UCL-IoE merger

UCL and the Institute of Education merged on December 2, 2014. Learn about the study options available to you.


Admissions Officer

Mr James Phillips

Email: james.phillips@ucl.ac.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 7122

More Information

Subject area:


Faculty overview:

Faculty of Arts and Humanities

Department website:

English Language and Literature

Key Facts

Research Assessment Exercise

65% rated 4* (‘world-leading’) or 3* (‘internationally excellent’)
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English BA

UCAS code: Q300

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 courses. Students are encouraged to develop their own interests and may choose from a wide variety of specialisms.

Entry requirements

A Levels

Grades AAA
Subjects English Literature (or combined Literature and Language) required.
AS Levels For UK-based students a pass in a further subject at AS level or equivalent is required.
GCSEs 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

Points 38
Subjects A total of 18 points in three higher level subjects including English A1 grade 6, with no score below 5.

Other qualifications

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

Selected entry requirements will appear here

International applicants

International qualifications

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

Select country above, equivalent grades appear here.

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

UCL offers intensive one-year foundation courses to prepare international students for a variety of degree programmes at UCL.

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

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

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you will also need to satisfy UCL's English Language Requirements. 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 as the top in the country (for example, in the Guardian university guide)
  • The English department 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 courses on Shakespeare and Chaucer the undergraduate syllabus offers a wide range of optional courses in many historical periods.

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

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

Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual courses, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Courses are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional courses varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 1.0 credit is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Year One

Compulsory courses

Approaches to Criticism
Intellectual and Cultural Sources
Introduction to Medieval Language and Literature

Optional courses

All first year courses are compulsory.

Year Two

Compulsory courses

Chaucer and his Literary Background

Optional courses

You will normally select 3.0 credits of optional courses (see list below).

Year Three

Compulsory courses

Special Subject Essay
Course Assessment

Optional courses

You will normally select 3.0 credits of option courses, one of which would normally be Commentary and Analysis.
Optional courses in the second and third years may include:
American Literature to 1890
History of the Language since Chaucer
Literary Linguistics
Literary Representation and the History of Homosexuality
London in Literature
Middle English Language
Modern English Literature
Old English Literature
Old Icelandic
Renaissance Literature
The Modern Period
The Romantic Period
The Victorian Period

Further details on 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's, Waterstone's, 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 (2010-2012) of this programme include:

  • Publisher, Random House (2012)
  • Editorial Assistant, Vogue (2011)
  • Journalist, The Sunday Telegraph (2011)
  • Production Trainee, BBC (2011)
  • Parliamentary Assistant, House of Commons (2010)

Find out more about London graduates' careers by visiting the Careers Group (University of London) website:

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.


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.

Video: how to make your application stand out

Video: applying to UCL through UCAS

Fees and funding

UK & EU fee

£9,000 (2014/15)

Overseas fee

£15,200 (2014/15)

General funding notes

Details about financial support are available at: www.ucl.ac.uk/study/ug-finance

Playlist: funding for UK/EU and overseas students

Undergraduate playlist

Video channels

Page last modified on 26 feb 14 08:05