School of Humanities and Performing Arts

BA (Hons) English

Love to read? Engage with the diversity of English literature across six centuries, from Shakespearean drama to the graphic novel. Choose from a variety of optional modules exploring literature in relation to history, politics and culture, including modules in creative writing. Follow your own interests in your final year dissertation. English is a degree highly valued by employers, so take advantage of our many opportunities for work experience and prepare for a rewarding career.

Boost your career prospects by working with a publishing house, literary agent, arts organisation or magazine on our work-based learning module or extra-curricular internships. Write and be published as part of INK, the English and Creative Writing student-run magazine, and experience other cultures by studying or working abroad in either Europe or the US.

Key features

  • We have excellent survey results – 95 per cent of students agreed staff were good at explaining things; 91 per cent of students agreed staff made the subject interesting and 88 per cent of students were satisfied overall. 90 per cent of students were in work/study six months after finishing (source: 2016 NSS and 2016 DLHE survey results available on Unistats*).
  • Choose every year from a wide variety of specialist modules, from 1600 to the present, including period and cultural studies and creative writing
  • Receive free set texts for all core modules throughout the three years.
  • Benefit from assessment through coursework, with no written exams.
  • Boost your career prospects by working with a publishing house, literary agent, arts organisation or magazine on our work-based learning module or extra-curricular internships.
  • Make use of our open-door policy and talk to your lecturers in a friendly and supportive learning environment.
  • Learn from internationally recognised research-active staff, including published creative writers.
  • Experience other cultures by studying or working abroad in either Europe or the US.
  • Write and be published as part of INK, the English and Creative Writing student-run magazine.
  • Access resources at any time with the University library, open 24 hours 365 days a year, offering a vast range of electronic and print materials, including a rare books collection. 
  • Make the most of a rich cultural life with Plymouth University’s Peninsula Arts programme and the University’s links with local arts organisations, like the Theatre Royal Plymouth.
  • To complement your formal learning we offer regular PALS sessions that provide the opportunity for you to learn with and from your peers. Share knowledge, discuss ideas, and ask questions in a relaxed and friendly environment.

If you are interested in taking this normally full-time programme on a part-time basis please contact Rachel Christofides to discuss this possibility.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, you'll study historical, theoretical, and aesthetic approaches to literary analysis. You’ll read literature which investigates the making of the modern world; engage with exciting theories of reading such as eco-criticism, psychoanalysis and Marxism; and, if you choose, try your hand at creative writing in a wide range of genres including prose, poetry, drama and professional writing. You will also learn key research and essay-writing skills.
    Core modules
    • ENGL401 The Craft of Writing

      This module introduces students to the key concepts and issues in creative writing through the practise of workshops. We will read classic contemporary works of poetry, fiction and nonfiction including autobiography, travel writing, poetry sequences, essays and reportage. We will produce our own works of poetry, short story and nonfiction, and critically evaluate and contextualise them.

    • ENGL400 Journeys into Literature: The Odyssey and Beyond

      This four-week module provides an important foundation for new students studying English and Creative Writing. Based around one of the earliest written texts in Western literature the module engages with a number of issues to enable students to gain an understanding of the historical development of literature and the ways in which texts relate to each other over the centuries. It includes the study of genre, poetic forms, literary influence and creative interpretation as well as developing research and study skills including project work and collaboration.

    • ENGL403 Writing the Modern World, 1700-1800

      This module considers the further development of modern ways of writing, thinking, trading, and seeing in the eighteenth century. This period is crucial to understanding literary history and ourselves. The module explores four key themes:- the beginnings of human rights and democracy in the eighteenth century - modern ideas of gender which originate in the eighteenth century - imperialism & the transatlantic world - eighteenth-century reading practices and the development of new genres.

    • ENGL404 Critical Theory

      This module will introduce some key critical theories relevant to the study of English literature. It will familiarise students with a range of theoretical perspectives and enable them to develop an understanding of different ways of reading literature, and its wider contexts.

    • ENGL402 Writing the Modern World, 1600-1700

      This module considers `modern¿ ways of writing, thinking, trading, seeing, and relating to others in the seventeenth century. The literature of this period first explores ideas central to our own time and place, and is crucial both to understanding literary history and to understanding ourselves. The course will be structured through four key narratives, traced through a chronological selection of texts:¿ authority ¿ modern ideas of gender ¿ global capitalism ¿ modern print culture.

    Optional modules
    • ENGL405PP Making Waves: Representing the Sea, Then and Now

      The four-week Plymouth Plus module fosters both analytical and creative skills, through problem-based, self-reflective, collaborative and interdisciplinary learning; students devise a major group presentation. Discipline-based skills are focused on the topic of the sea; close attention to classic maritime poetry and fiction encourages basic literary critical and creative skills. The analytical concept of waves is central to the module, and broadens the topic out to foster more general critical, theory-based thinking.

    • OS106PP Our Ocean Planet

      In this module students will explore important topical issues associated with our ocean planet. Students will have a creative opportunity to work in teams on a topic of their choice using a project based learning approach. They will develop a variety of communication skills in order to present their ideas in a medium of their team's choice.

  • Year 2
  • In your second year, you’ll take core modules in Romantic and Victorian literature, studying these key periods from an interdisciplinary perspective, and engaging with debates in philosophy, science, psychology, politics, art, gender and race. You will then select from a wide range of specialist modules, including our work-based learning module (Working with Literature) which places you in the professional workplace. Several modules offer opportunities for creative as well as critical writing.
    Core modules
    • ENGL501 Romanticism

      In this module literary Romanticism, in its rich and problematic diversity, is introduced and explored through a consideration of imaginative conceptions of the individual in writing between 1790 and 1830. The study ranges through a selection of texts in verse ¿ lyric and narrative ¿ and prose - essayistic, theoretical and fictional.

    • ENGL506 Victorian Literature and Culture

      This module aims to introduce students to the Victorian period through an examination of literature read in conjunction with a range of other contemporary cultural documents including scientific, sociological, psychological, political economic and aesthetic texts.

    Optional modules
    • ENGL516 American Novel

    • ENGL508 Fourth genre: Creative nonfiction into the 21st century

      This module introduces students to the key concepts and issues in creative nonfiction. We will read classic and contemporary works of nonfiction, both short- and long-form, from sub-genres including biography, autobiography, travel writing, and reportage. We will produce our own works of nonfiction and critically evaluate them.

    • ENGL503 Dramatic Writing

      This course explores a wide range of dramatic writing and dramatic writing theory, integrating critical reading with creative writing projects. Class time will be spent discussing published authors/texts/productions, writing/reading theories, compositional processes, practical exercises, and student work.

    • ENGL504 Out of the Gutter: Graphic Novels

      This module will introduce students to the comics medium by providing a survey of the development of graphic novels/comic books, and focusing on several genres within the medium (such as autobiography, superhero, realism, journalism, among others). Students will read works by a variety of established comics artists/writers, theorists of the medium, and student work.

    • ENGL505 Rakes, Rascals and Rudeness in the Eighteenth Century

      Introduces historical & contemporary satirical theories; analyses satirical forms; enables critical engagement with the foundational associated modes: comedy, parody, irony and hyperbole.

    • ENGL511 Apocalypse and the Modern Novel

      This module explores how fiction from the late nineteenth century to the present day has represented end of world scenarios. It will engage with issues of genre and form, and with appropriate historical and cultural contexts including the environment, spirituality, technology, and globalisation. Criticism and secondary sources pertaining to these issues, as well as to individual authors, will be considered alongside the primary texts.

    • ENGL512 Literature and History

      This module aims to explore the interface between literature and history. Using key ideas in narrative theory and historiography, it will examine the ways in which narratives of history are crafted through literature and how literary texts can impact on our understanding and interpretation of history.

    • ENGL519 Working with Literature

      While remaining focused on English and English and Creative Writing projects, this module will provide students with the opportunity to apply their literary and creative skills in a 'work-facing' environment.

    • ENGL502 Gothic Fictions: Villains, Virgins, Vampires

      This module looks at eighteenth- and nineteenth-century novels to trace the variety and scope of literary contributions to the Gothic. It begins by discussing the origins of the Gothic novel, then moves to the heyday of the genre in the revolutionary 1790s, on to authors writing in the early and mid-nineteenth century, through to the decadence of the 1890s.

    • ENGL509 Women and Romanticism

      This module tests notions of `Romanticism¿ by asking how it looks different when viewed from a gendered perspective. The course incorporates well-known material and popular texts not normally encountered at undergraduate level. Developing knowledge of Romantic-era writing, the module attends to gendered norms, transgressions, and authorship.

    • ENGL510 Shakespeare and the Early Modern Stage

      This module provides an introduction to many aspects of Shakespeare's plays with emphasis on the practice and practicalities of playwriting for the early modern stage and on Shakespeare's plays in performance. Students will also be introduced to a range of critical approaches to the plays, from Shakespeare's contemporaries to the present day.

  • Final year
  • In your final year, you’ll complete your period studies core with the ground-breaking literature of early 20th-century Modernism. You’ll also choose from a range of specialist modules, mostly with a focus on 20th-century and contemporary literature. You’ll produce your own year-long dissertation on any topic of your choice, which you'll work on with the focused support of your personal supervisor.
    Core modules
    • ENGL603 Modernism

      This module will explore a number of themes through an examination of writing published in the approximate period 1910-1930. The themes will include structural and linguistic experimentation, historical and artistic influences, the First World War and literary networks.

    Optional modules
    • ENGL602 Project in Creative Writing

      The student will complete, under tutorial supervision, a project in creative writing such as a collection of poetry, short stories, a longer piece of prose fiction, autobiography, travel writing or other suitable modes which may draw upon issues encountered in other English modules and which includes relevant literary-critical material. Maximum length 12,000 words.

    • ENGL607 War Writing Since 1914

      The module will explore a range of the writings of war published in a variety of countries since the outbreak of the First World War. The writing will cover a number of wars with a principal focus on WW1 and WW2. It will involve the writing of both men and women in several genres.

    • ENGL608 American Crime Writing

      This module considers the development of twentieth-century American crime fiction from hard-boiled detectives, to myths of the mafia, and postmodern reinventions of the genre. This module will explore the cultural contexts of American crime writing, prevailing conventions of the genre, as well as challenges to those conventions.

    • ENGL609 Contemporary Poetry

      In this module we will examine a range of contemporary poetry and poetic theory as a way for students to learn how to compose their own poems. Class time will be divided between discussion of poetry/theory, writing exercises and peer workshops of student poetry.

    • ENGL610 Reading Jane Austen - then and now

      This module explores the cultural politics of Jane Austen's novels and of reading her work, both at the time it was written and now. Attending to social and historical contexts, the course selects some of Austen's major works, together with a selection of early and minor material and work by her contemporaries, to consider how we can read Austen as a novelist, as a political writer, and as a writer of `romance'.

    • ENGL604 `The World Turned Upside Down': Literature and Politics, 1640-1700

      This module will engage with literature, politics and religion in mid-to late-seventeenth-century England, and will consider the diverse ways in which writers contributed to political and religious debate.

    • ENGL605 Criticism and Culture: Modern Life and Literature 1880 - present

      This module aims to serve as an introduction to a number of key theoretical texts relating to the culture of modernity including, for example, consumption, the city, desire and discipline, and the ways these issues inform readings of literature.

    • ENGL606 The Short Story

      In this module we will examine a range of contemporary short story writing and relevant theory as a way for students to learn how to compose their own poems. Class time will be divided between discussion of poetry/theory, writing exercises and peer workshops of student poetry.

    • ENGL613 Literatures of Environmental Crisis

      This module explores the ways in which contemporary literature and literary studies are responding to our current era of ecological crisis. It introduces students to the debates, modes of reading and key ideas of ecocritical literary criticism.

    • ENGL615 Professional Writing

      This module introduces students to the key concepts and issues in professional writing. We will explore technique in features and literary journalism; music reviews, opinion columns and longer immersion features as well as other contemporary works of non-fiction feature writing, both short- and long-form, from sub-genres including profiles and interviews, autobiography and columns, travel writing, and reportage. We will learn to research and produce our own works of professional nonfiction and critically evaluate them.

    • ENGL601 Project in Critical Writing

      The student will complete, under tutorial supervision, a project in critical writing in the form of a literary - critical dissertation based on an idea, theme, author/s, theoretical consideration etc: or a dissertation which arises from literary - critical interests connected to issues arising from the student's work in other English modules. Maximum length 12,000 words.

    • ENGL611 Laughing Matters: Cruelty and Comedy of Literary Satire

      Introduces historical & contemporary satirical theories; analyses satirical forms; enables critical engagement with the foundational associated modes: comedy, parody, irony and hyperbole.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA Hons English 0661

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

120

A level
A minimum of 2 A Levels including A level English Language, Literature or Creative Writing at Grade B, excluding General Studies.

International baccalaureate
28 overall including three subjects at Higher Level and English at grade 6 at Higher Level. If overseas and not studying English within IB – you must have IELTS: 6.5 overall with 5.5 in all elements

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma
DDM. Please contact admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.  

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

All access courses
Pass a named Access to Higher Education Diploma (preferably English, humanities or combined), with at least 33 credits at merit and/or distinction.

GCSE
Mathematics and English language grade C.

Equivalent qualifications may be considered. 

English language requirements.

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2017 2018
Home/EU £9,250 To be confirmed
International £12,250 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) Check with School To be confirmed
Part time (International) Check with School To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Fees are correct at the time of publication and may be subject to change.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.



Student voice - Rachel Mace, BA (Hons) English

The support I received from the lecturers at Plymouth helped me to develop my abilities as a writer and a researcher… they encouraged me to achieve things that I never thought would be possible.

@englishplymuni

Join in our conversation on Twitter:



Michelle Phillips - BA (Hons) English; MA Publishing graduate

Michelle Philips has worked alongside the UK Space Agency, the RNIB, biographer Carl Rollyson, and Plymouth academics since graduating in 2013.
Learn more about Michelle Phillips

Dave Mervik – BA (Hons) English graduate

Dave Mervik now works as a Senior Narrative Designer for Tarsier Studios in Malmö, Sweden.
Learn more about Dave Mervik

English and creative writing staff

Study overseas

Uncover a whole world of English and discover your future. Connect with an international network of study, research and summer school opportunities to expand your experience of English in context beyond the UK.
Discover more about the resources available to you

INK magazine

Published by the Plymouth University Press, and supported by English and Creative Writing staff, INK is entirely edited and produced by our students.
Read the latest issue of INK

English with Plymouth University

"A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us." – Franz Kafka

Find out more about why you should study English degrees with Plymouth University.

English and Creative Writing research

Our teaching is driven by research which in 2014 was rated among the best in the UK by the nationwide Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment. Our staff have published extensively and internationally across a diverse range of fields in literary criticism and creative writing.

For example, Senior Lecturer Peter Hinds, author of The Horrid Popish Plot, teaches and publishes on early modern literature and Professor Anthony Caleshu, prize winning poet, leads the Contemporary Poetry module.

Career opportunities

A degree in English can open up a broad range of career choices, and we work with you to enhance your employability throughout your course.

Find out about your career options

Latest news:

Student-led film - Love Literature

Gain an insight into what your life might be like as an English and creative writing student with these short, student-led films.

Student-led film - Experience Literature

We paired our students up with a film maker to transform their impressions and ideas into film and teach them new skills.

*The results of the National Student Survey (NSS) and the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey (DLHE) are made available to prospective students and their advisors through the Unistats website.