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Undergraduate study
English Studies (with Foundation Year)

English Studies (with Foundation Year) BA (Hons)

The BA (Hons) English Studies develops your knowledge of classic and contemporary texts, genres and periods ranging from 18th-century and Victorian literature to modern, postmodern and 21st-century literature and culture, from British and international contexts.


Q304 BA/EngFY

Course routes:


Course overview

Do you get excited about reading and writing? Are you concerned to think for yourself and explore new ways of interpreting the world around you? Do you want to develop future-proof professional abilities in critical thinking, communication and project management? If you do, studying English will take your interests further, expand your horizons and hone vital skills, and see you make an impact in your chosen career.

You explore a traditional and respected academic subject in innovative and creative way by raising challenging questions and encompassing modern and experimental styles of writing alongside other cultural forms including digital works, film and television.

Graduates are successful in a variety of professional settings including digital copywriting, teaching, publishing, business start-ups and marketing.

We are ranked 14th for Student Satisfaction for English in the Complete University Guide 2023. (100 institutions were

This course includes a foundation year - ideal if you need additional preparation or if you don't have sufficient grades to join Year 1 of a degree.

Top reasons to study this course

  • Explore the relationship between literature, culture, politics, and identity in our fast-changing world.
  • Enquiry-based learning develops your high-level research, problem-solving, and project management skills.
  • Live research projects, and opportunities to publish your work in print and digital forms.
  • Opportunities to present your work at a student conference and other supportive settings.

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Course details

In Year 1 you are introduced to fiction, drama and poetry from the 18th and 19th centuries. You examine the implications for reading and writing in the digital age and develop your critical and analytical skills and engage with a range of ways of thinking and theorising about culture. Additionally, you learn about creative writing practices in relation to questions of audience and voice. 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 dissertation on a topic of your choice with the support of an individual member of staff who acts as your supervisor.

Course structure

Foundation year core modules

Academic Study Skills Toolkit

This module will assist you in developing the personal and academic skills that you will need for undergraduate study. It focusses on developing skills such as information retrieval, evaluation, critical thinking, note taking, presentation skills and group work.

Contemporary Issues in Social Sciences

This module will introduce you to the historical and contemporary development of social science disciplines and will provide examples of theoretical challenges and the ways in which research is applied in society. You will gain an understanding of the critical differences between disciplines and how interdisciplinary research is fostered through collaboration. You will also be introduced to academic standards, ethical guidelines and research protocols, personal development planning and to a range of study and transferable skills relevant to your degree course and beyond.

Fake News: Propaganda and Polemics, Past and Present

This module provides you with the opportunity to develop your skills in thinking critically about the information and analysis presented in an array of media in today’s digital world, drawing on the methodologies of a range of disciplines within the social sciences, humanities and law. You will explore examples of the debates over fake news in both the past and present, and look at how fake news can be used to both support and undermine the status quo, enabling you in the process to become more savvy and engaged citizens.

Historical and Popular Crime, Justice, Law and Psychology

This module introduces you to the history of crime and justice, using media representations and crime fiction as a way of exploring crime over time, including aspects such as changes in society, law and education in this context.


This module allows students to identify an area of interest related to their undergraduate degree and to explore this through a small scale research project where students will be required to produce an analysis of an area of focus.

Teesside: History, Literature, Culture, and Society

This module provides you with an opportunity to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to the Teesside region. You will learn about Teesside’s history, culture and society through the examination of various topics which will give you a deeper understanding of the region, both past and present.


Year 1 core modules

Concepts of Culture

What does it mean to say some kinds of culture are better than others? Why are some books discussed as if they are works of art while others are not? And how is it that the culture that surrounds us seems to offer us a place in the world? You are introduced to a range of writers, critics, and theorists who have explored these questions and who have arrived at some surprising conclusions. Some say that culture is used to control what we think and limit what we can do. Others suggest that culture can be the means to freedom and pleasure. You discuss the relation between knowledge and ethics – the idea that your place in the world affects how you experience it and how you respond to it – while at the same time developing confidence in your academic skills.

Creative Writing Lab: Writing and Audience

Why do you write? Who are your readers? What do you need to consider in terms of voice, register, form when writing to and for different audiences for different reasons? You look at a range of different professional writing including online articles, reviews, ‘how to’ guides, interpretative texts used in exhibitions and live text using AR technologies. You use the workshop space to experiment with different forms and approaches to professional writing, working towards developing and editing a final portfolio for submission.

Critical Practice

You are introduced to the practice of textual analysis. You learn the tools and strategies you need to explore the way that literary and visual texts establish meanings, and how they are structured to achieve particular effects. You develop your skills in reading as a writer and your creative-critical practice. You cover a variety of strategies for detailed analysis of the ways literary and visual texts establish meanings and how they are structured to achieve particular effects. You consider literary and symbolic form from its largest, generic components to its smallest, linguistic ones. You learn how to evaluate formal features of texts. You consider how critical judgements are made concerning specific texts – whether they are deemed to be good, bad, better or worse and on what grounds. You consider concepts such as beauty, unity, consistency, persuasiveness, coherence, engagement, ambiguity, complexity and emotive or affective impact. You also consider how textual forms interact with one another and how the appreciation of textual forms changes historically. Finally, you develop study skills in the practice of academic writing and research.

Literature Now

You examine the state and role of literature in our increasingly virtual global literary climate, and consider your own relationship with it. What purpose can literature and literary studies serve in an era of Twitter threads, viral stories, post-truth and fake news? Do we need libraries when we have Google? As we trawl the net, how can we tell false from true? How has the rise of the internet impacted on the physical book? Has the growth of social media and online lives replaced the pleasures of reading, or even affected our ability to read? Do all cultures access and read literature in the same way? What is the state of literature globally?

Linking the study of literary culture with your personal development as a learner and career development as a professional, you will gain the skills required for future success. You are introduced to a range of academic, commercial, and professional online environments and digital resources which impact on both the study of literature in the contemporary world and the current graduate employment market. You will engage with academic debates about what literature is and what it can be. By the same token, you will investigate the implications of self-publishing and ‘free book’ sites such as Project Gutenberg for the publishing industry and aspiring authors. In terms of personal development and career planning, you to explore the construction of professional profiles and reflect upon your own online presence

Romantics to Realism

You are introduced to two major literary movements: romanticism and realism. You explore the dynamic relationship between texts and their historical and cultural contexts and 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.

Victorian Horizons: Writing 1837–1901

You gain an insight to a diverse range of texts published during the Victorian period, and explore key debates in the study of era, including the themes of class, sexuality, colonialism and evolution/degeneration. Distinctively, while you are introduced to canonical literature published ‘at home,’ the module opens up new horizons, exploring European and American writing as well as the work of critically neglected (female) writers.


Year 2 core modules

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.

Literature in Theory: Author, History, Text, Politics

You are familiarised with critical and theoretical concepts which are key to understanding how we approach, read and interpret literary (and other cultural) texts. You engage with critical writing on the subject, benefit from peer-supported opportunities to apply your ideas to the study of primary texts, and develop your own distinctive perspectives and critical practice in English studies.

Make it New: The Age of Modernism

You explore one of the most innovative artistic movements of the twentieth century – modernism. You examine 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. You explore the relationship between literature and other forms of cultural expression (such as visual art, music, and film) and examine the dynamic relationship between modernism and modernity. You explore the ways artists and writers responded to historical and cultural change.

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.

Speculative Writing: Histories, Anxieties, and Fantasies

You examine examples of ‘speculative’ writing from the 17th century to the present day. You also consider how literature responded to (and sometimes anticipated) the possibilities brought about by new technologies and geographical discovery, articulated fears about such issues as revolution, capitalism or genetic ‘fitness’ and imagined visionary possibilities for the future of society. You will develop an understanding of the historical contexts which prompted such ‘speculative’ treatment in literature and creative writing and explore developments in style and genre.


and one optional module

Employability and Work-Related Learning

You develop your graduate skills in preparation for employment in a professional context. You have the opportunity to gain academic credit based on your participation in work experience, a short period of professional activity or work-related learning relevant to the discipline or area of professional interest. You develop an understanding of graduate employment pathways, opportunities, reflective practice and experiential learning. The core focus of the module will be helping you prepare for a graduate career, developing an understanding of professional working contexts and enabling you to identify and evidence your own graduate skills.


Words Matter: A Celebration of English and Creative Writing

Why does studying literature and creative writing matter? How does English studies serve the wider public good and how might English and/or creative writing graduates contribute to society? Why has poetry, for centuries so often seemed in need of defence? Is literature useless? How do we measure the value of the humanities? You examine key arguments in favour of English studies and creative writing as humanities disciplines and reflect on your career aims and aspirations. You consider the many career opportunities available to English and creative writing graduates – as educators, publishers, facilitators, communicators, and creatives – and work on a group project designed to promote books and/or reading and/or creative writing. You write an essay in defence/celebration of (or a manifesto for) English/creative writing/the humanities and produce an individual reflective report on the group project, linking the project to your personal development planning.


Final-year core modules

Doing Research

You gain the skills and knowledge required to successfully devise, develop and execute an extended independent research project in an area of critical and/or creative practice. You develop advanced research skills in an area of English studies and creative writing which will include reflective practice, critical research, creative practice-based research, self-management and research project management. The skills gained in this module will serve as a foundation for your English studies dissertation or creative writing project.

English Studies Dissertation

You are required to complete an extended independent research project, in consultation with an individual supervisor. You demonstrate high level skills in research, analysis, communication and project management through the submission of a dissertation on an independently conceived topic. The accompanying Graduate Professional Profile will serve as an exit profile whereby you identify, articulate and evaluate a range of transferable skills essential to future careers.

Present Tense

What’s the current state of our literary culture? Is it ailing or thriving in the wake of the changes to the publishing industry brought about by the internet, e-books, and self-publishing? Who are the great writers of today, and which books are the modern classics? How are the multifarious tensions of the present day manifested in contemporary writing? This module offers you the opportunity to explore this and related questions whilst working as a co-creator of the module's curriculum insofar as you will have the opportunity to determine the focus of your own project through the selection of the text(s) you will study how you will be assessed.

The assessment itself is a negotiated piece that you will develop in close collaboration with your tutor, but requires you to engage in a kind of knowledge transfer insofar as you will publish the results of academic research in formats other than the traditional academic essay and for audiences other than the academic.


and two optional modules

Deception and Detection from the 19th Century to the Present

While tales of crime and its concealment, exposure and punishment can be traced back to the ancient world, the peculiarly modern genre of the detective story is a widely acknowledged product of the nineteenth century. You examine stories of deception and detection from the Victorian age until the present day and consider the legacy and influence of classic detective fiction (and related genres such as the thriller) as manifested in film and television crime drama. You also explore the issues of trust and distrust in the context of modernity and highlight the ways in which tales of wrongdoing, transgression, discovery and judgement foreground questions of gender, class, and race, alongside other significant political and socio-economic concerns.

Ethnicity, Race, and Religion in Literature and Culture

You consolidate and extend your knowledge and understanding of issues of representation and cultural identity in relation to questions of ethnicity, race and religion. You also examine the ways in which literary and cultural texts have been shaped by the experiences of – and have in turn shaped perceptions and challenged stereotypes surrounding – specific groups.

For example, from the 19th century to the present, African American authors have responded to the experience of slavery, segregation and racism and their writing has played a key role in movements for radical social change. Meanwhile, 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.

Genres, Movements, Histories

You examine literary genres and movements and their historical, social and political contexts. You focus on a specific genre or movement from the 19th century to the present (for example, aestheticism and decadence, the feminist movement, contemporary historical fiction) and consider the circumstances within which the texts under discussion were produced and received. You will be equipped to discuss the diverse formal, technical and stylistic properties of the texts whilst also exploring a range of critical and theoretical perspectives and using a sophisticated critical vocabulary.

Writing Popular Culture

Should all writing be timeless? Does popular culture have a place in writing? What kind of cultural references should we be using in our writing? Is writing meant to last? You consider writers’ approaches to popular culture. You explore ideas of class, ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture, popularity, elitism, and representation in poetry, essays, and fiction, and consider historical and modern debates on the place of popular culture in literature. You produce a portfolio of creative work which responds to topics and concerns raised during the module, and a critical commentary analysing your creative choices.


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, one-to-one meetings 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, reports, presentations, blogs and a dissertation, 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 provide an inclusive and empowering learning environment and have specialist staff to support disabled students access any additional tailored resources needed. If you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health condition, autism, sensory impairment, chronic health condition or any other disability please contact a Disability Services as early as possible.
Find out more about our disability services

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Entry requirements

Entry requirements

A typical offer is 32-64 tariff points from at least two A levels (or equivalent).

For general information please see our overview of entry requirements

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



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.

For those interested in extending their studies, we offer four MA degrees: in English, creative writing, creative writing (online) and creative writing and wellbeing (online).


Information for international applicants


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Entry to 2023/24 academic year

Fee for UK applicants
£9,250 a year

More details about our fees

Fee for international applicants
£15,000 a year

More details about our fees for international applicants

What is included in your tuition fee?

  • Length: 4 years
  • UCAS code: Q304 BA/EngFY
  • Start date: September
  • Semester dates
  • Typical offer: 32-64 tariff points from at least 2 A levels (or equivalent)

Apply online (full-time) through UCAS



  • Not available part-time

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