English and Theatre Studies (BA)
Theatre is the most public literary form. Our English and Theatre Studies (BA) degree emphasises the relationship between writing and performance, asking how theatre intervenes in history to foster social and political change.
Taught by expert staff from the department of English and the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies, this course emphasises the relationship between writer, text, performer, critic, playing place and society within a historical, political and cultural context. You will have many opportunities to see a diverse range of productions at the world-renowned theatres at nearby Stratford-upon-Avon and on campus at Warwick Arts Centre.
Theatre modules examine developments in theatrical theory and practice, often focusing on plays related to theatrical and political history, and emphasising how past movements have shaped the theatre of the present. English Literature elements focus on the close study of literary texts, exploring form and meaning. You will learn to understand and critically analyse texts, and to present persuasive and coherent written and oral arguments while developing independent thought, judgement and creativity. This gives you a distinct advantage in the workplace.
Enabling you to follow your passion in the Arts, we are awarding Scholarships of £1,000 to home/UK students who achieve AAA or above, or equivalent qualifications if you start your course in 2020 and you have applied through UCAS, adjustment or clearing.
In your first year, you’ll gain an understanding of literature from the classical past to the here and now. You’ll look at post-war British theatre from the ‘angry young men’ to the women of the ‘awkward brigade’.
In your second year you’ll think about theatre as an intervention in public space. You’ll study English language plays that have shaped democratic institutions around the world as well as plays from the Greeks to the present that constitute the European tradition of theatre. But you’ll also start selecting from a fascinating array of modules from Arthurian literature to post-9/11 fiction, Romantic and Victorian poetry to postcolonial writing and literary theory.
In your final year you’ll study Shakespeare as a jobbing playwright. You’ll think about his writing for the early modern stage, but also about his afterlife in subsequent performance on stage and film. And you’ll choose modules that extend your horizons, including proposing your own research project as a dissertation.
Teaching and assessment is distinctive. You’ll write essays, deliver presentations and take exams – you might also teach a class of schoolchildren, script a short film or write a sonata. Most core modules in your first year are taught by means of one lecture and one seminar per week in terms one and two. In your second and third years, optional modules are normally taught by means of one seminar per week.
Guided learning of typically eight contact hours per week. Seminars are usually 1.5 hours each.
Targeted teaching with class sizes of 10 - 15 students (on average).
Assessment is a combination of traditional essays and written examinations together with creative projects, portfolios and performance. For example, in our Shakespeare and Selected Dramatists of his Time module, student creative work recently included film and radio adaptations, musical compositions, painting, sculpture and photography inspired by Shakespeare's texts.
As a student on our English degrees, you will have the opportunity to spend your third year at one of our partner institutions in Europe, China or the USA. You will then return to Warwick to complete your fourth and final year of your degree.
You will be able to apply to transfer to the four-year course when you are in your second year at Warwick, subject to availability of places from the University's International Office.
A level: ABB to include grade A in English Literature or English Language and Literature (combined). We make differential offers to students in a number of circumstances.
IB: 34 to include 6 at Higher Level in English Literature or combined English Language and Literature.
BTEC: We welcome applications from students taking BTECs alongside A level English Literature/English Language and Literature (combined)
Interviews: We prefer to interview candidates before making an offer. Interviews are tailor-made to each individual and designed to explore your suitability for study at Warwick, so they do not follow a set pattern. There is nothing specific you need to do to prepare, but expect to be asked about the literary works you have studied or have read beyond the syllabus, and the other interests you mention in your personal statement. The interview day typically includes an opportunity to meet with staff and students. Separate arrangements will be made for international students to complete an online interview.
Additional requirements: You will also need to meet our English Language requirements.
Contextual data and differential offers
Warwick may make differential offers to students in a number of circumstances. These include students participating in the Realising Opportunities programme, or who meet two of the contextual data criteria. Differential offers will be one or two grades below Warwick’s standard offer (to a minimum of BBB).
- Warwick International Foundation Programme (IFP)
All students who successfully complete the Warwick IFP and apply to Warwick through UCAS will receive a guaranteed conditional offer for a related undergraduate programme (selected courses only). For full details of standard offers and conditions visit the IFP website.
- We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications. For more information please visit the international entry requirements page.
Taking a gap year
Applications for deferred entry welcomed.
Year One: Core Modules
British Theatre since 1939
You will be engaged in an in-depth appreciation of significant and controversial British plays of the post-war period, examining the theatre’s response to social and historical trends and becoming familiar with the landmark institutions of new writing. Topics include theatrical architecture and design, performance styles, and the political and philosophical ideas of leading playwrights. You will develop analytical skills, knowledge of specific productions, and the ability to present coherent arguments.
Medieval to Renaissance English Literature
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.
Theatre and Performance in Context
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.
Year One: Optional Modules
Epic into Novel
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; ancient Indian epic The Mahābhārata; 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, A Grain of Wheat. Reading across history and cultures, between languages and genres, you will develop the skills to analyse narrative, character, and style.
Modes of Reading
What is a reader? How is our understanding and perception of a text formed? What does it mean to think critically when we read? 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 studying 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, queer and feminist theory to ecocriticism and postcolonial critique.
From Text to Performance
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.
Year Two: Core Module
Drama and Democracy
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.
Year Two: Optional Core Modules
Seventeenth-Century: The First Modern Age of English Literature; European Theatre; Restoration Drama; Early Modern Drama
Year Two: Optional Modules (or 60 credits from the Theatre Department)
European Novel; Romantic and Victorian Poetry; Literary and Cultural Theory; Screenwriting; New Literatures in English; Devolutionary British Fiction; The Global Novel; Literature, Environment, Ecology; Twentieth Century US Literature; English Literature and Feminisms 1799-1899; Eighteenth Century Literature; Crime Fiction, Nation and Empire: Britain 1850-1947; Literature and Psychoanalysis; States of Damage; Ecopoetics; The Classical Tradition in English Translation: The Renaissance; Alternative Lifeworlds Fiction; Literature and Empire: Britain and the Caribbean to c. 1900; Literature, Theory and Time; Disasters and the British Contemporary; Remaking Shakespeare; Small Press Publishing: History, Theory, Practice; American Horror Story: U.S. Gothic Cultures, 1790-Present; Race, Ethnicity, and Migration in the Americas; On the Road to Collapse; Women and Writing, 1150-1450; Austen in Theory; Epic into Novel; Medieval to Renaissance English Literature; Modes of Reading; Modern World Literatures; American Poetry: Modernity, Rupture, Violence; Ancient & Modern; George Eliot and Sociology; Literature and Revolution 1640-1660: Turning the World Upside Down; Yiddish Literature in Translation: A World Beyond Borders; Theatre in the Community; Audience Development and Marketing; Writing for Theatre and Performance; 20th Century Irish Theatre; Wired: Video-Making; Audiovisual Avantgardes; Immersive; Inter-performance; You, the Performer: presence and effect; Dramaturgy; Post-War British Theatre and Social Abjection; Placement (Creative Arts & Cultural Industries); Theatre and the Creative Industries; Applying Theatre: Histories, Geographies, Practices
Descriptions of these modules are available here.
Year Three: Core Module
Shakespeare and Selected Dramatists of His Time
You will consider the work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries such as Marlowe and Middleton, both as text and performance. Through your experience of performance, and understanding of historical context, you will consolidate your analytical skills in reading narrative, poetry and drama. You will gain an awareness of the traditions of criticism, and an appreciation of how the plays’ themes continue to challenge readers and audiences today.
Year Three: Optional Modules (or 60 credits from the Theatre Department)
European Novel; Romantic and Victorian Poetry; Seventeenth-Century: The First Modern Age of English Literature; Literary and Cultural Theory; Screenwriting; New Literatures in English; Devolutionary British Fiction; The Global Novel; Literature, Environment, Ecology; European Theatre; Twentieth Century US Literature; Dissertation; Othello; English Literature and Feminisms 1799-1899; Eighteenth Century Literature; Crime Fiction, Nation and Empire: Britain 1850-1947; Literature and Psychoanalysis; States of Damage; Restoration Drama; Early Modern Drama; Ecopoetics; The Classical Tradition in English Translation: The Renaissance; Alternative Lifeworlds Fiction; Literature and Empire: Britain and the Caribbean to c. 1900; Literature, Theory and Time; Disasters and the British Contemporary; Remaking Shakespeare; Small Press Publishing: History, Theory, Practice; American Horror Story: U.S. Gothic Cultures, 1790-Present; Race, Ethnicity, and Migration in the Americas; Advanced Screenwriting; Game Theory: Interactive and Video Game Narratives; On the Road to Collapse; Women and Writing, 1150-1450; Writing the Isles; Austen in Theory; The Question of Animal; American Poetry: Modernity, Rupture, Violence; Ancient & Modern; George Eliot and Sociology; Literature and Revolution 1640-1660: Turning the World Upside Down; Yiddish Literature in Translation: A World Beyond Borders; Theatre in the Community; Audience Development and Marketing; Writing for Theatre and Performance; 20th Century Irish Theatre; Wired: Video-Making; Inter-performance; You, the Performer: presence and effect; Theatre and National Identities; Approaches to Theatre History and Historiography; Dramaturgy; Research Dissertation; Performing Gender and Sexuality; Love: Performance, Theory and Criticism; Post-War British Theatre and Social Abjection; European Theate and Performance Landscapes; Sound Walks, Site and Landscape; Placement (Creative Arts & Cultural Industries); Theatre and the Creative Industries; Practice-based Research Project; Applying Theatre: Histories, Geographies, Practices
Descriptions of these modules are available here.
Graduates from these courses have gone on to work for employers including: Archant, Barclays, Bloomsbury, British Council, Civil Service, Maidstone Borough Council, Newsquest Media Group, Pan Macmillan, Royal Opera House, Sunday Times, Teach First, Tesco and Weber Shandwick.
They have pursued roles such as: advertising accounts managers and creative directors; arts officers, producers and directors; authors, writers and translators; business sales executives; journalists, newspaper and periodical editors; legal associate professionals; management consultants and business analysts; marketing associate professionals; publisher and researchers.
Helping you find the right career
Our department has a dedicated professionally qualified Senior Careers Consultant who works within Student Careers and Skills to help you as an individual. Additionally your Senior Careers Consultant offers impartial advice and guidance together with workshops and events, tailored to our department, throughout the year. Previous examples of workshops and events include:
- Understanding Assessment Centres
- Careers following your English and Comparative Literary Studies Degree
- Discovering Careers in the Creative Industries
- Careers in Publishing and Journalism
- Careers in the Public Sector
- Warwick careers fairs throughout the year
Find out more about our Careers & Skills Services here.
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
3 years full-time
28 September 2020
Location of study
University of Warwick, Coventry
Find out more about fees and funding
Additional course costs
There may be costs associated with other items or services such as academic texts, course notes, and trips associated with your course. Students who choose to complete a work placement will pay reduced tuition fees for their third year.
This information is applicable for 2020 entry.
Given the interval between the publication of courses and enrolment, some of the information may change. It is important to check our website before you apply. Please read our terms and conditions to find out more.
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