English Literature BA

Year of entry

2025 course information

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2024
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


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

Most courses consist of compulsory and optional modules. There may be some optional modules omitted below. This is because they are currently being refreshed to make sure students have the best possible experience. Before you enter each year, full details of all modules for that year will be provided.

At Level 1, students will take Reading Between the Lines and Writing Matters, which introduce them to university-level study, equipping them to read critically and write with rigour and persuasion. A further compulsory module on Race, Writing and Decolonisation draws upon the School’s long history of teaching Black and Asian British writing and literature in English from around the world. Optional modules focus on poetry, fiction and drama. Students may also take Discovery modules from across the University.

At Level 2, students will take two core modules, Writing Environments and Body Language. These modules explore two urgent contemporary challenges, the climate crisis and personal wellbeing, and will examine how these issues can be understood and expressed through literary texts. Students will also select four further modules from a choice of eight, ranging historically and geographically from Medieval to Contemporary, and from Postcolonial to American. Level 2 will deepen and enrich subject knowledge and intellectual skills, preparing students for more independent learning at Level 3, where they can select from a range of specialist modules. A final year project, which may be a dissertation or a textual edition, further enhances active research skills, enabling students to define, plan and produce an extended piece of work.

After their second year of study, students may apply for transfer to an International Degree at one of a wide range of universities with which the University of Leeds has established links. They may also spend a year in industry on a work placement as an optional third year of their degree programme.

In your final year, you will choose from a wide range of specialist modules taught by research experts in their fields. 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. Alongside these specialist research modules, you’ll start work on your own 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. 

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.

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

Most courses consist of compulsory and optional modules. There may be some optional modules omitted below. This is because they are currently being refreshed to make sure students have the best possible experience. Before you enter each year, full details of all modules for that year will be provided.

For more information please read BA English Literature in the course catalogue.

Year 1 compulsory modules

Race, Writing and Decolonization (20 credits) - Current hashtag movements from Black Lives Matter to Why is My Curriculum White? to Fees Must Fall suggest that the project of racial decolonisation is far from over. Focusing on African-American, South African, Caribbean and Black British writing, this module offers the chance to look at some of the most explosive black writing on race and how it informs our current 'decolonial' moment. We will move from the writing that helped dismantle the British Empire, usher in the civil rights era in the US, and bring an end to apartheid in South Africa, through to contemporary writing that confronts ongoing structures of racism. The question of exactly what constitutes blackness and black writing will be at the heart of our discussions.

Writing Matters (20 credits) - Writing and communication skills are vital to most professional careers, but they are especially valuable in the field of English studies. This module explores debates around a canonical literary text, examining theoretical approaches and rhetorical strategies used to write about literature. Students will hone their own writing skills by engaging ethically with the text and the ideas of others, developing structured arguments, expressing ideas clearly and concisely, working with feedback, and practising writing as a process. As a result, students will cultivate a deeper understanding of how writing works, learn how to share insights with greater efficacy and sophistication, and practice how to transfer this knowledge to future workplace contexts.

Reading Between the Lines (20 credits) - This module equips students with a critical vocabulary for sophisticated literary study, introducing the creative, argumentative and exciting discipline of ‘English Studies’. Through close analysis of specific texts across a range of periods and forms, students will encounter some of the varied theories that have shaped and continue to underpin the discipline. Students will find out how an English degree might change the way we read and see the world, while developing their academic skills through guided critical reading, collaboration with peers in group presentations and seminar discussions, and a variety of assignments designed to introduce them to the different formats of assessment required throughout the degree.

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

Poetry: Reading and Interpretation (20 credits)
Drama: Text and Performance (20 credits)
Modern Fictions in English (20 credits)

Year 2 compulsory modules

Writing Environments: Literature, Nature, Culture (20 credits) - This module examines what it means to live as human beings on a more-than-human planet. We’ll investigate how literary texts from different times and places have understood the relationship between nature and culture. We’ll address human impacts on the environment in relation to historical phenomena such as colonialism. And we’ll explore the insights that literature can offer at a time of concern about climate change and other environmental issues.

Body Language: Literature and Embodiment (20 credits) - This module explores the relationship between embodiment, language and representation across a range of literary forms, genres, and periods, addressing questions such as: what does it mean to be ‘human’? Can technology change who we are? How do we navigate the relationship between the body and the mind? It examines how critical theorists and creative writers and life writers have treated and imagined this relationship between material bodies and literary representation, in order to better understand both the possibilities and limitations of literary expression.

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

Renaissance Literature (20 credits)
Medieval and Tudor Literature (20 credits)
Modern Literature (20 credits)
Postcolonial Literature (20 credits)
The World Before Us: Literature 1660-1830 (20 credits)
Other Voices: Rethinking Nineteenth-Century Literature (20 credits)
American Words, American Worlds (20 credits)

Year 3 compulsory modules

Final Year Project (40 credits) - This module encourages independent, self-directed learning, providing a culmination to the research strand emphasised in other modules. It fosters a wide variety of responses to the challenges it offers students, since any final year project might take one of a number of forms. Most importantly, it promotes academic creativity and the exploration of individual intellectual interests.

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

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

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 also include wikis, podcasts, research 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 a contextual 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 contextual admissions.

Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year

This course is designed for students whose backgrounds mean they are less likely to attend university (also known as widening participation backgrounds) and who do not currently meet admissions criteria for direct entry to a degree.

The course will give you the opportunity to be taught by academic staff and provides intensive support to enable your development of academic skills and knowledge. On successful completion of your foundation year, you will progress to your chosen degree course. Find out more about the Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year


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: £24,500 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will be £9,250 for students starting in 2024/25.

The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only, as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2025/26
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students starting in 2025/26 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. When the fee is available we will update individual course pages.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2024/25 and 2025/26
Tuition fees for international students for 2024/25 are available on individual course pages. Fees for students starting in 2025/26 will be available from September 2024.

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 on our living costs and budgeting page.

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 2024

This course is taught by

School of English

Contact us

School of English Undergraduate Admissions

Email: undergrad-english@leeds.ac.uk

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 about Careers support.

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.

Student profile: Malgorzata MacDougall

There is so much choice and freedom with what you study, and everyone in the school is so lovely. I really couldn’t recommend it enough.
Find out more about Malgorzata MacDougall's time at Leeds