Our English degree gives you the opportunity to develop the critical and verbal skills needed for a confident, effective reading of literary and non-literary texts. It develops your core skills in analytical and imaginative reading and writing.
Module options on this degree offer an historical view of writing in English, and also let you specialise in areas of interest, including thematic and genre-based approaches to literature, comparative analysis, and literary theory.
Our staff have diverse cultural backgrounds and research areas, so are ideally placed to offer you insights as you develop your own interests in American, British, European, Irish, Caribbean or other literatures in English.
Why study BA English at Goldsmiths?
- The degree is structured to give you a broad foundation in literary and cultural studies, as well as the opportunity to study the topics that really interest you
- The Department is large enough to provide a wide range of courses, but small enough to let you get to know other students and staff
- We host a programme of guest lectures that has included major names in literature, including Alan Bennett, Germaine Greer, and Nobel Laureates Seamus Heaney, Doris Lessing, Harold Pinter and Derek Walcott
- Our graduates have a good employment record, and have gone on to work in publishing, journalism, PR, teaching, advertising, and the media
Contact the department
If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Padraig Kirwan
Modules & structure
|Explorations in Literature||30 credits|
|Approaches to Text||30 credits|
|Literature of the Victorian Period||30 credits|
|Engaging Poetry||30 credits|
You choose four modules (120 credits) from a range characterised by wide literary, historical and contextual scope, of which at least 60 credits must encompass pre-1800 literature.
Modules may vary from year to year, but recent modules have included:
|Drama and Transgression: From Prometheus to Faust||30 credits|
|European Cinema||30 credits|
|Hollywood Cinema||30 credits|
|Inventing the Nation: American Literature in the mid-19th Century||30 credits|
|Literary London||30 credits|
|Literature of the Later Middle Ages: Society and the Individual||30 credits|
|Old English||30 credits|
|Post-Victorian English Literature||30 credits|
|Restoration and 18th-Century Literature||30 credits|
|Sensibility and Romanticism: Revolutions in Writing and Society||30 credits|
|Varieties of English||30 credits|
You choose modules to the value of 90 credits. You also complete a 6,000-8,000-word Dissertation (30 credits) on a topic of your choice. A pass in this module is compulsory for the award of the degree.
A rotation of single-term 15-credit modules is also available at Level 6.
30-credit modules may vary from year to year, but recent examples have included:
|Caribbean Women Writers||30 credits|
|Creating the Text||30 credits|
|The Emergence of Modern America: American Literature 1890–1940||30 credits|
|Approaches to Language and the Media||15 credits|
|Modern American Fiction||30 credits|
|Modern Poetry||30 credits|
|Modernism & Drama (1880-1930)||30 credits|
|The Art of the Novel||30 credits|
|Oedipus: Myths, Tragedies and Theories||30 credits|
|Postcolonial Literatures in English||30 credits|
|Studies in Literature and Film||30 credits|
Coursework portfolios, long essays, examinations (various timescales and formats) and dissertation. The dissertation must be passed for the degree to be awarded.
Credits and levels of learning
An undergraduate honours degree is made up of 360 credits – 120 at Level 4, 120 at Level 5 and 120 at Level 6. If you are a full-time student, you will usually take Level 4 modules in the first year, Level 5 in the second, and Level 6 modules in your final year. A standard module is worth 30 credits. Some programmes also contain 15-credit half modules or can be made up of higher-value parts, such as a dissertation or a Major Project.
Download the programme specification for this degree to find out more about what you'll learn and how you'll be taught and assessed.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
International Baccalaureate: 33 points including three HL subjects
Grade A in A-level English Literature (or Language and Literature) is required; A-level General Studies is not accepted.
We accept a wide range of qualifications equivalent to the ones listed above. This includes:
Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including distinctions/merits in subject specific modules
Scottish qualifications: ABBBC (Higher), ABC (Advanced Higher)
European Baccalaureate: 80%, including a strong grade in English Literature
Irish Leaving Certificate: A1 A1 A2 B1
If your qualifications are from another country, find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.
English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.
For this programme we require:
IELTS 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.5 in the written test and no individual test lower than 6.0)
If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.
Read more about our general entrance requirements.
English at Goldsmiths is ranked:
18th in the UK for the quality of our research**
In the world’s top 150 universities for English language and literature***
English and Comparative Literature
Cervantes. Bukowski. Dostoevsky. Self. From classical literature and linguistics, to creative writing and contemporary fiction, we take a critical and creative approach to the discipline.
As a department we’re interested in a field of enquiry that extends from Old English to 21st-century literatures in English, French, Spanish and Italian. So you can study texts and films across a variety of periods and genres.
We have a dedicated Writers’ Centre that encourages new writing and stimulates debate about all forms of literature. And we award the annual Goldsmiths Prize (for “fiction at its most novel”), which brings critically acclaimed writers like Ali Smith and Eimear McBride to campus.
We may be one of the largest departments at Goldsmiths but that doesn’t mean you won’t get personal support. Learn from our approachable team of academic staff and become part of the student-run English Society.
As one of the first departments in the UK to offer creative writing, you’ll be part of a hub of literary excellence – our graduates have gone on to win prestigious awards from the Orange Prize for Fiction to the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year.
Find out more about the Department of English and Comparative Literature.
**Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
***QS World University Rankings by subject 2015
Learning & teaching
On this degree you'll attend lectures and seminars where you'll hear about ideas and concepts related to specific topics, and where you'll be encouraged to discuss and debate the issues raised. This will enhance your academic knowledge of the subject, and will improve your communication skills.
But this is just a small proportion of what we expect you to do on the degree. For each hour of taught learning in lectures and seminars, we expect you to complete another 5-6 hours of independent study. This typically involves carrying out required and additional reading, preparing topics for discussion, or producing essays or project work.
This emphasis on independent learning is very important at Goldsmiths. We don't just want you to accept what we tell you without question. We want you to be inspired to read more, to develop your own ideas, and to find the evidence that will back them up. Independent study requires excellent motivation and time management skills. These skills will stay with you for life, and are the kind of that are highly sought after by employers.
Learning and teaching on this degree will take place through:
- Independent learning
Find out more about these learning and teaching approaches.
Skills & careers
The skills you'll develop
This degree opens up a wide range of careers by developing your critical and analytical skills, proficiency in assessing evidence, the clear expression of ideas, and the ability to bring together insights from a range of subjects – all of which are attractive to a variety of employers. You will learn to solve problems, to think critically and creatively, and to communicate with clarity.
Our graduates have a good employment record: professions include publishing, journalism, PR, teaching, advertising, civil service, business and industry, European Union private sector management and personnel work, and the media. You can find out more about the career options available to you after you graduate on our English careers page.
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.
Fees & funding
Find out more about applying.