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English Literature

Apply for this course

The deadline for UK students to apply for this course for entry in 2023 was 25 January 2023.

The deadline for international students is 30 June 2023.

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There are five courses related to English Literature that you might be interested in.

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    Bachelor of Arts

    A Bachelor of Arts (BA Hons) is a bachelor’s degree awarded for an undergraduate programme in the arts.

    Course overview

    Study English Literature at Liverpool and learn to understand why people write, who for, and what their texts mean. English literature is a great choice for avid readers. You'll do reading - lots of it - and delve into texts for deep analysis


    You will have the opportunity to study a wide range of literary forms, genres and themes, from the early medieval period to the present day.

    You’ll learn to interpret literature from many perspectives: historical, sociological, political and more, making this course both intellectually challenging and rewarding. You’ll be taught by a staff including award-winning writers and four BBC ‘New Generation Thinkers’, on a course informed by original academic research.

    Students are taught in small groups for a collaborative and conversational experience.

    Creative Writing modules are offered in years two and three.

    Take your university experience even further on a paid year-long industry placement, or spend a year abroad at a partner university or our China campus.

    English Literature students graduate with sought-after skills that apply to a wide range of careers, including journalism, arts and marketing.

    Year in industry

    This programme is available with an optional year in industry. If you choose this option, year three is spent on a paid placement within an organisation in industry, broadly defined. You will be supported by the School of the Arts and the Department throughout, and your reflexive written account of the experience will contribute towards your final degree result. If you wish to study this programme with a year in industry, please put the option code ‘YI’ in the ‘further choices’ section of your UCAS application form.

    English attainment scholarships

    We are pleased to offer two attainment scholarships per year to undergraduate students from the UK. The scholarship covers the entire UK tuition fee for both years two and three. Awards will be made by the department at the end of year one, based on student performance.

    What you'll learn

    • Detailed knowledge of the literature of a variety of historical periods
    • Critical thinking
    • Teamwork
    • Textual analysis from multiple perspectives
    • How to undertake research
    • How to present and communicate clearly
    • How to debate, argue and persuade

    Course content

    Discover what you'll learn, what you'll study, and how you'll be taught and assessed.

    Year one

    In your first year, you will develop key skills and subject knowledge that will equip you for more advanced and specialised modules in the later years of the degree. You’ll explore the ways in which literary texts and themes are rewritten and reinterpreted in different historical and cultural contexts. You will also consider how literary texts interact with and speak to their own and other social contexts, what it means to interpret texts, and how meanings emerge from our reading.

    Compulsory modules


    Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

    This module introduces students to a key skill in literary study, that of precise and informed analysis of text (close reading).

    Literature and Place (ENGL102)

    Credits: 30 / Semester: semester 2

    This module will examine the ways in which English literature has represented the concept of place in a variety of genres across time (1350 to the present day). Students who successfully complete the module will have encountered at least ten substantial, representative literary texts which draw significantly on places of different types. These may include: cities; villages and ‘the country’; islands; built environments; wildernesses; oceans; imaginary worlds; and so on. Examples will be drawn from a diverse range of English, British, Irish and American literature and other Anglophone cultures. The types of text will include prose fiction, poetry, and drama. There will be two workshops each week, introducing and discussing a text or texts; and one weekly tutorial, in groups of no more than nine for smaller-scale analysis and tasks relating to the same weekly text(s) or theme(s).

    Literature in Time (ENGL117)

    Credits: 30 / Semester: semester 1

    This module serves as an introduction to the major periods of English literature from the Middle Ages onwards. One literary period will be covered each week by means of one lecture on a literary text from the period and one lecture on its context. These periods correspond to the ‘period’ literature modules that are available to students at Level 2, and thereby provide a sample of those modules, enabling students to make informed choices with regard to the modules they choose to take at Level 2. To this end, the texts have been chosen and the lectures are given by teaching staff from the relevant Level 2 modules.

    Optional modules


    Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

    Taking this module will help you to gain skill in reconstructing and evaluating arguments, in analysing, interpreting, and thinking critically about textual and statistical information, and in thinking creatively. There are 100 minutes’ worth of lectures per week and, running from Week 2 onwards, ten weekly online tests. The first two online tests are purely formative. Each of the remaining eight online tests contributes 5% of the module result. A two-hour on-line examination contributes the remaining 60%.


    Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

    This module introduces students to a broad range of Irish Literature from Swift to Joyce and to the idea of an Irish Literary Tradition in English. A new author is introduced and apart from Joyce and Swift, and the module is taught in a lecture/seminar format.


    Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

    This module explores ancient Greek myth in its social, political, and religious contexts, focusing primarily on the Archaic and Classical periods (7th – 4th C BC). It thereby investigates the nature of myth and its role within Greek society, whilst providing insights into that society too. In the course of the module, students are introduced to a broad range of literary, artistic, and archaeological sources including epic poetry, tragedy, philosophy, sculpture, vase painting, coins and sanctuaries, and learn to use them as evidence for social history. The module closes with an examination of the importance of Greek myths other societies, including our own.


    Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

    This module will introduce you to literature written in English by Irish writers and published between 1914 and 2014. It surveys a wide range of texts – novels, poetry, and plays – each of which might be appreciated as a radical literary and/or cultural experiment with far reaching impact.
    Our course covers the greater part of the twentieth century and comes up to the near present; our readings of literature will necessarily be situated within their specific social, political and historical contexts. We will also explore major developments in Ireland in the discipline and practice of literary criticism as a way of shaping how we talk about the texts we read. We will consider work by writers including James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, Sean O’Casey, Elizabeth Bowen, Samuel Beckett, Edna O’Brien, Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Brian Friel, Martin McDonagh, and Eimear McBride.

    Reading Drama (ENGL119)

    Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 1

    This module will cover a range or dramatic texts from different culture and eras, exploring the processes of reading them whilst thinking about genre and context. Students will develop close-reading skills as well as an awareness of drama as a genre, its history and development. Assessment is coursework based and involves close reading, discursive response, and a short creative-critical exercise.

    THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER: Art and Philosophy (PHIL110)

    Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

    Artists, art-critics and the general public ordinarily provide their own accounts as to what art means and why it is valuable. In this module, such accounts are subjected to critical scrutiny: seemingly obvious answers give rise to nuanced and complex questions, in true philosophical fashion. To a large extent, this is accomplished through close attention to particular artworks from a variety of genres. The module also includes a guided activity component, which leads to the preparation of a reflective log in an authentic-learning context. By completing this module, one’s intuitions about the significance and the meaning of art will be liable to modification and fine-tuning, will become dialectically informed, and will stand up to challenge in real-world situations.


    Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

    The Epic poetry of Virgil and its literary, historical, and social contexts.


    Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

    This module will allow students to develop critical methods of reading and contextual analysis of literary texts. Lectures and tutorials will explore a range of critical methodologies (for example psychoanalysis and postcolonialism) as well as topics focused on the modes, attitudes and concerns that underlie the production of literature in relation to politics, society and culture. In doing so students will be introduced to key debates within literary study, as well as addressing topics important to different periods including issues of race, gender, sexuality, literary form, environment and economy.

    This module aims to develop and challenge accepted modes of reading in order to expand and strengthen original critical enquiry while also improving students’ written, oral and digital communication skills.

    Theorising Theatre and Performance (ENGL104)

    Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

    This module introduces students to a range of theoretical approaches for analysing diverse forms of dramatic text and performance. Students will learn about how historical and contemporary contexts have shaped the development of theatre and performance theory. They will be invited to think critically about what makes analysing theatre and performance different from other types of text, and how theory might inform their interpretive practice. The module will cover a variety of theoretical approaches and contextualise them against specific performances in order to give students the expertise for thorough critical engagement and interpretation.

    Programme details and modules listed are illustrative only and subject to change.

    Our curriculum

    The Liverpool Curriculum framework sets out our distinctive approach to education. Our teaching staff support our students to develop academic knowledge, skills, and understanding alongside our graduate attributes:

    • Digital fluency
    • Confidence
    • Global citizenship

    Our curriculum is characterised by the three Liverpool Hallmarks:

    • Research-connected teaching
    • Active learning
    • Authentic assessment

    All this is underpinned by our core value of inclusivity and commitment to providing a curriculum that is accessible to all students.

    Course options

    Studying with us means you can tailor your degree to suit you. Here's what is available on this course.

    Global Opportunities

    University of Liverpool students can choose from an exciting range of study placements at partner universities worldwide. Choose to spend a year at XJTLU in China or a year or semester at an institution of your choice.

    What's available on this course?

    Year in China

    Immerse yourself in Chinese culture on an optional additional year at Xi'an Jiaotong Liverpool University in stunning Suzhou.

    • Learn Chinese
    • Study in a bustling world heritage city
    • Improve employment prospects
    • Study Chinese culture
    • 30 minutes from Shanghai
    • Learn new skills

    Read more about Year at XJTLU, China

    Year in industry

    Year in industry placements give you an in-depth workplace experience where you can develop your skills and apply your learning.

    • Develop key employability skills that graduate employers are looking for
    • Experience and understand workplace culture and disciple
    • Understand the relationship between academic theory and real world application
    • Begin your professional network
    • Gain industry insight and insight into potential career options.

    You don't need to decide now - you can choose to add a year in industry after you've begun your degree.

    Learn more about year in industry

    To spend a year in industry, you'll need to secure a placement with an organisation. If you're unable to find a placement, you'll continue with the standard version of the course without a year in industry.

    Language study

    Every student at The University of Liverpool can study a language as part of, or alongside their degree. You can choose:

    • A dedicated languages degree
    • A language as a joint or major/ minor degree
    • Language modules (selected degrees)
    • Language classes alongside your studies

    Read more about studying a language

    Combine this subject

    With a combined degree, you can study two subjects as part of the same degree programme.

    • Choose from 30 subjects and over 300 combinations
    • Choose joint or major minor subjects
    • Adjust the weight of your subjects at the end of your first year
    • Same number of credits as single honours students
    • Same classes as single honours students
    • Appeal to a wide range of employers

    Explore combined degrees for English courses

    Your experience

    The Department of English is based in the School of the Arts, although teaching will take place across the campus. We are committed to small group teaching, which encourages a more rewarding learning experience, where ideas are shared and explored with your peers and tutors. You’ll have access to extensive library facilities, special collections and Liverpool’s renowned museums, libraries and galleries.

    Virtual tour

    Supporting your learning

    From arrival to alumni, we’re with you all the way:

    • Careers and employability support, including help with career planning, understanding the job market and strengthening your networking skills
    • A dedicated student services team can help you get assistance with your studies, help with health and wellbeing, and access to financial advice
    • Confidential counselling and support to help students with personal problems affecting their studies and general wellbeing
    • Support for students with differing needs from the Disability Advice and Guidance team. They can identify and recommend appropriate support provisions for you.

    An exciting place to study English

    • Dedicated to small group teaching
    • Teaching includes visits from poets, novelists and dramatists
    • Hosts of the Liverpool Literary Festival, a popular yearly event which has featured well-known authors such as Neil Gaiman
    • Best-selling author Colm Toibin is Chancellor of the university
    • Six of our staff have been named as New Generation Thinkers by BBC Radio 3 and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
    • Active research environment includes the Centre for New and International Writing and Literature and Science Hub

    What students say...

    Photo of Alex Carabine

    The staff are the best thing about the English department. They’re not only incredibly knowledgeable about their fields, but they are also enthusiastic, encouraging and take a genuine interest in their students’ work.

    Alex Carabine, BA (Hons) English Literature 2018, MA English 2019

    Careers and employability

    Our English degree programmes are valued by employers who recognise the skills our students develop, including teamwork, project design, critical thinking, proficiency in text analysis and communication and presentation skills.

    As a student in the School of the Arts, you will be supported to maximise your employability from day one. The school has its own placements and employability officer, and you will have the opportunity to undertake a work placement or a year in industry as part of your programme.

    4 in 5 English students find their main activity after graduation meaningful.

    Graduate Outcomes, 2018-19.

    Many graduates move on to have careers in the arts, the media, publishing, marketing, events, and project management, working for employers like:

    • BBC
    • Liverpool Echo
    • The Guardian
    • The Royal Shakespeare Company
    • Hodder & Stoughton
    • Routledge
    • Oxford University Press
    • Macmillan
    • Liverpool University Press
    • The Civil Service.

    Preparing you for future success

    At Liverpool, our goal is to support you to build your intellectual, social, and cultural capital so that you graduate as a socially-conscious global citizen who is prepared for future success. We achieve this by:

    • Embedding employability within your , through the modules you take and the opportunities to gain real-world experience offered by many of our courses.
    • Providing you with opportunities to gain experience and develop connections with people and organisations, including student and graduate employers as well as our global alumni.
    • Providing you with the latest tools and skills to thrive in a competitive world, including access to Handshake, a platform which allows you to create your personalised job shortlist and apply with ease.
    • Supporting you through our peer-to-peer led Careers Studio, where our career coaches provide you with tailored advice and support.

    Meet our alumni

    Hear what graduates say about their career progression and life after university.

    Fees and funding

    Your tuition fees, funding your studies, and other costs to consider.

    Tuition fees

    UK fees (applies to Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland)
    Full-time place, per year £9,250
    Year in industry fee £1,850
    Year abroad fee £1,385
    International fees
    Full-time place, per year £21,000
    Year in industry fee £1,850
    Year abroad fee £10,500
    Fees stated are for the 2023-24 academic year.

    Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching and assessment, operating facilities such as libraries, IT equipment, and access to academic and personal support. Learn more about tuition fees, funding and student finance.

    Additional costs

    Your tuition fee covers almost everything, but you may have additional study costs to consider, such as books or stationary.

    Find out more about the additional study costs that may apply to this course.

    Additional study costs

    Your tuition fee covers almost everything, but you may have additional study costs to consider, such as books or stationary.

    Find out more about additional study costs.

    Scholarships and bursaries

    We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to help cover tuition fees and help with living expenses while at university.

    Scholarships and bursaries you can apply for from the United Kingdom

    Entry requirements

    The qualifications and exam results you'll need to apply for this course.

    My qualifications are from: United Kingdom.

    Your qualification Requirements

    About our typical entry requirements

    A levels


    Applicants with the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) are eligible for a reduction in grade requirements. For this course, the offer is ABC with A in the EPQ.

    You may automatically qualify for reduced entry requirements through our contextual offers scheme.

    GCSE 4/C in English and 4/C in Mathematics
    Subject requirements

    A level English (Language, Literature or Language and Literature) at grade A

    BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

    Applications considered. BTEC in a humanities-related subject plus A level English at grade A required

    International Baccalaureate

    33 including 6 in HL English with no score less than 4

    Irish Leaving Certificate H1, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3 with H1 in English
    Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher

    Scottish Advanced Highers of ABB with English Grade A.

    Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Accepted including 2 A levels at AB with A in English
    Access 45 Level 3 credits in graded units in a relevant Diploma, including 30 at Distinction (including all English credits) and a further 15 with at least Merit. Relevant Diploma is Humanities/Social Sciences based.
    International qualifications

    Many countries have a different education system to that of the UK, meaning your qualifications may not meet our direct entry requirements. Although there is no direct Foundation Certificate route to this course, completing a Foundation Certificate, such as that offered by the University of Liverpool International College, can guarantee you a place on a number of similar courses which may interest you.

    Contextual offers: reduced grade requirements

    Based on your personal circumstances, you may automatically qualify for up to a two-grade reduction in the entry requirements needed for this course. When you apply, we consider a range of factors – such as where you live – to assess if you’re eligible for a grade reduction. You don’t have to make an application for a grade reduction – we’ll do all the work.

    Find out more about how we make reduced grade offers.

    About our entry requirements

    Our entry requirements may change from time to time both according to national application trends and the availability of places at Liverpool for particular courses. We review our requirements before the start of the new UCAS cycle each year and publish any changes on our website so that applicants are aware of our typical entry requirements before they submit their application.

    Recent changes to government policy which determine the number of students individual institutions may admit under the student number control also have a bearing on our entry requirements and acceptance levels, as this policy may result in us having fewer places than in previous years.

    We believe in treating applicants as individuals, and in making offers that are appropriate to their personal circumstances and background. For this reason, we consider a range of factors in addition to predicted grades, widening participation factors amongst other evidence provided. Therefore the offer any individual applicant receives may differ slightly from the typical offer quoted in the prospectus and on the website.

    Alternative entry requirements

    Changes to English Literature BA (Hons)

    See what updates we've made to this course since it was published. We document changes to information such as course content, entry requirements and how you'll be taught.

    7 June 2022: New course pages

    New course pages launched.