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BA (Honours) English Literature

If you are interested in reading between the lines, and being challenged by new ideas and ways of seeing, then this course is for you. English literature is a broad, accessible and important subject. On this course you will study a range of texts dating from Shakespeare's time to the present, including novels, drama and poetry, and discover an exciting variety of approaches for reading them. You will develop your skills of analysis and communication, enabling you to take a fresh look at familiar texts, and to encounter new texts and ideas with confidence.

Key features of the course

  • Learn how to analyse a wide range of texts including novels, drama and poetry
  • Discover the historical and cultural contexts that have shaped English literature 
  • Explore the work of some famous authors alongside some lesser known – but equally fascinating writers 
  • Have the option of studying creative writing or English language alongside English literature 
  • Develop advanced skills in analysis, evaluation, communication and critical thinking that are highly valued in the workplace

Course Summary

+Shortlist Course

Degree

Degree

  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Course code
Q66
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
(4 years in the recommended minimum)
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

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 study two compulsory literature modules exploring different approaches to reading texts and developing your skills of literary analysis.
  • Finally, in Stage 3, you’ll complete your degree with one advanced literature module that'll extend and develop your knowledge of, and engagement with, English literature. You'll also choose one module from options in literature, creative writing and English language. 

Optional Access module – visit Am I ready? to find out about starting this course with a preparatory Access module.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

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 literature student, this broad foundation in cultural analysis will help you develop the skills and the confident, open approach you need to tackle more specialist literature modules at Stages 2 and 3.

ModulesCredits
You'll start your degree with:
The arts past and present (AA100)60
You'll complete Stage 1 with a choice of options, we recommend:
Voices, texts and material culture (A105)60
Alternatively, you can choose 60 credits from this list of modules.

If you plan to study French, German or Spanish as part of your degree, you should choose appropriate language modules.

Stage 2 (120 credits)

In Stage 2 you’ll focus on developing your skills in reading and literary analysis as you're introduced to an exciting range of texts from a diversity of periods and genres. You’ll study novels, drama, poems and short stories, and discover new ways of reading literature.

ModulesCredits
You'll study both of the following:
Reading and studying literature (A230)60
Telling stories: the novel and beyond (A233) planned for October 201960

Stage 3 (120 credits)

At Stage 3 you can focus on two different periods in English literature: from Shakespeare to Jane Austen and from Dickens to the present day. You can study both of these which will provide you with an advanced knowledge of a very wide chronological span of English literature. Alternatively you can combine one of the period-based modules with one that focuses on either children’s literature, creative writing, or English language and creativity. 


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 21 March 2018.


Accessibility

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 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 page 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

Credit transfer

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 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.

Regulations

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. 


Compare this course

Entry requirements

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?

  • Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
  • This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner

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

Your next step

Call us on +44 (0)1908 659253 or book 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.

In this section:
How much will it cost?
Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

How much will it cost in England?

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.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification up front.
  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • If, like most OU students, you study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year, you'll take six years to complete an honours degree.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £2,928*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study – is £5,856*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £17,568*.

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2019. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees.

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.

If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you start studying.

Residential schools

This qualification includes science modules that include an optional residential school. For each residential school you choose to attend, you must pay an additional charge to cover costs such as tuition, accommodation and meals (see individual module descriptions for more information). You’ll also have to pay for your own travel to and from the venues.


Skills for career development

Employers greatly value the high-level skills gained by studying an English literature degree. Broadly summarised these are skills of creative and critical thinking, analysis, and communication. You’ll also sharpen your IT and writing skills, and develop an ability to assimilate and evaluate relevant information when constructing an argument. 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.

Career relevance

Studying arts and humanities can give entry to a vast range of occupations, leading in many directions. The breadth of study and the range of material analysed, combined with an adaptable set of transferable skills, are 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, 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 – 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
  • teacher
  • further education lecturer
  • writer
  • arts administration
  • advice worker
  • local government and NHS manager
  • tourist officer
  • marketing officer
  • business manager.

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.


Register for this course

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 16/08/2018
Credit transfer: apply by 06/12/2018

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