English Literature with Politics BA (Hons) – 2017 entry

An English Literature degree from Surrey, paired with the fantastic experience from my year's work placement, meant I could secure two jobs in the theatre industry within six months of graduating.

What you'll study

Are all great works of literature also political documents? Can political texts also be literary? Whatever your answers to these questions, it's beyond doubt that politics and literature have always been very close companions.

This combination is a great choice if you wish to examine the historical and international political movements that have fuelled the literary canon.

With incisive critical and analytical tools from two intellectual fields, you'll be in prime position for careers that favour the ability to understand complex ideas, spot vital details and communicate with a range of audiences.

English Literature as your Major

As an English Literature Major you will spend much of your time acquiring formidable knowledge of literary texts and discourses, learning the critical skills to analyse these works and developing the cultural vocabulary to communicate your ideas about them.

By investigating the deeper social, cultural, historical and geographical contexts of different literary genres (from early English to the contemporary) you'll gain the precious ability to understand the roots of contemporary issues and address them from a position of unusual knowledge and eloquence.

The lively and creative atmosphere in the School of English and Languages will harness your enthusiasm for literature, and our renowned passion for imparting professional skills will prepare you for a range of careers.

Integrative module for English Literature Majors

Literature is by nature a collaborative discipline, for a literary work that does not engage with wider ideas can barely be called literature at all. Nor can literature be meaningfully understood in isolation from the contexts in which it is created and experienced.

Whether examining the influence of great literature on your Minor subject or using new ideas from it to gain more insight into your favourite texts, the integrative tutorials will place your love of literature at the heart of your personal and professional development.

With careful prompting from your tutor, you will engage in discussion and debate to share the personal experiences and interdisciplinary insights deriving from each individual's own background and their study of their Minor subject.

Reflective essays and group presentations will give you the opportunity to crystallise your thoughts, communicate what you have learned and demonstrate your understanding of literature from a more complete perspective.

Politics as your Minor

Politics is all about people and power. Taking Politics as your Minor subject will introduce you to a range of concepts, approaches and methods for political analysis that will be applicable to other disciplines too.

You will also develop an understanding of the problematic nature of political, social and economic enquiry. This fundamental basis of analytical ability (together with increased knowledge of contemporary international affairs) will enhance your capacity to think critically about events, ideas, people and institutions.

Module structure

Year 1
Major modules English LiteratureIntegrative modules English LiteratureMinor modules Politics

Compulsory modules:

Compulsory modules:

Year 2
Major modules English LiteratureIntegrative modules English LiteratureMinor modules Politics

Compulsory modules:

Optional modules:

 

Compulsory modules:

Optional modules (indicative list):

Professional Training Placement (optional)

Professional Training placement year, taken as a professional work placement and/or period of study abroad. Your activities during this period will be relevant to your Major subject (unless otherwise stated).

  • Personal and Professional Development
  • Evaluation of Placement
  • Learning Transfer of Placement Learning
Year 3
Major modules English LiteratureMinor modules Politics

Compulsory module:

Plus at least 30 credits from (indicative list):

Choose a selection of modules from (indicative list):

How you'll split your time

You'll find your lectures and tutorials extremely stimulating, but a Surrey degree is so much more than just your classroom learning.

The information below details some of the extra opportunities and advantages of becoming a Surrey student. Naturally, many of these will be defined by your choice of Major (such as where you spend your Professional Training placement), but don't forget that your Minor will also add a valuable dimension to your Surrey experience.

Professional Training placements

Unusually for an English Literature degree programme, we offer the opportunity to undertake a Professional Training placement.

Subject to availability, a placement will help to enhance your employability by giving you experience in degree-related professions such as publishing, marketing, the media industries, teaching, creative writing or arts administration.

English Literature degree options

You can choose to study English Literature:

  • As a single honours degree
  • As part of a Major/Minor degree
  • With a language (French, German or Spanish)
  • With Creative Writing

Our Creative Writing pathway offers you the opportunity to gain confidence and expertise in writing in a variety of modes, including prose, poetry and screenplays.

The Creative Writing programme is designed to complement and enhance your experience of studying English Literature by encouraging you to apply the critical and theoretical tools you have developed in your English Literature modules in order to improve as a creative writer.

The Creative Writing modules also enable you to reflect upon the ways in which your own creative practice might help you to engage with the texts that you are studying in your other classes.

Creative Writing combines lectures on key themes and topics, seminar discussions in which we reflect upon these issues, and workshop sessions in which we produce and discuss our own creative work.

Teaching

Teaching on our English Literature programmes is both stimulating and encouraging. You will experience a wide range of teaching methods, including lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops.

In Year 1, in addition to lectures, you will work closely with tutors and your fellow students in smaller seminar groups.

During Years 2 and 3, you will become increasingly independent, participating in seminars in Year 2 and contributing to student-led sessions in Year 3.

All learning is fully supported by the University’s virtual learning environment, and you will acquire a range of computing skills through the programme.

You are also encouraged to supplement classroom work with participation in activities outside the University, such as theatre visits and trips to regional festivals such as the renowned Guildford Book Festival.

Assessment

The English Literature programmes are modular in structure, with assessment taking place at the end of each semester. This enables you to track your own progress throughout the degree.

Although there are modules which must be passed to allow you to move on to the next year of study, the marks gained in Year 1 will not count towards your final degree result.

You will be assessed through a range of methods, including essays, portfolios, seminar presentations, projects and examinations.

Contact hours

The following represents an indicative estimate of how you can expect your time to be split on this programme, based on the information available at the time of publication (February 2016):

  • 9 per cent medium group teaching
  • 8 per cent large group teaching
  • 83 per cent studying and revising in your own time

Facilities

As an English Literature student at Surrey, you will be introduced to an exciting and challenging environment that combines conventional teaching with a wide range of opportunities for you to engage with a vibrant research culture and arts activities.

Regular visiting guest speakers and research seminars will inject a specialised interest into the programme and encourage students to consider areas for further study.

English at Surrey enjoys connections with contemporary writers through the poets-in-residence scheme, the annual Morag Morris Poetry Lecture, the Surrey Poetry Festival and the Surrey New Writers Festival.

The University of Surrey has close ties with the charity English PEN, which campaigns to protect freedom of speech and human rights for writers around the world. English PEN regularly hosts talks by prominent writers and other events at the University.

Guildford itself provides considerable access to arts activities, including the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, which puts on new and canonical plays, the Guildford Book Festival, and a host of galleries, libraries and archives that will stimulate and support your independent studies.

Above all, the University is only 35 minutes by train from London, one of the world’s most important cultural centres.

You will have the opportunity to see plays at the National Theatre, the Barbican and the Globe Theatre. You will be able to watch new films in the major West End cinemas and classic movies at the National Film Theatre.

This wide choice of activities will complement your studies in English Literature at Surrey, and you will be encouraged to draw inspiration from them in your work for your degree.

Global opportunities

It is possible to spend a semester or a full academic year abroad while earning credits which contribute to your degree. We operate Erasmus+ exchanges in Europe with the following universities:

  • Heidelberg University
  • Freiburg University
  • Aarhus University
  • Lyon University

We also have exchanges with:

  • Nanyang Technological University
  • Seoul National University
  • Cincinnati University
  • North Carolina State University
  • University of Central Florida
  • Northern Arizona University
  • Texas Tech
  • North Texas
  • Monash University
  • La Trobe University
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Wollongong
  • University of Queensland
  • Universidade de São Paulo
  • University of Victoria, Wellington

If you chose to study at one of the European partners you will be eligible for an Erasmus+ grant.

In addition to the amazing time you will have, you will be exposed to new cultures, practices and approaches that should strengthen your academic performance for the successful continuation of your studies. This will also enhance your employment opportunities and add a bonus on your CV.

Career opportunities

A degree in English Literature equips you with a wide range of transferable skills that will prepare you for many rewarding careers.

Typical job prospects include:

  • Marketing
  • Communications
  • Publishing
  • Media industries
  • Education
  • Creative writing
  • Arts administration

Should you wish to pursue further study, our programmes will provide you with essential knowledge and skills, as well as offering informed support and guidance to assist you in your studies.

Graduate prospects

Our English Literature degrees provide you with a range of valuable skills to prepare you for a variety of careers.

English graduates are perhaps best qualified for such professions as journalism, marketing, publishing, teaching, writing and arts administration.

They are also attractive to employers in management, business, communications and the media.

2017 Entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?

A-level

AAB-ABB

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma

DDD

European Baccalaureate

75 per cent-74 per cent

International Baccalaureate

36-35 points

Scottish Highers

Scottish Advanced Highers AAA/Scottish Highers AAAAB-Scottish Advanced Highers AAB/Scottish Highers AAABB

Welsh Baccalaureate

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma and A-level AA-Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma and A-level AB

Other international qualifications

If you are an international student and you don’t meet the entry requirements to this degree, we offer the International Foundation Year.

Select your country:

Required subjects

Minimum grade B in A-level English, English Literature, English Literature and Language or Creative Writing (or equivalent).

One social science or humanities subject preferred.

There is no requirement for an A-level in Politics.

GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent).

Selection process

Offers are normally made in terms of grades.

Suitable candidates will be invited to an Applicant Day.

English language requirements

6.5 IELTS minimum overall

6.0 IELTS minimum in each sub-skill

If you are an international student and you are concerned that your English is not to the required standard, you may benefit from the International Foundation Year, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.

Please note that the University of Surrey offers English language programmes and is also an IELTS Test Centre.

Course Options

Qualification Course Length Professional Training UCAS code KIS code
BA (Hons) 3 Years P908 View KIS data set
BA (Hons) 4 Years X2J8 View KIS data set

Tuition fees

View a complete listing of all ongoing fees for our undergraduate programmes.

The University will assess your fee status. If you are unsure whether you are likely to be considered a home, EU or overseas student for fees purposes, the UKCISA website offers more information.

Professional Training placement fees

Programmes marked with a tick in the table above include a Professional Training placement.

A reduced fee is charged for Professional Training placements.

Fees will not have to be paid up front for those eligible students who decide to take up the Government's loan for higher education fees. The Professional Training placement is a key factor in the high employability rates achieved by students with Surrey degrees.

Bursaries and scholarships

We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.

Find out more

Other Major/minor Courses

What does it mean to study a course as a major or minor?

A Major/Minor degree lets you build in-depth knowledge of one subject (your Major) while also studying another topic (your Minor). At Surrey, your Major/Minor degree also includes an integrative module that allows you to develop a unique understanding of how your two chosen subjects relate to each other.

The type and title of the degree conferred upon you will reflect your Major subject while acknowledging your Minor. For example, you could receive BA (Hons) English Literature with Psychology, BSc (Hons) Politics with Creative Writing, BMus (Hons) Music with Digital Media Arts, etc.

What are the pros and cons of studying a Major/Minor course?

A Major/Minor degree gives you the opportunity to build a much broader base of knowledge than a traditional single-subject degree, but without sacrificing the opportunity to acquire real expertise in a particular field. You will come into contact with students, academics and ideas from two disciplines rather than one.

There are a small number of careers that require graduate membership of a chartered institute, for which an accredited single-honours degree may be necessary, or which require particular postgraduate or doctoral qualifications that may only be gained after completing an undergraduate degree in a specific, single-honours subject. However, for the overwhelming majority of career paths this is not the case and in most cases there are conversion courses or equivalency allowances should you later decide you wish to follow a career with these requirements. Please speak to a careers advisor for further clarification.

What would studying a Major/Minor course mean for my job prospects?

Modern employers rarely demand a specific degree relevant to their field or sector, instead preferring culturally aware people who can place their knowledge in a wider context, who have used their time as a student to develop personally and intellectually as well as academically, and who leave university with impressive professional workplace experience already under their belt.

Because of this, it is the graduates who have combined academic achievement with the development of critical skills, who have acquired the capacity for independent learning across a range of subjects and who are comfortable dealing with a wide variety of colleagues and clients who will find themselves in greater and greater demand.

How will my time be split on a Major/Minor programme?

As you'd expect, the majority of your degree modules, exams, coursework and assessment marks will come from your Major subject. As a guideline, we would expect you to spend around 70% of your time studying for your Major, with the remaining 30% dedicated to your Minor. However, our Major/Minor framework allows you to choose from a flexible range of optional modules, so the actual balance will depend on your own preferences and requirements.

Remember also that Surrey Major/Minor degrees include our unique integrative modules, which bring you together with your fellow students to reflect on how your Major and Minor subjects complement each other.

See all Major/Minor courses

International students

Experienced staff in our International Student Office are available to help from the moment you consider studying at the University. We offer professional advice on immigration, visa issues, entry qualifications, pre-departure information, employment regulations and international student welfare.

How to apply

Find out how and when to apply to study at Surrey.

More info

BA (Hons) English Literature

Disclaimer

Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

Professional Training Placement

English Literature Professional Training placements at the British Council

Amy Kingman, English Literature student talks about her placement as a British Council Language Assistant

Our alumni

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