|Typical offer||AAA-AAB; IB: 36-34|
You will study a wide and exciting range of English texts in one of the country’s top rated teaching and research departments. As well as developing your expertise in subjects ranging from Medieval to contemporary literatures, Single Honours English offers noteworthy options in film studies and creative writing, allowing you to shape your degree around your interests.
The first year of study will provide you with a solid foundation for the rest of the programme by providing training in university level research and writing skills. By your second year you will expand your learning and steer your work path through your choice of modules. You also have the option to take a work placement, allowing you to develop a critical understanding of a business or other work environment.
In your final year, you will study three optional modules and become an independent researcher yourself, as you write a dissertation of 8,000 words on a topic of your choice.
Our programmes at Exeter encourage you to ask challenging questions about the nature of literary and other texts. When you read Troilus and Criseyde and Jane Eyre, or watch movies such as Bicycle Thieves, you will be prompted to ask not only what they mean, but also how they make those meanings. Who were they written or filmed for? How do they compare with other works of the same or different periods? How do they relate to the historical and social conditions in which they were produced?
At the end of three years, you will have acquired a wide and detailed knowledge of English. You will also have developed into the sort of independent, self-motivated researcher who is ready for postgraduate study and for a broad range of graduate employment.
The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.
The English degree programme is made up of compulsory (core) and optional modules, which are worth 15 or 30 credits each. Full-time undergraduate students need to complete modules worth a total of 120 credits each year.
Depending on your programme you can take up to 30 credits each year in another subject, for instance a language or business module, to develop career-related skills or just widen your intellectual horizons.
Please note that modules offered are subject to change, depending on staff availability, timetabling, and demand.
The first year gives you a foundational knowledge of English theory, concepts, and texts. You will also gain important analytical techniques that will be useful across a range of subjects and research tasks.
At the second stage of the programme, we expect that you will have identified some areas of English that particularly interest you and that you want to know more about. Expert tutors lead each module and you will have the opportunity to work through your selected subject areas in their historical and critical contexts. You will select four modules, two from before 1800 and two from after 1800, from a list of options that currently includes medieval, renaissance, eighteenth-century, Victorian, twentieth century and contemporary literature subjects, as well as options in creative writing and film.
The full list of optional modules can be accessed on our College intranet.
In your final year, you will study one lecture-led module on a key period of English (one of Acts of Writing, Life and Death in Early Modern Literature or Romanticism), and two modules from an extensive list of options. Each optional module reflects the specific expertise and current research interests of the active researchers who deliver it. For this reason, the range of optional modules available changes each year. Finally, you will become an independent researcher yourself, as you write a dissertation on a topic of your choice under supervision.
Full module descriptions
For full module descriptions please visit the English website.
Entry requirements 2018
AAA-AAB; IB: 36-34
GCE AL English Literature grade A; IB English HL6.
Additional selection criteria
We are looking for well-qualified students with a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for the subject.
We may also take into account results up to and including GCSEs* and AS Levels* as part of our holistic assessment of an application.
*Equivalent qualifications will be considered. For more information about our equivalencies for specific qualifications please contact our Admissions Office.
Programmes with Study Abroad
Entry for programmes ‘with Study Abroad’ is offered on the basis that you will spend your time abroad at an institution where the teaching and examining is delivered in English. However, we also have partners that teach in French, Spanish and German. Should you wish to study at one of these institutions you will need to take modules through the Foreign Language Centre up to ‘Advanced’ standard in the appropriate language. In order to reach this standard before the year abroad, students usually need to have entered the University with the equivalent of a good GCSE or AS level (or higher) in that language.
Please read the important information about our Typical offer.
For full and up-to-date information on applying to Exeter and entry requirements, including requirements for other types of qualification, please see the Applying section.
Learning and teaching
The nature of learning at university involves considerable self-guided study and research. You will be taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and small group tutorials, led by internationally respected academics at the forefront of research. You will be encouraged to take the initiative by organising your own study groups, taking advantage of online and traditional learning resources, and managing your personal workload and time.
Most of your work will be done in group and self-directed study: reading or viewing module material, writing essays or preparing for your seminar presentations. We encourage you to present your work because it involves you actively in the teaching and learning process, and develops important transferable skills such as good verbal and visual communication and effective interaction with other people. You will also develop a range of professional skills, such as time management and team working, plus valuable critical, analytical and communication skills.
In your first year, you will receive a minimum of 10 hours of contact with academic staff per week. You will also be expected to attend other activities such as study groups, workshop activities and film screenings. Your total workload should average about 40 hours per week during term time.
We are actively engaged in introducing new methods of learning and teaching, including the increasing use of interactive computer-based approaches to learning through our virtual learning environment, where you can access detailed information about modules and learning outcomes and interact through activities such as discussion forums.
You will also have access to online subscription databases and websites, such as Early English Books Online (EEBO), Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO), MLA FirstSearch and JSTOR. Technical skills will include accurate notetaking from presentations, research and IT skills. You’ll also learn subject-specific skills, such as constructive self-criticism.
Film, audio and other mediaWe use a range of film, video, audio and other media to aid study of printed texts and other forms of cultural production. The Streatham Campus is home to the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum, which contains an enormous collection relating to the history of film and visual media and an online virtual exhibition. Our libraries have extensive audio visual collections as well as the Chris Brooks collection, which contains over 10,000 works of primary and secondary source Victorian material.
We provide an exciting range of special lectures and seminars on both campuses by visiting academics and renowned writers, actors and film directors. In addition to your academic work, the student-run English Society organises book and poetry readings, film screenings and social events, providing an opportunity to meet students who share a love of literature, culture and the arts. Students from the English department are always active on the University student newspapers, radio and TV station and in the University’s drama groups.
We believe that every student benefits from being part of a culture that is inspired by research and where modules are taught by experts who contribute to the latest developments in their field. This is particularly important in the final year of your studies, where modules will give you the most up-to-date research ideas and debates in the discipline. The work of our academic staff is of the highest quality with English ranked 4th in the UK for research power in English*.
You will have access to a personal tutor who is available for advice and support throughout your studies. There are also a number of services on campus where you can get advice and information, including the Students’ Guild Advice Unit.
You will be assessed in a variety of ways but primarily through exams and coursework. Coursework includes essays, a dissertation and presentation work. The ratio of formal exam to coursework is on average 40 : 60. Your first year doesn’t count towards your final degree classification, but you do have to pass it in order to progress.
Study Abroad is the opportunity to study at one of our renowned partner universities around the world. Last year over 300 College of Humanities students from all disciplines took advantage of a year abroad in countries across the globe.
All students in Humanities can choose to study abroad as part of their degree. The year abroad takes place in the third year of a four-year degree programme. You can apply directly for the four-year 'with Study Abroad' programme, or transfer from another programme once you are at Exeter.
English graduates from the University of Exeter benefit from a degree which is internationally recognised and compete very successfully in the employment market. 6 months after graduation 97.2%* of our English graduates are in work and / or further study.
Graduating with a degree in English will put you in a great position to succeed in a range of different careers. Oral and written communication is at the heart of our programme and you will learn to present your ideas in a range of formats. You will also develop strong research and analytical skills and the ability to problem solve and make informed decisions. Through a balance of independent study and teamwork you will learn to manage your time and workload effectively.
Our students have progressed to a broad range of work sectors including education, arts management, publishing, journalism, marketing, finance and events management, working for companies such as:
- Palgrave Macmillan
- English Heritage
- Haymarket Media
- Amnesty International
Other recent graduates have progressed to postgraduate courses in:
- MA Cultural Heritage Management
- MA English Literary Studies
- PGCE English primary
- MA Magazine Journalism
- Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Skills
The services offered by the Humanities careers and employability team are complementary to the services offered by our central Career Zone where you can participate in practical sessions to develop your skills; access paid internships and volunteering opportunities; explore postgraduate study options; meet prospective employers; get one-to-one advice and learn how to secure the right job for you.
*First–degree University of Exeter graduates of English. HESA Performance Indicator sourced from the DLHE survey 2013/14.