Accessibility statement

What will I study?

Our English degree offers exceptional flexibility and choice, providing a comprehensive overview of literary history and criticism.

It encourages you to explore the subjects that interest you most by offering you space to shape your degree from your first year. We offer a breathtaking choice of modules with an unsurpassed geographical and linguistic range. With core and optional modules covering literature from classical antiquity to the 21st century, there is something for everyone, including creative writing, drama, fiction, film, and poetry.

Through small-group teaching, we will support you in becoming an original researcher right from the start, meaning that you will develop independent critical thinking skills invaluable for the workplace and for postgraduate study. Our unique writing provision, designed and taught by specialist tutors, forms a practical spine for the degree, preparing you to communicate clearly and confidently on a rich variety of topics to any audience.


Year 1: You will acquire a broad understanding of literary history through co-ordinated modules that introduce a range of texts and a variety of critical approaches: Approaches to Literature I: Writing Modernity (Autumn) & Approaches to Literature II: Other Worlds (Spring) and A World of Literature I: Classics and Cultural Translations (Autumn) & A World of Literature II: Empire and Aftermaths (Spring).You will also begin to develop research and writing skills appropriate to the study of literature at university in Key Concepts: An Introduction to Genre, Theory, and Writing. In your final term, you will choose from our exciting Topic Modules, working collaboratively to explore a text or idea.

Year 2: You will further your understanding of literature’s rich heritage, choosing from our comprehensive period-specific Intermediate Option Modules. You will also have the opportunity to engage with a literary tradition from outside English in our World Literature options (either in translation or with some language study, if you prefer). Our innovative Writing Now and Research Now modules will help you to continue to develop your critical inquiry and writing skills. 

Year 3: Building on the skills and interests you have developed throughout your degree, you will choose from an exciting, wide-ranging list of experimental Advanced Option Modules on a diverse set of topics, allowing you to tailor the final year entirely to your own interests and passions. You will also undertake independent research, supported by an expert supervisor, towards The Dissertation, which will focus on a topic of your choosing. This includes the option to undertake a Dissertation with Creative Practice, which might involve producing a portfolio of creative writing; a translation project; a critical edition of a text; a print publication in collaboration with Thin Ice Press; or an external engagement project. This capstone project is a wonderful opportunity to display your skills in detailed research, elegant writing, and rigorous argument.

Topic Modules

Topic Modules are a set of exciting, hands-on, and tightly focused modules that run in the Summer Term of your first year.

They act as an important pivot point between the research skills developed throughout the year and practical skills that will make you more employable after your degree. Topic modules veer from the beaten path into innovative and specialised areas of research, while also helping you to connect your academic skills with the tools you will use in any career.

Recent offerings have included:

The Big Book

Bodies and Minds

The Business of Books


Fictions of Human Rights

Film, Culture, and Industry

Five Things about Poetry

The Global Eighteenth Century

Imagining Woodlands

Literature and the City

Love and Desire in the Middle Ages

NOW Now: Intersectional Feminisms from the 1960s to the Present

Adventures in the Archive

Romantic Conversations

Shakespeare in Depth

Intermediate Option Modules

Intermediate Option Modules cover key topics, texts, and genres of a given literary period.

Building on the introduction to different literary periods offered in the first year, Intermediate Option Modules allow you to deepen your understanding of the relationship between literary works and the cultural, historical, and political contexts in which they were produced.

The Shock of the New: Medieval Literature

The Renaissance

Inventing Britain, 1700-1830

Victorians: British Literature, 1832-1901

Age of Extremes: Twentieth-Century British and Irish Literature

American Literature: From the First World War to the End of Empire

World Literature Modules

World Literature Modules form a crucial part of our commitment to an international curriculum. They run in the Spring semester of your second year.

Some are taught entirely in translation; others partly in the original language. The choice is yours, and will be governed by your experience and interests.

Alternative Queer Histories

An Introduction to Greek and Latin Literatures

The European Avant-Garde

European New Cinema

French Poetry 1844-1898

The Golden Age of Latin Literature

Medieval Arabic and Persian Global Literature

Modern Latin American Literature

Muslim Translations of Britain

Old Norse Literature

The World of Beowulf

Advanced Option Modules

Advanced Option Modules are innovative modules that reflect the wide-ranging and cutting-edge research expertise of the Department. 

You can shape your final year based on your own interests, whether honing in on the work of a single writer or exploring a new field of study.  You can typically expect to choose from around 30 options. Recent offerings have included:

Art in the Present

Beckett's World

Black Writers in the Global Nineteenth Century

The Bible and Literature

The Body in Modern American Literature and Culture

Bodies on the Renaissance Stage

British Science Fiction and Fantasy

Charles Dickens

Creative Writing - Contemporary Practice

Decoronial Writing:Pandemics, Public Health, Prose

Defining Nature in Antiquity and the Middle Ages

Fashion in the 18th Century

Feeling the 18th Century

Found in Translation

From Tennyson to Tolkien: The Middle Ages & Modern Literature from 1843 - 1940

Green Romanticism: Nature, Ecology, Calamity

Henry James


Jane Austen

The Life and Afterlife of Boccaccio's Decameron: Text Image Film

Literature and Ecology

Literature and Extinction 

Milton and Radical England

Modern Irish Poetry

Modernism and Technology

Modernism's Queer Spaces

Poetry Boot Camp

Pulp Fictions of Medieval England: Romance and Popular Fiction

Renaissance Poetry: identity, materiality, voice

Researching the Renaissance

The Sense of Stories

So Funny it Hurts: Irish Comic Fiction

Smash the Screen: Cinemas of Protest

Songwriting: Lyrics as Literature

Stories with Pictures: Narrative in Visual Media

The Stuff of Poetry: 1900 - Present

Villains of the Romantic Gothic

The Writer's Notebook: A Prose Fiction Workshop

Writing Eighteenth-Century London

Writing in the Marketplace

World-Literary Energetics:Exertion, Extraction & Exhaustion

Note: This information reflects our current course structure. We, and the departments we share courses with, keep our courses under review and we may make changes in the future.