BA (Hons)

English Literature

Q300

From Chaucer to rap poetry, you can choose from almost 800 years of the best writing in English on a course that fires your imagination, sharpens your own written and communication skills and allows you to think critically and creatively about literature and much more beside. 

Close up of several books lined up on a shelf

Course overview

Guided by our supportive teaching staff, who are all part of the university’s thriving literary research culture, you study the ideas of the most exciting critical thinkers in contemporary cultural debate, using innovative learning and teaching methods. And there’s the flexibility to add to your study of literary texts with modules in English Language and/or Creative Writing. 

Year 1 provides the foundations for your studies of literature with modules designed to develop your skills of critical analysis, research, and writing. This is achieved through the study of a wide range of fiction, poetry, and drama from across the historical periods. You will study early literature in its context, explore the boundaries between literature and other types of texts like films, and have modules on poetry and world literature. 

After the first year, the majority of modules are optional, allowing you to engage with the writers and movements that most inspire you. 

In Year 2, you can choose from all the major literary figures and movements, from Shakespeare to modern fiction. Modules examining American literature and Film, and Children’s Literature and Young Adult Fiction are also available. 

In Year 3, a specific collection of writing, a particular theme or critical theory is considered in detail and a wide variety of topics exist. These include Literature and Psychoanalysis, Other Worlds and Fantasy Fiction, Utopian and Dystopian Fiction, and modules from our vocational suite such as Teaching and Communicating English. Modules here tend to be closely related to the research interests of teaching staff and engage with cutting-edge developments in the discipline. In your final year you will also be guided through personal tutorials to complete a dissertation in a subject area of your choice. 

A degree in English Literature opens many doors. A range of highly transferable qualities, including analytical thinking, evaluative and research skills, self-discipline, and effective written and spoken communication, enables you to excel in a variety of fields not just confined to the arts. Graduates have gone on to become teachers, lecturers, journalists, writers, actors, publishers and producers. 

What you need to know

Course start date

September

Location

Winchester campus

Course length

  • 3 years full-time
  • 6 years part-time

Apply

Q300

Typical offer

104-120 points

Fees

From £9,250 pa

Course features

  • Join a community passionate about the study of literature and the broad subject of English 
  • Tailor a programme to your interests from a diverse range of writers and movements 
  • Attend the University of Winchester Writers' Festival — an opportunity to meet authors, publishers and agents 
  • Add an extra string to your bow by teaching on the Japan Exchange and gaining a Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language

Course details

Work placements

There is the chance to join The Japan Exchange, which involves teaching English and gaining a Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language.

Study abroad

Our BA (Hons) English Literature course provides an opportunity for you to study abroad at one of our partner universities in the United States of America or Canada. For more information see our Study Abroad section.

Learning and teaching

Our aim is to shape 'confident learners' by enabling you to develop the skills needed to excel in your studies here and as well as onto further studies or the employment market. 

You are taught primarily through a combination of lectures and seminars, allowing opportunities to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures in smaller groups.

In addition to the formally scheduled contact time such as lectures and seminars etc.), you are encouraged to access academic support from staff within the course team and the wide range of services available to you within the University.

Independent learning

Over the duration of your course, you will be expected to develop independent and critical learning, progressively building confidence and expertise through independent and collaborative research, problem-solving and analysis with the support of staff. You take responsibility for your own learning and are encouraged to make use of the range of available learning resources.

Overall workload

Your overall workload consists of class contact hours, independent learning and assessment activity.

While your actual contact hours may depend on the optional modules you select, the following information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities at each level of the course.

Year 1 (Level 4): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*

Teaching, learning and assessment: 192 hours
Independent learning: 1008 hours

Year 2 (Level 5): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*

Teaching, learning and assessment: 192 hours
Independent learning: 1008 hours

Year 3 (Level 6): Timetabled teaching and learning activity*

Teaching, learning and assessment: 228 hours
Independent learning: 972 hours

*Please note these are indicative hours for the course. 

Teaching Hours

All class based teaching takes places between 9am – 6pm, Monday to Friday during term time. Wednesday afternoons are kept free from timetabled teaching for personal study time and for sports clubs and societies to train, meet and play matches. There may be some occasional learning opportunities (for example, an evening guest lecturer or performance) that take places outside of these hours for which you will be given forewarning.

Assessment

Our validated courses may adopt a range of means of assessing your learning. An indicative, and not necessarily comprehensive, list of assessment types you might encounter includes essays, portfolios, supervised independent work, presentations, written exams, or practical performances.

We ensure all students have an equal opportunity to achieve module learning outcomes. As such, where appropriate and necessary, students with recognised disabilities may have alternative assignments set that continue to test how successfully they have met the module's learning outcomes. Further details on assessment types used on the course you are interested in can be found on the course page, by attending an Open Day or Open Evening, or contacting our teaching staff.

Percentage of the course assessed by coursework

The assessment balance between examination and coursework depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose. The approximate percentage of the course assessed by different assessment modes is as follows:

Year 1 (Level 4)*:

87% coursework
13% written exams
0% practical exams

Year 2 (Level 5)*:

87% coursework
13% written exams
0% practical exams

Year 3 (Level 6)*:

100% coursework
0% written exams
0% practical exams

*Please note these are indicative percentages and modes for the programme.

Modules

Please note the modules listed are correct at the time of publishing. The University cannot guarantee the availability of all modules listed and modules may be subject to change. The University will notify applicants of any changes made to the core modules listed. For further information please refer to winchester.ac.uk/termsandconditions

Modules

Studying English Literature

This double module provides the foundation for the degree by establishing key skills for English Literature students. It focuses on four key areas:

  • Developing a critical faculty through the study of various methodologies, for example: reading for political or ideological context; examining the terms ‘reader’, ‘author’ and ‘text’; exploring genre and hermeneutics; the controversy of the English ‘canon’.
  • Advanced reading and handling of primary texts through the development of close-reading skills (e.g. quotation, critical commentary, etc.) which inform weekly blogs, effective and persuasive writing, etc.
  • Building and consolidating research and academic skills (e.g. using libraries and journal databases; handling scholarly materials and referencing accurately to develop and substantiate good academic practice).
  • Reflection on the UN Sustainability Development Goals.
Literature in Context

This module is designed to introduce students to a range of literary texts and genres from the medieval period up to the eighteenth century, opening consideration of the advantages and disadvantages of understanding these texts in relation to their historical contexts. This will include consideration of the following: the changing practices of publication and composition of audience; the historical, political and cultural contexts; contemporary conceptualisations of genre, gender roles and sexual identity; treatment of issues of colonialism, national identity, ethnic difference and religious affiliation. Comparisons and contrasts in relation to historical change will be highlighted by tracing these topics across texts from different periods. Students will be encouraged to draw from the theoretical materials and methods learned on Studying English Literature alongside the complementary World Literature module to develop and build core interpretative skills. The use of texts that have already received considerable critical attention will enable students to engage with existing critical discussion.

World Literature

While Goethe introduced the phrase Weltliteratur in 1827 and called on us to hasten its approach, ‘World Literature’ remains, in David Damrosch’s view, an ‘elusive’ thing (‘Which literature? Whose world?’) Drawing on critical methodologies established in Studying English Literature, and complementing Literature in Context, this module will focus on how the study of ‘English’ as a discipline is affected by globalization and so-called ‘identity politics’. It will explore a range of texts both modern and foundational to illustrate a variety of concepts and critical issues, including: diaspora and migration, nationalism and multiculturalism, non-British English and reading in translation, and the effect of globalization on contemporary politics. It also invites students to consider the heterogeneity of the term ‘World Literature’ as both a hindrance and a benefit when tackling concepts like, for example, gender as a social and, increasingly, international construct.

Introduction to Poetry

This module will be based on a specially compiled anthology incorporated into the module handbook, with a wide sampling of short texts ranging from Elizabethan sonnets to contemporary pieces.  There will be three main sections, each of three to four weeks. First, a concentration on close reading skills and an understanding of the uses of poetic form and language, based on material traditionally considered canonical. Secondly, the issue of the canon to be raised and questioned in an explicit way, exemplified by material that raises issues of class, gender, ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture, and postcolonial challenges. Thirdly, a focus on the contributions of context to understanding poetry operating through case studies of particular texts such as a sample of Cavalier verse or Romantic odes.

Intertextuality

A literary text does not have meaning in and of itself, its meaning is always a product of its relation to other texts, both literary and non-literary. This module will examine a range of ways that texts have been analysed through their relationship with other texts. It will begin with the well-established concepts of source, genre, and allusion, examining specific texts and tracing these relationships. It will then look at theoretical expansions of the concept of intertextuality and consider these in relation to an extended study of a pair of related literary texts. Finally, it will consider adaptation of literary texts such as a fairy tale into other media such as film, television and the visual arts, considering how identification of a text as an adaptation of a preceding one impacts upon the interpretation of both.

African American Literatures

This module will introduce the literatures and cultural artefacts which were produced by the forced migration and enslavement of Africans to ‘America’. It will examine these texts within the frame of Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. Among the key figures studied will be Phillis Wheatly, Frederick Douglas, Alex Haley, and Nella Larsen. Alongside the literature we will study some visual sources such as portraiture, museum exhibitions and film which have been employed to commemorate and represent the Black Atlantic.

Transatlantic Literatures

Travel, trade, and cultural exchange across the Atlantic have long shaped literatures in English, overtly in the writings of diarists, travellers, and in migration narratives, and more implicitly reflecting cultural relationships of rivalry, exploitation, and renewal. This module focuses on specific examples while taking a long historical view. It begins with European accounts of American democracy in the early nineteenth century and ends with twenty-first century fiction exploring British Afro-Caribbean heritage (for example Bernadine Evaristo, Girl, Woman, Other [2019]). Other foci may include the ‘love/hate’ cultural relations between Britain and the USA in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; the significance of European settings in stories by Edgar Allan Poe and Herman Melville; Edith Wharton’s depiction of ‘buccaneering’ American women in Europe; and the attraction of France for many African American writers of the twentieth century (James Baldwin, Gwendolyn Bennett, Langston Hughes, Claude McKay,). Major themes include the possibilities of self-renewal held out by travel and migration, critique of Imperial and exploitative relations, and the re-imagining of personal and national identities in apparently freer racial and gendered contexts.

Modules

Critical Theory

Critical Theory has unarguably transformed the discipline of English Literature, but its significance in the 21st century has been increasingly subject to debate.  This module responds to proclamations of the ‘Death of Theory’ and the rush to declare us ‘post-Theory’ (post-gender, post-race, post-truth, etc.)  It examines the development of Critical Theory through the 20th century, as well as foundational texts from philosophy, to confront the historical and intellectual impact of ‘theory’ on the discipline. The module will explore works by difficult thinkers (from Barthes to Žižek), as well as the philosophers who influenced them (Plato, Heidegger, etc.) in order to experience theory first-hand, learning to tackle the more difficult critical material in the discipline in order to both assess its usefulness and application for different texts, contexts and periods. The focus on Critical Theory and philosophy will also enable students to engage with several of the UN sustainable development goals, including: 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality), 10 (Reduced Inequalities) and those focused on ecological sustainability.

Preparation for Research and Professional Development

This is a preparatory module for two mandatory third year modules—the ‘Dissertation’ and the ‘Vocational Study’ module—and is taught in two parts.

(1) The ‘Preparation for Research’ part tackles various aspects of research, such as: discriminating between different methodologies to frame an individual project; making research creative and exciting; developing and planning an undergraduate dissertation; undertaking a preparatory literature review; writing research proposals.

(2) The ‘professional writing’ part of the module focuses on the transferable skills attained throughout the degree and prepares for life as an English Literature graduate. It looks at: project and time management; interviewing and presentation; and writing an effective C.V. The module will also give students a sense of academia as a profession and what it means to be a life-long learner (with reference to the UN Sustainability Goals).

Optional Modules
  • Eighteenth-Century Romanticism - 15 credits
  • Modernism - 15 credits
  • Shakespeare and Early Modern Comedy - 15 credits
  • The Rise of the Novel: 1660-1770 - 15 credits
  • Victorian Literatures - 15 credits
  • American Literature and Film - 15 credits
  • Nineteenth-Century Romanticism - 15 credits
  • Gothic and Romantic Fiction - 15 credits
  • Children’s Literature and Young Adult Fiction - 15 credits
  • Postmodernism - 15 credits
  • Shakespeare and Early Modern Tragedy - 15 credits
  • Volunteering for BA English - 15 credits
  • American Gothic - 15 credits

Optional

Critical Theory

Critical Theory has unarguably transformed the discipline of English Literature, but its significance in the 21st century has been increasingly subject to debate.  This module responds to proclamations of the ‘Death of Theory’ and the rush to declare us ‘post-Theory’ (post-gender, post-race, post-truth, etc.)  It examines the development of Critical Theory through the 20th century, as well as foundational texts from philosophy, to confront the historical and intellectual impact of ‘theory’ on the discipline. The module will explore works by difficult thinkers (from Barthes to Žižek), as well as the philosophers who influenced them (Plato, Heidegger, etc.) in order to experience theory first-hand, learning to tackle the more difficult critical material in the discipline in order to both assess its usefulness and application for different texts, contexts and periods. The focus on Critical Theory and philosophy will also enable students to engage with several of the UN sustainable development goals, including: 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality), 10 (Reduced Inequalities) and those focused on ecological sustainability.

Preparation for Research and Professional Development

This is a preparatory module for two mandatory third year modules—the ‘Dissertation’ and the ‘Vocational Study’ module—and is taught in two parts.

(1) The ‘Preparation for Research’ part tackles various aspects of research, such as: discriminating between different methodologies to frame an individual project; making research creative and exciting; developing and planning an undergraduate dissertation; undertaking a preparatory literature review; writing research proposals.

(2) The ‘professional writing’ part of the module focuses on the transferable skills attained throughout the degree and prepares for life as an English Literature graduate. It looks at: project and time management; interviewing and presentation; and writing an effective C.V. The module will also give students a sense of academia as a profession and what it means to be a life-long learner (with reference to the UN Sustainability Goals).

Optional Modules
  • Eighteenth-Century Romanticism - 15 credits
  • Modernism - 15 credits
  • Shakespeare and Early Modern Comedy - 15 credits
  • The Rise of the Novel: 1660-1770 - 15 credits
  • Victorian Literatures - 15 credits
  • American Literature and Film - 15 credits
  • Nineteenth-Century Romanticism - 15 credits
  • Gothic and Romantic Fiction - 15 credits
  • Children’s Literature and Young Adult Fiction - 15 credits
  • Postmodernism - 15 credits
  • Shakespeare and Early Modern Tragedy - 15 credits
  • Volunteering for BA English - 15 credits
  • American Gothic - 15 credits

Modules

Dissertation

The dissertation is an extended treatment of between 8,000 and 10,000 words on a subject of the student’s choice (subject to approval). Study is primarily student-directed, with supervision supplied by tutors teaching/researching in the subject area. Students will draw on the Preparation for Research and Professional Writing module in addition to a small number of general lectures to further provide guidance through the process, but this is primarily a self-directed, independent study. A viva voce exam might be requested of students in order to clarify assessment decisions.

Optional Modules
  • Creative and Critical Extended Study - 30 credits
  • The Shakespeare Phenomenon - 15 credits
  • Women’s Writing in the Long Eighteenth Century - 15 credits
  • Literature and Psychoanalysis - 15 credits
  • The Art of Murder - 15 credits
  • Teaching and Communicating English - 15 credits
  • Utopian and Dystopian Fiction - 15 credits
  • Literature and Social Justice - 15 credits
  • Other Worlds and Fantasy Fiction - 15 credits
  • Literary Adaptations - 15 credits
  • The Literature of Business - 15 credits
  • Global Prison Literatures - 15 credits

Optional

Dissertation

The dissertation is an extended treatment of between 8,000 and 10,000 words on a subject of the student’s choice (subject to approval). Study is primarily student-directed, with supervision supplied by tutors teaching/researching in the subject area. Students will draw on the Preparation for Research and Professional Writing module in addition to a small number of general lectures to further provide guidance through the process, but this is primarily a self-directed, independent study. A viva voce exam might be requested of students in order to clarify assessment decisions.

Optional Modules
  • Creative and Critical Extended Study - 30 credits
  • The Shakespeare Phenomenon - 15 credits
  • Women’s Writing in the Long Eighteenth Century - 15 credits
  • Literature and Psychoanalysis - 15 credits
  • The Art of Murder - 15 credits
  • Teaching and Communicating English - 15 credits
  • Utopian and Dystopian Fiction - 15 credits
  • Literature and Social Justice - 15 credits
  • Other Worlds and Fantasy Fiction - 15 credits
  • Literary Adaptations - 15 credits
  • The Literature of Business - 15 credits
  • Global Prison Literatures - 15 credits

Entry requirements

104-120 points

Our offers are typically made using UCAS tariff points to allow you to include a range of level 3 qualifications and as a guide, the requirements for this course are equivalent to:

A-Levels: BCC-BBB from 3 A Levels or equivalent grade combinations (e.g. BBB is comparable to ABC in terms of tariff points)

BTEC/CTEC: DMM from BTEC or Cambridge Technical (CTEC) qualifications International Baccalaureate: To include a minimum of 2 Higher Level certificates at grade H4

T Level: Merit in a T Level

In addition to the above, we accept tariff points achieved for many other qualifications, such as the Access to Higher Education Diploma, Scottish Highers, UAL Diploma/Extended Diploma and WJEC Applied Certificate/Diploma, to name a few. We also accept tariff points from smaller level 3 qualifications, up to a maximum of 32, from qualifications like the Extended Project (EP/EPQ), music or dance qualifications. To find out more about UCAS tariff points, including what your qualifications are worth, please visit UCAS.

In addition to level 3 study, the following GCSE’s are required:

GCSE English Language at grade 4 or C, or higher. Functional Skills at level 2 is accepted as an alternative, however Key Skills qualifications are not. If you hold another qualification, please get in touch and we will advise further. 

If you will be over the age of 21 years of age at the beginning of your undergraduate study, you will be considered as a mature student. This means our offer may be different and any work or life experiences you have will be considered together with any qualifications you hold. UCAS have further information about studying as a mature student on their website which may be of interest.

If English is not your first language, a formal English language test will most likely be required and you will need to achieve the following:

  • IELTS Academic at 5.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in all four components (for year 1 entry)
  • We also accept other English language qualifications, such as IELTS Indicator, Pearson PTE Academic, Cambridge C1 Advanced and TOEFL iBT.

If you are living outside of the UK or Europe, you can find out more about how to join this course by contacting our International Recruitment Team via our International Apply Pages.

2024 Course Tuition Fees

  UK / Channel Islands /
Isle of Man / Republic of Ireland 

International

Year 1 £9,250 £16,700
Year 2 £9,250 £16,700
Year 3 £9,250 £16,700
Total £27,750 £50,100
Optional Sandwich Year* £1,850 £3,340
Total with Sandwich Year £29,600 £53,440

Additional tuition fee information

If you are a UK student starting your degree in September 2024, the first year will cost you £9,250**. Based on this fee level, the indicative fees for a three-year degree would be £27,750 for UK students.

Remember, you don’t have to pay any of this upfront if you are able to get a tuition fee loan from the UK Government to cover the full cost of your fees each year.

UK Part-Time fees are calculated on a pro rata basis of the full-time fee for a 120 credit course. The fee for a single credit is £77.08 and a 15 credit module is £1,156. Part-time students can take up to a maximum 90 credits per year, so the maximum fee in a given year will be the government permitted maximum fee of £6,935.

International part-time fees are calculated on a pro rata basis of the full-time fee for a 120 credit course. The fee for a single credit is £139.14 and a 15 credit module is £2,087.

* Please note that not all courses offer an optional sandwich year.

**The University of Winchester will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year.

Additional costs

As one of our students all of your teaching and assessments are included in your tuition fees, including, lectures/guest lectures and tutorials, seminars, laboratory sessions and specialist teaching facilities. You will also have access to a wide range of student support and IT services.

There might be additional costs you may encounter whilst studying. The following highlights the optional costs for this course:

Optional

Overseas trip

Students have the option to attend a trip to a Film Festival throughout the duration of the course. Indicative cost: £375 per academic year.

Technology

It is recommended that students purchase their own hard-drive storage at the beginning of the course. Indicative cost: 2TB devices cost £80.

Disclosure and Barring Service

A Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) clearance check may be required if you undertake a placement, volunteering, research or other course related activity where you will have contact with children or vulnerable adults. The requirement for a DBS check will be confirmed by staff as part of the process to approve your placement, research or other activity. The indicative cost is £40.

Mandatory

Printing and Binding

The University is pleased to offer our students a printing allowance of £5 each academic year. This will print around 125 A4 (black and white) pages. If students wish to print more, printer credit can be topped up by the student. The University and Student Union are champions of sustainability and we ask all our students to consider the environmental impact before printing.

SCHOLARSHIPS, BURSARIES AND AWARDS

We have a variety of scholarship and bursaries available to support you financially with the cost of your course. To see if you’re eligible, please see our Scholarships and Awards.

CAREER PROSPECTS

Graduates have gone on to become teachers, lecturers, journalists, writers, actors, publishers and producers.

The University of Winchester ranks in the top 10 in the UK for graduates in employment or further study according to the Graduate Outcomes Survey 2023, HESA.

Pre-approved for a Masters

If you study a Bachelor Honours degree with us, you will be pre-approved to start a Masters degree at Winchester. To be eligible, you will need to apply by the end of March in the final year of your degree and meet the entry requirements of your chosen Masters degree.

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