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English Literature - BA (Hons)

Why study this course?

Delve into a rich and diverse literary history from the romantics to the Victorians and on to the modern age through poetry, script, prose and short story. You'll study with a group of friendly, dynamic and experienced lecturers who place teaching and the student experience first.

In the most recent (2015-16) Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, 100% of graduates from this course were in work or further study within six months.

In the National Student Survey 2017 this course scored an impressive 100% overall student satisfaction.

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Your first year of study is a very wide-ranging and general introduction to the history of poetry, drama and prose and you'll learn about the development of each form. By the end of the three years you'll know about the development of English literature from the eighteenth century to the present day, and will have considered, discussed and written about how changes in society and changes in literature intertwine. You'll also learn about the historical origins of literature and study periods and cultures very different to our own, for example Elizabethan England and Classical Greece. Your lecturers are specialists and published writers who will guide you through the cultural history of literature over the course of the degree.

In your second year of study you'll begin to specialise and choose module options that suit your interests. You may want to study performance poetry or examine literature written for and about children, or concentrate on Shakespeare or the short story. You'll also begin to consider particular developments in the history of literature in greater depth, such as early twentieth century modernism. In addition, you'll begin to develop your critical analytical skills and learn about how people analysed and criticised literature in the past. You'll study popular commercial literary genres such as horror, crime, science fiction and romance.

In the third year you’ll be able to study in-depth research topics relating to your lecturers’ academic and professional specialisms. You can study how writing can be a form of political activism and discuss censorship, banned books, the imprisonment of writers by repressive regimes or writers that live in exile. You’ll study with lecturers who have worked as writers, campaigners and journalists overseas and whose work reflects this experience. You can also look at the way writing can be a profession of faith or gesture towards spiritual experience, and again you’ll study with lecturers who have written literary and critical studies on these ideas. You might be interested in studying literature from a philosophical perspective and want to consider the problem of what we claim we’re talking about when we discuss fictional worlds. If so, you’ll work with philosophy lecturers who make the study of literature their special interest. Alongside these varied and critical topics you'll study the development of drama, poetry and prose from the post-war period to the present day.

You'll work with a supervisor and develop your own specialised topic via a dissertation. Previous topics have included D.H. Lawrence in Italy and New Mexico, The Double in Sylvia Plath’s Poetry, Dreams of Technology in Science Fiction and the Literature of Early Eighteenth Century London. You'll also be able to choose from various optional modules such as Existentialism in Writing, Literary London, From Page to Performance, and Book, Print, Hypertext.

You won’t just study in class. You’ll travel all over London with your lecturers, to places such as Keats House, the Charles Dickens Museum and Shakespeare’s Globe. Novelists, writers, poets, performers, publishers and literary agents will also visit the University to give you the benefit of their experience. You’ll learn to work and study in external archives, libraries and museums so that you can benefit from the full range of research opportunities that London offers.

This course is a wide-ranging, stimulating and innovative degree for any student wishing to pursue their interest in literature and cultural history and acquire practical and critical skills for future careers in teaching, publishing, the cultural industries and the arts.

The course has a Facebook page with news and events from alumni, students and staff.


Assessment is 100% coursework. You'll undertake a wide range of coursework assessments including the traditional essay, in-class open book assignments, group work and portfolio submission. You may also choose to be assessed on a poetry performance, a theatre or literature review, or a walking tour of literary London locations. Many modules include an assessment option relating to potential areas of employment, such as publishing, PR, education, arts administration and journalism.

You'll have the opportunity to submit work electronically through our English literature Weblearn provision. Over time you'll build up your own online assessment record where all of your work and staff feedback is available in one place.

In addition to the University's standard entry requirements, you should have:

  • a minimum of grades BBC in three A levels (or a minimum of 112 UCAS points from an equivalent Level 3 qualification, eg Advanced Diploma)
  • English Language GCSE at grade C (grade 4 from 2017) or above (or equivalent)

Applications are welcome from mature students who have passed appropriate Access or other preparatory courses or have appropriate work experience.

Mature students with previous relevant experience are encouraged to apply.

All applicants must be able to demonstrate proficiency in the English language. Applicants who require a Tier 4 student visa may need to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) such as Academic IELTS. For more information about English qualifications please see our English language requirements.

The modules listed below are for the academic year 2017/18 and represent the course modules at this time. Modules and module details (including, but not limited to, location and time) are subject to change over time.

Year 1 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning

    This module introduces students to the historical development and major forms of prose literature from the early modern period to the present day. As well as the novel and short story, the module considers examples of creative non-fiction and experimental prose so as to reflect on the question ‘what is literature?’ The module explores the links between literacy and the modern self and examines the use of prose for both narrative and persuasive purposes. Students will read and analyse a wide range of primary texts and develop their own skills in writing prose. The module is taught in weekly sessions over a period of 30 weeks and assessed via three pieces of written coursework across the year.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Monday afternoon

    Romantics to Victorians is a year long level 4 module which introduces students to the transformations of English literature and culture from the mid-18th to the mid- to late 19th century. Through the study of literary, philosophical, political and popular texts the module provides an introduction and context to the study of literature in the late modern period, and situates a number of key critical debates about science and religion, political and social revolutions, industrialisation, city and citizen, Romanticism and Realism, mid-Victorian society, and Empire. The module is taught in weekly sessions, and is assessed by a series of written coursework pieces and a group presentation. The module will also provide an extended induction to academic study skills.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon

    The module Theory and Practice of Drama provides an opportunity to study across text, performance and creative writing. Students will study the formal characteristics of representative playtexts and the political, social and philosophical concerns of the societies in which they have developed. This will be combined with a study of theatrical practice and performance where students will examine how writing and performance intersect, inform, and inspire each other. Students will further have the choice of pursuing specialist skills, either in the critical and theoretical analysis of dramatic genres, or in creative writing and the production of playscripts. The module is generally taught in weekly three-hour sessions comprising a lecture and English Literature seminar or Creative Writing workshop, and is assessed by essay, presentation, and reflective or creative writing.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon

    The module Theory and Practice of Poetry will provide students with a wide-ranging introduction to reading poetry and to the great variety of poetic forms and genres, from sonnets to free verse. It will introduce students to poetic literary history and give students the skills to identify key poets including Shakespeare, Pope, Wordsworth and Eliot, and also poetic forms and poetic conventions. It will conclude with an exploration of contemporary poetry and poetics. Throughout the module, students will be provided with the skills and opportunities to read published poetry, write their own poetry, and discuss classic poetry, their own work and the work of other students in a supportive environment facilitated by their tutor. The module is taught in weekly three hour sessions comprising a lecture and seminar or workshop, and a weekly hour of guided blended learning or tutorial time and is assessed by presentation, essay, reflective writing or creative writing with a commentary.

    Read full details.

Year 2 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday afternoon

    Genre Fiction explores a range of fictional genres. From crime and gothic horror to science fiction and romantic comedy, a well-established range of narrative genres dominates the production of popular fiction for both page and screen. Often dismissed as escapist entertainment for the masses, genre fiction may also be considered a literature of subversion and resistance in its expression of transgressive desires and imagination of alternative realities. This module studies the historical development, interplay, techniques, conventions and audiences of some major types of genre fiction from the eighteenth century to the present day. The module will be taught via a programme of weekly sessions supplemented by tutorial and online support. As well as developing skills of literary analysis, students will have the opportunity to practise the role of creative producer and critical reviewer by producing a variety of written coursework. Students will also make a short group seminar presentation on a genre text or series of their choice.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday afternoon

    History of Critical Thinking asks students to engage with a number of topics which frame their study of literature in relation to both the contemporary world and the history of critical thinking and address questions of interpretation, signification, perspective and truth. Students will follow a number of separate but related syllabuses which will respond to developments in contemporary critical and academic debates. The module aims to provide students with a number of focussed critical discussions about making meaning from and through literary texts. The module may include such topics as: symbolism in the visual arts and literary texts; information networks, technology and truth; decolonising the imagination; language, meaning and mind.

    The module examines a number of ideas about literary and aesthetic meaning in relation to claims to truth, and does so with reference to works written during and about a number of historical periods. Students will study texts and ideas from the Classical, Mediaeval, Enlightenment, Romantic, Modern and Postmodern eras. Theories of meaning that arise in these periods also form part of the discussion, such as classical aesthetics, rhetoric, rationalism, Romantic philosophy, political economy, narratology, humanism, liberalism, structuralism, psychoanalysis, feminism, postcolonialism and postmodern criticism.

    Some of the material encountered on the module will be challenging. However, it will be presented and worked through in an accessible way. Theories will be explained clearly and also explored and elucidated through readings of literary texts that involve or are open to interpretation by them. Various other media and genres will be used to illustrate, elaborate and explore ideas engaged with on the module.

    The module syllabus accompanies discussions on other level 5 modules such as The Craft of Fiction, Writer’s World, Genre Fiction and Victorians to Moderns and anticipates work done on level 6 modules, especially Why Literature Matters.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Thursday morning

    Victorians to Moderns is a year long level 5 module which provides a continuation to the level 4 module Romantics to Victorians, and examines the transformations of English literature and culture from the late 19th to the mid-20th century. Through the study of literature, philosophy, criticism and the arts, the module develops the student’s critical understanding of cultural context and formal innovation in the English literary tradition. The module develops and extends a number of debates encountered in Romantics to Victorians, and introduces intellectual and critical debates proper to Modernism. These topics include Naturalism and the Social Sciences; Spiritualism and Esotericism; Decadence and Aestheticism; Psychoanalysis; The Machine and the City; Art, Manifesto and Revolt; The New Woman; & Fascism, Communism and War. The module is taught by weekly sessions comprising lecture and seminar, supplemented by tutorials, and assessed by a combination of critical essays, open-book tests and summaries.

    Read full details.
  • Perspectives on Shakespeare will introduce students - through an examination of text and performance - to the diversity of analysis and interpretation of Shakespeare. A selection of key dramatic texts will be examined through a combination of modern criticism (e.g. new historicism, feminist and Queer theory, psychoanalysis and postcolonial theory) and the work of directors (theatre and film) and performance makers. Students will be introduced to Shakespeare as a cultural, inter- and trans-cultural commodity.

    This module will be taught by a programme of weekly sessions and tutorials for each of the 15 weeks. Summative assessment will comprise: oral and written presentation and analyses of play texts and Shakespeare in performance and production; essays demonstrating knowledge of form and genre, and reflective writing on the development of Shakespeare.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Tuesday morning

    Contemporary and historical relationships between poetry and performance are of central concern in the module Poetry and Performance. From oral poetry and performance in folk customs, to classical and Shakespearean traditions, from bardic ways to W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot, from blues and jazz to Patience Agbabi, John Hegley and Dizzee Rascal, there will be something to inspire everyone in the poetry and performance studied on the module. There will be opportunities for research and development of each student’s writing and/or performance style, and for immersing themselves in the sights and sounds of chosen performance cultures. Collective and individual poetry may be developed for performance. Students will be able to listen to a variety of poets performing and to consider their own response to the work in the process of developing research and writing. The module will be taught by weekly two-hour sessions comprising a lecture and seminar, and assessed by essays and reviews on performance poetry or by the creation, performance and recording of performance texts.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Wednesday morning

    The Literature of Childhood is a 15 credit, level 5 module that looks at how literature written for and about children over the last two hundred years has given voice to the changing concept of childhood and the values, ideals and fears that have been associated with childhood throughout this period. The module will be delivered in weekly classes and tutorials over a 15 week period. Assessment is based on an oral presentation and a 3,000 word assignment.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • spring semester - Monday afternoon

    In The Short Story students explore the short story as a popular contemporary form. Rooted in oral story telling, contemporary short stories are forms of entertainment and literary texts. Classically, the short story is to be read in one sitting and so can focus the reader on specific moments in time, intimate character portrayal and brisk narrative exposition. This module will engage with many forms and cultural examples of short stories and encourage students to consider their own reading and experience as they develop their skills in analysing short stories. Students will be offered a range of assessment options fostering engagement with the short story. The module is taught by weekly two hour sessions for fifteen weeks comprising lectures and seminar or workshop, and assessed by essay or reflective and critical writing.

    Read full details.

Year 3 modules include:

  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Wednesday morning

    This module builds on the earlier core modules Romantics to Victorians and Victorians to Moderns for English Literature students, and Writers World and Research Methodology and Ethics for Creative Writing students. It examines the period from the 1950s to the 2010s. Through the study of poetry, drama and prose, their critical discussion and creative production, and through reference to other media forms, the module addresses major themes in the cultural, social and political history of the period. The syllabus includes canonical works but enlarges and transforms students’ understanding of literary production by considering works written in English within other national traditions and works in translation in order properly to represent the complex, intersectional experience of literary and cultural engagement for readers today. The module takes a partly chronological approach and addresses such themes as war and reconstruction; race, feminism and sexuality; post-war geopolitics, the Cold War; Thatcherism, Reaganism and the neo-liberal settlement; post-modernity; multiculturalism and intersectionality; post-9/11 writing and the political making of the modern world. The module is taught in weekly sessions comprising a lecture followed by an English Literature seminar or Creative Writing workshop. The module is supported by online material and face-to-face tutorial hours, and assessed by short critical writing, essays and/or creative pieces produced in workshop.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start)

    This Project module allows students to explore in depth a literary or creative writing topic of their own choice, arising out of previous study and subject to supervisor approval. Independent but supported learning and sustained research and writing provide students with a focus for refining and drawing together a wide range of creative, critical, literary and transferable skills.

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  • This module currently runs:
    • all year (September start) - Tuesday morning

    Why Literature Matters is a level 6 module which introduces and develops a series of related discussions about the personal, worldly and critical stakes involved in reading and writing literature. Students will follow a number of discrete syllabuses, some related to staff specialisms and publications, that require them to engage with the value of their reading, writing and critical practice in relation to other spheres of experience and action.

    Syllabus topics may include but are not limited to the following, and may change from year to year:
    1 - Why writers write
    2 - Writing, activism and geopolitics
    3 - Literature, ecology and environmental aesthetics
    4 - Literature and the sacred
    5 - Literature and ontology

    The module will be taught in weekly sessions comprising a lecture and seminar and supported by online and face-to-face tutorial hours, and assessed by short critical writing and essays.

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Thursday afternoon

    This module ‘From Page to Performance: Stage and Screen’ will examine a selection of texts from prose and drama and students will assess the creative journey these texts make from the verbal medium of the page to the embodied and enacted forms of stage and screen and the range of representational modes involved in that process. Students will look at the semiotic systems involved in transmediation, that is, how the act of storytelling is transformed as it migrates from one medium, audience, context, purpose to another. This will involve the overlapping but distinct processes of critical analysis, creative writing and screen theory and practice.

    This module is taught over 15 weeks using a theoretical and practical approach to the subject. Assessment comprises seminar contribution (formative), a seminar presentation (40%) and written essay or creative adaptation with evaluation (60%).

    Read full details.
  • This module currently runs:
    • autumn semester - Monday morning

    Literary London is a 15 credit English Literature option module which examines the literary representation of London from the 17th century to the present day. Through the study of literature, criticism, journalism, and social & economic history, and through reflection on creative and literary critical work, students will develop their understanding of London’s literary history. The module is taught in weekly sessions of a lecture followed by a seminar and supported by online and face-to-face tutorials, and assessed by a critical essays.

    Read full details.

If you're studying full time, each year (level) is worth 120 credits.

Year 1 (Level 4) modules include:

  • Romantics to Victorians
  • Theory and Practice of Drama
  • Theory and Practice of Poetry
  • Introduction to Prose Literature

Year 2 (Level 5) modules include:

  • Genre Fiction
  • History of Critical Thinking
  • Victorians to Moderns
  • Poetry and Performance
  • The Literature of Childhood
  • Scripting Performance for Screen and Stage
  • Perspectives on Shakespeare
  • The Short Story

Year 3 (Level 6) modules include:

  • Project (Creative Writing and English Literature)
  • Why Literature Matters
  • Moderns to Contemporaries
  • Book, Print, Hypertext
  • Literary London
  • From Page to Performance: Stage and Screen
  • Existentialism in Writing

You can find more information about our modules on the course specification.

"A brilliant and satisfying experience. The course explores many literary and artistic movements and theories, and allows personal and independent development. It treats literature as a current part of modern life, which changed my attitude and interest in the subject and is the course's greatest strength. This is backed up by great and enthusiastic teaching, which has inspired me and many other students to go onto further study. I will definitely be sad to leave." Misbah Ayub

"It is an amazing experience to be able to discuss books that you love with people who share your passion. There is nothing more helpful than finding ways to improve your work with people who support and motivate you. A benefit of learning at a higher level is that the lecturers are already successful in their given field so offer you lots of support, advice and guidance from their personal experience. My course helped unleash my imagination and develop my creative voice as a writer." Charnjit Gill

"Studying English Literature at London Met is interesting and enlightening. The course has helped me develop analytical skills, vocabulary and knowledge, has built my confidence in debating, and has taught me to ask questions and to think for myself. What is great about the course is its diversity - we also cover history and philosophy. Likewise our enthusiastic lecturers make the course worthwhile, as they believe in and are passionate about education. English Literature is a course which builds foundations for its students." Salma Lynch

"The two things I loved most about my degree were the range of ages, ethnicities and backgrounds of the people taking the course, and the industry expertise of the teaching staff. I've made friends for life with people that helped to create a supportive learning environment; people with the same kinds of ambitions and love of writing. The degree itself was flexible, and there were always activities happening that kept things varied, like guest speakers and writing competitions." Ellie de Rose

Successful completion of this course offers improved career opportunities in publishing, arts and other administration, communications work and business. Students should graduate with strong literary, verbal and presentation skills, and competency with new technologies.

The programme is also excellent preparation for further research study in English literature.

We're investing in an exciting, multimillion pound transformation of the London Metropolitan University campus, between 2016 and 2020. We’re moving all of our activity to one place, our current Holloway campus in Islington, north London. This will mean the teaching locations of some courses will change over time.

Whether you will be affected will depend on the duration of your course, when you start and your mode of study. The earliest moves affecting new students will be in September 2018. This may mean you begin your course at one location, but over the duration of the course you are relocated to one of our other campuses. Our intention is that no full-time student will change campus more than once during a course of typical duration.

All students will benefit from our move to one campus, which will allow us to develop state-of-the-art facilities, flexible teaching areas and stunning social spaces.

Please note, in addition to the tuition fee there may be additional costs for things like equipment, materials, printing, textbooks, trips or professional body fees.

Additionally, there may be other activities that are not formally part of your course and not required to complete your course, but which you may find helpful (for example, optional field trips). The costs of these are additional to your tuition fee and the fees set out above and will be notified when the activity is being arranged.

Unistats is the official site that allows you to search for and compare data and information on university and college courses from across the UK. The widget(s) below draw data from the corresponding course on the Unistats website. If a course is taught both full-time and part-time, one widget for each mode of study will be displayed here.

How to apply

If you're a UK/EU applicant applying for full-time study you must apply via UCAS unless otherwise specified.

UK/EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University.

Non-EU applicants for full-time study may choose to apply via UCAS or apply direct to the University. Non-EU applicants for part-time study should apply direct to the University, but please note that if you require a Tier 4 visa you are not able to study on a part-time basis.

When to apply

The University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) accepts applications for full-time courses starting in September from one year before the start of the course. Our UCAS institution code is L68.

If you will be applying direct to the University you are advised to apply as early as possible as we will only be able to consider your application if there are places available on the course.

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