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BA World Literatures / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course description

Our BA World Literatures course gives you access to an immense range of texts - from ancient to contemporary literature, and from Asia, the Americas, Africa and the Middle East, as well as Europe.

Alongside English literature from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day, and from all periods from continental Europe, you can study post-colonial literatures, cultural theory, creative writing and film.

In Year 1, you'll sample a wide selection of literature and critical theory, and develop a solid basis of knowledge and skills on which you'll build in Years 2 and 3.

Three course units in World Literatures (60 credits) are mandatory in Year 1, along with 20 to 60 further credits from a range of literature options.

In Years 2 and 3, you will select courses from a range of options. There's a mandatory 40-credit thesis in the final year, on which you'll work closely with an academic supervisor to develop a topic of your choosing.

Flexible Honours may allow you to study an additional arts, languages or cultures subject alongside World Literatures. You can also apply to spend one or two semesters studying abroad during the second year of your degree.

Aims

We aim to:

  • encourage you to engage with a significant range of literary genres, as well as film, song, and other forms of expression from a wide range of cultures, nations and historical periods;
  • enable you to study texts in their historical and cultural contexts, and develop an appreciation of the specific conditions that affect the representation of ideas, beliefs and experiences;
  • help you appreciate how our own historical and cultural location affects our understanding of literature;
  • familiarise you with and enable you to apply traditional and modern theories of literary and cultural criticism;
  • develop your powers of critical and analytical thinking alongside an appreciation of the craft of writing and the relationships between different texts and genres;
  • encourage you to respond imaginatively, intellectually and independently to the written word, and to carry this quality of response into future reading experiences;
  • develop your enthusiasm for literature and appreciation of its importance in the world, in earlier periods as well as the present day;
  • help you to foster sophisticated literacy skills and appropriate disciplinary forms of presentation and referencing;
  • enable you to develop fluency and clarity in discussion and in oral and written presentation;
  • encourage continuous, developing reflection, enabling both responsibility for personal learning and the ability to make informed choices for future development;
  • develop your skills for employment and/or further study, both discipline-related and transferable to other contexts;
  • sustain and enhance your knowledge and critical appreciation of literature and other cultural forms in preparation for postgraduate study or professional careers.

Special features

Placement year option

Apply your subject-specific knowledge in a real-world context through a placement year in your third year of study, enabling you to enhance your employment prospects, clarify your career goals and build your external networks.

Study abroad

You may apply to spend one or two semesters studying abroad during the second year of your degree. Exchange partners are offered in Europe through the Erasmus Exchange scheme, or in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong or Singapore via the Worldwide Exchange scheme.

Explore another subject

Flexible Honours may allow you to study an additional arts, languages or cultures subject alongside World Literatures.

Meet like-minded students

Join a society or write for the student magazine to meet fellow students and discuss shared interests.

Teaching and learning

During Year 1 and 2, you will be taught mainly through a combination of lectures and tutor-led seminars by our literature experts .

Seminars give you the opportunity to consider the same texts and topics as the lectures but with a more interactive, participatory approach. Seminar groups meet at least once a week, and numbers are kept as low as possible so that you get to know one another and share your ideas.

Course units in the final year take the form of a weekly seminar taken by a specialist member of staff. A required final-year thesis gives you experience in independent research and allows you to develop a personal project over an extended period.

For some course units, you may take part in group work and other forms of collaborative learning. Throughout your degree, you will also use web-based and other online resources to support your learning.

Coursework and assessment

We use a variety of forms of assessment, including:

  • written examinations
  • coursework essays
  • research reports
  • practical tests
  • learning logs
  • web contributions
  • oral presentations
  • a final-year thesis.

Course content for year 1

Sample a wide range of literature and critical theory, develop a solid basis of knowledge and analytical and research skills. Study three core units exploring forms of literature, the epic, and debates in World Literature, along with units from a range of options in Classics, English, and Modern Languages.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Forms of Literature WRLD10011 20 Mandatory
Epic Traditions WRLD10022 20 Mandatory
World Literatures: Definitions and Debates WRLD10032 20 Mandatory
Introduction to American Literature to 1900 AMER10021 20 Optional
Stories and Storytelling in the Ancient Greek and Roman Worlds CAHE10211 20 Optional
The Odyssey CLAH10101 20 Optional
Mapping the Medieval ENGL10051 20 Optional
Theory and Text ENGL10062 20 Optional
Revolution and Reaction in German Culture GERM10350 20 Optional
Italian Cultural Studies ITAL10300 20 Optional
Standing on The Shoulders of Giants: Foundations for Study in The Arts SALC10002 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 11 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

Two core units focus on The Novel and Modernism in a global context. You can then tailor your degree by selecting from an array of options in Classics, English, and Modern Languages - from ancient to contemporary, and from gender studies to postcolonial theory.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
The Novel in the World WRLD20011 20 Mandatory
International Modernisms WRLD20022 20 Mandatory
Screen, Culture and Society DRAM20041 20 Optional
Gender, Sexuality and the Body: Theories and Histories ENGL20482 20 Optional
Writing, Identity and Nation ENGL20491 20 Optional
Making of the Modern Mind: European Intellectual History in a Global Context HIST20181 20 Optional
Introduction to Post Colonial Arabic Literature MEST20002 20 Optional
Hispanic Cinemas SPLA20841 20 Optional

Course content for year 3

Complete a 40-credit dissertation on a topic of your choice, working closely with an academic supervisor. Complement this with units from a diverse range of options, from the ancient to the postmodern, and from poetry to fiction and film studies.

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Greek Epic Poetry CLAH31042 20 Optional
Transnational Shakespeare: Texts, Places, Identities ENGL31211 20 Optional
Exoticism & Orientalism in C19th France: French Romantics and Local Colour FREN30871 20 Optional
Screening the Holocaust GERM30481 20 Optional
Arabic Literature in Translation MEST30121 20 Optional
Transnational Identities in Latin American Literature SPLA30011 20 Optional

Facilities

Students in library
The University of Manchester Library is one of only five National Research Libraries.

You can attend lectures and exhibitions at the internationally-renowned John Rylands Library , Manchester Museum and Whitworth Art Gallery , as well as a wealth of talks, films, and other events sponsored by the School of Arts, Languages and Cultures.

The John Rylands Library also offers the rare opportunity to see a Gutenberg Bible, Shakespeare folios, medieval and modern literary manuscripts, and other archival treasures.

The Manchester Centre for New Writing hosts a regular public event series, Literature Live , which brings contemporary novelists and poets to the University to read and engage in conversation.

Find out more by visiting our Facilities page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk