Skip to content Accessibility statement
Home>Study at York>Undergraduate>Courses 2021/22>English (BA)

BA (Hons) English

Discover a world of literature at York

Year of entry: 2021/22

UCAS code


Institution code



3 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

Typical offer

A*AB-AAA (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2021 (term dates)

UK (home) fees

£9,250 per year

International and EU fees

£18,350 per year

Online Open Days

Join us on 26 and 27 June to explore our university through a range of live presentations, talks, Q&A sessions and more.

Book now

in the UK for English

Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

in the world for English Language and Literature

QS World Rankings by subject 2021

overall satisfaction

National Student Survey 2020

English and Related Literature at York is unlike any other English degree. We have a unique approach to what literature is and does, how we read it, how we write about it and even how we make it. 

At York, you will be at the forefront of literary study. Our modules are designed and taught by world experts working at the cutting-edge of literary study.

We offer a breathtaking choice of modules with an unsurpassed geographical and linguistic range, giving you the freedom to tailor your degree to your interests with the support of friendly and accessible tutors. With period coverage extending from Greek and Latin classics to literature being published right now, there’s something for everyone, including creative writing, drama, fiction, film, poetry, and the chance to get your hands dirty in our printing studio.

No discipline equips its students better to understand and interpret a wide range of texts or to form articulate and persuasive responses to a range of challenges. Our graduates go on to careers in all sorts of fields, even areas that traditionally haven’t recruited among Arts and Humanities graduates.

An English graduate’s creativity, passion, and ability to adapt – along with outstanding presentation, language, and reasoning skills – are what employers look for. Join us at York to discover a world of literature.

Highly ranked

7th in the UK for English Language and Literature
QS World Rankings by Subject 2021

6th in the UK for English
Complete University Guide 2021

English at York is fantastic! I have had the opportunity to cover a broad range of modules that have introduced me to literature of different periods and exciting theoretical debates. I have particularly valued the flexibility of the course; an array of special modules are available, and I have been able to tailor each term with options to suit my developing interests.
Loretta, BA English

Course content

York’s English degree offers exceptional flexibility and choice. We provide a comprehensive overview of literary history and criticism while also encouraging you to explore the subjects that you are most passionate about.

You will get the chance to examine literature from the ancient classics to the present, and from the United Kingdom and beyond. You’ll also study non-English texts, in the original language or in translation.

Writing is embedded in each year’s curriculum, helping you to discover and refine your own critical and creative voice. We have a strong commitment to the Creative Industries, offering option modules on creative writing and writing in the marketplace.

In total, you’ll take 18 modules from a long list of possible choices, and you’ll write a dissertation in your third year.

Study abroad

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

Year 1

Core modules

We’ll introduce you to a range of different texts and critical approaches in your first year to lay the foundation for your degree. Through carefully linked modules, you will be introduced to the historical and theoretical study of literature. These modules will be supplemented by additional skills based and topic-based modules.

Approaches to Literature

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

A World of Literature

These cross-period modules explore a range of responses to ancient literary texts and literature from around the world in these interlinked 20-credit modules.

Key Concepts

This year-long foundation module provides you with 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.

Option modules

The core modules will be supplemented by additional skills-based and topic-based modules:

Choose two of these exciting, hands-on, tightly focused modules that 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.

Academic integrity module

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

Year 2

In your second year you’ll further your understanding of period-specific literary topics as well as focus on a World Literature subject.

Core module

A year-long intermediate module that explores the history and theory of literary criticism. Building on the skills you acquired in first year, assignments on different media and in different forms (eg book reviews, magazine articles, scene analyses) will prepare you for advanced-level modules in Year 3.

Option modules

Choose two from:

and a further one from:

You'll also choose one World Literature module and one Topic module.

Our range of World Literature Modules introduce you to another literature and culture, either in the original language or in translation. The choice is yours, and will be governed by your experience and interests.

As in Year 1, choose another one of our highly interactive Topic Modules.

Year 3

You’ll have the opportunity to explore further the areas you’ve developed an interest in over the course of your studies through the diverse range of module choices available to our third-year students. In addition, the subject of your English dissertation is entirely up to you, which means that there is an exciting opportunity for you to shape the trajectory of your final year.

Option modules

Choose four modules from a diverse range of innovative options, covering all periods of literature from the classical era up to the twenty-first century, and exploring a wide variety of genres including creative writing, drama, fiction, film, and poetry. Here, 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 25 options.


The degree culminates in the dissertation (40 credits); an in-depth exploration of 7,000-8,000 words on a topic of your choice. Research lectures and writing labs support the one-to-one supervision you will receive from a member of staff. This year-long capstone project is a wonderful opportunity to display your skills in detailed research, elegant writing, and rigorous argument. You can also choose to do a dissertation with creative practice.

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

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:

  • Read diverse texts closely and critically, and interpret them with reference to the period and tradition in which they were produced. 
  • Analyse the affective power of language and narrative, and their cultural and political impact, and use this awareness to better understand the world and influence others. 
  • Operate in complex multicultural contexts and display an informed awareness of cultural diversity, gained through situating English literature in relation to different varieties of English and/or texts written in other European and world languages. 
  • Exercise independent thought and judgement and develop well-structured, evidence-based arguments by interrogating their own assumptions and those of others, through self-reflection, peer review, and advice and feedback. 
  • Initiate, manage, and complete original projects of their own, producing both individually formulated essay topics and a dissertation, as well as researching materials from a range of sources, primary and secondary, archival and digital. 
  • Write clearly, accurately, and persuasively to a deadline and to a professional standard, conveying complex ideas in an accessible way to expert and lay audiences. 
  • Engage in critical discussion and debate and demonstrate advanced oral communication skills, developed in small-group seminars and collaborative group projects.

Lively intellectual culture

We partner with the York Festival of Ideas, the annual York Literature Festival, and the biennial York International Shakespeare Festival. Our hugely successful Writers at York series brings in a stellar cast of world-famous contemporary writers and our Writer-in-Residence offers creative writing workshops and events throughout the year.

Excellent employment prospects

88% of York English graduates were in graduate-level work or further study within six months of graduation, the highest percentage of any English department in the Russell Group.

Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2016/17 (HESA) (Full-time UK students)

Fees and funding

The fees and funding figures below are for 2021/22 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 £18,350

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).


We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2021/22 throughout the year.

The Department of English and Related Literature offers a number of scholarships and bursaries for Home/EU and International students:

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.

At York we engage with and argue with (and against!) academics who are considered the experts in their own field. This all sounds very intellectually grandiose but what I most appreciate is how incredibly nice they are – as teachers (in seminars), as colleagues (on the Board of Studies), and as people (in pubs!).
Gan, BA English
Teaching Excellence Framework Gold Award

“Students from all backgrounds achieve consistently outstanding outcomes”

The TEF Panel, Office for Students, June 2018

Our Gold Teaching Excellence Framework award demonstrates our commitment to the delivery of consistently outstanding teaching and learning for our students.

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

York’s English degree is renowned for its flexible and innovative approach. We emphasize small-group teaching, which means you’ll mainly be taught in seminars of up to fifteen people. You’ll also take part in workshops, attend lectures, and consult staff on a one-to-one basis. You can typically expect eight contact hours per week - and sometimes more. There are also many 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.
  • 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 and to any audience.
  • We organise many guest lectures, readings, and workshops by well-known literary figures.

Timetabled activities

In your first year, you can expect:

Lectures2-3 hours per week
Seminars2 hours per week
Workshops2-3 hours per week
Film Screening2-3 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.

The rest of your time on the course will be spent in independent study. This will include guided preparation for seminars and lectures. We recommend that students spend at least six hours in preparation for a two-hour seminar and at least two hours in preparation for a one-hour lecture, as well as at least one further hour of revision and consolidation after each teaching session. You will also devote time to wider reading; complete ‘formative’ assessments (practice essays and short exercises); write essays and revise for exams; and take advantage of opportunities for informal contact, including one-to- one consultations, workshops, guest lectures, and readings.

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, on Campus West.

Your contact hours will be divided between Derwent College, the Spring Lane Teaching 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

We employ 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 7,000-8,000-word 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.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Written exams17%21%0%
Practical exams17%8%0%

The figures above are based on data from 2017/18.

A 19th-century Columbian iron press in our very own York Print Studio.

Careers and skills

No discipline equips its students better to understand and interpret a wide range of texts – whether literary, historical, political, or social – or to form articulate and persuasive responses to a range of challenges and questions. The Department has a dedicated Careers Officer, which means you will get specialised advice and support throughout the three years of your degree.

You’ll learn presentation, language, and reasoning skills during your English 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

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
While at York I learned to read fast while absorbing key details and to express myself clearly. I learned to listen and to be generous when sharing ideas. I gained confidence and developed a more independent way of thinking.
Sarah Ward-Lilley, BA English
Head of International Bureaux, BBC News

Entry requirements

Typical offer
A levels

AAA/A*AB including an A in English Literature (English Language and Literature is also acceptable)

Access to Higher Education Diploma 39 credits at Distinction, including at least 9 credits in Literature-related units, and 6 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, D3 including English Literature.
European Baccalaureate 85% overall, with 85% in English Literature.
International Baccalaureate 36 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
PTE Academic 61, with a minimum of 55 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, with a minimum of 169 in each component
TOEFL 87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in each component
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components
Duolingo 110 overall, with a minimum of 100 in each component
LanguageCert International ESOL SELT B2 Communicator High Pass with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component

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.


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.

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Learn more

Department of English and Related Literature

Discover York


We offer a range of campus accommodation to suit you and your budget, from economy to premium.

Student life

Explore campus and city life and hear what our current students have to say about living here.

The city

Lively, full of culture and beautiful, York is regularly voted one of the best places to live and visit in the UK.

Meet us

Find out more about York. Chat to staff and students and take the tour, on campus or online.