This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- You’ll start Stage 1 with a broad introduction to the arts and humanities followed by up to two modules chosen from a variety of subjects.
- Next, in Stage 2, you’ll choose between two option modules and study one compulsory module that examines the development and diversity of English.
- Finally, in Stage 3, you’ll complete your degree with two advanced modules, one from English language and one from English literature.
Optional Access module – visit Entry requirements to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.
In Stage 1 you will encounter a variety of different times and places and engage with some fascinating people, art works, ideas and stories. As an English student, this broad foundation will help you develop the skills and the confident, open approach you need to tackle more specialist language and literature modules at Stages 2 and 3.
In Stage 2, you’ll choose between reading and studying literary texts in their historical and cultural contexts and finding out about the ways in which writers of fiction have put together their stories. You’ll also investigate how people learn English, how English has developed into a global language that interacts with other languages, and how written and spoken English varies in different regional and social contexts.
In English language you’ll choose between evaluating how the English language is used in different contexts within an up-to-date framework and looking at the creative use of the English language from everyday contexts to ‘high culture’ literary language and the impact of new media.
For your English literature studies, you can focus on children’s literature, English literature from 1570 to 1818, or literature from 1800 to the present. Alternatively you can develop your creative writing ability widening your generic range and knowledge of style.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 20 March 2019.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BA (Honours) English Language and Literature uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- finding external/third party material online, such as in ebooks, electronic journals and databases
- working in a group with other students.
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support with any of the elements above, visit our Disability support website to find more about what we offer. Please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your individual requirements, so we can put arrangements in place before you start.
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
If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.
It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
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 evidence of your previous study.
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, upper second, lower second or third class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.
At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.
Even though there are no entry requirements, there are some skills that you'll need to succeed. If you're not quite ready for OU study we can guide you to resources that prepare you, many of which are free.
Answer a few quick questions to check whether you're ready for study success
How much time do I need?
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner
- Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
- This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Counting previous study
You could save time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study towards this qualification if you have:
- already studied at university level (even if you didn't finish your studies)
- other professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
Find out more about credit transfer
Preparing for study with an Access module
If your study skills are a bit rusty or you want to try out Open University study before committing yourself, don’t worry! The OU offers Access modules designed to introduce the subject area, build your confidence and prepare you for further study, and you may be eligible to study an Access module for free! You'll get:
- a personal tutor providing regular feedback with one to one telephone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback.
For this qualification we recommend:
Arts and languages Access module
What you will study
This 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.
View full details of Arts and languages Access module
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 creative and 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 that are crucial to many different kinds of complex organisations, and are greatly sought after in the world beyond study – whether you’re already working, volunteering, or changing career.
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
- legal work
- business, banking and retail
- human resources
- charities and campaigning.
Many graduate-level jobs, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector, are open to graduates of any discipline. 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. This includes 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. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree:
- advertising account manager
- public relations manager
- information archivist
- civil servant
- charity campaigner
- retail manager
- human resources manager
- further education lecturer
- arts administration
- tourist officer
- local government and NHS management
- marketing officer
- business manager
- arts administration.