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.
At the end of your first year, you can choose to follow one of four broad themes, which we call pathways:
- The English Pathway concentrates on the long history of literature produced in Britain
- The North American Pathway focuses on writing and culture from across the Atlantic
- The Theory Pathway delves into the critical and theoretical analysis of writing
- The World and Comparative Literature Pathway goes global with a comparative approach to literatures from different countries, cultures, and traditions
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.
"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.
- 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, and grade A in A level Mathematics or equivalent.
- 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. We are considering innovative ways to broaden how we assess candidates, so you are advised to check our website prior to applying in case we have introduced any changes.
Modes of Reading
Complementing your growing knowledge of literary history will be an introduction to the key concepts of critical thinking in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. You will immerse yourself in the thought of some of the most influential literary and cultural theorists of the last hundred years – Theodor Adorno, Judith Butler, Fredric Jameson, Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, and so on – and get to apply their ideas to acclaimed novels and stories.
Literary theory remains the site of some of the most controversial and impassioned debates in the field, and you'll be able to take your own positions on everything from feminist theory and Marxism to postcolonial critique and eco-criticism. Binding together these diverse issues will be a constant focus on the interaction between culture and society, and between the historical past and our own fractious, unfolding present.
Medieval to Renaissance English Literature
Here you wil get the opportunity to discover some of the most significant earlier works of English literature, including Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, and Shakespeare’s Sonnets.
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, the course introduces you to texts in a range of genres (romance, epic, fabliau, etc) and poetic forms. The works studied express some of the period’s highest ideals—‘trawthe’ or integrity, holiness—as well as exploring some of humanity’s darkest impulses: greed, deception, revenge, and aggressive sexual desire.
You will develop your skills in close reading of earlier forms of English as well as tackling some of the critical themes broached by these texts, including the value and power of literature itself.
Epic into Novel
Tracking the transition from the epics of the ancient world to the novels of modernity, you will study a selection of the most influential and formative works in world literature. Reading across history and cultures, between languages and genres, you will develop your skills in analysing narrative, character, and style, and lay the foundations for your future studies in literature.
Texts you might encounter include two of the cornerstone works of the classical world, Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid, the ancient Indian epic The Mahabharata, Milton’s poem of the battle between good and evil, Paradise Lost, Henry Fielding’s bawdy comedy Tom Jones, or Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o’s novel of decolonising Kenya, Petals of Blood.
Modern World Literatures
This module is an introduction to some of the defining concerns, styles, and historical contexts of modern world literatures from 1789 to the present. You will encounter novels, short stories, poetry, and plays from across the globe, from revolutionary France to Meiji era Japan, from Britain in the throes of industrialization to the decolonizing Caribbean. Tackling key concepts such as Romanticism, modernism, the gothic, and the postcolonial, you will explore how writers in diverse times and places have sought to come to grips with the maelstrom of modernity and the role of social, cultural, and (inter)national formations in shaping literary production.
Your reading might include Mary Shelley’s classic gothic novel Frankenstein (1818), Henrik Ibsen’s startling and still controversial play A Doll’s House (1879), Lu Xun’s disturbing story of China in transition, Diary of a Madman (1918), or Clarice Lispector’s hauntingly poetic meditation on life in Rio de Janeiro, The Hour of the Star (1977).
Years 2 & 3
You will follow one of four broad themes, which we call pathways. These will provide a coherent base from which you can explore the topics that interest you the most:
- The English Pathway - concentrates on the long history of literature produced in Britain
- The North American Pathway - focuses on writing and culture from across the Atlantic
- The Theory Pathway - delves into the critical and theoretical analysis of writing
- World and Comparative Literature Pathway - goes global with a comparative approach to literatures from different countries, cultures, and traditions
Selection of optional modules that current students are studying:
English and German; Romanticism 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; Russian Narratives; Queering the Literary Landscape: LGBTQ+ Literature and Culture in the Contemporary World; Small Press Publishing: History, Theory, Practice; Restoration Drama; Writing Out Loud: Slam, Spoken Word, and Performance Poetics.
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.
English Literature and Creative Writing
English and Theatre Studies
English and History
Classics and English
Film and Literature
Philosophy and Literature
English and French
English and German
English and Hispanic Studies
English and Italian