Undergraduate study
English Studies

BA (Hons) English Studies

UCAS code: Q306 BA/Eng

The BA (Hons) English Studies degree at Teesside University develops your knowledge of classic and contemporary texts, genres and periods ranging from 18th-century and Victorian literature to popular fiction and their adaptations.

Course information

Full-time

  • Length: 3 years

More full-time details

Part-time

  • Up to 6 years

More part-time details

  • Daytime
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Admission enquiries: 01642 342308

Contact details

Further information

Do you enjoy reading and writing? Do you take pleasure in thinking for yourself and exploring new ways of interpreting the world around you? If you do, you are certain to enjoy studying English. Engage with these and other questions on our cutting-edge programme.

This course explores a traditional and respected academic subject in exciting, new and creative ways by addressing modern styles of writing and other cultural forms such as film and television.

In Year 1 you are introduced to fiction, drama and poetry from the 18th century through to the present day. You examine the implications for reading and writing in the age of the internet and develop critical skills through the study of contemporary popular culture. Additionally, you learn about the theory and practice of creative writing and explore writers’ own ideas about the writing process. In Year 2 you develop a specialist knowledge of writing from the 20th century, from modernism and postmodernism to postcolonial writing, explore the issues of authorship and readership, present your work at a student conference and develop employability skills valued by employers. In Year 3 you plan, research and write a major project on a topic of your choice with the support of an individual member of staff who acts as your supervisor.

Please note that the list of options offered may change from year to year.

Course structure

Year 1 core modules

Concepts of Culture

This module introduces some of the key ideas and critical tools you need to explore literature and other cultural forms – TV, advertising, film. You have the opportunity to work with others and present your ideas about contemporary culture to the rest of the group.

Creating Fiction

This module introduces you to the theory and practice of creative writing, both as a field in its own right and in the context of English studies. Based around various types of fictive production including the short story, flash fiction and novella, you study the key themes and conventions of fictional narratives, and write your own drafts and stories. In addition you become familiar with working in a writing group and essential categories such as plot formation, characterisation and setting. You also learn how to edit your work, and how to give and receive feedback on creative writing.

iLiterature: Reading, Writing, and the Internet

Has the internet killed the book? Has the growth of social media and online lives replaced the pleasures of reading? Do we need libraries when we have Google? What is the role of literature in the age of the app? This module asks you to explore these questions as well as think about your own presence in the online world. Linking the study of literary culture with your personal development as a learner and career development as a professional, you gain the skills required for future success.

Romantics to Realism

This module introduces you to two major literary movements: Romanticism and Realism. You explore the dynamic relationship between texts and their historical and cultural contexts and are introduced to important critical issues and terms. You explore key examples of Romantic poetry and fiction, before moving on to consider the rise to prominence of realist fiction and autobiography as major literary genres of the Victorian period.

The Other Victorians

This module introduces the ‘other’ Victorians in several ways. You explore themes such gender, class, race, madness, sexuality and the supernatural in fiction from the 19th century – this encourages you to challenge cultural stereotypes about the Victorians. You study literature by British, Australian and American authors in a range of genres – poetry, the short story, the novella. This gives you the opportunity to understand Victorian literature and culture in transatlantic and wider international contexts, encouraging you to explore 19th-century texts written in genres other than the novel.

Writers on Writing

The most interesting and intuitive discussions of texts have not always come from critics or reviewers but from creative writers themselves. Who better to ask about the imaginative process and their contribution to literature than the author? In every century from the 1300s to the present there have been dynamic speakers for the written word. From Philip Sidney to Philip Pullman, Margaret Cavendish to Margaret Atwood, this module examines the fascinating role of the writer as commentator, the writer as enigmatic reader.

 

Year 2 core modules

Authors and Authorship

This module introduces you to a selection of key theories of authorship. You have the opportunity to explore the construction of ‘the author’ in a selection of historical and cultural contexts, and to apply theories to authors as case studies. The first part of the module examines the emergence of the modern conception of the author and explores a number of assumptions to do with authorship in relation to the ‘Shakespeare phenomenon’. You explore our ongoing fascination and apparent need for the author, despite a number of theoretical approaches that suggest that authorship is impossible. The module also investigates a number of methodologies for author criticism including stylistic analysis, biographical reading and legal property. In the second half of the module you focus on the work of a specific writer and produce an encyclopaedia entry for inclusion in the Teesside Encyclopaedia of Authors.

Challenging Boundaries: Postmodern and Postcolonial Writing

This module examines literature and culture from the second half of the 20th century to the present, focusing on two (often interconnected) frameworks – postmodernism and postcolonialism. Both of these major strains within 20th- and 21st-century culture involve challenging boundaries, whether geographical, conceptual, generic, linguistic or based on gender, sexuality, race or class. This module introduces you to an exciting range of fiction, drama and film from Africa, the Caribbean, South Asia, Britain and the USA. You explore the ways in which these texts respond to, extend and challenge the experimental legacy of modernism, contest and complicate colonial structures of power and their contemporary legacies, and how they intervene in our understanding of the world we live in today.

English and the Real World

What has English literature got to do with the real world of work and careers? How do you translate academic knowledge into different forms and communicate it to different audiences? This module addresses both of these questions in support of your career plans. Focusing on a range of real-world scenarios you produce a portfolio of professional writing which showcases the breadth and scope your skillset.

Make it New: The Age of Modernism

This module examines one of the most innovative artistic movements of the 20th century – modernism. It examines the diverse ways in which writers of the early 20th century sought to ‘make it new’ (Ezra Pound, 1934) by experimenting with new modes of literary expression. It explores the relationship between literature and other forms of cultural expression, such as visual art, music, and film, and examines the dynamic relationship between modernism and modernity. In this way, it explores how artists and writers responded to historical and cultural change.

Readers and Reading

This module focuses on you, the reader. After an introduction to theories of reading and the reader, you form a book club with others on the module. As a group you choose what you want to read and negotiate with your tutor the way in which you are assessed. The module gives you the opportunity to use your own experience as a way of thinking about what it means to read and to be a reader.

Representation and Cultural Identity: Student Conference

This module explores the proposition that our sense of who we are and how we perceive others is tied to the way identities are constructed through forms of cultural representation. And many people have argued that the way our perception is constructed tends to privilege some groups over others. You investigate these ideas in relation to a contemporary text of your choosing and present your research as a paper delivered at a student conference.

 

Final-year core module

Literary Cultures in the 21st Century: English and Employability

This module has two closely related aims: firstly, to promote a critical appreciation of the changing condition of literary culture in the 21st century and, secondly, to foster key transferable skills in support of your future employability as an English studies graduate. The focus of the module is on changing cultural conditions of literary production, consumption and reception in the 21st century and their impact on books as a cultural form, authorship as a conceptual category and reading as a collective experience. The module examines critical, theoretical, contextual and historical frameworks for the analysis of contemporary constructions of the book, authorship and reading. Topics addressed may include literary prizes and the politics of ‘prestige’; the book club or reading group; fans and fan fiction; new technologies of reading; authorship and celebrity; the literary biopic; film and television adaptations of literary texts; cultural constructions of value and taste; the relationship between ‘literary’ and ‘popular’ culture. You explore a range of contemporary texts such as a Man Booker prize-nominated novel, a contemporaneous film or a television adaptation. You also engage in a practical small group project to develop a proposal for a public event to promote books and/or reading – this project is to foster key transferable skills in areas such as teamwork, communication and presentation skills, and problem-solving, and to promote an awareness of and ability to articulate these skills.

Major Project: Live Brief

As a final-year English studies student at Teesside, you have the opportunity to publish an article in the Journal of English at Teesside. This module is the first stage in that process. You work on a themed special issue of the journal as part of its editorial team. As part of that team you scope the brief, identify and produce resources for the project, and plan your own individual contribution to the journal with support from the group. In addition, the module helps you to recognise and articulate the broad range of skills that you have acquired as an undergraduate and you use them as part of the planning process for your graduate career.

Major Project: Publication

As a final-year English studies student at Teesside, you will have the opportunity to publish an article in the Journal of English at Teesside. This module is the culmination of the project you began in the Live Brief module. Under the supervision of your project lead, you produce a draft of your article, receive editorial feedback, and ultimately submit it for publication in this journal.

Themes in Contemporary Literature

Zadie Smith argues that this historical moment isn't a "particularly healthy" time for contemporary literature and that the form adopted by a number of recent novels is symptomatic of "our ailing literary culture". This module offers the opportunity to explore this and related questions by investigating a number of themes that characterise contemporary literature. Indeed, you work as co-creators of the module's curriculum - you determine the focus of your project by selecting the text(s) you study and the means by which you present your work and choose to be assessed. The assessment itself is negotiable, but requires you to produce the results of academic research in formats other than the traditional academic essay and for audiences other than the academic. Teaching sessions focus around a combination of skill-based work designed to facilitate assessments and student-led presentations discussing the development of your project.

 

optional modules

African American Writing

The focus of this final-year option module is on an especially fascinating and dynamic aspect of the American literary tradition – African American writing. We explore a selection of fiction and poetry by African American authors writing during key periods in 20th-century African American history and culture. We examine how these authors responded to the experience of slavery, segregation and racism and how their writing played a key role in movements for radical social change. Texts may include fiction, short stories or memoirs by authors such as Booker T Washington, Nella Larsen, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin and Alice Walker. We also explore the work of poets of the Harlem Renaissance (1920s and 1930s) and the Black Arts Movement (1960s and 1970s) including authors such as Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Bennett, Etheridge Knight and Nikki Giovanni.

Betrayal: Literature, Modernity and Trust

This module examines literary texts from the late 19th to the late 20th century in which trust and distrust play fundamental roles. The concern with trust is seen to operate on a number of levels, from the thematic to the formal, from texts in which trust and betrayal form the basis of the plotline, to works which undermine the reader’s trust in the text by challenging the expectations of genre. This module also asks questions about authenticity in relation to narrative forms and experimental strategies. As recent history has shown us that financial crises, political uncertainty and the loss of confidence in organisations such as newspapers and supermarkets can have a profoundly destabilising effect on society. Indeed, such crises demonstrate just how much is taken on – and just how much depends upon – trust under the conditions of modernity. Why is trust so important? What happens when trust breaks down between fictional characters and between reader and text? And what are the relationships between literature, modernity and trust?

British Muslims in Contemporary Fiction and Film

In the wake of the controversy surrounding Salman Rushdie’s 1988 novel The Satanic Verses, and especially following the terror attacks of 9/11 and 7/7, Britain’s Muslim minority has been increasingly at the centre of tensions, controversies and urgent debate concerning multiculturalism. Focusing on a range of contemporary novels and films, you explore the varied ways in which writers and directors have engaged with, responded to and reframed this context. This module adopts an interdisciplinary approach to the texts, reading them in the context of events that have placed British Muslims in the spotlight and in relation to media coverage of these events.

Detective Fiction in the Time of Sherlock Holmes (1887–1927)

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the famous Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories over a period of 40 years at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. Detective fiction became extremely popular and many now lesser-known detectives caught the public imagination. This module examines a range of other serial detectives from the aristocratic Lady Molly of Scotland Yard to the destitute Hagar of the Pawnshop, from young Miss Cayley, newly graduated from Girton College to the ‘the old man in the corner’ solving mysteries as he sits in a café drinking milk and eating a bun. We explore online databases such as British Periodicals Online and British Library 19th-Century Books to discover, read and critically consider the range of stories available.

Music Video: Identity, Politics and Representation

In this module we examine music videos both classic and contemporary from a range of genres. For your assessment you will use the skills you have developed to explore the representation of genders, sexualities and ethnicities in the music videos of your choice.

Neo-Victorianism: Rewriting the 19th Century

What is the enduring cultural significance of the Victorians? Why is contemporary literature and culture still preoccupied with the 19th century? This module explores the diverse manifestations of neo-Victorianism in contemporary literature and culture. You have the opportunity to consider the political and ethical implications of rewriting the 19th century, and are encouraged to explore the ways in which social identities (gender, sexuality, race, class and disability) are represented and constructed in neo-Victorianism.

Questions of Feminism

Feminism has had a huge impact not only on society but also on literature – authors and critics have created radical new ways of thinking and writing about gender and sexuality. This final year module will build on the work you have done on representations of gender and sexuality in the first and second year of your degree. The focus of this module is on the diversity of contemporary feminist theory – topics will range from Marxist and psychoanalytic feminist theories to African American and queer feminist theories. We will be exploring the questions raised by these ways of thinking through close analysis of a range of late twentieth century and contemporary fiction. Texts explored in this module may include Angela Carter’s The Magic Toyshop (1967), Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye (1970), Pat Barker’s Blow Your House Down (1984), Jackie Kay’s Trumpet (1998) and Sarah Waters’s Affinity (1999). The assessment for this module will include an essay and a critical glossary – you will have the opportunity to develop invaluable communication skills by independently devising a dictionary of critical concepts and thinkers.

 

Modules offered may vary.

How you learn

At Teesside you learn in a range of settings from large group lectures to discussion-based seminars, independent research, small group work, individual tutorials and workshops. You’ll work with lecturers who are experts in teaching and learning as well as being scholars, researchers and writers. You’ll also have the opportunity to support others through the PASS (peer-assisted study sessions) scheme.

How you are assessed

With no formal examinations, you are assessed through essays, portfolios, continuous assessment, presentations, blogs and major projects, all of which develop advanced skills in creative, academic and professional writing, as well as high-level presentation and communication skills.


Our Disability Services team helps students with additional needs resulting from disabilities such as sensory impairment or learning difficulties such as dyslexia
Find out more about our disability services

Find out more about financial support
Find out more about our course related costs

Career opportunities

English Studies is a degree which opens career opportunities in journalism, media and communication, retail management, local government, the creative and cultural industries, arts administration, civil service, education, performing arts and the law. There are excellent opportunities for those wishing to pursue postgraduate studies at Teesside in English, cultural studies and creative writing.

Entry requirements

A typical offer is 96-112 tariff points from at least two A levels (or equivalent) - 32 points must be from an English (literature, language or combined) subject.

For additional information please see the entry requirements in our admissions section

International applicants can find out what qualifications they need by visiting Your Country


You can gain considerable knowledge from work, volunteering and life. Under recognition of prior learning (RPL) you may be awarded credit for this which can be credited towards the course you want to study.
Find out more about RPL

Part-time

What is KIS?

How to understand the Key Information Set

Course information

Full-time

  • Length: 3 years

More full-time details

Part-time

  • Up to 6 years

More part-time details

  • Daytime
  • Enrolment date: September
  • Admission enquiries: 01642 342308

Contact details

Further information