In 1821 Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote that ‘poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world’. A century on, Ezra Pound described artists as the ‘antennae of the race’. Literature is provocative, challenging, unsettling and transformational; it exposes us to new perspectives and undermines existing certainties. At the University of Derby, we believe that the study of literature should do this too.
- Choose our foundation year route if you want to strengthen your knowledge and skills before you progress to stage one of the BA (Hons) English degree
- This degree will change the way that you think: you will encounter a wide range of literature from across the globe, studied in the context of perspective-altering theories concerning identity, desire, cultural politics and the nature of reality itself.
- You will explore fascinating aspects of the subject, including classical myth, the evolution of fantasy, the representation of crime, the legacy of Empire, cultural politics, existentialist writing, blasphemy and censorship.
- The course equips you with the skills and knowledge you need for excellent career prospects in fields ranging from teaching, journalism and publishing to acting and arts administration.
- Our teaching team is made up of experts who are passionate about the subject and dedicated to your success: in the latest National Student Survey, 95% of students praised our staff for the quality of their teaching.
- There is the opportunity to broaden your experience with work-based learning projects, study visits to cultural and heritage institutions, as well as lectures and seminars conducted by of guest speakers
- Our assessment strategy is designed to produce confident, articulate and independent graduates. As well as essays, you will be assessed on your participation in seminars and your ability to lead them. We also place great emphasis on developing your research skills, with conference papers and independent projects forming a key part of stages two and three.
- You can choose to study for a semester in one of our American partner universities.
You can also choose to study English through the Joint Honours scheme where you can combine it with another subject.
English at Derby is an exciting, diverse and challenging course that not only incorporates the close analysis of literature, but also considers the situations in which literature is produced and read. This means your studies will include the intellectual and cultural history of art, film, philosophy, linguistics and sociology, as well as contemporary cultural politics.
This course provides you with a firm grounding in the skills and knowledge you need and introduces you to the subject of English, enabling you to achieve your full honours degree in four years. As literature asks questions about who we are, why we are here, and the nature of the world in which we find ourselves, BA (Hons) English reflects the vibrancy, dynamism and profundity of the subject at large.
A broad perspective
You will be introduced to a range of cultural expression from across the globe and from diverse historical periods, broadening your understanding of the variety of human experience and the different literary modes which capture this.
The course covers literatures from the ancient past to the present day; from Africa and the Caribbean, America and continental Europe as well as from Britain and Ireland. It includes detailed surveys of early modern literature, the Enlightenment, the nineteenth-century realist novel and the modernist experiments of the early twentieth century.
You will be taught by an enthusiastic team with research expertise covering a broad range of literary interests.
You will also benefit from guest seminars and lectures, including those given by our Visiting Professor, Catherine Belsey, an internationally-recognised scholar whose work has profoundly influenced the way English is studied and taught.
Tailored to suit you
The flexibility of the English degree means you can choose from a wide range of thought-provoking options in stages two and three so that you can focus on your own literary interests.
The ideal setting
You could not have a better backdrop to your studies than Derbyshire. One of the centres of the British Enlightenment during the eighteenth century, the county has a strong literary heritage and inspired many great writers including Jane Austen, Walter Scott, Charlotte Brontё, George Eliot and Henry James.
A career focused degree
An English degree will open up a range of career options. However, we also recognise the importance of supporting you to develop the skills sought by employers to maximise your employability.
You will have personal development planning (PDP) interviews with your Year Tutor throughout your degree. Your tutor will help you explore career aspirations, review your PDP file and advise you on developing transferable skills.
We offer the opportunity for applied study through our work-based learning modules, which can be taken as options and where you can undertake projects and placements at cultural institutions There is also a programme of employability workshops and talks.
Not just lectures and classrooms
You will take part in trips and study visits to cinemas, film festivals, theatres, museums, galleries and heritage centres where you can observe, broaden your cultural knowledge and also apply what you are learning in practice.
We also work closely with the Derby-based 1623 Theatre Company so you have the opportunity to try your hand at directing play scenes, and with Writing East Midlands so you can contribute to writing-related events,Our innovative conference module, Literature in Society, enables you to collaboratively produce and market a paper to be delivered to an invited audience at a public conference.
Study in America
You can choose to spend part of your degree studying at one of our partner universities in America:
- Eastern Michigan University
- Keene State College in New Hampshire
- Longwood University in Virginia
- Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis
You can also study our Integrated Masters in English (MLit) or our BA (Hons) English Literature and Language. You could also combine English with another subject - find out more about our joint honours degrees.
Foundation Year - helping you to achieve more
Including a foundation year as part of your four-year study programme will give you a head start in your academic and professional life. The foundation year offers the chance to strengthen your skills, knowledge and confidence – with extensive support from our expert staff – before you advance to stage one of your honours degree. It could also be beneficial if you are planning a career change and want to get to grips with aspects of subjects which are new to you.
Our degrees with a foundation year are continuous, meaning that you won’t need to apply again once you have successfully completed the first year.
You will study modules such as:
- Study skills
- Creative Project
- Culture and Ideas
- Political Studies
If you don’t have either English or Maths GCSE, you will need to substitute one or two of the above for a module in English and/or Maths.
- Theorising Literature and Meaning (PDP)
- Enlightenment Literature
- Love and Loss in the English Lyric
- Mutants and Monsters: Interpreting Fantasy
- Shakespeare and Early Modernity
- World Literatures in English
- Literature, Identity and the Real
- Literature in Society: The English Conference (PDP)
- Nineteenth-Century Realism: Conscience and Context
- Milton and the Metaphysicals: Seventeenth-Century Literature
- Poetry and Revolution in the British Romantic Period
- Theatricality and Madness
- Contemporary Issues in the Cultural and Creative Industries
- Introduction to the Teaching of English Language and Literature
- Independent Study (PDP)
- Work-Based Learning
- After the Modern: Existentialism and Postmodernism
- The Art of Crime
- Colonialism and Independence
- Eighteenth-Century Literature: Terror, Wit and Letters of Love
- Gender and Identity in Contemporary Literature
- Modern and Contemporary Poetry
- Riots and Rebels: Studies in Intercultural Drama
- Preparing to Teach English Language and Literature
Please note that our modules are subject to change - we review the content of our courses regularly, making changes where necessary to improve your experience and graduate prospects.
During your foundation year you will be assessed mainly by coursework, and with some in-class tests.
For the rest of your degree the assessment strategy is designed to produce confident, articulate graduates with a broad set of skills. There are no exams and forms of assessment include seminar debates, group presentations and conference papers alongside essays and longer research projects. We place great emphasis on developing your research skills, with independent projects playing a key part in stages two and three.
Who you will meet
You will be taught by our team of engaging, passionate and inspiring subject experts.
Dr Robin Sims is the Programme Leader for BA (Hons) English and the Subject Leader for Joint Honours English. He studied English and American Literature at the University of East Anglia before completing a Masters and PhD at Cardiff University’s Centre for Critical and Cultural Theory. His specialisms include literary theory, modernism and postmodernism, and he has published on psychoanalytic approaches to literature and on the construction of the Green Man in twentieth-century culture.
Dr David Holloway is a Senior Lecturer in American Studies. His research interests include American visual cultures, narratives of apocalypse in American culture and the “war on terror”. His book on Cormac McCarthy was published in 2002 and 9/11 and the War on Terror was published in 2008. He is also the co-editor of American Visual Cultures (2005).
Professor Samuel Kasule is a Professor of Post-colonial Theatre and Performance. He studied Drama and English at Makerere University (Kampala) before completing an MA in Theatre Studies and a PhD in English at Leeds University. His specialisms include drama, postcolonial literatures and postcolonial theory. He has published on Black British theatre, postcolonial writing, and postcolonial performance and drama.
Dr Paul Whickman is a Lecturer in English. He was awarded a PhD from the University of Nottingham in 2013. He specialises in eighteenth and nineteenth-century literature, particularly the Romantic period and the work of Percy Bysshe Shelley. Having published on Byron and Shelley, Paul’s particular research interests are in literary blasphemy, eighteenth-century conceptions of press freedom, copyright and the aesthetics of dissent.
Dr Aled Williams is a Senior Lecturer in English. He was awarded a PhD in English at the University of Warwick in 2001. His specialisms include Romanticism, nineteenth-century literature, and modern and contemporary poetry. He has published on Romantic-period literature, contemporary poetry, and on student writing development in higher education.
September 2020 typical entry requirements
|Requirement||What we're looking for|
|UCAS points||72 (up to 16 from AS-levels)|
|Specific requirements at A-level||N/A|
|Specific requirements at GCSE|
GCSE Maths and English are preferred, however if you don't have these qualifications you will be able to undertake Maths and English at L2 as part of your course of study.
|IELTS||6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)|
|Interview / Audition||N/A|
Alternative entry qualifications:
- BTEC - MPP
- Pass Access to HE Diploma 60 credits: 45 at Level 3 and 15 at Level 2.
We usually consider an A-level in General Studies as a supplementary qualification. A good application/performance will be taken into account if you do not meet the criteria/offer conditions.
Our entry requirements for this course should be read together with the University's general entry requirements, which details subjects we accept, alternative qualifications and what we're looking for at Derby.
A head start in your career
You will be equipped with the skills and knowledge you need to give you excellent career prospects when you graduate. There are exciting opportunities in fields such as teaching, publishing, journalism, librarianship and arts administration, as well as roles in art galleries, media centres and museums.
Ensuring you are ‘work-ready’
Our Careers and Employment Service will provide you with support from day one of your course to ensure that you leave Derby as a ‘work-ready’ graduate - industry aware, motivated and enterprising. Throughout your studies, you will also benefit from our Personal Development Planning (PDP) scheme which enables you to reflect on your learning and develop your career ambitions.
This support continues once you’ve completed your course too: you are entitled to further help and guidance from the Careers and Employment Service for up to three years after leaving the University.
If you need any more information from us, eg on courses, accommodation, applying, car parking, fees or funding, please contact us and we will do everything we can to help you.Contact us
Additional information about your studies
Download programme specification
Like most universities, we operate extended teaching hours at the University of Derby, so contact time with your lecturers and tutors could be anytime between 9am and 9pm. Your timetable will usually be available on the website 24 hours after enrolment on to your course.
Additional costs and optional extras
We’re committed to providing you with an outstanding learning experience. Our expert teaching, excellent facilities and great employability prepare you for your future career. As part of our commitment to you we aim to keep any additional study costs to a minimum. However, there are occasions where students may incur some additional costs.
Included in your fees
- Your fee includes any mandatory study visits and some social events
Mandatory costs not included in your fees
- Purchase of set texts and copies of core text books; costs will vary depending on the source
Optional costs not included in your fees
- Printing and binding of one copy of dissertation, approx. cost £6
Please note: Our courses are refreshed and updated on a regular basis. If you are thinking about transferring onto this course (into the second year for example), you should contact the programme leader for the relevant course information as modules may vary from those shown on this page.