Frequently asked questions
How much freedom of choice is there on the degree?
On the English BA you'll have access to the entire range of literature in English, from the earliest periods to the present-day. In Year 1 there are 4 core modules. Years 2 and 3 everything is optional. Typically, you can choose from around 20 modules in year 2, and 40 in year 3.
How is the degree structured?
Year 1 introduces you to the 4 fundamental areas of English, and to the skills and methodologies of each that you will utilise throughout your degree – covering prose, poetry, drama, and language; English and History, American Studies or Creative Writing students will have similarly introductory modules in their second discipline. Once you are equipped with basic knowledge in these areas, you will develop further in years 2 and 3, where you have open choice about what to study. The overall assessment scheme reflects this structure – year 1 doesn’t contribute towards the final degree result; year 2 is 40% of the overall result, year 3 60%.
How are the modules assessed?
The vast majority of your modules will have no exam component whatsoever; there are only two modules that currently have exams (one of which is optional), and in both cases the exams are combined with coursework elements. Our assessment leans heavily towards coursework, and to reflect the wide range of content we offer, students will be assessed in a variety of ways, including essays, oral presentations, groupwork projects, film reviews, online tests, passage analyses, and formative exercises.
What opportunities for career development does the degree include?
We have a number of vocationally-focused optional modules, each one designed to introduce students to different aspects of employability – Teaching English as a Foreign Language, which leads to the internationally recognised CELTA (Cambridge English Language Teaching Award) qualification; English and Education, which comes with a work placement in a local school; and Diversifying the Publishing Industry, in which students work closely with a small press.
What is a student’s typical workload like?
Most modules have 2 lectures and 1 seminar a week, a minimum of 9 hours face-to-face teaching. There are also other scheduled events like introduced film screenings, workshops, meetings with personal tutors, and groupwork sessions with other students. Often a week is 15 – 20 hours of contact time. We also recommend at least 10 hours independent study per module. Usually you will have to read a text ahead of each weekly seminar for each module, e.g. a novel, play, or a collection of poems or essays; many seminars will also ask you to complete a short exercise, either on your own or as a group, ahead of the formal teaching session.
What can I read over summer to prepare?
One of the first modules you'll be taking with us is The Novel Around the World, which is also an excellent starting-point for your reading. It covers the following texts: Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre; E.M. Forster, A Passage to India; James Baldwin, Giovanni’s Room; Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea; Indra Sinha, Animal’s People; Zadie Smith, NW. That should give you plenty to get your teeth into!
Can I study abroad?
Many of our courses feature the opportunity to study abroad.
There are many benefits of spending time studying abroad during your course - International experiences can enhance your academic and personal skills and your employability.
Most students go for one academic year, between the second and third years of their course. However, some Schools offer one-semester options. You can also consider going on an overseas summer school, whether as a taster for a full year, or simply as a shorter alternative. And don’t worry if you don’t currently speak any other languages - we have many partner universities in other English-speaking countries, and most of our partner universities teach at least some of their classes in English.
We have exchange partner universities on every continent (except Antarctica!). Where you can go depends on your course and this list can vary from year to year.