English Literature BA(Hons)


English Literature, University of Brighton


English Literature BA(Hons) at the University of Brighton is a dynamic and exciting degree that allows you to explore a wide range of approaches to reading texts whilst developing your own diverse writing and expressive skills.

The lecturers have a strong commitment to teaching excellence - four members of our team have won Teaching Excellence awards in recent years – and have an equally strong record in research and publications.

English Literature at Brighton is characterised by a commitment to the study of texts in contexts, by an attention to the debates and theories that all contemporary students of literature must engage with, and by an emphasis on writing - critical or creative - as practice. Students are encouraged to develop a sense of themselves as autonomous critical and analytical readers and writers in a diverse range of forms from their first year, and to build on their strengths as they negotiate a pathway through the degree.

The English Literature course offers a distinctive merging of an analytical focus on the differing roles the written word plays across cultures with the opportunities for applying that knowledge and reading through the practice of developing critical and creative work as an integral part of the programme.

Our literature students are encouraged to become actively engaged in producing and practising creative work in a variety of modes through many modules, through community work and a volunteering programme in partnership with local schools, through participation in local events, through the student literary journal brightONLINE  and subject-related student societies such as the Literature Society and BUDS (Brighton University Drama Society:http://www.brightonunidrama.co.uk).


Key facts

UCAS code Q320

Duration Help

Full-time: 3 years

With placement year: Optional

Typical entry requirements Help
individual offers may vary

Location Help Falmer

BBC with a minimum B in English literature.


International Baccalaureate:
30 points, specified subjects.

Access to HE Diploma
pass with at least 45 credits at level 3. Humanities, history or politics courses preferred

GCSE (minimum grade C) or Access Equivalent
at least three subjects including English language and mathematics or a science.

For non-native speakers of English:
IELTS 7.0 overall, 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in the other elements.



The fees listed here are for full-time courses for the upcoming academic year only. Further fees are payable for subsequent years of study.

The tuition fee you have to pay depends on a number of factors including the kind of course you take, whether you study full- or part-time and whether or not you already have a higher education qualification. If you are studying part-time you will normally be charged on a pro rata basis depending on the number of modules you take. Different rules apply to research degrees - contact the course team for up-to-date information.

Visit www.brighton.ac.uk/money for more information, including advice on international and island fee paying status, and the government's Equivalent or Lower Qualification (ELQ) policy.

UK/EU (FT) - 9,000 GBP

Island Students (FT) - 9,000 GBP

International (FT) - 13,220 GBP



English literature University of Brighton: Gustav Dore, Tom Thumb

Course structure

The content and structure of the Literature BA(Hons) at the University of Brighton reflect the course’s aims and ethos – providing a core grounding in approaches, theories, genres and periods in the first two years, followed by opportunities for pursuing individual research and practice interests in the third year.

There are 12 core literature modules on the degree, and 5 option modules. Students may use option choices to forge a personal pathway. For example you might take creative and/or writing modules at each level to provide a distinctive creative strand through the degree, which can then be supplemented in the Dissertation. Students may also take one option from outside literature in years 2 and 3, from those available in that year in the fields of linguistics, media and language.

Year one provides an essential introduction to the study of English Literature at degree level, enabling you to engage with a variety of genres and approaches, and to use the critical and theoretical tools appropriate to degree level study.

Year two provides an essential grounding in understanding Literature in context, from the sixteenth century to the present. Each module has a historic focus, but includes a variety of critical and theoretical approaches as well as a wide range of genres and modes. The focus of several year 2 modules is on enabling independent study and research, particularly LL216, which acts as an essential preparation for the skills required in a level 3 dissertation.

Year three has only one compulsory module, the dissertation, which includes a small amount of formal teaching give students a grounding in key approaches to level three work, the provision of a support network to foster your writing, and providing essential tools for producing a good dissertation. All other modules in year three are options which reflect the research and scholarly interests of the teaching team, and share common threads in their focus on the intersections between writing, identity, creativity, place, history and culture.

Teaching is in the form of lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and on-line interaction. The English Literature team at Brighton is committed to student-centred learning, and to students sharing, developing and expressing their own voices and views.

Year 1

Literature, Criticism and Theory

Poetry in Cultural History

Reviewing Shakespeare


Narrative and Narratives [view samples of student work]

Powerful Texts

Year 2

The Nineteenth Century in Literature


Twentieth Century Literature in History

Early Modern Literature [view samples of student work]

The Gothic: Eighteenth Century to Contemporary

One option from:

American Literature 1850-1960

Creative Writing

Writing for Social Purpose

Community and Personal Development

Year 3


Four options from:

Brighton Rocks

Victorian Sexualities

Text, Culture, Theory

Performing Gender

European Literatures

Literary Adaptations

Women’s Writing and Feminist Theory

Community and Personal Development Project

Creative Writing Project

Writing the Contemporary

Postcolonial Literatures


Curriculum and Assessment

Curriculum and assessment is intimately linked to the content and learning outcomes of both the individual module and the degree but it is also a key means through which students develop intellectual and creative skills, have an opportunity to produce work as a practitioner in their discipline, and experiment with ideas, writing and expression. The degree offers the opportunity to practice a wide range of activities and outcomes to help you test, develop, and enhance your talents and skills, and our assessments are designed to display this. 

Download a table of curriculum and assessment details



English literature Brighton: James Joyce

Contexts, theory and practices in the teaching of Literature

The study of English literature within multiple contexts is a feature of English in higher education which is often loosely referred to as the study of ‘theory’. Over the last thirty or forty years ‘theory’ in English studies has been a particularly contested area. At Brighton we are the beneficiaries of being able to draw today on the most positive of the impulses on all sides of that debate. We know that ‘theory’ (or some of it) is important but we also know that theory is best taught through the teaching of literary texts. The text is at the centre of everything we do – or rather the student’s engagement with the text is at the centre.

We study texts generically (for instance, narrative), within critical disciplines (for instance, sexuality and gender), multi-culturally (for instance, New Englishes) and historically, within appropriate historical contexts and with an awareness of how older texts speak and have spoken differently over time. We feature earlier literature not because of a belief that old books are good because they’re old, but because we feel students are entitled to explore earlier texts in the light of current preoccupations and, even more so, within their original and urgent historical moments – such as the literature of the ferment that was England in the 1640s and 1650s; or Shakespeare’s highly charged notions of what constituted ‘Venice’ and the ‘other’; or late 19th century texts entangled in the ‘woman question’.

We teach in lectures and seminars, with a crucial emphasis on students sharing and developing their own voices and their own views. Lecturers lead and collaborate with rather than just talk at students. We start from a belief in the autonomous, active student. We place important emphasis on individual tutorials and the English Literature team has a very good reputation for approachability. Members have been regularly nominated for awards in the Excellence in Teaching Scheme; four colleagues have won awards in recent years. The team has a strong record of publication and research.



Mary Wollstoncraft: English literature University of Brighton

Graduates with Literature degrees move on to follow a wide range of career and life paths – the creative, intellectual and transferable skills gained by any arts and humanities student are key to the rapidly changing demands of work and life in a globalised world. Students from Brighton have gone on to work in the media, publishing, journalism, education, and the voluntary sector.

Many students go on to do further training – in law, postgraduate literary studies, teacher training, and development studies.

Careers advice and training are built into the student experience of literary studies at the University of Brighton, with targeted workshops in years 1 and 2 and an annual Employability Event, jointly hosted between Brighton University Careers Service and the College of Arts and Humanities at Falmer, offering meetings with local and national employers, advice sessions, presentations by ex-graduates, and more formal speaker events. Brighton university literature alumni are keen to offer advice and support to current undergraduates.


Work Write Live (WWL) is an employability hub based in the College of Arts and Humanities that seeks to provide students with work based opportunities where they can apply the skills, knowledge and experiences they have acquired via their studies to the world beyond the classroom. Since 2006, WWL has provided workshops and retreats that seek to build confidence and motivation with writing, speaking and creative process and practice. Our volunteering and community partnerships are run under the umbrella of WWL.

WWL supports communities and students and promotes ideas of inclusivity, creativity, well-being and good citizenship using the values of the University of Brighton College of Arts and Humanities.


Students' views

“The best teaching I've ever had and the main reason for loving my course. ”

“Lectures and seminars have a relaxed, informal feel about them and are always entertaining and thought-provoking. [Lecturer] encourages us to follow our natural reactions to texts and to develop these critically by generating and allowing us room for discussion in seminars, and also being supportive of what we individually have to say, which has been great for my confidence. He always gives useful, personal advice for assignments and is a very supportive guide for my literature studies. He is approachable and makes time to be able to give support on an individual level. His recommendations for reading have been excellent and his knowledge and enthusiasm are always inspiring.”

“When I embarked on the Education and Literature degree at Brighton I never thought I would be able to write good quality assignments. With [lecturer]’s support and tuition I have achieved exactly that.”

“We have always been encouraged to be creative in our interpretations; there is never the worry of one’s opinion being disregarded, and it feels as though we are adding to a body of literary criticism, as opposed to contradicting it. I am often surprised at how involved the seminars become:  [lecturer]  injects such a passion into discussion that inspires all to contribute, and the rainbow of opinion helps understanding on a more personal level, as you think back to your peers’ ideas when rereading the texts. Our core texts are always placed firmly in context, which makes everything more three dimensional and graspable. Assignment advice again comes from great passion and inspiration; this is why our assignment titles always seem so varied, original but informed”

“Modules were taught with an enthusiasm that was infectious. Texts that I initially thought dry and staid were brought to life through historical contexts, quirky insights and emotive readings. The teaching inspired me and I am starting a postgraduate course in literature in October”

“I felt that the seminars were really useful and engaging, and positively encouraged student participation, really delving into the themes and historical background that shaped the texts we studied”

“The lecturers for the course are both so knowledgeable and approachable – they went out of their way to be helpful - I really liked the passionate teaching”

“I have been introduced to so many interesting authors and poets ... and I have grown so much as a person over the last year; for that I am truly grateful.”

“Just really approachable lecturers and felt I could say or ask anything” (Powerful Texts)

“I loved reading new texts I had not discovered before” (Literature, Criticism, Theory)

"great diversity of texts and lecturers" (Gothic: Eighteenth Century to Contemporary)

"This module is fantastic being so broad but also so focussed on different themes." (American Literature)

“I loved the seminars where people actually spoke and threw ideas about. [Our] lecturer worked really hard to try and get this happening all the time, which I really admire. Although it wasn’t always successful and some days people weren’t as chatty as they could be [the lecturer] was good at attempting to raise topics of conversation. It helped that the lectures were so informative that it inspired people to get talking.” (Early Modern Literature)

 “Every class was interesting, and opened me up to films and texts from other cultures” (Travel Writing)

“Thanks for a great insightful module on something I perhaps would never have thought about had I not opted for it.” (Women’s Writing and Feminist Theory)

This has been one of the most enjoyable parts of my degree, every book has been a delight, I’ve found the theory enlightening and expansive of areas of interest for me. It was well taught and stimulating. (Women’s Writing and Feminist Theory)



receive our @artsbrighton newsletter