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Q306 - English Literature

English Literature

BA Honours

  • UCAS code: Q306
  • Full time
  • 3 years
  • Next start date: September 2022
Year :

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: £20400

Entry requirements

  • A Level: AAB
  • IB: 35 points

UCAS Institution name and code:

  • NEWC / N21
Work placement opportunity Study abroad opportunity

Course overview

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. 

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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 2022-23.

See our terms and conditions and student complaints information

Quality and ranking

  • 5th in the UK – The Complete University Guide 2022 (Creative Writing category)
  • 10th in the UK – Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022 (Creative Writing category)
  • Top 100 for English Language and Literature - QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022
  • Top 150 for Arts and Humanities – Times Higher Education World University Rankings by Subject 2022
  • 1st in the UK and 8th in the world for sustainable development – Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2022
  • 65% increase in research power since 2014 – Research Excellence Framework 2021
  • 42% of our research is classified as 4* world-leading research – Research Excellence Framework 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:

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


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

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.


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
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 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.


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
Deep North: Modern Literature of the North East 20
Unbinding Utopia, 1750 - 1832 20
Performance and Every Day Life in Contemporary Ireland 20
Making Young Adult Literature 20
All the Feels: Theatre, Emotion and Spectatorship 20
Dissertation: Project-based 40

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

Skills and experience

Practical 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)

Business skills

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.

Research skills

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.

Peter, English Literature and Creative Writing student


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


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.


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:

  • 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.

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

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

A Level


International Baccalaureate

35 points

Other UK and the Republic of Ireland qualifications

(This includes PARTNERS)

Qualifications from outside the UK

English Language requirements

Contextual offers

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

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

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.

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.

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


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:


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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