BA (Hons.) English Literature 2019

Our BA (honours) English Literature degree is an extremely popular undergraduate course at the University of Sheffield. You will have the opportunity to study poetry, fiction, drama and film from Old English to the twenty-first century, in a School dedicated to high-quality teaching, world-leading research, and innovative public engagement. Outside the degree programme there are also hundreds of ways in which we can help you develop your interests, insights and critical faculties.

At a glance

  • Duration: 3 years full-time
  • Study abroad: options to study abroad are available as part of this degree.

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Our core module in the first year, Renaissance to Revolution, is the starting point for the chronological study of literature which is central to our Sheffield degree. You will be able to choose from a wide selection of optional modules, including Studying Theatre, Introduction to Cinema, Early American Literature, Creative Writing and Early Englishes. As well as representing the varied areas of study available within the School, all Level 1 modules provide degree-level study skills to help you expand your knowledge and develop as a scholar.

In your second year, your core modules build on the experience of Level 1, completing the chronological spine to your degree and equipping you with complex critical and theoretical approaches to unlock the study of English literary cultures in all their forms. There are also varied options available to complement and extend your core studies – including Road Narratives in American Culture, John Donne, Representing the Holocaust, Literature and Nonsense, and European Gothic – which can be based on single authors, genres or literary movements, reflecting the cutting-edge of research.

In your final year, there are no core requirements. You choose from modules based on research-led teaching – examples include Radical Theory, Stories from the End of the World, Chivalry and Romance in the Middle Ages, and The Invention of Romanticism – and you will engage in focused, in-depth work with tutors who are experts in their field. You will also have the opportunity to complete a final year dissertation on a topic of your own choice, with the support of dedicated supervisor.


English Literature modules

Year 1

In your first year all students (single and dual honours) take the core module: Renaissance to Revolution (40 credits). Remaining credits can be chosen from the list of optional English modules listed below (all 20 credits) or you can take up to 80 credits in unrestricted modules from across the University. Dual students must also fulfil the core requirement for their other subject.

Title Credits Core/Optional
Renaissance to Revolution 40 Core

You will choose up to 80 credits from

Title Credits Optional
Early Englishes 20 Optional
Contemporary Literature 20 Optional
Introduction to Creative Writing 20 Optional
Early American Literature 20 Optional
Shakespeare 20 Optional
History of English 20 Optional
Practical Stylistics 20 Optional
Studying Theatre 20 Optional
Foundations in Literary Study: Biblical and Classical Sources 20 Optional
Celtic Languages and Literature 20 Optional
Introduction to Cinema 20 Optional
Reviewing Theatre 20 Optional
Hollywood Cinema 20 Optional

Year  2

In your second year, if you are a single honours student, you will take the following core modules worth 40 credits each. If you are a dual honours student, you will take a minimum of 40 core credits within the School of English. (You might choose to take one or both of the following core modules in its entirety, or you might take 20 credits from each core module in the Autumn semester.)

Title Credits Core/Optional
Romanticism to Modernism 40 Core/Optional for Dual Honours
Literature and Critical Thought 40 Core/Optional for Dual Honours

Here is a list of some of the optional modules currently being offered in English Literature for second year students.

Title Credits Optional
Road Narratives in American Culture 20 Optional
John Donne 20 Optional
Shakespeare on Film 20 Optional
Literature and Nonsense 20 Optional
Creating Fiction 20 Optional
Literature, Ecology, Capital 20 Optional
New Realisms: Contemporary British Cinema 20 Optional
European Gothic 20 Optional
Representing the Holocaust 20 Optional
Adaptation: Theory and Practice 20 Optional
Storying Sheffield 20 Optional
Good Books: Intertextual Approaches to Literature and the Bible 20 Optional
Satire and Print in Eighteenth-Century Literature 20 Optional

Year 3 

In your third year, there are no core requirements. You will choose from a wide range of options: from short, intensive topics to year-long modules (including an optional dissertation). If you are a dual honours student, you will choose a minimum of 40 credits within the School of English.

Students joining us in 2019 will be the first cohort to choose from a new range of final year modules. These reflect areas of research by our world-leading academics and may include:

Title Credits Optional
The Invention of Romanticism: Pride, Persuasion and the Modern Mind 20/40 Optional
Strange Forms: Diaries, Letters, Memoirs and Other Peculiar Genres 20/40 Optional
Radical Theory 20/40 Optional
Stories at the End of the World: From the Beginning of the End to Apocalypse Now 20/40 Optional
Textual Materialities: Archives, Editing and Literary Artefacts 20/40 Optional
What it Means Not to be Human: Animals, Ecology, Technology, Literature 20/40 Optional
Immodest Women: Lives and Lines 20/40 Optional
Creative, Experimental, Destructive (Writing) 20/40 Optional
Chivalry and Romance in the Middle Ages 20/40 Optional
Middlemarch 20/40 Optional
Power, Knowledge and Sexuality on Stage, 1580 -1700 20/40 Optional
Searching Selves: Voicing the Early Modern ‘I’ 20/40 Optional
Dissertation 20/40 Optional

Teaching and Assessment


Throughout your degree, you will be taught through a mixture of lectures and seminars. Lectures are designed to give you a grounding in a particular topic and to introduce you to the surrounding theories, concepts and ideas. Seminars give you the chance to explore these topics in greater depth, to develop your own ideas and to share these through discussion with your tutors and fellow students. Our academic staff are experts in their field and use their cutting-edge research to inform their teaching and the content of the modules you will study.


The essay is the staple of assessment for English Literature students, allowing you to develop your writing skills through a continual process of practice and feedback. There are also a small number of traditional timed exams. Depending on the modules you choose, you will also experience a range of other assessment methods such as group presentations and poster design.

A summary of learning and assessment information across all years of the degree is available on the 'Learning and Assessment' tab of the University's online prospectus.

Course content: The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Our campus and how we use it: We timetable teaching across the whole of our campus, the details of which can be found on our campus map. Teaching may take place in a student’s home department, but may also be timetabled to take place within other departments or central teaching space.


Entry requirements

Our typical entry requirements are:

  • A Levels: AAB, typically including Arts and Humanities subjects
  • International Baccalaureate: 34, typically with 6 in a Higher Level Arts and Humanities subject
  • Scottish Highers: AAABB + A typically including Arts and Humanities subjects
  • For other qualifications please click here 

Applicants not presenting English Language, English Literature or English Language & Literature may still be considered where relevant interest and experience in the literary arts (including film or media) can be demonstrated.

We can also accept other qualifications: 

If you have a question about your qualifications or if you need further information about studying at Sheffield, visit AskUS to browse our frequently asked questions or to ask a questions.

English language requirements

 International students need an overall IELTS grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component, or an equivalent English language qualification.

How to apply

Tuition Fees

Disability and Support

We welcome applications from disabled students and students with a specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia.

Open Days

Find out when our next pre-applicant open day is:
Book your place on a pre-applicant open day

Student experience

Engaged curriculum

You will have the opportunity to get involved in some of our exciting projects or activities that enhance your learning. This could be as an element of a core module or in one of our specialised optional modules which is partly or entirely focused on helping you to develop particular skills. You can also choose to take part in a range of extra-curricular activities in schools or the local community or get involved in some of our many student-led societies.

Get involved

Scott Moore"The academics in the Department are friendly and supportive, going above and beyond whenever I have needed assistance. Every single module I have taken has been engaging and intellectually stimulating. Under their excellent teaching, I feel that I have grown into an independent researcher and critical thinker."

Scott Moore, BA English Literature

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