BA English Literature / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course description

BA English Literature will enable you to explore a wide range of texts dating from a variety of periods from the Anglo-Saxon era to the present day. You'll have the opportunity to explore a wide range of texts and genres ranging from illuminated manuscripts to graphic novels, from poetry to postmodern fiction, from across the Anglophone world and beyond.

Your first year of study will see you sample a wide variety of literature while giving you the necessary knowledge and skills to equip you for Years 2 and 3, when you will have the opportunity to choose the units that most interest you.

You will become part of a thriving community of students, lecturers, and writers at The University of Manchester, based in the heart of a UNESCO City of Literature that has produced some of the world's greatest writers and has a thriving literature and arts scene, including major events like Manchester Literature Festival.

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 can apply to spend one semester  studying abroad  during the second year of your degree. 

Exchange partners are offered in Europe through the Erasmus Exchange scheme, as well as the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Singapore via the Worldwide Exchange scheme.

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. 

Flexible Honours

Free choice units will allow you to explore subjects beyond your course.

In addition, Flexible Honours may allow you to study an additional arts, languages or cultures subject.

Find out more about Flexible Honours.

Meet like-minded students

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

Learn more on our Societies page .

Teaching and learning

In Years 1 and 2, you will be taught mainly through lectures and seminars. 

Lectures provide essential knowledge and identify key questions which are then discussed further in seminars.

Seminar groups usually meet once a week and numbers are kept as low as possible so that you can get to know one another and have a chance to develop and share your ideas.

In Year 3, you choose from a wide range of specialist units.

You will be taught by a leading expert in the field.

A compulsory long essay in Year 3 will give you experience of independent research and allow you to develop a personal project.

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.

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

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 Mandatory
Theory and Text ENGL10062 20 Mandatory
English Literature Tutorials ENGL10171 20 Mandatory
Twentieth Century American Literature AMER10312 20 Optional
Literature and History ENGL10072 20 Optional

Course content for year 2

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
American Literature and Social Criticism, 1900-Present AMER20481 20 Optional
Uncle Tom's Cabin as Global Media Event AMER22662 20 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
Displaying 10 of 15 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

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
Love American Style AMER30161 20 Optional
Occupy Everything AMER30422 20 Optional
Climate Change & Culture Wars AMER30571 20 Optional
American Hauntings AMER30811 20 Optional
Novel Democracy AMER33132 20 Optional
Long Essay ENGL30001 20 Optional
Long Essay ENGL30002 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Fiction ENGL30121 20 Optional
Narrative Theory and Victorian Fiction ENGL30171 20 Optional
Culture and Conflict: Neoliberalism and Cultural Production ENGL30261 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Poetry ENGL30901 20 Optional
Irish Fiction Since 1990 ENGL30941 20 Optional
Eros: Love and Desire in Victorian Poetry ENGL31202 20 Optional
Transnational Shakespeare: Texts, Places, Identities ENGL31211 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
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
Interdisciplinary Literature and Theology: Empathy, Ethics, Liberation ENGL35111 20 Optional
Culture and Marginality ENGL35312 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 29 course units for year 3


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 .

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

Find out more about our facilities .

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants from the Disability Support Office. Email: