English Literature BA (Hons) – 2019 entry
Why choose this course
In the School of Literature and Languages, we are interested in texts and languages in a global context. Our focus is on understanding how literature works across national boundaries and how different works of literature interact.
We have an excellent reputation for challenging, innovative, forward-thinking teaching and research in literature and creative writing.
Our English courses are ranked in the top 10 for creative writing in the Complete University Guide 2019 and top 10 in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019.
What you will study
On our BA English Literature course, you will study the most vital and influential works of literature from the medieval period to the present day.
It will provide you with a strong grounding in both canonical works and introduce you to new ones, as well as a range of thought-provoking critical and theoretical approaches to literature. You’ll discover historical, social and psychological perspectives which will enhance your understanding of literary works.
You’ll be able to tailor your degree with a number of specialist optional modules on specific periods and themes, from the medieval to the contemporary, and from children’s literature to American fiction.
Unusually for an English literature degree, we also offer you the opportunity to take a Professional Training placement, giving you real-world experience.
|Qualification||Course length||Professional Training||UCAS||KIS code|
|BA (Hons)||48 months||Q324||View KIS data set|
|BA (Hons)||36 months||Q320||View KIS data set|
Professional Training placements
As part of this course you have the option to complete a Professional Training placement. These will give you the opportunity to develop your professional, academic and personal potential, equipping you to be adaptable, resilient, globally minded, confident, entrepreneurial and digitally savvy in the workplace. These qualities are widely recognised by employers and a significant proportion of placement students at Surrey are offered graduate-level jobs or go onto postgraduate study.
Find out more about Professional Training placements and discover how these have transformed our students’ lives and career choices.
English Literature placements
Unusually for an English literature degree programme, we offer the opportunity for you to take a Professional Training placement. A Professional Training placement will give you the opportunity to develop valuable transferable skills in analysis, reflection, communication and organisation.
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.
Some organisations that have participated in this scheme include:
- NBC Universal
- Toyota (PR and Press Communications)
- Brighton and Hove Independent
- UBS Investment Bank
- GE Healthcare
- British Council.
Applying for placements
Professional Training placements are usually applied for and secured via an open and free-to-all process, within which students can select and apply for numerous opportunities. Placement providers use their own recruitment and selection procedures and the majority of students will secure their placement in this way. However, support is also provided to students wishing to source their own placement, subject to university requirements being met.
Students are generally not placed by the University, however they are given thorough support and guidance alongside access to a vacancy portal representing thousands of placement opportunities each year. Please be aware there may be travel costs incurred when attending interviews and assessment centres at the placement provider’s premises.
Careers and graduate prospects
We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University.
Our BA English Literature course will provide you with a range of valuable skills to prepare you for a variety of careers.
Recent English graduates have secured roles such as:
- Graduate Trainee, Dale Carnegie Training
- Editorial Assistant, The Handbook
- Junior Account Executive, Livewire Public Relations
- Teacher of English, Teach First
- Editor and Marketing Executive, Warner Group Publications
- Commercial Graduate, Coca Cola
- Copywriter, Tesco MPC.
If you’d like 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.
Study and work abroad
We give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities or by completing a Professional Training placement abroad. In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV. Visit our global exchanges pages to check where you can go.
You might be able 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:
- Bamberg University
- Freiburg University
- Aarhus University
- Lyon III 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 University
- University of 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 choose to study at one of the European partners you may be eligible for an Erasmus+ grant.
In addition to the new experiences you will have, you’ll 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 distinct quality to your CV.
English Literature degree options
You can choose to study English Literature:
- As a single honours degree
- With a language (including 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. It will encourage 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 will also encourage 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, seminar discussions in which we reflect upon these issues, and workshop sessions in which we produce and discuss our own creative work.
If you choose to study English Literature with French, German or Spanish, you will gain high-quality language training alongside your literature modules. The two elements of this unique course complement one another, giving you unique insights into language, literature and culture.
Culture and arts at Surrey
As a BA English Literature student at Surrey, you’ll be introduced to an exciting and challenging environment that combines conventional teaching with a wide range of opportunities for you to engage with our vibrant research culture and arts activities. Our academics produce internationally excellent research and are skilled and dedicated teachers who convey ideas enthusiastically and accessibly.
Regular visiting guest speakers and research seminars provide specialised interest in the course, and encourage students to consider areas for further study.
We also enjoy connections with contemporary writers through our poets-in-residence scheme, the annual Morag Morris Poetry Lecture, the Surrey Poetry Festival and the Surrey New Writers Festival. The School of Literature and Languages regularly hosts talks by prominent writers.
Guildford is home to a wide variety of 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.
We’re also only 35 minutes by train from London, one of the world’s most important cultural centres. Outside of your studies and in your own time, you’ll have the opportunity to see plays at the National Theatre, the Barbican and the Globe Theatre, and to watch new films in the major West End cinemas and classic films at the National Film Theatre.
This wide choice of activities will complement your studies at Surrey, and you’ll be encouraged to draw inspiration from them in your studies.
Terms and conditions
When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course.
This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.
"Doing a year on placement has given me so much perspective about the world of work, the different fields that exist and most importantly, my personal strengths and weaknesses."
"I think Surrey has something for everyone, there’s an ever-growing number of societies and sport clubs. There’s a lot of places to go to in town with friends, not just the night life but shopping and even ice skating at Guildford Spectrum."
Campus locationStag Hill
Stag Hill is the University's main campus and where the majority of our courses are taught.
As part of this course you have the option to complete a Professional Training placement which would require attendance off campus, depending on where you secure your placement.