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What makes English Literature at Worcester special?

Our English Literature BA is a diverse and stimulating degree in which you will encounter a range of different kinds of writing, from the Early Modern period to the present day.

We emphasise an ethical approach to the subject, relating the study of literature to significant contemporary themes such as environmentalism, social justice, gender equality and disability inclusion.



Key features

  • Available as a Single Honours degree or as part of a Joint Honours degree with subjects including Creative Writing, English Language, Media & Cultural Studies, and History
  • Guest lectures from literary figures such as Owen Sheers, Carol Ann Duffy and Patience Agbabi
  • Develop expertise suited to a range of careers, from teaching to marketing. You will also be well prepared for postgraduate study
  • Through our work project module and numerous internship opportunities, you can enhance your employability whilst you study
  • Excellent industry links, including partnerships with Worcester Cathedral and Hay Festival


Register your interest

Enter your details below and we will keep you up to date with useful information about studying at the University of Worcester.

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Top 20 for student experience

We're in the top 20 for student experience in the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.

"Throughout my studies I always felt supported by academic staff who were encouraging, responsive and passionate about their subjects."

Toni Brookes, English Literature Graduate

Entry requirements

What qualifications will you need?

UCAS tariff points

Entry requirements

Applicants who are offered a place on the course most commonly satisfy one of the following requirements:

  • 112 UCAS tariff points (single and joint honours), including a minimum grade C at A2 English
  • Accredited Access and Foundation Courses
  • Mature Entry Route

Other information

We consider applications on an individual basis, so please contact the Admissions Tutor, Dr Lucy Arnold, if you are unsure about your qualifications.

If you are an international student who does not have the relevant entry requirements for direct entry onto this course, our pathway courses at University of Worcester International College could be the right option for you and enable you to still graduate with this degree. To find out more visit the Art and Design & Creative Media pathway page.

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Hear from students on the course


An Overflow of Meaning: Reading and Re-Reading Hilary Mantel - Virtual Conference

Hilary Mantel, whose literary archive is held at The Huntington, is one of the most critically acclaimed authors working today. Her unprecedented double Booker Prize wins for Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies combined with sell-out West End and Broadway stage adaptations and award-winning television dramatizations brought her unquestionable public prominence. But Mantel's Tudor novels constitute only one element of a writing career, which has spanned nearly 34 years, troubled myriad genres, and explored multiple forms. "Reading and Re-Reading Hilary Mantel" constitutes the first international conference on Mantel's work and seeks to act as a "state of the field" event, bringing a diverse range of Mantel scholars together to consider the complex presences and resonances of Mantel's work in the twenty-first century.

The event will be held online via Zoom. Zoom link will be sent to attendees in registration confirmation email.

Conference Schedule


8 a.m. - Welcome: Steve Hindle, The Huntington

8:15 a.m. - Session 1: Mantel: Interdisciplinary Approaches
Moderator: Lucy Arnold, University of Worcester

David Kenny, Trinity College Dublin 
“Ę˝Words, words, just words’: Mantel’s vision of law and language in the Thomas Cromwell trilogy”

Lucie Bea Dutton, Independent Scholar
“She is Embroidering her Thoughts with Helen Barre’s Needle: Stitching the Cromwell Trilogy”

Peggy Ellsberg, Columbia University
“Reanimation and Revision in Wolf Hall: Hilary Mantel’s and Hans Holbein’s Portraits of Thomas Cromwell and Thomas More”

9:45 a.m. - Break

10 a.m. - Session 2: Writing the Marginal
Moderator: Ginette Carpenter, Manchester Metropolitan University

Eileen Pollard, Manchester Metropolitan University
“The Giant, O’Brien: Neglected, Historical Novel”

Terri Baker, Mount Royal University
“A Middle Eastern Jane Eyre”

Lucy Arnold, University of Worcester
“Nightmares about Fossils: Spectral Children and Intergenerational Trauma in the Work of Hilary Mantel”


8 a.m. - Ben Miles: In Conversation

9 a.m. - Session 3: Making History
Moderator: Mokshda Manchanda, Ambedkar University, Delhi

Kevin Gallin, Duke University
“Staging the World: Wolf Hall, the Historical Novel, and the Global Nation-State”

Eleanor Byrne, Manchester Metropolitan University
“The Sense of an Ending: Reading Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light and Ali Smith’s Summer during a pandemic”

Matthew Hart, Columbia University
“Such a Person: The Historical Novel and Contemporary Space’ in A Place of Greater Safety and The Giant, O’Brien”

10:30 a.m. - Break

10:45 a.m. - Session 4: True Stories: Mantel and Non-Fiction
Moderator: Eileen Pollard, Manchester Metropolitan University

Ginette Carpenter, Manchester Metropolitan University
“Haunted House or A Place of Greater Safety?: Retrospective Display in Mantel Pieces”

Mokshda Manchanda, Ambedkar University, Delhi
“Past, Present and Absent: Memory and Chronotope in Hilary Mantel's Giving Up the Ghost”

Neil Vickers, Kings College London 
“Hilary Mantel and Psychiatry”

12:15 p.m. - Closing Remarks
"There are no endings’: Where Now for Mantel Studies?"

Book your place
Course content

What will you study?

Year 1


  • Literary Forms and Genres
  • Exploring the Canon
  • Ways of Reading, Ways of Writing
  • Places and Spaces


Year 2


  • Exploding the Canon: Literary Theory and Practice
  • Movement and Migration


  • Politics, Sex and Identity in the Early Modern World
  • Shakespeare: Stage, Page and Screen
  • Gothic and Romantic Literature
  • Spaces of Modernity
  • Children's Literature
  • Work Project 
  • Optional language modules

Year 3


  • Independent Research Project


  • Justice and Revenge: from Tragedy to the Western
  • Postcolonial Encounters
  • Writing and the Environment
  • War and Conflict
  • Gendering Voices
  • Partnerships and Rivalries
  • Literatures and Cultures: International Explorations
  • Queer Bodies, Queer Texts

Year 1 provides a foundation for your degree, consolidating your understanding of literary forms and genres, providing practice in the important skills of critical reading and writing, and introducing you to some key themes.

In Year 2 you will deepen your understanding of literary movements and contexts, and develop your critical skills by applying literary theories. You will also have the chance to broaden your experience of literary studies, by taking specialist modules or studying abroad. A Work Project module is also available.

By Year 3 you will be ready to undertake your individual research project, supported by a specialist tutor, and pursue your own interests in Literature through a range of themed, optional modules.

Meet the team

You will be taught by a teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. 

Dr David Arnold, Senior Lecturer in English Literature

Dr David Arnold

David Arnold trained as a Classicist before moving on to doctoral work on twentieth-century American poetry. His research and teaching interests lie in poetry, American literature, ecocriticism and narrative criticism. He has published articles on the literary improvisations of William Carlos Williams and a book on American poetry: Poetry and Language Writing: Objective and Surreal (Liverpool University Press, 2007). His recent work focuses on ecophenomenological readings of modernist writing, and Buddhist American Poetry.

David teaches at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and has responsibility for modules in Literary Theory and American Writing. He also supervises doctoral research and is currently Director of Studies for a PhD on the poetry of Edward Thomas and Robert Frost. David is a member of both the British Association of American Studies and the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment. He is also a member of the Green Voices Research Group.

Professor Nicoleta Cinpoes, Head of English, Media & Culture

Prof Nicoleta Cinpoes

Nicoleta Cinpoes joined the University of Worcester in 2007. She teaches Renaissance Literature, is International Exchanges Liaison for the School of Humanities and co-director of Worcester's Early Modern Research Group.

She has edited Doing Kyd: A Collection of Critical Essays on the Spanish Tragedy for Manchester University Press (2016) and is currently collaborating on a new Romanian translation of Shakespeare's complete works, writing introductions to Hamlet (2010), Titus Andronicus, Measure for Measure, The Merchant of Venice and The Comedy of Errors.

Professor Jean Webb, Professor of International Children's Literature

Prof Jean Webb

Jean Webb is Director of the International Forum for Research in Childrens Literature which provides a focus for literary, cultural and socio-historical scholarly enquiry into writing for children, internationally. She teaches a broad range of undergraduate modules on nineteenth and twentieth century literature, and is responsible for specialist modules in children's literature. She is also an experienced PhD supervisor and examiner.

Dr Lucy Arnold

Dr Lucy Arnold is a specialist in Contemporary literature, with particular research interests in contemporary gothic, narratives of haunting, contemporary women’s writing and psychoanalytic criticism. Her teaching experience spans a wide range of periods and genres but focusses on twentieth and twenty-first century literature. Her published work to date has concerned the writing of Booker Prize winning novelist Hilary Mantel, with her monograph, Reading Hilary Mantel: Haunted Decades, published with Bloomsbury in 2019.

Dr Sharon Young

Dr Sharon Young is a  Fellow of the HEA and her teaching interests include, Renaissance, Restoration and eighteenth-century literature, women's poetry, and literary theory.

Sharon's research focuses mainly on women's poetry of the early modern period, Renaissance revenge tragedy and women's manuscript culture. Sharon has published on female poets and the critical debates of the early eighteenth century and Mary Leapor. She is the course leader for English Literature.

Dr Whitney Standlee, Senior Lecturer in English Literature

Dr Whitney Standlee

Dr Whitney Standlee is a specialist in literature of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with particular research interests in Irish women’s writing and migrant literature. Her publications include two recent books on the subject of Irish women’s writing.

Whitney teaches on a range of core and elective modules at all levels, all of which deal at least in part with nineteenth- and early twentieth century literature.

"I was impressed by the variety of genres and periods that I studied throughout the three years."

Claire Shipman


Study English Literature as part of a joint honours degree

As well as a single honours degree, English Literature is also available as part of a number of joint honours combinations, allowing you to combine it with another subject to match your interests and career aspirations:

Creative Writing and English Literature BA (Hons)

Education Studies and English Literature BA (Hons)

English Language and English Literature BA (Hons)

English Literature and Film Studies BA (Hons)

English Literature and History BA (Hons)

English Literature and Journalism BA (Hons)

English Literature and Media & Culture BA (Hons)

English Literature and Theatre, Acting & Performance BA (Hons)

Teaching and assessment

How will you be taught?

The University places emphasis on enabling students to develop the independent learning capabilities that will equip you for lifelong learning and future employment, as well as academic achievement. A mixture of independent study, teaching and academic support through the personal academic tutoring system enables you to reflect on progress and build up a profile of skills, achievements and experiences that will enable you to flourish and be successful.


You will be taught through a combination of workshops, lectures, seminars, research trips to cultural locations in the region, and film screenings. Interactive workshops take a variety of formats and are intended to enable the application of learning through discussion and small group activities. Seminars enable the discussion and development of understanding of topics covered in lectures. All modules are supported by the use of the virtual learning environment and other learning technologies.

You will also have the opportunity to gain employability skills through work-based learning. The primary focus of this provision is the year 2 Work Project module where students gain valuable experience of work. During year 1, you will have the opportunity to take up a short volunteering placement.

In addition, meetings with Personal Academic Tutors are scheduled on at least four occasions in the first year and three occasions in each of the other years of a course.

Contact time

In a typical week you will have around 12 contact hours of teaching. The precise contact hours will depend on the optional modules selected and in the final year you will normally have slightly less contact time in order to do more independent study.

Typically class contact time will be structured around:

  • 4 hours of (large and small group) lectures
  • 8 hours of seminars

Independent self-study

In addition to the contact time, you will be expected to undertake around 24 hours of personal self-study per week. Typically, this will involve primary reading, research and critical reading, group work, directed study tasks.

Independent learning is supported by a range of excellent learning facilities, including the Hive and library resources, the virtual learning environment, and extensive electronic learning resources.


Each module has one or more formal or 'summative' assessments which are graded and count towards the overall module grade. Some modules also provide opportunities to test understanding and learning informally through the completion of practice or 'formative' assignments.

Assessment methods include a range of coursework assessments such as essays, exercises in critical reading, and portfolios. Some assessments provide opportunities to write creative pieces of work.

The precise assessment requirements for an individual student in an academic year will vary according to the mandatory and optional modules taken, but a typical formal summative assessment pattern for each year of the course is:

Year 1

  • 3 Essays
  • 1 Analysis of form
  • 1 Critical exercise
  • 1 Essay plan
  • 1 Contextual reading
  • 1 Group presentation
  • 1 Personal response
  • 1 Portfolio

Year 2

  • 4 Essays
  • 2 Blogs
  • 1Poster
  • 1 Critical analysis
  • 1 critical exercise
  • 1 comprehension exercise
  • 1 critical anthology

Year 3

  • 1 independent research project
  • 1 research portfolio
  • 1 portfolio
  • 1 research exercise
  • 4 Essays
  • 1 presentation
  • 1 critical project
  • 1 annotated anthology
  • 1 close reading
  • 1 critical reading


You will receive feedback on practice assessments and on formal assessments undertaken by coursework. Feedback is intended to support learning and you are encouraged to discuss it with personal academic tutors and module tutors as appropriate.

We aim to provide you with feedback on formal course work assessments within 20 working days of hand-in.

Programme Specification

For comprehensive details on the aims and intended learning outcomes of the course, and the means by which these are achieved through learning, teaching and assessment, please download the latest programme specification document.

Charlotte Taylor

Charlotte Taylor

English Literature graduate Charlotte Taylor won the Roger Ebbatson Prize for Research in English Literature 2020 for her work on novelist Margaret Atwood’s bestseller The Handmaid’s Tale.

“The English department at Worcester have given me so much more than a degree. They have given me a confidence in my academic abilities; an unconditional support system; the chance to have fun and experiment with my work, to be creative and think outside the box; and they have cemented my desire to be a lecturer.”

Since completing her undergraduate degree, Charlotte has started her Master’s in English at Worcester, which she is due to complete in September 2021. She has recently been awarded a place on the University of Leeds PhD programme to research the work of the American contemporary novelist, Elizabeth Strout.

Niamh Fitzpatrick, English Literature graduate

Niamh Fitzpatrick

As well as achieving a degree in English Literature, Niamh Fitzpatrick has won an award for her research from the University’s Early Modern Research Group.

“I chose to study at Worcester as the University offered an amazing course with dedicated lecturers and a vast range of modules, ranging from the Early Modern Period to Modern Day,” said Niamh.

Niamh,who is from Birmingham, is now studying for a Master’s degree in Shakespeare Studies at the University of Birmingham and is hoping to go on to complete a PhD.

Toni Brookes, English Literature graduate

“Studying English at Worcester undoubtedly provided me with three of the most academically stimulating years I’ve had so far. I was given the opportunity to study literature from the 16th century through to the contemporary, with the chance to focus on specific research interests through the final year dissertation project. We covered a diverse range of periods and genres, with assessment including traditional academic essays, creative portfolios, reflective journals and group presentations. Throughout my studies I always felt supported, both personally and professionally, by academic staff who were encouraging, responsive and passionate about their subjects.

"Since graduating from the University of Worcester I have held professional roles in copywriting, marketing more generally, and currently, higher education. Having enjoyed my final year dissertation so much, I also decided to pursue postgraduate study and recently graduated with a Master’s degree in Contemporary Literature and Culture, obtaining a distinction classification. There is no doubt that the skills in critical thinking and analysis I developed throughout my degree were fundamental to successfully completing postgraduate work, and I often find myself thinking about the wonderfully transformative environment I was able to study in as an undergraduate.”

Amy Hill

Amy Hill

“My lecturers in the School of Humanities did an amazing job of transferring us all to online teaching and have been there to support me every step of the way to offer support. There are so many things I will take away from the University of Worcester, but mainly, some words from my lecturer, Dr Sharon Young: 'The world needs more thoughtful people.' This has really resonated with me. The University of Worcester is an extremely inclusive organisation, and inclusivity depends on being thoughtful. I hope to take this forward with me in everything I do."


Where could it take you?

After our English Literature degree, many of our graduates take a fourth year postgraduate Certificate in Education before entering the teaching profession. Other students will take a certificate in TEFL and become teachers of English as a second language at home or abroad.

Throughout the course, there is a focus on developing employability for careers in English Literature. This includes work experience opportunities, a credited work project module, and a career and professional development module. Students also have the opportunity to study abroad for a semester.

Many students progress to careers requiring good communication skills such as Public Relations, or develop research careers with media or publishing companies. Those graduates who achieve particularly good results in their first degree may choose to progress to a Masters course. This then often leads to a career as a researcher or further study to PhD.

Two students are walkng next to each other and smiling

Careers and Employability

Our Graduates pursue exciting and diverse careers in a wide variety of employment sectors.

Find out how we can support you to achieve your potential.

Graduate View

Studying English at Worcester

How much will it cost?

Full-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fee for full-time UK and EU students registering in the academic year 2021/22 is £9,250 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

International students

The standard tuition fee for full-time international students registering in the academic year 2021/22 is £13,100 per year.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Part-time tuition fees

UK and EU students

The standard tuition fees for part-time UK and EU students registering on this course in the academic year 2021/22 are £1,156 per 15-credit module, £1,542 per 20 credit module, £2,313 per 30-credit module, £3,083 per 40-credit module, £3,469 per 45-credit module and £4,625 per 60 credit module.

For more details, please visit our course fees page.

Additional costs

Every course has day-to-day costs for basic books, stationery, printing and photocopying. The amounts vary between courses.

If your course offers a placement opportunity, you may need to pay for a Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) check.

We recommend budgeting an estimated £320 per year for course related books.


Finding the right accommodation is paramount to your university experience. Our halls of residence are home to friendly student communities, making them great places to live and study.

We have over 1,000 rooms across our range of student halls. With rooms to suit every budget and need, from our 'Traditional Hall' at £108 per week to 'En-suite Extra' at £184 per week (2021/22 prices).

For full details visit our accommodation page.

How to apply

How do you apply?

Applying through UCAS

Single Honours:
English Literature BA (Hons)- Q300

Joint Honours:
Please visit the individual joint honours course pages for UCAS links:
Creative Writing and English Literature BA (Hons)WQ82
English Literature and Theatre, Acting & Performance BA (Hons)WQ43
Education Studies and English Literature BA (Hons)XQ33
English Language and English Literature BA (Hons) -QQ23
English Literature and Film Studies BA (Hons)QP3H
English Literature and History BA (Hons) -QV31
English Literature and Journalism BA (Hons) -QP35
English Literature and Media & Culture BA (Hons) -QP33

UCAS is the central organisation through which applications are processed for entry onto full-time undergraduate courses in Higher Education in the UK.

Read our How to apply pages for more information on applying and to find out what happens to your application.



Get in touch

If you have any questions, please get in touch. We're here to help you every step of the way.



Dr Lucy Arnold

Admissions tutor