Access and Widening Participation


UCL English masterclass attracts around 100 Year 12 pupils from underrepresented backgrounds

19 March 2024

The UCL Access and Widening Participation team are running a series of Masterclasses for Year 12s from underrepresented backgrounds to enable them to engage with a range of subjects at university level.  

masterclass participants sat at a table in a modern ucl classroom

The online masterclass series is run annually and subjects range from English Language and Literature to Medicine, Chemical Engineering, Computer Science and lots more. Drawing an increased attendance compared to the previous year, this year’s English Masterclass proved particularly popular in January 2024, with close to 100 pupils in attendance. 

Hosted by Dr Beth Malory from the UCL Department of English Language and Literature, the Masterclass titled "A Linguistic Toolkit for Approaching Literary Texts" aimed to introduce participants to the fundamental tools of an undergraduate English degree. Dr Malory's engaging hour-long lecture aimed to equip attendees with invaluable tools for dissecting and analysing literary texts, showcasing the skills that English academics use in their work. 

The session focused on four key elements: style, choice, foregrounding, and figurative language, illustrated through a number of examples spanning texts, media, and artworks. Attendees were  invited to participate actively in the session, posing thought-provoking questions and engaging in open discussion at the end of the lecture. 

One masterclass attendee said: 

I absolutely loved it, and found what was spoken about by Beth so interesting and well selected. It linked really nicely into my other A Level subjects and I feel that I can take so much from this for my non-exam assessment on '1984' and my texts that I am studying for my two formal papers, especially the focus on transitivity / genre, contextualised by the genre of magic realism. Thank you for the opportunity! I am really looking forward to other masterclasses I have with UCL in the coming months.” 

Whilst another participant said: 

It was really insightful and enabled me to broaden my knowledge regarding my A-Level English studies which I will definitely utilise within my studies moving forward. It also sparked a further interest in English and linguistics, which I look forward to moving forward with in my own time but also at university.” 

UCL Access Officer, Lana Winslow, remarked: 

The Access Team are delighted with the participant engagement during the UCL English Masterclass. This was our last January session, and several students had attended all four January Masterclasses, which is incredibly encouraging to see.

Dr Malory’s presentation exceeded the high standard applicants should expect from a UCL lecture. The positive reception to her lecture was evident in the thoughtful questions posed at the end of the session and the feedback we received from attendees.  

We hope the attendees of this Masterclass have gained more subject-specific English knowledge. We also hope that they can envision themselves studying at a university like UCL."

Beyond the immediate academic enrichment, the Masterclass served as a glimpse into university life at UCL, instilling confidence in prospective students to pursue English studies at prestigious institutions. Encouraging future attendees, the organisers highlighted the accessibility of Masterclasses and urged exploration of other subjects offered in 2024. 

Applications are still open for the upcoming sessions in April covering Philosophy, Computer Science, Mathematics and Education, Society and Culture. 

Further links