Writing and English Literature BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years)

Cambridge

September 2018

Overview

Develop your creative and professional writing skills while learning how English literature has shaped, and been shaped by, society. Prepare for work in many creative areas, including fiction writing, journalism, arts criticism and publishing.

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Full description

Careers

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Our BA (Hons) Writing and English Literature will help you develop many skills for your future career, including literacy, communication, creativity, self-reliance and teamwork.

Many of our graduates have found success in roles such as journalism, teaching, writing, television, radio, the music industry, gallery work and arts administration.

Our work-based modules will give you a chance to get crucial experience in the field that you hope to work in, and our links to local professional bodies - including Cambridge University Press, Windhorse Publishing and Writers’ Centre Norwich – can help you find a placement.

You might also decide to continue on to a Masters course after you graduate, such as our:

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • A History of English Literature, from the present to 1789
    This chronological approach to a history of English Literature reverses the usual format of starting with Beowulf and ending up at the present and instead starts with the familiar and ends with the earliest literature. Starting with texts from the period with which you are familiar, you will gradually work back through literary history to a time when no one alive today existed. Mainly using volume 2 of 'The Norton Anthology of English Literature', this module precedes the companion semester 2 module: 'A History of English Literature from Equiano to Chaucer', which works with volume one of 'The Norton Anthology of English Literature'. On this module you will study period, genre and form through a range of texts to include: the novel; the short story; the essay; poetry; drama; as well as other forms of texts including letters and graphic art. Authors will mainly be chosen from the Norton, however there will also be a few texts such as novels that you will need to buy. You will be given details of the texts well in advance of starting the course. You will be taught through a weekly one-hour lecture, followed by a two-hour seminar. Your assessment will consist of a presentation and a written essay.
  • Introduction to Imaginative Writing: Prose Fiction
    The module introduces Writing students to the principles of writing prose fiction. You will read sample texts each week, and work with those texts with a view to understanding how writers have managed particular aspects of their fiction such as: openings, narrative arc, characterisation, dialogue, setting and place, and point of view. The course will not only provide an environment for your creative writing, it will teach you skills such as reading as a writer, and reflection and evaluation of creative practice.
  • Reading Literature and Theory
    This foundational module will introduce you to an exciting range of social, cultural and political theories that can be used to further your analysis of literary texts. Selected theories might include psychoanalysis, Marxism, structuralism, feminism, postcolonialism, postmodernism or queer theory. In seminars, you will apply these theories to a variety of fiction (including extracts from plays, novels, short stories and poems). This process will enable you to develop your own reading skills in more challenging directions, as well as helping you assess the benefits of differing kinds of ‘reading’. You will attend a one-hour lecture each week, and a two-hour seminar. Part-way through the semester, you will give a group presentation, allowing you to develop your presentation and IT skills. At the end of the semester, will be an essay, where you demonstrate your critical, literary and essay-writing skills.
  • Writing to Entertain, Inform and Persuade
    This module will introduce you to the techniques and structures of effective writing in a wide range of non-fiction genres, and will serve as a basis for your subsequent modules in creative and professional non-fiction in year two and three. The types of writing you'll study might include advertising, public information, health and leisure writing, motoring and sports writing and reviews. You'll explore the importance and the key elements of an effective brief, through a range of examples from different professional contexts, and discover key differences between writing destined for print, for the web and for oral presentation. Practical exercises and group editorial work will help you gain confidence and flexibility as an effective communicator. You'll also learn to analyse register, tone, diction, layout and house style, producing and editing material for different purposes and audiences, as well as being introduced to usability theories and techniques for organising web content, and techniques for preparing effective oral presentations.
  • Introduction to Imaginative Writing: Poetry and Plays
    This module will introduce Writing students to the techniques of writing poetry and writing for the stage. You will read a selection of poetry or scenes from a play each week, and work with the texts to understand, eg poetic form, the practicalities of writing for the stage, etc. The course will not only provide an environment for your creative writing, but teach you skills such as reading as a writer, and reflection on/evaluation of creative practice.
  • Language and Criticism for Writers
    You'll learn the essential skills for working with language, for participating in workshops and for undertaking critical evaluation of creative work. The main areas you'll cover are: grammar and style; producing critical commentaries for creative and professional writing assignments; giving and receiving constructive criticism; making language choices in relation to audience expectations and working with drafts. You'll be introduced to key critical and analytical terms and taught how to use these to develop your own writing practice.
  • A History of English Literature from Chaucer to Equiano
    This module gives you an outline of the history of English Literature from the end of the eighteenth century to the Anglo-Saxon period. It uses a selection of texts taken from volume 1 of The Norton Anthology of English Literature, supplemented by handouts, to give you examples of different literary forms belonging to every period of English literary history prior to the Romantic movement. The juxtaposition of pieces by well-known authors such as Chaucer, Marlowe, and Milton with less familiar texts is intended to encourage reflection upon what constitutes the 'canon'. You are expected to acquire a basic knowledge of the terms used in English literary history ('Medieval', 'Tudor', 'Renaissance', 'Reformation', 'Early Modern', 'Restoration', 'Augustan', ‘NeoClassical', 'Enlightenment', 'Sensibility') and are encouraged to think critically about these terms. Your first assessment will be a close-reading exercise on a passage from Milton’s Paradise Lost, taken in class during week 7 of the semester. This will develop your close-reading skills and written communication. Your second assessment will be an open exam (90mins), demonstrating your ability to read texts from the course within their historical and cultural contexts. The assessment questions will be available to you 48 hours in advance of the exam.

Year one, optional modules

  • Fundamentals of Publishing
    The literary texts you study on your English Literature and Creative Writing modules are inevitably shaped by the publishing process. This module will introduce you to publishing in the 21st century. You will explore the complex and rapidly changing role of publishing in defining what a text is and how and in what form and for what price that text will reach readers. You will use Darnton’s Communication Circuit as a model through which to examine the cycle of interdependent players in content development, distribution, and consumption. Through weekly seminars, the module will incorporate fundamental elements of theory, economics, law, and professional practice. You will interrogate the ways in which specific publishing contexts enable, or constrain, writers, editors, distributors and readers at different times. The module will serve as a foundation if you want to take History of the Book (level 5) and Publishing in Practice (level 6). Ultimately, you may continue to a career and/or graduate study in Publishing (level 7 and research degrees). Your final assessment will be a written assignment on an aspect of publishing studied on the module.

Year two, core modules

  • Writing Short Fiction
    On this module, you'll learn the techniques of effective short fiction writing, beginning with the literary short story and moving on to explore short fiction for younger readers and some areas of genre fiction. You'll be introduced to the scope and the conventions of short fiction in English through an analysis of a diverse range of classic and contemporary examples, examining the creative process from the collection of ideas at notebook stage to the production and editing of a finished narrative. Authors studied on the module may include Anton Chekhov, Katherine Mansfield and Edgar Allen Poe. Your writing exercises will focus on practical writing techniques for effective work, with key elements such as characterisation, setting, structure, movement in time and space, observation, point of view, opening and closing, voice, dialogue, cliché, description and dialogue. For assessment, you'll submit the best work you produce during the module, along with a critical commentary that'll include a contribution to your Personal Development Planning file.
  • Romantic Conflicts
    Conflict can be found in all literature. However, in the Romantic period it seems to have been the essence of the spirit of the age. Percy Shelley called the French Revolution of 1789 ‘the master theme of the epoch in which we live’, and indeed many critics and historians date the beginning of the Romantic period from then. In fact Britain was at war with France for most of this period (from 1793 to 1815) trying to undo the revolution, restore a king, and with him, the old aristocratic ruling class. Class conflict was in the air well before 1789 as William Hazlitt notes: ‘the French revolution might be described as a remote but inevitable result of the invention of the art of printing.’ What he means here is that an overwhelming public consensus had to be achieved before a revolution could occur and the only way to achieve this is through the mass dissemination of ideas – through literature. Conflict can occur in any arena: class, race, debates over animal welfare, the lecture theatre (for example the debates between Hazlitt and Coleridge) and of course in personal relationships. Therefore, the scope of this module is a large one. You will be invited to read as widely as possible in this period and not merely stick to the set texts or the subjects of lectures and seminars.
  • Writing for the Stage
    This intensive reading and writing module will introduce you to the techniques and conventions of dramatic writing, with an emphasis on writing for stage performance. You'll study the skills and knowledge required to create effective performance texts through a combination of reading, critical analysis of diverse examples from the genre, practical writing exercises and readings of students' own work in progress. You'll also explore elements of dramatic writing such as monologue, dialogue, narrative, character and physical and vocal connection, learning the conventions of presentation for dramatic texts. In later sessions, you'll workshop sustained pieces of dramatic writing, confronting the challenges of audience and staging. Your finished dramatic text will be assessed in the form of a ten-minute script. You must also submit a critical commentary addressing specific aspects of the writing process, including questions of staging.
  • Victorian Literature and Culture
    This module is structured around three main themes: ‘The Impersonating I’, ‘Victorians and Globalization’ and ‘Sensation, Scandal and Serialization’. These themes are central to the current re-formulation of Victorian studies and, as we work through them, you will be asked to engage with new critical developments in the field. In considering ‘The Impersonating I’, you will be asked to examine uses of first-person narratives in ‘autobiographical’ bildungsroman, the incorporation of multiple first-person perspectives in fiction and the impersonation of an individual in the dramatic monologue. The second strand of the module, ‘Victorians and globalization’, will involve how different forms imagine ‘the globe’, how the practice of imperialism both shaped, and was shaped by, the works that described it. The final theme of the course will involve a careful engagement with print culture and the development of sensation fiction. Through the course of the semester, you will experience something of the practices and rhythms of serial reading as we discuss the weekly instalments of a selected novel. From the outset of the module, textual study will be embedded in an examination of key historical developments and the issues - political, social, cultural and intellectual - to which these developments gave rise and currency. Formative and summative assessments will give you the opportunity to investigate particular historical and contextual phenomenon and will stretch your abilities of close analysis.

Year two, optional modules

  • Postcolonial Writing
    Much of the most exciting and provocative writing of the last century has emerged from regions of the world that were formerly colonised. This module offers you a selective survey of postcolonial writing and theory, using an expansive conception of what might constitute the ‘postcolonial’. It considers the socio-historical contexts behind the emergence of postcolonial studies and asks you to think critically about the institutionalisation, and challenges, of the field. You will consider issues of colonialism, decolonisation, nationalism, neo-colonialism and globalisation, along with the accompanying themes of migration, gendered/sexual politics and the role of history. A 3000-word final essay will allow you to demonstrate your understanding of the module’s central concerns and your knowledge of the primary fictional texts.
  • Screenwriting: The Feature Film
    This module will build on the skills you learned in the short fiction film module. Having understood the short film format, you'll now apply your skills to the more demanding task of understanding the feature film. You'll produce a portfolio including the first act of a screenplay with evidence of analytical story structure skills, including a focused analysis of genre in a series of self-managed presentations. As a key element of this module, you'll study the work of well-known screenwriters, in particular Kaufman, Schrader, Mamet and Ball, whose work will be critically discussed as potential models. You'll also study established film-makers, including the Coen Brothers, Darren Aronofksy, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, Charlie Kaufman, Paul Thomas Anderson and Gus Van Sant, as examples of writer directors.
  • Myth and Medievalism
    On this module you will examine a range of medieval English literature, focusing on the late 14th century, and exploring the links between literature and a changing society. You will consider, through careful close reading, the complex relationship between text and context, considering greater realism in the representation of the Judaeo-Christian myth in the context of threats to the feudal system. You will study mystery plays, romances and religious literature alongside selected Tales by Chaucer, and the re-appropriations of myth in a case study that suggests the wider links between myth and ideology. You will examine extracts from each text in the original Middle English, though good recent translations by modern poets will also be available, allowing you to pursue the question of the inevitable re-inflection of myth in changing cultural contexts.
  • Writing World War One: Trauma, Memory, Resistance
    As WWI is commemorated at its centenary, this module examines a range of texts to consider current understandings of WWI and its representations. You will begin the module by looking at the poems that have famously memorialised the experience of soldiers on the Western Front before widening your outlook to explore different forms of texts (including novels, autobiography, short stories and graphic novels) that present a more diverse range of wartime experiences on the ‘home front’ and ‘forbidden zone’. This will include experiences by ‘enemy’ authors, racial minority groups, the ‘insane’, women in war zones, and animals. Each two-hour seminar will have a (mini) lecture with a thematic focus. The (mini) lecture will be followed by close reading and discussion of related texts in the seminar group. These seminar discussions and close-reading exercises will help you to explore key ideas and concepts, such as the role of propaganda and the rise of anti-war writing (literatures of resistance); changing definition and realities of war through developing technologies; the politics of remembering and forgetting WWI; new understandings of WWI derived from global history, race and gender theories; the relationship of war to literary and visual modernism; the psychological realities of WWI on combatants and civilians. The module schedule will also include a half-day field trip (Imperial War Museum) which will allow you to engage with ‘real-world’ experiences of war. You will be assessed by a final 3000-word essay, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of what has been covered on the module including your knowledge of set texts and your grasp of key theories and ideas that have informed the course.
  • Modernism and the City
    In this module you will examine literary Modernism as an artistic response to the social conditions and technological advances of modernity. You will explore the ways in which the distinctive features of Modernist writing - subjectivity, the psychological, innovations in form, style and genre - are produced by urban experience. You will study a range of canonical and non-canonical texts that 'write' the city in order to explore the centrality or urban culture to modernity and to consider the connections between cultural geography, historical context and narrative form. You will study poems, novels and manifestos dating from 1900-1940 in the contexts of some of the following: the influence of the First World War; suffrage; changes in visual art (primitivism, post-modernism); cinema and photography; the movements of Imagism, Futurism and Surrealism. Ideas of exile and expatriation underlie discussion of the cultural exchanges occurring in London, Paris and New York. The texts studied provide differing reactions to the early twentieth-century city, in relation to ethnicity, sexuality, gender, nationality and class. You will be assessed by a portfolio consisting of a 1,000-word critical review of an essay from either Modernism/Modernity or Modernist Cultures (to be approved by the Module Leader) and a 2,000-word critical essay.
  • News and Feature Writing
    This intensive reading and writing module will introduce you to the techniques of print journalism, focusing on news reports and feature articles. The skills required for effective news and feature writing are a key component of writing craft in any genre of fiction or non-fiction. It's a discipline that improves the imaginative work and communicative power of those who practice it. You'll explore the significance of journalistic writing in contemporary life using examples from a range of British tabloid, broadsheet and local publications. You'll practise sourcing news reports, developing feature articles and sub-editing for style and content. In seminar workshops, you'll combine analysis of journalistic techniques with practical writing exercises, covering topics that include: researching and pitching a story; interviewing; puns and rhythm; and economical use of language. Early on, you'll produce a set of briefs that must be approved by the seminar leader, then produce copy for these briefs and, in editorial teams, giving and receiving constructive criticism.
  • Black British Writing
    This module will introduce you to a diverse range of post-war black British writing. Covering poetry, drama, performance, novels and film, it will offer a sense of the key authors and debates within this growing field. You will consider what constitutes a black British canon, and the critical and creative tensions between the deceptively straightforward terms ‘black’ and ‘British’. You will discuss issues such as the colonial legacy, migration, the burden of representation, mixed-race identities and diversity, along with the intersecting concerns of gender, sexuality and class. The module will draw on writing by activists, postcolonial theorists and thinkers from the field of cultural studies, including figures such as Claudia Jones, Stuart Hall and Paul Gilroy. A 600-word discussion board contribution will give you the opportunity to test out ideas and develop skills in writing for digital formats. A 2,400 word final essay will allow you to demonstrate your understanding of the module’s central concerns and your knowledge of the primary fictional texts.
  • The European Novel: Desire and Transgression
    This module will introduce you to a representative selection of some of the most memorable and significant European novels, ranging from ancient Greek prose narratives and Renaissance romances to contemporary fiction. You will compare the ways in which different writers have handled elements of the novel such as characterisation, dialogue and narrative voice, as well as consider different sub-genres of the novel, for example magic realism and the epistolary novel. Texts will be selected to complement the novels you have studied on other modules, giving you a fuller understanding of the origins of the genre, and of its wider European context. Desire was a key focus of the very first European proto-novels, and continues to be a preoccupation today. You will engage with some of the changes and continuities in fictional depictions of romantic and sexual relationships, examining the ways in which topics such as same-sex desire, elopement and adultery have been depicted. The first assessment element, a 1000 word critical analysis, will test both your close reading skills and your understanding of the contexts and conventions of the early novel. The second assessment element, a 2,000-word essay, will require you to demonstrate an understanding both of your knowledge of set texts and your grasp of key ideas that have informed the course.
  • Writing Historical Fiction
    On this module, you'll study the skills and techniques needed to create successful historical fiction for a range of media (prose, TV, film radio, and other). You'll consider the issues which arise while trying to create a fictional 'historical past', and experiment with different techniques of conjuring the past, with reference to place, voice, character, food, manners and mores. You'll also consider the needs of different audiences and different platforms from the demands of a staged or radio play through to the differences between the scope of a short story and novel. Your assessment will be a 2,000-word piece of fiction (for any media or platform), and an accompanying 1,000-word critical portfolio.
  • Dialogue and Debate: More to Milton
    On this module you will study a range of key poetic and prose texts produced by canonical and non-canonical early modern authors. One of the characteristics of the literature of this period is its dialogic nature. The writers on this course lived in an age in which the religion of their immediate forebears was seen as heresy and, in many cases, they went through a school system in which students were trained to speak for and against the same proposition. It is not surprising that they were adept at seeing issues from more than one angle. Many texts offer the reader two or more perspectives on an issue, asking questions which often remain unanswered. In addition to these internal debates, texts (translations, adaptations, parodies, flytings, prequels and sequels) were also often in dialogue with each other. You will explore these issues in lectures and seminars, investigating the relationship between the set texts and their literary, cultural and historical contexts. These contexts include politics, religion, mythography, rhetoric, gender and sexuality. Upon successful completion of the module, you will have a greater understanding of Renaissance poetry and prose, as well as appropriate cultural, historical and theoretical contexts. You will be assessed through one 3000-word essay.
  • The History of the Book
    In this module you will explore the cultural and technological contexts of the publishing of literary works, and the history of the book in Britain, and the effects of globalization on that market. You will examine its styles, types and trajectories, and consider that history in light of the market for books, pamphlets and periodicals, and the issues (such as new technology, new infrastructure, copyright and censorship) that have affected them. You will look at the way authors and editors have exchanged their works with readers and audiences around the world. You will be able to examine and analyse trends and approaches throughout the history of British publishing, and explore the results. Assessment for this module will consist of a short essay and an independently researched portfolio to include a critical assessment of an issue identified in the seminars, accompanied by supporting evidence presented as a blog, a series of slides, an electronic scrap book, or in an alternative electronic format of the student’s own choice.

Year three, core modules

  • Major Project
    The individual Major Project will allow you to undertake a substantial piece of individual research, focused on a topic relevant to your specific course. Your topic will be assessed for suitability to ensure sufficient academic challenge and satisfactory supervision by an academic member of staff. The project will require you to identify/formulate problems and issues, conduct research, evaluate information, process data, and critically appraise and present your findings/creative work. You should arrange and attend regular meetings with your project supervisor, to ensure that your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.
  • Writing Poetry
    Through critical examination of modern and contemporary poems, you'll learn to explore important developments in technique and appreciate the benefits of close reading to open up possibilities for language use. You’ll develop sophisticated approaches to the relationship between form and content. You'll engage in advanced workshop treatment of your poems, moving beyond explanation of sources and meanings to explore process, form and audience. The seminar topics may include modelling, seeds and sources, working with journals, presentation of poetry on and off the page, working with sound and visual material, and redrafting. Your assessment will be a selection of poems accompanied by reflective writing that explores key issues of process.
  • Contemporary Fiction
    In this module you will look at a range of fiction written in the last 10 years, examining formal and thematic issues and the relationships between them. You will consider narrative experimentation (the recycling of old stories and forms), the representation of history, posthumanism, globalization, technology. Since there is inevitably an absence of established critical texts on the contemporary works studied, you will consider alternative sources of critical opinion (academic journals, the internet, broadsheet and broadcast journalism); and the ways in which new novels demand and shape new criticism. Your assessment will consist of a 3000-word essay at the end of the semester.

Year three, optional modules

  • Scriptwriting
    This module will introduce you to the scope and conventions of scriptwriting across three forms – film, television, and radio – through analysis of a diverse range of classic and contemporary examples. You'll examine the creative process and engage in this process by maintaining a reading journal and writer's notebook. The feature screenplays you'll study may include screenplays by Charlie Kaufman, Sophia Coppola, Quentin Tarantino, and Aaron Sorkin, while television series may include Breaking Bad, Mad Men and The Returned. Audio material may include selected Afternoon Plays and radio comedy series. Your writing exercises will focus on practical writing techniques such as writing an effective treatment or outline, and exploring the different techniques needed for different broadcast mediums. For assessment, you'll submit the best work you produce at the end of the year, along with a critical commentary that'll include a contribution to your Personal Development Planning file.
  • Modern Science Fiction
    In this module you will study the development of modern science fiction, concentrating on major texts from the postwar period. You are expected to acquire a detailed knowledge of the history of science fiction and a critical understanding of the problems of defining it in relation to other forms of literature. You are also expected to gain an understanding of the distinctive pleasures which science fiction offers its readers. The emphasis is on science fiction as a literature of ideas. In this module you will be concerned primarily with science fiction as a literary form rather than with its manifestations in other media, but the demands of adapting science fiction to other media will be considered. You will read short stories, novels, and critical essays enabling you to develop a detailed knowledge of science fiction from the 1930s to the present day, and gain an understanding of some key science fiction tropes and sub-genres.
  • World Literature
    Advances in technology, powerful media conglomerates, wealthy international corporations and the extension of a neo-liberal agenda, mean that we are living in an increasingly globalised world. When a story can go ‘viral’ in a matter of minutes and popular franchises inspire devotion from fans worldwide, we are forced to ask what the role of literature is in the contemporary moment. This module therefore asks you to consider how we might understand the term ‘world literature’. It combines short theoretical readings with a select body of fiction from regions as diverse as Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, South Asia and America. This writing addresses both local conditions and global concerns, encouraging you to think about the interconnectedness, but also the inequalities of modernity. Broader debates in the arena of world literature will be addressed, along with the related fields of postcolonialism, development studies, eco-criticism and transnational feminism. The module asks: what does it mean to read texts in the ‘world-language’ of English?; how do literary forms and strategies ‘travel’?; what are the potentials and limitations of comparison across borders?; how might you think of fiction not only in relation to national traditions but also in the context of the world system?; and how can socially committed fictions challenge the overlapping oppressions of globalisation? Your assessment will consist of a 3,000-word final essay, allowing you to demonstrate your understanding of the module’s central concerns, including your knowledge of primary fictional texts and your grasp of key ideas and ideologies informing the discussion.
  • Special Topic 2
    On the Special Topic module, you will have the opportunity to study a topic taught by a member of staff whose particular academic interests and/or research is reflected in the area. This module will enable you to extend their knowledge and understanding of a specific subject area that you may have met earlier in your studies, and in which there is deemed to be scope for more reading, critical commentary, analysis and discussion. Alternatively, the topic may be one not found elsewhere in the existing degree provision. It could be the study of a single author, a group of connected authors, or some aspect of literary theory, for example formalist criticism or deconstruction. It might also cover a literary form or genre such as the short story; gothic literature; twentieth-century science fiction; crime fiction; or 18th Century drama. The designated topics vary from-year-to-year, and you can find out from your tutors which ones are being offered, though will be told in good time to make an informed module choice. There are no formal lectures and you will be taught in seminars, including group discussions. You will be assessed by means of a final 3000 word essay, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of what has been covered on the module, including your knowledge of set texts and your grasp of the key ideas that inform the topic.
  • Renaissance Magic
    This module will give you the opportunity to specialise in an exciting period of literary history – the English Renaissance – and to pursue a thematic interest: the early modern literary fascination with magic. ‘Renaissance Magic’ explores the intersections between imaginative literature, science, religion and the occult, through the close study of various literary forms (from journal entries and essays, to epic poetry and drama) both canonical (including the works of Shakespeare, Jonson and Spenser) and more marginal (including seventeenth-century women’s writing, and anonymous alchemical poetry.) You will be introduced to various aspects of magic/occult culture of the early modern period: attitudes toward angelology and demonology; the learned figure of the ‘Renaissance magus’; alchemy; the fascination with and persecution of witches; and early science fiction. The variety of different texts is designed to challenge perceptions of the ‘canon’, and to broaden views of what constituted ‘literature’ in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. You will find all texts either in the Norton Anthology of English Literature, widely available for inexpensive purchase, or shared as documents on the VLE. You will be assessed through: an in-class (written) close reading exercise, worth 20% of the final mark; involving responding critically and applying some contextual knowledge to a short, unseen text; a 2000-word essay worth 80% of the mark at the end of the semester, showing your ability to read two or three texts from the course within their historical and cultural context. The choice of questions for this assessment will be available to you from the beginning of the module.
  • Elizabeth Gaskell and the Brontës
    This module will introduce you to the work of Elizabeth Gaskell and the Brontë sisters and to literary and cinematic adaptations of their fiction. You will begin by reading Gaskell’s The Life of Charlotte Brontë alongside Lucasta Miller’s The Brontë Myth and by assessing the way in which the ‘Brontë myth’ has been sustained by different generations of readers. The second part of the module will include a detailed survey of the diverse literary outputs of Gaskell and the Brontës. Through this, there will be a focus on the ways in which the four writers engage with their cultural contexts. In addition to thinking about the issues involved in debates about religion, education, social change, gender and familial and romantic relationships, you will be asked to consider the novels through the lens of disability theory and to assess their treatment of Imperialism and Empire. The final part of the module will involve an introduction to theories of adaptation and to rewritings and cinematic adaptations of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South.
  • Working in English and Media
    This module, with a focus on work experience, will help prepare you for targeted entry into the world of multimedia, film, television, cinema, radio, video, teaching, publishing, arts administration and related creative and cultural industries. You'll identify, negotiate and carry out a work placement, or produce a commissioned product, in a chosen area, with guidance from the relevant Course Leader and Module Leader, who will provide ongoing consultation, supervision and support in association with the University's Careers Service. You'll develop a portfolio and write a critical essay, both of which you'll submit at the end of the semester. Your portfolio should include: your CV; copies of a range of academic work (including a DVD showreel, where appropriate); evidence of extra-curricular activities; evidence of work experience. Presentation is crucial to your portfolio, and you should make use of all available multi-media when refining your work. This module will form part of your ongoing programme of Personal Development Planning.
  • Film Journalism
    Starting with an exploration of the various modes within which film journalism functions, this module will guide you through the world of professional film journalism, giving you the skills and knowledge to create original features for a variety of readerships in a range of media. You’ll look at working with editors; planning and structuring interviews; developing, drafting and revising reviews and features; and developing a personal style. Your explorations will be reinforced by regular formative assignments, leading to the creation of your own portfolio of work.
  • Writing Speculative Fiction
    In this module you will be introduced to the craft of writing speculative fiction, including fantasy and science fiction. You will ask questions about what it means to write within a genre, whether the lines between genres are clear cut or blurred, and reflect upon what this means specifically for the writer of speculative fiction. You will be introduced to the specific difficulties faced by the writer of speculative, including how to build convincing worlds; how to invent convincing histories, literatures, and societies; how to avoid cliché in the writing and creation of unreal places; and how writers of speculative fiction map, explore, populate, and imagine fully their unreal worlds. You will be required to produce a portfolio of creative writing, and a critical commentary reflecting upon aspects of writing speculative fiction.
  • Writing Creative Non-Fiction
    In this module you will be introduced to the art of creative non-fiction, beginning with William Hazlitt and the art of the essay as it has developed in the English Language and exploring the concept of what is creative non-fiction. Using the key text, and additional collections, you will explore issues of style, research, and personal expression. We will further discuss platforms, contexts, readerships and the differences between essaying, and feature writing. For your assessment you will produce a portfolio consisting of three short pieces of writing in different genres of creative non-fiction, and one which will help develop a substantive piece in a genre of your choice.
  • Literature and Exile: Displacement, Identity, Self
    This module will introduce you to a range of C20th and C21st literary representations of exile. To be in exile is to be banished from one’s home, to be displaced and/or estranged from one’s country, family, community, and even one’s self. Exile takes many forms: it can be literal or metaphorical; it can be enforced or self-imposed. Through close readings of novels, graphic novels, poetry, autobiography and short stories, many of which were written by authors in exile, you will explore various forms of exile writing and consider various conditions and contexts of exile, including politics, race, sexuality, gender and disability. At the start of the module, you will be introduced to a range of theories of exile; you will explore these theories each week in relation to the selected literary texts and related themes of memory, home, identity, community, nostalgia, self, and language. You will be assessed by means of a final 3,000-word essay, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of what has been covered on the module including your knowledge of the set texts and grasp of the key theories and ideas that have informed the course.
  • Theorising Children's Literature
    You will take as a starting point the need to be critical about literature written for young audiences, including early years and YA fiction. You will read children’s literature primarily as literature, instead of as a contributing factor towards childhood development. This process will demand that you engage with the primary texts through literary theory, including wider theory that is not typically applied to children’s texts, such as the work of Lacan, Bakhtin, Said, Foucault, Derrida, and others. You will consider eco-criticism, animal studies, disability, race, sexuality, and gender. You will also engage with changing historical constructs of childhood and the generic fluidity of children’s and fantasy literature. Reading will be set each for you to discuss in two-hour seminars.
  • Romantic Idealism
    The Romantic period heralded no only the beginnings of the Modern world, but it also looked towards futures and ideals that humans have not yet obtained: slavery still exists, and yet it was banned in this period; Britain passed the first animal rights legislation in Law, but species are still disappearing and the human relationship with other animals remains uneasy. This was a period in which old ways were sometimes driven out and everything seemed up for grabs. Even time was altered. In revolutionary France the old 24-hour clock disappeared, making way for a new decimal clock with 100 minutes in the hour, 10 hours in the day, 10 days in the week and three weeks in the month. This module will help you to engage in fresh critical thinking about ideas that you might never have imagined.
  • Publishing in Practice
    On this module you will explore the practical aspects of creating content and compiling content into a published product—and anthology of student work—with a theme to be determined by the module leader. You will learn practical skills such as the basics of desk editing, web editing, and using publishing software such as InDesign. You will also learn about legal issues related to sourcing content, the theory behind text and paratext, and the basics behind cover design and typography. As a student you will be responsible for creating a written and visual component of a larger anthology; as a class you will design and create the anthology of student work which can be printed in book form. The class will consist of seminars in a computer-lab setting, allowing the group to work together toward a common goal. Final assessment includes a creative publishing project and a critical commentary analysing your work on the creative publishing project.

Optional modules available all years

  • Anglia Language Programme
    The Anglia Language Programme allows you to study a foreign language as part of your course. You'll take one language module in the second semester of your first year in order to experience the learning of a new language. You must select a language you've never learnt before from the following: Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.

Assessment

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For a full breakdown of module options and credits, please view the module structure.

You’ll show your progress on the course through a combination of writing portfolios, critical commentaries, presentation, performance, video and audio recordings, proposals, reading journals, exams, essays and reviews.

Each year you’ll prepare a Personal Development Portfolio, which includes a CV and personal statement. This will give you the chance to reflect on your progress to date, the skills you’ve developed and any extracurricular activities that will help you when looking for work.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

The Department of English and Media is a community of more than 800 students, exploring subjects that further their understanding of culture and communication in the global age, from film studies to applied linguistics. We focus on skills and knowledge valued by employers, and provide our students with valuable industry insight through our links with creative partners.

Our students take part in many activities to help prepare them for the future, like work placements, study abroad opportunities, talks by internationally acclaimed guest speakers, and research conferences. They even have the chance to get writing advice from our Royal Literary Fund Fellow.

We’re part of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences, a hub of creative and cultural innovation whose groundbreaking research has real social impact.

Where can I study?

Cambridge
Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

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Activities and events

You can take part in our many extra-curricular activities, including poetry and writing evenings, research symposia and conferences, as well as many student societies including the Creative Writing Society, the Poetry Society and the Harry Potter Society.

Study abroad options

You can apply to spend one semester in years 2 or 3 studying abroad at the Universidad de Huelva, Spain, and Valparaiso University, Indiana, USA.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2017/18 (per year)

£9,250

International students, 2017/18 (per year)

£11,700

UK & EU students, 2018/19 (per year)

£9,250

International students, 2018/19 (per year)

£12,500

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Fee information

For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

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Most English undergraduates take out a tuition fee loan with Student Finance England. The fees are then paid directly to us. The amount you repay each month is linked to your salary and repayments start in April after you graduate.

How to apply for a tuition fee loan

Paying upfront

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If you choose not to take out a loan you can pay your fees directly to us. There are two ways to do this: either pay in full, or through a three- or six-month instalment plan starting at registration.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter for undergraduate courses. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees
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Funding for UK & EU students

We offer most new undergraduate students funding to support their studies and university life. There’s also finance available for specific groups of students.

Grants and scholarships are available for:

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Funding for international students

We've a number of scholarships, as well as some fee discounts for early payment.

Entry requirements

Loading... Entry requirements are not currently available, please try again later.

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

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International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

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English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for undergraduate courses.

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Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

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