This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. To find out more see our Cookies Policy.
By using this site you agree to these cookies being set.
English BA (Hons) - University of Sunderland

Course overview

This course allows you to study a wide range of literature with flexible options to suit your particular interests.

Teaching is enriched by Sunderland's research, some of which has been classed as 'world leading' by the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF). The English team is recognised as one of the top research teams in the University.

The core modules cover the principles of studying and writing about literature. They also help you acquire valuable skills in communication and analytical thinking. We encourage you to become culturally empowered and highly articulate.

There is also a range of optional modules that allow you to develop a love of literature alongside like-minded students and within a creative and supportive environment. The options include 'Writing and Reading Narrative Fiction', 'The Novel: from Realism to Modernism' and 'Contemporary Irish Poetry'.

In the final year you will be able to choose from a range of cutting-edge specialist options based on the research interests of the English staff. You will also develop your research skills through writing a 6,000 word dissertation on a topic of your choice.

A degree in English has long been a way of opening doors to most graduate career schemes. It is also very well-recognised and well-regarded among employers.

English is taught within the Faculty of Education and Society and is best in the North East for Course Satisfaction and Feedback according to the Guardian University Guide 2015.

Course content

Year 1 (national level 4)

Modules on this course include:

  • Studying and Writing about Literature I (20 Credits)
  • Studying and Writing about Literature II (20 Credits)

Optional modules:

  • Writing and Reading Narrative Fiction (20 Credits)
  • Lyric Poetry and Narrative Poetry (20 Credits)
  • Introduction to American Literature (20 Credits)
  • Introduction to Creative Writing (20 Credits)
  • Introduction to Drama (20 Credits)

Year 2 (national level 5)

Modules on this course include:

  • Literature: History, Theory and Criticism (20 Credits)
  • Critical Approaches (20 Credits)

Optional modules:

  • Renaissance Literature (20 Credits)
  • 18th Century Literature (20 Credits)
  • Romanticism (20 Credits)
  • Victorian Literature (20 Credits)
  • 20th Century American Writing (20 Credits) 

Final Year (national level 6)

Modules on this course include:

  • Dissertation of 6,000 words on a topic of your choice (20 Credits)

Optional modules:

  • Shakespeare (20 Credits)
  • Late Medieval Literature (20 Credits)
  • Contemporary British Fictions (20 Credits)
  • Storytelling in Post-War American Fiction (20 Credits)
  • World Englishes in Fiction (20 Credits)
  • Representations of Totalitarianism and the Holocaust (20 Credits)
  • The Novel: from Realism to Modernism (20 Credits)
  • Contemporary Irish Poetry (20 Credits)

Amy McLean was one of our Lives Online student bloggers in 2011/12. In this video, Amy talks about the module 'Language and Culture' which is one of the core modules in Year 1 of English Language and Literature:

Part-time study

If you study this course on a part-time basis you will typically complete 40-80 credits in a year, rather than the 120 credits of full-time students. All modules are taught during the daytime and you will be studying alongside full-time students.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars and group work. We encourage you to take advantage of IT for learning. You will also develop independent study skills and the ability to debate your ideas with others.

Assessment is mainly through essays and exams.

To find out more about modules, credits and how you will be assessed, please see the page how courses are taught. Information about our policies relating to student experience and quality assurance processes can be found on the Academic Services website.

Key Information Sets

All UK universities and colleges display Key Information Sets (KIS) on their undergraduate courses. The KIS gives you a quick overview of some standard information about a course, and has a link to more detailed information on Unistats.

Facilities & location

Course location

The course is based at the Priestman Building on City Campus, just a few minutes from the main Murray Library and close to Sunderland city centre. It’s a very vibrant and supportive environment with excellent resources for teaching and learning.

IT provision

When it comes to IT provision you can take your pick from hundreds of PCs as well as Apple Macs in the David Goldman Informatics Centre and St Peter’s Library. There are also free WiFi zones throughout the campus. If you have any problems, just ask the friendly helpdesk team. 

University Library Services

We’ve got thousands of books and e-books on topics related to English and literature, with many more titles available through the inter-library loan service. We also subscribe to a comprehensive range of print and electronic journals so you can access the most reliable and up-to-date academic and industry articles.

Some of the most important sources for your course include:

  • Early English Books Online, which provides digital images of virtually every work printed in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and British North America during 1473-1800
  • Eighteenth Century Collections Online, which provides 136,000 full-text publications from 1701-1800
  • Periodicals Archive Online, which provides digitised literary journals
  • Project Muse, which provides over 180 full-text humanities and social sciences journals


Priestman Building

Albion Place, Sunderland, SR1 3PZ

Entry requirements

Our typical offer is 120 UCAS points from a minimum of two A Levels or equivalent (e.g. 1 x AVCE double award). Read more on the new UCAS Tariff point system for 2017.

We accept a maximum of 6 points from Level 3 Key Skills qualifications.

We also require three passes at GCSE grade C or above, which must include Mathematics and English Language, or a minimum of Level 2 Key Skills in Communication and Application of Number.                  

Other acceptable qualifications

BTEC National: 120 points from a BTEC Certificate or Diploma.

Access Courses: We would require successful completion of an Access to Higher Education course that is accredited by the Quality Assurance Agency. We would also require a minimum of grade C in GCSE in Mathematics and English Language or the equivalent as part of your course.

Scottish Highers: Our typical offer is for 120 points.

Irish Leaving Certificate: Our typical offer is for 120 points.

International qualifications: Please call the Student Helpline for advice on other acceptable qualifications. The number from outside the UK is +44 191 515 3000.

Any other qualifications: If you have any other qualifications not listed here, you may still be eligible. Please contact the Student Helpline for advice: 0191 515 3000.

Returners to Learning: If you are a mature student, you may benefit from our dedicated Returners to Learning Progression Scheme. For further information email or call the Student Helpline: 0191 515 3000.

If you wish to be considered for direct entry to a different year of a course, please contact the Student Helpline: 0191 515 3000.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

If you feel you already know some of the topics covered in this course, either due to previous learning or from experience of work, then you may not need to study all of the course.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is the name given to the process of gaining credit towards a qualification because of something you have learnt in the past. If you are eligible for APL you won't have to learn the same topic again, and so you can be exempt from a module, set of modules or year of a course. 

Read more about APL in the Quality Handbook (.pdf). If you think you may be eligible for APL, please contact the course leader.

Fees & finance

Full-time fees

The annual fee is:

  • £9,250 if you are from the UK
  • £10,750 if you are from outside the UK 

If you are not sure whether you qualify as a UK, EU or International student, please see the International section of this website.

Scholarships and bursaries may be available to you – please see the Fees and Finance section of this website for more information. 

Part-time fees

Tuition fees for part-time students are £4,880 per 120 Credits.

Please note that this part-time course is not available to International students who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.

Scholarships and bursaries may be available to you – please see the Fees and Finance section of this website for more information.

Employment & careers

Many graduates move on to teaching, journalism, the Civil Service, publishing and a wide range of businesses. An English degree is a well-proven route into many graduate training schemes.

Communication, research and critical analysis are essential skills that are developed throughout the course at Sunderland. The ability to write persuasively is also highly prized by employers.

The course includes the opportunity to study Shakespeare in the final year, which is particularly relevant if you are considering a career in teaching. In addition, the research elements of the course provide excellent foundations for progressing to higher degrees and successful academic careers.

Study Abroad

You have the opportunity to study in another country for one or two semesters during the second year. You can choose from over 150 universities in 20 countries, either English-speaking (such as Australia, Canada and the USA) or non English-speaking (such as Argentina, Brazil and Japan). With employers increasingly looking for a flexible and internationally-minded workforce, it’s a great way to enhance your CV and stretch your horizons.

University Language Scheme

It is usually possible to take a module from the free University Language Scheme. This can be studied on top of your 120 credits or in some cases, can earn credits towards your degree.

Language skills increase your international mobility and you can choose between French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese and Arabic at a range of levels. If your first language is not English, please check with your tutor about entry requirements.

Staff and students talk about the benefits of the University Language Scheme

The Enterprise Place

If you have a good idea for a new business and have the dedication and motivation to make it happen, then we want to hear from you. The Enterprise Place, based on-campus at St Peter's Gate Business Centre, is the perfect environment for entrepreneurial students and graduates to turn their business ideas into reality. You will have access to free hot desk space, IT facilities, specialist advice and support and business mentors and networking opportunities.

To find out more about how we can help you start a business, please contact the University's Enterprise Team:

Tel: 0191 515 3751

Student jobs, volunteering and paid projects (earn while you learn)

Our Careers & Employability Service advertises a variety of opportunities to earn money while you study.

Volunteering positions in local organisations, charities and community groups can help you to help other people while learning about your strengths and what you can offer. Past opportunities have included working with children and the elderly, conservation work and sporting activities. 

CES also advertises details of paid part-time and vacation work in areas from call centre and retail work through to telesales and marketing and promotion and more.

Opportunities to work with companies on flexible, paid, part-time projects in areas such as IT, design, law, media, HR and event management, to name a few, are available too. These projects are a great chance to gain valuable work experience.


The University of Sunderland is committed to ensuring that every student has an impressive range of opportunities to enhance their CV and gain valuable experience. For more information visit our Employability page.

Graduate Duncan talks about his experience studying English at the University of Sunderland:


Support for your learning

You can expect stimulating contact time that includes lectures, workshops, seminars and case studies. There is also a significant amount of time where you will be researching and studying on your own in preparation for assignments and seminars. If you have individual queries or difficulties within subject areas, you can book an appointment with your tutor to gain more in-depth support and guidance.

Support for your development

To help ensure the course is meeting aspirations for personal development, we invite students to fill in questionnaires at the end of modules. This provides a structured way for you to keep us up-to-date with your views.

During your course, and particularly towards the end of it, we encourage you to make full use of the resources at our Careers and Employability Service. The Service helps you explore your options, clarify your ideas, develop a career focus and make effective applications.

Extracurricular activities

The University supports student-led initiatives that enhance the extracurricular activities available to you. Some of those are related to particular subjects while others allow you to pursue interests and social activities. It's all part of the vibrant and life-changing atmosphere at the University of Sunderland.

For more information about all the support services you will have access to as a Sunderland student, please see Student support and guidance.

"You can feel the positive atmosphere throughout the campus."

Kate McCaffery – BA (Hons) English Student case study

Kate McCaffery - Student

BA (Hons) English

“The support at Sunderland University is great, with friendly lecturers and members of staff ready to help with any problems you face in the next stage in your academic life. You can feel the positive atmosphere throughout the campus, which makes the transition towards University life so much easier!

“I decided to study English because I have a passion for the subject, and felt that English has so many career prospects after you finish your degree, that it was the best route for me. The fantastic lecturers on the English course bring the subjects to life and allow you to explore and understand texts in a way you never considered previously, helping you to develop and express your own ideas.

“A great aspect of the English course is that you are open to study both language and literature modules, which I have taken advantage of and really enjoyed. This gives you a solid grounding in both, you find the skills that you learn in each are interchangeable and help give a better overall understanding of English as a whole. You also choose the majority of your modules which means that you can focus on the subjects that really interest or inspire you.

“During my first week at Sunderland, I was obviously slightly nervous, but was really excited to be in a new environment meeting new people. You are made to feel really welcome here, and are given a lot of information and guidance so that you don’t feel that you are thrown in at the deep end. If you really enjoy English and feel that you want to study in a friendly and supportive University, then my advice would be to consider the English course at Sunderland.”

"I have met lots of new friends from all over the world during my time at Sunderland and the living costs and course tuition fees are really affordable."

Siwei Jiang - Study Abroad Student (BA (Hons) English and French) Q300/CID946

Siwei Jiang

Study Abroad Student - Studying BA (Hons) English and French on the University Language Scheme

"I chose to study at the University of Sunderland because they had a partnership with my home university in China and I needed to find a course that was related to my main degree which majored in English.

"I chose the study abroad programme because from a very young age I had always wanted to travel and visit different countries. I had read a lot of western culture text books, but had never actually experienced the culture first hand. I thought it very important to experience a different environment in which to study and chose the University of Sunderland because of the English course.

"I would definitely recommend the University and my course to prospective students. I am even considering a postgraduate programme here myself. I have met lots of new friends from all over the world during my time at Sunderland and the living costs and course tuition fees are really affordable.

"The British education system is totally different to the education system in China. I really enjoyed the lectures and seminars being separate, I found them much clearer and effective. I had never written a report or essay in China, so this was all new to me. I spent a lot of time practicing my writing skills and searching the library for books and other written materials I could use.

"Sunderland is a very nice place to live and study. It’s quite a small city, but people are very friendly. I wasn’t afraid to ask local people for help when I managed to lose my way. People in Sunderland seem to live a happier life and the pace is definitely slower than what I’ve experienced in China, where it’s crowded and everyone seems to hurry around."

"This is one of the best decisions I've ever made."

Amy McLean - Student

Amy McLean


"This is one of the best decisions I've ever made. English literature has become my passion in the few months I've been at university, and I've thoroughly enjoyed every module.

"The lecturers each have their own quirks and insights, and it's utterly enthralling to learn from people who love their subjects. It's impossible not to enjoy learning about literary greats such as Byron, Shelley and Shakespeare.

"Not only is the degree brilliant but there are so many opportunities to get involved with great projects and work outside the course. In my first year I was a reviewer for a local newspaper, a blogger for the University and I had a column in the student magazine.

"I absolutely love the University of Sunderland. I couldn't recommend it enough as I just know that everyone else will enjoy it as much as I do!"

Apply for this course

Interested in this course? Apply straight away through UCAS, or read our 7-step guide to applying to university.

Part-time study: if you wish to study this course on a part-time basis, you need to apply directly to the University of Sunderland by downloading the part-time application form (.pdf).

Want to know more about this course or the University of Sunderland? Order a prospectus or come to our next Open Day to see the facilities and talk to academic staff:

    Next Open Day

  • Date: Thursday 23rd February 2017
  • Time: 3:00pm-8:00pm
  • Type: University Open Day
  • Location: Science Complex, City Campus, Sunderland SR1 3SD

Contact Sunderland

Programme Leader:
Barry Lewis

Contact the recruitment team for further information about studying at the University of Sunderland:

Recruitment Team
Telephone: 0191 515 3000 

The details

Course Name English
Classification BA (Hons)
Course Mode Full-time/Part-time
Course Level Undergraduate
Duration 3 years
Study Location On-campus (Sunderland)
Starting 18 September 2017
UK/EU Fee £9,250
Intl Fee £See entry requirements page

Entry requirements

120 points

Related courses

If English BA (Hons) isn't right for you, try these courses instead:

Search for something different?