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English Literature (BA) (Full-Time, 2021 Entry)

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Bachelor of Arts (BA)

3 years full-time

Start Date
27 September 2021

Department of Study
Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies

Location of Study
University of Warwick

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.

Course overview

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 or modern, or somewhere in between, you will have the freedom to create a degree that reflects your interests and motivations. Our undergraduates enter the workplace as confident, ethical, and compassionate thinkers with exceptional writing and communication skills.

Course structure

You will begin with the foundations of literary studies, reading work from the ancient past to the present, from Homer and Virgil to Alison Bechdel and Janelle Monae. 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 will 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 can choose from an array of modules on all periods alongside our core module, Literature in Theory, and a module of your choice on pre-1900 literature. In your final year, you choose two further modules and a third on Global literature, and also take our core module, Research Project, in which you work one-to-one with a member of staff on a Dissertation on a topic of your choice.

How will I learn?

Teaching and assessment is distinctive. You will write essays, deliver presentations and take exams, but you also might make a short film, a wiki page 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. Workshops on academic writing, employability, and personal development are also available throughout your degree.

Contact hours

Guided learning of typically eight contact hours per week, plus extra-curricular workshops and reading groups. Seminars are usually 1, 1.5 or 2 hours each; lectures are an hour.

Class size

Targeted teaching with class sizes of 10-15 students (on average).

How will I be assessed?

You can choose your preferred form of assessment from traditional essays and written examinations to creative projects, portfolios, and films. For example, in our Shakespeare and Selected Dramatists of his Time module, student work recently included film and radio adaptations, musical compositions, painting, sculpture, photography inspired by Shakespeare's texts, as well as essays and close readings.

Study abroad

As a student on our English degrees, you will have the opportunity to spend your third year at one of our partner institutions in the USA, Europe, China, Australia or Japan. 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.

General entry requirements

A level:

  • AAA/A*AB to include grade A in English Literature/English Language and Literature (combined)


  • 38 to include 6 at Higher Level in English Literature or combined English Language and Literature


  • 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.

International Students

We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications.

Find out more about international entry 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).

Find out more about standard offers and conditions for the IFP.

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

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.

Medieval and Early Modern 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; 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.

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

Literature in Theory

In your second year, you will study our core module, ‘Literature in Theory’, in which you 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.

Year Three

Research Project

Examples of modules for current students:

  • American Horror Story
  • The English Nineteenth century Novel
  • Literature, Environment, Ecology
  • US Writing and Culture, 1780-1920
  • Screenwriting
  • Romantic and Victorian Poetry
  • Screenwriting
  • Devolutionary British Fiction
  • Ecopoetics
  • Shakespeare and Selected Dramatists of his Time
  • Crime Fiction
  • Alternative Lifeworlds Fiction
  • Literature and Empire
  • Jane Austen in Theory
  • Early Modern Drama
  • Women and Writing
  • The Classical Tradition

Tuition fees

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 or study abroad will pay reduced tuition fees for their third year.

Warwick Undergraduate Global Excellence Scholarship 2021

We believe there should be no barrier to talent. That's why we are committed to offering a scholarship that makes it easier for gifted, ambitious international learners to pursue their academic interests at one of the UK's most prestigious universities. This new scheme will offer international fee-paying students 250 tuition fee discounts ranging from full fees to awards of £13,000 to £2,000 for the full duration of your Undergraduate degree course.

Find out more about the Warwick Undergraduate Global Excellence Scholarship 2021

Your career

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
  • The Sunday Times
  • Teach First
  • Tesco
  • Weber Shandwick

They have pursued roles such as:

  • Journalists
  • Newspaper and periodical editors
  • Publishers
  • Creative directors
  • Arts officers, producers and directors
  • Authors,writers and translators
  • Musicians and composers
  • Teachers
  • Advertising accounts managers
  • Business sales executives
  • Solicitors and legal associate professionals
  • Management consultants and business analysts
  • Marketing associate professionals
  • Academics and researchers

Helping you find the right career

In addition to a dedicated professionally qualified Senior Careers Consultant to support students studying English Literature, students also take an Academic Enrichment Program in their first year focused on career skills, academic writing, and how to prepare for a future career while studying. Our Careers consultant also offers impartial advice and guidance, together with workshops and events 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
  • Freelancing
  • Careers in the Public Sector
  • Warwick careers fairs throughout the year

Find out more about careers support at Warwick.

"An amazing variety of modules"

"There is an amazing variety of modules that are available to choose as an English Literature student at Warwick.

While in first year the majority of single honours students will study the same four modules, what drew me to Warwick was that in second and third year you get to choose from over thirty modules that cover a wide range of content.

Your experiences in first year will help you to discover new interests and decide what you would like to specialise more in the study of later on in your degree."


English Literature Student Blogger

About the information on this page

This information is applicable for 2021 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.