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Modules

Choose your adventure

On our three main degrees, core modules will give you a grounding in literature from the ancient past to the present, and in your second and third years you can choose to explore the topics that interest you the most.

Whatever you choose, you are taught by staff that lead the field in their chosen disciplines. We prioritise your imagination in all our modules and assess your progress through a variety of methods from critical assignments to creative portfolios.


English Literature

Our core modules, outlined below, will provide you with a foundation in literary studies, and in your second and final years you can choose from an array of optional modules to suit your academic, creative, social, and career interests. Your tutors are 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

These four core modules offer a grounding in literature from the ancient past to the present.

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.

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.

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.

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

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. You will study texts like Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Thomas More’s Utopia, Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, and Shakespeare’s Sonnets to explore some of the period’s highest ideals—‘trawthe’ or integrity—as well as some of humanity’s darkest impulses: greed, deception, revenge, and desire.

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. 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. You may also replace this module with a language.

Second year

In your second year, you study a core module on literary theory; a module on pre-1900 literature; and two further modules of your choice.

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. 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.

Final year

You also choose two modules in your final year alongside one of our unique global literature modules; and write a Dissertation on a subject you’ve always wanted to write about or one you’ve discovered 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.


English and Theatre Studies

This joint degree combines core and optional modules from the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies and taught in partnership with the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies. Core modules from bothe departments, outlined below, can be complemented with a wide range of optional modules exploring a range of literary 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. You will study texts like Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Thomas More’s Utopia, Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, and Shakespeare’s Sonnets to explore some of the period’s highest ideals—‘trawthe’ or integrity—as well as some of humanity’s darkest impulses: greed, deception, revenge, and desire.

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.

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.

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

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.

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. You will study texts like Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Thomas More’s Utopia, Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, and Shakespeare’s Sonnets to explore some of the period’s highest ideals—‘trawthe’ or integrity—as well as some of humanity’s darkest impulses: greed, deception, revenge, and desire.

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.

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.

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

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. You will study texts like Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Thomas More’s Utopia, Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, and Shakespeare’s Sonnets to explore some of the period’s highest ideals—‘trawthe’ or integrity—as well as some of humanity’s darkest impulses: greed, deception, revenge, and desire.

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. 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. You may also replace this module with a language.

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.

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.

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.

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

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

How many words? What kind of topic? What kind of supervision?


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.