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-19th-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 children’s literature, from different historical moments including the Renaissance, Romantic, Eighteenth-century and Victorian periods.
Your course during COVID-19
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.
Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the commitments outlined are subject to guidelines that may be in place from time to time.
View our COVID-19 Study page, which gives information about your Newcastle University study experience for the academic year 2021-22.
See our terms and conditions and student complaints information
Quality and ranking
- Top 10 in the UK – The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022 (Creative Writing category)
- 5th in the UK – The Complete University Guide 2022 (Creative Writing category)
- 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 2021
- Top 150 – Arts and Humanities category – Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject 2021
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:
|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, taking at least two pre-19th-century modules alongside at least two focusing on modern or contemporary topics. These choices cover film, theatre, poetry and prose. Options available include 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, and prepares you for the Dissertation in third year.
|Independent Research Project||20|
You will choose at least three specialist options closely linked to your lecturers’ research expertise, taking 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 literatures, Contemporary Documentary or a work placement in the cultural industries.
You will also complete a final-year research project based on a topic you are passionate about or produce a file of original creative work.
We base these figures and graphs on the most up-to-date information available to us. They combine data on the planned delivery and assessments of our courses in 2021-22 with data on the modules chosen by our students in 2020-21.
Teaching time is made up of:
- scheduled learning and teaching activities. These are timetabled activities with a member of staff present
- structured guided learning. These are activities developed by staff to support engagement with module learning. Students or groups of students undertake these activities without direct staff participation or supervision
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 Literature at Newcastle means you will benefit from regular field trips organised by the School. These include visits to:
- The Wordsworth Trust (Dove Cottage)
- various city theatres including Northern Stage, Live Theatre and Theatre Royal
- Seven Stories (the National Centre for Children's Books)
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.
All Stage 2 students take part in the English Employability Challenge, an event run in collaboration with School alumni and the Newcastle University Careers Service. This event gives you the opportunity to take on real-life business situations with a brief set by an employer. You have the option to gain work experience in the cultural industries in Stage 3. These experiences will develop your communication and management skills, as well as your ability to work in a team.
Those interested in developing their enterprise skills or setting up a business, will also have the opportunity to take part in the Developing Enterprise, Entrepreneurship and Employability module.
Chat to a student
I chose English Literature with Creative Writing because it lets me study the texts I love, but also gives me a creative outlet. The course at Newcastle is fantastic and offers a lot of freedom to choose what to study.
You have the opportunity to study abroad for one semester in your second year. In Europe we have links with:
- Ghent University, Belgium
- Leipzig University, Germany
- Groningen University, Netherlands
- Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands
We 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
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
- Digital Media and Marketing
- 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.
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, 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 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 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.
- 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)
100% of English Language and Literature graduates were in work or further study within six months of graduating*.
*Destinations of (undergraduate, UK and EU) leavers from Higher Education Survey 2016/17
Students on 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. You will gain other skills such as:
- analysing and summarising
- oral and written communication
- arguing and debating
- working independently and collaboratively
- critical thinking
This is excellent preparation for a wide number of professions. Our graduates have gone into a variety of career areas including:
- 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.
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.
All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.
Other UK and the Republic of Ireland qualifications
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 2022 entry (per year)
Home Fee Students
International Fee Students
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.
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.
For courses commencing from September 2021 and beyond, EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fees or Student Finance England support.
If you are from the EU you will pay international tuition fees.
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:
Find out more about:
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.
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.