Duration: 3 years full time
UCAS code: QW40
Institution code: R72
English and Digital Arts (BA)
Across the academy globally, dialogues between those studying literary and digital art forms are reshaping how we understand, and work with, narrative and storytelling. As part of a wider commitment to nurturing these discussions, Royal Holloway is now offering a BA in English and Digital Arts.
This exciting new degree will develop your awareness of the particular characteristics of narrative in literary and digital contexts. You will investigate narrative practices and devices in a variety of domains, gaining a theoretical and practical training in what narrative is what it can be in new media. From more traditional and historical narratives through to early internet storytelling and digital arts to contemporary narratives in interactive media and virtual reality, you’ll study the ways in which digital life and writing affect and transform each other.
Students entering work in the creative industries are best-placed to innovate in fields such as video game design, online publishing and broadcasting, animation and video and audio production, if they can first draw on a rigorous and robust sense of how different narratives operate.
In year one of the degree, you will sharpen your knowledge of the structures and effects of different storytelling in classes taught by experts across the English and Media Arts departments. By year two, you will have developed a conceptual framework and vocabulary for discussing narrative in a range of contexts, and in your third year you will gain hands-on experience in producing your own media. The basis for all of this innovative work will be your deep thinking about how literature and the digital arts are in mutually-nourishing relation.
- Study a unique course on narrative from literary history to contemporary digital storytelling.
- Gain expertise in storytelling in literature, film, TV, videogames, immersive and other media.
- Option for practical work in digital creative writing.
- Work towards your future ambitions with an employability focussed pathway into the digital and creative industries.
- Enjoy a unique blend of both theoretical rigour and creative-critical work.
From time to time, we make changes to our courses to improve the student and learning experience. If we make a significant change to your chosen course, we’ll let you know as soon as possible.
This module provides a history of the innovations in digital storytelling that have developed over the last several decades, and teaches you the technical skills to produce your own innovative digital stories. From hypertext novels to contemporary video games, we look at how storytelling has changed since the invention of the internet. Then, we learn the skills needed to produce several forms of digital narratives including text-based games, interactive video, location-based experiences and social media storytelling. Students develop a portfolio of both creative and written work.
In this module you will develop an understanding of patterns of narrative in film, television and documentary. You will look at narrative structure, patterns and distinctions in storytelling methods and styles, the relationship between narrative and identity, and points of view. You will also examine the social and cultural context of narrative and consider adaptation, postmodern and open-ended narrative, issue-driven narrative and television drama narrative structures.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the origins, developments and innovations of the novel form. You will look at a range of contemporary, eighteenth and nineteenth-century novels and learn to use concepts in narrative theory and criticism. You will consider literary history and make formal and thematic connections between texts and their varying socio-cultural contexts. You will examine novels such as 'The Accidental' by Ali Smith, 'Things Fall Apart' by Chinua Achebe and 'North and South' by Elizabeth Gaskell, analysing their cultural and intellectual contexts.
In this module you will develop an understanding of how to think, read and write as a critic. You will look at the concepts, ideas and histories that are central to the ‘disciplinary consciousness’ of English Literature, considering periodisation, form, genre, canon, intention, narrative, framing and identity.
In this module you will develop an understanding of a variety of major poems in English. You will look at key poems from the Renaissance to the present day. You will engage with historical issues surrounding the poems and make critical judgements, considering stylistic elements such as rhyme, rhythm, metre, diction and imagery. You will examine poems from Shakespeare to Sylvia Plath and analyse topics such as sound, the stanza and the use of poetic language.
In this module you will develop an understanding of the core concepts of the digital age, looking at how today's computer networks, devices and infrastructure underpin nearly all forms of aesthetic, cultural social and political life. You will consider the concepts of technicity, affective turn, digital subjectivity and extended mind, creative expression and participation in the digital era, amateur production, free software, fun and politics, self-organisation, media archaeology and sonic architectures. You will examine the systematic challenges brought about by digital change and critically interpret and analyse digital phenomena.
The principal aim of this course is to immerse second-year literature students in the world of digital tools for exploring literature. Through extensive hands-on use of online parsing tools, algorithmic methods for assessing aspects such as word co-association, various types of visualization packages and a great deal more besides, students will realise the remarkable affordances of digital tools in reading and interpreting texts.
You must take two of the following modules:
- Media Arts Dissertation
The module begins in summer term with two one hour lectures, which outline the organisation of practice as research and the development of research concepts, and then attend to the practical management of the production process, including time management and scheduling research.
The dissertation is an opportunity for you to undertake a substantial piece of independent work in an area of your choice, and so to deepen your understanding of literature, culture and critical theory.
The objective of this course is to prepare literature students for work in the creative industries by developing their use of digital technologies in responding to literature. In using digital technology to respond to literature both critically and aesthetically, literature students can become adept at various practices that are of immediate, valuable use in the creative industry workplace. This course will cultivate these practices, show how they grow organically out of a love for reading and writing, and demonstrate how they are skills that are in great demand in a wide range of creative workplaces.
There are a number of optional course modules available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course modules that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new modules may be offered or existing modules may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.
All modules are core
- Creative Interactive Media
- Videogames: Culture, Politics, History
This module examines the ideas that both audiences and filmmakers commonly use to discuss documentaries. Each week you will examine a single film whose construction highlights a particular issue, and will discuss it in conjunction with a selected written text. The ideas which are examined fall into three related groups. The first is that of the development of documentary: What is documentary? How have the ideals of documentary changed over its history? What has been the role of technology in the development of documentary? The second is that of the filming process: What are the limits of what can be filmed? What happens when people know they are being filmed? What kinds of performance are acceptable and even necessary? Can truthfulness ever be established? The third is that of our own experience and expectations as audiences: What kinds of construction or even manipulation do we want in order to make factual footage comprehensible? Can we cope with ambiguities? What do we want from photographs, moving images and recorded sounds? What happens when we see and hear exceptional or traumatic events through documentary? On the way we meet hopeless alcoholics; gangster rappers; London firemen; and reactions to 9/11.
- Film Theory: Hitchcock and Point of View
In this module you will develop an understanding of how creativity is constrained and enabled by the industrial logics of the creative industries. You will focus on film, television and digital media, exploring issues such as economics and financing, pitching and commissioning, policy and regulation, copyright, formats and global trade, ratings and audience measurement, branding and marketing, digital production logics, and production cultures. You will also consider a number of important industry-oriented research skills, such as interviewing, market/demographic analysis, locating and interpreting legal documents, and archival research.
- Television Histories
- Post-Classical Hollywood
- Modernism and Avant Garde Film
Providing an introduction to the study of literary modernism, a period of intense experimentation in diverse sets of cultural forms. This module deals with issues such as modernist aesthetics; genre; gender and sexuality; the fragment; time and narration; stream-of-consciousness; history, politics and colonialism; technology, and the status of language and the real.
This module aims to provide an introduction to a range of adaptations of North American literature from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The analysis of the texts of these adaptations will be combined with an exploration of their social, political and cultural contexts to articulate the connection between creative work and social environment, raising the questions of why adapt literature to film and what constitutes adaptation. The first half of the term will focus on Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller and Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet, both as plays and films, and will end with Wag the Dog by Barry Levinson. The second half of the term will consider A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley and the film based on this novel; we will also analyse Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and the subsequent film and television series. The module will end with an analysis of The Hunger Games series of novels and films and an assessment of the failures of capitalism that these texts explore.
This module, which is designed to enable non-creative writing students to try a creative writing module, will give you the opportunity to work through some issues associated with short-story and/or novel writing. Classes will alternate seminar discussions of aspects of the craft of writing with workshops in which you will interact critically and creatively with others' work.
- Frankenstein, Text, Context, Intertexts
This module aims to develop your advanced writing skills for academic attainment and employability. You will be introduced to key forms of writing from a variety of professional contexts. An initial focus on the academic essay will enable you to develop writing from more familiar experience.
A project involving designing and promoting a virtual exhibition will introduce you to the writing skills needed in heritage professions and group work. Real life writing and editing tasks introduced by industry professionals from the world of publishing will provide you with practical experience to share with potential employers. You will also be introduced to the requirements of pitches, policy briefs, and the work of writing in the legal professions.
- Television and Digital Cultures
- Transnational Cinema 1
- Television Histories
- The Poetics of Contemporary Television
- Contemporary British Cinema
- Political Cinema: From Eisenstein to Youtube
- Transnational Cinema 2
- Media Technologies
- Hollywood Renaissance
- Contemporary British Cinema 2
- Non-Fiction Film
- Film Form
- Queer Histories: Contemporary Gay and Lesbian British and Irish Fiction
- Ritual & Society in C19th Fiction and Painting
In this module you will address the relationship between literature and the visual arts from c.1760 to the 1890s. You will look at theoretical issues of how the visual and the verbal arts are defined and consider their compatibility through a number of case studies of visual-verbal interactions from the period studied. You will also address the rise of the visual as the dominant cultural form of the Victorian period, tracing the development of illustrated media and new visual technologies including photography and early cinema, and the concomitant rise of the new phenomenon of the art critic - the professional interpreter of images - in the 1890s.
- Interrogations of Culture
An advanced introduction to debates about the philosophy of literature. This module is structured around three key questions: the ethics of literature, what literature is presumed to reveal and the relationship between literature and its interpretation.
Teaching & assessment
The proposed BA in English and Digital Arts will be co-taught in a 50/50 split between the Department of Media Arts and the Department of English. The first year will involve 4x30 credit modules with a total 60 credits drawn from English and a total 60 credits drawn from Media Arts. The second year involves 30 core credits, with a total 15 credits drawn from English and a total 15 credits drawn from Media Arts. Students select their remaining credits from a range of elective modules offered in each department, with a 50/50 overall balance between departments mandatory. In the final year students have 30 core credits which must be comprised either of a dissertation in English, a dissertation in Media Arts of a praxis project combining a dissertation with a piece of creative work in digital literature or storytelling. Students select their remaining credits from a range of elective modules offered in each department, with a 50/50 overall balance between departments mandatory.
The teaching methods are primarily lecture and seminar led, though some individual tutorials are part of certain modules as per module validation documents and course specification forms. The students will be assigned a personal tutor in English or Media Arts with Dr Alfie Bown operating as convenor of the pathway in Media Arts and Dr Vicky Greenaway operating as convenor in English. The degree assessment involves essays and projects, depending on the student choice among the elective modules.
A Levels: AAB-ABB
- A-Level B in an essay-based subject.
- At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9-4 including English and Mathematics.
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. For students who are from backgrounds or personal circumstances that mean they are generally less likely to go to university, you may be eligible for an alternative lower offer. Follow the link to learn more about our contextual offers.
We accept T-levels for admission to our undergraduate courses, with the following grades regarded as equivalent to our standard A-level requirements:
- AAA* – Distinction (A* on the core and distinction in the occupational specialism)
- AAA – Distinction
- BBB – Merit
- CCC – Pass (C or above on the core)
- DDD – Pass (D or E on the core)
Where a course specifies subject-specific requirements at A-level, T-level applicants are likely to be asked to offer this A-level alongside their T-level studies.
English language requirements
All teaching at Royal Holloway (apart from some language courses) is in English. You will therefore need to have good enough written and spoken English to cope with your studies right from the start of your course.
The scores we require
- IELTS: 7.0 overall. Writing 7.0. No other subscore lower than 5.5.
- Pearson Test of English: 69 overall. Writing 69. No other subscore lower than 51.
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE): ISE IV.
- Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade C.
For more information about country-specific entry requirements for your country please visit here.
Undergraduate preparation programme
For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, for this undergraduate degree, the Royal Holloway International Study Centre offers an International Foundation Year programme designed to develop your academic and English language skills.
Upon successful completion, you can progress to this degree at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Your future career
Choosing English and Digital Arts at Royal Holloway will give you the critical and theoretical skills to understand storytelling and its histories and futures – meaning you will be well equipped to pursue roles across many creative industries. You’ll gain knowledge of industry standard tools used in digital storytelling and creative production, along with impeccable academic writing skills – all of which will give you advantages in the employability market, ensuring you possess the talents that employers are looking for.
Fees, funding & scholarships
Home (UK) students tuition fee per year*: £9,250
EU and international students tuition fee per year**: £23,800
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, scholarships and bursaries. UK students who have already taken out a tuition fee loan for undergraduate study should check their eligibility for additional funding directly with the relevant awards body.
*The tuition fee for UK undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations. For students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25, the fee is £9,250 for that year.
**This figure is the fee for EU and international students starting a degree in the academic year 2024/25
Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees annually for overseas fee-paying students. Please be aware that tuition fees can rise during your degree. The upper limit of any such annual rise has not yet been set for courses starting in 2024 but will advertised here once confirmed. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions.
***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree at Royal Holloway during the 2024/25 academic year, and are included as a guide. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.