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BA (Honours) English Language and Literature

If you love the written and spoken word, this course is for you. A comprehensive and stimulating introduction to English language and literature, it investigates how the English language is used in a variety of global contexts, and explores literature from different historical periods and in diverse cultural settings. You’ll explore writing and speech in a wide range of forms, and develop your skills in the interpretation of literary and non-literary texts.

Key features of the course

  • Start with studying interdisciplinary themes, before moving on to more specialised modules
  • Options to study areas like creative writing or children’s literature
  • Learn the skills of analysis, critical commentary and complex argument that are highly valued in the workplace.
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Degree

Course code
Q39
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
360
How long it takes
Part time – 6 years
Full time – 3 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning
Course cost
See Fees & funding
Entry requirements
None

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Start dates

Credit transfer: apply by 04/12/2014

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Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits (equivalent to one year's full-time university study). Stage 1 provides the underpinning knowledge and skills needed for more advanced study at Stages 2 and 3.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

You’ll begin with a key introductory module in the arts and humanities, developing essential study skills while engaging with a wide range of topics, periods and approaches. You can build on this with our recommended module which will further develop your skills in the arts and humanities and prepare you for Stage 2 of your degree – or you could choose from options such as languages, social sciences or design.


Compulsory module (60 credits)

  • The arts past and present (AA100)

    Study a broad range of arts subject areas (from history to philosophy, music to English) across multiple cultures and historical periods in this university-level introduction.

Stages 2 and 3 (240 credits)

In literature you’ll study different approaches and techniques for reading and studying literary texts through classic and less well-known works from the Renaissance onwards, including drama, poetry, prose fiction, autobiography, travel writing and film. Advanced options currently include Shakespeare, the nineteenth-century novel, twentieth century literature, advanced creative writing, and children’s literature. Your language studies will focus on how English has developed into a global medium, with options to investigate how we use English in varied contexts or explore creativity in language. 



The modules quoted in this description are currently available for study. However, as we review the curriculum on a regular basis, the exact selection may change over time.


Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills

The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; e-learning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – reducing the number of modules you need to study. It’s not just study completed at a university that can be considered, you can transfer study from a wide range of professional qualifications as well. A full list of the qualifications and institutions we can consider for credit transfer can be found on our credit transfer website.

You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide original evidence of your previous study. We will compare this against the learning outcomes for your chosen qualification and inform you of any award.

For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.


Classification of your degree

On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BA (Honours) English Language and Literature degree. You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

The class of degree (first, second or third class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:

These regulations are also available on our Essential Documents website.


Compare this course

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification.

General study skills

Anyone can study with The Open University, but if it's a while since you did any academic work it's worth checking that your time management, computing and English skills are up to speed. Visit Can I do it? to find out more.

Help! I'm not sure I'm ready!

Study for free

If your study skills are a bit rusty or you want to try out Open University study before committing yourself, don't worry! You can get started with an Access module – fascinating courses designed to introduce subject areas, build your confidence and prepare you for further study.

For this qualification, we recommend:

Arts and languages Access module

What you will study

This fascinating, multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the arts and languages, and would like to develop both your subject knowledge and your study skills. It explores a range of subjects, including art history, English, English language studies, history, modern languages, and also touches on the areas of creative writing and religious studies.

The module is divided into three blocks.

Block 1 begins by exploring how language is used to communicate. You will be introduced to language in various spoken and written forms – for example as a tool for learning or as cultural expression – before moving on to access texts in a foreign language. You’ll then examine the theme of popular protest with an initial discussion of a First World War poem, Anthem for Doomed Youth by Wilfred Owen. Next, you will study a diverse range of poetry with an emphasis on protest. Finally, depending on your personal interests and study goals, you can either try your hand at creative writing or try out a foreign language at beginners’ level).

Block 2 extends your study of language to consider popular culture and the language of protest. You’ll also start to think about the persuasive uses of language – seen in politics and the media for instance – and consider what impact dialect and pronunciation has on how meaning is produced, drawing on examples from hip-hop and song. You will then move on to focus on history, in particular, looking at the history of the demand for democracy (government by the people) in Britain from around 1815 through an examination of the Chartist movement. You will be introduced to a small number of the many debates surrounding the interpretation of Chartism and the relevance of the subject today. Finally, you will have the option to study a segment on a foreign language at beginners’ level (from a choice of up to six languages), or to extend your study of history by considering the Suffragette movement in Britain.

Block 3 considers the relationship between art and popular protest. You’ll be introduced to the study of the visual arts by looking at a selection of works that have been nominated for the Turner Prize which will allow you to look at many different types of art and explore the techniques used by art historians and art critics when they analyse a work of art. You’ll then explore four case studies: a painting by Picasso; an example of graffiti; a display at St. Mungo’s Museum of Religious Life and Art in Glasgow; and the symbolism and language used in football banners. These case studies will give you the opportunity to build on what you have learnt so far and explore the relationship between popular protest and visual art from a wider range of academic disciplines, such as history, religious studies, linguistics and modern foreign language studies.

The module includes a DVD and website which include further study materials and resources as well as online quizzes and interactive exercises to help test your understanding.

As you study this module you will build your confidence and develop your study skills, including:

  • reading and interpreting information
  • producing written communications
  • time management and organisational skills
  • problem solving.

You will also have the opportunity to gain skills such as working with audio and video material, using online forums and searching the internet for information. This experience will provide you with a gentle introduction to using a computer to support your study, and will equip you with the basic computing skills you will need for the next step in your studies.

Please note that you will need access to the internet and a computer to study and pass this module. You will need to use a computer early on in the module but not straight away, so if you don’t currently have one you’ve got time to make arrangements. You can use your own computer or one at a library or drop-in centre.

On successful completion of this module you will receive an Open University Access Module Certificate.

Course work includes:

3 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
6 Interactive computer-marked assignments (iCMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school

Your next step

Call us on +44 (0)1908 659253 or request a call back. Our friendly team of advisers will discuss your study options with you, and help you decide on the best starting point for you. Or come and meet us at an event near you.

How much will it cost?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost.

*The fee information provided here is valid for courses starting before 31 July 2015. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation. Fees information for courses starting between 1 August 2015 – 31 July 2016 will be available in March 2015.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification upfront.
  • If like most OU students studying part time, you study an average of 60 credits a year – you’ll study for six years to complete a degree. Our typical fee for 60 credits is £2,632*.
  • Our current fee is £5,264* – based on 120 credits of study – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study.
  • The total cost of your chosen qualification starts from £15,792* based on our current fees.

Additional costs

Additional costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how you can pay. That’s why we offer a wide range of flexible payment and funding options to help make study more affordable than you might think. Options include Tuition Fee Loans (also known as student loans), monthly payment plans and employer sponsorship. 

We’re confident we can help you find an option that’s right for you.

Just answer these simple questions to find out more about the options available to you for courses starting before 1 August 2015. Updated information for courses starting after this will be available in March 2015.




How many credits are you planning to study per year? You will need [xxx] credits to complete this qualification

Part time study

Full time study


Do you already hold a degree?

Are you employed?

British Forces

  • Only currently serving members of the British armed forces, who are temporarily and unavoidably working abroad and using BFPO addresses, are eligible to pay UK course fees for the total time spent outside the UK. Other students who are able to use BFPO addresses need to contact the Student Registration and Enquiry Service (SRS) Pricing Area Team on +44 (0)300 303 5303 for UK fee eligibility to be assessed.
* The fee and funding information provided here is valid for courses starting before 31 July 2015. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation. Fees for courses starting from 1 August 2015 will be available in March 2015.

An OU qualification will always help you stand out from the crowd, now and in the future – whether you’re just starting out, developing your career, or changing direction entirely.

Skills for career development

Studying English language and literature will equip you with an adaptable set of skills that can give entry to a vast range of occupations, leading in a number of career directions. You’ll learn to evaluate and assimilate information in constructing an argument; and acquire skills of critical thinking, analysis, and communication that are much in demand in the workplace. You’ll also sharpen up essential writing and IT skills. These are key skills in complex organisations, and are greatly sought after in the world beyond study – whether you’re already working, volunteering, or changing career.

Career relevance

The breadth of study and the range of analysis, combined with training in clear thinking and communication, make this degree course relevant to a wide variety of careers, including:

  • public administration, local government, the civil service, art institutions, and social services
  • advertising, journalism, publishing, creative industries and public relations
  • education
  • legal work
  • business, banking and retail
  • human resources
  • charities and campaigning.

Other careers

Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.

In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills. 

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree):

  • editor
  • journalist
  • advertising account manager
  • copywriter
  • publisher
  • public relations manager
  • librarian
  • information archivist
  • civil servant
  • lawyer
  • charity campaigner
  • retail manager
  • human resources manager
  • politician
  • accountant
  • writer
  • teacher
  • further education lecturer
  • arts administration
  • tourist officer
  • local government and NHS management
  • marketing officer
  • business manager
  • arts administration

Want to see more jobs? Use the career explorer for job ideas from the National Careers Service, PlanIT Plus in Scotland and Prospects across all nations. You can also visit GradIreland for the Republic of Ireland.

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