The University reserves the right to increase fees for subsequent years of study in line with increases in inflation (capped at 5%) or to reflect changes in Government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament. View fees for continuing students.

Award: BA (Hons)

Starting: Sep 2024

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 3 years
  • £16,085 in 2024/25

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Books (optional)

All module key texts will be in the University library, but in limited numbers. You may choose to purchase a copy.

Placement expenses (optional)

If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Personal stationery and study materials (optional)

Based on the past experience of our students, you might find it helpful to set aside about £30 for each year of your studies for your personal stationery and study materials.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

Guidance for UK students

UK 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

  1. Register with UCAS
  2. Login to UCAS and complete your details
  3. Select your course and write a personal statement
  4. Get a reference
  5. Pay your application fee and submit your application

Guidance for International students

There are three ways to apply:

1) Direct to the University

You will need to complete our International Application Form and Equal Opportunities Form, and submit them 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.

Personal statement

UK / EU students are required to submit a personal statement as part of their application for this course.*

The personal statement 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.

Worried about Personal Statements?

If you've got no idea where to start or just want to check you're on the right track, we’ve got expert advice and real examples from our students to help you nail your personal statement. You can even download our ultimate personal statement guide for free.

Get personal statement advice

*Non-EU students are not required to submit a personal statement when applying for this course.

Course in Depth

Year one

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 100 credits):

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 20 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules:

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Year two

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 60 credits):

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 60 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules.

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Year three

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 80 credits):

In order to complete this course you must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following list of OPTIONAL modules.

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Download course specification

Download now

Course Structure

The programme combines traditional teaching and learning approaches with innovative, multi-platform learning support, grounded in a student-partnership model which will encourage engagement beyond the scope of the course and ensure that students develop key transferable skills to enhance their employment.The modules you study will involve critical analysis, investigative skills and imaginative thinking.

In Year one, you will focus on developing core knowledge, including theory and practice-based elements, across English Studies. In the second half of Year one, you will be able to specialise further in your chosen area of study, and expand that in your Year two and Year three modules.

In order to ensure our courses are contemporary and that we offer a fantastic student experience, this course is being revalidated and there may be some changes to the course and modules on offer. The updated course information should be available on our website by July 2023.

Teaching and learning activities

Teaching and learning activities may include lectures, seminars, workshops, field trips and guided independent study. You will also have access to a wide range of extracurricular opportunities, including seminars by prestigious guest speakers and published authors and a programme of scholarly and creative events. Online facilities, such as the University’s Virtual Learning Environment, Moodle, are used to guide, support and enhance your learning experience.

You will benefit from tutorial support and spoken or written feedback on your learning and preliminary work to help you in preparing for and reflecting on your assignments. A wide range of assessment methods are used in the programme, including essays, presentations, exhibitions, conferences and creative portfolios, giving you the opportunity to develop a wide range of skills.

Example - Philip K Dick Day

The conference in April featured four panels with topics including Philip K Dick and psychology, visual media, creative constructions and recitations, as well as a discussion on The Man in the High Castle, chaired by Professor John Goodridge and students from the School’s Science Fiction module.

The keynote speaker was Italian scholar Umberto Rossi who delivered a paper entitled ‘Vinyl and Tapes: P.K. Dick and the Reproduction of Sound’. This one-day conference explored evolving conceptions of culture and the countercultural through the lens of the life and works of Philip K Dick, a countercultural figure who appears to be in danger of recuperation into the mainstream. 

77 per cent of research undertaken by lecturers from the School of English, classed as world-leading or internationally excellent.
The Research Excellence Framework (REF2014)


Links

The School maintains close links with cultural institutions such as the Birmingham and Midland Institute (BMI) and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG) and works with agencies such as Writing West Midlands.


Trips and Visits

Our BA (Hons) English Literature students enhance their learning through a series of trips and visits. In recent years, students on this course have visited the Birmingham and Midland Institute to explore the city’s Victorian heritage and Horace Walpole’s 18th century Gothic Strawberry Hill House and Gardens in West London.


Learn from industry experts

The school regularly organises talks and visits that will provide you with the chance to learn from industry experts with guest masterclasses and visiting authors.

Novelist Jim Crace delivered 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."

View more examples of student work

Employability

Enhancing Employability skills

Employability is embedded across our programme, from sector- and industry-specific skills in creative writing, drama, linguistics and literature, through to transferable skills that hold real value regardless of your employment direction, including literacy and numeracy, time management and organisation, oral and written communication, team work, initiative and enterprise, creative and analytical thinking, self-direction and discipline, independence, information gathering and interpersonal skills.

You will have multiple opportunities to engage in problem solving and problem-based learning, particularly through individual assessments and collaborative practice modules, and to reflect on your own career development needs through participating in the Graduate+ scheme and other employability schemes over the course of your degree. 

Placements

The School is committed to developing strong links with employers in Birmingham and the West Midlands. Several language and Creative Writing modules have explicit employer and industry engagement, where you work in collaboration with employer and external partners over the course of the semester and are encouraged to adopt industry-standard practices to facilitate connections and links independently with external partners.

In the case of the Work Placement module, you will have the opportunity to develop skills and abilities in a sector-specific context, while ensuring that academic aims and objectives are met as part of your wider learning journey.

Links to Industry

We regularly seek out opportunities to build further links with partner organisations in the region, including Creative Black Country, Birmingham Literary Festival, Birmingham Museums Trust (including Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery), Black Country Museum Trust, Arvon Creative Writing Foundation, Flatpack Film Festival, West Midlands Screenwriters' Forum, and other Schools within the University, in addition to publishers, charities, third sector organisations, and more, in Birmingham and beyond.

International

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:

Facilities & Staff

Curzon with Millennium Point and Parkside

Our Facilities

When you join Birmingham City University, the first thing you will notice is the high standard of our campuses. With an investment of £340 million across our buildings and facilities, we are committed to giving you the very best learning environment to help shape your experience.

You will study at both the home of the School of English in Millennium Point, and at our £63 million development the Curzon Building, located on our City Centre campus in the vibrant second city that is Birmingham.

Discover your bright and open learning spaces, your 24 hour (during term time) library, drama, media and radio studios, along with state of the art lecture theatres, and a variety of sociable break-out areas, all adding to your unique learning experience.

Our staff

Dr Joseph Anderton

Reader in Modern and Contemporary Literature

Joseph Anderton is the author of Beckett’s Creatures: Art of Failure after the Holocaust (Bloomsbury, 2016), which considers conceptions of the ‘creature’ and ‘creaturely life’ as they appear in Samuel Beckett’s literature and drama. Joe is currently working on his second book, Writing Homelessness: Rough Sleeping in Contemporary...

More about Joseph

Professor Islam Issa

Professor of Literature and History

Islam Issa is a multi-award-winning author, curator, and broadcaster. A literary critic and historian, his work focuses on the modern-day reception of early modern English literature in global contexts, particularly Shakespeare and Milton, and the cultural history of the Middle East. Islam teaches across all periods and...

More about Islam

Dr Gemma Moss

Reader in Modern and Contemporary Literature

Before joining BCU, Gemma taught at the University of Salford and the University of Manchester, where she completed an MA in Postcolonial Literature and an AHRC-funded PhD. Gemma is author of Modernism, Music and the Politics of Aesthetics (Edinburgh University Press, 2021). She is currently editing E. M. Forster’s first novel, Where Angels Fear to...

More about Gemma

Dr Serena Trowbridge

Reader in Victorian Literature

Dr Serena Trowbridge read English and Art History at King's College London, followed by an MA in textual studies at the University of Birmingham. Her PhD, entitled 'Christina Rossetti's Fractured Gothic', was completed at Birmingham City University in 2010, supervised by Professor Fiona Robertson. Her monograph Christina...

More about Serena

Dr Anthony Howe

Reader in English Literature and MA English Literature Course Director

Dr Anthony Howe is Reader in English Literature and Associate Director of Research in the School of English at Birmingham City University. Originally from the North East of England, he studied at Liverpool (BA; MA) before taking a PhD at Cambridge. Prior to his current post he taught at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford. He is a Senior...

More about Anthony