Our three-year English Literature BA Honours degree focuses on expanding your knowledge of literary texts and developing critical and theoretical skills. You'll build the firm foundation needed to analyse all forms of literature.
You'll be introduced to a range of texts – across poetry, prose, plays and film – and explore pre-20th-century topics as well as contemporary ones.
You will learn from subject experts, world-leading researchers in literature and internationally acclaimed writers throughout your degree, while having opportunities to practise creative writing, theatre or making films.
You'll become a confident expert analysing literature. You'll study a broad range of optional topics, such as American, postcolonial and contemporary literatures, from different historical moments including the Renaissance, Romantic and Victorian periods.
Please rest assured we make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to COVID-19.
See our terms and conditions for more information
View our Frequently Asked Questions
Quality and ranking
- top 10 in the UK – The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 (English Studies category)
- top 20 in the UK – The Complete University Guide 2021 (English category)
- 4th in the UK – The Complete University Guide 2021 (Creative Writing category)
- 92% overall student satisfaction score – National Student Survey 2019
- 3rd in the UK for research – Research Excellence Framework 2014 (English Language and Literature category)
- top 150 – English Language and Literature category – QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020
- top 175 – Arts and Humanities category – Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject 2020
Modules and learning
The information below is intended to provide an example of what you will study.
Most degrees are divided into stages. Each stage lasts for one academic year, and you'll complete modules totalling 120 credits by the end of each stage.
Our teaching is informed by research. Course content may change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback.
Optional module availability
Student demand for optional modules may affect availability.
Full details of the modules on offer will be published through the Programme Regulations and Specifications ahead of each academic year. This usually happens in May.
To find out more please see our terms and conditions.
You'll be introduced to a variety of literary texts across poetry, prose, plays and film. This will provide you with a foundation in the critical and theoretical skills you need to analyse literature.
You will also have the opportunity to broaden your knowledge and try something new. A selection of modules are available from other humanities subjects, for example history, philosophy, media or education.
|Introduction to Literary Studies 1||20|
|Introduction to Literary Studies II||20|
|Introduction to Creative Writing||20|
|Drama, Theatre & Performance||20|
You will advance your understanding of literature through the ages, and take at least one pre-19th-century modules alongside at least one focusing on modern or contemporary topics. These choices cover film, theatre, poetry and prose. Options available cover Medieval, Renaissance and Victorian literature, as well as American, postcolonial and contemporary work.
An independent research project teaches you how to research, plan and write an essay on an area of particular interest to you.
|Independent Research Project Preperation||20|
You will choose four specialist options closely linked to your lecturers’ research expertise. Current options include the Victorian novel, British and international children’s literature, Romantic poetry, Caribbean literature and film, medieval literature, American literatures, Contemporary Documentary or a work placement in the cultural industries.
You will also complete a final-year research project based on the in-depth study of a topic you are passionate about or produce a file of original creative work.
Teaching and assessment
You can normally expect to spend around 10 hours per week attending lectures, seminars, workshops and film screenings. You also spend around 25 hours per week on class preparation, reading, writing, and other kinds of independent research recommended by your tutor.
You'll be assessed through a combination of:
Assignments – written or fieldwork
Dissertation or research project
Examinations – practical or online
Skills and experience
Studying English at Newcastle means you will benefit from regular field trips organised by the School. These include visits to:
- The Wordsworth Trust (Dove Cottage)
- Northern Stage
- Tyneside Cinema
- Seven Stories (the National Centre for Children's Books)
- Beamish Open Air Museum
You'll have the opportunity to gain real-world work experience in the cultural industries in Stage 3. This experience will develop your communication and management skills as well as your ability to work in a team.
In the final year of your degree, you'll undertake a research project which allows you to carry out an extensive investigation into a topic you're interested in. You'll present your research in either written, oral or an online format.
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I chose to study at Newcastle because of its wide-ranging and exciting module choices, as well as its great range of societies and social events – there really is something for everyone!
You have the opportunity to study abroad for one semester in your second year. We have links with:
- Agder University, Kristiansand, Norway
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Ghent, Belgium
- Groningen, Netherlands
- Leiden, Netherlands
- Leipzig, Germany
- Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands
We also have study abroad links with three universities in Canada – Dalhousie, McGill and New Brunswick – available through our Non-EU Study Abroad exchange programme.
In the third year of your degree you can apply to undertake a work placement in a cultural industry. This is an opportunity for you to relate the knowledge and skills you have learned throughout your degree and apply them to real-world scenarios.
Your placement will be an integrated part of your degree which will last for one day per week for about 10 weeks. It will be assessed through the submission of a Project Work Diary and a Final Report which together form the Placement Portfolio.
In addition you'll also have the opportunity to spend 9 to 12 months working in any organisation in the world, and receive University support from our dedicated team to secure your dream placement. Work placements take place between stages 2 and 3.
You'll gain first-hand experience of working in the sector, putting your learning into practice and developing your professional expertise.
If you choose to take a work placement, it will extend your degree by a year. Placements are subject to availability.
Facilities and environment
You'll be based in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics, which is at the heart of our city-centre campus, in the Percy Building. You'll join a lively community of students, academics, authors and professionals.
You'll have access to a digital media lab – for students with documentary and film-making modules – a PC cluster, a student-led cafe, and plenty of spaces to work and socialise, all based in the School.
You will have exceptional library provision from our award-winning Library Service, which houses over one million books and a huge range of electronic resources.
Newcastle University Students' Union is home to the award-winning student newspaper, The Courier, giving you the opportunity to develop your creative writing and journalism skills.
Our teaching is closely linked to the programme of the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts (NCLA), giving you regular contact with leading creative artists. You'll also have access to the diverse programme of events organised by NCLA throughout the year, including spoken-word events and creative writing courses.
You'll have the support of an academic member of staff as a personal tutor throughout your degree to help with academic and personal issues.
Peer mentors will help you in your first year. They are fellow students who can help you settle in and answer any questions you have when starting university.
The School hosts an annual visiting speakers' programme and poetry readings and film screenings also take place during the year, organised by students or staff.
96% of English Literature graduates were in work or further study within six months of graduating*.
* Take a look at the most recent data available for our graduates. See what they have gone on to achieve and be inspired to follow in their footsteps.
Statistics are based on what graduates were doing on a specific date, approximately six months after graduation (Destinations of (undergraduate and postgraduate UK domiciled) Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2016/17).
English graduates from Newcastle University include:
- Peter Straughan (screenwriter of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy)
- Andy Bird (former chairman of Walt Disney International)
- Neil Astley (writer and founder of Bloodaxe publishing house)
- Teresa Graham (accountant and SME champion, awarded a CBE in 2007 and an OBE in 1997)
English students acquire a range of valuable skills, which they can transfer to many different employment situations. Your literary and linguistic training can be used in journalism, librarianship, teaching and the highly competitive fields of writing, acting and directing.
You will gain other skills such as:
- analysis and summarising
- arguing and debating
- independent and collaborative work
- critical thinking
This is excellent preparation for a wide number of professions and as such, our graduates have gone into a variety of career areas including editorial, marketing, PR and other forms of media. Others have gone to work in law, politics, HR, teaching and supporting specialist learning.
Make a difference
Our award-winning Careers Service is one of the largest and best in the country, and we have strong links with employers. We provide an extensive range of opportunities to all students through our ncl+ initiative.
All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2020 entry.
Other UK qualifications (and PARTNERS)
Qualifications from outside the UK
English Language requirements
Through our PARTNERS programme, you could receive an offer up to three grades lower than the typical requirements, and get support throughout the application process. To apply through PARTNERS, you must be based in the UK and meet our eligibility criteria.
Entrance courses (INTO)
International Pathway Courses are specialist programmes designed for international students who want to study in the UK. We provide a range of study options for international students in partnership with INTO.
This policy applies to all undergraduate and postgraduate admissions at Newcastle University, including Newcastle University London. It is intended to provide information about our admissions policies and procedures to applicants and potential applicants, to their advisors and family members, and to staff of the University.
Tuition fees and scholarships
Tuition fees for 2020 entry (per year)
The maximum fee that we are permitted to charge for UK students is set by the UK government.
As a general principle, you should expect the tuition fee to increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, subject to government regulations on fee increases and in line with inflation.
You will be charged tuition fees for each year of your degree programme (unless you are on a shorter exchange programme).
The tuition fee amount you will pay may increase slightly year on year as a result of inflation.
Year abroad and additional costs
For programmes where you can spend a year on a work placement or studying abroad, you will receive a significant fee reduction for that year.
Some of our degrees involve additional costs which are not covered by your tuition fees.
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Open days and events
The situation with Covid-19 means that we're unable to hold Open Days on campus. However, you don’t have to visit in person to experience Newcastle.
We will be holding a virtual event on:
• Saturday 19 September
From the comfort of your sofa you'll be able to:
• explore our beautiful campus
• find out about our vibrant city
• discover what students think about studying at Newcastle
You'll also have the opportunity to speak to academic staff and find out more about the subjects you're interested in.
How to apply
Apply through UCAS
To apply for undergraduate study at Newcastle University, you must use the online application system managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). All UK schools and colleges, and a small number of EU and international establishments, are registered with UCAS. You will need:
- the UCAS name and institution codes for Newcastle University (NEWC/N21)
- the UCAS code for the course you want to apply for
- the UCAS 'buzzword' for your school or college
If you are applying independently, or are applying from a school or college which is not registered to manage applications, you will still use the Apply system. You will not need a buzzword.Apply through UCAS
Apply through an agent
International students often apply to us through an agent. Have a look at our recommended agents and get in touch with them.