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English and American Literature BA

Please note that information shown below may be subject to change.

UCAS code
QT37
Year of entry
2019
View 2018 entry »
Course length
3 years full time
Department
English »

On BA English & American Literature, you will have the opportunity to explore the distinct but interrelated literary traditions of two nations and cultures spanning five centuries, from the early 1600s to the present day.  This degree is directly informed by the creative and critical mix of academic experts in the College's top-rated English department.

You will begin the degree with a grounding in the two distinct literary cultures, then you choose options allowing you to explore different periods, genres and topics.  In your final year you will continue to follow your own interests, specialising and taking research-based options or writing a dissertation.

You'll be exposed to a wide variety of areas in American literature, including the literature of the first encounter, nineteenth-century and African-American writing, satire, New York School poetry, drama, the urban novel and writing about music and the novella. In addition you can take advantage of an exceptional range of options in English literature, theory and postcolonial literature.

  • You will have the chance to take courses in other departments, studying American history or film, to broaden your understanding of America.
  • You will be offered the chance to study abroad, enhancing your understanding of the USA or another country.
  • You can go beyond the study of existing literature, with the opportunity to take modules in creative writing.
  • You will be taught by academics who have won national and College prizes for teaching and for their publications, including practicing American novelists Ben Markovits and Douglas Cowie.

Core modules

Year 1

Thinking as a Critic
Introducing English Poetry
Re-Orienting the Novel
Shakespeare
Introducing America, 1600 to 1900

Year 2

American Literature, 1900 to 1940

You will take one form the following:

The Renaissance
The Age of Oppositions - Literature, 1660 to 1780
Victorian Literature
Romanticisms
Contemporary Debates in Literary and Critical Theory
Modernism

You will take one or more from the following:

Dark Reform - Scandal and Satire in American Culture
Literature of The Fin de Siècle
Environmental Literatures

Year 3

You will take one from the following:

Dissertation
African-American Literature
The Literature of Chicago
The New York Schools - Poetry, Painting and Music in the 1950s
Special Author: Hemingway
Special Author: Ashbery
Science Fiction
Special Topic: Thinking and Writing about Popular Music

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

Only  core modules are taken

Year 2

Dark Reform - Scandal and Satire in American Culture
Literature of The Fin de Siècle
Environmental Literatures
American Gothic

In this module you will develop an understanding of gothic texts and films by American writers and directors from 1776 to the present. You will look at how the gothic is used as a medium to discuss issues of race, gender, social class, and regional identity in American writing. You will consider a variety of social, historical, psychological, and theoretical approaches to gothic writing, and how the genre has changed over time. You will analyse formal, lingustic, structural and, for films, visual qualities of texts and examine debates over the extent to which American gothic writing forms a distinctly national tradition.

Middle English Poetry
Tolkein's Roots
Medieval Dream and Vision
Strange Fictions
Myths of Origins
Old English Riddles
The Renaissance
Intensive Shakespeare - Comedy, History, Tragedy
Witchcraft and Drama, 1576 to 1642
Theatre and The City, 1590 to 1625
Early Modern Bodies
Paradise in Early Modern English Literature
Literature After The Conquest, 1066 to 1340
Gender and Writing in the 18th Century
The Age of Oppositions - Literature, 1660 to 1780
Tristram Shandy and the Experimental Novel
Fictions of Sensation
Victorian Literature
Romanticisms
Creative Writing - Structure and Style
Queer Histories - Contemporary Gay and Lesbian British and Irish Fiction
Four National Poets - Gillian Clarke, Carol Ann Duffy, Liz Lochhead, Paula Meehan
British Drama from Shaw to Priestly 
Contemporary Debates in Literary and Critical Theory
Modernism
The Art of Noise
Shakespeare from Page to Stage
Playwriting
Fiction
Poetry

Year 3

The Great American Novella
Odysseus' Scar: Time in Modern Literature and Film
Tolkien's Roots
Myths of Origins
Old English Riddles
Advanced Shakespeare - The Problem Plays
Witchcraft and Drama, 1576 to 1642
Early Modern Bodies
Paradise in Early Modern English Literature
Literature after The Conquest, 1066 to 134
Middle English Poetry
Medieval Dream and Vision
Medieval Epic and Romance
Literature and Philosophy
Tragedy
James Joyce - Revolutions of the Word
Shakespeare in Stages - Shakespearen Adaptation Across Four Centuries
Painting and Writing
Gender and Writing in the 18th Century
Lliterary Persons, Selfhood and Interiority in Early Modern Literature
Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture
Tristram Shandy and the Experimental Novel
Fictions of Sensation
Queer Histories - Contemporary Gay and Lesbian British and Irish Fiction
Writing Migrant Identities
Special Topic - The Girl in the Book
Children's Literature
The Post-Colonial Novel - The Art of Resistance
Byron, Modernity and Europe, 1780 to 1830
Poetic Practice
Art of Noise
Pastoral
Visual and Verbal in the Long Nineteenth Century
Poetic Practice
Art of Noise
Pastoral
Visual and Verbal in the Long Nineteenth Century
The 1930s British Fiction and the Road to War
Special Author: Conrad
Special Author Project - Woolf
Special Author Project - Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales
Special Author Project - Dickens
Special Author Project - Thomas Hardy
Of Circumference: Emily Dickinson
Special Author: Samuel Beckett
Special Author - Oscar Wilde
The Brontës
Reading the Waste Land
Playwriting 2
Fiction 2
Poetry 2
Creative Writing Special Focus

You will take the equivalent of four units each year.

In year one this includes a core course introducing American literature from 1600 to 1900, as well as core courses in English, poetry, the novel and Shakespeare.

In year two students take a core course in American Literature from 1900 to the present, as well as one or more of the core second-year English full units, and other option choice.

In your final year, you will take a balanced combination of American and English Literature options, including Special Topics, Special Author papers and an optional dissertation

Options in American history or film can also be taken in other departments in years two and three, where pathway rules and timetabling allow it.

Teaching is mostly by seminars and lectures, with an additional small tutorial group in year one. These methods are backed up by individual consultations for feedback on essays throughout the degree, and dissertation supervision in year three.

All students will also belong to study groups and undertake co-operative work for some courses, and take training courses run by the Library.

Assessment is via a combination of:

  • exams
  • essays
  • take-away papers
  • projects
  • marked presentations in some courses

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels

ABB including B in English
How we assess your application:  predicted grades lower than our typical offers are considered.  Read more about what we look for here.

  • Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A-levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required.
  • Socio-economic factors which may have impacted an applicant’s education will be taken into consideration and alternative offers may be made to these applicants.
Required/preferred subjects

Required subjects: 

  • A Level Grade B in English Literature or English Literature & Language
  • At least five GCSE passes at grades A* to C or 9-4 including Maths and English
Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate

6,5,5 at Higher Level, including English Literature with a minimum of 32 points overall

BTEC National Extended Diploma

Distinction, Distinction, Distinction in relevant subject, including distinction in all essay units plus grade A in GCSE English Literature

Distinction, Distinction in relevant subject, plus grade B in A level English Literature or English Language & Literature

BTEC National Extended Certificate

Distinction in relevant subject plus A level grades B,B, including B in English Literature or English Language & Literature

Welsh Baccalaureate

Requirements are as for A-levels where one non-subject-specified A-level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate.

Scottish Advanced Highers

ABB including English Literature or English Language & Literature 

Scottish Highers

AABBB including English Literature or English Language & Literature 

Irish Leaving Certificate

H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 at Higher Level including H2 in English Literature or English Lit/Lang at Higher Level

Access to Higher Education Diploma

Pass with at least 24 level 3 credits at Distinction and the remaining level 3 credits at Merit. All level 3 English studies units must be passed with Distinction. The Access to Higher Education Diploma is only acceptable if applicants have had a considerable break from education

Other UK qualifications

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International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

English language
requirements

IELTS 7.0 overall

  • with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in each remaining subscore

For equivalencies please see here.

For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Taking a degree in English sets you up with great prospects for future employability.  On the course itself we place a strong emphasis on your future employability, meaning the skills that you gain won’t just be applicable to the study of English.

Although many of our students go on to further study in literature and other fields, skills such as research, presentation, teamwork, negotiation and communication will prepare you for a wide range of career opportunities.  Recent graduate have gone on to careers in:

  • Accountancy and banking
  • Publishing
  • Law
  • Media, PR and journalism
  • Teaching
  • Theatre and arts

We currently run a structured work placement scheme, placing students with The Daily Telegraph, the Press Association, BBC Newsnight, publishers, literary agencies and media companies in London.  By taking part in the scheme and you will boost your employability, build your CV, and develop real skills to help you choose and prepare for a career.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year**: £16,500

Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

*The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations, and for students starting a degree in the academic year 2018/19 will be £9,250 for that year, and is shown for reference purposes only. The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates has not yet been confirmed for students starting a degree in the academic year 2019/20.

**Fees for international students starting a degree at Royal Holloway in the academic year 2019/20 have not yet been set, and those for 2018/19 are shown for reference purposes only. Fees for international students may increase year-on-year in line with the rate of inflation. The policy at Royal Holloway is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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