English

The Department of English has a long and distinguished history in literary studies. Situated in the hub of the University campus, you will join a friendly department that puts small-group, research-led teaching at the heart of its degree.

Our undergraduate courses range from the medieval period to the present day. There is ample opportunity for you to pursue your own enthusiasms, whether by author, topic, period or critical approach, and to work with leading critics, scholars and writers.

Why study English at Bristol?

An English degree at Bristol is distinguished by a strong commitment to literary studies as a serious yet enjoyable academic discipline and an awareness of how much may be gained through dialogue with other disciplines in the University and beyond.

We cover texts and authors from all periods of English literature and give you the opportunity to develop your own special interests.

Core units in years one and two and optional units in years two and three allow you to study the full historical development of English literature as well as key critical and theoretical approaches to literary study. Optional special subject units, which are based on the research interests of our teaching staff, allow you to explore particular authors, topics or genres from a range of literature written in English.

The course is designed to support your development as an independent learner. Year one supports your transition to undergraduate study and lays strong foundations. Year two allows greater freedom of choice and year three is fully optional. You will have the opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic of your own choosing.

Single Honours English students may choose to study abroad for one teaching block of their second year at universities in Europe, North America and Australia.

We also have a lively postgraduate community and many of our students go on to study our master's courses and research degrees.

What kind of student would this course suit?

This course suits intelligent, imaginative, hard-working students who love to read widely.

Many people take the activity of reading for granted, but it is one of the most difficult and exciting things we do. Reading literature allows us to question our world and to realise the limits of our understanding.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra, Second year, LLB Law

How is this course taught and assessed?

Teaching is delivered through lectures, tutorials, seminars and workshops. You will be expected to participate in small-group teaching and may be asked to give introductory talks to initiate discussion.

Coursework essays of different lengths are the most common form of assessment; some units also require short examinations (unseen and take home). Optional units may be partially assessed by a portfolio of short pieces of writing, a presentation or poster.

What are my career prospects?

English graduates are versatile researchers, active learners and good communicators. The development of advanced literacy, a broad range of communication skills and evaluative techniques that an English degree provides is considered very favourably by employers.

Recent Bristol English graduates have been successful in obtaining employment in the media, journalism, publishing, marketing, the theatre, arts administration and various kinds of teaching, as well as in industry, commerce, law, computing, accountancy, human resources and social work. Some of our graduates have become successful novelists, playwrights and poets.

Read more about what students from English go on to do after graduation.

Did you know?

  • Students from more than 180 countries study with us, and we share more than 150 exchange links with institutions worldwide.
  • Our Students' Union has over 200 student-run societies, and the Richmond Building, home to the Students' Union, is undergoing a £30-million renovation.
  • 11 Bristol graduates and members of staff have been awarded Nobel prizes.

Subject leaflet

Download the English Literature leaflet 2017 (PDF, 396kB)

Disclaimer

Important disclaimer information about our courses.

Related subjects

You may also be interested in:

Edit this page