Course details

Study options

Full-time: 4 years

UK fee

£9,250 per year* (2020/21)

UCAS points

72 (September 2020 entry)

UCAS code


Course level



BA (Hons)

Start date



Kedleston Road, Derby Campus

Course description

It has been argued that reality, as we each experience it, is an effect of language. Literary language, for Martin Amis, conducts a ‘war against cliché’ which unsettles our ideas about the world.

This exciting, diverse and challenging course enables you to explore the consequences of those ideas, and to combine the analysis of the English language, the study of literary history and the theoretically-informed close reading of literature.

This degree incorporates not only the close analysis of literature but also the study of the English language. You will consider both in relation to intellectual history, cultural politics and theories emerging from linguistics.

It 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.

A stimulating study programme

You will be introduced to a range of cultural expression from across the world and from diverse historical periods, broadening your understanding of the variety of human experience and the way it is captured in different literary modes.

The degree will develop your appreciation of the key differences in approach between English Language and English Literature, while also encouraging interdisciplinary study. You will take a range of modules which complement and inform each other, with a focus on how both ‘ordinary’ language and ‘literary’ language interact with ideology, discourse and power.

If you are studying the optional TESOL pathway, the TESOL modules build on the knowledge of language gained in your first year, and start with a second year placement in an educational context. You will be given a grounding in TESOL teaching theory and methodology, culminating in TESOL teaching practice in the third year.

Tailored to suit your interests

This course provides real choice and flexibility: you can select from a wide range of optional modules in stages two and three to focus on your own interests. These offer a broad variety as well as combinations of complementary subjects.

You could, for instance, combine ‘Gender and Identity in Contemporary Literature’ with ‘Language and Identity’ or you could study ‘The Globalisation(s) of English’ alongside ‘Colonialism and Independence’. It means you will benefit from a coherent study programme in which you can explore different but strongly related disciplines.

A career focused degree

An English degree opens up exciting career options and we provide exceptional support to maximise your employability and equip you with the skills employers are looking for. In Personal Development Planning (PDP) interviews throughout your degree, your tutor will help you to explore your career aspirations, review your PDP file and advise on the development of your transferable skills.

You will also have the chance to apply your knowledge in the working world through our Work-Based Learning modules where you can undertake projects and placements at cultural institutions, and you will benefit from our programme of employability workshops and talks.

Not just lectures and classrooms

You can take part in study visits to cinemas, film festivals, theatres, museums, galleries and heritage centres where you can observe and put what you are learning into 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,You could not have a better backdrop to your studies than Derbyshire. The county has a strong literary heritage and inspired many great writers including Jane Austen, Walter Scott, Charlotte Brontё, George Eliot and Henry James.

Inspirational teaching

You will be taught by an enthusiastic team with research expertise covering a broad spectrum of literary and linguistic interests. 

You will also be inspired by 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.

Study in America

You can choose to spend part of your degree studying at one of our partner universities in America:

If you are studying the TESOL pathway, you will be able to take part in summer camps in places such as Lithuania and Estonia instead, which will enable you to get gain first-hand experience of teaching English.

You can also study our Integrated Masters in English (M.Lit) or our BA (Hons) English. 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.

What you will study

You'll study modules such as: 

  • Study skills
  • Creative Project
  • Culture and Ideas
  • History
  • Literature
  • 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
  • Shakespeare and Early Modernity
  • Key Concepts in Linguistics
  • The English Language in History (PDP)
  • Style: Language and Literature
  • Theatricality and Madness
  • Literature, Identity and the Real
  • Modernism
  • Nineteenth-Century Realism: Conscience and Context
  • Poetry and Revolution in the British Romantic Period
  • Milton and the Metaphysicals: Seventeenth-Century Literature
  • Contemporary Issues in the Creative and Cultural Industries
  • Pragmatics and Literature
  • Investigating English Language (PDP)
  • Language and Society: Sociolinguistics
  • The Concept of Literacy
  • Ideology, Discourse and Power
  • Education in Context: A Reflection
  • An Introduction to TESOL
  • Introduction to the Teaching of English Language and Literature
  • English Independent Study (PDP)
  • Work-Based Learning
  • After the Modern: Existentialism and Postmodernism
  • Tragedy
  • Colonialism and Independence
  • Gender and Identity in Contemporary Literature
  • Modern and Contemporary Poetry
  • Language and the Mind: Psycholinguistics
  • Perspectives on Language and Literature
  • The Globalisation(s) of English
  • Language and Identity
  • Linguistics for TESOL
  • Principles and Practices of TESOL 1
  • Principles and Practices of TESOL 2
  • 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.

University of Derby student drinking coffee

How you will learn

During your foundation year you will be assessed mainly by coursework, and with some in-class tests.

For the rest of your degree our assessment strategy is designed to produce confident, articulate graduates and we also place great emphasis on developing your research skills, with independent projects playing a key part in stages two and three.

Who will you 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.

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 Barbara MacMahon is a Senior Lecturer in English Language. She completed a Masters and PhD at the Programme in Literary Linguistics, University of Strathclyde. Her main research interest is in literary linguistics, with further interests in cognitive pragmatics and psycholinguistics. One aspect of her current research uses the notion of metarepresentation to understand the layering of voices in narrative. The other uses pragmatic and psycholinguistic models to consider the role of sound-patterning in poetry.

Jennifer Marshall is interested in all aspects of international education. She specialises in English language and TESOL. She researches and publishes on educational policy and international education. Recent publications include:(2016) Meeting the needs of ESOL and EAL learners: A critical discussion of policy, in O’Grady, A. & Cottle, V. (eds) (2016) Exploring Education: A Masterly Enquiry, Abingdon: Routledge; (2015) The United States, Latin America, immigration and education, in Brown, M.A. (ed); (2015)  Migration and the education of young people 0-19,Abingdon: Routledge; (2014) Is txt spk killing the English language? In, Nijjar, B., Winder, N. & Muir, K. (2014) Edexcel International GCSE English as a Second Language, (2ndEdition), London: Edexcel Pearson; (2014) An Introduction to Comparative and International Education, London: Sage

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.

Entry requirements

September 2020 typical entry requirements

RequirementWhat we're looking for
UCAS points72 (up to 16 from AS-levels)
Specific requirements at A-levelN/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.

IELTS6.0 (with 5.5 in each skills area)
Interview / AuditionN/A

Alternative entry qualifications:

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.

Fees and funding

2020/21 Fees


£9,250 per year*





* The fees stated above are for the 2019/20 academic year; fees for 2020/21 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. We will update this information as soon as it is available.

Further information about our fees and support you may be entitled to.

Additional costs and optional extras

How to apply

UK students

Full-time students applying to start in September should apply for this course through UCAS or you can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year.

Apply through UCASApply directly to the University


Wide-ranging career options

This degree will prepare you for a variety of careers, including teaching and academia, marketing, publishing, journalism, broadcasting, human resources, arts management, creative industries and the Civil Service. It will also provide an excellent foundation for further study at postgraduate level.

The optional TESOL pathway also opens up a range of career opportunities for you. You will be able to seek employment teaching English to speakers of other languages in the UK or internationally. This degree will also prepare you with the skills and knowledge that you will need to pursue postgraduate study.

If you would like to train to be a teacher, you can apply to study our PGCE Primary with QTS, PGCE Secondary (School Direct) with QTS, or PGCE Post-14.

Ensuring you are ‘work-ready’

Our Careers and Employment Service delivers 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 refine your career ambitions.

The support continues once you have 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

Robin Sims

Dr Robin Sims
Programme leader

Programme Leader

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Contact us


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.

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Additional information about your studies

Download programme specification

Teaching hours

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

Mandatory costs not included in your fees

Optional costs not included in your fees

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.

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