TSR Wiki > University > Choosing a Subject > University Courses > English Degree


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Course Overview

University course guides

3 examples for TSR - but almost every University in the UK offers English as a subject. NB. University courses change every year - these may not be the most up to date details! ALWAYS check on each University website to see what the course will contain for your year of entry - otherwise you could be applying for the 'wrong' course....... you don't want to find that out on your first day at Uni.

English at Cambridge
English at De Montfort
English at Oxford

Admissions

Basic advice :

  • Cast your net widely - not all 'English' courses are the same.
  • What sort of English literature do you want to study for 3 or 4 year?
  • Read the course descriptions - just because its 'Oxford' (or whatever) doesn't mean its the 'best' course for you and your interests.
  • You need 5 choices for your UCAS form - and at least 1 (preferably 2) should be courses with substantially lower admissions requirements so you end up with a realistic Insurance choice.
  • Do not apply for 5 courses with the same, or nearly the same, grade requirements.
  • If the course requires AAA, yes, that is actually what they mean. Can you really achieve that? If you know you can't then don't apply for that course.
  • Don't forget to look at degrees called Liberal Arts (Exeter, Bristol and other leading Unis) where you can combine English with other Arts/Social Science subjects
  • Literature isn't just 'English' - look at American Studies, European Studies, Cultural Studies, Drama etc as well.
  • Go to as many University Open Days as you can.

Academic Requirements

English is a VERY competitive subject - every year 1,000s more people apply than get places. As a result, Universities are picky and most set very high grade requirements. They don't do this for fun - they can ask these high grades because they know they can recruit peolpe with those grades. They don't need to be 'kind' to anyone just to fill the course.

Many will accept the combined English Language & Literature A Level (especially where the straight course is not offered by your school) for entrance to English Literature courses. For English Language or combined linguistics courses, it is generally necessary to offer one of these courses at A Level. Many also require specific grades at GSCE - typically a C or B. Check carefully.

1. If you have a University in mind, google their website (ie. Manchester University English).

2. Then, just check out the requirements. What A level subjects/grades do you need? GCSE requirements? Or they asking for 'points'?

The UCAS website lists all English courses available. So does What Uni.

Scottish degrees are 4 years long and called 'MA' despite the fact that they are still Undergraduate degrees. They are not 'better' in any way than a BA Hons degree offered anywhere else.

Candidates for English courses are rarely interviewed. Interviews are almost exclusively reserved for mature students and other exceptional cases.

Some Universities make 'contextual offers' to those from disadvantaged backgrounds or from some low achieving schools - if you see a grade range (ie. typical offer = AAB/ABB) the lower grade set usually ONLY refers to contextual offers. If you think you may qualify for a contextual offer, contact the University's Admissions Office by email to check the criteria for that University.

ALWAYS check Admissions requirements directly on the relevant University's own website - the admissions requirements given below may apply to a previous year's intake, or may be inaccurate and/or out of date (Some have not been updated since 2010!)


Aberdeen

Course: BA English Q300; 4 years

Essential: Not specified

Standard Offer: BBB

RAE 2008: #5

Aberystwyth

Course: BA English Q300; 3 years
Essential: English Literature or English Language/Literature A-level
Desirable: Critical Thinking at AS or A2
Standard Offer: 300 Points
RAE 2008: #13

Anglia Ruskin

Course: BA English Literature (Q300); 3 years

Essential: English Literature or English Language A Level at grade C

Standard Offer: 220-260 Points (CCD-BCC)

RAE 2008: #8

Bangor

RAE 2008: #11

Bath Spa

RAE 2008: #19

Bedfordshire

RAE 2008: #20

Birkbeck College

RAE 2008: #7

Bishop Grosseteste University College

RAE 2008: #28

Birmingham

Course: BA English Q300; 3 years
Essential: English Literature or English Language/Literature A-level
Desirable: Critical Thinking at AS or A2
Standard Offer: AAB
RAE 2008: #7

Birmingham City

RAE 2008: #21

Bolton

RAE 2008: #30

Brighton

Course: BA English Literature Q320; 3 years
Essential: English Literature A-level
Standard Offer: AAB with an B in English Literature, not including General Studies or Critical Thinking

Bristol

Course: BA English Q300; 3 years
Essential: English Literature or English Language/Literature A-level.
Standard Offer: A*AA with an A in English Literature or combined English Literature and Language.
Contextual Offer: AAB with an A in English Literature or combined English Literature and Language.
Other: Written work may be requested of candidates before a final decision is made. No candidates are interviewed.
RAE 2008: #6

Brunel

RAE 2008: #12

Cambridge

Course: BA English Q300; 3 years
Essential: English Literature or English Language/Literature A-level
Standard Offer: A*AA
Other: Most candidates will be required to submit 1-4 pieces of written work (it depends on the college); most candidates are interviewed
RAE 2008: #4

Canterbury Christ Church

RAE 2008: #28

Cardiff

Course: BA English Literature Q306; 3 years
Essential: English Literature A-level
Standard Offer: AAA with an A in English, not including General Studies
RAE 2008: #6

Central Lancashire

Course: BA English Literature Q306; 3 years
Essential: English Literature A-level
Standard Offer: 220 Points from qualifications with the volume and depth of A-level or equivalent
RAE 2008: #23

Chester

RAE 2008: #23

Chichester

RAE 2008: #22

Cumbria

RAE 2008: #29

De Montfort

Course: BA English Q300; 3 years
Essential: English Literature or English Language/Literature A-level
Standard Offer: 260 Points from a minimum of two full A Levels, to include a B in English (Language or Literature)
Other: If successful at application stage you may be invited to an interview
RAE 2008: #4

Dundee

RAE 2008: #13

Durham

Course: BA English Q300; 3 years
Essential: English Literature or English Language/Literature A-level
Standard Offer: A*AA with an A in English, not including General Studies
RAE 2008: #7

East Anglia

RAE 2008: #7

Edinburgh

Course: MA English Literature Q306; 4 years
Essential: English Literature or English Language/Literature A-level
Standard Offer: BBB with a B in English (you do not need to be predicted AAA just to be considered!) not including General Studies
RAE 2008: #2

Edge Hill

RAE 2008: #27

Essex

RAE 2008: #10

Exeter

Course: BA English Q300; 3 years
Essential: English Literature A-level at grade A
Standard Offer: A*AA-AAB with an A in English, not including General Studies
RAE 2008: #3

Glamorgan

RAE 2008: #14

Glasgow

Course: MA English Literature Q301; 4 years
Essential: English Literature A Level/Higher/Advanced Higher.
Standard Offer: AAB at A Level, including English. AAAA AAABB at Higher, including English.
Other : General Studies is accepted. Students with exceptional grades may be offered second year entry.
RAE 2008: #4

Gloucestershire

RAE 2008: #19

Goldsmiths College

RAE 2008: #9

Greenwich

RAE 2008: #26

Herefordshire

RAE 2008: #14

Huddersfield

RAE 2008: #22

Hull

RAE 2008: #11

Kent

RAE 2008: #6

Keele

RAE 2008: #11

King's College

Course: BA English Language and Literature Q300; 3 years
Essential: English Literature or English Language/Literature A-level at grade A
Standard Offer: AAB with an A in English, not including General Studies
Other: GCSE Modern Foreign Language preferred. If you don't have one, you or preferably your referee should state why on your reference.
RAE 2008: #7

Kingston

RAE 2008: #14

Lancaster

RAE 2008: #8

Leicester

Course: BA English Q300; 3 years
Essential: English Literature, English Language or English Language/Literature A-level
Standard Offer: AAB
RAE 2008: #8

Leeds Trinity & All Saints

RAE 2008: #23

Liverpool

Course: BA English Q300; 3 years
Essential: English Literature or English Language at A-level
Standard Offer: AAB
RAE 2008: #5

Liverpool Hope

RAE 2008: #29

Liverpool John Moores

RAE 2008: #20

Loughborough

Course: BA English Q300; 3 years
Essential: English Literature, English Language or English Language/Literature A-level
Standard Offer: AAB
RAE 2008: #12

Manchester

RAE 2008: #2

Manchester Metropolitan

RAE 2008: #15

Middlesex

RAE 2008: #17

Napier

RAE 2008: #22

Newcastle

RAE 2008: #5

Northampton

RAE 2008: #24

Northumbria

RAE 2008: #20

Nottingham

Course: BA English Q300; 3 years
Essential: English Literature A-level
Standard Offer: AAB with an A in English, not including General Studies
RAE 2008: #3

Nottingham Trent

RAE 2008: #12

Open

RAE 2008: #8

Oxford

Course: BA English Language and Literature Q300; 3 years
Essential: English Literature, English Language or English Language/Literature A-level
Helpful: A language, or History
Standard Offer: AAA with an A in English, not including General Studies
Other: All candidates will be required to submit at least one piece of written work; all applicants must sit the ELAT admissions test; a large number of candidates are interviewed
RAE 2008: #3

Oxford Brookes

RAE 2008: #14

Plymouth

RAE 2008: #21

Queen Mary

Course: BA English Q300; 3 years
Essential: English Literature A-level or English Language and Literature A-level
Standard Offer: 360 UCAS points from 3 A2s, with an A in English
Other: According to the department's website, applicants who meet the entry requirements are then invited for a short interview.
RAE 2008: #2

Queen's University Belfast

RAE 2008: #5

Reading

RAE 2008: #7

Roehampton

RAE 2008: #16

Royal Holloway

RAE 2008: #6

Salford

RAE 2008: #15

Sheffield

RAE 2008: #7

Course: BA English Literature Q306; 3 Years

Essential: A in English Literature or English Language & Literature at A-Level

Standard Offer: AAB with A in English Literature or English Language and Literature

Sheffield Hallam

RAE 2008: #18

Southampton

RAE 2008: #7

St. Andrews

Course: MA English Q300; 4 years
Essential: English Literature A-level
Standard Offer: AAA with an A in English, not including General Studies
RAE 2008: #4

St. Mary's University College

RAE 2008: #26

Stirling

RAE 2008: #11

Strathclyde

RAE 2008: #12

Sunderland

RAE 2008: #14

Sussex

Course:BA English: 3 years
Essential:English Literature A-Level
Standard Offer:AAA with an A in English
Other: General Studies is accepted as a third A-Level.
RAE 2008: #8

Swansea

RAE 2008: #10

Ulster

RAE 2008: #17

University College London

Course: BA English Q300; 3 years
Essential: English Literature A-level
Standard Offer: AAA to include grade A in English Literature or combined English Language and Literature. A GCSE in a foreign language is required if not offered at AS or A level. A pass in a further subject at AS level or equivalent
Other: At least one other AS-level is required in addition to the standard A-level offer; approximately one third of candidates are interviewed
RAE 2008: #6

University College Plymouth

RAE 2008: #32

Wales

RAE 2008: #28

Warwick

Course: BA English Literature Q300; 3 years
Essential: English Literature A-level
Standard Offer: AABb with an A in English, not including General Studies
Other: Warwick almost always interviews candidates before making an offer
RAE 2008: #4

West of England

RAE 2008: #18

Westminster

RAE 2008: #25

Worcester

RAE 2008: #24

York

Course: BA English Q300; 3 years
Essential: English Literature A-level
Standard Offer: AAA with an A in English, not including General Studies
RAE 2008: #1

York St. John

RAE 2008: #31

UCAS Form & Personal Statement

Course Structure

Life as an English Student

Graduate Destinations and Career Prospects

A degree in English encourages proficient skills in writing, communication and analysis. Graduates find employment in a diversity of areas, particularly law, journalism, the media, teaching, publishing, finance and consultancy. Of course, a proportion go on to study postgraduate research degrees.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I need English Literature or Language at A Level?

Yes. You will most often be required to have taken A Level English Literature or combined English Language and Literature. English Language on its own is not sufficient for the study of English Literature at University Level.

Realistically, what sort of grades will I need to get into a top university for English?

The standard offer now for an English degree at a "top university" is around the AAA/AAB level. Some applicants have been successful in gaining a place despite obtaining ABB in their final exams, as the university may still consider you if they have not filled all of their places yet.

English degrees are notoriously competitive to get onto. Do not assume that although a university you have applied for is lower down the league tables or less known for the subject, that you will get a place regardless of obtaining the conditions of your offer. E.g. The University of Sussex, although currently 34th in the latest league tables for English, asks for AAA at A Level and a lot of people have been unsuccessful in obtaining a place, even with AAB.

Is general studies accepted as a third or fourth A Level subject for English?

Every University has its own specific requirements. Lots of new universities welcome the qualification, however most traditional or "old" universities tend to only accept general studies if you have missed the conditions of your offer. There are, however, some respectable universities which do welcome General Studies as part of the conditional offer, such as Sussex and Liverpool.

Will I have to work hard?

Yes. And no. If you find reading the political essays of Marxist theorists tedious, comparing Jane Austen to Stephen King just silly, and if male, would feel shocked that you write with the phallic pen of female oppression. Then maybe this degree is not for you and you will find it hard to grasp the various theories and concepts that make up the study of literature. However, you may find this all incredibly interesting and the work will be a joy for you.

Either way, you will have to write many essays, read a LOT of books and remain enthusiastic for the subject in order to succeed. (Like any other subject you may take!)

Is English a "blagging" degree?

Definitely not. Many people have found that they come to University, believing that they can just read the texts and achieve top marks in the exam the next day like in A Level, however this is not the case. Many people choose an English degree because they did well in English at A Level through "blagging". You will be very disappointed when you realise you cannot do this anymore! University Level essays and exams require a much broader and deeper knowledge and grasp of the subject. Yes you may get away with the odd essay or two where you didn't really bother but managed to achieve a 2.1, but for those of you looking for top marks, you will need to work a lot, read widely around the subject and be prepared to undertake a lot of extra research, time management and self-discipline in order to succeed.


Will I enjoy English?

Yes! English is a fascinating and diverse subject, allowing you to explore your interests in other interdisciplinary areas such as psychology, philosophy, history or media. If you attend a university that offers a flexible combined honours (Durham, De Montfort, Exeter) you will be able to combine a wide range of subjects into your degree, whether it be English and Maths, or English and International Relations, you will be able to find the course that most satisfies your interests.

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