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English Literature BA (Hons)

Key features of this course:

  • This course has a long, established history and continually evolves, with a staff team of highly-skilled and enthusiastic lecturers who are experienced teachers and published researchers.
  • You can study diverse literatures emanating from the sixteenth through to the twenty-first centuries – and encompassing both ‘canonical’ and ‘marginal’ texts.
  • The quality of teaching and personal academic support is excellent, with high class contact time each week throughout the teaching year.
  • The course focuses, across all three years, on supporting students’ employability and on preparation for career progression
  • You can take a work project module and there are opportunities to take play active roles in local and regional literature festivals and related events.
  • You may opt to study English Literary Studies as a Single Honours subject from the outset or, alternatively, as Joint Honours with another relevant subject.
  • We place strong emphasis on your development of advanced literacy and communication skills.
  • The course provides excellent preparation for progression to Masters-level study.

What our students say...

"The University of Worcester undoubtedly provided me with the best three years of my life in terms of both education and socialising. I was able to develop as a person whilst my knowledge and skills were nurtured by lecturers who were always ready to go out of their way to support me during my studies. I would certainly recommend the University to anyone who is considering higher education, especially to those who are interested in the English Literary Studies course."

Luke Oakes
English Literary Studies 2013 graduate

Book an open day

English Literature can be taken as a Single Honours course or as Joint Honours with a range of other courses - for example Creative & Professional Writing, or English Language - so that you may tailor your degree to suit your particular interests and career ambitions.

Our English Literature student intake is comparatively small (we admit approximately 80 students into our first year) and, for this reason, students quickly become part of a community in which they can get to know each other well, and feel that they receive individual attention from enthusiastic and highly qualified lecturers with whom they can develop good relationships. We offer comparatively intensive class contact time of 12 hours per week in lectures and seminars, with the addition of dedicated academic tutorial time and one-to-one office hours each week. In addition, our students participate in 'Worcester Weeks' which provide a focus for concentrated activities to develop additional skills (eg CV writing) and to benefit from the input of visiting speakers, field trips and social events.

At Worcester you will have the opportunity to study fiction, poetry and drama spanning the past 500 years and including the present day, generated in England and in other countries around the world. You will engage with a variety of approaches to studying and thinking about literature focusing, especially, on the cultural and historical contexts of its publication. The reading, critical thinking, writing, oral, discursive and rhetorical skills that you will develop are an excellent preparation for a variety of careers - from teaching to marketing for example - and, for those interested to pursue further academic study, the course has a long track record of preparing students for Masters programmes and subsequent doctoral research. All of this will come from your reading, talking and writing about wonderful literature!

The core, mandatory, modules in years 1 and 2 bring students together to explore a variety of periods and writing genres in British and World literatures and to develop critical, theoretical and research skills and practices. In addition, you will be able to select from optional modules designed to offers students a degree of choice to follow their passions - from Shakespeare, to Science Fiction, to Literature on Film. In the third year, alongside studying further optional modules, you will undertake an extended research project that develops your own, specialist area interest; you will undertake your project with the one-to-one support of a lecturer with expertise in the topic. Assessment throughout the degree is by a variety of coursework and there are no exams.

Worcester's impressive new library, The Hive, provides an exceptional resource for students throughout their studies, whilst our small, green and friendly campus provides a safe and supportive environment for living and working which many students particularly value. The English course has developed a number of partnerships with locally-based organisations, from which our students benefit, including for example, Worcester Cathedral Library, Ledbury International Poetry Festival, Worcestershire Literary Festival and the Wychwood Festival. Many students have taken up opportunities to gain work experience as well as taking advantage of these organisations' resources to pursue their study interests. Click on the buttons below for more detailed information about the course.


Entry requirements

Applicants who are offered a place on the BA (Hons) in English Literature most commonly satisfy one of the following requirements:

280 UCAS tariff points (single honours) or 260 UCAS tariff points (joint honours), including a minimum grade C at A2 English
Accredited Access and Foundation Courses
Mature Entry Route

We consider applications on an individual basis, so please contact the Admissions Tutor for English Literature, Dr Charlotte Selleck (, if you are unsure about your qualifications.

Course fees

The standard annual fee for full-time UK/EU students enrolling in 2015 is £9,000 per year. Part-time fees are generally charged on a pro rata basis.

For more details, please visit our course fees page

Study options

Study abroad 

Focussed support for developing employability
Opportunity for progression to PGCE or Masters-level study

Joint honours

It is also possible to study English Literature as a joint degree with another subject. 

The combination subjects available are: Art & Design, Drama & Performance, Education Studies, English Language Studies, Film Studies, Fine Art Practice, History, Media & Cultural Studies, Journalism, Creative & Professional Writing, Psychology and Sports Studies.

The University of Worcester’s degree combinations add breadth to your studies and enhance your employability. Find out more in our Joint degrees pages.

Get in touch

Admissions Tutor for English Literature
Dr Charlotte Selleck
01905 855293

Course Administrator
Angelina Zavada
01905 852417

Admissions Office
01905 855111


Course content

Year 1

Core modules:

Creativity in Women’s Writing: Difference in View
English Literature Across the Centuries
English Renaissance Texts and Contexts
Improving English usage and style in academic writing
Introduction to American Writing
Introduction to Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)
Power, Sex and Identity in Restoration Literature
Science Fiction: Alternative Worlds
What is Literature?

Year 2

Core modules:

Children’s Literature
Culture and Politics in Victorian Fiction
Enlightened Minds: Literature 1688-1760
Gender and Popular Fiction
Language Awareness and Analysis in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)
Literary Criticism: Theory and Practice
Literary England and the Great War, 1900 - 1930
Literature in English around the World
Making Monsters
Shakespearean Comedy
The American Short Story
The Pre-Raphaelites: Word and Image

Year 3

Core modules:

American Writing and the Wilderness
Cities and Fiction
Extended Independent Research Project
Fantasy and the 1890s
Independent Research Project
Irish Writing since 1900
Justice and Revenge in English Renaissance Drama
Key Concepts and Principles in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Methodology
Literature in Film Adaptation
Love, Religion and Politics in English Renaissance Poetry
Postcolonial Literature
Single Author Study
What Happens Now: Twenty-First Century Poetry Plus
Work Project Module

You will learn how to

  • Integrate, within the detailed study of literary texts, study of the contexts and intertexts on which writers draw.
  • Engage critically and creatively with a range of genres, forms and kinds of writing characteristic of English literature.
  • Use your knowledge of your subject to write in an academic register with fluency, and to structure analysis and argument appropriately and reflectively.
  • Prepare yourself for life as an English Literary Studies graduate through CV building, career mapping, group activities that develop your capacity for productive working relationships, and the acquisition of specialist skills.
  • Make the most of your ability to research your subject independently and to read critically for pleasure.

Staff expertise

All lecturers in the subject have obtained their PhDs in a relevant area of expertise and members of the teaching team are all involved in research activity. Collectively, their subject knowledge and research ranges widely, with particular emphasis on the following:

  • Renaissance and Restoration drama and poetry
  • Eighteenth-, nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature
  • English and American contemporary poetry
  • Children's literature
  • Contemporary American fiction
  • Ecocriticism and Ecopoetics

Teaching approach

  • Teaching involves large and small group sessions as well as lectures, one-to-one tutorials, supervised independent research projects, resource-based learning and e-learning.
  • Seminars are a mix of tutor- and student-led and small group discussions.
  • Guest speakers, including writers, are integral to your learning process.
  • Assessment is also integrated within learning: we place strong emphasis on learning through assessment, with students given many opportunities for feedback during modules in addition to the process of formal (‘summative’) assessment.

Teaching and learning

Teaching methods in all modules include lectures, discussions, seminars and individual tutorials. The English team's approach is strongly student-centred with classes characterised by emphasis on guided, small group discussion within a seminar environment, in which students develop their confidence in communicating ideas. Throughout the degree, through directed activities, students are encouraged to focus on their transferable skills with a view to encouraging confidence in their abilities and supporting their successful progression to further study or employment. There is a continuous emphasis on preparation for employment and students are encouraged to take up opportunities for volunteering and internships as well as to take advantage of assessed work project modules.


There are no formal examinations and a wide variety of assessment methods are used; whilst the essay is the dominant mode in the subject, throughout the course students also have opportunities for assessment by means of oral presentations, group work, portfolios, reflective journals, creative writing, project reports and extended research projects. In all modules students produce 'formative' pieces of work - some informally assessed, some not - so that they may receive early feedback to support their progress in achieving their final, 'summative' work for formal assessment.

Elective modules

Single Honours Students: The structure of our courses allows you to tailor your studies according to your interests and strengths. You can study topics outside of your chosen course if you wish, thus giving you the opportunity to build skills that can boost your employability. You are able to choose from a number of Elective Modules in your first and second years which add breadth to your studies, make your degree distinctive and enable you to stand out from the crowd.

Visit our Elective Modules pages to find out more.



Many English graduates will take a fourth year postgraduate Certificate in Education before entering the teaching profession. Other students will take a certificate in TEFL and become teachers of English as a second language at home or abroad. Those graduates who achieve particularly good results in their first degree will choose to progress to a Masters course, which will then often lead to a career as a researcher or further study to PhD. Many students progress to careers requiring good communication skills such as Public Relations or develop research careers with media or publishing companies.

Throughout the English Literary Studies degree there is a focus on developing employability which includes attractive opportunities for work experience, a credited work project module, and a career and professional development module. Students are also strongly encouraged to take up the opportunity to study abroad for a semester.

How to apply

Apply through UCAS

Single Honours:
English Literary Studies BA - Q300 BA/Eng

Joint Honours:
Art & Design and English Literature BA - WQ93 BA/ArtEng
Creative & Professional Writing and English Literature BA - WQ82 BA/CPEL
Drama & Performance and English Literature BA - WQ43 BA/DPSEng
Education Studies and English Literature BA - XQ33 BA/EdsEng
English Language and English Literature BA - QQ23 BA/ELSELL
English Literature and Film Studies BA - QP3H BA/ELSFS
English Literature and Fine Art BA - QW31 BA/ELSFAP
English Literature and History BA - QV31 BA/EngHis
English Literature and Journalism BA - QP35 BA/ELSJour
English Literature and Media & Culture BA - QP33 BA/EngMcs
English Literature and Psychology
English Literature and Sports Studies BA - QC36 Mod/EnSp

UCAS is the central organisation through which applications are processed for entry onto full-time undergraduate courses in Higher Education in the UK.

Read our How to apply pages for more information on applying and to find out what happens to your application.

How to apply
Student views

Student views

Helen Giles

English Literary Studies 2014 graduate (First Class Honours)

"My name is Helen and I will be graduating in 2014 from the University of Worcester with a First class Single Honours Degree. I chose to study at the University of Worcester because of its warm and friendly atmosphere, its convenient location within commuting distance from home and most of all because of its great reputation for English Literature. As an avid reader what I liked most about the course was being able to combine my lifelong love of reading with obtaining a valuable degree. I was introduced to a diverse range of exciting and thought-provoking works from across different periods and different countries which significantly broadened my knowledge of literature. Moreover, the quality of teaching was exceptional and lecturers were always willing to provide one-to-one help when required. Receiving continuous critical feedback on my assessments enabled me to review and improve my work which ultimately enabled me to achieve a 1st class degree.

Following my three years of studying,  this summer I decided to take time out to travel around South East Asia visiting China (see photo of me on the Great Wall), Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia. After having the most amazing three months of my life I am now back at home and looking for graduate career opportunities in large progressive organisations with a particular interest in recruitment and marketing. Studying English Literature has provided me with the perfect springboard from which to launch my career."

Katie Harris

English Literary Studies 2013 graduate (First Class Honours)

“When I chose to do an English Literary Studies degree at Worcester I couldn’t have anticipated the in-depth and varied knowledge that I would acquire. The reading lists were wide ranging, spanning many time periods and genres, with each staff member having a different specialism. This ensured an engaging course structure that incorporated a great variety of topics, from the short stories of The Wild West to the plays of central Africa. During my time at Worcester, small seminar groups and close tutor support allowed me to expand my ideas whilst working towards assignment briefs and gaining transferable skills. The University's commitment to building students’ skills by setting varied assignments (making presentations, group work and developing learning journals, alongside the usual formal essays) has been key to enabling me to secure an internship at The Royal Shakespeare Company; experience of them has allowed me to gain useful experience towards pursuing a career in arts marketing. Most importantly, the University of Worcester sparked my interest in Early Modern plays and postcolonial literature, providing me with the theoretical skills to broaden my understanding and enjoyment of literature in ways that I had never before considered.”

Cathy Turner

English Literary Studies

"The English Literary Studies course at Worcester provided me with the chance to study a subject that I love in a stimulating, engaging and supportive environment. Lively and enthusiastic group discussions, wide-ranging study topics and an open-minded atmosphere are just some of the reasons that led me then to continue my studies at Masters level on Worcester’s MA English course."

Georgina Forrest

English Literary Studies and Journalism Joint Honours

"I received wonderful support during my undergraduate studies at Worcester. The timetable and the structure of lectures and seminars, including group work and independent study, provided variety and sustained my interest and focus. Although my first, full-time job did not require a degree qualification, I believe that my academic achievements resulted in my being shortlisted for interview. I have since progressed to another role within the same organisation, which required a degree: I am employed in the charity sector as a Fundraising Manager for Macmillan Cancer Support. My role includes raising funds and awareness and, for both these aspects of my job, the ability to communicate at all levels, both verbally and in writing, is key to success. During my degree study, I gained and developed the communication, persuasion and negotiating skills that have been crucial to carrying me through into my current work.

Course news

Course news

Dr David Arnold's poetry available online!

The University's Course Leader for English Literature, Dr David Arnold, was involved in Ledbury Poetry Festival. Listen to his seminar online (Monday 6 July) 'Spiritualised Landscapes in American Poetry' via the Ledbury Poetry Festival site:

Prof Jean Webb 'Aurora Leadership Role Model'

Prof Jean Webb has been asked for the second year running to be a national role model for 'Aurora', the women's leadership in HE, by Leadership Foundation for Higher Education.
Click here for details.

University of Worcester lecturers give talk at Ledbury Poetry Festival 2014

Two of our English Literature lecturers, Prof Jean Webb and Dr David Arnold are giving talks at this year's international Ledbury Poetry Festival. 

Tuesday, 8th July; 11.00am - 12.30pm: A.A. Milne's Poetic World of Childhood

Thursday, 10th July; 11.00am - 12.30pm: 'A Graph of the Mind Moving' Buddhist American Poetry 

Please click here for the full programme.


Carol Ann Duffy gives reading at The Hive

The Poet Laureate treated a riveted sell-out audience to readings from her manuscript of Laureate poems ahead of their publication.  These included a very moving poem on the Hillsborough disaster, and the poem ‘Birmingham for Tariq Jahan’.  There was a wonderfully intimate atmosphere in The Studio at The Hive and Duffy seemed in a reflective mood as she traced autobiographical links throughout her readings which she noted did not usually have a public airing but were chosen to match the sympathetic mood of the evening.  A love poem for her partner, a poem which treated the death of her father,  and one, appropriately, from The Bees on her mother’s death, moved some in the audience to tears.  Duffy was accompanied by John Sampson on a range of wind instruments, he was, Duffy noted, ‘her gift from the Queen’.  The audience felt privileged to be part of this very special occasion which was the third in a series of poetry events organised by the University of Worcester English department in partnership with Ledbury Poetry Festival


IHCA inaugural ANNUAL EVENT and launch of the Green Voices Research Group

Our EVENT celebrates inauguration of the Institute's Green Voices Research Group with an opportunity to hear two of the UK's celebrated nature writers Caspar Henderson and Richard Kerridge.  Please click here for more information.

The Green Voices Research Group provides a focus for the study of 'green culture', and a forum and catalyst for the discussion of broader 'green'/ecological issues.  For more information, please visit their webpage by clicking here.


Poets give readings at The Hive

Long-term, ongoing collaboration between English and the Ledbury Poetry Festival is enabling a first season of poetry readings at The Hive (the University's new library), culminating in a reading by Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.  The programme for this spring includes:

Friday 11 April, 7.30pm
Poetry and Place
Fiona Sampson. Martin Malone. David Caddy. Angela France
Four poets with assured and distinctive voices for whom 'place' encompasses not just the geographical or natural environments that inform their poems, but also the people and the human stories that unfold there.

Friday 9 May, 7.30pm
Poetry and Pollination
Ruth Stacey. Sarah James
With guest contributions invited.

Thursday 5 June, 7pm
Carol Ann Duffy
Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy will read from recent collections including The Bees.  She will be joined by musician, John Sampson.

For further information, go to:


English Literary Studies student wins University scholarship to offer workshop in Stockholm

Joint English Literary Studies and Archaeology & Heritage Studies student Sara-Jayne Boughton has recently been awarded a £1000 University Scholarship to lead a workshop for the International Consortium for Educational Development, to take place in Stockholm in June 2014. In her second year, Sara-Jayne was one of a team of four students who worked with the University of Worcester’s Educational Development Unit on a ‘Students as Partners’ project. The project used methods of ‘appreciative enquiry’ to research what aspects of the University contributed positively to students’ experience.  The students presented their findings and methods at a residential seminar for the Centre for Recording Achievement held at Aston University in November 2013 and at a subsequent conference here at Worcester.

This has since led to their successful proposal for the Stockholm workshop on Positive Partnerships with Students in Educational Development through Appreciative Enquiry.  Now in her third year at Worcester, Sara-Jayne notes that her experience of being involved in the project has affected her own approach to being a Student Academic Representative, enabling her to find more constructive solutions to problems and to deploy team working to achieve positive outcomes.   Her participation, she says, “has positively affected the way that I present information in course management committees, lectures and at work as well as the way that I feel about the University as a whole.  Participation in the conferences, in particular, has enhanced my skills in communication, leadership, research and networking.  My confidence has improved and keeps improving and has supported my performance in group projects and in relation to research for my dissertation.  It will also help me when it comes to being interviewed for jobs.  Once I’ve graduated I want, eventually, to work as a museum curator.”

Acclaimed poet, Owen Sheers, gives reading to undergraduates

In February 2014, a reading by acclaimed poet, author and scriptwriter Owen Sheers of extracts from his verse drama, Pink Mist will be given to English Literary Studies students as part of their 30-credit module, What Is Literature?  This module introduces first years in the subject to a wide range of writing genres across periods, from Jonathan Swift's 18th-century pamphlet, A Modest Proposal, to Charles Dickens' novel, Oliver Twist, to contemporary poetry by Kathleen Jamie and Sheers himself.

Owen Sheers has published two collections of poetry, with his second – Skirrid Hill – the winner of a Somerset Maugham Award.  Pink Mist was commissioned by BBC Radio 4 and was published by Faber in 2013. Poet Dannie Abse has described it as bringing the pity of the far Afghan war into our own mind’s neighbourhood. Owen’s reading will be followed by a public question and answer session with the author responding to prepared questions from English Literary Studies students, based on the work that they have already done on the text.

Editor of latest edition of The Wind in the Willows gives lecture for module ENGL2011: Children's Literature

Prof Peter Hunt, who is an associate member of Worcester's International Forum for Research in Children's Literature, will give a lecture to undergraduates on Kenneth Graham's classic The Wind in the Willows in Semester 2, 2013/14.  Prof Hunt has edited Oxford University Press's most recent edition of the book.

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