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English Literature BA Honours

  • UCAS code: Q306
  • Full time
  • 3 years
  • Next start date: September 2023

From Chaucer and Shakespeare, right up to Kazuo Ishiguro, discover the literature that has shaped our culture and society in this flexible English Literature degree.

Fees (per year)

  • Home: £9250
  • International: £21000

Entry requirements and offers

  • A-Level: AAB
  • IB: 35 points

UCAS Institution name and code:

  • NEWC / N21

Course overview

Our English Literature BA degree offers a constantly evolving, research-led course. You will have the opportunity to study works from the early medieval period to the present day.

You will learn about everything from literature and climate change, to queerness in the Renaissance; and from postcolonial writing to children’s fiction, and theatre history. We will invite you to think about the impact of literature on the world and your own relation to it. Our world-leading researchers and internationally acclaimed writers will help you with this.

This degree will cover works of poetry, prose, drama, and film in English. You will get the practical and theoretical skills needed to analyse these works and produce a persuasive argument.

You’ll then put these skills to work. You will produce essays, creative responses, and other forms of public-facing work, like websites, posters, podcasts, and exhibitions.

At the end of the degree, you’ll have a broad knowledge of all English literature. Our optional modules will give you specialised and cutting-edge insight into the topics that interest you the most.

Your course and study experience - disclaimers and terms and conditions  
Please rest assured we make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the programmes, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to Covid-19.

View our Academic experience page, which gives information about your Newcastle University study experience for the academic year 2022-23.

See our terms and conditions and student complaints information, which gives details of circumstances that may lead to changes to programmes, modules or University services.

Quality and ranking

Professional accreditation and recognition

All professional accreditations are reviewed regularly by their professional body.

Modules and learning

Modules

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.

This year is all about expanding your skills and knowledge. Our modules provide an overview of English literary history from the medieval period to the present. You will also learn how writers from different periods and different cultures have reacted to each other.

You will analyse poetry, plays, prose and film. You’ll learn new critical and theoretical models to support such analysis.

You will have the opportunity to broaden your knowledge beyond English literature. Students on this degree can take modules from other humanities disciplines, including:

  • languages
  • history
  • philosophy
  • sociology
  • media
  • education

Modules

Compulsory Modules Credits
Introduction to Literary Studies 1 20
Introduction to Literary Studies II 20
Transformations 20
Close Reading 20
Optional Modules Credits
Introduction to Creative Writing 20
Drama, Theatre & Performance 20

The second year is about cultivating specialised knowledge and independent research skills.

Our modules here offer an in-depth study of specific literary periods. You will take at least two pre-19th-century modules and at least two focusing on modern or contemporary topics. Whether you’re studying Victorian, 18th-century, modernist, or contemporary literature, you’ll be drawing on recent criticism and research to do so.

Your independent research will grow out of your in-depth period studies. The independent project will teach you how to research, plan and write an essay on a topic of your choice. This will prepare you for your third-year independent work.

Modules

Compulsory Modules Credits
Independent Research Project 20
Optional Modules Credits
Career Development for second year students 20
Renaissance Bodies 20
Writing New Worlds, 1688-1789 20
Revolutionary Britain, 1789-1832 20
Victorian Passions: Victorian Values 20
Contemporary Cultures 20
Modernisms 20
Creative Practice 20
Poetry Workshop 20
Theatre Script Workshop 20
Prose Workshop 20
Screenwriting Workshop 20
Stagecraft in Early Drama 20
Literatures of Decolonisation 20
Overseas Exchange (Semester 1) 60
Overseas Exchange (Semester 2) 60

You only take one of the following modules if you undertake the Study Abroad exchange programme:

Overseas Exchange (Semester 1)

Overseas Exchange (Semester 2) 

You will choose at least three specialist options closely linked to your lecturers’ research expertise. You will take modules that cover both pre-19th-century and post-19th-century topics.

Current options include:

  • the Victorian novel
  • children’s literature
  • Romantic poetry
  • Caribbean literature and film
  • Medieval literature
  • American literature
  • Contemporary Documentary.

We also offer work placements in the cultural industries.

In our capstone, ‘dissertation’ modules you will complete a final-year research project. This will draw on everything you have learnt during your degree and will be on a topic you are passionate about.

Modules

Optional Modules Credits
Career Development for final year students 20
Growing Up Global: Childhood and National Identity from Postwar to Present 20
Other Renaissances: Gender, Race and Sexuality in Early Modern Culture 20
Contemporary Documentary 1: Theory and Practice 20
Contemporary Documentary 2: Theory & Practice 20
Dissertation in English Literature: Long-Form Essay 40
Independent Essay I (English Literature) 20
Independent Essay II (English Literature) 20
Women of Virtue and Women of Pleasure: Sensibility in the Age of Reason 20
Landscapes of American Modernism 20
Enlightened Romantics: writing on the margins 20
Between the Acts: English Theatre, 1660-1737 20
American Poetry Now 20
Prose Portfolio 40
Theatre Script Portfolio 40
Poetry Portfolio 40
Screenwriting Portfolio 40
Jazz-Age Magazines 20
Dissertation: Digital Exhibition 40
Making Ireland: Kingdom, Colony and Nation in Text and Performance 20
Writing Liberty in the Romantic era 20
Dissertation by Digital Edition 40
Fiction and the Philosophy of Terror: From the Supernatural to the Sublime 20
Reading Freud: An Introduction to the Principles of Psychoanalytic Theory 20
Freedom and Imagination: US Literature 1850 – 1900 20
Unbinding Utopia, 1750 - 1832 20
Performance and Every Day Life 20
Making Young Adult Literature 20
All the Feels: Theatre, Emotion and Spectatorship 20
Dissertation: Project-based 40
North by North East 20

Teaching and assessment

Teaching methods

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.

Assessment methods

You'll be assessed through a combination of:

  • Assignments – written or fieldwork

  • Coursework

  • Dissertation or research project

  • Essays

  • Examinations – practical or online

  • Group work

  • Presentations

  • Exhibitions

    Exhibitions

  • Websites

    Websites

Skills and experience

Practical experience

All our modules offer practical experience. For literary studies, this might include archival and editing work, script-in-hand readings, or debates.

When you study English Literature at Newcastle, you will also enjoy regular field trips organised by the School. These include visits to:

  • The Wordsworth Trust (Dove Cottage)
  • various city theatres such as Northern Stage, Live Theatre, and Theatre Royal
  • Seven Stories (the National Centre for Children's Books)

Business skills

Our modules will equip you with a huge number of transferable skills. You will learn to:

  • work independently
  • manage projects
  • write clear and persuasive prose
  • analyse complex datasets and sources.

You'll have the opportunity to gain real-world work experience in the cultural industries in Stage 3. We also offer modules in partnership with the careers service in Stage 2 and 3.

Research skills

For your independent study module at Stage 3, you can choose to complete a dissertation or extended research project, investigating a topic that you are passionate about.

You can focus your research on Literature or Language. It is also possible to carry out an interdisciplinary research project that combines both disciplines.

Employability

Employability and the engagement with the wider world go hand-in-hand in this degree.

Many of our modules, particularly in Stage 3, model their assessments on the kind of tasks you might be employed to do:

  • constructing marketing briefs
  • drafting website copy
  • curating exhibitions
  • writing a clear and persuasive argument.

Beyond our modules, there are plenty of extracurricular opportunities. These range from freelance writing for Newcastle’s student newspaper to paid internships in the department.

The Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts, in particular, hires students to work on everything from event management to app design. The centre also runs workshops with professionals in the creative industries.

Chat with an English student

To find out that Newcastle did my dream course was ideal and I am so lucky to be studying what I love at such a good university.

Gabrielle 'Gaby' Owen, English Literature

Opportunities

Study abroad

You can study abroad for one semester in your second year as part of this degree. In Europe we have links with:

  • Ghent University, Belgium
  • Leipzig University, Germany
  • Groningen University, Netherlands
  • Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands

We also have links with universities in other parts of the world, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and the USA, including, but not limited to:

  • Monash University, Australia
  • University of Sydney, Australia
  • McGill University, Canada
  • University of Hong Kong
  • University of Vermont, USA

Find out more about Study Abroad.

Work placement

During your degree, you’ll have multiple opportunities to undertake a meaningful work placement. In your second and third years, you may choose to take the Career Development Module which offers academic credit for 50 hours of placement. You can choose to carry out your placement via part-time work, volunteering or in a local school. You will be assessed through a mixture of written work, presentations, and professional skills assessment.

In addition, you'll have the option to spend 9 to 12 months on a work placement with University support from our dedicated Careers team to help you secure your dream placement in the UK or abroad. 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. Previous placements have been in a range of sectors, including:

  • Journalism and Broadcasting
  • Sustainable Energy
  • Politics
  • Digital Media and Marketing
  • Education
  • Finance
  • Museum and Heritage
  • Travel and Tourism

If you choose to take a work placement, it will extend your degree by a year. Placements are subject to availability.

Find out more about work placements.

Facilities and environment

Facilities

You'll be based in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics. The School is located in the Percy Building, which is at the heart of our city-centre campus. You'll join a lively community of students, academics, writers, 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 café
  • plenty of spaces to work and socialise

You will have exceptional library provision from our award-winning Library Service. It houses over one million books and a huge range of electronic resources.

Our literature and creative writing teaching is linked to the Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts (NCLA) programme. This will give you regular contact with leading creative artists. You'll also have access to a diverse programme of events, including spoken-word events and creative writing courses.

Find out more about the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics.

Support

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 affecting your academic progress.

Peer Mentors will help you in your first year. They are fellow students who can help you settle in and answer questions you may have when starting university.

Your future

Industry links

Our alumni 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)

Students with this degree get a range of valuable skills, which they can transfer to many different sectors. Your literary training can be used in journalism, librarianship, teaching and the highly competitive fields of writing, acting, and directing. Our graduates have also gone into a variety of career areas including marketing, law, politics, and human resources.

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Make a difference

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Careers support

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.

Visit our Careers Service website

Recognition of professional qualifications outside of the UK

From 1 January 2021 there is an update to the way professional qualifications are recognised by countries outside of the UK

Entry requirements and offers

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements and offers below apply to 2023 entry.

A-Level
International Baccalaureate

Other UK and the Republic of Ireland qualifications

Contextual Offers

Through one of our contextual routes, you could receive an offer of up to three grades lower than the typical requirements.

What is a contextual offer? Find out more and if you’re eligible for this or our PARTNERS Programme supported entry route.

Qualifications from outside the UK

English Language requirements

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. 

Find out more about International Pathway Courses

Admissions policy

This policy applies to all undergraduate and postgraduate admissions at Newcastle University. 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.

Credit transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) can allow you to convert existing relevant university-level knowledge, skills and experience into credits towards a qualification. Find out more about the RPL policy which may apply to this course.

Tuition fees and scholarships

Tuition fees for 2023 entry (per year)

Home Fee Students

£9250

International Fee Students

£21000

The maximum fee that we are permitted to charge for home fee-paying 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.

Read more about fees and funding

Depending on your residency history, if you’re a student from the EU, other EEA or a Swiss national, with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you’ll normally pay the ‘Home’ tuition fee rate and may be eligible for Student Finance England support.

EU students without settled or pre-settled status will normally be charged fees at the ‘International’ rate and will not be eligible for Student Finance England support.

If you are unsure of your fee status, check out the latest guidance here.

Read more about fees and funding

Scholarships

We support our EU and international students by providing a generous range of Vice-Chancellor's automatic and merit-based scholarships. See our undergraduate scholarship page for more information.

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.

Find out more about:

Scholarships

Find out more about:

Open days and events

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.

Visit our International pages

Get in touch

By phone

Call us on +44 (0) 191 208 3333 and press option 1. Our opening hours are Monday to Friday 10am until 4pm.

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You'll find our Ncl chatbot in the bottom right of this page.

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