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English Literature

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Although the UCAS equal consideration date has now passed, many of our courses are still accepting applications from UK students for 2024 entry through UCAS.

The deadline for international students is 30 June 2024.

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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.

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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

Teaching Excellence Framework 2023

We’re proud to announce we’ve been awarded a Gold rating for educational excellence.

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: City, Country, Planet (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.

Ways of Reading (ENGL113)

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.

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 2-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 aims to introduce students to a broad range of texts and material evidence about the literature and culture of the 5th century BC. You will look at texts from a broad range of types, including some of the greatest Greek literature ever written, philosophy, history, and oratory, and set this into context using art, archaeology, inscriptions and other kinds of evidence.


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

This module examines the poetry of Virgil in its literary and cultural contexts. We will consider how the Eclogues, Georgics, and Aeneid engage with and respond to earlier Greek and Roman literary traditions, and how the Augustan age and the works of other contemporary writers influenced and shaped his poetic craft.

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.

Introduction to World Literature 2: Theory and Practice (ENGL120)

Credits: 15 / Semester: semester 2

This module will be compulsory for any student taking the BA in English with World Literature. It will be optional for students on English and English Literature, and for students taking Single Honours French, German, Hispanic Studies and Italian.

This module will follow on from Introduction to World Literature 1: From the National to the Global (Semester 1) by deepening students’ understanding of concepts and theories of world literature, and applying these to a range of longer literary texts across all major genres including the novel, poetry, drama, short story both originally in English and in English translation.

It will be delivered via a lecture and tutorial each week and assessed via 80% assessed summative coursework essay of 2500-3000 words and 20% creative-critical project (1000-1500 words).
Formative work will support the assessments.

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:

An exciting place to study English

  • The Department of English is in the top 100 English Language and Literature departments in the world according to QS Top Universities rankings
  • We are internationally renowned for advancing the study of language, literature, and creative writing and have a strong research ethos
  • Our programmes offer opportunities to study creative writing and literature from a wide range of periods, as well as a range of approaches to understanding the way in which the English language works
  • We have a reputation for radical thinking, as exemplified by our success rate in the BBC and Arts and Humanities Council’s ‘New Generation Thinkers’ scheme. In total, five members our academic staff have been selected since the scheme was established in 2010
  • We are committed to small group teaching. This encourages a more rewarding learning experience, where ideas are shared and explored with peers and tutors
  • Ranked 10th in sector for research impact classified as outstanding (4*) (REF 2021)
  • We are host to Europe’s largest collection of science fiction materials which includes the John Wyndham Archive and home to the annual Liverpool Literary Festival.

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.

, 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.

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.

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

Graduate Outcomes, 2018-19.

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 £22,400
Year in industry fee £1,850
Year abroad fee £11,200
Fees are correct for the academic year 2024/25. Please note that the Year Abroad fee also applies to the Year in China.

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 paying for your studies..

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 provide tuition fee discounts and help with living expenses while at university.

Check out our Liverpool Bursary, worth up to £2,000 per year for eligible UK students. Or for international students, our Undergraduate Global Advancement Scholarship offers a tuition fee discount of up to £5,000 for eligible international students starting an undergraduate degree from September 2024.

Discover our full range of undergraduate scholarships and bursaries

Entry requirements

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

We've set the country or region your qualifications are from as United Kingdom. Change it here

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.

T levels

T levels are not currently accepted.

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.

English language requirements

You'll need to demonstrate competence in the use of English language, unless you’re from a majority English speaking country.

We accept a variety of international language tests and country-specific qualifications.

International applicants who do not meet the minimum required standard of English language can complete one of our Pre-Sessional English courses to achieve the required level.

English language qualification Requirements
IELTS 6.5 overall, with no component below 5.5
TOEFL iBT 88 overall, with minimum scores of listening 17, writing 17, reading 17 and speaking 19
Duolingo English Test 120 overall, with no component below 95
Pearson PTE Academic 61 overall, with no component below 59
LanguageCert Academic 70 overall, with no skill below 60
Cambridge IGCSE First Language English 0500 Grade C overall, with a minimum of grade 2 in speaking and listening. Speaking and listening must be separately endorsed on the certificate.
Cambridge IGCSE First Language English 0990 Grade 4 overall, with Merit in speaking and listening
Cambridge IGCSE Second Language English 0510/0511 0510: Grade B overall, with a minimum of grade 2 in speaking. Speaking must be separately endorsed on the certificate. 0511: Grade B overall.
Cambridge IGCSE Second Language English 0993/0991 0993: Grade 6 overall, with a minimum of grade 2 in speaking. Speaking must be separately endorsed on the certificate. 0991: Grade 6 overall.
International Baccalaureate Standard Level grade 5 or Higher Level grade 4 in English B, English Language and Literature, or English Language
Cambridge ESOL Level 2/3 Advanced 176 overall, with no paper below 162


Do you need to complete a Pre-Sessional English course to meet the English language requirements for this course?

The length of Pre-Sessional English course you’ll need to take depends on your current level of English language ability.

Find out the length of Pre-Sessional English course you may require for this degree.

Pre-sessional English

If you don’t meet our English language requirements, we can use your most recent IELTS score, or the equivalent score in selected other English language tests, to determine the length of Pre-Sessional English course you require.

Use the table below to check the course length you're likely to require for your current English language ability and see whether the course is available on campus or online.

Your most recent IELTS score Pre-Sessional English course length On campus or online
6.0 overall, with no component below 5.5 6 weeks On campus
5.5 overall, with no component below 5.5 10 weeks On campus and online options available
5.5 overall, with no more than one component below 5.5, and no component below 5.0 12 weeks On campus and online options available
5.5 overall, with no component below 4.5 20 weeks On campus
5.0 overall, with no component below 4.5 30 weeks On campus
4.5 overall, with no more than one component below 4.5, and no component below 4.0 40 weeks On campus

If you’ve completed an alternative English language test to IELTS, we may be able to use this to assess your English language ability and determine the Pre-Sessional English course length you require.

Please see our guide to Pre-Sessional English entry requirements for IELTS 6.5, with no component below 5.5, for further details.

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.