Course information

Entry requirements

UCAS code

QQ32

Entry requirements

A-level: BBB
BTEC: DDM
IB: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655

Length

3 years full-time

Course overview

Enabling you to study literature and culture across linguistic and national boundaries, this degree offers you the opportunity to read a generous range of works within a comparative context.

Why study BA English & Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths?

  • You'll develop an understanding of the depth and breadth of literature, and will be able to practise the skills needed for a confident and effective reading of literary and non-literary texts
  • The degree is flexible, allowing you to specialise in the areas that interest you, whether they lie in American, British, European, Caribbean or other postcolonial literatures, historical periods, or literary themes and genres
  • Our staff come from a variety of cultural backgrounds, so they're ideally placed to offer their insights as you develop these interests
  • The Department is large enough to provide a wide range of modules, 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 Carole Sweeney

What you'll study

What you study

Over the course of the degree you'll:

  • read, discuss, and attend lectures on selected works spanning literary culture from Homer to the present day
  • be introduced to the study of themes, genres and movements across national literatures, and the relationship between literature and other disciplines
  • develop a grounding in the methods and terms used in the analysis of texts
  • have the opportunity to familiarise yourself with the short story genre
  • look at comparative literature and the arts during three major periods, and examine cross-national influences and affinities in a variety of genres and media
  • complete a dissertation on an approved topic

You'll also be able to choose specialised option modules from the wide range available within the Department.

Year 1 (credit level 4)

You take four compulsory modules (120 credits) which will introduce you to the key areas, problems, and concepts of their respective disciplines.

Year 1 compulsory modules Module title Credits
  Explorations in Literature 30 credits
  Approaches to Text 30 credits
  Literature of the Victorian Period 30 credits
  Introduction to Comparative Literature 30 credits

Year 2 (credit level 5)

The modules in Year 2 offer a wide range of optional elements and they are designed to allow you to start to specialise in areas of your interest. At the same time, they are characterised by literary-historical and contextual range.

There is one compulsory module worth 30 credits, which must be passed for the degree to be awarded:

Studies in Comparative Literature
You will look at literature and the arts during three major periods of European cultural history, seen as exemplary of a process of circulation, diffusion and adoption of new ideas and styles. Cross-national influences are investigated across a broad range of works and assimilation is observed through translation and imitation in a veriety of genres and media. The three major periods to be covered are the Renaissance, Romanticism and the Fin de Siècle.   

You are then able to choose modules worth a total of 90 credits from an approved list. At least one of these modules must be chosen from those designated by the Department as encompassing pre-1800 literature.

The overall list may change from year to year but recent examples have included:

Year 2 option modules Module title Credits
  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 English Renaissance 30 credits
  Literature of the Later Middle Ages: Society and the Individual 30 credits
  Moderns 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
  Shakespeare 30 credits
  Varieties of English 30 credits
  Aspects of the Novel 15 credits
  Contemporary Arab Migrant Writing 15 credits
  Work Placement (English) 15 credits

Year 3 (credit level 6)

You complete a compulsory dissertation (30 credits) of 6,000-8,000 words.

You also take modules worth a total of 90 credits. The modules on offer may vary from year to year, but recent examples have included:

Year 3 option modules Module title Credits
  Caribbean Women Writers 30 credits
  Creating the Text 30 credits
  Decadence 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
  How to Read in Translation 15 credits
  Literature of the English Renaissance 30 credits
  Narratives of the Great War (1923-1933) 15 credits
  Work Placement (English) 15 credits

Teaching style

This programme is taught through a mixture of scheduled learning - lectures, seminars and workshops. You’ll also be expected to undertake a significant amount of independent study. This includes carrying out required and additional reading, preparing topics for discussion, and producing essays or project work.

The following information gives an indication of the typical proportions of learning and teaching for each year of this programme*:

  • Year 1 - 15% scheduled learning, 85% independent learning
  • Year 2 - 13% scheduled learning, 87% independent learning
  • Year 3 - 10% scheduled learning, 90% independent learning

How you’ll be assessed

You’ll be assessed by a variety of methods, depending on your module choices. These include coursework portfolios, long essays, examinations (various timescales and formats) and dissertation. The dissertation must be passed for the degree to be awarded.

The following information gives an indication of how you can typically expect to be assessed on each year of this programme*:

  • Year 1 - 75% coursework, 25% written exam
  • Year 2 - 75% coursework, 25% written exam
  • Year 3 - 100% coursework

*Please note that these are averages are based on enrolments for 2017/18. Each student’s time in teaching, learning and assessment activities will differ based on individual module choices. Find out more about how this information is calculated.

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 the 2018-19 intake. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Entry requirements

We accept the following qualifications:

A-level: BBB
BTEC: DDM
International Baccalaureate: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655
Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including 30 Distinctions and a number of merits/passes in subject-specific modules
Scottish qualifications: BBBBC (Higher) or BBC (Advanced Higher)
European Baccalaureate: 75%, including a strong grade in English Literature
Irish Leaving Certificate: H2 H2 H2 H2

International qualifications

We also accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.

Additional Requirements

Grade B in A-level English Literature (or Language and Literature) is required; A-level General Studies is not accepted.

Fees & funding

Careers

The skills you'll develop

Our degrees open up a wide range of careers by developing 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.

Careers

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 read more about the career options open to you after graduation on our English and Comparative Literature careers pages.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths