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English Literature

BA (Hons)

Key facts


UCAS code

Q320

Start dates

September 2020 / September 2021

Location

Headington

Course length

Full time: 3 years

Part time: 6 years

UCAS Tariff Points

104

Overview


Would you like to explore what it means to be human? When you study English Literature at Oxford Brookes, you will immerse yourself in some of the biggest questions and ideas that have inspired writers for generations.

From Shakespeare to contemporary literature, you'll examine key aspects of culture and society. You’ll gain a keen understanding of how writers have tackled some of the major issues facing human beings across the centuries. And, you’ll read some of the greatest works of literature, exploring issues such as

  • What identity means
  • Whether literature can change the world
  • What motivates us

Our expert teaching staff are active researchers and are widely published. This means we can offer modules that provide specialist pathways in:

  • Creative Writing 
  • Drama

As you progress through your course, you can expect to build essential skills for future employment. You’ll develop your communication and critical thinking abilities. And, you’ll also have the opportunity to undertake a work placement or entrepreneurial project. 
 

Student study group

Combine this course


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

How to apply


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

A Level: BCC

IB Points: 29

BTEC: DMM

Contextual offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 88

A Level: CCD

IB Points: 27

BTEC: MMM

Further offer details

If you accept a Conditional offer to this course as your Firm choice through UCAS, and the offer does not include a requirement to pass an English language test or improve your English language, we may be able to make the offer Unconditional. Please check your offer carefully where this will be confirmed for each applicant.

For combined 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

Entry requirements

Specific entry requirements

A Level: Grade C in English (English, English Language, English Literature or English Language and Literature)

GCSE: Grade 4 in English (English, English Language, English Literature or English Language and Literature)

Please also see the University's general entry requirements.

English language requirements

Please see the University's standard English language requirements.

International qualifications and equivalences

Go

English requirements for visas

If you need a student visa to enter the UK you will need to meet the UK Visas and Immigration minimum language requirements as well as the University's requirements. Find out more about English language requirements.

Pathways courses for international and EU students

If you do not meet the entry requirements for this degree, or if you would like more preparation before you start, you can take an international foundation course. Once you enrol, you will have a guaranteed pathway to this degree if you pass your foundation course with the required grades.

If you only need to meet the language requirements, you can take our pre-sessional English course. You will develop key language and study skills for academic success and you will not need to take an external language test to progress to your degree.

Terms and Conditions of Enrolment

When you accept our offer, you agree to the Terms and Conditions of Enrolment. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.

Credit transfer

Many of our courses consider applications for entry with credit for prior learning. Each application is individually assessed by our credit entry tutors. 

If you would like more information about whether or not you may be eligible for the award of credit, for example from an HND, partly-completed degree or foundation degree, please contact our Admissions team.

We operate the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS). All undergraduate single modules are equivalent to 7.5 ECTS credits and double modules to 15 ECTS credits. More about ECTS credits.

Application process

Full time Home / EU applicants

Apply through UCAS

Part time Home / EU applicants

Apply direct to the University

International applicants

Apply direct to the University

Full time applicants can also apply through UCAS

Tuition fees


Please see the fees note
Home/EU full time
£9,250

Home/EU part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£13,900

Home (UK) full time
£9,250 (subject to confirmation, September 2020)

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module (subject to confirmation, Sept 20)

International / EU full time
£14,500

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees


2020 / 21
Home/EU full time
£9,250

Home/EU part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time
£13,900

2021 / 22
Home (UK) full time
£9,250 (subject to confirmation, September 2020)

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module (subject to confirmation, Sept 20)

International / EU full time
£14,500

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:
+44 (0)1865 483088

Please note tuition fees for Home/EU students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students.

Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning home and EU students at the maximum permitted level.

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

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, if any, are detailed below.

We do not expect students to purchase any compulsory course books, as they are all available in the library. If students wish to purchase additional books to supplement their reading, this is at their own discretion. You will have the opportunity to undertake a work placement and will be responsible for travel and associated costs. It is advised that you organise placements bearing this in mind.

Learning and assessment


In year 1 you will develop the core skills which you will use throughout the rest of your degree. You can choose some modules outside your core subject, including those modules that lead to a specialist pathway in either Creative Writing or Drama. 

In year 2 you will take core modules and choose options which broaden and deepen the knowledge and skills gained in Year 1.

In your final year you will specialise further. Your modules will relate specifically to the areas of research in which your lecturers are engaged and in which they publish.

The Advanced Options modules offer intensive, small-group teaching in a specialised area of study. They will extend and deepen your:

  • knowledge
  • analytical skills
  • and appreciation of yourself as a critic.

You may also choose to continue developing your specialist knowledge in:

  • Creative Writing
  • Drama.
     
Student in seminar

Study modules

Year 1

Compulsory modules

Culture, Criticism, Literature 1

In this module, you’ll gain the tools you need to succeed in your degree. The gap between school and university can feel daunting, but these positive study and self-management skills will unlock your academic and creative potential, allowing you to thrive. You’ll gain skills in:

  • active close-reading
  • critical analysis 
  • research
  • bibliography and referencing.
  • reading a wide range of texts
  • understanding writers’ stylistic choices

You’ll be taught in small groups (seminars), allowing you to delve fully into your ideas and those of others. Seminars involve weekly close-reading, discussion and critique, as well as writing and research exercises. 

Culture, Criticism and Literature 2

Are all interpretations of literature equally true? Is it fair to consider some texts as more influential than others? In this module, you’ll build on the skills you’ve gained from your Culture, Criticism and Literature 1 module. You’ll gain key skills in essay-planning and constructing a persuasive argument, allowing you to succeed in your assessments. You’ll develop key analytical knowledge, as you practise how to read and write critically. You’ll consider how your circumstances might affect the way you read and how your way of reading would change depending on your situation. You’ll challenge your own assumptions about the world, and how these affect your perspective as a literary critic.

Reading 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. 

Shakespeare

In this module, you’ll explore Shakespeare and gain the skills to study his writing at university. You’ll dive into Shakespeare’s wide range of plays and poems, exploring him not only as a cornerstone of English literary tradition, but as a global phenomenon. You’ll dig into Shakespeare’s language, themes and genres through:

  • film
  • visual art
  • other media. 

You’ll gain key analytical skills as you explore the cultural context in which Shakespeare wrote, and investigate his impact on the world. You’ll also watch live Shakespearan performances as part of your study.
 

Critical Theory in Action

In this module, you’ll get to grips with key 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 modules and you'll learn to think quickly but carefully about yourself and your place in the world, enabling you to excel in both academically and professionally. You’ll increase your knowledge of:

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

You’ll cover one text over two weeks, applying a new theory or critical framework to it each week. You’ll gain skills and strategies that will benefit you for your whole degree.

World Literature

In this module, you’ll investigate literature from a diverse range of cultures beyond the British Isles. You’ll look at the relationship between cultures, and criticism, textual form and genre. You’ll explore the development of the English language across the world. You’ll gain key analytical skills as you examine issues of meaning that arise when we translate literature into different languages and contexts. You’ll also develop knowledge of:

  • literature and its global context
  • postcolonial theory and its relevance to the flourishing of different perspectives
  • culturally and historically significant literary forms
  • the ideologies which help to shape our views of the world.

Optional modules

Understanding Digital Cultures

Are you interested in exploring how digital technologies are shaping our everyday lives within government, business, education, social and entertainment contexts? In this module, you’ll explore the impact changing digital cultures has on our institutions, communication practices and consumption habits. You’ll examine aspects of digital cultures through some of the objects and practices that they themselves engage with. And, you’ll be given opportunities to reflect on issues of identity, relationships, privacy, truth, and power through researching aspects of your own digital life and experiences.

Creative Writing (Introduction)

In this module, you’ll enhance your power and ability as a creative writer. You’ll attend 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 key approaches in 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 context of your own writing.

Approaches to Performance

In this module, you’ll examine theatre in the spotlight - and gain a range of theatrical skills. You’ll question the false difference between performance in practice and performance theory. You’ll explore a range of key performance ideas, including how to stage Expressionist theatre or draw on rehearsal techniques for Naturalist performance. You’ll gain firm knowledge of theatrical forms and approaches to performance, such as: 

  • Naturalism
  • Performing modernist political theatre
  • melodrama
  • Staging and lighting

You’ll also pay attention to your own actions as you learn, enhancing your knowledge of theatrical skills. 

Year 2

Compulsory modules

Literature in Time and Space: American Vistas: The Literature and Culture of the USA

In this option, you’ll read a range of American literary texts from the 19th century to the present day. You’ll think about American literature from different viewpoints, learning about the historical and cultural contexts of the texts you’re reading. You’ll discover the great diversity of American writing, from Willa Cather’s My Antonia to Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric. Along the way, you’ll explore fascinating themes, such as:

  • the links between material culture and literary culture
  • race and ethnicity in American writing
  • American self-mythologising
  • women in America
  • modernism and postmodernism.

 
This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.
 

Literature in Time and Space: The Culture of Modernity

What do you understand by ‘modernity’? What connections are there between advances in science and technology and literary experimentation?

In this option, you’ll explore definitions of modernity, reading short stories, novels, plays, poetry and essays from the early 19th century to the present day. You’ll focus on the individual in writing, and explore texts in relation to four main sub-themes:

  • sexuality and the body
  • self-fashioning, narrative and journeys
  • capitalism and consumerism
  • scientific and technological progress and terror.  

The texts you study could include poems by Myrna Loy, short stories by Edgar Allan Poe and novels from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.
 
This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Literature, Self and Society: British Theatre, 1950 - Present

In this option, you’ll explore what’s happened in British theatre writing and practice from 1950 to the present day. You’ll learn about how significant, publicly funded theatres and companies, like the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, came to life in post-war Britain. We’ll cover topics like theatre censorship, which went on until 1968, affecting plays like Joe Orton’s Loot and Edward Bond’s Saved. You’ll also look at:

  • feminist, queer and alternative theatres
  • notions of nationhood, race and class. 

We’ll study plays in script, but also, where possible, by watching them in performance.
 
This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Literature, Self and Society: Crime, Culture and Transgression

Why does crime fiction occupy more and more shelf space in bookshops? And is it true that, in Milton’s Paradise Lost, Satan has all the best lines? Rule-breaking and criminality have fascinated writers for as long as writing has taken place.
 
In this option, you’ll explore themes of transgression and criminality in literary culture since the early modern period. From Milton’s Satan to the Golden Age crime novel and beyond, you’ll examine what happens when we don’t follow society’s rules. You’ll track how ideas of crime and transgression have shifted through different historical periods, and think about issues like:

  • the philosophical question of evil
  • the limits of individual freedom
  • resistance,rebellion and terrorism
  • crimes against books and art (censorship, destruction)
  • authority and heresy. 

This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Literature, Self and Society: Landscapes and Mindscapes

In this option, you’ll examine the relationship between landscape and ‘mindscape’ – in other words, between individuals in literature and their physical and social environments. You’ll read widely varying poems and prose fiction, from the Romantic poetry of Wordsworth and Coleridge to Thomas Hardy’s novel Return of the Native and Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn. You’ll explore issues such as:

  • the pastoral as a genre
  • the development of the cityscape 
  • Renaissance concepts of internal climate and humoral ecology
  • changing concepts of the individual and his/her importance in the Romantic era 
  • the effects of the Industrial Revolution 
  • parallel or contrasting developments in post-colonial environments.

 
This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Literature, Time and Space: Renaissance Tragedy and Comedy

What were the rules of comedy? How did Renaissance actors perform melancholy (sadness)? And how did the theatre spaces then available influence the kind of drama that was performed?
 

In this option, you’ll learn about tragedy and comedy through a range of dramatic writings from the Renaissance period. You’ll analyse the rules and language of tragedy and comedy, exploring how Renaissance theatre shaped these genres. Typical content will include:

  • city comedy
  • the comedy of humours and characterisation
  • clowning and jigs
  • the performance of melancholy
  • revenge tragedy, domestic tragedy and tragicomedy.

This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Optional modules

Modern British Theatre in Performance

In this module, you’ll get to grips with British Theatre, including playwriting from 1950 to the present day. You’ll gain first-hand experience of the theatre, and core critical skills, as you use practical workshops to develop and perform modern British Theatre, through social and political debates.

Special Topics (Genre): Robots, Cyborgs and Digital Worlds

We’ve always been obsessed by machines. Social media, and how we’re currently immersed in digital worlds, are just the most recent examples. In this option, you’ll encounter robots, cyborgs and digital worlds as they’ve been imagined in literature. 

Looking at the literature and culture of the 21st century and last decades of the 20th century, you’ll study the robots, cyborgs and digital worlds imagined by writers. You’ll question and explore what technology can tell us about our own human existence.
 
This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Special Topics (Genres): American Poetry: Origins and Legacies

In this option, you’ll explore the range, energy, and influence of modern and contemporary American poetry. Beginning in the early 20th century, you’ll read poetry that deals with some of the fundamental issues of America’s present and past, such as:

  • history
  • race
  • sexuality
  • nationalism.

You’ll look at the way in which certain types of writing were adopted by American poets, such as epic, documentary or confessional styles. You’ll think about whether poetry as a form can make a unique contribution to how we communicate and reflect on our experiences today.

Special Topics (Periods): Guilty Pleasures: Victorian Sensation

Why were shocking and ‘sensational’ themes like bigamy, madness and murder so popular in Victorian literature? In this option, we’ll look at the rise of the sensation novel. You’ll explore the background of a growing readership, with improvements in literacy and rising numbers of women readers (and writers). You’ll also think about how ‘sensational’ themes might reveal hidden fears and cultural anxieties about class mobility, science, gender roles and sexuality. You’ll investigate how the greater number of readers kicked off a moral panic about the purpose of literature, and you’ll consider how the ‘dangers’ of reading are connected to its pleasures.
 
This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Special Topics (Periods): The Shock of the New: Avant-Gardes and Experiments in 20th Century Literature, Theatre and Cinema

Early 20th-century modernists saw themselves as part of an ‘avant-garde’ – meaning they were working with new, experimental ideas. They believed in the power of their art to bring about a fundamental shake-up of society and people’s thinking.
 
In this option, you’ll look at the avant-garde against the background of European and North American culture and politics in the early 20th century. You’ll think about how political events might have triggered or influenced experimentation in writing, drama and cinema. While you’ll focus on one or two central texts or figures of the time, you’ll also map essential events and avant-garde networks.

Special Topics (Periods): Renaissance Material Culture

What can you learn from simple objects like spoons, handkerchiefs or ruffs? What can these ordinary possessions tell us about their early modern owners, and how they experienced life or thought about themselves?
 
In this option, you’ll immerse yourself in early modern culture, by focusing on objects in Renaissance drama. Studying some examples of domestic tragedy, you’ll think about how early modern people experienced their living spaces. You’ll consider how life’s material trappings – the things people owned, used and perhaps treasured - shaped their identity.
 
In seminars, you’ll explore the importance of objects like tapestries, apostle spoons, handkerchiefs, feathers, starch and ruffs. You’ll consider the value people gave to rings, seals and letters, and examine how and why goods and money were circulating both inside and outside the home. 
 
This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Special Topics (Stylistics): Advanced Stylistics

Stylistics is the study of the language of literature, focusing on how texts (and readers) create meanings and interpretations. If you learn about stylistics, you’ll be able to develop richer interpretations of any texts you meet. You’ll have a better understanding of how you reached those interpretations and be able to explain them more clearly.
 
In this option, you’ll explore some key concepts in literary study, such as characterisation and point of view, and you’ll gain a new understanding of how they work. In the second half of the semester, you’ll also try guided creative rewriting and critical comparison of texts. This will help you gain further insight into how to interpret writing.

You’ll read prose fiction, play texts and written poetry, and you’ll also look at performed and digital literature.

This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Special Topics (Themes): Angry Writing: Protest Literature

There’s a rich tradition of protest literature from the 17th century to the present. In this option, you’ll look at a wide variety of literary texts to discover dissent and protest in literature. You’ll examine links between forms of protest and meanings of literature. You’ll explore how political and social anger has been expressed in novels, autobiographies, poems and music, as well as in political pamphlets from across the world.
 
This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Special Topics (Themes): Human Animal

How have animals been represented in writing? Are they seen as hostile, or as sources of entertainment? How have they been used to explore the human condition?
 
In this option, you’ll explore how the interaction between humans and other animals has been portrayed. You’ll investigate this topic in a range of literary forms, focusing on writings from the 20th century. You’ll consider some of the many novels (and poems) that use non-human animals as antagonists (opposing forces), or as objects, or as allegorical stand-ins for people.
 
This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Creative Writing (Intermediate)

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 (Introduction) module in Year 1. You’ll experiment with a number of forms and prose styles, including:

  • crime writing 
  • travel writing 
  • science fiction.

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

English Literature Work Placement and Graduate Skills

This module provides an opportunity for students to develop work-based skills and knowledge by engaging with professionals and organisations that have links to language, literature and the arts more widely. Students evaluate and reflect critically upon this experience, linking theory and practice in a professional context.

Independent Study in English

This module gives you the chance to do independent research on a literary topic that fascinates you. You’ll have the support of an expert lecturer, as you work independently to your own timetable, and design your own assessment method. This might include: 

  • a blog 
  • a video documentary
  • a long essay 
  • a performance 
  • a report.
     

Work Placement and Graduate Skills

Do you want to enhance your CV and professional skills by working for an organisation that interests you? Or would you rather focus on developing key creative enterprise skills that will enhance your career prospects? In this module, you can choose between two pathways. You can do a work placement, where you’ll be able to explore a potential career path and gain valuable work experience and academic credit. Alternatively, you can choose to work on a creative enterprise project, allowing you to develop professional communication and project management skills.

Year 3

Compulsory modules

English Literature Dissertation

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 expert tutor. Whether you’re delving into gothic literature, gaming or the dystopian worlds of George Orwell, your dissertation 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.

If you’re a combined honours student, you’ll be able to write a dissertation on both of your chosen subject areas.

Optional modules

Advanced Options 1: Narratological Stylistics

In this option, you’ll study flash fiction and short stories. You’ll develop your understanding of short story forms through stylistic analysis (close analysis of language and literary devices and techniques). You’ll explore how stylistic approaches can help you to understand and explain language, form and meaning. You’ll enhance your understanding of how narrative and stylistic features can shape our understanding of prose fiction.
 
This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Advanced Options 1: Playing House: Early Modern Domestic Spaces

The household was the core unit at the heart of early modern life, but how did it shape people’s everyday lives? In this option you can explore how playwrights explored the multi-layered concept of the ‘household’ through staging them in plays. How was the theatre building used in early modern performance? Since theatres were politicised spaces, this option invites you to explore how the plays link with broader political narratives being played out at court.
 
This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Advanced Options 1: Poverty and the Novel

How have authors engaged with poverty? How have they represented poor and marginalised people – their struggles, their dialects and their inner life?
 
In this option, you’ll follow the theme of poverty through novels of the 19th and 20th centuries, running up to the present day. You’ll look at how authors have dealt with a complex of issues around poverty. You’ll focus on how they’ve tried to represent ways of speaking that are specific to class or region. You’ll engage with contexts such as workhouses, factories, immigration and unemployment. And you’ll think about texts as products of historical and social conditions, but also as interventions against those same conditions.

This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Advanced Options 1: The Pre-Raphaelites and the Victorian Literary Imagination

Who were the Pre-Raphaelites? How did they fit into their Victorian context? And was their fascination with the past mainly a way of escaping the uncomfortable realities of their Victorian present?
 
In this option, you’ll explore the work of this group of poets, painters and designers, which included the poets Christina Rossetti and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. You’ll focus on the interaction between images and texts, exploring a range of material – including magazines, newspapers and domestic objects as well as poems, paintings and prose. You’ll follow Pre-Raphaelitism from its radical beginnings in 1848 to the end of the 19th century when it was championed by Aesthetes like Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley.
 
You’ll also consider critical work on subjects like:

  • masculinity
  • material culture
  • class and empire

to discover connections between literary and visual modes of Pre-Raphaelite self-expression.
 
This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Advanced Options 1: The Victorian Supernatural

Ghosts, doubles, haunted portraits and spirit mediums certainly sound as though they belong to fiction. But, in this option, we’ll consider how they also provided a framework for thinking about progress and modernity in the 19th century. You’ll read a wide selection of texts, and learn how they can fit into the context of Victorian advances in science and technology, and the kind of cultural debates these provoked. In this way, you’ll uncover the complex and sometimes surprising relationship between definitions of the supernatural in fiction and in popular culture. 

This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Advanced Options 1: Women and Modernism: Mina Loy and Djuna Barnes

Explore modernist literature and culture through a focus on two key women writers: Djuna Barnes and Mina Loy.
 
In this option, you’ll examine the concept of modernism, the literary and artistic movement that grew out of the broad social changes at the end of the 19th and start of the 20th century. Modernist writers tried to move away from traditional forms, which they thought of as outdated and used up, and experimented with new forms, such as stream of consciousness in the novel.
 
You’ll look at current work in Modernist Studies, explore the gendering of modernism and consider what it means to write as a woman modernist. You’ll gain knowledge of the wider currents, movements and locations of modernism alongside specialist knowledge of Barnes and Loy.  
 
This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Advanced Options 2: African American Avant-Gardes

In this option, you can trace the evolution of African American avant-garde movements in the 20th century. You’ll explore experimental African American writing in a range of genres. You’ll start with the New Negro movement and Harlem Renaissance in the modernist period, before studying the major African American novelists of the 1930s to the 1950s. We’ll conclude with the Black Arts movement of the 1960s and early 70s.
 
This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Advanced Options 2: The Theatrical City: Shakespeare and his Contemporaries

How does city-living affect who we think we are? How do the buildings, streets and districts we live in shape our identities and our lives?
 
In this option, you can explore the idea of the city through plays and other texts made in London in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At this point in history, London had gone through a series of dramatic and far-reaching changes, and emerged as a transformative space. As London grew and changed, the theatre became a place both to celebrate city life, and to satirise its vices.
 
You’ll think about how city spaces (both indoors and outdoors) affected men and women’s physical, emotional and spiritual identities. As well as plays, you’ll discover other, less well-known ‘urban’ texts, from criminal confessions to ballads and drinking songs.
 
This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Advanced Options 2: Urban Jungle: the American City in Modern and Postmodern Literature and Culture

New York, Chicago, Los Angeles – three of the greatest urban centres, not just in America, but in the world. In this option, you can explore how writers and artists have represented American cities. You’ll read novels, poetry, drama, short stories, essays, and a graphic novel, all from the 20th century. You’ll try to understand how these different metropolitan spaces influenced the presentation of:

  • gender and sexuality
  • economic and racial differences
  • the relationship between native-born Americans and immigrants to the United States.

You’ll look at how communities in these cities are represented, and how the tensions between them are explored.
 
This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Advanced Options 2: Utopias

Is a utopia possible? The ideal state or society is the central vision of utopian fiction. In this option, you’ll look at the different ways in which utopias have been presented in fiction, from Thomas More’s Utopia (1516) to the 21st century. You’ll investigate the importance of issues like social and political control, and technologies of race, gender and sexuality. You’ll explore utopian thought, and different concepts and definitions of utopia – and also of dystopia and anti-utopia.
 
This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Advanced Options 2: Witchcraft and Magic in Literature

You’d recognise a witch if you met one – wouldn’t you? Or maybe you wouldn’t. If we look at the kind of people who have been the subject of witch-hunts through the ages, the picture becomes much less clear. Witches, who are generally scapegoats of some kind, come in all shapes and sizes.
 
In this option, you’ll examine the way that the witch, magus and magician have been represented in literature from the Renaissance to the present day. You’ll consider this literature from a range of viewpoints, including:

  • gender and class
  • social relations, whether local or national
  • education and superstition
  • the Enlightenment
  • the development and endurance of popular culture. 

This module option is subject to availability in any given academic year.

Contemporary Literature

From 9-11 to the rise of the digital world, how does literature explore issues which are directly relevant to our lives? In this module, you’ll tackle literature written in the last decade. You’ll examine a series of exciting texts, exploring how we live in the 21st Century. From climate change literature to political manifestos, you’ll study and debate the big issues that face our society today.

Creative Writing (Advanced)

In this module, you’ll meet literary agents and editors, as you explore the submissions process for publication. You’ll understand how a book works as a whole, developing the skills you gained in your Creative Writing modules in Years 1 and 2. You’ll produce a 6000-word piece of writing on a theme or idea that fascinates you. You’ll also consider how this piece would look within a published work, for example, chapters from a novel, or poems from a proposed full-length collection. 

Independent Study Module

This module gives you the chance to do research on a topic that fascinates you. You’ll work independently, with the support of our expert academic team, and will carry out work on a specific project of your choosing. You’ll gain core skills for work, including in:

  • enquiry
  • research 
  • analysis 
  • evaluation.

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Optional modules

Methodology of Foreign Language Teaching

An introduction to the theory and practical application of the principles of second or foreign language teaching at secondary or adult levels. This module enables candidates to develop an awareness of a range of teaching techniques and apply these to the language classroom.

Opera and Politics

This module introduces the political agendas that have governed the composition and production of opera since its birth to the twentieth century. The course aims to develop skills of argument and debate through the detailed study of two or more repertory operas, in terms of their libretti, music, historical and cultural contexts.

Understanding Communication

Communication is an essential part of social life - the glue binding humans together. From our solitary readings to our computer-mediated social networking, and from our hallway chats to the academic papers we write, we are constantly involved in designing and producing messages that express who we are and allow us to coordinate our thoughts and activities with other people. This module zooms in on communication as a form of social action, and examines how a range of factors - psychological, social, cultural, semiotic, etc.- govern how we engage with one another to achieve our goals.

Work placements

Optional modules

Work placement

You can explore possible careers in the Work Placement Module and gain valuable work experience while earning credit towards your degree. You will build on the skills and knowledge you have gained to engage with professionals in the fields of publishing, journalism, education, cultural heritage and literary history. Recent placements have included the Oxford Story Museum, the Oxford Literary Festival and Oxfam. Students organise placements themselves, and Oxford Brookes Careers Centre is on hand to provide assistance. Students are responsible for their own travel and associated costs, therefore it is advised that they organise placements bearing this in mind.

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

Learning and teaching

Your teaching and learning will include a mix of lectures, seminars and tutorials:

  • Lectures - given by course tutors, lectures offer a framework for the course as well as guidance for further study.
  • Seminars - give you the opportunity to develop your oral skills, ability to think and argue within the flow of discussion.
  • Tutorials - usually carried out on a one-to-one basis. You can get advice on the preparation of coursework and we provide you with feedback on your work.
  • Lectures and seminars
  • Placement
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.)

Year 1

  • Lectures and seminars - 18%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 82%

Year 2

  • Lectures and seminars - 13%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 87%

Year 3

  • Lectures and seminars - 9%
  • Placement - 0%
  • Other learning activities (including group work, research, conferences etc.) - 91%

Learning and teaching percentages are indicative. There may be slight year-on-year variations.

Assessment

Assessment methods used on this course

We use exams, coursework, or a combination of both to assess your work.

Coursework includes:

  • creative writing and essays
  • critical rewrites of literary texts
  • group presentations.

Your examinations usually involve essays, or critical responses to a passage from a set text.

  • Written exams
  • Coursework
  • Practical exams

Year 1

  • Written exams - 20%
  • Coursework - 80%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Year 2

  • Written exams - 38%
  • Coursework - 62%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Year 3

  • Written exams - 0%
  • Coursework - 100%
  • Practical exams - 0%

Assessment method percentages are indicative. There may be slight year-on-year variations.

Study Abroad


Our English programme has links with many universities across the world, allowing you the opportunity to spend a semester experiencing another country and culture. Previous students have studied in Australia, the US, Canada, Norway and Denmark.

Tuition fees are paid as they would be if you remained in the UK. You will be responsible for all other costs such as accommodation, purchasing your airfares, travel and health insurance and visas.

After you graduate


Career prospects

English will help you to acquire a range of highly transferable qualities including analytical thinking, evaluative and research skills, self-discipline, and effective written and spoken communication.

Oxford Brookes English Literature students do well in the job market after they graduate, leaving the University with a well-regarded qualification. Recent graduates have begun outstanding careers in a variety of fields including publishing, journalism, advertising and media, public relations, teaching and commerce.

Others have gone on to further study at postgraduate level, often staying at Oxford Brookes to do so.

Further study

Once you have successfully completed your degree, you can stay with us to continue on to more in-depth postgraduate study.

We currently offer taught courses for MA Creative Writing and MA English Literature, and also welcome those who would like to join us to undertake further research such as an MA by Research, an MPhil, or a PhD.

Student profiles


Our Staff


Dr Andrea Macrae

I teach, research and publish in the areas of stylistics, narratology and cognitive poetics, with a specialism in deixis.

Read more about Andrea

Dr Niall Munro

I mainly work in the field of American literature, especially modernist writings. I have a particular interest in the poetry of Hart Crane (the subject of my first monograph), as well as in queer modernism and queer theory more generally.

Read more about Niall

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.

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.