English BA


Fact file - 2019 entry

BA Hons English
UCAS code
3 years full-time (available part-time)
A level offer
Required subjects
A in English literature or language (or combined) at A level; plus a GCSE at 7 (A) or above, in English
IB score
36-34; 6 in English at Higher Level
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places

We still have places available for 2018 entry.


Breadth of opportunity and depth of engagement are the defining features of English at Nottingham.
Read full overview

Our BA English degree is one of the widest ranging degree courses in the country. It aims to introduce you to the exciting variety of disciplines within English, offering you the opportunity to:

    • Expand your understanding of 'English' through encounters with prose, poetry and drama from the medieval period to the present;
    • Explore the workings of language in literature and society;
    • Develop your own creative writing if you wish. 

Regardless of whether you have studied English language or literature, or both, at A level, we find that our students really thrive on the opportunity to explore these diverse areas of English, and to develop their own combination of interests and specialisms as they progress through their degree.

    • Are you interested in language and literature, but perhaps also other areas of English that you might not have encountered so far?
    • Do you like going to the theatre as well as sitting at home with a book?
    • Are you interested in analysing a staged performance, as well as reading the play?
    • Would you like to know how to read a medieval manuscript, or discover why Chaucer is described as the 'father of English literature'?
    • Have you seen or read Beowulf, and wonder what Anglo-Saxon culture was really like, or watched Robin Hood and asked yourself why Friar Tuck is played by a black actor?

If you've answered 'yes' to any of these questions, you may want to opt for this English BA.

Year one 

Year one is designed to excite you, open up different possibilities for study and give you firm foundations which will allow you to develop your particular interests as you move through the course.

You are introduced to the full breadth of 'Nottingham English', studying four core modules in the areas of English language, prose, poetry and drama from earliest times to the present day. While some of these areas may be familiar to you, others may be quite new, and our aim is to support you as much as possible as you encounter fresh ways of approaching and thinking about the study of English.

Alongside these modules, you will take the Academic Community module, taught in small tutorial groups, to introduce key issues to English and to develop your study skills as you make the transition from school or college to university.

You also have module options in creative writing or in subsidiary modules, offered both by the School and by other departments in the Faculty of Arts and across the University. See the modules section for further details.

Year two

Year two enables you to develop a deeper understanding of the issues and critical approaches across the areas of literature, language and drama that most interest you, depending on your preferred areas of study.  

You will have the opportunity to continue studying the full range of approaches to English that you encountered in year one, or to begin to develop your particular interests in English by covering three out of four areas of study. Either way, you will be able to choose from a comprehensive range of options which will prepare you for the specialist options open to you in your final year. See the modules section for further details.

Year three

Year three gives you the opportunity to specialise in areas for which you have developed genuine aptitude and passion during your undergraduate career. You will be able 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.  

All the different strands of your teaching and learning experience culminate in the final year with the opportunity to demonstrate and apply all the skills you have acquired in research, analysis and independent study.

All year three modules give you the chance to study in smaller groups with an internationally known expert in the field and you will be encouraged to develop your own thinking to a high level.

You also have the opportunity to develop an individual research project of your own choice with the one-to-one support of an expert member of staff.


Entry requirements

A levels: AAA-AAB, including A in English literature or language (or combined) at A level; plus four GCSEs at 7 (A) or above, including English

English language requirements 

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

Alternative qualifications

We recognize that applicants follow a variety of pathways into higher education, and accordingly we might accept applicants with alternative qualifications (besides A-levels and the International Baccalaureate). These can include:

  • Access to HE Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma
  • BTEC Extended Diploma

Students with queries about the applicability of their qualification are encouraged to contact us.

For more information see the alternative qualifications page.

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, the University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.  


The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

Typical year one modules


Academic Community

This module offers an introduction to key issues and skills in English for those making the transition to university-level study and emphasises points of intersection between the diverse disciplines contained within the study of English at Nottingham. Taught in small groups by your Personal Tutor, you are encouraged to explore—critically and reflectively—what it means to be a student of English, and will be supported in developing a toolkit of study, research and communication skills which can be transferred to other modules.

Learning objectives:

  • To introduce key issues of university study in general and the discipline of English in particular to students making the transition from school to university.
  • To enable you to develop your understanding of the intersections between different branches of the discipline of English.
  • To enable you to reflect on and begin to develop effective skills for study and research, reflective writing, and oral presentation.
  • To provide knowledge and understanding of elements of the literary, cultural and historical contexts for literature, language and drama.
Beginnings of English

This module introduces you to the varied languages, literatures and cultures of medieval England (c.500-1500). You will read a variety of medieval texts which were originally written in Old English, Middle English and Old Norse. We study some texts in translation, but we also introduce you to aspects of Old and Middle English language to enable you to enjoy the nuance and texture of English literary language in its earliest forms. 

We will read texts in a variety of genres, from epic and elegy, to saga, romance and fable. We will discuss ideas of Englishness and identity, and learn about the production and transmission of texts in the pre-modern period.

Learning objectives:

  • To introduce you to linguistic vocabulary and terminology.
  • To enable you to become proficient in reading Old English and Middle English.
  • To give you an understanding of the complexities of English grammar, past and present.
  • To give you an understanding of the origins of English, and its development over the medieval period.
  • To familiarise you with the themes and genre of medieval English literature.
Drama, Theatre, Performance

This module explores the extraordinary variety of drama in the Western dramatic tradition. You will examine dramatic texts in relation to their historical context, moving from the theatre of ancient Greece, English medieval drama, the theatre of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, the Restoration stage, to nineteenth-century naturalism. In addition to texts produced by writers from Sophocles to Ibsen, you will also consider a variety of extra-textual features of drama, including the performance styles of actors, the significance of performance space and place, and the composition of various audiences. 

You will study selected plays in workshops, seminars and lectures, during which we will explore adaptation and interpretation of the texts through different media resources.
You will also have the opportunity to engage in practical theatre-making, exploring extracts from the selected play-texts in short, student-directed scenes in response to key questions about performance.

Learning objectives:

  • To provide you with an understanding of drama as a performance medium, in which real people and objects are presented to other people in real, shared space.
  • To introduce you to a range of historical performance conventions, including Ancient Greek tragedy and nineteenth century naturalism.
  • To enable you to recognise and analyse the varied elements which constitute performance.
  • To provide you with knowledge and understanding of the social, historical and cultural contexts of various play-texts.
Language and Context

This module teaches you about the nature of language, as well as how to analyse it for a broad range of purposes, preparing you for studies across all sections of the School.

During the weekly workshops you will learn about levels of language analysis and description, from the sounds and structure of language, through to meaning and discourse. These can be applied to all areas of English study, and will prepare you for future modules. Weekly lectures and seminars provide the Context part of the module. In the lectures you will see how the staff here in the School of English put these skills of analysis and description to use in their own research. This covers the study of language in relation to the mind, literature, culture, society, and more. The seminars will then give you a chance to think about and discuss these topics further.

Learning objectives:

  • To provide you with methods of language analysis and description for each linguistic level (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, discourse)
  • To prepare you for conducting your own language research across your degree
  • To introduce you to the areas of research and study within the School, with particular focus on psycholinguistics, literary linguistics, and sociolinguistics
Studying Literature

This module introduces you to some of the core skills for literary studies, including skills in reading, writing, researching and presentation. The module addresses topics including close reading, constructing an argument, and handling critical material, as well as introducing you to key critical questions about literary form, production and reception. These elements are linked to readings of specific literary texts, focused on poetry and prose selected from the full range of the modern literary period (1500 to the present).

Across the year you will learn about different interpretive approaches and concepts, and will examine literary-historical movements and transitions.

Learning objectives:

  • To introduce you to selected literary texts, to deepen your imaginative engagement and analytic response.
  • To provide you with a basis of knowledge, working methods and appropriate terminology for subsequent work at university level.
  • To provide you with knowledge and understanding of the literary, cultural and historical contexts for literature from the period 1500 to the present, and the relationship between period and genre.

You are able to take optional modules in year one. Those offered by the School of English may include:


Creative Writing Practice

This module introduces you to the process of writing drama, poetry and fiction by engaging in a variety of forms of reading, writing and performance practice. Activities include creative and analytical responses to published writing, writing exercises in poetry, drama and fiction, and revision of work written over the course of the module. The poetry content includes imagery, line and metre, and poetic form; the fiction content includes character, narrative, and point of view; the drama content includes scene, dialogue and character. The module also includes material on the contexts of writing, including: publication, performance and literary interviews.

Learning objectives:

  • To guide you in the practice of the process of writing, including using notebooks and making revisions.
  • To develop your skills in writing and reading to develop an awareness of literary contexts and creative and aesthetic possibilities.
  • To provide knowledge and understanding of elements of poetry (rhythm, imagery, and poetic form), fiction (character, narrative and point of view) and drama (scene, dialogue, character).
Regional Writers

This module introduces you to the work of selected regional writers, including Nottinghamshire writers (e.g. DH Lawrence), considering how their work engages with regional landscapes, the literary and industrial heritage of their area, and other distinctive cultural elements such as dialect.  

The module will allow you to reflect on recent theoretical developments in the field of literary geography, while also equipping you to read and appreciate literary works through a focus on their tangible social and historical contexts.

Learning objectives:

  • To provide you with knowledge of a range of literary works by notable regional writers.
  • To provide an introduction to the study of literary geography, place and space in literary works.
Shakespeare's Histories: Critical Approach

Shakespeare is a cultural and literary icon. This module seeks to explore some of the many reasons behind that fact by focussing on one particular genre of drama: the history plays, which was hugely popular in England’s commercial playhouses in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Looking in detail at a sequence of four plays – Richard II, Henry IV parts 1 and 2, and Henry V – the module will consider key themes, including kingship, power and authority, national and regional identities, sexual politics, war, and ideas of community. In addition, we will use these plays as a lens through which to examine Shakespeare’s engagement with the linguistic, performative, and socio-political contexts of his time.

Bringing matters up to the present day, the module will deploy a range of media resources, including film and performance archives, to consider the ways in which these plays continue to resonate and reverberate in the modern era. The relevance of the history plays within new social and political contexts and in new eras of war and conflict will be the focus of analysis, allowing us to think about Shakespeare in performance, on the screen, and in various forms of adaptation.

Learning objectives:

  • To provide you with an understanding of key issues related to the production and reception of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets.
  • To consider Shakespeare’s position as a cultural and literary icon.
  • To provide you with knowledge and understanding of the genre of early modern history plays with specific reference to Shakespeare.
The Viking World

More than any other group, the Vikings shaped the history of Europe. Their stories and myths are still the subject of fiction, poetry, film and art. This interdisciplinary module introduces you to the impact of the Viking Age and of the Viking Expansion. You will become familiar with concepts such as diasporic settlements and identity, as well as being introduced to the various ways of evaluating sources from the Viking Age and beyond (such as historical sources, material culture etc.).  You will also learn about the myths and the language, as well as the culture of the Viking Age and beyond.  This module is specifically designed as an introduction to Viking Studies. No previous knowledge of history, language or literature or archaeology is necessary. 

Learning objectives: 

  • To introduce you to the culture of medieval Scandinavia and the Viking-settled areas.
  • To introduce you to the study of different source types (text, language and material culture) and to interdisciplinary research, including an awareness of the sources of medieval literature.
  • To provide you with knowledge and understanding of the history and culture of Northern Europe and the North Atlantic around the first millennium.
  • To explore concepts of migration and identity in the early Middle Ages.
  • To provide you with understanding of the relationships between texts and historical contexts.

Alternatively, you may prefer to start or continue learning a language, or choose other modules from across the Arts faculty and the University, such as in American studies, philosophy, history, art history  or classics.

Typical year three modules

The modules we offer in year three are inspired by the research interests of our staff. You will be able to choose six modules based on the indicative topics below.

Literature 1500 to the present

    • The Self and the World: Writing in the Long Eighteenth Century
    • Contemporary Fiction
    • Making Something Happen: Twentieth Century Poetry and Politics
    • Single Author Study
    • Dark Futures, Tainted Pasts: Dystopian and Gothic Fictions
    • Reformation and Revolution: Early Modern literature and drama 1588-1688
    • Island and Empire
    • Henry James and Oscar Wilde             

English language and applied linguistics

    • Teaching English as a Foreign Language
    • Language and the Mind
    • Advanced Stylistics
    • Discourses of Health and Work
    • Language and Feminism

Medieval languages and literatures

    • The Literature of the Anglo-Saxons
    • English Place-Names
    • Dreaming the Middle Ages: Visionary Poetry in Scotland and England
    • The Viking Mind

Drama and performance

    • Theatre Making
    • Performing the Nation: British Theatre since 1980
    • Reformation and Revolution: Early Modern literature and drama 1588-1688
    • Changing Stages: Theatre Industry and Theatre Art
    • Modern Irish Literature and Drama
    • Writing for Performance

Creative writing

If you chose Creative Writing Practice in year one as an option you may take any of the following modules: 

    • Advanced writing practice: Fiction
    • Advanced Writing Practice: Poetry
    • Writing for performance

Individual research project
You will have the option of writing an individual research project in year three. This will give you the chance to work on a one-to-one basis with a supervisor on an agreed area of study to produce a detailed and sustained piece of writing. This can be on a topic of language, literature or performance, or there is the option of undertaking a project-based dissertation, which will suit those students interested in applied or 'hands on' aspects of English as a discipline. The topics available build on the School’s engagement with local theatres and literacy projects. 

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.

English Dissertation: Full year
English Dissertation: Spring Semester only
Project-Based Dissertation



By studying for a degree in English at Nottingham, you will gain many vital transferable skills identified as essential for high-level graduate employment and postgraduate study: communication and professional practice; creativity, initiative and problem-solving.

You will learn to plan your work, and develop the qualities of self-discipline, self-motivation and initiative that are essential to any form of graduate employment. We will help you develop your ability to research and process a large amount of information quickly, and to present the results of your research in an articulate and effective way.

In addition to these skills, you will also have the opportunity to develop your employability profile further through innovative, bespoke placement and volunteering opportunities which create a bridge between your academic interests and the professional world of work. There are opportunities to accredit your extracurricular activities through the University’s Nottingham Advantage Award and in your final year, you may also have chance to complete a project-based dissertation.

For more information, please visit: www.nottingham.ac.uk/english/careers

Graduate career destinations

Graduates in English, as with many arts graduates, find themselves faced with many choices when it comes to selecting a career. No matter what your initial choice may be, you will find that the skills and knowledge that you have developed during your degree will have equipped you for the demanding and often highly changeable nature of the 21st-century workplace. Careers of our recent graduates have included:

    • accountancy, banking and finance
    • acting, television, film editing and related creative industries
    • business, consultancy and management
    • civil service and local government administration
    • events/exhibition management
    • human resource management
    • insurance
    • journalism - periodicals and broadcasting
    • law
    • librarianship, museum and archive and collection work
    • marketing, advertising and public relations 
    • management in the charitable sector
    • politics
    • primary and secondary school teaching
    • public relations
    • publishing and editorial work
    • social work
    • teaching English as a foreign language
    • tourism and heritage
    • writing  - as authors, poets, playwrights
    • university administration
    • university lecturing

Some students may decide that another year (or more) of study may give them an edge when it comes to seeking out a career and may, for example, choose to undertake postgraduate study or teacher training.

Careers support and advice

We have a Careers and Employability Service on campus, with dedicated  School of English support. The service works with students individually and in groups to deliver an extensive range of services such as:

    • careers advice
    • CV reviews
    • drop-in sessions
    • graduate job fairs
    • help finding the latest vacancies listings.

Average starting salary and career progression

Five years after graduation, Nottingham English graduates earned on average £29,700, which is the third highest earnings for English graduates at any UK university (behind only Oxford and Cambridge) and £5,681 higher than the median for all universities. Nottingham was also 3rd in the Russell Group with earnings £2,959 above the Russell Group median. This was the highest rank of any subject at Nottingham.*

* Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.


Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.

Time in lectures, seminars and similar

The figure given for teaching in lectures, seminars and similar activities is an overall average calculated across the three years of the degree. We guarantee a minimum of 12 hours a week contact time in year 1 (26%), 10 hours in year 2 (17%) and 8 hours in year 3 (13%), with the increasing proportion of independent study time reflecting the enhanced research management and project development skills which our students gain during the course of their study with us.


This course includes one or more pieces of formative assessment.

How to use the data

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.


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