Compulsory English Options
You must choose three out of the four following options:
Language and Context
This module considers the main forms and functions of English vocabulary, grammar and discourse and explores how they are used in real social and cultural contexts. You will look at how language is used for different purposes and how people use language to reveal and conceal social realities as well other topics surrounding language and context. For this module you will have a one-hour lecture and a one-hour seminar per week.
Beginnings of English
You’ll be introduced to the language, literature and culture of medieval England and study Old and Middle English texts. In this module you will familiarise yourself with the knowledge needed for reading and understanding medieval texts. In addition you will be introduced to the basics of grammar and spelling conventions. For this module you will have two 1-hour lectures and one 1-hour seminar per week.
This module will introduce some of the core skills necessary for literary studies through focus on specific poetry and prose texts. You will address topics including: close reading, constructing an argument and handling critical material. For this module you will have a combination of lectures and seminars.
Drama, Theatre, Performance
This module, taught through a combination of practical workshops, seminars, and lectures, considers key concepts in the study of dramatic texts, theatre history and performance. The module frames these concepts, taking into consideration questions about who performs, where, to whom, why and how, through explorations of key moments in the Western theatrical tradition.
Compulsory Classics Modules
Studying the Greek World
This wide-ranging module introduces you to the history, literature and art of the Greek World from 1600BC-31BC, from the Bronze Age to a point when Greece had become part of the Roman Empire; no prior knowledge of the Greek world is required. You will consider major chapters of Greece’s history, such as the Mycenean Period, the rise of the city-state in the Archaic period, and Alexander the Great. You will also explore developments in Greek literary and artistic culture and as consider aspects of the reception of ancient Greece in modern western culture. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week over the course of 10 weeks.
Studying the Roman World
This module introduces you to the history, literature and art of the Roman world from the beginnings of the city of Rome to the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. You will examine many important aspects of Rome’s history such as the Roman Republic, the rise of the empire, the establishment of the Principate, and the fall of Rome. At the same time you will explore developments in Roman literary and artistic culture, and consider aspects of the reception of ancient Rome in modern western culture. In addition, you will examine the relationship of the Roman world to the Greek world, to complement the Autumn semester module ‘Studying the Greek World'. For this module you will have one 2-hour lecture each week.
Interpreting Ancient Literature
Ancient literature from Homer to late antiquity is studied in this module by focusing on a representative theme. Recent themes have been 'Performance and Persuasian' and 'Love and War'. Issues treated have included: the relationship of literature and society, oral culture, performance, genre, gender, religion and literature, and artistry in historical writing. For this module you will have eight 1-hour seminars over the year and two 1-hour lectures each week.
Beginner's Greek: 1
In this module you will be provided with an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of classical Greek; no previous knowledge is assumed. Emphasis is placed on acquiring the ability to read Greek, rather than on writing or speaking it. You will have four 1-hr classes every week, enabling you to keep improving steadily over the course of 10 weeks.
Extended Source Study
This module is compulsory unless you are taking Latin or Greek. It is designed to develop your skills of research, analysis and written presentation as preparation for a third-year dissertation. You will write a 5,000 word essay chosen from a range of topics, each focusing on a single piece of ancient source material. You will be provided with a topic for investigation, starter bibliography and tips on how to approach the question. The questions will suggest a range of possible approaches, from evaluation of historical source material to exploration of literary effects, relationships with other material, discussion of context or reception. For this module you will have a mixture of lectures and four 2-hour seminars over a period of 10 weeks.
Intermediate Latin 2
This module is for students in their fourth semester of Latin. You will read a text such as Cicero Pro Archia or Virgil Aeneid 2 in some depth, and practise close reading of Latin literature, as well as continuing to revise and consolidate Latin grammar.
What can a face tell us? This module explores Greek and Roman portrait sculptures, how and why they were made, where they stood, and what they stood for. Topics covered include: the features necessary to call a depiction of a face a portrait; the relationship of face and body in the shaping of a portrait; the emergence of the portrait in Greek art, portraits of Greek generals and statesmen Hellenistic female portraiture, and how to analyse marble portraits by means of 3D technology. For this module you will have one 1-hour lecture per week and five 1-hour seminars over the semester.
Independent Second-Year Project
This module is your opportunity to expand your knowledge of the Classical world in an area which interests you, and to experiment with a method of communicating that knowledge which is different from the usual assessment practices of essay-writing, exam-writing and seminar -presentation. You might undertake research that leads to the construction of a database, or the reconstruction of a Greco-Roman artefact. You can select a communication method tailored to a future career, e.g. by constructing a teaching plan and testing it in a school, by writing in a journalistic style, or by designing a museum exhibit. You might choose to experiment with making a video or a website. A supporting portfolio documenting your research forms part of the assessment. For this module you will have a combination of lectures, seminars, computing training and workshops.
Greek Tragedy: Orestes on Stage
This 10-credit semester-long module focuses on Greek Tragedy in translation, through the examination of one myth – that of the house of Orestes in Aeschylus’ Oresteia, Sophocles’ Electra, Euripides’ Electra and Orestes. These texts contain a number of themes that are typical of tragedy as a whole: inherited guilt, ritual pollution, revenge, kin-killing and the pursuit of suppliants. Furthermore, the course will set tragedy within its broader context, looking at two major areas. The first is the literary context of tragedy; how tragedy was informed by other poetic genres and, in particular, the development of the mythic tradition. Secondly, the module will consider the broader political, social and religious context of Greek tragedy. You will have three hours of lectures and a one-hour seminar every fortnight.
You must choose three modules in English covering at least two of the following areas:
Literature 1500 to the present
Each of the modules offered will provide a comprehensive introduction to the changes in the genres of prose, poetry and drama across the period studied, placing the works encountered in the context of key aesthetic, social and political/historical contexts.
English Language and Applied Linguistics
Building on the study of English language undertaken in year one, your second year language modules provide the exciting opportunity for you to explore aspects of language use in the mind, in society and in literature.
Medieval languages and literatures
You can choose to pursue one or more of the medieval areas introduced in year one, or you can opt to study a new but related area. In all cases you will develop your understanding of language change and variety, registers, styles, modes and genres, as they appear in medieval texts, and become more expert in reading with reference to wider medieval cultures.
Drama and Performance
Year two modules provide the opportunity to develop approaches from the first year by studying 20th and 21st-century theatre; by exploring key critical approaches to drama in theory and practice, and by focusing on a key period in the development of our nation’s theatre.
For a sample of typical modules from each area please see our single honours BA English listing.
Latin Texts: 5
This module examines, in the original Latin, a range of texts representative of an author, genre, period or theme of Latin literature, paying special attention to matters of language and style. Literary appreciation and linguistic skills are developed through detailed analysis of the original Latin. The position of the texts in the development of the genre will be explored, as well as their relationship with their social context. A recent example is to focus on a selection of Martial’s epigrams and Statius Silvae 2, studying the poems as part of life in Flavian Rome. Themes include: the emperor, patronage, daily life, gender and sexuality, genre, satire, the city of Rome
Jason and the Argonauts
A cross-medium, cross-genre, cross-cultural perspective on one important myth: Jason and Medea, the quest for the golden fleece, the journey of the first ship. The myth that pre-dates Homer brings together the famous fathers of Homeric heroes (Peleus, Telamon), in a gathering of the marvellous, the semi-divine and the ultra-heroic. For this module the central text will be the Argonautica of Apollonius but a wide range of texts, images and films, Greek, Roman and beyond will be part of the module. Themes include: the Greeks and the other; civilisation and colonisation; Jason and Medea; gender and sexuality; the nature of heroism; monsters, marvels and magic. For this 20-credit semester-long module, you will have two 1-hour lectures each week and one 2-hour seminar each fortnight.
This module considers the genre of literature known as Imperial Biography: that is, biographies written about the Roman Emperors. In particular, it will focus on Suetonius' Lives of the Caesars and the anonymous text known as the Historia Augusta. The module will not only look at the limitations of the genre as a whole in relation to its structure and sources, but it will also look at major themes within the lives and key case studies of specific examples - ranging from discussion of physiognomy, to gender and sexuality, omens and portents, religion and philosophy, administration and empire-building, birth and death scenes and so on. For this 10-credit module you will have 3 hours of lectures and one 1-hour seminar each fortnight across a ten-week semester.
Virgil and the Epic Tradition
This module involves a detailed study of Virgil's Latin epic poem, the Aeneid, in English translation, and focuses on its interactions with the epic genre. The Aeneid was immediately characterised as a 'great' poem: how does Virgil react against his predecessors to carve out his own literary territory? How is the Aeneid received and re-used by poets and other artists down the ages? Themes will include: career and poetics, Homer and Apollonius, reception in later epic (later Roman, Renaissance Latin, Milton), politics and identity, games and reality, gender and genre, and vision and spectacle. For this 20-credit module you will have 6 hours of lectures and one 2-hour seminar each fortnight across a ten-week semester.
The dissertation is compulsory unless you are studying ancient Greek or Latin, in which case it is optional. It is your opportunity to carry out an in-depth investigation of a chosen area, to be agreed with a supervisor in advance. You will use the skills that your degree has equipped you with thus far to plan, research and complete a 10,000-word essay. There will be a mix of contact to achieve this, including workshops, lectures and one-to-one tutorials.
The final year is when all the different strands of your teaching and learning experience as an undergraduate culminate in the opportunity to demonstrate and apply all the different kinds of skills you have acquired in researching a topic, extended analysis of specialist themes and areas, and in independent study.
You will have the opportunity to study a range of authors, genres, linguistic approaches, and textual forms and contexts, in both national and international contexts, thinking about English in the broadest possible terms. You will also have the opportunity to specialise in areas for which you have developed particular aptitude and passion during your undergraduate career.
A typical list of options available can be found on our single honours BA English listing.
The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.