School of Humanities and Performing Arts

BA (Hons) English with Foundation

Novels, poetry, short stories, drama: six centuries of English literature to explore. But, for some reason, you’ve not submitted your application. You wonder if you’re the type of person who goes to university. Perhaps you don’t have 48 UCAS points or other qualifications. Our four-year BA may be perfect for you.

In your first year, you’ll be equipped with an enabling inter-disciplinary knowledge of the humanities. You’ll acquire a toolkit of skills in a supportive environment, and the confidence to know how to use it. Upon successful completion of your first year, you’ll join the rest of the Undergraduate BA (Hons) English community for three lively years of discipline-specific study and inter-disciplinary enquiry that, above all, gives you the chance to indulge your love of reading and advanced study.

Careers with this subject

The importance of employability is reflected in our pedagogy which offers you access to all the employability initiatives open to students on the BA programmes: a wide range of internships and placements including a series of paid and volunteer opportunities in sectors including schools (primary/secondary); archives and libraries; heritage sector including museums, NT properties; opportunities to contribute to INK (the English and Creative Writing magazine) and other university publications; attend events run by the Writer in Residence; work experience opportunities.

Your personal tutor and University careers advisers will help you reflect on your career aspirations and encourage you to make full use of the extra-curricular opportunities offered by the department, the University and the city of Plymouth, as well as offering guidance on practical skills such as the writing of CVs and interview techniques.

Our students progress to a wide range of careers in, for example, publishing, print and broadcast journalism, teaching, professional writing, advertising, marketing, the heritage industry, law, arts management, archival and library posts, graduate management training schemes, the public sector, and postgraduate study.

Key features

This four-year course is designed to give you the grounding necessary to progress through your undergraduate studies in English, and through the many opportunities we give you,

find the best possible direction to grow your love of learning. 

Your first year will: 

  • welcome you to an exciting and eclectic curriculum which will develop your knowledge of the disciplines of English literature, creative writing and history while also engaging with lively interdisciplinary enquiry across a wide range of historical periods and literary forms.
  • provide training in all the skills required for a successful passage through your undergraduate study: research, use of digital resources, essay-writing, academic argument, presentations, independent study.
  • introduce you to supportive and accessible academic staff in a welcoming community.
  • immerse you in an academic environment offering a wide range of field trips, access to free cultural events through The Arts Institute, student-led magazines, internships and extra-curricular work experiences.
  • give you access to state-of-the-art facilities, library and learning resources on our city-centre campus.
  • Enable you to find a route for you, whether you are returning to education after a break or if you come with qualifications other than A levels.
  • Be required to attend classes only on Mondays and Tuesdays, and Wednesday mornings.

When you join the BA (Hons) English with Foundation, you’ll also: 

  • Choose from a wide variety of specialist modules, including period and cultural studies and creative writing in your 2nd, 3rd, and final years.
  • Receive free set texts for all core modules throughout your four 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 BA (Hons) 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 The Arts Institute programme and the University’s links with local arts organisations, like the Theatre Royal.


We’re very proud of our National Student Survey (NSS) 2018 return showing 94 per cent of students found our staff are good at explaining things. 94 per cent found the course intellectually stimulating, and 93 per cent expressed overall satisfaction with the course.* 

Course details

  • Year 0
  • KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, CONFIDENCE

    In your first year, you’ll you acquire the knowledge and skills you’ll need to progress through your studies and become a confident, independent learner. You’ll take four modules focusing on the interplay of history, literature, and culture in the past and the present, examining the historical and literary stories that have shaped our world. 

    The autumn semester contains two discipline-specific 30 credit modules, one in English and creative writing and one in history. The spring semester comprises an interdisciplinary module that broadens out the meaning of the humanities and an independent study project module. All modules will have a strong focus on study skills related to the progression to higher education.

    Entering full-time study can require many adjustments. To help you make the transition, all your classes will take place on Mondays and Tuesdays, and Wednesday mornings.

    Core modules
    • HUM001 Stories that Changed the World

      This module explores the key texts and voices that have changed the ways in which we think and write the Humanities. From the formation myths of the ancient world and the poets of the Renaissance to Imperialism, Marxism and Feminism in the modern world, we will investigate how thinkers, poets and writers have shaped our contemporary world, and the ways in which we study it. The module will have a distinct strand of study skills to assist students in acquiring the tools needed for progression to Higher Education. This module will contain a particular focus on reading, note-taking and essay writing.

    • HUM002 Imagining the Past: Voyages into Time, Space, and Experience

      This module will introduce three concepts central to historical study in the Humanities: Time; Space; and Experience. Students will work with a range of sources to understand how historians engage with the past. With a distinct emphasis on study skills, students will develop the tools needed for progression to Higher Education, with a particular focus on analysing textual materials and essay-writing.

    • HUM003 Writing the Now: Literature, History and Visual Culture

      This module examines the role of the Humanities in the contemporary world exploring the ways in which literature, art, film, media, memory and heritage impact on history and writing today. Students will examine a range of contemporary literary texts as well as visual and media sources and consider the role of technologies in the Humanities. The module will be constructed around the exploration of key themes, for example gender and sexuality, faith, war, and race and ethnicity, using interdisciplinary approaches to identify how they have shaped the Humanities of the 21st century. The module will have a distinct strand of study skills to assist students in acquiring the tools needed for progression to Higher Education. This module will contain a particular focus on collaborative work, presentation skills and the Digital Humanities

    • HUM004 Independent Project

      Students will undertake, with supervision, an individual project. A choice of topics, based upon the specialisms of HPA staff will be provided. It can be an extended critical essay in English or History, or a creative writing project supported by a substantial critical reflection. The module includes a core of taught research skills sessions with an additional focus on work planning and time management.

  • Year 1
  • MAKING THE MODERN WORLD IN LITERATURE

    In your second of four years, 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
    • 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
    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • ENGL516 American Novel

    • 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.

    • ENGL520 Creative Nonfiction

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

  • Year 2
  • BEGIN TO SPECIALISE

    In your third 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
    • 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
    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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'.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  • Final year
  • THE 20TH CENTURY

    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.

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 with Foundation Programme Specification 2018 19 6433

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

48

Don’t have 48 UCAS tariff points? We will consider ‘non-standard’ applications on a case-by-case basis.

A levels: minimum of 2 A levels excluding General Studies. (Note these programmes will accept AS levels).

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma: PPP Refer to tutor, however BTEC are usually only considered with another qualification ie A level.

International Baccalaureate: 24 overall

All Access courses:  Pass a named Access to HE Diploma (e.g. Preferably English, humanities or combined), including GCSE English and Mathematics grade C/4 or above or equivalent.

GCSE English: Grade C/4 or above, if your grade is lower then please refer to the institution for further advice.

We are looking for applicants with good potential including with non-standard qualifications and background, so will consider every application on a case by case basis.

Get in touch with our friendly admissions team on +44 (0)1752 585858 or email us at admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU £9,250 £9,250
International To be confirmed To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

£500 Humanities Foundation Bursary

We in the School of Humanities and Performing Arts like to reward those applicants who show a significant commitment to studying with us.

Therefore all applicants holding a valid offer for the BA (Hons) English with Foundation Year will be eligible to receive a bursary of £500 which will be automatically deducted from their tuition fees upon enrolment onto the course in September 2018.

How to apply

There are two ways to apply for the foundation course. 

Route 1: applications can be 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 through this route, please visit the UCAS website.

Route 2: non-standard applications. If you come with other qualifications and/or do not have 48 UCAS tariff points, please get in touch with our friendly admissions team on +44 (0)1752 585858 or email us at admissions@plymouth.ac.uk. 

We will consider all applications on a case-by-case basis. 

International students: 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.

Not quite got these qualifications, or you bring with you other relevant experience? We will consider ‘non-standard applications’.   

Get in touch with our friendly admissions team on +44 (0)1752 585858 or email us at admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

£500 Humanities Foundation Bursary

We in the School of Humanities and Performing Arts like to reward those applicants who show a significant commitment to studying with us.

Therefore all applicants holding a valid offer for the BA (Hons) English with Foundation Year will be eligible to receive a bursary of £500 which will be automatically deducted from their tuition fees upon enrolment onto the course in September 2019. 

Teaching 

The foundation runs over two semesters, each 15 weeks in length. It is delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars and tutorials. Typically, lectures provide key information on a particular area and this is consolidated through seminars. Some modules will contain practical classes for IT skills. 

There will also be one to one tutorial support, both academic and pastoral, offered by your tutors and Foundation manager. Normally you will receive 8 to 12 contact hours per week but further consolidation takes place through independent study and/or voluntary workshops provided outside formal contact hours. Emphasis is placed on developing confidence and seminar classes will be small to ensure individual needs can be met.

Assessment

Assessment is by 100% coursework. 

Examples of the types of assessments include: critical essays; portfolios of critical and analytical writing; portfolios of creative writing; evaluation of group presentations; digital media writings such as blogs or wiki posts. 

There will be both individual and group assessment to enable students to practice and rehearse skills and knowledge individually and in teams.