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BA (Hons) English

Use your love of reading to explore new ideas.

Study diverse texts from around the world taking a post-colonial and progressive approach

Entry requirements

Three A-levels at grades CCC to include one of English Language, English Literature or a Humanities subject.

Or BTEC triple grades MMM or above.

Or Access 23-45 D/M with min 6D.

And GCSE English Language at grade 4 or grade C or above.

Applicants with other qualifications and/or experience will be considered on an individual basis.



UCAS points 96

UCAS code Q3W8

Duration Three years full-time or up to six part-time

Course Summary

The English degree at Marjon University is an innovative and invigorating programme that takes a fresh look at literature and language, and introduces you to complex, powerful and engaging works.

In Year 1, your first module – Literature that Shook the World – engages with profoundly important works of our time: Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and Diane Samuels’ Kindertransport; grapple with the complexity of memory and experience. You also step back into Elizabethan England, exploring sexuality, gender, politics and power, with Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, and consider how these themes resonate with contemporary readers in Anne Tyler’s Vinegar Girl.

Whilst developing your knowledge and understanding of the essential classics and chronology of literature in English, the programme equally embraces much that is new and will steer you towards unconventional and ground-breaking writing. In your third year, our dystopian fiction module – Discord, Disaster & Dreams – looks both at George Orwell’s influential and controversial Nineteen Eighty-Four, and powerful, complex novels such as Nora Keita Jemisin’s The Fifth Season.

On this BA, you develop your understanding of literature that encompasses both old and new, conventional and radical, the fringe and the mainstream. You develop a solid foundation from which to analyse and interpret literature, you write with precision and clarity, and debate with passion and conviction. This programme helps you grow intellectually and personally, cultivating knowledge as well as skills that you can take forward into further study or into employment.  

Why this course at Marjon?

An inclusive, progressive approach to reading literature, considering texts from different voices rather than just the traditional canon.

Language modules include looking at modern power structures such as populist movements, and how power is won or lost based on language.

Study on an open, green campus, perfect for inspirational thinking.

Work placements or projects provide opportunities to use your subject in professional settings including in journalism via our close links with the BBC in Plymouth and in educational settings.

Opportunity to become involved in an emerging Arts scene based around Marjon's Arts Centre and the student-led Arts Society; and to enhance your learning through theatre visits and field trips.

Our small class sizes are perfect to push your thinking as you'll always be involved in the debate.

Modules for this course

Course Snapshot

You will learn to engage with critical and cultural theory in the first year, as well as examining the impact of Shakespeare in the modern world. On top of that, you will also look at different forms of literature, including new forms such as flash fiction and micro-poetry. In the second year, you will learn how great books become great films and discover new layers to children’s and young adults’ literature. During the third year, you will look at how and why books become classics and how they endure and resonate in time. You’ll also learn about dystopian fiction and take on an honours project.
Miles Smith - Lecturer, English


1st Year

Literature that shook the world
Moving away from classic time lines and approaches, this module explores the literature of the past through the themes of war, conflict and crisis. You'll engage with the works of Dickens, Hemingway and more contemporary work by Diane Samuels.
The Theory of English
Get the grounding you need for study at university level with this key module on critical and cultural theory, as you develop your knowledge of feminism, marxist and eco theory.
Re-imagining Shakespeare
You'll gain fresh insights into Shakespeare. Explore his plays in a myriad of ways and discover how Shakespeare's works have been reinterpreted and reworked for stage, film and in other literary formats. You'll see performances by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and take a field trip the home of Shakespeare.
Plays, Poetry & Performance
From the challenging plays of Samuel Becket, to the passionate poetry of Kate Tempest, this module explores performance in all its rich and varied nature. Be inspired and experience the intense emotional nature of spoken word poetry and the drama of theatre
Literature at the Vanguard
This module will challenge you to think about experimental literature that is at the forefront of culture in the contemporary world. From fan fiction and digital fiction to the disturbing worlds created by Booker Prize winning author, Margaret Atwood, what do the works of the contemporary world reveal about human nature and society?
Living on the Edge
In this module you'll engage with texts, such as Kesey's One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, Plath's The Bell Jar and Golding's Lord of the Flies as you discover perspectives on the human mind, madness and the unpredictability of human beings when on the edge.

2nd Year

Research 2: Creative and Curious
Giving you all of the essentials for research in Year 3, this module introduces critical ideas and paradigms in research, and will give you a chance to start planning your Honours Project.
Learn to Earn: Placement and Proactivity
This placement module gives you a very open-ended brief, but great support throughout. From working as a writer to teaching English in schools, your placement activity will help you develop your professional skills and confidence for life beyond university. Some placements will require an enhanced DBS check.
From Shelf to Screen
This module poses questions about interpretation and adaptation as you take a text from page to screen. Analyse how the works of Conan Doyle, Ishiguro, Murakami, Annie Proulx and Shakespeare have been adapted for the big screen.
Firebrand Literature
It's time to get radical as we focus on writing that has changed society and politics, such as the work of pioneering feminist, Mary Wollstonecraft, and the anti-colonial writings of Chinua Achebe.
The Landscape of Identity
In this module we study literature that reveals the transition from childhood to adulthood and the challenges of adolescence, spanning classics such as The Catcher in the Rye to modern texts such as Dennis Kelly's DNA.
Diversity in English
All through time, all over the world, and throughout our lives, English varies and changes. We will for instance consider the rise of Thames Estuary English and how English is used as a common tongue across the world including the implications for how we communicate.

3rd Year

Honours Project
The Honours Project is your opportunity to take on a challenging research project of your own devising. With support from a dedicated supervisor, you will be able to carry out primary, or desk-based, research in an area that fascinates you.
Discord, Disasters & Dreams
Literature has a dark side - imagine the dystopian worlds dreamed up by Orwell and Huxley - and in this module you will be able to delve into the mysteries of literature that is concerned with, and evokes, the problems facing humanity.
Enduring Classics
Just what is it that makes some literature stand the test of time? What distinguishes and separates works of greatness? Here we consider the nature of classic works, and encourage you to challenge your own preferences.
Mind, Metaphor and Meaning
Explore the meaning of words in their context through semantic theory, representations and terminology. In this module, you engage with the rich world of metaphor, using linguistic theory to make sense of the evocative nature of literary language.

Current students say...

Emily Hull

"I love discussing some of my favourite novels with other book-lovers on the literature part of the course and delving deeper into the story. Creatively, I love the freedom of being able to write whatever I enjoy writing. I have grown in confidence both academically and socially, learning that I can be so much better academically when I enjoy the subject. I have also made many wonderful friends for life."

Mark Scarrott

"The most enjoyable thing for me is meeting and working with other people with the same desires and drives as me. There is nothing better, than sharing your ideas with others. The course has helped me to craft my writing in the correct way. I have learned how to structure my stories in a way that is easy the follow. It has been a fulfilling period. As a disabled student the support that I have had from my tutor and from Student Services has been beyond reproach."

Paige Whiting

“I enjoy the freedom to be creative, and to have a network of other students to help come up with ideas, and critically analyse each other. I enjoy the wide range of literature we are able to read and the different styles we are able to study. As a passionate reader, it is interesting to see different opinions on a specific piece of work. I believe that this course has been fundamental in developing my own confidence whilst also finding a strong writing style.”

This course is perfect if you're curious about

How writers from different backgrounds and experiences approach similar topics, such as their sense of home, their identity, or the future.

How children’s and young adults’ writing tackles the challenge of difficult topics and attempts to change the world.

How you would edit a 500-page book into a blockbuster film, identifying the essence of the story and discarding other material.

How digital platforms such as Twitter and Instagram have challenged and influenced traditional definitions of literature.

How language divides, conquers and influences politics.

I loved every single minute of my degree - the studying, the discovery, even the essay writing. I want my pupils to have the same sense of enlightenment and enjoyment that I had at university.
Lisa Tetley - Marjon Graduate and English Teacher


Rachel Bell

“Studying at Marjon gave me confidence in talking about my ideas and using my writing skills. My course also encouraged me to think about literature in its historical context – something which I now apply to the workplace. When assisting with and organising events, it’s important to think about the way the past should be presented, and to look into the significance of the event taking place. University has also taught me how to present my CV and understand and explain the skills I have.”

now works as an Events Assistant at Truro Cathedral.

Amy Davies

“Living away at university has given me independence and confidence to take on challenging tasks on my own. It has also given me academic skills and incredible subject knowledge. On a social level, life at university has improved my public people skills and helped me engage with people that I may not have been able to meet if I had jumped straight into the working environment."

now works as an English teacher

Emile Cole

"I learnt how many times you need to revise a piece of writing before it becomes ‘perfect’ (and even then, a piece of writing can always be improved!). I apply this at my work every day. I’m proud that I can honestly say there’s nothing I’d change about my time there. I loved the course and the people on it, and with the lecturers’ help I ended up leaving with a first, which was a massive help in landing a job."

is now working as a Technical Author.

What might you become?

With this BA (Hons) English degree behind you, there are many options ahead! If you are interested in publishing, journalism, editing or copywriting, then an English degree would give you a head start on the competition. Equally, English is a great stepping-stone into education (either primary or secondary), and there is the option of further study at Master’s level if you decide that you are not ready to put your books down!

Our close connections with the BBC and the education sector mean that Marjon is well-positioned to support you if the avenues of teaching or journalism particularly appeal to you. Placements and projects through the programme see students engage with the subject in work environments of their choosing.  These include, but are not limited to, placements in primary and secondary schools, online teaching with refugee students overseas, online writing for a charity, proof reading, desktop publishing, arts event management, theatre review writing, and magazine publishing skills gained both through your academic studies and on placement transfer readily to many work environments and include high levels of proficiency in written and spoken communication, analytical techniques, and IT through experience of screenwriting, publishing and blogging software.

Many graduates from our programme are working as primary and secondary teachers of English, including as Heads of English in secondary schools, as arts events managers and media content writers. Others proceed to postgraduate study in related fields including to Marjon’s MA Literature for Children and Young Adults.


How you’ll be taught and assessed?

How will you be taught?

Teaching includes seminars, lectures, workshops, group and one to one tutorials, student presentations, and a variety of educational visits, including theatre trips. Our approach to teaching is designed to encourage participation in all aspects of learning, as we ask you to collaborate with peers, initiate independent projects and contribute to a wide range of interactive project groups. Over the course of the programme, you will be given access to a range of digital resorces and technology to support your learning. 

How will you be assessed?

Our assessment diet is varied and designed to inspire and motivate. Essay-writing is a key and fundamental component of assessment on the programme, but it is far from being the only method we use. In your modules, you will be able to respond to assignment tasks by submitting written portfolios, producing innovative digital resources, such as blogs and vlogs, and producing presentations that illustrate your understanding of taught content. 

Course leader

Miles Smith

Miles’ Master’s is in English Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics and he has twenty years of experience teaching, including to adults and children.

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Fees and funding

Fees UK students: £9,250 per annum

Fees for International students: £12,000 per annum

Funding available for this course


Additional costs:




Dr Paul Bentley

Visiting Lecturer in English Literature

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Paul is an academic and author, specializing in poetry and culture.  His latest book, Ted Hughes, Class and Violence is about the political and cultural importance of this major twentieth-century poet. He has written on a diverse range of poets, including Keats, Sylvia Plath, and Paul Muldoon. His own poems have appeared in Poetry Review and other leading poetry magazines.

Dr Stephen J Disney

Senior Lecturer

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Steve's background is in language, linguistics and human communication. He has particular interests in the power of language in human interactions, global use of language and the history of words.

Claire Hadfield

Senior Lecturer

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Claire is an experienced secondary teacher and lecturer with a passion for literature of all kinds. From Shakespearean tragedy to the powerful performance poetry of Kate Tempest, Claire’s fervent enthusiasm for the infinite varieties of English pervades every aspect of the English degree. She is particularly interested in poetry, identity, language and social place and is currently completing her PhD here at Marjon. It focuses on the formation and evolution of trainee and early career teachers' professional identities.




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