Why choose this course
At the School of Literature and Languages, we use innovative, interdisciplinary approaches to literature from the past to the present, and immersive, practical methods of language-learning.
Our BA (Hons) English Literature course focuses on understanding how literature works across historical periods, national boundaries, and global contexts, what it can teach us about the world we live in, and how it interacts with other subjects including visual culture, gender studies, history, politics and sociology.
You’ll benefit from the expertise of a multidisciplinary group of published academics and authors who offer unique and contemporary perspectives on texts.
Our English courses are ranked in the top 10 for creative writing in the Complete University Guide 2021.
What you will study
On our BA (Hons) English Literature course, you’ll study vital and influential works of literature, reading and discussing contemporary works as well as classics in a wide range of genres and from around the world.
Our course will introduce you to thought-provoking critical and theoretical approaches to literature. You’ll discover a range of perspectives, such as postcolonialism, psychoanalysis, and gender studies, that will enhance your understanding of literary works.
You can tailor your course with a number of specialist optional modules on specific periods and themes, from the early modern to the contemporary, and from children’s literature to American fiction.
Unusually for an English literature course, we also offer you the opportunity to take a Professional Training placement, enabling you to apply your skills in an industry-relevant context.
English Literature degree options
You can choose to study English Literature in the following ways:
- As a single honours degree
- With a language (including French, German or Spanish)
- With creative writing, politics or sociology.
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’ll 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.
Choosing English literature with politics or sociology will allow you to develop additional interdisciplinary and subject specifics skills and knowledge in another exciting area.
Culture and arts at Surrey
As a BA English Literature student at Surrey, you’ll be introduced to an exciting and thought-provoking cultural environment. We combine conventional teaching with a wide range of opportunities for you to engage with our vibrant research culture and arts activities. Our skilled and dedicated academics produce internationally-recognised research, conveying ideas enthusiastically and accessibly.
Regular visiting guest speakers and research seminars provide additional specialised expertise to the course, and encourage students to consider areas for further study.
We also host a range of events which enable you to immerse yourself in contemporary writing, through the annual Morag Morris Poetry Lecture, the Surrey Poetry Festival and the Surrey New Writers Festival, all of which are run by the School of Literature and Languages. The School also regularly hosts talks by major and new writers, annually appoints a Poet in Residence, and has as its Distinguished Writer in Residence, the acclaimed author and film-maker, Iain Sinclair.
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 – a partner of the School of Literature and Languages – and a host of galleries, libraries and archives that will stimulate and support your independent studies.
We also have strong links with Watts Gallery -Artists’ Village, an art gallery nestled in the Surrey Hills. It houses an impressive collection of Victorian paintings, sculptures and writing, and offers a range of exhibitions and art talks.
We’re also only 34 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 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.
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:
- Customer Relationship Manager, Eton College
- Journalist (freelance and with specific publications), The Guardian, Mail Online, The Wall Street Journal, VGR (US gaming website)
- Marketing and Public Relations, Marlin PR
- Account Manager, Allianz UK
- 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 courses will provide you with essential knowledge and skills, as well as offering informed support and guidance to assist you in your studies.
Academic year structure
The academic year is divided into two semesters of 15 weeks each. Each semester consists of a period of teaching, revision/directed learning and assessment.
Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps.
Important: In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the 2020/21 academic year. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach. View detailed information on the changes.
The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60, 75 and 120 credits, and additionally for some masters dissertations, 90 credits.
Please note: If there is an optional Professional Training placement as part of your course you can view the full module listing for this on the relevant programme specification.
The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes:
Course timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week (Monday–Friday). Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).
Teaching on our English literature courses is both stimulating and encouraging. You will experience a wide range of teaching methods, including lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops.
Our academics produce internationally excellent research and are skilled and dedicated teachers who convey ideas enthusiastically and accessibly.
In addition to lectures in your first year, you’ll work closely with tutors and fellow students in smaller seminar groups. During your second and third year, you’ll become increasingly independent, working on your dissertation and contributing to student-led sessions in Year 3.
Critical essays and group presentations will give you opportunities to define your thoughts, communicate what you have learned and demonstrate your understanding of literature from a more complete perspective.
All learning is fully supported by the University’s virtual learning environment, and you will gain a range of computing skills throughout the course.
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.
There may be occasions when the delivery of your teaching is supported by postgraduate research students. The University has a set of procedures that govern the use of postgraduate research students in this way.
There may be occasions when the delivery of your teaching is supported by graduate teaching assistants. The University has a set of procedures that govern the use of postgraduate research students in this way.
We assess modules individually and award credits for the successful completion of each one. Assessment takes place through a combination of examination and/or coursework, practical examinations and reports.
Check individual module information to see full details at a module level.
Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available from the University of Surrey's module catalogue. See the modules section for more information.
As a student at Surrey, you can also sign up to our free courses in the following areas:
Find out more
Living in student accommodation is a great way to meet new people and spark friendships.
Do I meet the requirements for this course?
We require you to submit a full application so that we can formally assess whether you meet the criteria published. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide an outcome based on an enquiry (via email, webform enquiry, phone or live chat).
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, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with 6.0 in Writing and 5.5 in each other element.
View the other English language qualifications that we accept.
If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
We normally make offers in terms of grades.
If you are a suitable candidate you will be invited to an Applicant Day. During your visit to the University you can find out more about the course and meet staff and students.
Recognition of prior learning
The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If this applies to you, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims.
Please see the code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please contact Admissions on +44 (0)1483 682222 with any queries.
The annual tuition fees for courses starting in October 2022
UK To be confirmed
Overseas To be confirmed
BA (Hons) (with professional training year)
UK To be confirmed
Overseas To be confirmed
Professional training To be confirmed
- Fees for UK students: The University will apply annual regulated increases in the fee rates as set by Government each year, in order to maintain the same value in real terms.
- Fees for EU students: The UK is now no longer part of the EU, we are awaiting further instruction from the UK government and we will publish this as soon as it is provided. Find out more information about Studying in the UK and the Scholarships for EU students.
- Fees for international students: Annual fees will increase by 4% for each subsequent year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100, subject to any overriding applicable legislative requirements.
- Fees for international students with an integrated foundation year: The programme fee for Year 0 will match the lowest Year 1 overseas fee rate from across the substantive programmes for that year of entry. Students subsequently progressing into Year 1 will be liable for the same fee as overseas students joining at Year 1 for the same programme in that year. Annual fees after Year 1 will increase by 4% for each subsequent year of study, rounded up to the nearest £100, subject to any overriding applicable legislative requirements.
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.
- Students in receipt of a Tuition Fee Loan: will have their fees paid by the Student Loans Company in line with their schedule.
- International students, or UK/EU students who have not taken out a Tuition Fee Loan: are required to pay their fees either in full at the beginning of the programme or in two instalments as follows:
- 50% payable 10 days after the invoice date (expected to be early October of each academic year)
- 50% in January of the same academic year.
The exact date(s) will be detailed on invoices. Students on certain part-time programmes, where fees are paid on a modular or stage basis, are not eligible to pay their fees by instalment.
If you are sponsored: you will provide us with valid sponsorship information that covers the period of your study.
Professional Training placement fees
If you are studying on a programme which contains a Professional Training placement year there will be a reduced fee for the academic year in which you undertake your placement. This is normally confirmed 12 to 18 months in advance, or once Government policy is determined.
See the information about 2020/21 academic year Professional Training placement fee.
You have the option to complete a Professional Training placement as part of this course. This will give you the opportunity to develop your professional, academic and personal potential, helping to prepare you for your future career.
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
Our BA (Hons) English Literature course was the first English course to include a Professional Training component in 2008. Our experience as a leader in professional training will help you make the most of the year.
A Professional Training placement will give you the opportunity to develop valuable transferable skills in analysis, reflection, communication and organisation. It will help to enhance your employability by giving you experience in degree-related professions such as publishing, marketing, the media industries, teaching, creative writing and 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
You can apply for numerous opportunities via an open and free-to-all process. Placement providers use their own recruitment and selection procedures and the majority of students will secure their placement in this way.
Students are generally not placed by the University, however we offer support and guidance throughout the process alongside access to a vacancy portal representing thousands of placement opportunities each year. We also provide support if you wish to source your own placement.
Find out about more about the application process.
Please be aware there may be travel costs incurred when attending interviews and assessment centres at the placement provider’s premises.
Study and work abroad
We give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their studies by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities or by completing a Professional Training placement abroad.
Want to study at an overseas institution as part of your degree or work abroad during your Professional Training year? Perhaps you would like to volunteer in India or learn about Brazilian business and culture in São Paulo during your summer holidays? With more than 200 partnerships, from 50 different countries worldwide, there is something for everyone.
Not only is the opportunity to go abroad a hugely enjoyable experience, you will develop key skills and knowledge that will strengthen your CV and increase your employability.
View our study and work abroad exchange information to find out more and see where you can go.
You have the option to spend a semester or a full academic year abroad while earning credits which contribute to your degree.
We have exchanges with:
- Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
- Seoul National University, South Korea
- Cincinnati University, US
- North Carolina State University, US
- University of Central Florida, US
- Northern Arizona University, US
- Texas Tech University, US
- University of North Texas, US
- Monash University, Australia
- La Trobe University, Australia
- University of Sydney, Australia
- University of Wollongong, Australia
- University of Queensland, Australia
- Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
- University of Victoria, Wellington, New Zealand.
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 procedures, the student 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 an example of our offer terms and conditions and our registration terms and conditions (PDF) from the 2020/2021 academic year as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will generally 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 and changes for the specific academic year.
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 and before you accept an offer. Read more.
In particular we wish to draw your intention to the following matters affecting the academic year 2021/2022:
- Covid-19 - In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the 2020/2021 academic year. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach, details of which can be found here [link]. It is anticipated that these programme changes and the hybrid learning approach will be adopted throughout the academic year 2021/2022, however, given the changing nature of the pandemic, this is being kept under continuous review. Detailed information on all changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is available at the coronavirus course changes page. The linked pages set out information relating to general University changes and will also direct you to consider additional information relating to specific programmes.
- Brexit - The UK is now no longer part of the EU. We are awaiting further information and instruction from the UK government and we will publish this as soon as it is provided. EU students applying for programmes in the academic year 2021/2022 and students applying for courses with placements abroad should visit our dedicated webpages for the latest information on how the UK’s departure from the EU will affect their courses.
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.