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 highly regarded and varied syllabus that 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
3 years
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
£9,250 (2022/23)
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
£24,000 (2022/23)
Programme starts
September 2023
Application deadline
26 Jan 2022
UCAS course code

Entry requirements

English Literature (or combined Literature and Language) required.
English Language at grade B or 6 and Mathematics at grade C or 5.

Contextual offer information

ABB more about contextual offers
English Literature (or combined Language and Literature) at grade A required.
English Language at grade B or 6 and Mathematics at grade C or 5.
A total of 18 points in three higher level subjects including English A1 at grade 6, with no score below 5.

Contextual offer

34 more about contextual offers
A total of 16 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 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.

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

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

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

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.

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

UCL 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: ucl.ac.uk/upc.

English language requirements

The English language level for this programme is: Advanced

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.

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 the study of intellectual and cultural sources (texts which influence English literature but which are not in themselves necessarily classified as such).

In the second and third year 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. One students must take at least pre-1800 module and at least one post-1800 module.  You will also have the opportunity to study American 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 (although one desk exam 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 inspiring 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 amongst 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.

UCL English has a strong tradition of links with the literary world. Practising writers are invited to give readings; there is a writer-in-residence programme; and a wide range of extracurricular culture, media and journalism-based student societies.

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.

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.


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.

Compulsory module(s)

  • Narrative Texts
  • Criticism and Theory
  • Intellectual and Cultural Sources
  • Introduction to Medieval Language and Literature

Optional modules

All first-year modules are compulsory.

Compulsory module(s)

Chaucer and his Literary Background

Optional modules

You will normally select three optional modules (see our department website for a list, and under the Year 3 tab for an indicative sample).

Compulsory module(s)

  • Research Essay
  • Shakespeare

Optional modules

You will normally select three optional modules, one of which would usually be Commentary and Analysis.

Optional modules in the second and third years include (amongst others):

  • Old English I: Stories from the Heroic Age & Old English II: Books from the Era of Invasion and Reform
  • Middle English I & II
  • Renaissance Literature 1520-1625
  • The Seventeenth Century
  • Eighteenth-Century Literature
  • The Romantic Period
  • The Victorian Period
  • American Literature to 1900
  • The Modern Period I: 1900-1950 & The Modern Period II: 1950-present
  • Literary Representations and the History of Homosexuality
  • London in Literature
  • History of the English Language
  • Modern English Language
  • Literary Linguistics
  • Classical Poetry and its Reception in English Literature

(Please note that this is an indicative list and subject to change.)

Your learning


Most modules are assessed by examination, which usually entails three-hour written papers. However, for up to two modules you may submit longer essays in place of a desk 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 6000-word research essay on a topic chosen by you with guidance from your tutor.


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

The foundation of your career

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

Many 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 law, teacher training, archive management, and chartered surveying among other professions.


Good 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.

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.

Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time
Tuition fees (2022/23) £9,250 (2022/23)
Tuition fees (2022/23) £24,000 (2022/23)

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2022/23 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 2022/23 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: ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/undergraduate/funding-your-studies.

Additional costs

Additional costs may include expenses such as books, stationery, printing or photocopying.

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.


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 personal statement in your UCAS 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 focus your statement on telling us what you find engaging in particular texts,  writers, or literary movements. We want to see in your writing not just that you love English literature but that you have the literary critical ability to do well on the programme.

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 an informal twenty-minute interview with two members of staff. These are held on a rolling basis between November and March. After the interview you will have a forty-minute written assessment, at which you will be asked to write a critical commentary on an unseen passage of poetry or prose.

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

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