English Literature (BA)
Studying English Literature (BA) at Warwick will transform your understanding of literature, of yourself, and of the world. It will also fully prepare you to thrive in any profession that values intellectual rigour, creativity, and the ability to communicate a message that matters.
What inspires you? Is it the stories left behind by history’s witnesses, or the ideas that define modern society? Is it the cultures that surround you every day, or the life of distant places—even other, imagined worlds? Are you interested in how writing lies at the heart of everything we do, and everything we can be—its ability to change our minds and change the world?
A degree in English Literature at Warwick will spark the passion for reading and writing you’ve had all your life and develop it into an expert knowledge of literary culture. In your second and third years you will build your theoretical and historical knowledge of literature whilst also choosing from one of the widest and most innovative range of modules anywhere in the country. Whether your interests are classical, contemporary, or somewhere in between, you’ll have the freedom to create a degree that reflects what motivates you.
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.
You’ll begin by building the foundations of literary studies, reading work from the ancient past to the present. Your critical thinking and grasp of literary theory will develop in Modes of Reading, while in Medieval to Renaissance English Literature you’ll take in some of the great writers of English literature, such as Chaucer, Sidney, Spenser and Shakespeare. Epic into Novel will give you an understanding of some of the most celebrated literary forms of classical and modern times, while you’ll tackle the literature and politics that define contemporary life in Modern World Literatures—though if you’d prefer to learn a language instead, that option is open to you too.
In your second year you will develop your critical and theoretical knowledge in the core module Literature in Theory; you also study a module on pre-1900 literature, and two further modules of your choice. In your final year you will also choose two modules, alongside one of our unique Global literature modules, and our Research Project module (either a Dissertation, or two research essays on an array of topics that change each year; ‘the emotions,’ ‘crime fiction,’ ‘environmentalism,’ ‘visual culture’ and so on).
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: AAB to include grade A in English Literature/English Language and Literature (combined). We make differential offers to students in a number of circumstances.
IB: 36 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)
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.
We do not typically interview applicants. Offers are made based on your UCAS form which includes predicted and actual grades, your personal statement and school reference.
Year One: Core 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.
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.
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.
Year One: Optional Modules
Modern World Literatures
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 decolonizing 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 module.
Year Two: Core Module
Literature in Theory
In your second year, you will study our core module, ‘Literature in Theory’, which builds on the ideas you explored in ‘Modes of Reading’. This interdisciplinary module introduces you to the modern history of literary theory, from the question of why and how we study literature; to the role played by print and media culture; to the relationship of race, gender, sexuality, and class to the structures of power and the systems of knowledge involved in this study. Readings, lectures, and seminars focus on specific themes such as authorship, race, empire, gender, sexuality, environmentalism. Teaching juxtaposes short theoretical texts with literary and cultural readings, including visual and media texts. From Michel Foucault to Hélène Cixous, Jürgen Habermas to Simon Gikandi and Gauri Viswanathan, Frantz Fanon to Jack Halberstam, the module introduces you to major thinkers who have shaped literary studies today.
Year Two: Optional Modules
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, Economy; European Theatre; 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; 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; On the Road to Collapse; Women and Writing, 1150-1450; Austen in Theory; 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
Descriptions of these modules are available here.
Year Three: Core Module
In your final year, you will produce original research that showcases your critical abilities in marshalling evidence to develop an argument. You will work closely with an academic supervisor and other students on a question of your choice and receive research training and support workshops across the year.
Year Three: Optional Modules
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, Economy; Shakespeare and Selected Dramatists of His Time; European Theatre; Twentieth Century US Literature; 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 the 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
Descriptions of these modules are available here.
Studying a degree in English has a strong employability profile. Graduates from these courses have gone on to work for Barclays Bank; Bloomsbury; the British Council; the Civil Service; Corus Hotels; Deloitte; International Institute for Environment and Development; Maidstone Borough Council; the NHS; NewsQuest Media Group; Oxfam; Pan Macmillan; PepsiCo; Royal National Lifeboat Institution; Royal Opera House; Royal Town Planning Institution; TeachFirst; The Burlington Magazine; The Sun; The Times; Teach First; Tesco; V&A Museum; Weber Shandwick; Yale University Press.
Positions secured include: Authors, writers, and translators; Account Executive; Business Consultant; Community and Events Fundraising Assistant; Compliance Office; Content Executive; Editorial Assistant; English Teacher; Foreign Rights Assistant; Workshop Director; Writer and Researcher; Innovation and Enterprise Consultant; International and Business Performance Assistant; Journalist; Junior Account Executive; Marketing Manager; Newspaper and Periodicals Editor; Publishing Assistant; Research Analyst; Sales Executive; Social Media Analyst; TV Researcher; TV Runner.
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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