BA (Hons) English Language & Literature

  • UCAS
  • Entry requirements
    A-level: BBB
    IB: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655
  • Length
    3 years full-time or 4-6 years part-time
  • Department
    English and Comparative Literature

Course overview

This degree combines the study of literature with the study of language from a linguistic perspective. You'll engage with theory and practice in literature and linguistics, and benefit from mutually illuminating critical debates in both disciplines.

Why study BA English Language & Literature at Goldsmiths?

  • The programme offers a broad foundation in literary studies, including thematic and genre-based approaches to literature, comparative analysis, and literary theory.
  • In addition, this programme will give you an in-depth understanding of the English language and will introduce you to applications of this knowledge, for example the teaching and learning of language.
  • You will become familiar with historical, geographical, socio-cultural, and situational language variation, and will develop a critical understanding of how language can be used as a resource to project identities and to shape representations of reality
  • We will encourage you whenever possible to explore language by engaging with the analysis of data, for example samples of everyday or institutional language, or written texts you have collected yourself

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr Geri Popova

Modules & structure

To complete the programme you must take 360 credits across three levels, with 120 credits at each level. Across the whole degree you must take at least 120 credits in linguistics and at least 120 credits in literature.

Level 4

You take four compulsory modules, of which one provides an introduction to linguistics:

Module title Credits
  Explorations in Literature 30 credits
  Approaches to Text 30 credits
  Introduction to the Study of Language 30 credits
  Engaging Poetry 30 credits
  Literature of the Victorian Period 30 credits

Level 5 

You take one compulsory module in linguistics:

Module title Credits
  Varieties of English 30 credits

You also take 90 credits worth of modules from the range of options available within the department. At least 30 credits must be from modules encompassing pre-1800 literature.

Modules vary from year to year, but recent modules in linguistics have included:

Module title Credits
  Language Learning and Teaching 30 credits
  Digital Media Discourse 15 credits

Recent examples of literature modules available at this level include:

Module title Credits
  Drama and Transgression: From Prometheus to Faust 30 credits
  European 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
  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

Level 6

At this level you write a dissertation, which may focus on either literature or linguistics.

You also choose modules from the options available at his level, making sure that across the degree you have at least 120 credits in linguistics and 120 credits in literature.

Modules may vary from year to year, but recent examples in linguistics have included:

Module title Credits
  Approaches to Language and the Media 15 credits
  How to Read in Translation 15 credits
  Language and Gender 15 credits
  Professional Communication 30 credits
  Words: Meanings and Contexts of Use 15 credits


Recent examples of literature modules available at this level include:

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
  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
  Literature of the English Renaissance 30 credits
  Narratives of the Great War (1923-1933) 15 credits


Alongside more traditional forms of assessment (essays, examinations with various timescales and formats), the programme also includes assessment formats such as assessed presentation, blog post, annotated bibliography and summary of a research article.

Tutors provide support and in many cases detailed feedback on draft work.

The dissertation is an independent project and needs to 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 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

A-level: BBB
International Baccalaureate: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655

Grade B in English Literature, English Language or Language and Literature is required.

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of qualifications equivalent to the ones listed above. This includes:

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

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 6.5 in writing and no element 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:
2nd in London for creative writing*
18th in the UK for the quality of our research**
In the world’s top 100 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’re engaged

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’re nurturing

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.

We’re vibrant

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.

*The Complete University Guide Subject Rankings 2018
**Research Excellence Framework 2014, Times Higher Education research intensity subject rankings
***QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017

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:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Independent learning
  • Presentations
  • Assessments

Find out more about these learning and teaching approaches.

Skills & 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.

You can also choose to take a work placement module as one of your option modules in your second or third year. This module allows you to undertake a work placement which will benefit your studies, your skillset and your CV.



The programme is delivered by staff with diverse research areas and benefits from specialist expertise and focus in both literary studies and linguistics. It will give you a solid theoretical base, as well as an understanding of the practical application of theory and methodology.

This programme will therefore provide you with a full grasp of the complexities of language and communication, which will constitute an invaluable basis for a wide range of careers.

Our graduates have a good employment record: they've gone into professions including:

  • publishing
  • media
  • journalism
  • PR
  • teaching
  • advertising
  • civil service
  • business and industry
  • European Union private sector management

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths. You can explore more of the career options open to you on our Department of English and Comparative Literature careers pages.

Fees & funding

Related content links

University statistics for this course