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English Literature at St Mary’s offers students the chance to investigate all aspects of literature in depth, on our beautiful historic campus, in a friendly department where we value above all the ambitions and needs of the individual student. 

  • Emphasis on one-to-one tutoring and tailoring your degree to reflect your individual interests and needs.
  • English Literature can be studied as a single honours programme, or jointly with a number of other subjects.
  • Opportunities to take courses oriented towards developing career aspirations in the culture industries and education.

Why study English Literature?

When you study literature you are not just reading and thinking about great books, you are also asking questions about society’s past and future, and ultimately interrogating your own past and future.

During your time here you will be studying literature from the Renaissance to the present day, all within the vicinity of Horace Walpole’s Gothic mansion, Strawberry Hill House, which is located on our campus.

The programme has a traditional and rigorous core of compulsory modules covering: Tragedy, Critical Theory, Renaissance Literature (including Shakespeare), Romanticism and Modernism. The literary training provided ensures that you will cover the conventional ‘classics’ meticulously.

You will develop skills that will complement the unique and innovative optional units, which you can tailor to your interests and passions.

Examples of optional modules include:

  • Gothic Cultures 1750-1900
  • Curating London
  • Writing Conflict: the First World War
  • The Lyricism of Protest: Bob Dylan
  • Contemporary Fiction
  • American Literature

There are also opportunities to take courses oriented towards developing career aspirations in the culture industries and education, ensuring that you are prepared for the world of work.

Why St Mary's?

English Literature is part of a suite of programmes at St Mary's designed to cater to students' distinctive interests; English Literature can be studied as a single honours programme, or jointly with a number of other subjects. There is also the possibility of studying the BA in English (with CELTA option) and English and Drama.

You can take advantage of the expertise and enthusiasm of our literary scholars, all while studying on our beautiful and historic campus.

In our friendly department you will feel valued as part of a community, where you will have full access to our tutors far beyond the timetabled hours.

Foundation year

English Literature is also available as an undergraduate degree with a foundation year.

Combine English Literature with another degree

English Literature can be combined with any of the following courses to create a joint honours degree programme:

Entry requirements

96-112 UCAS points required


A Levels


BTEC Extended

View alternative requirements

To calculate your expected UCAS points, please use the UCAS Tariff calculator.

80 UCAS points should include at least two B grades at A Level (or equivalent). One A-level should ideally be in English (either Language or Literature), but we may be able to consider applicants who are doing at least one other essay-writing subject and can demonstrate an interest in English.

Requirements for other qualifications (including BTECs, Irish Highers, Scottish Highers, International Baccalaureates and Access Courses) are also available. For more information please email

We will make you an offer if you are within the tariff band range and you meet subject-specific requirements (where applicable).

For undergraduate programmes we will take into account subjects studied at Level 3, your GCSEs (or equivalent) profile, relevant non-academic achievements outlined in your personal statement, references and your motivation for study.

International requirements

International students should check our country-specific pages for equivalents. If English is not your first language you will need to achieve an IELTS score of 6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in any section (or equivalent).

We now accept IELTS Indicator test results as proof of your English language level.

Undergraduate degrees with a foundation year

The undergraduate degree with foundation year programme offers applicants without traditional qualifications or grades an alternative route to studying English Literature.

Course content

Year one

  • Foundations of Literary Study: Tragedy Core
  • Introduction to Critical Theory Core
  • Practical Criticism Optional
  • London Theatre Optional
  • Contemporary International Theatre Optional
  • Contemporary Fiction Optional
  • Language Acquisition Optional
  • Writing Short Fiction Optional
  • Film, Style and Form Optional

Year two

  • Writing the Renaissance Core
  • Romanticism: English Literature and its Background 1776-1832 Core
  • Fiction and Theatre of the New Millennium Optional
  • Gothic Cultures 1760-1900 Optional
  • Writing Adaptations Optional
  • Curating London Optional
  • Narrative and Identity in the 19th Century Novel Optional
  • The Irish Literary Revival on Page and Stage Optional
  • Eighteenth Century London: Writing the Metropolis 1700-1832 Optional
  • Contributing to the Community Optional
  • Experience and Employment in Business Optional
  • Experience and Employment in Education Optional

Year three

  • Modernisms Core
  • Dissertation Core
  • Writing Conflict: Literature of the First World War Optional
  • Special Study Optional
  • Literature and the Unconscious Optional
  • Bob Dylan and the Lyricism of Protest Optional
  • The Ancient and the Modern in Greek and Irish Theatre Optional
  • New Voices: Twentieth-Century Literature Optional
  • History of the English Language Optional
  • Sociolinguistics Optional

Please note: it is possible that a module listed on the website will not be able to run due to reasons beyond our control. For more information please refer to our course information disclaimer.

Career opportunities

English graduates are among the most flexible, and find employment in diverse fields. The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) points out that English graduates are attractive for a number of reasons, including the ability to ‘adapt and transfer critical methods to a variety of working environments’ and the ability to ‘acquire substantial quantities of complex information of diverse kinds in a structured and systematic way’.

This degree offers opportunities for you to relate your studies directly to the world of work. The skills of critical thinking and communication you’ll be acquiring are some of the most valued by employers.

St Mary's English graduates have found employment in many fields including:

  • Media
  • Publishing
  • Personnel
  • Research
  • Management
  • Retail
  • Journalism
  • Administration

The Careers Service has more information on careers and study options available to English graduates. 

How the degree is taught

Teaching methods

You'll be taught on our beautiful and historic campus located in Twickenham, London.

You will attend lectures, interactive seminars and one-to-one tutorials, the latter of which we place a great deal of importance on.

In your first year you can expect ten contact hours a week.

Throughout your studies you will have access to the department's 'open door policy' that allows you to come and discuss questions, and interests, with your tutors outside of formal teaching. 

The ‘Curating London’ option in the second year asks students to undertake an enterprising project to do with the culture and history of Twickenham and London. Students might plan a walking tour, curate an exhibition or a season of films, or create an educational website. Students can develop this project, if they wish, as part of their final-year independent project.

Teaching breakdown

Learning on the course is made up through a combination of:

  • Contact time: 20%
  • Guided study: 20%
  • Independent study: 60%

Independent study is a key feature of your degree and is crucial to furthering your knowledge.

You will receive your timetable a week before teaching is due to start at the latest.

Assessment methods

Most of the modules are assessed with essays and other written forms, supplemented, where appropriate, with examinations, presentations, and contributions to digital content such as blogs, wikis and the like.


We adhere to the university’s policy of providing feedback on assessments within three weeks.

See how your final degree mark is calculated...

Compensated passes

Please refer to the information on compensated passes throughout your degree as outlined in the academic regulations.

Fees and funding

2020/21 fees

  • Home/EU: £9,250*
  • International: £12,250

* Please note: These fees are annual and may increase in line with inflation each year subject to the Governments review of Higher Education Funding.

Information about tuition fees, student loans and funding your studies can be found within our fees and funding section.

The UK Government has confirmed that EU applicants starting in 2020 remain eligible for 'home fee status' and can access financial support.

Additional costs

Your tuition fees will cover the cost of all mandatory elements of your programme.

Additional costs could be incurred depending on optional modules chosen and other projects undertaken. For further information about additional costs please contact


A range of scholarships and bursaries are available to new undergraduate students. This includes:

Living costs

A guide to your living costs has been created by our Student Funding Team.

Accommodation costs vary depending on whether you opt for an en suite room and on-site catering. Take a look at our accommodation options and the prices you can expect to pay.


View all facilities

Further information

Visit the campus

Open days

Attending an open day is a fantastic opportunity to get an insight into what life is like as a St Mary's student. During the day you'll have the chance to:

  • Speak to current students to hear about their experiences so far
  • Meet your future academics to put a name and a face to who you'll be learning from
  • Take a tour of the University and the on-campus accommodation options
  • Get involved with activities going on across campus as you explore new surroundings

Book your place now

Campus tours

There are plenty of opportunities for you to explore the campus, even if you can't make it to an Open Day.

We run campus tours every Wednesday at 12pm. If you'd like to join us for one of these tours please register your place for your preferred day.

Virtual tour

We know that for it's important to you to see where you'll be living and studying before you make your decision. However, we also know that for many people it's not always easy to make it to the campus.

That's why we've developed a virtual tour of campus, allowing you to explore that facilities and the beautiful views that we have to offer.

Launch the virtual tour

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