24 November 2014
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English degree

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The course provides a fascinating insights into the ways in which language is spoken and written in a variety of contexts, and will help you to develop skills in both oral and written fluency. Students will learn how the English language is used in a variety of global arenas, and study it from the different historical and cultural settings.

You will receive a wide-ranging introduction to literary texts in English by studying an exciting combination of traditional and non-traditional modules, ranging from Chaucer and Shakespeare to creative writing and contemporary fiction. All of this will help to increase your grasp of genres, providing you with knowledge of the development of literature throughout history.

The course will give you a firm foundation for any further future studies you wish to undertake. It does this by balancing classroom-based learning with practice-based learning, many courses offer work placements, which are an ideal way to bridge the gap between university and employment.

Employers from many industries greatly value the high-level skills that are acquired in the study of English language and literature. They will hold in high regard the attributes that you learn on a English degree course, which are suitable for anyone who is already working, volunteering or thinking of changing careers. This degree is a good preparation for anyone interested in a range of careers in fields such as journalism, teaching, media, advertising and publishing.
This degree course offers a stimulating and wide-ranging introduction to English language and literature.

English degree course overview

Courses are constantly evolving to reflect changes in the field of study, however there is always a core of subjects that will have to be taken. For instance students will always engage with a range of works of literature including Shakespeare's plays, Victorian novels, poetry, short stories, books for children and contemporary works from a range of cultural perspectives. They will always have to study the great literatures of the world, and immerse themselves in a range of works written in different styles and periods from the Middle Ages to the present day.

You will be taught how to assimilate information, evaluate it, choose what is relevant, and then use it as evidence in constructing an argument or point of view. All of this is vital when you want to effectively communicate a message and influence people.

It’s not all study, many universities provide students with opportunities to meet famous contemporary authors. Another point of note is that universities can offer English as a single honours subject, or as a joint honours combination.

Typical course modules and areas of study on a English Degree 

  • Reading and Studying Literature
  • Children’s Literature
  • Adult Literature
  • English Grammar
  • English and Drama Studies
  • English and Education Studies
  • English and English Language
  • English and Film Studies
  • English and History
  • English and Journalism
  • English and Media and Communication
  • Approaches to Poetry
  • Introduction to Literary Studies
  • Introduction to Drama
  • Language Variety
  • Victorian Literature
  • Critical Approaches
  • Analysing Talk
  • Literature and Identity

Students will learn about

  • Shakespeare
  • The Renaissance
  • Literary adaptation
  • Women’s writing
  • Modernism
  • Textual editing
  • Online blogging
  • Web writing
  • Oral presentation
  • The rules of conversation
  • Language and gender
  • Language and learning
  • The language of humour
  • The language of advertising
  • The literature of short stories

Students will learn how to

  • Interpret both literary and non-literary texts.
  • Give and receive constructive and critical feedback.
  • Critically comment on different types of writing.
  • Organise and put together complex arguments.
  • Write daily.
  • Redraft and edit your written work rapidly.
  • Question accepted ideas and attitudes.
  • Make meaning from the texts you read.
  • Write prose fiction and poetry.


English personal statement

Below is a English personal statement written by one of our writers. You can use this example to gain an idea of how to structure and put together your own one. You are strongly advised not to copy or plagiarise it, instead use it as a resource to inspire your own creative writing.

English personal statement example 1

"This is a subject like no other in that it offers students the chance to study those aspects of the course that they are most interested in. This point is important to someone like me, who wants to be able to immerse themselves in specific novels, modern drama, and literature.

When I was at college thinking about what I wanted to do with my life, I decided that I wanted to go to university to continue studying English. The main reason for this was because firstly I have always enjoyed reading literature, secondly I wanted to know more about how reading can help to broaden your mind, and thirdly I would like to improve the way I can creatively express myself through writing. 

In my opinion the skills you learn in an English degree such as language-based critical analysis, strong writing skills, and quick reading skills etc, are all highly valued by employers everywhere. These skills are marketable in most career areas. Journalism is a career that I am quiet interested in, and I do feel that a degree in English would be a very good starting point for getting into this field.

I am able to think critically and address things from a wider perspective, this helps me to establish my own ideas, and opinions. I have a proven ability to lead and participate in discussions and do so with confidence in my own opinions. In a sense I learnt to trust my own voice, and came to realise that my words do matter. Over the past year I have noticed a marked improvement in my own writing abilities, and right now believe that I am able to present my ideas clearly and logically, think critically and have the ability to analyse complex information effectively.

At college I studied prose fiction, poetry and drama, along with other diverse topics such as postmodernism, visual culture, globalisation and Romanticism. My favourite topic was poetry, and was fascinated by the impact that society had on my favourite poets, and also to now see the impact their writing is having today on our society. There was a lot of reading to do, which some people may find boring, but I found very rewarding, particularly as I was given a choice over what I wanted to read. My time at college helped to expand my love for literature, it helped me to see myself and the world in a new way. It was instrumental in improving those linguistic skills required to read, discuss and write about literary and non-literary texts effectively and with confidence.

The reputation your English department was what initially drew me towards your university. I was also attracted by your thriving research environment, which embraces traditional and new approaches to English studies. On my visits to your campus, I really liked the fact that there was a great variety of undergraduates from different backgrounds and countries, to me it had a real international feel, where everyone seemed to fit in and get along together. A also noticed that there were a lot of opportunities for sporting activities, and other societies and clubs, basically allowing you to do whatever you like. Everyone I met was very friendly and there seemed to be so much going on. I have a strong and friendly personality, excellent classroom ‘manners’, and am able to plan, prepare and deliver coursework to a very high standard. I can assure you that I will make an outstanding undergraduate at your university, one who is committed to making a real positive difference to your institution."


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