English BA (Hons) | 2018/19

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English BA (Hons) entry

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An English degree is more than choosing between language and literature. It can help you think about and analyse the world differently.

The second most commonly spoken language in the world after Mandarin Chinese, English is fundamental to almost everything we do in our professional and personal lives; on this course, you’ll examine, explore and experience the world through language.

Flexibility is key; you can specialise in English Language, English Literature or a combination of both. Depending on your interests, you can also choose from a huge range of optional modules, such as Fantasy and Speculative Fiction, Sociolinguistics, Creating Stories for Children, or Journalism, Ethics and Society.  

What our alumni say

This degree has enabled me to achieve my best within an encouraging academic environment and has undoubtedly enhanced my future career prospects. Without doubt, I would thoroughly recommend studying literature at Coventry University.

Ashleigh McCann, BA (Hons) English, graduated 2016, now doing a Masters in English at the University of Sheffield.

Course information

This course provides an opportunity to explore a variety of different literary genres and approaches to language within historical and modern day international contexts.

Most people choose to take an English degree because they enjoy reading or liked studying English at school; it offers the chance to spend three years learning about—and taking pleasure in—literature, language and culture. The benefits of English as a degree, however, extend much, much further.


of students agree that our staff are good at explaining things

NSS, 2016

Course Specification
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The common first year integrates language, literature and stylistics. We’ll cover the tools available for the description of language and introduce basic concepts in descriptive linguistics, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics and discourse analysis.

We’ll also examine different literary genres, from tragedy to comedy, and encourage you to pay close attention to the character and mechanics of literary form and to think about the relationship between form and content. You’ll consider the place of both literary and language theory in a wider social and cultural context, investigating the ways in which literature and language have shaped, and been shaped, by various understandings of history, power, class and subjectivity.


  • Introduction to Studying English and Languages at University

  • Approaches to Language and Linguistics

  • The Language of the Media

  • Approaches to Literature

  • Literary Genres: from Tragedy to Comedy

  • Introduction to Stylistics


By your second year, you will be able to make an informed choice about the direction you’d like your studies to take. At this stage, you can specialise in language, literature or both.

If you adopt the language route, you will study modules which further explore the meaning and construct of language. For example, in ‘Discourse in a Social Context’, we consider the role of language as a social phenomenon, the ways in which we use language to determine and regulate our positions towards each other. In ‘Child Language Acquisition’, you’ll gain a thorough understanding of how children acquire their mother tongue and the stages they go through in this development and the impact on children with speech and language impairments.

If you elect to follow the literature route, you will study a variety of genres and authors in more depth and within a historical context, including the colonial period of early 17th to 20th century and Shakespeare. In ‘Contemporary Fiction’, for example, you’ll cover developments in literature since the beginning of the 20th century from a diversity of literary forms and movements. We examine the mechanisms of prose writing with respect to ideas of genre, modes of representation, forms of narrative and fictional registers, looking at issues of identity, technology, gender, race, class and politics.


  • Career and Project Planning

  • Language in the New Media Age

  • Contemporary Fiction

  • Shakespeare Today

  • Style and Context

  • Optional Modules

    1 from the following:

    • Discourse in a Social Context
    • Sociolinguistics
    • Child Language Acquisition


After your second year, you have an opportunity to take a sandwich year, studying abroad or on professional placement. For example, in the UK, past students have enjoyed working as a recruitment intern at Hays Recruitment, a marketing assistant at Knor Bremse, an editorial assistant at Songlines Magazine, an academic coach at St Michaels High School, as well as a marketing and communications assistant at Visit Britain. Abroad, past students have studied or worked in places as diverse as Sweden, China or Spain.


In your final year, you will be well on your way to becoming someone who can articulate persuasively, think creatively, demonstrate real acquired knowledge and challenge opinions.

Your studies will culminate in a dissertation through which you pursue and research an idea or phenomenon that fires up your own interests. Past students have chosen exciting topics like the spread of London-based accent features to different British dialects, a postmodern analysis of the representation of the central female characters in Twilight and Vampire Knight and an investigation into language used by mothers during interaction with their sons and daughters.


  • Project: Literature Review

  • Project: Dissertation or Professional Portfolio

  • Language and the Mind

  • Optional modules

    3 from the following:

    • Languages in the World
    • Critical Discourse Analysis
    • Language and Society in Modern Britain
    • Postcolonial Literature
    • Fantasy and Speculative Fiction
    • Contemporary African-American Literature
    • Voices from the American West
    • Corpus Stylistics
    • The Chicano Experience in Film and Literature

Coventry University has climbed the rankings again to 12th in the UK Guardian University Guide 2018

In more detail...

  • You have the opportunity to enhance your critical thinking and judgment, developing the communication skills employers are looking for.
  • Significant links with a wide variety of employers such as secondary schools, magazines, newspapers and local charities, many of whom offer professional experience opportunities.
  • You’ll be able to join a range of societies such as the Literature Society or Book Club Society which aim to develop student interest in literature, film, and theatre, as well as promoting literary and social events.
  • You can apply for a work placement, which has led previous students to experiences as an English subject mentor at Cardinal Newman School, a marketing and events social media and newsletter editor at the Coventry Irish Society, an editorial intern at Grazia Magazine, a freelance journalist at Coventry News and Sport or a human resources intern at First Utility.

Participate in an exciting range of educational and cultural field trips, for example, viewing the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company (RSC) in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Our main study themes are:

  • Language and linguistics: The analysis of the nature and structure of English Language, its meaning, form and context, including how words and sentences are formed, how we make and hear sounds, how languages change and vary, and how language is organised in the brain.
  • Literary genres: A detailed study of the different genres such as poetry, drama, prose fiction and film. You will develop an awareness of literary conventions, literary history and how both are related to social and cultural contexts. You’ll gain insights into different literary genres and be familiar with the analysis and interpretation of poetic, narrative and dramatic texts.
  • Stylistics: Analysing style involves looking closely and systematically at the formal features of a text and then considering how those features affect and contribute to the meaning and interpretation of the text in question. We will examine the linguistic models and analytic techniques that can be used to describe, analyse and interpret a range of literary, as well as non-literary, texts.

The course normally lasts three years when studied full-time and four to six years part-time. 

Your course will be based on a series of lectures, with associated seminars and practical workshop classes, for example, using a concordance programme to investigate various linguistic phenomena in a corpus of texts.  In addition, your personal tutor will review and discuss your progress with you and will be available for advice.

Students successfully completing the first two years of the course can opt to spend a year out between the second and third years on placement or study abroad. Past students have spent a year studying in Sweden, Korea, China or Spain.

You will also have the opportunity to take part in educational and cultural visits at home and abroad, where you will be able to develop your knowledge and skills. In the past, we have visited the National Media Museum in Bradford, the American Museum in Bath and the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, as well as going to watch a Shakespeare play in Stratford-upon-Avon and Les Miserables in London.

Teaching methods include: lectures, with associated seminars and practical workshop classes.

Meet our staff

Holly Vass

Holly Vass is a lecturer in English and CELTA course tutor.

Read full profile

Your work will be marked according to how well you achieve the various learning outcomes, which will be clearly set out on all project briefs. Assessment forms vary and include: examinations, essays, reports, presentations (individual and group), original creative writing, projects and the dissertation.

An estimated percentage breakdown of your final grade assessment is as follows:

  • Coursework, tests, essays: 40%
  • Formal examinations: 35%
  • Research projects: 25%
  • Practical or project work: 10%
  • Group work: 5%
  • Presentations, posters: 5%

In order to qualify for the award of Bachelor of Arts, a student must satisfy the University requirements of 300 credits. A student who does not wish to progress to a subsequent year of study may apply for an intermediate award of Diploma of Higher Education if they pass a minimum of 240 credits. A Certificate of Higher Education may be awarded to a student with minimum of 120 credits.

35% assessed by exams

On successful completion, you should have knowledge of:

  • Descriptions, analyses and theories of the English language and a critical approach to discourse and the construction of meaning.
  • The ways in which the English language is applied in specific circumstances for different audiences and purposes.
  • The social, cultural, psychological and historical contexts in which the language exists, has developed and is used in the study of English Language and Literature.
  • The distinctive character of texts written in the principal literary genres, fiction, poetry and drama, and other kinds of writing and communication.
  • How cultural norms and assumptions influence questions of judgement.

On successful completion, you should be equipped with the skills to:

  • Analyse and interpret texts from a descriptive and theoretical position.
  • Critically examine and also construct a range of opinions and ideas.
  • Locate and select appropriate information from a variety of sources, referencing academic essays appropriately.
  • Analyse problems, identify solutions, think creatively and use your own initiative.
  • Communicate effectively in spoken and written English.


of our graduates are in work or further study six months after the course

DHLE 2014/15

In a typical teaching week, you will have up to 13 ‘contact’ hours of teaching. This generally breaks down as:

  • Personal tutorial/small group teaching: 1-hour session up to 3 times each semester (as individuals or in small groups), as well as individual project supervision in your final year.
  • Medium group teaching: 7 hours of practical classes, workshops or seminars each week.
  • Large group teaching: 4 hours of lectures each week.

In addition, you will be expected to undertake a further 26 hours of self-directed studying, including guided study using handouts and online activities in your own time.

Coventry University is a leader in the field of international experience, and this is reflected strongly in the course curriculum. On our modules, you can participate in Online International Learning (OIL) projects with students in Turkey, France, Korea, Mexico or China, for example, or take part in a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) and engage with a wide international audience on such topics as ‘The Language of Gaming’ or’ ‘Fairy Tales: Origins and Evolution of the Princess Stories’. 

We strongly encourage you to broaden your theoretical, cultural and practical references, providing opportunities to broaden your horizons by living, studying or working abroad on a sandwich year. For instance, you can study English at Limoges in France or teach English in Malta or China. We also offer a range of short visits and field trips abroad, which are reviewed annually. Recent fieldtrips have included a trip to Turkey for a joint staff and student symposium with our OIL (Online International Learning) project partners there.

At Coventry University, you can enjoy a whole host of multicultural and multilingual activities, such as the international film club and the French and Spanish conversation clubs. You can learn another language with the university-wide Add+vantage Scheme or the Linguae Mundi programme.

What our students say

Reading English at Coventry University has been an invaluable experience for me and has opened up many doors. The Linguistics modules across second and third year were particularly enjoyable and informative.

Shivani Rochford, BA (Hons) English, graduated 2013, now postgraduate student at the University of Birmingham

Entry Requirements

University Course Code: BESU072
A Level BTEC IB Diploma GCSE requirement
BBC DDM 31 points 5 GCSEs at grade A*–C including English or specified equivalents.

Applicants without A2 English require GCSE English Language or Literature at grade B.


A-Level applicants are required to have three
 A2 Levels. Coventry University may include AS grades within an offer for certain courses, but we are not able to accept two AS Levels in place of one A2 Level. In some courses it may be necessary for entrants to have passed specific A2 Levels in nominated subjects. Please see the course pages for more information.

Access Diplomas

The Access to HE Diploma to include 30 Level 3 credits at Merit or higher, plus GCSE English Language and Mathematics at grade A*-C, or specified equivalents.

Coventry University welcomes applicants who have completed, or who are studying, the Access to HE Diploma developed by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). Successful completion of the course will require you to gain 60 credits with at least 45 to be achieved at Level 3 (with the remainder at Level 2). In some cases we will require you to have gained Merit or Distinction grades in a number of units or in nominated subjects. For more information on the entry requirements for your chosen course please see the relevant course pages.

BTEC Level 3 Diplomas

The University will accept the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma for entry to most courses. In some cases we will require applicants to have studied either certain named modules or a specific named Diploma. The appropriate course page will have full information on the entry requirements. The University also accepts the BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma and BTEC Level 3 Diploma for entry to degree programmes, provided that they are studied in combination with other qualifications that provide a total volume of study that is equivalent to three A2 Levels. For example, you could be studying a BTEC Level 3 Diploma plus an A2 Level, or a BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma plus two A2 Levels. Where a specific A2 or BTEC subject is required for entry then you must be offering this as part of your combination of qualifications.

Please visit our page on European entry requirements for more information about specific country information.

English as a Foreign Language This course requires IELTS 6.0. Pre-sessional English is available if required.

Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:

English as a Foreign Language This course requires IELTS 6.0. Pre-sessional English is available if required.

What our alumni say

This degree has enabled me to achieve my best within an encouraging academic environment and has undoubtedly enhanced my future career prospects. Without doubt, I would thoroughly recommend studying literature at Coventry University.

Ashleigh McCann, BA (Hons) English, graduated 2016, now doing a Masters in English at the University of Sheffield.







What our alumni say

This degree has enabled me to achieve my best within an encouraging academic environment and has undoubtedly enhanced my future career prospects. Without doubt, I would thoroughly recommend studying literature at Coventry University.

Ashleigh McCann, BA (Hons) English, graduated 2016, now doing a Masters in English at the University of Sheffield.

Career prospects

Since our degree develops your ability to use language effectively and appropriately in a range of circumstances, it opens up a wide range of career options over and above the professions associated with English, such as journalism, publishing, marketing, public relations, advertising, teaching, the civil service or the media.

Our Creative Futures employment team is on hand to offer tailored career and enterprise support if you wish to gain employment or take advantage of professional practice opportunities within course specific industries. Our dedicated enterprise officers also offer valuable assistance on how to begin as a freelancer/entrepreneur. 

Coventry University is committed to preparing you for your future career and giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market. The University's Careers and Employability team provide a wide range of support services to help you plan and prepare for your career.


of our graduates are in work or further study six months after the course

DHLE 2014/15

Where our graduates work

Recent graduates of the course have gone on to work within education, marketing and public relations, journalism or research coordination for companies including Stonegate, ASDA and Oxford University Hospitals Foundation Trust.

Many also go on to pursue Master’s level study. Because the course also develops other abilities, such as thinking critically and analytically and researching, collating and organising data, a number of previous students have gone on to find responsible positions as financial specialists, HR managers or press officers in companies such as Air Products, Tesco or Deutsche Bank.


Our graduates earn an average salary of £19,000 six months after the course (DHLE 2014/15)

What our alumni say

Coventry University excels in academic study and offers opportunities outside the lecture theatre, including placement opportunities. Having successfully completed a year placement at Coventry University supporting the Head of Fundraising and Alumni Relations, I was kept on. My current role sees me assist the fundraising campaign for Coventry's bid for The City of Culture 2021.

Nicole Malatesta, BA (Hons) English Language and Literature, graduated 2016, now Fundraising Assistant at Coventry University