Our Undergraduate Courses

The following information will help you understand the different undergraduate programmes of study offered by the Department of English.

There are six programmes to choose from, as follows:

Single Honours English Literature is a programme of study in English Literature (though students on the course sometimes have the opportunity to do some creative writing and film study). The literature studied on the course covers the period from the middle ages to the present day.

It includes, of course, the most famous writers of all (such as Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Jane Austen, the Brontës, Dickens, George Eliot, Tennyson, Hardy, Yeats, Joyce, Beckett, etc). But it also includes lesser-known writers and authors.

As the programme progresses students get to choose between a range of exciting options, such as The Gothic, Brave New Worlds, American Literature, Science Fiction, Colonial and Postcolonial Literature, Crime Fiction, and Literature and Addiction. In the final year students select a special topic of their own choosing to write a dissertation. Though there is some formal examination, various kinds of coursework are the main form of assessment (particularly essays, but also presentations, portfolios, diaries of study and a range of other types of writing).

Combined Honours English Literature is also a programme of study mainly in English Literature. Everything that applies to Single Honours English Literature (above) applies also to Combined Honours English Literature. The crucial (and obvious) difference is that students of Combined Honours English Literature study less literature than those following the Single Honours programme in order to make space for their other subject.

Combined Honours English Literature may be studied with a range of other subjects in the University, including Creative Writing (see below).

Combined Honours Creative Writing involves the writing of short stories, longer fiction, poetry, drama and other kinds of scripting. The programme aims to give students practical experience of the full variety of different kinds of writing. Specialist options allow students to gain expertise in publishing and editing, writing anthologies and writing in a variety of genres (such as historical fiction, crime fiction and science fiction).

The Department’s approach to the study of Creative Writing includes the study of different kinds of published writing, to help students understand the different forms and genres available to them as writers. As with all Combined Honours programmes students may do ‘more’ Creative Writing than their other subject at Level 5 (Year 2), and may ‘major’ in the final year of study.

Combined Honours Creative Writing may be studied with a range of other subjects in the University, including both English Literature (see above) and English Language (see below). NOTE: There is no Single Honours programme in Creative Writing.

Single Honours English Language involves the study of the English Language. Students will explore the main features of English – its vocabulary, structure and sound system, its history and its uses (from the language of literature to the language of advertising). It also examines the English language in a range of contexts: social, political, psychological, and gender-related.

A range of options in the final year allows students to specialise in such subjects as Language Debates, Cognitive Stylistics, Teaching English as a Foreign Language, Corpus Linguistics, English and Media Discourse, and English Phonetics and Phonology. In the final year, students will write a dissertation, choosing their own language topic for specialist study.

Everything that applies to Single Honours English Language (above) applies also to Combined Honours English Language. The crucial (and obvious) difference is that students of Combined Honours English Language study less of the subject than those following the Single Honours programme in order to make space for their other subject.

Combined Honours English Language may be studied with a range of other subjects in the University, including Creative Writing.

Some students doing one of the English Department’s ‘Combined Honours’ programmes will ‘combine’ the study of English Literature, or Creative Writing, or English Language with subjects in other departments. But some students will choose programmes of study entirely within the English Department, such as Combined Honours English Literature and Creative Writing, or Combined Honours Creative Writing and English Language.

Important note: Students interested in combining the study of English Literature with English Language must choose the BA Single Honours programme in English Language and Literature.