Undergraduate prospectus

  • Start date: September 2017

English BA

This programme aims to provide a historically based overview of the literature of all periods, together with opportunities to specialise in particular periods of literature, in modern English language, and in non-period modules. Students are encouraged to develop their own interests and may choose from a wide variety of specialisms.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2017
UCAS code
Full-time: 3 years
Application deadline
15 January 2017
London, Bloomsbury
Applications per place
10 (2015 entry)*
Total intake
95 (2017 entry)*
* Figures relate to English subject area

Entry requirements

A levels

English Literature (or combined Literature and Language) required.
English Language at grade B, plus Mathematics at grade C. For UK-based students, a grade C or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-reqs

IB Diploma

A total of 18 points in three higher level subjects including English A1 at grade 6, with no score below 5.

UK applicants qualifications

For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:

Equivalent qualification

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme

Pass in Access to HE Diploma, with a minimum of 23 credits awarded with Distinction in the Level 3 units, the remainder of the Level 3 units awarded with Merit.

D3,D3,D3 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects. English Literature required

A,A,A at Advanced Highers (or A,A at Advanced Higher and A,A,A at Higher). English Literature required at Advanced Higher.

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A-Levels at grades AAA. English Literature required.

International applications

In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are intensive one-year foundation courses for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.

Typical UPC students will be high achievers in a 12-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.

For more information see: www.ucl.ac.uk/upc.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.

The English language level for this programme is: Advanced

A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Degree benefits

  • Studying English at UCL provides you with an inspired setting: central London has long been the centre of British literary life and you will be surrounded by world-class libraries.
  • UCL was at the forefront of the establishment of English literature as a university subject and the department is regularly ranked first in the country (for example in the Guardian University Guide)
  • UCL English Language & Literature has a strong tradition of links with the literary world. Practising writers are invited to give readings and there is a writer-in-residence programme.
  • In addition to core modules on Shakespeare and Chaucer the undergraduate syllabus offers a wide range of optional modules in many historical periods.

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014

The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.

The following REF score was awarded to the department: English Language and Literature.

  • 85% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)

Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.

Degree structure

In the first year of your degree you will take four modules which constitute a foundation for the study of English Literature. Students study eight further modules across years two and three (four in each year). Two of those eight are compulsory: the other six options are chosen from a list which cover all periods of English Literature.

The first year of the English BA acts as a foundation for the two following years, covering major narrative texts from the Renaissance to the present, background texts from Homer to Freud and Barthes, Anglo-Saxon and medieval writings and the study of critical method.

In the second and third years you will study compulsory modules on Chaucer and Shakespeare, and will choose six further modules from a wide range of options. American literature and literature in English from other countries outside Europe feature strongly on several modules and attention is paid to the study of film.


An indicative guide to the structure of this programme, year by year.

Core or compulsory module(s)

Narrative Texts
Intellectual and Cultural Sources
Introduction to Medieval Language and Literature

Optional modules

All first-year modules are compulsory.

Core or compulsory module(s)

Chaucer and his Literary Background

Optional modules

You will normally select 3.0 credits of optional modules. Optional modules in the second and third years may include:

Old English I
Old Icelandic
Middle English I
Renaissance Literature
The Seventeenth Century
The Victorian Period
Modern Literature I
London in Literature
Modern English Language
Literary Linguistics

Core or compulsory module(s)

Research Essay
Commentary and Analysis

Optional modules

You will select a further 2.0 credits of optional modules. Optional modules in the second and third years may include:

Old English II
Middle English II
The Eighteenth Century
The Romantic Period
American Literature to 1890
Modern Literature II
History of the English Language
Literary Representations and the History of Homosexuality

Your learning

We teach through lectures, seminars and tutorials. Our one-to-one tutorial teaching is, we think, a unique provision in English departments in the UK. Tutorials provide the opportunity to discuss with your tutor your individual written work and academic progress, and for you to raise any concerns or queries about your courses or other matters.


Most modules are assessed by three-hour question papers, but some modules are examined by six-hour examinations with plain texts provided of the author's complete works. You will also be assessed in your third year by a 6,000-word Research Essay chosen by you with guidance from your tutor.

Further Information

Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: English BA.


Good graduates in English are articulate, can write clearly, undertake research and can present evidence for and against a case, all of which will make you highly employable.

Traditional career paths include publishing, journalism and teaching, but English graduates are also sought by the civil service, local government, finance, business, the media and film. Some of the destinations in recent years have included Deloitte, Waterstones, Oxford University Press, the BBC, Granada TV, Sotheby's and Reuters in New York.

Graduates have gone on to Master's or doctoral degrees and to teacher training and law courses.


First career destinations of recent graduates (2012-2014) of this programme include:

  • Events Co-ordinator, Shakespeare's Globe
  • Civil Servant (Fast Track), UK Government
  • Production Assistant, BBC
  • Publisher, Random House

*Data taken from the 'Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education' survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012-2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.

UCL is committed to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers and UCL Innovation and Enterprise can help you find employment or learn about entrepreneurship.

Student view

The main benefit of the programme is definitely the one-to-one tutorial system. Students are allocated a different tutor each year, and although the fortnightly essays may seem a little heavy, the tailored feedback we receive is invaluable. The opportunity to discuss poems, prose, and plays with experts in their field is exciting for both students and their tutors. Anjelica Barbe - English BA (Third Year)

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2017/18 academic year and are for the first year of the programme at UCL only.

UK/EU students
£9,250 (2017/18)
Overseas students
£17,710 (2017/18)

The UK/EU fee quoted above may be subject to increase for the 2018/19 academic year and for each year of study thereafter and UCL reserves the right to increase its fees in line with UK government policy (including on an annual basis for each year of study during a programme). Fees for overseas students may be subject to an annual increase in subsequent years of study by up to 5%.

Please see the full details of UCL's fees and possible changes on the UCL Current Students website


Various funding options are available, including student loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students whose household income falls below a certain level may also be eligible for a non-repayable bursary or for certain scholarships. Please see the Fees and funding pages for more details.

Departmental scholarships

The Scholarships and Funding website lists scholarships and funding schemes available to UCL students. These may be open to all students, or restricted to specific nationalities, regions or academic department.

Application and next steps

Your application

The personal statement on your application is of great importance as we see it as an indicator of your ability to think and write about literature, and your capacity and curiosity to learn. You should aim to give the fullest possible account of your literary interests, and indicate the extent of your reading outside your A level or other qualifying studies.

How to apply

Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.

Application deadline: 15 January 2017


Selected UK-based candidates, whose UCAS applications meet our entry criteria and include a strong personal statement, will be invited to interview with two members of staff. After the interview you will be asked to write a critical commentary on an unseen passage of prose or verse.

If you live outside the UK your application will be considered without interview, but we may contact you for further information.

For further information on UCL's selection process see: Selection of students

Page last modified on 13 January 2017 at 10:09 by UCL Student Recruitment Marketing.