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BA (Hons) English/Politics

Discover how literature and politics shape the world

Year of entry: 2022/23

UCAS code

QL32

Institution code

Y50

Length

3 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

UK (home) fees

£9,250 per year

International and EU fees

£19,600 per year

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in the UK for English

Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

in the UK for research quality in Politics

Times Higher Education's ranking of the Research Excellence Framework 2014

An English and Politics degree will enhance your understanding of the world around you in a thought-provoking, innovative way. 

Studying English asks you to embrace new ways of thinking about the world and new possibilities of expression. Studying Politics invites you to engage with a vast spectrum of political issues and problems. Studying the two subjects together asks how literature and politics work to shape the world. You will graduate with skills highly prized by employers across a wide range of industries.

You can discover more about the Department of English and Related Literature’s exciting degree programmes by watching our video.

At the heart of current thinking, research, and debate – what it’s like to study Politics at York?

World-class research

In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, the Department of English and Related Literature had the highest proportion of world-leading (4*) research of all UK English departments.

Distinguished visiting speakers

Both departments host speaker series where high-profile academics, campaigners, journalists, politicians, and writers share their experience, insights, and cutting-edge research.

Taught by experts

The Department of Politics staff advise governments on a wide range of issues and contribute to news, media, and current affairs programmes globally. English courses are designed and taught by world experts who are at the forefront of current research.

I chose to study English and Politics because I’m really interested in the political context of novels and in the modes of language used in politics. Studying English and Politics here lets you combine so many interesting modules! Studying two disciplines has widened my perspectives and gives me even more freedom over what I study.
Livvie, BA English/Politics

Course content

You’ll cover an extraordinary range of literature and politics in this degree, from the medieval period to the 21st century and from around the world. The degree is distinguished by opportunities to bring the two subjects into dialogue on our dedicated Politics and the Novel module, and through the bridge dissertation.

Study abroad

There are opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:

Year 1

In the first year of your degree, we’ll introduce you to the undergraduate study of English and Politics. Our modules will give you the skills you need to start undertaking literary and political research, and advice on how to combine the two disciplines.

English

Core modules

Your core modules in English are designed to lay the foundation of literary study for your whole degree.

Get a feel for the shape of literary history by studying works from the medieval, early modern, eighteenth-century and Romantic, and modern periods.

Establish important critical and methodological contexts for the study of literature. You will develop strategies for essay writing, engaging with criticism and critical theory, and revising work to improve its fluency and persuasiveness, as part of the Department’s innovative Writing at York provision.

Politics

Your modules in Politics cover topics such as:

Core module
Option modules

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

In the second year of your degree, you’ll choose from a range of intermediate modules across the English and Politics departments.

English

Option modules

You will choose from the same breathtaking range of English options as our single subject students. These include Writing Now, Research Now, and our Intermediate Option Modules, which allow you to deepen your understanding of the relationship between literary works and the cultural, historical, and political contexts in which they were produced. These cover topics such as:

You'll also be able to choose subjects included in our World Literature modules. Recent offerings have included:

Politics

Option modules

English/Politics students also choose from the same Politics options as single subject students. Options may include:

Year 3

Core modules

In the third year of your degree, you'll take our exciting bridge module Politics and the Novel, designed specifically for your degree pathway. This module is the cornerstone of your combined course programme; it will provide you with a range of critical and analytical skills, and will highlight the possibilities offered by studying two disciplines.

You'll also undertake a Bridge Dissertation, one of the distinctive features of the English/Politics degree at York. You'll carry out a research project that brings the study of English and Politics together, supervised by a member of staff in each department. This year-long advanced module offers you the chance to use all the research and writing skills you will have developed at York.

Option modules

English

In English, you will choose from the department’s Advanced Option Modules. These reflect the wide-ranging and cutting-edge research expertise of the Department, and our options cover literature from the classical period to the twenty-first century, as well as film and creative writing.  Students can typically choose from around 25 options.  Recent offerings include:

Politics

You will also choose a wide range of specialised option modules in Politics, all based on our latest research, enabling you to tailor your degree to your particular interests.

Options may include the following:

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Engage, understand and identify the origins, evolution and contemporary dynamics of politics, including being able to apply this knowledge to addressing real world problems in areas like democracy, government, immigration, elections, human rights, and the environment. 
  • Read diverse texts, especially literary texts, closely and critically, interpreting them with reference to the period, place, language, and tradition in which they were produced and where they have cultural and political impact. 
  • Apply different theoretical perspectives, methods, and concepts to aspects of politics and literary studies, as well as the intersection of the two disciplines. This will enable intellectual reasoning and systematic empirical testing to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses in politics, and the use of intellectual interpretive methods and critical argumentation skills in literary studies. 
  • Conduct independent interdisciplinary research by: conceiving and operationalising research questions; selecting and justifying the use of appropriate theories and concepts; establishing a suitable corpus of primary texts; gathering and interpreting data; synthesizing second sources; arriving at appropriate and justified conclusions. 
  • Lead groups and collaborate with others to achieve collective goals, including via group work and projects, problem-based exercises, and presentations. 
  • Write clearly, accurately, and persuasively to a deadline, conveying complex ideas and representing detailed and relevant research. 
  • Explain and demonstrate to academic and other audiences the application of political and literary theory to important international, regional, national, and local problems and issues. This will include an ability to communicate the benefits of combining politics and the study of literature via advanced oral communication skills. 
  • Act and communicate as a global citizen by exploring complex political and multicultural contexts. This will include an ability to foster and examine global ethics and cross-cultural dialogue, as well as promote equality, sustainability, cultural sensitivity, inclusivity, and ethnic and linguistic diversity.

Fees and funding

The fees and funding figures below are for 2022/23 entry. If you take a year abroad or year in industry you'll pay a reduced rate of fees for that year

Annual tuition fees

UK (home) International and EU
£9,250 £19,600

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK (home): further increases within the government fee cap will apply in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International: fees for international and EU students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at two per cent each year.

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.

Additional costs

You'll need copies of the texts set for each module. Where possible, the Department works to arrange digital copies via the University Library. Where this is not practical, you'll be instructed in advance of the start of each term about the texts and editions you'll need to purchase (whether new or second-hand).

Type Amount
Printing, photocopying and dissertation binding Optional additional expense £0

Funding

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2022/23 throughout the year.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

In English, you’ll learn through a programme of seminars, lectures, workshops, and one-to-one consultations. We emphasize small-group teaching, which means you’ll mainly be taught in seminars.

In Politics, you’ll also learn through a combination of seminars, lectures, workshops, and one-to-ones. We offer a personal approach to learning with much of our teaching conducted in small groups (typically under 15 students in a seminar group). Our staff are very approachable and our doors are always open.

York’s English and Politics degree is renowned for its flexible and innovative approach.

  • You can typically expect eight contact hours per week – and sometimes more. There are also numerous opportunities for informal contact.
  • Our cutting-edge research informs all our teaching activities.
  • Our friendly, approachable, and accessible staff are world-leading experts in their fields. They are each available to meet individually with you during two weekly open office hours.
  • The English Department’s 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 and to any audience

Timetabled activities

In your first year, you can expect:

Lectures5 hours per week
Seminars4-6 hours per week
Workshops0-4 hours per week
Film Screening0-2 hours per week

These figures are based on an average student in an average week. Your contact hours will vary throughout the year due to your module choices, non-compulsory classes, exam periods and changes to scheduled activities.

Outside your timetabled hours, you'll study independently. This may include preparation for classes, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

In the UK, full-time students are expected to spend 1,200 hours a year learning. That's about 40 hours of classes and independent study each week during term time. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours you spend on independent study will be different to other students on your course.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of English and Related Literature and the Department of Politics on Campus West

Your contact hours will be divided between Derwent College, the Spring Lane Building, and other locations nearby on Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

The Department of English and Related Literature employs a variety of assessment methods, including group presentations and closed exams, but with a strong emphasis on essay writing. Your main mode of assessment will be essays, which will range from short exploratory exercises to more detailed discussions on a topic of your choice, to the 8,000-10,000-word bridge dissertation in your final year. We offer high levels of feedback and ample opportunities for you to meet with staff to discuss your written work.

Assessment in the Department of Politics varies from module to module and includes a combination of exams, written essays, and project work. Your tutors will give you feedback in a variety of forms depending on the specific needs of the module. This may consist of written feedback, in-class discussion, model answers, one-to-one discussions, or online responses.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Written exams32%30%0%
Coursework55%70%100%
Practical exams13%0%0%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

Careers and skills

Studying English and Politics at York will provide you with numerous career possibilities. You’ll learn presentation, language, and critical thinking skills during your combined degree, and gain expertise in complex analysis and research. These skills suit a wide range of careers, from law and teaching to national and local government and the creative industries.

Our English alumni
Our Politics alumni

Career opportunities

  • Advertising, marketing, social media, and public relations
  • Arts administration
  • Civil and diplomatic services
  • Film, radio, television, and theatre
  • Journalism and broadcasting
  • Law
  • Librarianship
  • Member of Parliament
  • Publishing
  • Teaching

Transferable skills

  • Ability to analyse and compare complex texts
  • Capacity to write clearly and fluently for a variety of audiences
  • Communication and teamwork skills
  • Critical and analytical thinking
  • Data interpretation
  • Experience of researching and debating challenging topics
  • Independent study skills
  • Logic and rhetoric
  • Proficiency in presenting findings cogently and persuasively using information technology

Entry requirements

Typical offer
A levels

AAB including an A in English Literature (English Language and Literature is also acceptable)

Access to Higher Education Diploma 36 credits at Distinction, including at least 9 credits in Literature-related units, and 9 credits at Merit or higher
BTEC National Extended Diploma DDD with an additional A Level or equivalent qualification in English Literature at grade A
Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, M2 including D3 in English Literature
European Baccalaureate 80% overall, with 85% in English Literature.
International Baccalaureate 35 points, with 6 in all Higher level subjects, including English Literature.
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

Alternative offers

Meeting the following additional criteria may qualify you for an alternative offer.

Criteria Adjustment
Widening participation If you successfully complete one of the following programmes, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to three A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer: Next Step York, Realising Opportunities. More about widening participation.
Contextual offers If you have experience of local authority care or live in an area with low progression to university, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to two A level grades (or equivalent) below our typical offer. More about contextual offers.
EPQ If you achieve A or higher at EPQ, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer.

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, with a minimum of 169 in each component
Duolingo 110 overall, with a minimum of 100 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C
LanguageCert International ESOL SELT B2 Communicator High Pass with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component
PTE Academic 61, with a minimum of 55 in each component
TOEFL 87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.

Applying

To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

We look for intellectual and literary curiosity, open-mindedness, and analytical ability.

We encourage mature students to email the Admissions Tutor for consultation and advice.

At the University of York, we are committed to providing the support our students need to achieve their full potential and have an exceptional, transformational experience. The York Access Scheme offers help to those faced with social, personal or educational challenges which have affected their performance in education. We also offer support for care leavers.

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Department of English and Related Literature, Department of Politics

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