BA English

UCAS codeQ301
Duration3 Years
Typical offerAAB–ABB; IB: 34–32; BTEC: DDD–DDM
LocationTaught in Cornwall Campus Cornwall (Penryn Campus)


Studying English at Penryn

English at our Penryn Campus is founded on exceptional student experience.

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Studying English at our state-of-the-art eco campus in Cornwall opens a world of possibilities. Set in 100 acres of countryside and located close to the coastal town of Falmouth, this flexible course introduces you to over 1,500 years of the written word; epic medieval poetry, the colourful, turbulent era of Renaissance and Revolution, through to contemporary authors who have been instrumental in defining the modernist literary movement. Our world-class faculty staff will nurture your natural talents and enthusiasm for English literary studies, but more importantly they will challenge you. Challenge you conceptually, intellectually, creatively, morally and politically, because choosing to study English is choosing to broaden your mind.

At Penryn, students enjoy the peace and tranquillity of a smaller campus whilst benefitting from a highly personalised experience. With a smaller student intake, the emphasis is on innovative learning and teaching in a flexible and intimate atmosphere. Rated in the top 10 nationally for student satisfaction, Penryn, has a lively community with a vibrant mix of students from science, engineering, humanities and arts backgrounds. If you choose to study at our campus in Cornwall, you still gain full access to our Special Collections and can take advantage of our research power in English, which ranks 4th highest in the UK.

The University of Exeter was rated gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) and within the English department our staff’s expertise spans the entire academic landscape, such as literature and place, or affect and embodiment. The supportive teaching style will give you the skills required to critically analyse texts, draw informed comparisons and challenge theories with confidence. From a stunning rural location, with coast and countryside on your doorstep, you will hone your investigative skills to become an accomplished independent researcher and through exploration of literary greats, will define your own writing style.

We’re proud to say that 95% of our graduates are in employment or further study six month after graduation. English degrees offer a wide range of transferable skills that lead not only to humanities jobs, but a diverse range of careers across multiple industries. At the University of Exeter, you enjoy flexibility to build a programme that covers the areas you’re most passionate about. You can even combine English with another subject under our Flexible Combined Honours Scheme, incorporate Employment Experience and have the opportunity to study abroad at a range of partner institutions in Europe, USA, Canada and elsewhere.

Programme variations

Programme structure

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.

Year 1

Year 2

Final year

Full module descriptions

For full module descriptions from previous years, please visit our Humanities student website.

Entry requirements 2020

Typical offer


Required subjects

GCE AL English Literature grade B; IB English HL5.

A level applicants may offer either GCE AL English Literature or English Language and Literature.

BTEC applicants require an additional GCE AL English Literature or English Language and Literature grade B.

Additional selection criteria

We are looking for well-qualified students with a genuine interest in and enthusiasm for the subject.

In addition to the specific requirements listed above, we look for excellent A level* results/predictions and 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.

International students

International students should check details of our English language requirements

If your academic qualifications or English language skills do not meet our entry requirements our INTO University of Exeter centre offers a range of courses to help you reach the required language and academic standards.

International Foundation programmes

Preparation for entry to Year 1 of an undergraduate degree:

Contextual offers

At the University of Exeter we are committed to the idea that all students who have the potential to benefit from higher education have the opportunity to do so. We believe that fair access to higher education is a fundamental enabler for social mobility, improving life opportunities and outcomes for individual students, while benefiting the economy and society as a whole.

Educational context can affect your grades, and we take this into account in order to recognise your potential. If you meet certain criteria, we may make you a lower offer than our typical entry requirements. Find out more about contextual offers.

Further information

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 department of English at the Penryn Campus offers a unique student experience, combining a friendly, small-group approach to teaching with top-flight research. The campus offers a welcoming atmosphere where it’s easy to make new friends and where staff and students know each other well. With a smaller student intake, the emphasis is on innovative learning and teaching in a flexible and intimate atmosphere.

All full-time staff are internationally acclaimed researchers with specialisms ranging from the literature and history of witchcraft to Victorian sensation fiction, from experimental fiction to the Gothic.

We use a variety of learning and teaching methods including lectures, seminars, student study groups and web and IT resources. All our modules centre the learning experience on seminars, involving groups of between 10 and 20 students, typically running for two hours. Many modules, are supported by weekly 50-minute lectures. Students generally prepare for seminars by involvement in student study groups, which are a distinctive and successful feature of our programme.

Typical contact time with academic staff is six hours per week, on top of which you’re expected to attend other activities such as study groups, workshop activities and film screenings. Most of your work will be done in group and self-directed study: reading or viewing module material, writing essays or preparing material for seminar presentations. You should expect your total workload to average about 40 hours per week during term time.

We’re actively engaged in introducing new methods of learning and teaching, including increasing use of interactive computer-based approaches to learning such as the Exeter Learning Environment where details of all modules are stored in an easily navigable website and students can access detailed information about modules and learning outcomes and take part in a discussion forum. Another special feature of our courses is the way we make use of films, videos, tapes and slides for studying printed texts and other forms of cultural production.

Essays can be discussed on a one-to-one basis with the tutor who has marked them and all students have a Personal Tutor who is available for advice and support throughout their studies. Study Skills tutors are also available within the Department to work on specific problems in written work and assessment and we train you in key skills including presentation, time-management, team-work, problem-solving, communication and constructive self-criticism.


You must pass your first year assessment in order to progress to the second year, but the results do not count towards your degree classification. For three-year programmes, the assessments in the second and third years contribute to your final degree classification. For four-year programmes the assessments in the second, third and fourth years all contribute to your final degree classification.

Assessment in English is through a mixture of methods that includes essays and a Dissertation as well as examinations and group presentation work. The ratio of formal examination to continuous assessment is on average 40:60. On the English with Study in North America degree programme you will be assessed by your host university during your academic year abroad. This will contribute towards your degree classification.


English graduates from the University of Exeter benefit from a degree which is internationally recognised and compete very successfully in the employment market. 

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:

  • Barclays
  • Palgrave Macmillan
  • English Heritage
  • O2
  • Haymarket Media
  • ITV
  • 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

Career Zone

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. 

‌Find out more about careers in English 

Contact us

Streatham Campus, Exeter

WebEnquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1392 724202

Penryn Campus, Cornwall

WebEnquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1326 371801

Website: Visit the English website