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English with History
BA (Hons)

2020/21 Full-time Undergraduate course

Award:

Bachelor of Arts with Honours

Faculty:

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School:

School of Arts and Humanities

Campus:

Coleraine campus

UCAS code:

Q3V1
The UCAS code for Ulster University is U20

Start date:

September 2020

With this degree you could become:


  • Teacher
  • Teacher of English as Foreign Language
  • Journalist
  • Librarian
  • Retail manager
  • Civil Servant
  • Banking

Graduates from this course are now working for:


  • Education Authority
  • Libraries NI
  • Santander
  • BBC
  • Civil Service
  • Next
  • Sainsburys

Overview

Contemporary and traditional English Literature that develops writing skills, communication and creative thinking.

Summary

Built around a core of significant authors writing in English from Elizabethan times to the end of the Twentieth Century, from Shakespeare to Seamus Heaney, we provide the opportunity for you to follow your own interests through a wide range of optional modules. Two-thirds of the course is made up these: you can, for example, take strands on creative and professional writing, women’s writing and gender studies, and American literature; or select from modules on contemporary writing, modern drama, love poetry, film adaptation, or Beat culture, to name just a few. In your final year, you will – guided by a member of the teaching team – write a dissertation on a topic of your own choice. This combination of one-third core study and two-thirds specialist optional modules will allow you to develop your own areas of expertise whilst still attaining a solid grounding in the history of English literature.

History supplements your English subject by enabling you to progress from a broad awareness into a more critically-informed appreciation of the past. History as a minor allows you to study a range of periods and geographies and enables you to critically assess relevant sources.

In each of the three years of study, students take modules to the value of 120 credit points. By taking History as a minor you will develop a critically-informed knowledge of the history of a variety of time periods, themes and geographies. You will develop a critical awareness of historians’ arguments and an ability to construct your own arguments based on the informed use of sources, both primary and secondary.


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About this course

About

If you're the sort of person who always has a book by your bedside, English is the subject for you! Taking your love of reading as the one essential ingredient, we aim to cultivate your abilities as a thinker, writer and communicator. We will introduce you to the basics of critical writing and literary theory in year one, allowing you to develop the skills and knowledge necessary for success in your later work. Following this introductory year, you will be able to choose from a range of options reflecting the interests and expertise of the UU English teaching team. We very much enjoy sharing our enthusiasms, and try to make our lectures fun! Even more importantly, we want you to develop your own interests and follow your own passions. UU English allows you to construct your own path to success, writing on whatever engages you most, whether that be Shakespeare or 'Game of Thrones'. Having had many opportunities to share ideas with like-minded friends and sympathetic teachers, UU English students graduate as creative, free-thinking communicators; they often go on to do great things! Join us and free your imagination.

More detail is available from the Course Director, Tim Hancock tc.hancock@ulster.ac.uk – please feel free to email.

The teaching of English is driven by the research expertise of the staff that places it within the top third of national rankings. Students thereby benefit from teachers that are pushing the boundaries of knowledge within their respective fields. The English subject group is fortunate to have several internationally renowned published poets, including Dr Kathleen McCracken and Dr Frank Sewell, whose works have been read at literary festivals in the UK and globally. Such expertise drives the subject’s creative writing modules. There is also expertise across the literary canon and popular genres from the sixteenth-century to the present day, including, for example, specialists on Shakespeare (Dr. Kevin De Ornellas), Restoration literature and its adaptations (Dr. James Ward), women in Victorian and modern American literature (Drs. Kate Byrne and Willa Murphy), and in twentieth-century Irish prose and stage (Dr. Kathryn White).

Associate awards

Diploma in Professional Practice DPP

Diploma in International Academic Studies DIAS

Diploma in Professional Practice International DPPI

Find out more about placement awards

Attendance

Normally three years.

Students are expected to attend all timetabled teaching sessions (lectures and seminars) as well as undertake private study. Timetabled sessions usually amount to 9 hours per week, and the overall workload (including private study) to 200 hours per module.

Start dates

  • September 2020

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Teaching is mostly based on regular lectures (various sizes) and seminars (up to 15 students), although other methods - such as workshops, individual and small group tutorials, for example - are also common. Lectures allow the teacher to introduce a subject and flag up significant issues; seminars provide the student with the opportunity to ask questions and share their insights.

There are several methods of assessment, although the most common is the coursework essay (of varying lengths, depending on year) and the examination (two hours long in years one and two, three hours in the final year). Most modules combine these two; some also include an element of assessed seminar participation. You will need to pass all modules in order to progress - the pass mark is 40% - and your degree mark will be calculated by averaging all of your final year marks.

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    Content

    The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

    Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

    • the relevant generic national Qualification Descriptor
    • the applicable Subject Benchmark Statement
    • the requirements of any professional, regulatory, statutory and accrediting bodies.

    Attendance and Independent Study

    As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

    Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.

    The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

    Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

    Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Assessment

    Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.

    Calculation of the Final Award

    The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

    Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

    All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Academic profile

The teaching of English is driven by the research expertise of the staff that places it within the top third of national rankings. Students thereby benefit from teachers that are pushing the boundaries of knowledge within their respective fields. The English subject group is fortunate to have several internationally renowned published poets, including Dr. Kathleen McCracken and Dr. Frank Sewell, whose works have been read at literary festivals in the UK and globally. Such expertise drives the subject’s creative writing modules. There is also expertise across the literary canon and popular genres from the sixteenth-century to the present day, including, for example, specialists on Shakespeare (Dr. Kevin De Ornellas), Restoration literature and its adaptations (Dr. James Ward), women in Victorian and modern American literature (Drs. Kate Byrne and Willa Murphy), and in twentieth-century Irish prose and stage (Dr. Kathryn White)

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

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    The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

    Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

    Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

Coleraine campus

The feeling of community at our Coleraine campus makes for a warm and welcoming student experience.


Accommodation

A laid-back campus at the heart of a global tourist attraction.

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Sports Facilities

Our Campus in Coleraine boasts a variety of indoor and outdoor facilities that are open all year round to students and members of the public.

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Student support

At Student Support we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

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Coleraine campus location info

  Find out more about our Coleraine campus

Address

Ulster University
Cromore Road
Coleraine
County Londonderry
BT52 1SA

T: 028 7012 3456

Modules

Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

Year one

Elements of Criticism

Year: 1

This module offers students a basic introductory guide to literary criticism and interpretation, focusing upon the ways in which the formal structures of poetry, fiction and drama contribute to a diversity of effects and levels of meaning.

Modes of Reading

Year: 1

The module offers an introduction to the theory and practice of reading and criticism. It aims to enable students to work with a variety of approaches to texts, and to develop an informed awareness of the possibilities available to them as readers and critics.

Genres of Writing

Year: 1

ENG104 aims to assist students in improving the content, structure and style of their writing in professional and creative writing genres, including academic and report writing, journalism, fiction, non-fiction, drama, and poetry. Covering generic, audience, and market requirements, the module focusses on methods and techniques that will enable students to make informed editorial choices based on insights into the craft and business of writing, and on the demands and expectations of readers, publishers, and employers.

Literature and Society in Ireland: An Introduction

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module provides a broad introduction to Irish Literature in English written between the Act of Union (1800) and the Good Friday Agreement (1998). It will help students to build up a conceptual map of Irish literary history in English, understood within socio-economic, political, historical and cultural contexts. It will also give due recognition to the influence of the Irish language and Ulster-Scots literary traditions.

Writing Matters

Year: 1

This module is optional

The module introduces students to various shorter genres of writing (including the essay,short story, one-act play, memoir, detective story, science writing, journalistic article), examining key themes and issues that have 'mattered' to writers, and that have made writing 'matter', from the Renaissance to the present. Students will gain insight into various genres, discourses, writers, their work and its contexts; and will develop their own proficiency as critical readers and persuasive writers.

Contemporary British Fiction

Year: 1

This module is optional

The module examines the main strands of contemporary fiction writing in Britain. There will be a formal analysis of the novel genre and its various subgenres (science fiction, fantasy, crime writing). It also explores how literature reflects its society and culture - in this case Britain from the 1980s to the present day.

Making History: Skills for Historians

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module is designed to introduce students to the practical skills required for studying history at degree level and the methods and approaches that inform historical practice.

Defining America: Themes in American History, C17th -C20th

Year: 1

This module is optional

The module will illustrate and analyse the key themes and issues in American history from colonial times to the present day. Patterns and problems in the development of America will be discussed, and consideration of differing interpretations and source evaluations are implicit throughout the course. By the end of the module students should understand how the history of America has been shaped by the key events and debates that have taken place over the last four hundred years.

The Making of Modern Britain, 1750-1945

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module provides a comprehensive introduction to the history of modern Britain. It explores key themes such as industrialisation and urbanisation; reform and revolution; class and identity; religion, nationalism and unionism; war and empire. It utilises the latest historical scholarship and key primary sources delivered by research-active scholars via innovative lectures and seminars. The module brings to light the key events and historical processes which have shaped the Britain and Ireland of today.

'The Age of Extremes': International History 1914-2014

Year: 1

This module is optional

The purpose of this module is to provide Level 4 History students with an introduction to some of the main developments in world and international history from the First World War onwards. It is one of a number of broad, survey courses, designed to provide the basis for further, more detailed, study in subsequent years.

Disenchanted Land? Culture and Society in Early Modern Europe

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module will explore the structures of society in early-modern Europe, and the nature of early-modern social mentalities, daily social realities and material culture, cultural attitudes towards the natural world, varieties of religious belief and practice, and the supernatural in the early modern period: from notions in Heaven and Hell, to Angels, demons, witchcraft and magic. It will trace the effect on these beliefs and attitudes by the social, intellectual and cultural shifts associated with the Enlightenment.

Ireland, 1798-1998: Union and Disunion

Year: 1

This module is optional

This module examines key themes in Irish social and political history from the Act of Union to the Revolutionary period. Students will gain knowledge of important events such as the Famine, Land Wars, Easter Rising and War of Independence.

Year two

Early Modern English Culture 1509-1659: Poetry, Prose, Drama

Year: 2

This module is optional

The module introduces students to the literature of the English Renaissance. Canonical and non-canonical poetry, prose and drama will be studied within a framework of instruction on the sweeping changes brought to England by sectarian tension, increased literacy, changing politics and cultural innovation.

The Rise of the Novel

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module is designed to introduce students to the history of the development of early fiction in English, from the early adventure narratives of the Elizabethan era to the emergence of the novel as a leading literary genre in the mid-eighteenth century. It acquaints students with a range of thematic and formal sub-genres of fiction, ranging from tales of adventure to the philosophical romance, from religious allegory to the oriental tale, and from the picaresque to the epistolary.

Rhymes Of Passion: A Brief History Of Love Poetry

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module offers a broad survey of love poetry from its earliest foundations in ancient verse, through classical writing and philosophy, the great flowerings of the courtly and renaissance periods, to modernist and contemporary practice. Students will become aware of the historical significance of this sub-genre, familiar with its conceptual foundations and perennial features, as well as gaining an appreciation of its changing nature within different cultural contexts.

Writing and Editing

Year: 2

This module is optional

This practice-based module aims to advance the writing and editing knowledge and skills of students through lectures and workshops focusing on diverse genres of writing. Students are introduced to methods and techniques in the writing and editing processes. Instruction is given in the collaborative teamwork of writers and editors, with students adopting both roles during the course of the module. Formative assessment ensures that all students get a chance to edit and improve their own work (and some of each other's work) before final submission.

Modern Drama and Its Influences

Year: 2

This module is optional

The module introduces students to the history of the development of modern western drama. After accounting for the ancient traditions of Greek and Renaissance drama there is a focus on the radical aesthetic and thematic developments brought by European giants such as Ibsen and Chekhov. The module then addresses the great period of American tragedy as typified by the work of Williams and Miller before engaging with post-war drama by non-male and non-white writers such as Delaney, Fornes and Hansberry.

Sex and the City of God: religion and sexuality in American literature

Year: 2

This module is optional

Religion and sexuality are contested and related areas in American culture, not least because of the Puritan origins of the American self. This module explores the relationship between word and flesh in American writing from the colonial period to the present day. Studying poetry, fiction and non-fiction prose, students will consider the ways in which this Puritan heritage has been reproduced, challenged and changed, particularly in writings by women, African-Americans, and Native-Americans.

Beat Literature and Culture

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module studies writers of the Beat Generation, including Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Gary Snyder. It also introduces the forerunners of the Beat generation (Thoreau, Emerson, Rimbaud), as well as its legacies at the end of the 20th Century (e.g. Burroughs' influence on punk), and after the millennium, for example in Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road (2006). The module uses interdisciplinary elements such as biographical studies, reference to film and music, and indications of the Beats' political and spiritual dimensions.

Angels, Madwomen and Whores

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module enables students to engage with a wide range of writing by women from the 1790s to the end of the nineteenth century. By examining both poetry and prose, this module will uncover self-determined literary representation of female experience throughout the modern period, allowing students to engage with the central issues of gender and identity which affect women's writing.

Writing the North: Ulster Literature

Year: 2

This module is optional

The module introduces students to writers from Ulster, to representations of, and imaginative responses to, the north of Ireland, and to the central debates surrounding these representations and responses.

Contemporary World Fiction in English

Year: 2

This module is optional

The module examine both European and non-European texts, many from genres beyond the literary mainstream (including science fiction, high fantasy and crime fiction). Representations in fiction of key themes and issues that arose in the post-war period in Europe, the Americas, and the Commonwealth countries will be examined, as well as questions of national and global identity as these influence novels from around the world.

Samuel Beckett Studies

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module celebrates Samuel Beckett the man and artist, whose innovations in theme and form pushed the boundaries of literature, redefined the medium of theatre, and caused him to be considered as one of the most influential writers of the Twentieth Century. The module explores Beckett's works in the chronology of the composition; students will be introduced to their historical, cultural and philosophical influences and will be able to trace the development and impact of Beckett's oeuvre.

Adaptation and Historical Fiction

Year: 2

This module is optional

Adaptation and Historical Fiction looks closely at the relationship between literature, history, film and television. The module explores how and why history provides material for fiction and explores the process of adaptation across different media. Texts include popular and experimental adaptations and re-imaginings of writers and historical periods from Shakespeare to Austen and beyond.

Gothic and Romantic Writing

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module surveys writing associated with Gothic and Romantic discourses, focusing in particular on the rise of the gothic novel at the end of the C18th, gothic imagery in Romantic writing, late-Victorian versions of the gothic, the concept of decadence both before and during the fin-de-siecle, and the rise of psychoanalytical models at the end of the C19th.

English Exchange 1

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module provides students with an opportunity to undertake a semester or full year of the second year of their degree in study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland. It is not open to non-study abroad students. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline of English whilst generating educational and cultural networks, and fulfilling the requirements of their second year programme.

English Exchange 2

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module provides students with an opportunity to undertake a semester or full year of the second year of their degree in study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland. It is not open to non-study abroad students. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline of English whilst generating educational and cultural networks, and fulfilling the requirements of their second year programme.

English Exchange 3

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module provides students with an opportunity to undertake a semester or full year of the second year of their degree in study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland. It is not open to non-study abroad students. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline of English whilst generating educational and cultural networks, and fulfilling the requirements of their second year programme.

English Exchange 4

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module provides students with an opportunity to undertake a semester or full year of the second year of their degree in study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland. It is not open to non-study abroad students. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline of English whilst generating educational and cultural networks, and fulfilling the requirements of their second year programme.

English Exchange 5

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module provides students with an opportunity to undertake a semester or full year of the second year of their degree in study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland. It is not open to non-study abroad students. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline of English whilst generating educational and cultural networks, and fulfilling the requirements of their second year programme.

English Exchange 6

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module provides students with an opportunity to undertake a semester or full year of the second year of their degree in study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland. It is not open to non-study abroad students. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline of English whilst generating educational and cultural networks, and fulfilling the requirements of their second year programme.

Eighteenth-Century Literature

Year: 2

This module is optional

Exploring English develops subject-based skills in the study of literature along with vocational skills for employment. The module encourages students to apply critical and innovative thinking to literary texts from before 1800 and to reflect on and develop their personal skills and attributes.

Detective Fiction

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module will trace the development of detective fiction from the C19th to the present day, across a variety of forms and subgenres, and from a variety of different theoretical perspectives.

Exchange programme 1 - History Abroad

Year: 2

This module is optional

These modules provide an opportunity to undertake an extended period of study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland. They are required modules for all History students on an intercalary study abroad semester or year during second year. They are not open to non-study abroad students. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline of History whilst generating educational and cultural networks.

Exchange programme 3 - History Abroad

Year: 2

This module is optional

These modules provide an opportunity to undertake an extended period of study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland. They are required modules for all History students on an intercalary study abroad semester or year during second year. They are not open to non-study abroad students. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline of History whilst generating educational and cultural networks.

Exchange programme 4 - History Abroad

Year: 2

This module is optional

These modules provide an opportunity to undertake an extended period of study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland. They are required modules for all History students on an intercalary study abroad semester or year during second year. They are not open to non-study abroad students. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline of History whilst generating educational and cultural networks.

Exchange programme 5 - History Abroad

Year: 2

This module is optional

These modules provide an opportunity to undertake an extended period of study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland. They are required modules for all History students on an intercalary study abroad semester or year during second year. They are not open to non-study abroad students. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline of History whilst generating educational and cultural networks.

Exchange programme 6 - History Abroad

Year: 2

This module is optional

These modules provide an opportunity to undertake an extended period of study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland. They are required modules for all History students on an intercalary study abroad semester or year during second year. They are not open to non-study abroad students. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline of History whilst generating educational and cultural networks.

Exchange programme 2 - History Abroad

Year: 2

This module is optional

These modules provide an opportunity to undertake an extended period of study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland. They are required modules for all History students on an intercalary study abroad semester or year during second year. They are not open to non-study abroad students. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline of History whilst generating educational and cultural networks.

Family, Sexuality and the State 1850-1925

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module examines the role of the state in molding the history of the family and sexuality in Britain between 1860-1925. It looks at the forces which have influenced state policy as well as the impact on issues such as prostitution, homosexuality, gender roles and childhood.

War and Peace: the Ying and Yang of human history

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module is designed to help fill a still largely existent gap in human historiography by introducing students to the other side of the coin of human development: the human 'instinctive imperative' towards peace and through contrasting this with the roots of war, promote an understanding of the patterns in war and peace & advancement in the course of human history, with a particular focus on the post-1648, post-1815, post-World War One, post-World War Two and post-Cold War/post-9/11 periods.

The Great Powers and the Middle East since 1880

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module explores the impact of the West on the Middle East and its contribution to conflict in the region since the end of the 19th Century.

Ireland and the European Union, 1961-2016

Year: 2

This module is optional

Ireland and Europe examines the reasons for Ireland's application to join the EEC, the interests informing its European policy, and the impact of the EU on Irish politics, administration, and society. There is a specific emphasis on key policy areas such as foreign policy, neutrality, cross-border co-operation, regional cohesion, and the Common Agricultural Policy. The module also explains the functions of the main EU institutions and their relation to member states, and examines the politics of the integration process and its implications for member states.

Film and the Vietnam Conflict

Year: 2

This module is optional

The module explores the history, media, film and political culture in the context of America's involvement in the Vietnam War. The module explores major debates in the

historiography of the era. Film representations of the war are subject to scrutiny for what they reveal about American society, and how they depict the changing perspectives of the "history" of the conflict. The module also follows the way in which the war developed and the changing attitudes it provoked at home and abroad.

The Myth and Reality of Imperial Spain, 1492-1700

Year: 2

This module is optional

This course examines the rise to power of the Spanish Empire in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and its subsequent decline from the seventeenth century onwards. The following issues will be emphasized: Spain's Empire building; the image of Spain in the European political discourse; the military, economic, and social crises of the seventeenth century; the Spanish Golden age in art and literature vis-à-vis the concept of decadence; the importance of honor and religion in all realms of society; the racial issue: from the convivencia to the Inquisition; the court of the Habsburgs; and the cultural impact of Spain in the early modern world. In addition, the course will consider the diverse populations constituting the Spanish World, stressing such social and cultural strains as those between: center (Castille), and periphery (for example, Catalonia, Naples, and The Netherlands); Christians and converted Jews/Muslims; Spanish Conquistadores and indigenous populations; and the various racial castes created in the Americas.

Death, Disease, and Medicine in Britain, 1800-1914

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module introduces students to key themes and topics on the history of death and illness in the long nineteenth century. Drawing from social, medical and Victorian history, students will explore themes such as murder in the Victorian city, ghosts, asylums, suicide, Victorian funerals and bodysnatching. Students will examine interdisciplinary sources including literature and art, as well as standard historical sources.

From New Jerusalem to New Labour: Culture, Society and Politics in Britain Since 1945

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module examines politics, culture and society in Britain from the end of the Second World War until the emergence of 'New Labour' in 1997. By exploring key themes such as defence and war, popular culture and the media, migration, race and ethnicity, the welfare state, sport, and the economy amongst others, it offers a comprehensive and innovative introduction to the postwar period and brings to light the key events and historical processes which shaped the Britain of today.

Revolutionary Russia, 1894-1939

Year: 2

This module is optional

This module examines Revolutionary Russia from the last Romanov ruler through to the establishment of Stalinism in the USSR. Key historiographical debates will be examined and assessed. The political, economic, and social and cultural aspects of this period will be covered.

Year three

English Placement

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module provides students with the opportunity to experience life as a professional in the creative industries as a paid employee of a company. They will be expected to conduct themselves professionally being an employee of a company and an ambassador for the

English Abroad (DIAS)

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module provides students with an opportunity to undertake an extended period of study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland. It is a required module for all English students on an intercalary study abroad year between second and final year. It is not open to non-study abroad students. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline of English whilst generating educational and cultural networks.

History Abroad (DIAS)

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module provides students with an opportunity to undertake an extended period of study outside the UK and Republic of Ireland (one full academic year). It is a required module for all History students on an intercalary study abroad year between second (level 5) and final year (level 6). It is not open to non-study abroad students. Students will develop an enhanced understanding of the academic discipline of English whilst generating educational and cultural networks.

Saints and Sinners: Women in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Ireland

Year: 3

This module is optional

This module will use the study of women in Irish society from 1850-2000 to consider the role of women in areas such as politics, religion, culture, work and sexuality and how their role and experiences changed over the period. It will allow students to gain an alternative historical perspective on the major political and societal changes of the period. Though the use of oral history students will gain a personal understanding of female experience in the past.

Year four

Dissertation

Year: 4

This module enables the student to plan, prepare, write up, and present a dissertation of 6,000 words on a topic selected by the student and researched under the guidance of a suitably qualified member of staff.

Romantics and Victorians

Year: 4

This module is optional

The module is designed to introduce students to the history of English literature of the nineteenth century. It will trace, through the study of a selection of celebrated and representative works of the period's poetry and prose, the rise and development of Romanticism and its continuation - and gradual transformation - in the writings of the Victorian era.

Twentieth-Century Literature

Year: 4

This module is optional

The module offers a broad survey of significant works of English literature written during the twentieth century. It will describe, through the analysis of a selected works by celebrated and representative writers of the period, some of the major cultural developments and thematic preoccupations of modern literature in English, in particular the aesthetics of late-Romanticism, modernism, twentieth-century realism, and post-modern developments.

The Moderns, 1910-1930

Year: 4

This module is optional

The module introduces students to literary modernism through poems and novels written between 1909 and 1930. It details, through study of a selection of works by celebrated modernist writers, the major thematic preoccupations and aesthetic innovations characteristic of this movement, focusing in particular on developing a conceptual understanding of modernism, and on its socio-historical significance in the context of contemporary cultural norms.

The Victorian Novel

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module is designed to introduce students to the thematic and formal diversity of early and mid-Victorian fiction, as illustrated through the works of the leading novelists of the period. The key themes studied will include, among others, the social problems of mid-nineteenth-century Britain, 'the woman question', the role of religion in society, and the operation of the literary market; in aesthetic terms, the novels on the module will exemplify a range of formats and story-telling conventions, from the psychological novel to the sensation novel, from realism to symbolism, and from comedy of manners to naturalism.

Writing and Publishing

Year: 4

This module is optional

Students on this module learn about the functions, and apply some of the methods, of professionals in the publishing process (by undertaking tasks associated with writers, literary agents, editors, etc.). They workshop their own and each other's writing, and edit texts to publication standard and requirements. At this level a relatively sophisticated degree of self-assessment is required regarding their accumulated insights into writing and publishing.

Nineteenth-Century American Literature

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module examines American literature of the nineteenth century in its social, historical and cultural contexts.

Twentieth-Century American Literature

Year: 4

This module is optional

The module examines twentieth-century American literature and its engagement with the key social and political events of the country during that period. The post-World War 1 resurgence of America in the jazz age and the subsequent financial depression will be studied. The post-war rise of America as a global superpower and the impact of this perception on its writers will also be explored. The psyche of a country living the American Dream will be explored, mainly through its impact on minorities and on immigrant aspirations and experiences.

Body, Mind and Soul in Novels and Non-Fiction from Addison to Austen

Year: 4

This module is optional

A survey of ideas about the human body, mind and soul in texts ranging chronologically from Joseph Addison and Richard Steele's Spectator (1711) to Jane Austen's Mansfield Park (1814). It investigates the links between literature and medicine, psychology and philosophy, and will be of interest to students who want to explore how literature engages with issues such as belief, education, pain, pleasure, sexuality and disease.

The Ulster-Scots Literary Tradition 1750 - 2000

Year: 4

This module is optional

The module introduces students to the history of Ulster-Scots literature from the middle of the eighteenth to the beginning of the twenty-first century. It will trace the relationship of Ulster writing to Scottish and Irish cultural, literary, political, philosophical and linguistic influences in this period. The module will investigate the development, revivals and transformations of Ulster-Scots literature through an examination of its most representative and important authors.

From The Vote To The Pill: C20th And C21st Women's Writing

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module will enable students to engage with a variety of writing, in different genres, by women writers of the modern and the postmodern period, and will develop their understanding of the ways in which new political, social and sexual freedoms impacted upon women in the last century and beyond.

20th Century Irish Writers

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module celebrates three of the most influential (Irish) writers of the Twentieth Century, W B Yeats, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett. Through an examination of poetry, drama and prose we will consider the development of each writer's work, explore their relationship to Ireland and Europe and examine some of the most significant and innovative writing of the twentieth century.

Late Victorian And Edwardian Novel

Year: 4

This module is optional

The module is designed to introduce students to the thematic and formal diversity of late Victorian and Edwardian fiction, as illustrated through the works of the leading novelists of the period. The key themes studied will include, among others, the late Victorian crisis of values, the changing position of women in society, the implications of the growth of the British Empire, and the increasing interest in psychology; in aesthetic terms, the novels on the module will exemplify a range of formats and story-telling conventions, from the scientific romance to the Bildungsroman, from realism to symbolism, and from fantasy to naturalism.

Shakespeare

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module immerses students in the aesthetically and thematically plural worlds of Shakespearean drama and poetry. Many plays and poems are addressed; issues raised will include canonicity, genre, public and private performance, theatre as propaganda and/or resistance, women's roles, sexual license, censorship, animals and the environment, authorial celebrity, collaboration, anonymity, textual authority, nuances of dialogue and the historicising of drama and poetry.

Narratives of Slavery

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module invites students to explore a diverse range of literary texts and other media through which the history and legacy of the Atlantic slave trade has been represented.

'Changed, Changed Utterly': The Irish Revolution, 1913-1923.

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module utilises documentary, digital, and audio-visual sources to explore life in Ireland during the revolutionary years, 1913-1923. The period is brought to life through narratives of key events and the analysis of primary source material from the time.

Late Soviet Communism, 1953-1991

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module examines the attempts of the post-Stalin leadership to manage, reform, and improve the prosperity of Soviet domestic communism. The political, economic, and social and cultural policies of the three main general secretaries - Khrushchev, Brezhnev, and Gorbachev - will be examined and assessed critically.

United States Foreign Policy Since 1945

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module provides a comprehensive overview of US Foreign Policy since 1945. It considers the United States' place in the global political structure. It will examine defining moments in the history of US Foreign Policy, including the Cold War, Post-Cold War, and post-September 11th eras, analysing the administrations of Presidents from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama.

Workers and radicalism in modern Ireland, 1800-1939

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module investigates the evolution of the working class in Ireland, and its interaction with capital, labour organization, society, and politics.

Royal Splendours: Politics, Culture, and Patronage in the Courts of Europe, 1450-1715

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module will trace the evolution of early modern courts from Burgundy in the 15th century to Louis XIV's Versailles in the 17th century. The following issues will be emphasized: the interaction of the ruler with the courtiers through the unique prism of the various mechanisms that constructed ceremonial and etiquette; the communication of the court with wider strata of the population via the magnificent spectacles and festivities that were organized to aggrandize such ruling houses as the Habsburgs, the Bourbons and the Tudors; the extravagance of royal patronage, and the use of such luxury products as: art, fashion, and finery. In geographical terms, most of the emphasis will be put on the Spanish and French courts, which presented the principal models of kingship and courtly culture that were emulated by the rest of the courts of Europe. In addition, it will examine how these models influenced some of the more interesting case-studies in the Italian peninsula, such as the Papal court, the court of the Medici, and the viceregal court of Naples.

Imperial Retreat: The Decline and Fall of the European Overseas Empires

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module will examine the historical process since 1945 whereby European colonial powers either withdrew or were driven from formal occupation of their overseas possessions. The module will not only examine various interpretations of imperial disengagement but will also provide an in-depth study of the actual mechanics of European decolonisation for particular territories in South and South East Asia, Africa and the Pacific. It also aims to enhance student skills in evaluating interpretations put forward by historians through allowing them to make a detailed study of one particular colonial possession.

America in the Depression, 1929-1941

Year: 4

This module is optional

This is an interdisciplinary study of one of the most significant events in the history of the United States since 1900, the Depression that began in 1929 and lasted until the USA entered the Second World War in 1941. This course will examine the turbulent years of the Great Depression and the New Deal. It will cover political, social, economic, and cultural aspects of the events and circumstances that led to the Depression, the election of FDR in 1933, and the formulation of the New Deal as national policy. It will then look at various aspects of New Deal policies and will assess the achievements and limitations of those policies.

The Post-War Body: Medicine and Society in Britain and America, c.1945-90

Year: 4

This module is optional

This module examines the dramatic changes in experiences of health and illness that occurred in the twentieth century. Focusing on Britain and America, it explores how our attitudes to matters such as sex, death, eating, disability and mental health were revolutionized in the twentieth century. The module also looks at ethical problems issues such as Cold War human experimentation. Students will engage with broader themes such as class, gender and race relations.

Witchcraft and magic in early modern Europe and Colonial New England, c.1550-1780

Year: 4

This module is optional

The early modern period is often seen as the era of the European 'witch-panic', which saw around 40,000 people executed for the crime of witchcraft. This module will examine the many facets of the witchcraft experience in Europe and New England using a variety of contemporary sources: from images and printed books and pamphlets, to court records and private correspondence. It will examine patterns of witchcraft accusation and prosecution, the intellectual context of witchcraft beliefs, the connection between witchcraft and women, the decline in educated belief, and the continuation of popular notions and traditions. Early modern witchcraft will also be located in its wider magical context by exploring both popular magic. Developments in witchcraft and magic in the early modern period will also be linked to wider societal, cultural and religious changes.

Entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

A level

Grades BBC- BCC.

Applicants may satisfy the requirement for the final A level grade C by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications to the same standard as defined by the University.

Preference may be given to candidates with an A level Grade B in English

Applied General Qualifications

*** To note that only qualifications defined as “Applied General” will be accepted for entry onto any undergraduate course at Ulster University.***

BTEC Awards

QCF Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Extended Diploma (2012 Suite)

Award profile of DDM

RQF Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Extended Diploma (2016 Suite)

Award profile of DMM

QCF Pearson BTEC Level 3 Diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Diploma(2012 Suite)

Award profile of Distinction Merit plus A Level Grade B or award profile of Distinction Merit plus A Level Grade C

RQF Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma/ OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Diploma (2016 Suite)

Award profile of Distinction Merit plus A Level Grade C

QCF Pearson BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma / OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Introductory Diploma (2012 Suite)

Award profile of Merit plus A Level Grades BC

RQF Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate/ OCR Cambridge Technical Level 3 Extended Certificate (2016 Suite)

Award profile of Merit plus A Level Grades BC

Diploma, National Diploma and Subsidiary Diploma applicants may satisfy the requirement for an element of the offer grade profiles (equating to the final A-level grade stated in the standard 3A level offer profile - Grade C) by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications to the same standard as defined by the University.

Irish Leaving Certificate

H3,H3,H3,H3,H4 – H3,H3,H3,H4,H4 at higher level

Applicants are also required to have Higher Level English Grade H6 or above OR Ordinary Level at grade 04 or above.

Preference may be given to candidates with a H3 at higher level in English.

Scottish Highers

The Scottish Highers requirement for this course is grades

BBCCC - BCCCC

Applicants may satisfy the requirement for an element of the offer grade profiles (equating to the final A-level grade stated in the standard 3A level offer profile - Grade C) by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications to the same standard as defined by the University.

Preference may be given to candidates with Grade B in English.

Scottish Advanced Highers

The Scottish Advanced Highers requirement for this course is grades

CCD - CDD

Applicants may satisfy the requirement for an element of the offer grade profiles (equating to the final A-level grade stated in the standard 3A level offer profile - Grade C) by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications to the same standard as defined by the University.

Preference may be given to candidates with Grade C in English.

International Baccalaureate

Overall International Baccalaureate profile is minimum

25 points (including 12 at higher level) - 24 points (including 12 at higher level)

Access to Higher Education (HE)

Overall profile of 65-60% (120 credit Access Course) (NI Access course)

Overall profile of 15 credits at Distinction, 30 credits at Merit – 12 credits at Distinction, 30 credits at Merit and 3 credits at Pass (60 credit Access course) (GB Access course)

GCSE

For full-time study, you must satisfy the General Entrance Requirements for admission to a first degree course and hold a GCSE pass at Grade C/4 or above English Language.

Level 2 Certificate in Essential Skills - Communication will be accepted as equivalent to GCSE English.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Additional Entry Requirements

HND - Overall Merit with distinctions in 45 Level 5 credits (3 units) entry to Year 1.

HNC – Overall Distinction with distinctions in 75 Level 4 credits (5 units) for entry to Year 1.

You may also meet the course entry requirements with combinations of different qualifications to the same standard as recognised by the University (provided subject requirements as noted above are met).

Foundation Degree

An overall mark of 50-45% in Level 5 modules for Year 1 entry. .

APEL (Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning)

The University will consider applications on the basis of experiential learning for those who do not hold the normal entry qualifications.

Transfer from degree level study at other institutions

Those applicants seeking entry with advanced standing, (eg. Transfer from another institution or year 2 entry) will be considered on an individual basis.

Exemptions and transferability

Those applicants seeking entry with advanced standing, (eg. Transfer from another institution) will be considered on an individual basis but should note that this process can be more difficult in subject combination programmes as both subjects must be satisfied.

United States of America flagAdditional information for students from United States of America

Undergraduate

Each programme will have slightly different requirements, both in terms of overall points and certain subjects, so please check the relevant subject in the undergraduate on-line prospectus.

Normally Ulster University welcomes applications from students with:

Qualification
High School Diploma with overall GPA 3.0 and to include grades 3,3,3 in 3 AP subjects
High School Diploma with overall GPA 3.0 and to include 1000 out of 1600 in SAT
Associate Degree with GPA 3.0

English Language


Financial Information

In addition to the scholarships and bursaries open to all international students, US students may apply for Federal and Private US loans

Qualification
Level 12 English Lang in HSD

View more information for students from United States of America  

Careers & opportunities

Graduate employers

Graduates from this course are now working for:

  • Education Authority
  • Libraries NI
  • Santander
  • BBC
  • Civil Service
  • Next
  • Sainsburys

Job roles

With this degree you could become:

  • Teacher
  • Teacher of English as Foreign Language
  • Journalist
  • Librarian
  • Retail manager
  • Civil Servant
  • Banking

Career options

Students completing the BA Hons English course are equipped with the kind of intellectual and communicative skills that employers of all kinds require. Common career destinations include publishing, journalism and the media, business, the creative arts, arts administration, and civil service. Successful students can go on to undertake postgraduate work in all areas of English literary studies. Numerous graduates embark on Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) programmes with a view to pursuing a career in teaching.

For information on postgraduate research opportunities see: www.arts.ulster.ac.uk/rgs

The Career Development Centre (www.ulster.ac.uk/ulster-life/careers; T: +44 (0)28 7012 4210) is available to offer friendly and impartial help and advice with career planning and provide opportunities for you to develop your employability skills. There are Information Centres on each of the campuses.

Work placement / study abroad

There is a flexible placement element in the first year of your degree, encouraging you to develop your skills as a writer in the context of a relevant workplace. Opportunities for study abroad, usually during the second year of your degree, are also available: ISEP (International Student Exchange Programme) offers links with over 140 American Universities; Erasmus+ focuses on European destinations.

Apply

Applications to full-time undergraduate degrees at Ulster are made through UCAS.

Start dates

  • September 2020

Fees and funding

Fees (per year)

Important notice - fees information Fees illustrated are based on 19/20 entry and are subject to an annual increase. Correct at the time of publishing. Terms and conditions apply. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study.
Visit our Fees pages for full details of fees

Northern Ireland & EU: £4,275.00

England, Scotland, Wales and the Islands: £9,250.00  Discounts available

International: £14,060.00 Scholarships available

Scholarships, awards and prizes

For scholarship schemes available to students at Ulster University, see the following web page:

http://www.ulster.ac.uk/international/outgoing-students/scholarships.

For a list of awards and prizes that English students can win during their time at UU, see:

http://www.ulster.ac.uk/academicoffice/prizes.html.

Additional mandatory costs

There are none.

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.

Please contact the course team for more information.

Contact

Course Director :Dr Katherine Byrne

T: +44 (0)28 7012 4544

E: k.byrne@ulster.ac.uk

Admissions Office - Claire Tinkler or Karen Gibson

T: +44 (0)28 7012 3895 or +44 (0)28 701 24353

E: cm.tinkler@ulster.ac.ukor ki.gibson@ulster.ac.uk

International Admissions Office

E: internationaladmissions@ulster.ac.uk

For more information visit

Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

School of Arts and Humanities

Disclaimer

  1. The University endeavours to deliver courses and programmes of study in accordance with the description set out in this prospectus. The University’s prospectus is produced at the earliest possible date in order to provide maximum assistance to individuals considering applying for a course of study offered by the University. The University makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in the prospectus is accurate but it is possible that some changes will occur between the date of printing and the start of the academic year to which it relates. Please note that the University’s website is the most up-to-date source of information regarding courses and facilities and we strongly recommend that you always visit the website before making any commitments.
  2. Although reasonable steps are taken to provide the programmes and services described, the University cannot guarantee the provision of any course or facility and the University may make variations to the contents or methods of delivery of courses, discontinue, merge or combine courses and introduce new courses if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Such circumstances include (but are not limited to) industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key staff, changes in legislation or government policy including changes, if any, resulting from the UK departing the European Union, withdrawal or reduction of funding or other circumstances beyond the University’s reasonable control.
  3. If the University discontinues any courses, it will use its best endeavours to provide a suitable alternative course. In addition, courses may change during the course of study and in such circumstances the University will normally undertake a consultation process prior to any such changes being introduced and seek to ensure that no student is unreasonably prejudiced as a consequence of any such change.
  4. The University does not accept responsibility (other than through the negligence of the University, its staff or agents), for the consequences of any modification or cancellation of any course, or part of a course, offered by the University but will take into consideration the effects on individual students and seek to minimise the impact of such effects where reasonably practicable.
  5. The University cannot accept any liability for disruption to its provision of educational or other services caused by circumstances beyond its control, but the University will take all reasonable steps to minimise the resultant disruption to such services.

Testimonials

'Climbing the right hill': choosing English at the Ulster University - Kendra Reynolds (Final Year)

Uncertain, anxious, alone, inadequate: any of these sound familiar? Certainly, this blend of emotions overwhelmed me when I stood at the bottom of some daunting looking steps, staring at the rather majestic crest hanging above the front entrance to Ulster University at Coleraine. Nobody in my family went to university before me. I did not go to a grammar school. I was not one of those people who passed colossal amounts of A-levels. And I felt when I first faced those steps that I was not capable of getting the high marks that you read about in the newspaper.

On induction day a comment from my sixth form teacher was still ringing in my ear - 'You'll be in a class of hundreds, just a number' - but instead of an impersonal lecturer, I was greeted by a happy face and a pleasant tone and instantly felt at ease. As a painfully shy person who rarely spoke out in class at school, I feared that the small group discussions would present a major obstacle. So it was a big shock when I heard my own voice answer a question posed in one of my first seminars! This was made possible by the English lecturers in this university, who are its greatest asset. Extremely talented and enthusiastic in their fields, their humanity and down-to-earth personalities came as a huge surprise. They spare time for every student and enhance the enjoyment and richness of our learning. Instead of being intimidated I've been made to feel like my ideas are valued; it was lovely to hear one lecturer announce that he appreciated our ideas and was looking forward to reading our essays. I was given the option to try out any subject from the Faculty of Arts in my first year, and if it did not suit, to switch to another. This flexibility turned out to be characteristic of the rest of my degree. With only one compulsory module per semester, English offers a wide range of options from which to choose, allowing you to shape your own education and encouraging individual thinking and learning. This is no conveyer belt which churns out a set package of knowledge; the teachers value and reward personal interests and original ideas.

Essay-writing is aided by the excellent range of services that the University's new library offers. Whether you're studying in groups or looking for peaceful solitude, the library caters for all needs: in the busy hub of a twenty-four-hour computer facility, a soft-seated area and group rooms for interactive study, or individual rooms for those who need the quiet atmosphere that not even our homes can always provide.

I never saw myself as the kind of person who would be eager to stay on in education, but I'm now aiming to get into postgraduate study, and not in any other university, but right here because the support that I have been given has helped to instil in me such confidence and self-belief. In Shakespeare's words, 'We know what we are, but know not what we may be'. The lecturers have shown me that you don't have to be an Einstein to succeed. All you need is the enthusiasm and willingness to make the most out of your experience.

Little did I know that those daunting looking steps would reflect the ladder of achievement that I would climb in the next few years. Leaving school can seem like being pushed out of a comforting nest and being expected to fly before you feel like you can even walk, yet after taking those first tentative steps I've never looked back. It reminds me of a quote I have seen somewhere that asked, 'Are you climbing the right hill today?' At Ulster University, I know that I am.