English Literature Courses

Developing our knowledge of the theory and history of the world’s literature is a pathway to understand other elements of our past and our present. You start to observe the enjoyments and fears of different time periods, getting a glimpse of their reality. The written word is never as plain as it seems, and many a secret has been discovered through the analysis of literature and its contexts. Delving into the past will also help you to develop your writing style and literary choices, guiding your journey to a career of your choice.

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About English Literature


The accreditation of your degree will depend on where you choose to study. It will also be influenced by your level of study. At undergraduate level, you can expect to be awarded a Bachelor of Arts (BA). At postgraduate level, you can expect to be awarded a Master of Arts (MA), or Master of Research (MRes). Further study will award research degrees such as Master of Philosophy (MPhil) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).


Generally, an undergraduate degree will take three to four years to complete, depending on where you choose to study. A postgraduate degree will normally take one to two years to complete.

Your institution may offer part-time study options, which usually means that your degree will take four to six years. You may also be able to take a foundation programme, which is useful if you do not meet the entry requirements for your degree.


Annual tuition fees for UK students are capped by the UK government. For the 2019/20 academic year, they are £9,250. This is subject to change each year, and will be updated on your institution website.

Postgraduate course annual tuition fees are set by the institution, which means that they can differ. Postgraduate programmes are generally less expensive than undergraduate programmes. You will find detailed fee information on the institution webpage.

The fees displayed below are an example of typical annual tuition fees for undergraduate and postgraduate English literature degrees. Actual tuition fees can be found on the institution webpages.

Typical Annual Tuition Fees

  • Undergraduate - £9,250
  • Postgraduate - £7,800

Topics Covered


An undergraduate degree will give you a good foundation of knowledge in the main areas of English literature. You might study modules on the history of English literature, Shakespeare, poetry, drama, contemporary literature, narrative, science fiction, gender and sexuality in literature, early modern literature, Victorian literature, and screenwriting. The majority of undergraduate degrees will be designed to suit those students who have limited experience of theoretical English literature, as well as those who have previously studied or worked within the subject area. All of the modules will be aimed at encouraging your professional development, preparing you for a variety of careers. Your degree will be delivered through lectures and tutorials, as well as incorporating practical sessions and field trips. Assessment methods could include written work, group projects, presentations, and a final major research project.


During a postgraduate degree, such as an MA, you will build on the skills and knowledge gained at undergraduate level. The modules you study will cover the more complex and specialist areas of English literature. You will develop your understanding of both the traditional and contemporary concepts of the subject area. Modules and specialisms might include war literature, radical writers, regional literature, dramatic discourse, Norse literature, American literature, theatricality and madness, existentialism, postmodernism, folklore and mythology, and creative writing. Assessment methods could include written work, presentations, group projects, and a final major research project.

Entry Requirements

The entry requirements for an English literature degree will depend on where you choose to study. They will also be influenced by the level of study for which you are applying. An undergraduate degree will likely require you to have a background in English literature. If you do not have a strong theoretical background in this area, but can prove that you are passionate about the discipline, some universities might still consider your application. You can display this through your personal statement or an interview. For a postgraduate degree, most universities will require you to have an undergraduate degree in English literature, or a closely related subject.

Typical Entry Requirements


  • A Level Grades - AAA-BCC
  • UCAS Points - 144-104 UCAS points
  • Required/Desired Subjects - English Language, English Literature, English Language and Literature, Drama, Psychology, History
  • Other Entry Requirements - some institutions might request that you submit a piece of writing as part of your application


  • Degree Requirements - 2:1 or higher
  • Required/Desired Subjects - English Language, English Literature, English Language and Literature, History

Career Prospects

Graduates of English literature will find that there are many career opportunities available to them. The wide range of skills gained throughout your degree will be useful and applicable in a variety of industries. If you choose to work in a role directly related to English literature, jobs could include copywriter, writer, editorial assistant, journalist, proofreader, teacher, lexicographer, or web content manager. If you choose to work in a role not directly related to English literature, jobs might include librarian, media researcher, marketing executive, human resource manager, or social media manager.