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Sept 2020

Start date


UCAS code

1 year (foundation)
+ 3 years (degree)



UCAS points
View all requirements


UCAS points
View all requirements

Damian O'Byrne
Damian O'Byrne

Programme Director - Production & Design
020 8240 4127

Apply now

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. 

Why study English Literature (with a Foundation Year)?

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.

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.

About the Foundation Year

Our four-year degree programmes (including a foundation year) provide an alternative route to undergraduate study at university if you do not have the grades to access higher education in the traditional way.

On successful completion of the Humanities Foundation Year pathway you will progress on to the three-year undergraduate degree in English Literature.

Key facts

  • 100% of students indicated 'overall satisfaction' with the English course in the National Student Survey of 2017.
  • Study traditional literature from the Renaissance to exciting present day developments with world-leading experts in their fields
  • Emphasis on one-to-one tutoring and tailoring your degree to reflect your individual interests and needs
  • Taught on our historic Strawberry Hill campus

Joint honours combinations

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

Course content

On successful completion of the foundation year you will be automatically enrolled on to the first year of the undergradaute degree.

Foundation year

  • London Stories 
  • Performing Identities 
  • Personal Learning Competencies 
  • Taking a Professional Approach 
  • The Individual Project 
  • Thinking Critically, Creatively and Ethically 

Year one

  • Contemporary Drama 
  • Contemporary Fiction 
  • Critical Theory 
  • Foundations in Literature: Tragedy 

Year two

  • Curating London 
  • Eighteenth-century London: Writing the Metropolis 1700-1832 
  • Gothic Cultures 
  • Romanticism: English Literature and its Background 1776-1832 
  • Writing Adaptations 
  • Writing Identity in the Victorian Novel 
  • Writing the 'Renaissance' 

Year three

  • Dissertation/Independent Study 
  • Literature and the Unconscious 
  • Modernism 
  • The Lyricism of Protest: Bob Dylan 
  • Writing Conflict: The First World War 
Please refer to the programme specification document for a summary of the programme.

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’.

The opportunity to develop such transferable skills, gives you particular advantages in gaining future employment. 

The English Literature degree at St Mary’s offers opportunities for it students to relate their 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 postgraduate study options available to English students who have started their studies at St Mary’s.

There is also the opportunity to undertake a work placement as part of your degree. The Centre for Workplace Learning offers work-related modules that can be embedded within your studies. 


How the degree is taught

Teaching methods

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.

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.


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Fees and funding

2020/21 fees

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

2019/20 fees

  • Home/EU: £9,250*
  • International: £11,750

* 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 2019 or 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

Further information

UCAS Application Timeline