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Course overview

*Subject to validation

  • Combine a wide-ranging study of English literature with an understanding of philosophical and political principles and ideas
  • Consider the important philosophical questions surrounding religion, the universe, human freedom and equality
  • Personalise your degree by choosing from a diverse range of english literature and liberal arts modules
Deepen your philosophical curiosity through our Liberal Arts and English Literature degree. You will combine wide‐ranging study of English literature including modern and traditional literature, cultural study and critical analysis with an understanding of the philosophical and political principles and ideas that have shaped ancient and modern culture.
Enhance your critical thinking skills by considering the important philosophical questions surrounding truth (God), the universe, human freedom and equality. You can also personalise your experience by choosing from a diverse range of modules. These include: literary, artistic, cultural, scientific and political ideas. As well as, and some of the issues surrounding them.
Year 1 introduces you to the range of different approaches to understanding texts and develops skills of critical analysis, research and writing. This is achieved through the study of an assortment of texts from various periods in history across the genres of prose fiction, poetry and drama.
Year 2 most of the modules you will study involve a group of texts representative of a period of history, a particular genre or a particular area of the world. All the major literary figures and movements from Chaucer to the present day are available, including Shakespeare, Romantic poets, Victorian novelists and modern writers. Modules examining American literature, postcolonial literature and adaptation of literature in film are also available.
Year 3 a specific collection of writing, a particular theme or critical theory is considered in detail and a wide variety of topics exist.
For students who love to read and talk about ideas and their relevance to society and culture, and find pleasure in the challenge of reading and thinking, then Liberal Arts and English literature is an ideal pathway.


Liberal Arts provides graduates with critical skills that are desirable to employers. You develop skills in problem solving, organisation, time‐keeping, project management, taking initiative, interacting with peers and tutors, team‐working, critical thinking, adaptability, communication of ideas in debate and on paper, team‐work, the courage to meet challenges and difficulties, and commitment to the goal of succeeding.
Typical employment areas for graduates studying Liberal Arts and English Literature may be teaching, journalism, writing, publishing, producing and in humanities‐based graduate‐entry jobs.

Pre-approved for a Masters

If you study a Bachelor Honours degrees 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. 

*Subject to validation

'Validation' is the process by which the University approves a new programme to ensure that it provides a distinct, high-quality academic experience for students, that enables them to acquire the necessary academic knowledge, understanding, general and subject-specific skills required to pursue a graduate level career. In the unlikely event that a programme is not validated then we will do our best to find you an alternative programme within the University.

Suitable for applicants from:

UK, EU, World

Study abroad

Our BA (Hons) Liberal Arts and English Literature course provides an opportunity for you to study abroad. 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, your personal tutor 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 wide range of available learning resources available.

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.


Teaching, learning and assessment: 216 hours
Independent learning: 984hours


Teaching, learning and assessment: 192 hours
Independent learning: 984 hours
Placement:24 hours


Teaching, learning and assessment: 204 hours
Independent learning: 996 hours

*Please note these are indicative hours for the course


Taught elements of the course take place at King Alfred or at West Downs, Winchester.


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 by attending an Open Day 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)*:

90% coursework
10% written exams
0% practical exams

YEAR 2 (LEVEL 5)*:

78% coursework
15% written exams
7% practical exams

YEAR 3 (LEVEL 6)*:

79% coursework
13% written exams
8% practical exams

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


We are committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to you on your academic progress and achievement in order to enable you to reflect on your progress and plan your academic and skills development effectively. You are also encouraged to seek additional feedback from your course tutors.

Further information

For more information about our regulations for this course, please see our Policies and Procedures.


104-120 points

If English is not your first language: Year 1/Level 4: IELTS 6.0 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in writing or equivalent

Course enquiries and applications

Telephone: +44 (0) 1962 827234
Send us a message

International students

If you are living outside of the UK or Europe, you can find out more about how to join this course by emailing our International Recruitment Team at or calling +44 (0)1962 827023

Visit us

Explore our campus and find out more about studying at Winchester by visiting us at an Open Day.

Year 1 (Level 4)

Modules Credits

Learning from the Renaissance 15

This module introduces you to themes and personalities that were central to the period of Western history called the Renaissance. It provide you with an historical overview of key events, as well as looking at the relation of the Renaissance to other historical periods. It will also look more deeply into selected ideas with a view to illustrating their significance both within the Renaissance and beyond. Central to the approach of the module will be to illustrate ways in which the Renaissance holds an ‘educational’ import both within itself and in terms of a legacy. Where appropriate, tutors will relate the material to both ancient and more modern issues and ideas. The module aims to increase student knowledge and understanding of the Renaissance but also to draw out its fundamental import for the notion of education in its widest sense. Many of the ideas introduced in this module will be returned to in years 2 and 3.

Early English Texts and Contexts 15

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. By tracing these topics across texts from different periods comparison and contrast in relation to historical change will be highlighted. Students will be encouraged to draw from the theoretical materials studied in Critical Reading 1 and 2 to develop their interpretations of these texts. The use of texts that have already received considerable critical attention will enable students to engage with existing critical discussion in these areas. 

Introduction to English Studies 15

This module offers students an opportunity to negotiate the transition to undergraduate study of English in a small group environment that will promote interaction with fellow students and the module tutor. Students will be involved in detailed discussion of their interpretations of fictional texts and will share their experience in the location and evaluation of relevant critical writing. There will be opportunities to share and compare essay-writing strategies and research methods and to ensure the referencing requirements and conventions of degree-level work are understood. The iterative essay, where a draft will receive feedback before final submission, will promote reflection on research, essay writing, and understanding of marking criteria. There will also be an opportunity to have an initial experience of assessed oral presentation before a relatively small audience and to use a range of relevant web-based resources.

Harmonia mundi 15

This module looks at the first principle of harmony in ancient and medieval liberal arts as it was seen to structure the ethical and metaphysical properties of the universe. We will think about this idea of harmony in relation to music, astronomy, maths, rhetoric and philosophy as well in the related areas of theology and politics. We will discuss whether we can hold to such principles of harmony today in the social, political and religious experience of dissonance and disharmony. Discussions will form part of an introduction to the Quadrivium and Trivium, the traditional subjects of Liberal Arts, upon which we can begin to think the nature of a modern liberal arts education.

Freedom (is to Learn) 2 30

This module looks at ancient and medieval cosmology, and at the role played by the idea of movement within metaphysics, physics and politics. You will read important texts from Ancient Greece, including Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics and the Sceptics. We look at some of the ideas associated with the ancient cosmos, including its being taken to and from Arabic and Judaic sources. We follow some of these ideas through western European cosmology and end the module by exploring motion and its relation to time, space and the construction of reality.

Freedom (is to Learn) 1 15

The Freedom is to Learn modules run through the three years of the degree. 

There will be much more to be said about this, but for now, remember it is important that you treat all the material you read in each of your MLA modules as relevant to all MLA modules. Think of Year 1 as a whole year of learning, not necessarily divided into modules, and think of each year as part of the whole degree. In time we will reward essays which are able to bring material in from different modules. In this first of the compulsory modules we are looking at some aspects of the origin of liberal arts education in Antiquity. As we do, we will also asks a strange question: what is the meaning of ‘beginning’? This is related to a second question: what is learning?

Critical Reading 2 15

This is the second of two related modules which together form a foundational introduction to the critical reading of literary texts. This module will build upon the first by giving students an opportunity to engage with selected literary, critical and theoretical texts, brought together in order to demonstrate the application of major critical theories to literature from different genres and periods. Students will acquire from this module the critical and theoretical basis for the remainder of their undergraduate work in English. It will follow a chronological scheme in order to show how literary criticism has changed through debate and controversy in relation to changes within society and the academy. It will incorporate the most recent developments in criticism, introducing students to key critical extracts alongside literary texts in order to familiarize them with the most significant ideas of the most influential thinkers for the study of literature.

Critical Reading 1 15

This is the first of two related modules which together form a broad introduction to critical reading of literary texts. This first module is designed to build upon reading skills developed at pre-degree level and to introduce more advanced reading skills, drawing upon developments in undergraduate English. It will focus on key aspects of engagement with literature: the role of the reader; the authority of the author; text, context and intertextuality; canon-formation; genre and generic expectation; literature and identity politics; nation and narration. Students will develop their reading skills with a wide range of texts, including fiction, poetry and short stories, both canonical and non-canonical.  Students will be made aware of the history of the discipline as it has moved through different kinds of reading practice since its first appearance in English universities. This will provide a context in which to place the discipline’s development through the so-called ‘theory revolution’ and its aftermath.

Optional Credits

Optional modules

Models of Higher Education
Ancient 'Canonic' Tragedy
Film and Philosophy
Spirit: Innocence and Experience
Creator Texts
First Principles: Core Texts
Foundations of Modern Medicine
Issues and Debates in Social Policy
The Family and Intimate Relationships
Identity, Equality & Diversity
Health Inequalities
Consumption, Culture and Fashion

Year 2 (Level 5)

Modules Credits

Freedom (is to Learn) 4 15

This module looks back to thinking that has featured throughout the programme but also forward to leaving the Academy and becoming a graduate in the world beyond. It explores the concept of modern freedom and in particular examines the idea of Western subjective freedom in relation to such fundamental concepts as life and death, God and man, and master and slave. As you prepare to leave University, we will explore ways in which your higher education might serve you in what lies beyond- for employment as for existence itself.

Freedom (is to Learn) 3 15

The dialectic of enlightenment is one of the most profound and worrying expressions of modern rational thought.  We have seen in previous modules the effect that doubt has on how we understand the work and identity of human subjectivity. Now we will explore the damage wrought by uncertainty and doubt on other fundamental concepts including freedom and enlightenment. Our task will be to see if there is something we can learn from the difficulties of the dialectic of enlightenment when we see within it how truth collapses into a culture of repetition.

Optional Credits

Optional modules

Creator Images
Disciplining the Soul
Music and Philosophy
Theorising the Holocaust (Shoah)
Theorising Education and Ecology
Power of the Teacher
Spirit: In Ruins
Atomic Nature
First Principles: Core Texts
Athens and Jerusalem
Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama
Seventeenth‐Century Literature and Revolution
Nineteenth‐Century Romanticism
The Modern Age
Chaucer and His World
Shakespeare and Seventeenth‐Century Drama
Eighteenth‐Century Romanticism
Victorian Fictions
British Literature in the Age of Reason 1688‐1743
Literature in the Shadow of Revolution 1745‐1775‐1789
Gothic and Romantic Fiction
Postcolonial Fictions
The Postmodern Age
Individual Project
Literary Adaptations for Film and Television
Contemporary Children’s Literature
Sex and Sensibility in 18th Century Print
18th Century Performance and Censorship
Textual Editing in Theory and Practice
Children’s Literature and Young Adult

Year 3 (Level 6)

Modules Credits

Freedom (is to Learn) 5 15

This module complements the group of modules in Liberal Arts running under the banner of Freedom is to learn. In this module we will revisit some themes from years one and two, particularly regarding first principles and their fate in the modern world; infinite regression; virtue; and begin to open up the theme of modern metaphysics in order to begin to judge the possibility of a new idea of first principles. This is undertaken in a variety of ways, dependent to some extent on the previous work of different groups of students over the previous two years. We may embark on a study of ancient and modern versions of the famous Delphic maxim: know thyself.

Dissertation 30

This module is compulsory for Single Honours pathway Modern Liberal Arts students, and can be chosen by Joint Honours Modern Liberal Arts students.  This module enables students to produce a dissertation solely in Modern Liberal Arts.  The subject accepts a very wide definition of what can count as relevant to Modern Liberal Arts.  Projects can be a deeper analysis of any aspect of content already covered on the course or a new area building on the skills of theory and critique which is of interest to the student.  The dissertation will be a piece of independent research undertaken by the student resulting in an 8,000 – 10,000 word project.

Optional Credits

Optional modules

Learning from the Holocaust (Shoah)
(Human) Nature
Spirit: Life and Death
The Natural Universe and Ecology
Philosophy of the Teacher
Know Thyself
First Principles: Core Texts
Creative and Critical Extended Study
The Shakespeare Phenomenon
Crime and Englishness
Women's Writing in the Long Eighteenth Century
Biography and the Body
William Blake: Poet of Jerusalem
Twentieth Century Dramatic Texts: Brecht and Beckett
Consumer Culture
Jewish Identities
Literature, Sexuality and Morality
The City in American Literature 1868‐1925
Renaissance Poetry at the Court of Elizabeth I
Romantic Celebrity Culture
Globalization and Contemporary Fiction
Literature and Psychoanalysis
Contemporary Young Adult Fiction
The Figure of the Law in Literature
Post‐Structuralism: Theory, Text, Culture
Utopian and Dystopian Fiction
The Victorian Art of Murder

Please note the modules listed are correct at the time of publishing, for full-time students entering the programme in Year 1. Optional modules are listed where applicable. Please note the University cannot guarantee the availability of all modules listed and modules may be subject to change. For further information please refer to the terms and conditions at
The University will notify applicants of any changes made to the core modules listed above.

Course Tuition Fees 

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man

If you are a UK or EU student starting your degree in September 2018, 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 and EU 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. If finance is a worry for you, we are here to help. Take a look at the range of support we have on offer. This is a great investment you are making in your future, so make sure you know what is on offer to support you.

Full-time £9,250 p/a

Total Cost: £27,750 (3 years) | £28,450 (sandwich option)

UK/EU 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 £6,938

International Students

Full-time £12,950** p/a
Total Cost: £38,850** (3 years) | £39,550** (sandwich option)

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 £107.92 and a 15 credit module is £1,620. Fees for students from Vestfold University College in Norway (who receive a 10% reduction) and NLA are £11,655.


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 mandatory and optional costs for this course:


Reading pack: The reading pack contains the essential readings for each week's seminars and forms the basis for seminar discussions and assessments. Costs maximum £40 per year.



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 page. 

Key course details

UCAS code
3 years full-time
Typical offer
104-120 points
King Alfred or West Downs, Winchester