English Literature BA

Year of entry

Open Days 2023

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2023
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
AAB (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBB including English (Literature or Language and Literature) at A Level and pass Access to Leeds
Full entry requirements

Course overview

Two students looking at a book together on the balcony of the Brotherton Library.

Throughout this course, you’ll explore richly diverse literary texts across different genres, including fiction, poetry and drama, and will see these in the context of a variety of historical periods, places and cultures. You’ll consider how and why these texts are produced, read, and understood and analyse the impact of their creativity and power. 

Reading and understanding literature can help us to find out about ourselves and see the world from other perspectives. 

Through engaging with different kinds of texts from across the globe and from different periods of history, you can learn how language reflects and shapes human experience. 

You’ll also develop your skills as a critical reader, a clear thinker, and a persuasive writer. 

Our modules explore themes relevant to how we live today, including race and ethnicity, gender, climate change and nature, social class, disability and wellbeing. 

The School of English supports a vibrant community of researchers and creative practitioners. It is home to the Leeds Poetry Centre, and we regularly host readings and talks by well-known and emerging contemporary writers. 

The School also produces a literary magazine, Stand, and publishes the best in new creative writing.


The world-class Brotherton Library has an array of archive, manuscript and early printed material in its Special Collections, including letters by Charles Dickens, manuscripts by the Brontës, a Shakespeare First Folio, and extensive archives of prominent contemporary poets including Simon Armitage and Tony Harrison. 

You’ll also have opportunities to learn traditional printing and typesetting techniques using our period printing presses and learn more about print and publishing history.

Brotherton Library Reading Room

Take a look around our libraries:

Brotherton Library
Laidlaw Library
Edward Boyle Library

The University also has four performance and rehearsal spaces, fully equipped with lighting and sound, as part of our impressive theatre offering.

Explore the Workshop Theatre

Course details

In your first year, you’ll study foundational modules in English Studies, designed to help you make a successful transition to university study. 

You’ll develop your skills as a critic and writer, explore key literary genres, and be introduced to literary theory and criticism. 

You can choose optional modules within the School of English or take discovery modules from other departments in the University, enabling you to tailor your degree to your interests. 

In the following year, you’ll select from a range of modules exploring things like how literature has evolved in the context of different periods and locations, American or African literature, medical humanities, crime fiction, and creative writing.

In your third year, alongside a choice of modules, you’ll start work on your final year project. Based on a topic of your design, this individual project will showcase your development as a critical thinker and researcher and demonstrate your ability to manage a large project and communicate effectively. 

You might study literature from Arthurian legends to postcolonial narratives, from Jane Austen novels to contemporary crime fiction, from Romantic poetry to the digital humanities. 

With seminar discussions and workshops, access to outstanding resources on campus, and expert staff to guide and support, you’ll be able to broaden your knowledge and build your skills for the future.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

Year 1 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Foundations of English Studies 20
Race, Writing and Decolonization 20

Year 1 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Key Concepts of English Language Study: One 20
Key Concepts of English Language Study: Two 20
Modern Fictions in English: Conflict, Liminality, Translation 20
Poetry: Reading and Interpretation 20
Drama: Reading and Interpretation 20

Year 2 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Medieval Literature 20
Restoration and Eighteenth Century Writing 20
Literature of the Romantic Period 20
Renaissance Literature 20
Remixing the Renaissance 20
Style and Authorship 20
Writing Nature: Creative and Critical Practices 20
Imaginary Friends: the consolations and consequences of story 20

Year 3 compulsory modules

Module Name Credits
Final Year Project 40

Year 3 optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Module Name Credits
Sex and Suffering in the Eighteenth-Century Novel 20
Prose Fiction Stylistics and the Mind 20
Quiet Rebels and Unquiet Minds: writing to contemporary anxiety 20
Milton 20
Contemporary South African Writing 20
Forensic Approaches to Language 20
Writing America 20
Transformations 20
Children, Talk and Learning 20
Trial Discourse - The Proceedings of the Old Bailey 1674 - 1913 20

Discovery modules

Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.

This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

We use various teaching and learning methods to help you benefit from our tutors’ expertise. Group seminars are at the heart of this degree. 

You’ll also encounter:

  • Lectures
  • Workshops
  • One-to-one tutorials and supervisions
  • Group work
  • Online learning through Minerva, our Virtual Learning Environment.

Independent study is a vital element of this course since it enables you to develop your research and critical skills and form your ideas. 

Our globally recognised research feeds directly into your course and shapes what you learn at Leeds with the latest thinking.

You’ll be taught by inspirational academics who are experts in their field and share your passion for your subject. Some may even have written textbooks and research articles you’ll use on your course.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


English Literature modules are assessed using various methods, including exams, essays and shorter written assignments. 

Some modules will extend to online exercises such as wikis or podcasts, library exercises, or oral presentations. 

This range of assessments will help you develop your communication skills, improve your digital literacy, and enhance your ability to deliver different projects. 

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB including A in English (Literature or Language and Literature)

Other course specific tests:

Where an applicant is taking the EPQ in a relevant subject this might be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A Levels, this would be ABB at A Level including A in English (Literature, or Language and Literature) and grade A in the EPQ.

We welcome applications from mature students with Access qualifications, and from students with a wide range of qualifications.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. The Access course must follow a Humanities pathway and include English modules. An interview and a piece of written work may be required.


We will consider the level 3 QCF BTEC at Subsidiary Diploma level and above in combination with other qualifications. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

Cambridge Pre-U

D3, M1, M2 including D3 in English

International Baccalaureate

35 points overall with 16 at Higher Level including 6 in English at Higher Level

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3 including H2 in English

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AB in Advanced Highers (including A in English) and AABBB in Highers, or A in English Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers

Welsh Baccalaureate

The Welsh Baccalaureate is not typically included in the academic conditions of an offer made to you for this course. If you choose to undertake the Welsh Baccalaureate we would strongly encourage you to draw upon these experiences within your personal statement, as your qualification will then be taken into account both when your application is initially considered by the selection panel and again when reviewed by the admissions tutor at the time your A-level results are passed to us.

Other Qualifications

European Baccalaureate: 80% with 8.5 in English

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Typical Access to Leeds offer: BBB including English (Literature or Language and Literature) at A Level and pass Access to Leeds

EPQ and Access to Leeds offer: BBC at A Level including B in English (Literature or English Language and Literature) and A in a relevant EPQ and pass Access to Leeds

Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year

If you would like to study arts, humanities, and cultures at university, but don't currently meet the typical entry requirements for direct entry to a degree, you might be eligible to apply for the Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year course.


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information contact the School of English admissions team.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £22,250 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2022/23
For UK full-time undergraduate students starting in 2022/23 the fee will be £9,250. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation and as permitted by law. Fees for UK undergraduate students are decided by the government and may vary if policy changes.

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students for 2023/24 have been agreed by the UK Government and will remain at the current fee level of £9,250. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation and as permitted by law. Fees for UK undergraduate students are decided by the government and may vary if policy changes.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 should be available on individual course pages from September 2022.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2023

This course is taught by

School of English

Contact us

School of English Undergraduate Admissions

Email: undergrad-english@leeds.ac.uk

Career opportunities

Career opportunities a degree in English gives you a range of valuable skills and attributes.

Our graduates have gone on to find success in areas such as the creative industries, marketing, education, journalism, law, publishing, media, business charity work, civil service, management consultancy and leadership.

Many have also progressed to postgraduate study. 

On this course, you’ll develop your abilities as an excellent communicator who can present well-reasoned arguments and conclusions. Learning in groups with others and reading about human problems and social situations will develop your interpersonal skills and understanding of ethical and cultural complexities. 

You’ll have strong organisational and time management skills and you’ll be able to conduct research, interpret complex information, think critically and express yourself clearly. Employers are always looking out for people with these critical skills. 

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more at the Careers website.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.