English BA

London, Bloomsbury

This programme provides a historically-based overview of literature from the seventh century to the present day, together with opportunities to specialise in particular periods of literature, in modern English language, and in thematic areas. We offer a syllabus rich in the literature of different times and genres. It combines traditional literary skills and modern thought. Students are encouraged and supported to develop their own interests and specialisms.

UK students International students
Study mode
Full-time
Duration
3 academic years
UK tuition fees (2024/25)
£9,250
Overseas tuition fees (2024/25)
£28,100
Programme starts
September 2025
Application deadline
29 Jan 2025
UCAS course code
Q300

Entry requirements

Grades
AAA
Subjects
English Literature (or combined Literature and Language) required.
GCSEs
English Language at grade B or 6 and Mathematics at grade C or 4.

Contextual offer information

Contextual offers are typically one to two grades lower than the standard offer. Grade and subject requirements for contextual offers for this programme will be published in Summer 2024.

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

Contextual offer

Contextual offers are typically one to two grade boundaries (equivalent to A levels) lower than the standard offer. IB Diploma grade and subject requirements for contextual offers for this programme will be published in Summer 2024.

UK applicants qualifications

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

Equivalent qualification

Pass in Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 33 credits at Distinction and 12 credits at Merit, all from Level 3 units. Please note, where subject specific requirements are stipulated at A level we may review your Access to HE syllabus to ensure you meet the subject specific requirements prior to a final decision being communicated.

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

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.

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

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

International applications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

Access and widening participation

UCL is committed to widening access to higher education. If you are eligible for Access UCL you do not need to do anything in addition to the standard UCAS application. Your application will be automatically flagged when we receive it.

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates

The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPC) prepare international students for a UCL undergraduate degree who don’t have the qualifications to enter directly. These intensive one-year foundation courses are taught on our central London campus.

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: ucl.ac.uk/upc.

English language requirements

The English language level for this programme is: Level 4

Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.

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

Course overview

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, an introduction to Old and Middle English, the study of critical method and literary theory, and the study of intellectual and cultural sources (texts which influence English literature but which are not in themselves necessarily classified as such).

In your second and third years, you will study compulsory modules on Chaucer and Shakespeare and choose six further modules, covering literature from the Old English period to the present day. Students must take at least one pre-1800 module and at least one post-1800 module. You will also have the opportunity to study American literature, colonial and postcolonial literature and literature in English from other countries. 

Within these compulsory and optional papers, you will work with your tutor and in seminars to focus your reading and essay writing around topics that interest you within the parameters of your chosen modules. The degree thus combines breadth and depth with individual freedom to explore a wide variety of writers and ideas.

The flexible second- and third-year programme is deliberately structured to give you maximum freedom to choose modules in whichever combination suits you.

Modules are assessed by regular tutorial essays and final examinations at the end of the second and third years (one examination per year may be substituted for a coursework essay). During the third year, you will also independently research and write a longer essay about a topic of particular interest.

What this course will give you

Studying English at UCL provides you with an inspirational setting: London, and the Bloomsbury area in particular, have long been at the centre of British literary life and you will be surrounded by world-class libraries and special collections.

UCL was at the forefront of the establishment of English Literature as a university subject, and the department is regularly ranked among the best in the country. We are the only English department in the UK to maintain guaranteed one-to-one tutorial teaching across all three years of the programme.

The wide-ranging nature of the department's optional modules is designed to give you an overview of developments in literary periods and movements, and in the English language, whilst allowing you to pursue your own interests through specialised sign-up seminars and tutorial teaching.

UCL English has a strong tradition of links with the literary world. Practising writers are invited to give readings and a wide range of extracurricular culture, media and journalism-based student activities take place during the year.

Teaching and learning

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 modules are chosen from a list covering many periods of English literature and various themes within the discipline.

Upon successful completion of 360 credits, you will be awarded a BA (Hons) in English.

Modules

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change. Modules that are in use for the current academic year are linked for further information. Where no link is present, further information is not yet available.

The first year of the English BA acts as a foundation for the following two years, covering major narrative texts from the Renaissance to the present, an introduction to Old and Middle English, the study of critical method and literary theory, and the study of intellectual and cultural sources (texts which influence English literature but which are not in themselves necessarily classified as such).

In your second and third years, you will study compulsory modules on Chaucer and Shakespeare and will choose six further modules from a wide range: from Old English to Modern Literature since 1945 to Homosexuality and Queerness in Literary History, and many more. American literature and literature in English from other countries also feature strongly.

Within these compulsory and optional modules, you will work with your tutor and in seminars to focus your reading and essay writing around topics that interest you within the parameters of your chosen modules. The degree thus combines breadth and depth with individual freedom to explore writers and ideas, as well as providing you with the opportunity to undertake interdisciplinary research. Many students opt to write on topics that connect literature to, for example, visual arts and music.

Modules are assessed by a combination of regular tutorial essays and final examinations at the end of the second and third years. In the third year, you will also write a longer research essay on a topic of particular interest.

Your learning

We teach in lectures, seminars and tutorials. Our one-to-one tutorial teaching is unique among English departments in the UK. Fortnightly tutorials provide the opportunity to discuss your individual written work and academic progress with your tutor, as well as raise any concerns or queries about your modules or other matters.

22% of a student's time during the two teaching terms will be spent in lectures, seminars and tutorials, and the remainder in independent study and writing essays for the ten tutorials, which take place across Terms 1 and 2. In Term 3, students will be preparing for and sitting examinations.

Assessment

Most modules are assessed by examination, however for up to two modules you may submit longer essays in place of a examination. In addition, throughout the three years of the programme you will receive a mark based on your tutorial essays at the end of each term. You will also be assessed in your third year by a 6,000-word research essay on a topic chosen by you with guidance from your tutor.

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support and Wellbeing team.

UCL BLOOMSBURY CAMPUS, WC1H 0AH AND UCL EAST, E20 2AE, LONDON, UK - Open day

Undergraduate In-person Open Days

Visit UCL in person to explore the programmes we offer, chat with students and staff, learn about student life at UCL and ask any questions you may have. At this year’s event, you will get the chance to explore UCL’s rich and radical history at both our historical Bloomsbury and the new East campuses. You only need to attend one of the two dates, but you are welcome to visit us at both locations. Book your place and start planning your visit on our Undergraduate Open Days page.

The foundation of your career

Traditional career paths for English graduates include publishing, journalism and teaching, but graduates are also sought after by the civil service, local government, finance, business, the media and film.

According to the Graduate Outcomes survey*, some career destinations in recent years include the Evening Standard, the Treasury, Natwest, KPMG and Waterstones Booksellers.

A number of our graduates go on to further study in the UK and elsewhere, pursuing Master's and PhD programmes as well as postgraduate courses in other related subjects

*Graduate Outcomes survey carried out by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), looking at the destinations of UK and EU graduates in the 2017 - 2021 cohorts. 

Employability

Graduates in English are articulate, can write clearly, can undertake research, and can present evidence for and against a case. These transferable skills will make you highly employable in the eyes of a wide range of employers.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2024/25) £9,250
Tuition fees (2024/25) £28,100

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2024/25 academic year. The UK fees shown are for the first year of the programme at UCL only. Fees for future years may be subject to an inflationary increase. The Overseas fees shown are the fees that will be charged to 2024/25 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.

Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website.

Additional costs

While the department strives to keep additional costs low, students may incur expenses such as books, stationery, printing or photocopying. Books and journal articles are usually available via the UCL library (hard copies or via e-journal subscriptions).

A guide including rough estimates for these and other living expenses is included on the UCL Fees and funding pages. If you are concerned by potential additional costs for books, equipment, etc., please get in touch with the relevant departmental contact (details given on this page).

Funding your studies

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.

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.

Next steps

Your application

The English Department at UCL seeks to recruit clever and intellectually ambitious students, with a hunger for reading every kind of literature. Since the English BA is a competitive programme, and most of our applicants will have achieved excellent academic results, we are particularly looking for students who have the initiative to go beyond the school curriculum. Candidates should be able to demonstrate a keen and critical interest in topics related to English literature and language. In other respects, there is no such thing as a typical student on the English BA; those undertaking the course come from richly diverse educational and social backgrounds, a significant number through the AccessUCL scheme.

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.

Selection

For further information on UCL's selection process see: How we assess your application.

Selected UK-based candidates whose UCAS applications meet our entry criteria and include a strong personal statement will be invited to an informal online interview of approximately twenty minutes with two members of staff. These are held on a rolling basis between November and March. In addition to the interview, these candidates will completea forty-minute written assessment, in which they will be asked to write a critical commentary on an unseen passage of poetry or prose. If you live outside the UK your application will usually be considered without an interview. We may contact you for further information by asking you to complete a questionnaire instead of an interview (which aims to follow a similar format to the face-to-face interview and written assessment).

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.