English Literature BA (Hons) – 2020 entry
Why choose this course
In the School of Literature and Languages, we’re 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 conduct challenging, 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 2020 and top 10 in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019.
What you will study
On our BA English Literature course, you’ll study some of 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, among others 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, giving you real-world experience.
|Qualification||Course length||Professional Training||Start date||UCAS||KIS code|
|BA (Hons)||48 months||Oct 2020||Q324||View KIS data set|
|BA (Hons)||36 months||Oct 2020||Q320||View KIS data set|
Professional Training placements
A Professional Training placement provides you with 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 many of our students are offered employment on graduation by their placement provider.
The Professional Training placement year gives our students an insight into their subject and career potential, and early access to professional experience. It can be invaluable in developing work-based skills and helping them secure a graduate career.
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 course, we offer the opportunity for you to take a Professional Training placement. Surrey was the first English course to introduce a Professional Training component, in 2008, and 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.
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 our online placement opportunities platform called Surrey Pathfinder, within which students can select and apply for placement vacancies. 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 the 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:
- 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.
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. View our study and work abroad exchange information to find out more and see where you can go.
Please note: the status of the Erasmus+ scheme is dependent on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.
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, film studies, 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 film studies, 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 though-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’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 (PDF) 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.
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.
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 credits.
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.
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.
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.
Optional modules for Year 2 - FHEQ Level 5
Students choose at least one module from ELI2037 and ELI2039.
Optional modules for Year 3 - FHEQ Level 6
Students choose 5 optional modules, 2 in one semester and 3 in the other. In addition Students choose either ELI3033 or ELI3034 (45 credits).
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. Part-time classes are normally scheduled on one or two days per week, details of which can be obtained from the course administrators. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).
Research students will sometimes help to deliver your modules. These students will be researching in a similar subject to the module, and will have undertaken training prior to being invited to teach. The University has a set of procedures that govern the use of postgraduate research students in this way.
This course is taught by academic staff from the School of Literature and Languages.
PALMER BL Dr (Lit & Langs)
All taught students are assigned a personal tutor before beginning a programme of study. Personal tutors offer support and advice to students in the areas of:
- Academic progress
- Pastoral/welfare issues
- Personal/professional development and employability.
Modules are assessed individually and credits are awarded 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.
Learning and disability support
We have two services, Academic Skills and Development and the Disability and Neurodiversity Service which can help develop your learning.
Academic Skills and Development
Academic Skills and Development is a learning space in the Library where our learning development team is based. It comprises dedicated Student Learning Advisers and Information Skills Librarians who can help you develop your academic and research skills, including writing, presenting, revision and critical thinking.
Find out more about the study support available.
Disability and Neurodiversity Service
The University’s Disability and Neurodiversity Service supports students with disabilities, long-term health conditions, specific learning differences (such as dyslexia and dyspraxia) and other neurodiverse conditions (including autism spectrum and attention deficit disorder).
If you tell us about any conditions and register with us, we can give you appropriate support during your studies.
We can arrange exam and learning support adjustments, give advice on applications for the Disabled Students' Allowance, and test you for dyslexia and dyspraxia. We can also offer regular study skills and mentoring support.
English language support
Our English Language Support Programme (ELSP) provides tailored English language support during your studies. It is particularly valuable to students who speak English as a second or additional language, but native speakers are also welcome.
What qualifications do you need?
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. The University of Surrey is also an IELTS test centre.
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.
If you can demonstrate exceptional academic performance in your schooling to date, you could be awarded an unconditional offer as part of the University’s Unconditional Offer Scheme.
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 email Admissions with any queries.
|Qualification||Start date||Course length||Professional Training||UK/EU fees||Overseas fees||Professional Training fees|
|BA (Hons)||Oct 2020||48 months||To be confirmed||To be confirmed||To be confirmed|
|BA (Hons)||Oct 2020||36 months||To be confirmed||To be confirmed||Not applicable|
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.
How to apply
Learn how to apply for an undergraduate course, see details about the UCAS application process and determine the steps you need to take if you receive an offer to study.
Our undergraduate admissions policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.
Join a webinar and speak to our current students
"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."