ENGLISH LITERATURE (BA)
Full-time 2019 entry, AAA/A*AB, IB 38
Studying English at Warwick will transform your understanding of literature, of your self, 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 our modern world? Is it the cultures that surround you every day, as well as those of faraway places? Do you want to understand more about 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 harness 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 select an overarching theme, and complement it by 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.
You’ll begin by gaining a grounding in literature, from the ancient past to the present. You’ll develop your critical thinking and grasp of literary theory in Modes of Reading. In Medieval to Renaissance English Literature, you’ll take in the foundational writers of English literature, such as Chaucer, Sidney, Spenser and Shakespeare. Epic into Novel will give you an understanding of some of the great texts of classical and modern times. And 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 study a core module Literature in Theory; 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, like the emotions, crime fiction, environmentalism, visual culture).
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 longer seminar per week.
Guided learning of typically eight contact hours per week, plus workshops on academic writing, and extra-curricular lectures and events. Staff also hold office hours twice a week, giving you a chance to drop in and discuss your work one-to-one. Seminars are usually an hour, hour and a half, or two hours each.
Targeted teaching with class sizes of 10-15 students (on average). Smaller groups of 5–6 for our Selected Topics module.
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.
"The English degree at Warwick is really flexible, which means that you get a lot more choice about what you want to study... There's also a Module Market run by the Literature Society where we can ask students who are currently taking modules any questions we might have about them."
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A level: AAA/A*AB to include grade A in English Literature/English Language and Literature (combined).
IB: 38 to include 6 at Higher Level in English Literature or combined English Language and Literature.
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).
- Access Courses: Access to HE Diploma (QAA-recognised) including appropriate subjects with distinction grades in level 3 units. Candidates must meet essential subject requirements.
- 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.
Interviews 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.
Modes of Reading
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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
Literature in Theory
This module introduces you to the most recent ideas and dialogues in the field of literary theory. Designed to allow you to apply theoretical ideas to your optional modules, the syllabus is structured around a series of keywords, such as ‘Affect’, ‘Media’, ‘Disability’, ‘Performance’, ‘Queer’, ‘Historicism’, ‘Image’, ‘Class’, ‘Translation’, and ‘Human’. Each week you will study one classic and one recent reading related to one of these keywords and explore how the theories they illuminate enhance your reading of a variety of texts both literary and non-literary.
Research project: Dissertation or Selected Topics
In your final year, you will produce original research that showcases your critical abilities in marshalling evidence to develop an argument. You may choose to write a 9000-word Dissertation, in which you work closely with one member of staff on a question of your choice. Or you may opt for our ‘Selected Topics’ module, in which staff offer you small seminars and one-to-one tutorials on topics on which they are world research leaders. In conversation with these staff, you produce a shorter essay and an online project. Both routes offer research training and support workshops across the year.
Selection of optional modules that current students are studying:
American Horror Story; The English Nineteenth-century Novel; US Writing and Culture, 1780-1920; Romantic and Victorian Poetry; Screenwriting; Chaucer; Devolutionary British Fiction; Shakespeare and Selected Dramatists of his Time; Crime Fiction; States of Damage: Twenty-First Century US Writing and Culture; Queering the Literary Landscape: LGBTQ+ Literature and Culture in the Contemporary World; Small Press Publishing: History, Theory, Practice; Restoration Drama; The Question of the Animal; Modern American Poetry.
We’ll encourage you to think broadly about the possibilities open to you, and the networks you can form. A few graduates used their degrees to establish exciting ventures with friends, founding companies and theatre groups. Many are recognised in their fields or on their way to becoming so.
English graduates are much valued by both public and private sector employers, as they value enhanced communication skills coupled with an understanding of how to use language effectively.
Through your course and extra-curricular activities you will develop the high-level skills employers seek, including:
Advanced literacy and communication skills with the ability to apply these skills in appropriate contexts.
Ability to present persuasive written and oral arguments cogently and coherently.
Capacity to analyse and critically examine information
Ability to process complex information in a structured and systematic way
Capacity for independent thought and judgement – critical reasoning skills
Ability to understand, interrogate and apply a variety of theoretical positions and weigh the importance of different perspectives
Where are our graduates now?
Ben is a writer, currently writing a second comedy series as well as a new drama series for Radio 4. He is also a regular contributor of sketches to a variety of BBC3, ITV1 and E4 shows and pilots.
Lucy is a Resident Director, having freelanced as a youth theatre director, assistant director and BBC Steward. She’s previously worked at the Oxford Playhouse and Magdalen College School.
Tim is a historical fiction writer, author of The Last King of Lydia and The King and the Slave.
A level: AAA/A*AB to include grade A in English Literature/English Language and Literature (combined). We make differential offers to students in a number of circumstances.
IB: 38 to include 6 at Higher Level in English Literature or combined English Language and Literature.
Degree of Bachelor of Arts (BA)
3 years full time
24 September 2019
Location of study
University of Warwick, Coventry
Find out more about fees and funding
There may be costs associated with other items or services such as academic texts, course notes, and trips associated with your course.
This information is applicable for 2019 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.