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Degree programs and modules

Choose your own adventure

Each of our three main degrees begin with core modules that give you a solid grounding in literature from the ancient past to the contemporary present. In your second and third years you then tailor your degree to pursue the topics and writers that interest you the most.

Whatever you choose, your tutors will be people that lead the field of literary studies. We prioritise your intellectual insight and imagination, and assess your progress through a variety of methods from critical essays to creative portfolios.


English Literature

Our core modules will provide you with a wide-ranging foundation in literary studies. In your second and final years you can choose from an array of optional modules – including some from other departments – to suit your intellectual, creative, and career interests. Your tutors will always be keen to discuss the topics that motivate and excite you, and will carefully guide you to take the direction that’s best for you.


First year

There are four core modules that offer a grounding in literature from the ancient past to the present. You will also take our Academic Enrichment programme.

What is a reader? How is our understanding and perception of a text formed? Why are these questions some of the most controversial and impassioned in the field of literary studies?

This module allows you to explore these questions by putting a spotlight on the question of critical thinking in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

By reading a series of literary texts in relation to some of the most influential literary and cultural theorists of the last hundred years, you will take your own position on everything from Marxism and feminism theory to ecocriticism and postcolonial critique.

Example texts

You will study texts such as Anne Enright, The Gathering (2007), Jay Bernard, Surge (2019), Janelle Monae, The ArchAndroid (2010), Saadallah Wannous, Soiree for the 5th of June (1967) and Richard McGuire, Here (1989).

Assessment method:

2 x 1000-word formative essays; 2 x 2500-word essays (50% / 50%)

What our students think:

"The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin – this was right up my street in terms of the books I enjoy reading. Sci-fi is one of my favourite genres, and it was reading this book as a part of the eco-criticism weeks of Modes of Reading in my first year that really solidified my interest in eco-criticism."

Student blogger Deanna Morley from her post titled 'My favourite books I've read for my English Literature degree'

Tracking the transition from the epics of the ancient world to the novels of modernity, this module introduces you to some of the most influential and formative works of world literature.

Reading across history and cultures, between languages and genres, you will develop the skills to analyse narrative, character, and style.

Example texts:

You will study central texts of the classical world, such as Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid, the ancient Indian epic The Mahābhārata, and Milton’s Paradise Lost, as well as novels like Henry Fielding’s bawdy comedy Tom Jones and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s novel of decolonising Kenya, Petals of Blood.

Assessment method:

2 x 1000-word formative commentaries; 2 x 2500-word essays (50% / 50%), one on epic and one on novels

What our students think:

"I came onto this degree with the firmly-held belief that this module simply wasn’t for me, and it was something I wasn’t going to enjoy. In reality, I love this module! One of the things I love the most is the collaborative learning that seminars facilitate. There are around 7-9 people in most of my seminars, and everyone has a different response to the texts we study, which makes for a dynamic and interesting discussion, led by the seminar tutor."

Student blogger Megan McElroy from her blog post 'A Day in the Life of a First Year English Literature Student'

Taking you from the mythical court of King Arthur to the real world of ambition, intrigue, and danger in the courts of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, this module introduces you to early literature written in a range of genres (romance, epic, fabliau) and poetic forms.

Example texts:

You will study central texts of the classical world, such as Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid, the ancient Indian epic The Mahābhārata, and Milton’s Paradise Lost, as well as novels like Henry Fielding’s bawdy comedy Tom Jones and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s novel of decolonising Kenya, Petals of Blood.

Assessment method:

2 x 1000-word formative commentaries; 2 x 2500-word essays (50% / 50%), one on epic and one on novels.

What our students think:

"I came onto this degree with the firmly-held belief that this module simply wasn’t for me, and it was something I wasn’t going to enjoy. In reality, I love this module! One of the things I love the most is the collaborative learning that seminars facilitate. There are around 7-9 people in most of my seminars, and everyone has a different response to the texts we study, which makes for a dynamic and interesting discussion, led by the seminar tutor"

Student blogger Megan McElroy from her post titled A Day in the Life of a First Year English Literature Student

This module introduces you to the defining concerns, styles, and contexts of modern world literature from 1789 to the present.

You will encounter concepts like Romanticism, modernity, gothic, and postcolonialism through novels, short stories, poetry, and drama from revolutionary France to Meiji era Japan, industrial Britain to the decolonising Caribbean.

You may also replace this module with a language.

Example texts:

Your reading might include Mary Shelley’s gothic novel Frankenstein, Lu Xun’s story of China in transition Diary of a Madman, or Clarice Lispector’s haunting meditation on life in Rio de Janeiro The Hour of the Star.

Assessment method:

1 x formative response to a historical document (500 words); 2 x 100-word posts to the Modernity Clinic website; 1 x 1500 word close reading essay; 1 x 2500 word essay; 3000 word portfolio.

This is a series of workshops and study groups designed to complement your core modules. Here you'll develop your writing and research skills, build a Personal Development Portfolio to lay the foundations for your future career prospects, and reflect on your identity both as an academic individual and as part of your social, digital, and departmental communities.


Second year

In your second year, you'll study a core module on the theoretical and political questions at the heart of literary studies today; another module of your choice on pre-1900 literature; and two further modules in any field or period that interests you.

In this module you will develop the ideas you explored in ‘Modes of Reading’. This interdisciplinary module asks why and how we study literature. Readings, lectures, and seminars focus on specific themes such as authorship, the literary marketplace, literature in relation to politics, power, data, and the environment, and the relationship of race, gender, sexuality, and class to our study of texts and knowledge.

Example texts:

Teaching juxtaposes short theoretical texts with literary and cultural readings, including visual and media texts, such as Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, Booker T. Washington’s Up from Slavery, and Amitav Ghost’s In An Antique Land.

You will choose one module that focuses on pre-1900 literature. The types of modules that you can choose between include:

  • US Writing and Culture 1780-1920
  • Romantic & Victorian Poetry
  • Seventeenth-Century Literature
  • Arthurian Literature & its Legacy
  • The English Nineteenth-Century Novel
  • Further Explorations in Middle English Literature
  • Dreaming in the Middle Ages: Fiction, Imagination, and Knowledge
  • Medieval Alterities: Race, Religion, and Orientalism in the Literature of Medieval England
  • Women and Writing, 1150-1450
  • Austen in Theory
  • English Literature & Feminisms 1790-1899
  • Eighteenth-Century Literature
  • Restoration Drama
  • Early Modern Drama

You will choose two further modules in any field or period that interests you. This can also include modules from outside of the department (30 CATS worth).


Final year

In your final year you'll take one of our unique global literature modules, as well as two others of your choice; and you'll write a Dissertation – on something or someone you've always been passionate about, or that you’ve discovered during your time at Warwick.

In your final year you write a Dissertation with one-to-one supervision by a member of staff on a topic you've always wanted to write about, or a new idea or writer you discover here at Warwick.

You will choose one Global Literature module, here are some examples of the modules you could take:

  • New Literatures in English
  • Devolutionary British Fiction
  • Introduction to Alternative Lifeworlds Fiction (Science Fiction, Fantasy and the Weird) EN2F7-30 Literature and Empire: Britain and the Caribbean to c. 1900
  • Commodity Fictions: World Literature and World-Ecology
  • Queer and There: Queer Theory and the History of Sexuality in the Global Context
  • Global City Literature: Image, Theory, Text
  • American Horror Story: U.S. Gothic Cultures, 1790-Present
  • Race, Ethnicity, and Migration in the Americas
  • The European Novel
  • Transnational Feminism: Literature, Theory & Practice
  • Asia and the Victorians
  • European Theatre
  • States of Damage: Twenty-First Century US Writing and Culture

You will choose two further modules in any field or period that interests you. This can also include modules from outside of the department (30 CATS worth).


English and Theatre Studies

This joint degree combines core and optional modules from the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies and is taught in partnership with the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies. Core modules from both departments can be complemented with a wide range of optional modules exploring texts and topics such as writing for theatre and performance, twentieth century Irish theatre, theatre in the community, and performing gender and sexuality.

First year

This module covers the most ground-breaking, controversial and significant British plays of the last 70 years. Theatre director Dominic Cooke, who studied at Warwick, said of this module: ‘We did this brilliant course... about the shift from T. S. Eliot’s The Cocktail Party to Look Back in Anger, right through Wesker, Bond, all those writers. Plays that really engaged, which were asking questions.’ Like Cooke, you will think about theatre’s response to key social and historical events: the fall of Empire, the legalisation of homosexuality, the second wave of feminism, the rise of Thatcher, the Irish Troubles, the Gulf War and more.

You will watch and read hard-hitting works of social realism, absurdism, in-yer-face, verbatim and postdramatic theatre. You will learn about and sometimes visit the landmark institutions of new writing – the Royal Court Theatre, the Theatre Royal, Stratford East and the Lyric Hammersmith – and consider the transformative artistic interventions of directors such as Joan Littlewood, Steven Berkoff and Katie Mitchell.

Reading and viewing might include Shelagh Delaney’s ground-breaking A Taste of Honey (1957), Joe Orton’s farce Loot (1965), Caryl Churchill’s radical Top Girls (1983), Mark Ravenhill’s zeitgeist play Shopping and F**king (1995), Sarah Kane’s inimitable Blasted (1996), the urgent angry theatre of Debbie Tucker Green's Stoning Mary (2005), and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s acclaimed Fleabag (2013).

Taking you from the mythical court of King Arthur to the real world of ambition, intrigue, and danger in the courts of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, this module introduces you to early literature written in a range of genres (romance, epic, fabliau) and poetic forms.

Example texts:

You will study central texts of the classical world, such as Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid, the ancient Indian epic The Mahābhārata, and Milton’s Paradise Lost, as well as novels like Henry Fielding’s bawdy comedy Tom Jones and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s novel of decolonising Kenya, Petals of Blood.

Assessment method:

2 x 1000-word formative commentaries; 2 x 2500-word essays (50% / 50%), one on epic and one on novels.

What our students think:

"I came onto this degree with the firmly-held belief that this module simply wasn’t for me, and it was something I wasn’t going to enjoy. In reality, I love this module! One of the things I love the most is the collaborative learning that seminars facilitate. There are around 7-9 people in most of my seminars, and everyone has a different response to the texts we study, which makes for a dynamic and interesting discussion, led by the seminar tutor"

Student blogger Megan McElroy from her post titled A Day in the Life of a First Year English Literature Student

This module introduces key concepts in theatre and performance studies, uncovering what theatre and performance can tell us about our cultures, societies and identities. These understandings are applied to case studies from around the world, which include ‘canonical’ events and alternative practices, both from within theatres and beyond them. The module hones your academic writing, research and presentation skills, which will serve you throughout your degree.

Plus one of the following options:

Tracking the transition from the epics of the ancient world to the novels of modernity, this module introduces you to some of the most influential and formative works of world literature.

Reading across history and cultures, between languages and genres, you will develop the skills to analyse narrative, character, and style.

Example texts:

You will study central texts of the classical world, such as Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid, the ancient Indian epic The Mahābhārata, and Milton’s Paradise Lost, as well as novels like Henry Fielding’s bawdy comedy Tom Jones and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s novel of decolonising Kenya, Petals of Blood.

Assessment method:

2 x 1000-word formative commentaries; 2 x 2500-word essays (50% / 50%), one on epic and one on novels

What our students think:

"I came onto this degree with the firmly-held belief that this module simply wasn’t for me, and it was something I wasn’t going to enjoy. In reality, I love this module! One of the things I love the most is the collaborative learning that seminars facilitate. There are around 7-9 people in most of my seminars, and everyone has a different response to the texts we study, which makes for a dynamic and interesting discussion, led by the seminar tutor."

Student blogger Megan McElroy from her blog post 'A Day in the Life of a First Year English Literature Student'

What is a reader? How is our understanding and perception of a text formed? Why are these questions some of the most controversial and impassioned in the field of literary studies?

This module allows you to explore these questions by putting a spotlight on the question of critical thinking in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

By reading a series of literary texts in relation to some of the most influential literary and cultural theorists of the last hundred years, you will take your own position on everything from Marxism and feminism theory to ecocriticism and postcolonial critique.

Example texts

You will study texts such as Anne Enright, The Gathering (2007), Jay Bernard, Surge (2019), Janelle Monae, The ArchAndroid (2010), Saadallah Wannous, Soiree for the 5th of June (1967) and Richard McGuire, Here (1989).

Assessment method:

2 x 1000-word formative essays; 2 x 2500-word essays (50% / 50%)

What our students think:

"The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin – this was right up my street in terms of the books I enjoy reading. Sci-fi is one of my favourite genres, and it was reading this book as a part of the eco-criticism weeks of Modes of Reading in my first year that really solidified my interest in eco-criticism."

Student blogger Deanna Morley from her post titled 'My favourite books I've read for my English Literature degree'

Through practical exploration of a number of selected plays and texts, in this module you will investigate the process of taking material from page to stage or performance, and the relationship between theory and practice. You will have the opportunity to experiment practically with realising multiple texts in performance, considering aspects such as staging, genre, narrative structure, performance strategies, dramaturgical thinking and directorial conceptualization, as well as the changing role and function of the audience.

Second year

You will study in depth major plays written since the beginning of the 20th century in Ireland, South Africa and the USA to investigate how writers have dramatised political, racial, class and gender issues. You will study developments in theatrical form and the work of designers, directors and actors to demonstrate your understanding of the shifting relationship between theatre and its impact on political and social change.

Final year

This module considers Shakespeare as a jobbing early modern playwright who’s also writing for today’s stage. We’re as much interested in his words as in the enactment that transforms his writing into ‘play’, so we do close readings of both Shakespeare’s playtexts and performance texts. Across our lecture series we look at some twenty plays by Shakespeare and his contemporaries, Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Middleton. We talk about ‘Shakespeare’s Brain’, ‘Sex in the City’, ‘Ugly Sisters in King Lear’, ‘Beginnings and Endings’, ‘Shakespeare’s Stuff’.

Students can choose seminars that study Shakespeare conventionally, in round-table discussions, or that put him on his feet, in workshop conditions, Shakespeare Without Chairs, to conduct three-dimensional literary criticism. We celebrate risk-taking, creativity and innovation on this module and invite students to ‘own’ Shakespeare for themselves either in assessment that writes back to Shakespeare in a scholarly essay or that engages with him in a creative project, which might be anything from re-writing the fifth act of Twelfth Night to creating an installation exhibiting the Forest of Arden to painting the portrait of power in Henry IV to choreographing a dance response to the death of Desdemona. At Warwick, ‘Shakespace’ is territory for student exploration and student performance.


English and History

This unique degree features a range of exciting modules that span time and geography: from the ancient to the contemporary, and from Europe to Asia, Africa, and the Americas. You will examine the literary techniques employed in historical writing, and consider how the past is represented in poetry, plays, and novels.

First year

In this core first-year module for students taking BA English & History, you will explore the limits of history and narrative by considering subjects that have traditionally been said to be ahistorical, such as the emotions, sensation, the “primitive,” and the non-human world. By gaining exposure to a wide range of historical and literary topics and focusing attention on the theoretical frameworks that scholars use to study these topics, you will help develop your interests and concentrate your studies within the degree.

We live in the here and now. But what got us here? This module studies the string of major social, political, and cultural developments that established our modern world. Radical (and not so radical) ideas from the Enlightenment, the industrial revolution’s structural transformations of how we work, build and buy things, and the struggles and stumbles of imperialism, capitalism and globalisation have gone far to set terms of life in the twenty-first century. The module will also help you develop your critical voice as a historian while asking comparative questions about historical difference across the world.

Taking you from the mythical court of King Arthur to the real world of ambition, intrigue, and danger in the courts of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, this module introduces you to early literature written in a range of genres (romance, epic, fabliau) and poetic forms.

Example texts:

You will study central texts of the classical world, such as Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid, the ancient Indian epic The Mahābhārata, and Milton’s Paradise Lost, as well as novels like Henry Fielding’s bawdy comedy Tom Jones and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s novel of decolonising Kenya, Petals of Blood.

Assessment method:

2 x 1000-word formative commentaries; 2 x 2500-word essays (50% / 50%), one on epic and one on novels.

What our students think:

"I came onto this degree with the firmly-held belief that this module simply wasn’t for me, and it was something I wasn’t going to enjoy. In reality, I love this module! One of the things I love the most is the collaborative learning that seminars facilitate. There are around 7-9 people in most of my seminars, and everyone has a different response to the texts we study, which makes for a dynamic and interesting discussion, led by the seminar tutor"

Student blogger Megan McElroy from her post titled A Day in the Life of a First Year English Literature Student

Or

Tracking the transition from the epics of the ancient world to the novels of modernity, this module introduces you to some of the most influential and formative works of world literature.

Reading across history and cultures, between languages and genres, you will develop the skills to analyse narrative, character, and style.

Example texts:

You will study central texts of the classical world, such as Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid, the ancient Indian epic The Mahābhārata, and Milton’s Paradise Lost, as well as novels like Henry Fielding’s bawdy comedy Tom Jones and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s novel of decolonising Kenya, Petals of Blood.

Assessment method:

2 x 1000-word formative commentaries; 2 x 2500-word essays (50% / 50%), one on epic and one on novels

What our students think:

"I came onto this degree with the firmly-held belief that this module simply wasn’t for me, and it was something I wasn’t going to enjoy. In reality, I love this module! One of the things I love the most is the collaborative learning that seminars facilitate. There are around 7-9 people in most of my seminars, and everyone has a different response to the texts we study, which makes for a dynamic and interesting discussion, led by the seminar tutor."

Student blogger Megan McElroy from her blog post 'A Day in the Life of a First Year English Literature Student'

Plus one of the following options:

Taking you from the mythical court of King Arthur to the real world of ambition, intrigue, and danger in the courts of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, this module introduces you to early literature written in a range of genres (romance, epic, fabliau) and poetic forms.

Example texts:

You will study central texts of the classical world, such as Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid, the ancient Indian epic The Mahābhārata, and Milton’s Paradise Lost, as well as novels like Henry Fielding’s bawdy comedy Tom Jones and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s novel of decolonising Kenya, Petals of Blood.

Assessment method:

2 x 1000-word formative commentaries; 2 x 2500-word essays (50% / 50%), one on epic and one on novels.

What our students think:

"I came onto this degree with the firmly-held belief that this module simply wasn’t for me, and it was something I wasn’t going to enjoy. In reality, I love this module! One of the things I love the most is the collaborative learning that seminars facilitate. There are around 7-9 people in most of my seminars, and everyone has a different response to the texts we study, which makes for a dynamic and interesting discussion, led by the seminar tutor"

Student blogger Megan McElroy from her post titled A Day in the Life of a First Year English Literature Student

This module introduces you to the defining concerns, styles, and contexts of modern world literature from 1789 to the present.

You will encounter concepts like Romanticism, modernity, gothic, and postcolonialism through novels, short stories, poetry, and drama from revolutionary France to Meiji era Japan, industrial Britain to the decolonising Caribbean.

You may also replace this module with a language.

Example texts:

Your reading might include Mary Shelley’s gothic novel Frankenstein, Lu Xun’s story of China in transition Diary of a Madman, or Clarice Lispector’s haunting meditation on life in Rio de Janeiro The Hour of the Star.

Assessment method:

1 x formative response to a historical document (500 words); 2 x 100-word posts to the Modernity Clinic website; 1 x 1500 word close reading essay; 1 x 2500 word essay; 3000 word portfolio.

What is a reader? How is our understanding and perception of a text formed? Why are these questions some of the most controversial and impassioned in the field of literary studies?

This module allows you to explore these questions by putting a spotlight on the question of critical thinking in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

By reading a series of literary texts in relation to some of the most influential literary and cultural theorists of the last hundred years, you will take your own position on everything from Marxism and feminism theory to ecocriticism and postcolonial critique.

Example texts

You will study texts such as Anne Enright, The Gathering (2007), Jay Bernard, Surge (2019), Janelle Monae, The ArchAndroid (2010), Saadallah Wannous, Soiree for the 5th of June (1967) and Richard McGuire, Here (1989).

Assessment method:

2 x 1000-word formative essays; 2 x 2500-word essays (50% / 50%)

What our students think:

"The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin – this was right up my street in terms of the books I enjoy reading. Sci-fi is one of my favourite genres, and it was reading this book as a part of the eco-criticism weeks of Modes of Reading in my first year that really solidified my interest in eco-criticism."

Student blogger Deanna Morley from her post titled 'My favourite books I've read for my English Literature degree'

Tracking the transition from the epics of the ancient world to the novels of modernity, this module introduces you to some of the most influential and formative works of world literature.

Reading across history and cultures, between languages and genres, you will develop the skills to analyse narrative, character, and style.

Example texts:

You will study central texts of the classical world, such as Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid, the ancient Indian epic The Mahābhārata, and Milton’s Paradise Lost, as well as novels like Henry Fielding’s bawdy comedy Tom Jones and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s novel of decolonising Kenya, Petals of Blood.

Assessment method:

2 x 1000-word formative commentaries; 2 x 2500-word essays (50% / 50%), one on epic and one on novels

What our students think:

"I came onto this degree with the firmly-held belief that this module simply wasn’t for me, and it was something I wasn’t going to enjoy. In reality, I love this module! One of the things I love the most is the collaborative learning that seminars facilitate. There are around 7-9 people in most of my seminars, and everyone has a different response to the texts we study, which makes for a dynamic and interesting discussion, led by the seminar tutor."

Student blogger Megan McElroy from her blog post 'A Day in the Life of a First Year English Literature Student'

And any first year History module

Second year

You will combine theoretical study and practical workshops to explore the spaces in writing where fiction and history overlap. Your analytical skills will be brought to bear on an eclectic range of primary sources to explore questions regarding the nature of truth-telling and to understand how fiction may play into the accounts of what we understand as ‘history’.

Final year

The dissertation enables English and History students to undertake a substantial independent and inter-disciplinary research project, and to produce an article-length essay. It provides the opportunity to work in a way similar to an academic literary scholar or historian: identifying a suitable research topic; mastering the relevant scholarship; identifying and critically analysing a substantial field of primary texts; and articulating and sustaining a coherent and logical argument. As the final-year core module, it completes the intellectual training that has been provided through your earlier work on the degree, particularly the two core modules.


Please note: We update our modules every year based on availability and demand, and we update our course content too. The content on this page gives you a really strong indication of what your course will offer, but given the interval between the publication of courses and enrolment, some of the information may change. Read our terms and conditions to find out more.