English Literature

BA (Hons)

Clearing places are available on this course

UCAS code: Q320

Start dates: September 2024 / September 2025

Full time: 3 years

Part time: 6 years

Location: Headington

Department(s): School of Education, Humanities and Languages

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In your first year, you’ll explore a wide range of local and global literature. You’ll study the relevance of Shakespeare to contemporary cultures, and develop essential skills in understanding and interpreting texts.

In year two you will explore two core themes: literary responses to the environment, and literary transgression and rebellion. You will also deepen your knowledge of literary movements, eras and genres that interest you. You can do a project on a topic of your choosing, and can also do work-related learning, gaining valuable experience for life after your degree.

In your final year, you’ll choose from a range of topics, allowing you to engage with leading insights and approaches in the field. You can also produce a project on a specialist area that most interests you, in the form of a dissertation or another format of your choosing, such as a video documentary, podcast or exhibition.

Throughout, you will be supported in developing your confidence and capabilities, enabling you to become a highly skilled, culturally informed and insightful graduate.

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Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • Expert academics

    Our academic staff are respected in their fields, publishing research that influences thought around the world.

  • Study 2 subjects

    Joint honours options include English Literature with Philosophy, Criminology, and Communication, Media and Culture.

  • Begin to specialise

    Literature is a big field, and we’ll help you find your niche within it, whether you’re interested in AI, gothic horror or African American avant-gardes.

  • Gain work experience

    Experience the world of work and apply your skills in areas like publishing or literary festivals.

  • Free language courses

    Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

  • Study abroad

    Absorb another culture for a semester or a year, discovering how the language and geography influences literature from other countries.

Course details

Course structure

In your first year, you’ll begin by developing some of the essential skills for unlocking your academic potential. You’ll learn how to interpret and understand texts, put together a persuasive argument, and examine the works of different writers from across the last five centuries.

The following year will be about deepening your knowledge of movements and cultures past and present. These include American literary texts, poetry and essays from the early 19th century to the present day, and Renaissance tragedy and comedy. Small group discussions will help sharpen your skills and understanding. As your confidence in expressing your ideas grows, so will your independence as a literary critic.

Year 3 of the course includes a dissertation. You’ll explore a topic that you love and put your research, analysis, and planning skills to the test. A tutor who specialises in your chosen area will be there to support you throughout.

Student in seminar

Learning and teaching

You’ll learn through a mixture of lectures, seminars, tutorials and independent learning. 

In lectures, you’ll learn the core themes of each module, giving you a deep understanding of the course content. 

In seminars, you’ll learn in small groups, through in-depth discussion with your fellow students, allowing you to clarify uncertainties and explore your own ideas. Seminars may also involve close reading, writing and research activities. Creative Writing sessions will also involve sharing work and receiving peer and tutor feedback.
In tutorials, you’ll meet individually with your seminar tutor. You’ll have one-to-one discussions about your work, upcoming assessments, and any aspects of the module you may want help with. 

Independent learning allows you to produce a project or piece of writing on a topic that really grabs your interest. You’ll have the support of our expert lecturers throughout all independent study.


Your assessments will allow you to develop your skills - wherever your strengths lie and whatever your learning style.

Assessments will involve independent written work such as essays, literature reviews, blogs and position papers. You will also have opportunities to produce short presentations, your own literary tour, and creative visual assessments such as craftwork, posters and games.

The assessments are designed to help you develop your confidence in using a wide range of skills, preparing you well for your future career.

Study modules

All modules are subject to availability in any given academic year.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Reading for Meaning

    In this module, you’ll develop the tools you need to succeed in university-level literary study. Working through a series of short literary texts and extracts, you’ll develop skills in:

    • close reading 
    • critical analysis 
    • research
    • essay writing 

    You’ll be taught in small groups, enabling you to get to know your classmates and tutor, and allowing you to explore your ideas and those of others. You’ll also be supported in developing positive study habits and self-management skills.

  • Reading Wonderland: The Literature of Oxford

    In this module, you’ll investigate Oxford’s rich literary life, both past and present. You’ll dive into texts written, performed and set in Oxford, as you think about how the city’s literature is shaped by its geography, population and reputation. You’ll read established texts and writers, as well as literature outside of centres of power and privilege. You’ll think critically about yourself and your own writing and analysis, in relation to the city’s spaces. You'll spend some time getting to know your new home by walking around it, and you'll be asked to create your own guided literary tour of the city. 

  • Diverse Americas: Modern and Contemporary American Literature

    American culture is central to what we read, watch, and buy, but how much of America are we seeing? In this module, you'll engage with a variety of North American literature. You’ll explore work by Latinx, Asian-American, Native American, LGBTQ+ and women writers from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. You will deepen your awareness of cultural diversity and develop your understanding of the different kinds of values, power, privilege, purposes and cultural capital attributed to different literatures, peoples and literary voices in North America.

  • Shakespeare Now

    In this module, you’ll explore Shakespeare’s work not only as a cornerstone of English literary tradition, but as a global phenomenon. You’ll delve into Shakespeare’s language, themes and genres through recent interpretations and adaptations in performance, film and visual art. You’ll enhance your understanding and analytical skills as you explore the cultural context in which Shakespeare wrote. You’ll develop new insight into Shakespeare’s impact in the past and his ongoing relevance across the globe today.


  • Literature of Travel, Exploration and Exile

    In this module, you'll engage with representations of travel, exploration and exile across a wide range of genres. You will explore personal and socio-political motivations for journeying, relationships between places, cross-cultural encounters, identity and ideology. Topics will vary from year to year, but may include: 

    • The ‘quest’ narrative
    • Colonial travel
    • Voyages of scientific discovery
    • Forced displacement, such as deportation, enslavement, and migration/refugee journeys
    • Literature of nomadic peoples/travelling communities
    • The ‘road trip’
    • Fantasy travel and imaginary voyage

    You will also explore formal structures and features of travel writing.

  • Theory, Writing and Power

    In this module, you’ll get to grips with core elements of literary criticism and theory. You’ll debate pressing critical questions, and develop your awareness of issues that are key to understanding literature and society. You’ll build on the knowledge you’ve gained in your other introductory English Literature modules and you'll learn to think carefully about yourself and your place in the world. You’ll develop your knowledge of:

    • a range of theoretical and critical concepts
    • how these concepts can be applied to literary texts from different periods 
    • how these theories relate to issues of language, culture, and textuality

    You’ll cover one text over two weeks, engaging with a new theory or critical framework each week. You’ll gain skills and insights that you’ll be able to use throughout your whole degree.

Optional modules

Media and Crime

How does the media police our morals as a society, and define our ideas of acceptable behaviour? In this module, you’ll gain the critical skills to analyse popular representations of crime in the media. You’ll examine news reports and other forms of mass-media. And you’ll develop a knowledge of crime as a cultural construct. 

Creative Writing 1: Voice and Craft in Poetry and Prose

In this module, you’ll enhance your abilities as a creative writer. You’ll participate in workshops where you’ll learn through reading, writing, discussion and feedback. You’ll practise your own writing, explore the interplay of creativity and craft, and analyse how you work as a writer. You’ll join other students in exploring approaches to crafting poetry and prose, through:

  • practical writing exercises
  • discussing each other’s work
  • critically analysing the work of published writers
  • exploring key writing practices.

You’ll produce a portfolio of original creative writing, as well as a study of the aims and processes of your creative work. You’ll develop excellent writing habits, and the ability to reflect on your own writing practices. You’ll also understand the literary and cultural contexts of your own writing.

Contemporary Societies: Structure and Change

In this module, you’ll investigate the changing face of society. You’ll discover how states, economies and societies interact with each other. You’ll explore how markets and welfare states have transformed over time. You’ll also investigate key questions on politics and power, exploring different political systems. You’ll explore pressing global topics, including:

  • international migration patterns
  • the formation of ethnic minorities
  • religion in modern society
  • the challenges of climate change

You’ll study a wide range of social issues arising all over the world, and develop insight into how these issues impact individuals and groups.

Year 2

Compulsory modules

  • Literature and Environments: Pastoral to Climate Fiction

    Students will develop an understanding of the way humans and non-humans shape and are shaped by their environment, and how this is reflected and explored in literature. You’ll study a variety of genres and kinds of writing across different eras and cultures. This may include:

    • classical pastoral 
    • eco-poetry 
    • climate fiction 
    • non-fiction nature writing
    • speculative fiction

    You will explore the historical, social and political issues that influence written representations of relationships with the environment, and consider the formal and stylistic features of this writing. You’ll apply and extend this learning through a community engagement project involving literature and environments.  

  • Transgressive Texts: 400 years of breaking the rules

    In this module you’ll consider what it means for texts to break the rules. You’ll learn the ways that literature has transgressed social, cultural and formal literary boundaries and conventions. This may include topics such as:

    • Censored and banned texts
    • Gender, sexuality and transgression
    • Literature and protest
    • Modernist and avant-garde transgression
    • Genre blending and subversion

    You’ll examine shifting ideas of transgression in different historical periods, and will explore how these ideas are shaped and altered by cultural, aesthetic, legislative and scientific factors. Through these investigations, you will explore the power of literature to challenge authority and influence today's world.

  • Research Methods in Literature and the Digital Humanities

    In this module, you’ll learn how to use leading and transferable tools and techniques within textual studies and digital humanities. You’ll explore, experiment with, and develop expertise in using different digital archives, tools and software for literary study. You’ll develop skills in: 

    • research
    • creative thinking
    • project planning
    • digital literacy
    • information handling

    You’ll apply and extend these skills by designing and undertaking innovative, small-scale research investigations into literature and other cultural artefacts.

Optional modules

Future Visions

In this module, you will study literary and media expressions of future visions of the world. You will examine fictional and theoretical versions of the future from the nineteenth century onwards. You will explore:

  • dystopias and utopias 
  • relationships between humans and technology 
  • human and nonhuman futures
  • diverse and divergent futures

You’ll enhance your capacity to conceptualise different futures. You’ll also develop your understanding of the issues influencing how and why we project different visions of what our world may become.

Angels & Demons in Romantic and Victorian Literature (1789-1901)

This module will introduce you to the Romantic and Victorian periods through the theme of the supernatural. You’ll investigate the radical technological, social and scientific changes during these periods, and the new uncertainties which arose from these changes. You will discover how writers and artists explored the resultant challenges to established certainties and distinctions between faith and doubt, good and evil, and right and wrong, through their portrayal of metaphorical angels and demons. You’ll study a range of novels, short stories, plays and poems, and different kinds of writing, such as Gothic novels and poems and Sensation novels.

Shadow and Substance in Literature and Drama

In this module, you will study literature which considers human experiences of the material and immaterial. You will investigate how people – as individuals and communities – are influenced by both scientific theories and the felt realities of human experience. You will explore how a range of texts, from the mediaeval period to the present day, consider questions around science, emotion, memory, and haunting. Topics may include:

  • Haunted spaces
  • Other worlds
  • Science and technologies
  • Place and identity 

American Literature: Origins and Legacies

In this module, you will study a range of American literary texts from the nineteenth century to the present day, and consider their historical and cultural contexts. You will develop detailed knowledge of the literature and culture of America, exploring key topics such as: 

  • race and ethnicity, especially in Black and Native American writing
  • slavery and its legacies
  • American self-mythologising and national identity
  • the effect of the Cold War on American writing
  • the Harlem Renaissance

Fairy Tales and Children’s Literature: Archetypes, adaptations and effects.

This module enables you to develop your critical understanding of fairy tales, and of young children’s literature more broadly from its first Golden age in the Victorian period to the present day. You will also explore the formal workings of these stories, with a focus on elements such as: 

  • retellings and adaptations 
  • illustrations
  • narrative techniques
  • formal experimentation 

You’ll also consider the ideological and socio-political influences upon how such stories are revised and adapted as they travel across different eras and cultures.

Creative Writing 2: Exploring Genre, Form and Style

In this module, you’ll develop your talent and range as a creative writer. You’ll build on the skills you gained in your Creative Writing 1: Voice and Craft in Poetry and Prose module in Year 1. You’ll experiment with a number of forms and prose styles, including:

  • crime writing 
  • travel writing 
  • science fiction
  • historical fiction

You’ll also explore techniques of writing poetry through forms such as the ballad and the sonnet. You’ll enhance your creativity, and reflect on your creative choices, as you critically examine what you and your fellow students write.

Professional Practice

In this module, you will develop your insight into the working world by undertaking work-related learning, such as a work placement or project. You can experience and engage with employment environments and enterprise-related opportunities. This module enables you to undertake personal and professional development challenges beyond the conventional academic setting, and to develop your graduate skills and competencies. Previous placements and projects have been provided by Oxford University Press, Oxfam, the Oxford Literary Festival, and the Story Museum. Students have also worked for magazines, video games companies, schools, and well-known commercial brands.

Independent Project

This module gives you the chance to do independent research on a literary topic that fascinates you. With the supervision and support of a lecturer, you will design your own project, choosing your own topic and approach. You will study your selected topic in depth, and will demonstrate your new critical understanding through an assessment method of your choosing, such as a blog, a video documentary, a long essay, a performance, or a report. You will develop skills in project planning, self-motivation, critical and creative thinking and research.

International Year Abroad

Optional modules

International Year Abroad

This is your opportunity to work or study in another country, so you can experience a different culture from the UK. You’ll be able to apply and test your knowledge and skills in new contexts that will significantly develop your employability profile.

Choosing this module will allow you to exhibit the development of self-management and working or studying in unfamiliar contexts, alongside practising cross-cultural communication and interpersonal skills.

You will receive support and guidance to help you find a place in an available partner university, or to find a work placement for your international year abroad. This international year abroad module lasts for one academic year and is taken after the conclusion of your second year of study, once you’ve completed all your level 5 studies. Your international year abroad is not credit-bearing.

The opportunity can be approached in 2 different ways. Please see your options below:

Study in a non UK University Option

You can attend a non-UK higher education institution for a full academic year. You’ll be able to choose modules in your own subject or in a subject you consider would benefit your overall course of study. You may choose to deepen your knowledge of your degree subject or enhance it by developing complementary skills.

By studying in an international university you’ll progress your interpersonal skills through cross-cultural communication with fellow students and tutors, building lasting relationships. Also you’ll further develop your study skills as you focus on your selected areas of interest to you - while developing and progressing an international study experience that will add significance to your CV.

Work-based Learning Option

Undertake a work placement or work-related project based on your interests and existing skills. You will create an initial learning contract that shows clearly how your proposed placement or project will link with your academic and/or professional aims.

This pathway helps you to have full control over what your work-related learning looks like. You will advance your skills in a practical setting, gain first-hand experience in a work environment, and begin to create your professional network. Also, taking initiative of your learning in such a way will mean that you will stand out when you apply for jobs after graduation.

Final Year

Compulsory modules

  • Critical Citizenship

    In this module, you will explore how literature relates to broader concerns of what it means to be an active citizen in local and global communities. You will explore relationships between literature and citizenship in a range of social, political, cultural and located senses. You will consider: 

    • what we understand by the term ‘citizenship’ 
    • how literature can forge new social and cultural ways of thinking
    • how knowledge of literature might allow us to be more critical citizens

    Through this module, you will explore the value of literature in understanding and addressing the global challenges of the 21st century.

Optional modules

Major Research Project

This module gives you the chance to do research on a topic that fascinates you. Over the course of your final year, you’ll work independently on a research project, with the help of an tutor. Whether you’re delving into gothic literature, gaming or the dystopian worlds of George Orwell, your major research project will grow out of your specific passion, and you’ll gain excellent self-discipline and organisational skills for work. You’ll gain core skills for your career, including:

  • research
  • critical analysis
  • time-management 
  • planned and focused writing.

You can choose the mode of assessment through which you will demonstrate your new expertise. This could be a long piece of writing in the style of a dissertation, or a presentation, podcast, blog, exhibition or something else that suits your project and preferences.

Advanced Options 1

This module gives you the chance to study specialist areas of literature in depth. The topics available are drawn from the research expertise of your tutors, enabling you to engage with leading insights and approaches in the field. Available topics may alter from year to year, but recent topics have included:

  • Windrush Stories: British Black and Asian Voices 1948 to the Present 
  • The American Civil War in Literature, Memory and Myth 
  • Literature and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 

Advanced Options 2

This module gives you the chance to study specialist areas of literature in depth. The topics available are drawn from the research expertise of your tutors, enabling you to engage with leading insights and approaches in the field. Available topics may alter from year to year, but recent topics have included:

  • Urban Jungle: the American City in Modern and Postmodern Literature and Culture
  • Utopias
  • Witchcraft and Madness in Literature

Advanced Options 3

This module gives you the chance to study specialist areas of literature in depth. The topics available are drawn from the research expertise of your tutors, enabling you to engage with leading insights and approaches in the field. Available topics may alter from year to year, but recent topics have included:

  • The Victorian Supernatural
  • The Theatrical City
  • Video Games, Digital Narratives and Interactive Texts

Creative Writing 3: Towards Professionalism and Publication

In this module, you’ll meet literary agents and editors as you explore the submissions process for publication. You will produce a 6000 word piece of writing on a theme or idea that interests you, refining your writing practices. You’ll consider how this piece could work as part of a larger published work, for example as chapters of a novel or memoir, or poems, short stories or essays within an anthology, developing your understanding of how a book works as a whole. 

Advanced Independent Project

This module is similar to the Independent Project Module available in Year 2, but requires a higher level of knowledge and more extensive study. This module gives you the chance to do independent research on a literary topic that interests you. With the supervision and support of a lecturer, you will design your own project, choosing your own topic and approach. You will study your selected topic in depth, and will demonstrate your new critical understanding through an assessment method of your choosing. You will develop skills in project planning, self-motivation, critical and creative thinking and research. Unlike the Major Research Project, which is also available in Year 3, this module takes place over the course of just one semester.

Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.


Our aim is for you to become an engaged and thoughtful citizen of the world who can argue for what they believe in. The skills you’ll develop on the BA (Hons) English Literature degree are highly transferable and are prized across many sectors. Our graduates go on to work in a variety of areas such as:

  • arts, culture, and heritage
  • NGOs and charities
  • academic research
  • teaching
  • publishing
  • media and journalism
  • PR, marketing and communications.

Recent graduates have gone on to work for employers such as the Duckegg Theatre, Oxford University Press, Paragon Banking Group, and The British Museum.

Student profiles

Our Staff

Dr Andrea Macrae

I teach, research and publish in the areas of stylistics, narratology and world literature.

Read more about Andrea

Dr Niall Munro

I mainly work in the field of American literature, especially modernism and poetry and am currently completing a book about twentieth-century memories of the American Civil War. I have also worked on post-war commemoration more broadly and my first book was about the poet Hart Crane. I am the Director of the Oxford Brookes Poetry Centre and of our poetry press, ignitionpress.

Read more about Niall

Joint honours options

You can also study this course as part of a joint honours degree. This course can be joined with:

Entry requirements

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. The combination of A-level grades listed here would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

Standard offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 104 - 120

A Level: BCC - BBB

IB Points: 29


Contextual offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 88 - 96

A Level: CCD - CCC

IB Points: 27


Further offer details

For joint honours, normally the offer will lie between the offers quoted for each subject.

Applications are also welcomed for consideration from applicants with European qualifications, international qualifications or recognised foundation courses. For advice on eligibility please contact Admissions: admissions@brookes.ac.uk

International qualifications and equivalences

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

2025 / 26
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400


Please note, tuition fees for Home students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning Home students at the maximum permitted level.

Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students. 

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support. 

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.

Information from Discover Uni

Full-time study

Part-time study

Programme changes:
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our changes to programmes page.