• English at De Montfort

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English at De Montfort is rated highly by both the RAE and The Times

De Montfort University has established itself as a worldwide authority on the study of English, as evidenced in its impressive results in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise. In it, the university was ranked 9th in the United Kingdom, placing it alongside the University of Cambridge for research. In particular, De Montfort is currently spearheading the study of literary and filmic adaptation, and the university regularly attracts prominent figures within this area, such as the internationally renowned screenwriter Andrew Davies.

  • De Montfort's English course was ranked in the mid-20s for all UK universities by The Times, placing it alongside prestigious institutions such as King's College, London.
  • The university is also famous for its integration of optional work placement modules within its English degree; a pioneering approach which has been strongly favoured by the Higher Education Academy.
  • As well as this, De Montfort's Humanities faculty alone holds five National Teacher Fellows - in fact, De Montfort has the third highest number of NTFs of all universities in England and Northern Ireland. These figures reflect the excellent quality of teaching on offer.

De Montfort describes its English undergraduate course as “characterised by its combination of 'old' and 'new', traditional and more innovative courses, from Shakespeare and Jane Austen to contemporary and popular literature”, as well as offering “an exciting combination of traditional and non-traditional modules, ranging from Chaucer and Shakespeare to creative writing and contemporary fiction”.

English at De Montfort

BA (Hons) English (single honours)

Admissions criteria

For any English degree, you should have a strong interest in reading literature – specifically, literature from a broad range of literary periods. This is because whilst the course at De Montfort offers you the ability to study contemporary works, there are compulsory modules which specialise in historical periods ranging from the Medieval to the Augustan.

The academic requirements for the course are as follows:

  • A Levels – 260 UCAS points from a minimum of two full A Levels and to include English (Language of Literature) at grade B or above.
  • BTEC National Diploma – Distinction / Merit / Merit and A Level English (Language or Literature) at grade B or above.
  • Advanced Diploma – 260 UCAS points and ASL English (Language or Literature) at grade B or above.
  • Access Course- Pass.
  • International Baccalaureate – 28 points.

(To find a fully updated record of the entry requirements, please visit De Montfort’s website)

First year

Most students view the first year as the ‘settling in’ phase of university life, and in some respects, this is true. At De Montfort, the first few weeks are dedicated to helping you acclimatise to the new and highly different learning environment of a university.

You will be set a diagnostic essay with no weighting for the results of the year, with the primary objective of sorting out any issues with the style and format of your essay writing. Specifically, there is a shift from the limitation of A Level study to a much broader level of work, in which you will be required to draw from large numbers of secondary resources, as well as be able to critically analyse your primary texts. The diagnostic helps a lot with this, and is an ideal testing ground to see whether or not you’re on the same wavelength of your lecturers.

The exams at the end of the first year are challenging, yet reasonably straight forward to prepare for. Specialist revision workshops are held in the weeks leading up to them, and essay writing workshops run all the way through the year for any who feel the need further practice.


Introduction to Drama

Module Title: Introduction to Drama
Module Code: ENGL 1012
Module Leader: Gary Day

About the Module:

This module covers the development of tragedy and comedy from the ancient Greeks to the present day. We study their connections with ritual, what they have in common and how they differ and their various manifestations.

The tragedies of Euripides are very different to those of Shakespeare. Why is this the case? And why does comedy seem to have survived better than tragedy?

To answer such questions we must look at tragedy and comedy in their historical context. Could it be that tragedy, an essentially aristocratic form, withers with the growth of democracy?

On another level, one of the most exciting features of this module is that gives you the option, where possible, to write a review and a mini-play script.

Assessment: Project; Coursework; Essay

Reading List

Writing and Screening English

Module Title: Writing and Screening English
Module Code: ENGL 1009
Module Leader: Kathleen Bell

About the Module:

The module aims to introduce students to creative approaches to English, both in their own writing and in the adapting of literary texts to screen. Accordingly, it is divided into two parts.

In the first half of the module, writing skills, both practical and creative will be developed through workshops which allow students to practise different writing skills. Engagement in creative writing in a range of genres gives students of English an insight into how writers work. The combination of creative writing and reflection enables students to approach literary works with fresh insights.

The second part of the module evaluates the ways in which film adaptations creatively interpret literary texts. We shall debate such issues as authenticity and fidelity, the status of the original, narrative approaches to adaptation, historical and ideological contexts (of both original and adaptation), conditions of production, consumption and audiences and the relationship of such approaches to what we generally think of as 'English' studies. Naturally this will prompt us to investigate the consequences of the recognition of such forms within academia for the future of English as a lone subject.

As part of their assessment, students are invited to write their own adaptation from a scene/chapter/sequence of one of the set texts.

Assessment: Portfolio; Essay/Screenplay; Unseen Exam

Reading List

Poetry and Society

Module Title: Poetry and Society
Module Code: ENGL 1010
Module Leader: Joe Phelan

About the Module:

This course aims to consolidate and develop close-reading skills along with an understanding of genre. In term one, all students will study the same selected forms and themes by looking closely at a range of poems and poets from different historical periods.

In term two, students will encounter different literary periods, depending on the seminar group to which they have been assigned. This second term builds on the first term’s close-reading skills, but also helps students to develop more sophisticated analysis by enabling them to place works in their literary, critical and historical contexts. The greater emphasis on critical context during this term will enhance the students' understanding of important issues in English Studies, and enable them to explore the co-existence of different poetic practices within particular historical periods.

The workshop teaching model should foster critical thinking and the ability to present ideas to a group. An early diagnostic piece will provide the opportunity for the assessment of individual strengths and weaknesses at an early stage of the course. The team would work in conjunction with the academic guidance unit.

Assessment: Diagnostic Piece; Essay, Coursework; Unseen Exam

Reading List

Introduction to the Novel

Module Title: Introduction to the Novel
Module Code: ENGL 1011
Module Leader: Deborah Mutch

About the Module:

This module offers students an introduction to the genre of the novel through a focus on the Gothic sub-genre. Students will study nine novels, published during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and will consider the constituent elements which form the novel genre. Over the course of the module, students will develop the skills necessary to recognise and comprehend the changing nature of both the novel generally and the Gothic novel specifically over the course of three centuries.

The module is divided into four categories: the contemporary Gothic, the Romantic Gothic, the Victorian Gothic, and Modernist/postmodernist Gothic. Students will be aided and encouraged to: compare and contrast the novels in terms of generic features; develop an appropriate critical vocabulary for the analysis and discussion of the novel genre; to develop research skills through library and database work and to integrate research into written work appropriately.

Assessment: Essay x 2; Unseen Exam

Reading List

Second Year

Once the first year is over, a lot of options open up. You can now pick three optional modules to study for, alongside one obligatory module (History of English). This is handy because it lets you steer towards the areas of English that you like the best, or lets you steer away from those you like the least, depending on how you look at it! The module choices are highly varied, including Medieval literature, Shakespearean adaptation, and even a Creative Writing module.

It's also worth pointing out that your work in the second year does in fact contribute to your final degree classification, with a weighting of 33%. In light of this, it's a good idea to buckle down if you haven't done so already.


Writing Place

Module Title: Writing Place
Module Code: CREW 2001
Module Leader: Will Buckingham (Term 1); Simon Perril (Term 2)

About the Module:

This module will enable students to explore, through creative practice, the role place has as a major stimulant in writing.

Through encounters with works from authors whose work is explicitly concerned with place, students will consider the impact that local, regional, national and international context might have upon their own creative aspirations. The module will therefore enable an exploration of the creative resources offered by local history, regional myths, environmental issues, and hidden histories.

Through encounters with fiction, poetry, travel writing and essays, students will examine topics such as interiors and exteriors, the country, the city, virtual and imagined worlds, psychogeography – and undertake research into place that will inform their own writing practices.

A specific sense of place informs writing in genres as diverse as cyperpunk and the ghost story; and this module develops awareness of its significance for central craft areas such as setting, characterisation, imagery and even dialogue.

Assessment: Field trip OR Research Report OR Creative Piece; Portfolio and Reflective Commentary OR Collaborative Project and Reflective Commentary

Reading List (PDF)

20th and 21st Century Literature

Module Title: 20th and 21st Century Literature
Module Code: ENGL 2016
Module Leader: Jane Dowson

About the Module:

Following a broadly chronological structure, term 1 will cover the first half of the twentieth century. The Edwardian years provide the point of departure for this module and we shall move through such cultural moments and literary movements as Imagism, The First World War, Modernism, the 1930s, the Harlem Renaissance, the Second World War.

Term 2 will investigate representations of the post-World War II period and will look at such trends as the politics of identity in various forms of realism alongside postmodernist forms of expression. These modules will provide the opportunity to consider in more detail the role of literature in both reflecting and participating in social change.

The texts consist of short stories, poetry and plays. Writers studied may include: E.M. Forster, Katherine Mansfield, Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, Samuel Beckett, George Orwell, Alan Silitoe, Jean Rhys, Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood, Julian Barnes, Brian Friel Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon and Monica Ali.

Assessment: Close Analysis; Essay; Research Paper

Ways of Reading
History of English: Medieval to Augustan Literature – Representation and Identity
Rewriting Film and Literature
Romantic and Victorian Literature
Feminism and Fiction
Single-Author Study

Year Three


English Dissertation
The Working Class in Literature and Film
Contemporary Fiction
Contemporary Poetry
English in the Workplace
Studies in Literature and Film
Modernism and Modernity
Sex, Belief and Society in Seventeenth Century Poetry
Shakespeare and Marlowe
Postcolonial Writing

Student Case Studies

Emma Stenfalt, BA (Hons) English and Education Studies

"I have always had a passion for poetry and writing"

My course:

I chose to study at De Montfort University because it looked like a really friendly and inspiring place; all the facilities were excellent from the humanities building to the sports centre. The university is right in the middle of Leicester and there is so much in that area including the Highcross shopping centre, cinema, bowling, libraries etc. I chose to study English because I have always had a passion for poetry and writing.

My favourite course features:

I enjoy all my English lessons as we get to read a variety of books from different periods and also look into poetry more deeply. When I was first starting university I was really quite nervous because I didn’t know anyone else, but in the first few days I made lots of new friends and the tutors and staff at De Montfort were really enthusiastic and helpful at that time to make us all feel welcome.

My achievements and aspirations:

I have passed my first year and I have been even more motivated in year 2 to put all my effort into my work. I hope to go into primary teaching at a local school, focusing mainly on English, and would one day like to become a Head teacher.

My life at DMU:

I stayed at home because I live in Leicester, but this hasn’t stopped me getting to know others who are away from home and being able to show them around the city and joining in the fun! There are so many societies available, I wanted to join everything when I first started, it was really exciting and the opportunities were wonderful, I cannot wait to join more clubs this year and meet lots of new people.

My advice to other students would be to have fun and join in with the different societies and clubs available because you will meet so many new people and have loads of fun, but make sure you read lots of books for your course so that when it comes to the essays you will understand and be prepared to answer the questions.

Nina Kooseenlin, BA (Hons) English

"I had the chance to meet many writers including Louis de Bernieres, Matthew Sweeney and Simon Armitage"

My course:

I came to one of DMU’s open days and knew immediately that it was the right place for me. Not only did the English course look great but the staff and students were very friendly and welcoming. Coming to DMU has been the best decision of my life and the course has been fantastic, each and every one of my lecturers taught me more than I thought possible.

My favourite course features:

I have been introduced to so many writers and poets and even had the opportunity to meet some of them, including Louis de Bernieres, Matthew Sweeney and Simon Armitage.

My achievements and aspirations:

My career ambitions are to become a writer myself. I always thought this was something I might like to do but my course has made me realise this even more. I am currently looking into doing a Masters degree in English as I love the subject more than I ever did before joining DMU.

My life at DMU:

By being involved in so many different clubs and societies I have met some wonderful people and had some great times. I was involved in the Media Society and contributed articles for DMU’s student newspaper, The Demon and reading the news on the university’s radio station, Demon FM.

David Booker, BA (Hons) English

David Booker is a mature student who graduated in 2008 from the BA (Hons) English course. David won the prize for Best Overall Performance in English and The Nicholas Zurbrugg Prize for the most outstanding English dissertation. He is now studying for a Masters degree at Oxford University.

My course:

I’d always loved books and theatre so for me English was an easy choice. I’m not sure what my expectations were, except that it would be hard work and scary! But I found DMU relaxed and supportive. The staff were really helpful and always wanting people to do well.

My favourite course features:

We had a wide course that explored all sorts of literature, both old and new. The staff were incredibly supportive. Always willing to answer questions, give advice and encourage.

My achievements and aspirations:

I graduated from DMU and was accepted onto a Masters programme at Oxford University in English (1550-1780) and began my masters here this week!

My life at DMU:

I was a home student. With that and being a mature student with a family I didn’t do the whole club scene, but it was good to have other mature students around me. It’s not as scary as you might think. Everyone wants you to do well. You just have to go for it and make the most of your time because you have no idea where it might lead!

Sally Mason, BA (Hons) English

"I knew DMU was the university for me"

Sally Mason is a third year mature student on the BA (Hons) English course.

My course:

As a mature student I wanted to find a university that would support me and my needs. I was accepted at this university and two other local ones but none were as friendly or supportive from the minute I stepped through the door on the open day. I knew DMU was the university for me!

I have always held a great passion for literature and after doing an Access to Higher Education course I realised that it was possible for me to study English at a higher level.

My favourite course features:

My favourite course feature is the diversity of the module options, I love the fact one minute I am studying traditional literature like Shakespeare and in one of my workshops I am studying Alice Seabold’s The Lovely Bones.

My achievements and aspirations:

I do feel that my ultimate achievement will be standing amongst my peers on graduation day this summer. I am currently applying to study an MA in Independent Study here at DMU as I wish to continue my studies and hopefully study a PHD with the focus on becoming a university lecturer.

My life at DMU:

I love being here, even when it is time to hand in work I love the fact I have the support and the encouragement to carry on and succeed. I have learnt so much since being here, not only about literature but also about myself too. The Mature students group has also provided support and encouragement (and tea and biscuits- essential study aids!).

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