BA English Literature and Italian / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course description

BA English Literature and Italian will enable you to explore a wide range of texts dating from a variety of periods. 

You will also develop knowledge of the language and culture of Italy from the medieval period to the present day. 

English Literature

  • You will explore more than 1,000 years of literature and culture: from medieval romance to the postcolonial and postmodern.
  • You can specialise in English Literature, American, Irish and post-colonial literatures, cultural theory, creative writing and film.
  • You will engage with a range of literary/non-literary genres including film, music and texts, from Anglo-Saxon times to the present.
  • Benefit from our research activity in English and American Studies, with more than 12 active research groups ranging from Anglo Saxon literature to 21st century writing and film.
  • Enjoy creative writing course unit options in your second and third years of study.
  • Our course units give you advanced Italian language skills together with an in-depth understanding of Italian literature, culture and society, taught by a range of specialists within these fields.
  • We offer linguistics options for those interested in the history of the Italian language and its dialects.
  • Language courses are taught by native speakers and involve comprehension, translation, grammar and oral work.
  • Colleagues in Italian have won University Teaching Excellence awards and are regularly nominated for the annual Student Union teaching awards. They have also been recognized nationally for their innovative use of digital technologies in teaching and learning and for their research.
  • You will benefit from extensive interaction with Italian cultural agencies in the North West.
You will also benefit from the world-class Italian holdings of the John Rylands Library, including one of the largest collections of early Italian printed books in the UK.

Special features

Study abroad

Your year abroad  will offer the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of life in Italy, and further develop your language skills.

Literature events

Manchester Literature Festival holds literary events across Manchester throughout the year, many in partnership with the University.

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

Meet like-minded students

You can get to know your fellow students outside of your course by joining the English Society.

Learn more about our English Literature and Creative Writing societies .

The University is also home to more than 30 international and language-related student societies  offering cultural activities and experiences.

Teaching and learning

You will be taught mainly through lecture and tutor-led sessions.

Tutorials will give you the opportunity to consider the same texts and topics as the lectures, but with a different approach. 

Tutorial groups usually meet at least once a week, and numbers are kept as low as possible so that you can get to know one another and share your ideas. 

Other course units (mainly those in your final year) are taught through a weekly seminar led by a specialist member of staff.

For some course units, you will join in group work and other forms of collaborative learning. 

You'll also have access to our virtual learning environment, Blackboard and other digital resources to support your learning.

You will spend approximately 12 hours a week in formal study sessions. 

For every hour spent at University, you will be expected to complete a further two to three hours of independent study.

You will also need to study during the holiday periods.

The individual study component could be spent reading, producing written work, revising for examinations or working in the University's Language Centre .

A significant part of your study time will be spent reading, taking notes, preparing presentations and writing essays (which examine aspects of a subject in greater depth).

Coursework and assessment

You will be assessed using a variety of formats, including:

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

Your second-year work counts toward 33% of your final degree result.

Your third-year work accounts for the remaining 67%.

Course content for year 1

You will study 60 credits from each discipline.

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
Reading Literature ENGL10021 20 Mandatory
Mapping the Medieval ENGL10051 20 Optional
Theory and Text ENGL10062 20 Optional
Literature and History ENGL10072 20 Optional
Italian Cultural Studies ITAL10300 20 Optional
Reading Italy: Medieval to Modern ITAL10500 20 Optional
Italian Language 1 ITAL51011 20 Optional
Italian Language 2 ITAL51022 20 Optional
Italian Language 3 ITAL51030 20 Optional

Course content for year 2

You will study 120 credits, and may choose to study up to 80 credits from either discipline or maintain an equal weighting between the two.

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
Creative Writing: Fiction ENGL20002 20 Optional
Chaucer: Texts, Contexts, Conflicts ENGL20232 20 Optional
Shakespeare ENGL20372 20 Optional
Gender, Sexuality and the Body: Theories and Histories ENGL20481 20 Optional
Writing, Identity and Nation ENGL20492 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Poetry ENGL20901 20 Optional
Medieval Metamorphoses ENGL21022 20 Optional
Renaissance Literature ENGL21151 20 Optional
Old English: Writing the Unreadable Past ENGL21161 20 Optional
Satire and the Novel: English Literature of the Long Eighteenth Century ENGL21181 20 Optional
Modernism ENGL21191 20 Optional
Romanticism (1776 - 1832) ENGL21521 20 Optional
Victorian Rights: Victorian Wrongs ENGL22102 20 Optional
Aesthetics and Politics of Italian Fascism ITAL20501 20 Optional
The Italian Renaissance ITAL21012 20 Optional
Italian Language 4 ITAL51040 20 Optional
Italian Language 5 ITAL51050 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 17 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

You will spend your third year abroad studying and/or working in Italy under approved conditions.

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
Occupy Everything AMER30422 20 Optional
Climate Change & Culture Wars AMER30571 20 Optional
American Hauntings AMER30811 20 Optional
Long Essay ENGL30001 20 Optional
Long Essay ENGL30002 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Fiction ENGL30122 20 Optional
Narrative Theory and Victorian Fiction ENGL30171 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Poetry ENGL30901 20 Optional
Irish Fiction Since 1990 ENGL30941 20 Optional
Radical Turns: Culture and Politics in the 1930s ENGL31142 20 Optional
Eros: Love and Desire in Victorian Poetry ENGL31202 20 Optional
Transnational Shakespeare: Texts, Places, Identities ENGL31211 20 Optional
Apocalypse: Early Modern Imaginings ENGL31272 20 Optional
Things that Talk: Nonhuman Voices in Anglo-Saxon Literature and Culture ENGL31622 20 Optional
Introduction to Screenwriting ENGL31951 20 Optional
Culture and Politics in the Contemporary British Novel  ENGL32301 20 Optional
British Fiction and Empire in the Twentieth Century   ENGL32551 20 Optional
Gendered Experiments: Women's Innovative Writing in the Twentieth Century ENGL33061 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Creative Non-Fiction ENGL34052 20 Optional
Romantic Venice ENGL34071 20 Optional
Vital Matters: Medieval Ecologies ENGL34111 20 Optional
Humans and other Animals in Contemporary Literature ENGL34122 20 Optional
Writing Revolutions:Radicalism, Activism, Citizenship 1640-80 ENGL34132 20 Optional
Literary and Sexual Experimentalism Between the Wars ENGL34141 20 Optional
Contemporary South Asian Literatures ENGL34152 20 Optional
Imaginations of the Future: People, Earth and Power ENGL34172 20 Optional
World Literature and Climate Crisis ENGL34212 20 Optional
Culture and Marginality ENGL35312 20 Optional
Political and Cultural History of Italy ITAL30342 20 Optional
Topics in Romance Linguistics ITAL32001 20 Optional
Italian Language 6 ITAL51060 20 Optional
Dissertation in Modern Languages and Cultures LALC30000 40 Optional
Displaying 10 of 32 course units for year 3

Course content for year 4

You will study 120 credits, and may choose to study up to 80 credits from either discipline or maintain an equal weighting between the two.


The John Rylands Library

Home to one of the world's richest and most unique collections of manuscripts, maps, works of art, and objects.

You'll have access to the Library's impressive special collections, including papyri, early printed books, key archives such as the Women's Suffrage Movement archive, and Shakespeare's first folio.

Find out more about the John Rylands Library .

The Centre for New Writing

The University is home to a major hub for new writing excellence and award-winning teaching staff, including Granta Best Young British Novelist Kamila Shamsie and Jeanette Winterson CBE.

The Centre also hosts Literature Live - a public event series which brings contemporary novelists and poets to the University to showcase their work.

Find out more about the Centre for New Writing .

The University of Manchester Library

One of only five National Research Libraries; you'll have access to our internationally renowned archival collections which range from the medieval period to the present day.

From a miniature 'Book of Hours' which once belonged to Mary, Queen of Scots, through major Victorian novelists such as Elizabeth Gaskell and George Gissing, key American writers including Walt Whitman and Upton Sinclair, and up to the present day with our Modern Literary Archives, you'll be amazed by the treasures on offer.

Find out more about The University of Manchester Library .

As well as making use of the wider University library network, you will have access to the University Language Centre, a modern open learning facility where you can study independently and make use of a library and audio-visual resources.

There are also language laboratories and multimedia facilities.

You'll also have access to other cultural assets on campus, including the award-winning Whitworth Art Gallery and Manchester Museum .

Find out more on the Facilities pages for English Literature and Creative Writing and Modern Languages and Cultures .

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: