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English Literature BA

School of English

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You are viewing this course for 2021-22 entry. 2022-23 entry is also available.

Key details

Course description

Professor Cathy Shrank, School of English

We seek to foster your love of literature and the creative arts, including film and theatre, so you graduate with a real understanding and appreciation of the subject area. You'll have the opportunity to study texts from Old English to the present day, and you'll be invited to participate in new research areas such as Animal Studies and the Environmental Humanities.

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'll be able to choose from a wide selection of optional modules, including Studying Theatre, Introduction to Cinema, Creative Writing and Early Englishes. As well as representing the varied areas of study available within the School, all first year 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 year one, 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 options to extend your core studies, which can be based on single authors, genres or literary movements, reflecting the cutting-edge of research.

There are no core requirements in your final year. You choose from modules based on research-led teaching and will engage in focused, in-depth work with tutors who are experts in their field. You'll also have the opportunity to complete a final year dissertation on a topic of your own choice, with the support of a dedicated supervisor.

A small group of students engaged in a lecture

Modules

Over the course of each academic year at Sheffield, you will need to study modules that equate to the value of 120 credits. Some of these credits will be taken up by our core modules, which are designed to give you the breadth of knowledge and ways of thinking necessary to the degree being awarded.

For your remaining credits, you will be able to choose from an extensive range of optional modules, allowing you to shape your degree to the topics that interest you.

The modules listed below are examples from the last academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course. For the very latest module information, check with the department directly.

Title: English Literature BA course structure
UCAS code: Q306
Years: 2021

In your first year all students 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 40 credits in guided modules from across the University.

Try a new subject

The flexible structure of your first year at Sheffield means that you also have the chance to experience modules from outside of history - you can choose up to 40 credits of modules from a list approved by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. A provisional list of guided modules for 2020-21 is available here. A final guided module list is made available to new students when you select your modules as part of registration.

Core modules:

Renaissance to Revolution

This module surveys the poetry and prose from the early modern period in England, i.e., that written between the beginnings of the sixteenth century through the seventeenth century to the late eighteenth century. We will look at different genres, from court complaint to sonnets, prose fiction, erotic verse, restoration drama and the works of writers such as Donne, Herbert, Spenser, Marlowe, Dyrden, Milton and Pope. The texts studied will be related to critical methods that help us understand the relationships between literature and the culture, society, and politics of the period in which it was produced.

40 credits

Optional modules:

Foundations in Literary Study: Biblical and Classical Sources in English Literature

This module provides foundational knowledge about the treatment of Biblical and Classical sources in English Literature. It is an important unit for the study of literature and the Humanities, preparing students for work at higher levels. Typically a Biblical or Classical source and a literary text will be discussed together, to expose a range of meanings and to prepare participants for their own research about both the Bible and Classical material as literature and the treatment of Bible and Classical material in Literature. It will also prepare students for independent research. It is recommended that all students of English take this module.

20 credits
Contemporary Literature

This module introduces students to a diverse range of texts in English (prose, poetry, and film) with a focus on texts published since 2000. Texts will be chosen to provoke thinking and debate on urgent and controversial topics that might include: globalisation and neoliberalism; ecology and animal lives; artificial intelligence and the posthuman; political activism and social justice; migration and displacement; state violence and armed conflict. We will discuss formally and conceptually challenging works, raise ethical and philosophical questions and begin to discover how current critical and theoretical approaches can help us to engage with contemporary texts.

20 credits
Studying Theatre: A History of Dramatic Texts in Performance

Covering classical, contemporary and popular texts, Studying Theatre; A History of Dramatic Text in Performance aims to turn an interest in theatre and theatre-going into a more thorough appreciation of the ways in which playwriting, acting, design and performance have shaped theatre's development. Each week students will study a particular play and the historical context that informed its first performances and its theatrical afterlife. The course emphasis is on theatre as a social practice and practical discipline. Seminars and lectures will focus on the play in performance, and the processes that underlie production. Students do not need previous knowledge or experience, but should be prepared to try some new approaches to texts, for example through practical workshops.

20 credits
Early Englishes

Early Englishes works backward over a whole millennium of English, 1600 to 600. Each week's lectures and seminar focus on one century and one text representative of that century (for example, Beowulf and Piers Plowman). We will use a variety of techniques , literary, linguistic, anthropological, cultural historical, to analyse each text, thereby opening up discussion of the issues that preoccupied the English of the time, from glorious monster-slaying to the slow surrender of pagan belief to terror at the imminent arrival of Antichrist and on to the first expressions of love and desire. Texts will initially be studied in translation so no prior knowledge of Old or Middle English is necessary, but students will also be given the opportunity to examine texts in the original language.

20 credits
Introduction to Creative Writing

The aim of this unit is to help students to develop their expressive and technical skills in writing poetry and prose and to improve their abilities as an editor and critic of their own and other people's writing. Students will be guided in the production of new work and encouraged to develop an analytical awareness of both the craft elements and the wider cultural and theoretical contexts of writing. This module explores poetic techniques for creating new poems and narrative techniques for generating some prose work through the critical study of published examples, imaginative exercises, discussion and feedback on students' own writing. This exploration will help students to develop their own creative work while sharpening critical appreciation of published poetry and modern and contemporary fiction. The course is designed to give students the expereince of being workshopped as well as to establish basic creative writing techniques on Level 1 to preparing students for the challenges of Creative Writing Level 2.

20 credits
Shakespeare

This unit introduces students to the plays and poetry of William Shakespeare. Students will read a wide range of his works and will analyse them in the context of the cultural and historical energies of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. We will consider the range of dramatic styles and genres that he engages, alongside the conditions of performance, kinds of publication, and the characteristics of the language in which he worked. We shall also relate the texts to critical methods that help illuminate the relationships between drama and the culture, politics, and religion of the period.

20 credits
Introduction to Cinema

This module aims to study a cross-section of the most important American films up to the present day and to develop both a formalist and an institutional analysis of these works. Its intention is to study the growth of the classical Hollywood style, a matter of a sophisticated range of technical stratagems as well as of a genre-based cinema, and of the institution of Hollywood itself, the most significant force in cinema to-day.

20 credits
Practical Stylistics

How are literary effects created through language? How can we describe these effects? This course will aim to provide literature students with a gentle introduction to language, and provide language students with experience of applying linguistic analysis to literary texts. The emphasis will be upon a practical hands-on approach, and topics covered will include sentence structure, lexical choice, cohesion, narrative structure, discourse analysis (with reference to drama and dialogue) and point of view in narrative fiction. The texts studied will be predominantly literary and twentieth century, and will include extracts from novels, plays, poetry and short stories.

20 credits
Theatre 1: Staging Texts

This module will explore the processes through which texts written for theatrical performance ('plays') may be effectively interrogated, interpreted, and translated into performances. This will involve seeing one or more productions and analysing the relationship between the written and the performance texts, but the main emphasis will be on the first-hand, studio-based practical exploration of text(s). Though some consideration may be given to the perspectives of designers, directors and others, students will engage with text(s) primarily as imaginative, inventive and creative performers and interpreters of text(s).

20 credits
Climate Crisis: Culture, Politics, Science

Climate Crisis is an all-encompassing global challenge that must be understood as simultaneously a scientific, political and cultural issue. We understand the processes and impacts of climate change through science; we address climate change (or fail to address it) through political structures; we experience climate change and become involved with climate change activism through culture (climate fiction and film for example). By the end of the module students will have a sense of the inter-connection and tension between scientific, political and cultural approaches and a deepening appreciation of the kinds of steps that will be necessary for a sustainable future.

20 credits
History of English

This module traces the history of the English language of the Fifth century AD through to the present day. Students will learn about the development of English over this period, looking at the factors which have shaped the language, and learning a variety of techniques for studying the language. The module will also introduce students to the range and variety of the English language at all periods, and to the ways in which English influences, and is influenced by, other languages.

20 credits

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. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

Learning and assessment

Learning

You will learn through a mix of lectures and smaller group seminars. We keep seminar groups small because we believe that's the best way to stimulate discussion and debate. All students are assigned a personal tutor with whom they have regular meetings, and you are welcome to see any of the academic staff in their regular office hours if there's anything you want to ask.

We invest to create the right environment for you. That means outstanding facilities, study spaces and support, including 24/7 online access to our online library service.

Study spaces and computers are available to offer you choice and flexibility for your study. Our five library sites give you access to over 1.3 million books and periodicals. You can access your library account and our rich digital collections from anywhere on or off campus. Other library services include study skills training to improve your grades, and tailored advice from experts in your subject.

Learning support facilities and library opening hours

Our staff are researchers, critics, and writers. They're also passionate, dedicated teachers who work tirelessly to ensure their students are inspired.

Assessment

In addition to writing essays and more traditional exams, our modules use a range of innovative assessments that can include designing websites, writing blog posts, delivering presentations and working with publishing software.

Programme specification

This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.

Find programme specification for this course

Entry requirements

With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible

Standard offer
Access Sheffield offer

The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
AAB
typically including an arts and humanities subject

The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
ABB
typically including an arts and humanities subject

A Levels + additional qualifications | ABB, typically including an arts and humanities subject + B in a relevant EPQ ABB, typically including an arts and humanities subject + B in a relevant EPQ

International Baccalaureate | 34, typically with 5 in a Higher Level arts and humanities subject 33, typically including an Arts & Humanities subject at Higher Level 5

BTEC | DDD in a relevant subject DDD in a relevant subject

Scottish Highers + 1 Advanced Higher | AAABB + B, typically including an Arts and Humanities subject AABBB + B, typically including an arts and humanities subject

Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels | B + AA, typically including an arts and humanities subject B+AB typically including an Arts and Humanities subject

Access to HE Diploma | 60 credits overall in a relevant subject with 45 at level 3 including Distinctions in 36 credits, + Merits in 15 credits 60 credits overall in a relevant subject with 45 at level 3 including Distinctions in 30 credits, + Merits in 15 credits

Mature students - explore other routes for mature students

English language requirements

You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade 4/C; IELTS grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification

Equivalent English language qualifications

Visa and immigration requirements

Other requirements
  • General Studies is accepted

We also accept a range of other UK qualifications and other EU/international qualifications.

If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

School of English

We're a research-intensive school with an international perspective on English studies. Students can specialise in their chosen subject, whilst taking modules from other programmes, forging interdisciplinary connections. We are famous for our pioneering work with communities, locally and internationally. We encourage our students to get involved and to apply their academic learning, working in partnership with external organisations both within the city of Sheffield and beyond.

Our staff are researchers, critics, and writers. They're also passionate, dedicated teachers who work tirelessly to ensure their students are inspired.

We keep seminar groups small because we believe that's the best way to stimulate discussion and debate. Our modules use a range of innovative assessments and can include designing websites, writing blog posts, and working with publishing software, in addition to writing essays and delivering presentations.

We're committed to providing our students with the pastoral support they need in order to thrive on their degree. All students are assigned a personal tutor with whom they have regular meetings. You are welcome to see any of the academic staff in their regular student consultations if there's anything you want to ask.

The School of English is based in the Jessop West building at the heart of the university campus, close to the Diamond and the Information Commons. We share the Jessop West Building with the Department of History and the School of Languages and Cultures.

School of English

Why choose Sheffield?

The University of Sheffield

  A Top 100 university 2021
QS World University Rankings

  Top 10% of all UK universities
Research Excellence Framework 2014

  No 1 Students' Union in the UK
Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2019, 2018, 2017


School of English

1st for research environment

Research Excellence Framework 2014


Graduate careers

School of English

The academic aptitude and personal skills that you develop on your degree will make you highly prized by employers, whatever your chosen career path after university:

  • Excellent oral and written communication
  • Independent working
  • Time management and organisation
  • Planning and researching written work
  • Articulating knowledge and understanding of texts, concepts and theories
  • Leading and participating in discussions
  • Negotiation and teamwork
  • Effectively conveying arguments and opinions and thinking creatively
  • Critical reasoning and analysis

Our graduates are confident and articulate. They have highly developed communication skills, equipping them for a wide range of careers in journalism, the charity sector, marketing and communications, theatre and television production, PR, copywriting, publishing, teaching, web development, accountancy, and speech and language therapy, among other fields.

Many of our students go on to postgraduate study, research, and an academic career.

Placement/study abroad

Work experience

You can study our courses with the Degree with Employment Experience option. This allows you to apply for a placement year during your degree where you'll gain valuable experience and improve your employability.

Study abroad

There are opportunities to study abroad, for a semester or a year, as part of a three or four year degree programme. We have exchange agreements with universities in the USA, Australia, Canada, Singapore and throughout Europe.

Fees and funding

Fees

Additional costs

The annual fee for your course includes a number of items in addition to your tuition. If an item or activity is classed as a compulsory element for your course, it will normally be included in your tuition fee. There are also other costs which you may need to consider.

Examples of what’s included and excluded

Funding your study

Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a bursary, scholarship or loan to help fund your study and enhance your learning experience.

Use our Student Funding Calculator to work out what you’re eligible for.

Visit us

University open days

There are four open days every year, usually in June, July, September and October. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.

Open days: book your place

Taster days

At various times in the year we run online taster sessions to help Year 12 students experience what it is like to study at the University of Sheffield.

Upcoming taster sessions

Applicant days

If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our applicant days, which take place between November and April. These applicant days have a strong department focus and give you the chance to really explore student life here, even if you've visited us before.

Campus tours

Campus tours run regularly throughout the year, at 1pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Book your place on a campus tour

Apply for this course

Make sure you've done everything you need to do before you apply.

How to apply When you're ready to apply, see the UCAS website:
www.ucas.com

The awarding body for this course is the University of Sheffield.

Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

Our student protection plan

Terms and Conditions upon Acceptance of an Offer

Explore this course:

    2021-2022