What is Joint Honours?
A Joint Honours degree gives you the opportunity to study two subjects as one degree. This type of degree will broaden your skill set and enhance your career prospects.
You can combine any two subjects as long as they’re in different zones, find out what you can combine this subject with.
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.
- 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
- English at the University of Derby has consistently been highly rated by students in the National Student Satisfaction Survey. BA (Hons.) English achieved 100% overall satisfaction in 2016
- 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 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
- You can benefit from work-based learning projects, study visits to cultural and heritage institutions, as well as lectures and seminars conducted by 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, providing options to produce conference papers and independent projects in the second and third year
- There is the opportunity to study for a semester in one of our American partner universities
- You can broaden your skills and knowledge by combining English 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.
As literature asks questions about who we are, why we are here, and the nature of the world in which we find ourselves, studying English at Derby 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. In the 2016 National Student Survey 100% of our students studying BA (Hons) English agreed that our course is intellectually stimulating and that our staff are good at explaining things.
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 Joint Honours 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
Studying English 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 give you experience of working with various 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 and also apply what you are learning in practice.
Study in America
You can choose to study part of your degree 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
Popular Joint Honours combinations
Joint Honours gives you the flexibility to cover two subjects in one degree. Popular combinations with English include:
You can also study English as a single honours subject or consider our new Integrated Masters in English (MLit), where you can combine undergraduate and postgraduate study in a single four-year programme. We also offer BA (Hons) English Literature and Language with optional TESOL pathway.
You will study a total of 120 credits per year. This will be made up of single or double modules from the Joint Honours subjects you have chosen.
You'll study modules such as:
- Critical Theory I (PDP)
- Mutants and Monsters: Interpreting Fantasy
- Early Modern Words, Early Modern Worlds: Literature in the Sixteenth Century
- Enlightenment Literature
- Myth and English Literature
- Reading American Literature
You'll study modules such as:
- Critical Theory II
- Literature in Society: The English Conference (PDP)
- Nineteenth-Century Realism: Conscience and Context
- The Art of Crime
- Black Atlantic Literatures
- Poetry and Revolution in the British Romantic Period
- Theatricality and Madness
- Transgression and Restoration: Seventeenth-Century Literature
- Contemporary Issues in the Cultural and Creative Industries
You'll study modules such as:
- Independent Study or Work-Based Learning (PDP)
- After the Modern: Existentialism and Postmodernism
- Shakespeare Today
- 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
- Taking and Making Offence: Blasphemy, Obscenity and Censorship from Milton to Rushdie
- Culture and Counter-Culture
Teaching and learning
You will learn through lectures, seminars and tutorials. You will be taught in interactive and varied ways, with plenty of opportunity for you to discuss and debate ideas, so your course stays stimulating and thought-provoking. You will be able to test your ideas, clarify points and develop arguments based on your reading of primary and secondary sources. This will help you develop excellent communication skills, something that employers really value.
You will have opportunities to undertake work-based learning projects and placements at cultural institutions as well as study visits to art galleries, cinemas, heritage centres, museums and theatres. We work closely, for instance, with the Derby-based 1623 Theatre Company, giving students the chance to try their hands at directing play scenes.
Our 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 the second and third year of the programme.
Supporting you all the way
We pride ourselves on being approachable and supportive. You'll have a personal tutor to help and advise you throughout your degree, providing an exceptional level of support.
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.
Mary McNally studied English and French at the University of London before completing a Masters at the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-Upon-Avon. Her specialisms include Shakespeare and Renaissance literature with a particular focus on early modern women’s writing, as well as contemporary gender studies.
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.
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.
† 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.
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.