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The best of both worlds. How mass media changes who we are and contemporary and traditional English Literature and writing skills.


Study English and Media Studies at Ulster University in the United Kingdom.

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, this programme also provides 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, follow strands on creative and professional writing, women’s writing and gender studies, and American literature; or select from modules on historical fiction, contemporary fiction, modern drama, love poetry, the Victorian novel, 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 compulsory historical core 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.

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About this course

In this section


Full-time students are expected to complete six modules per year: normally three in each semester. Most modules offer 3 hours of teaching time per week (2 lectures and a seminar), plus additional contact time as required for tutorial consultation or general guidance. Independent reading and study, which will also be guided by module coordinators, is expected to occupy 13 hours per module per week. We endeavour to make lecture and seminar times convenient for those who have to travel far or who have part-time jobs.


The two compulsory modules are ‘Elements of Criticism’ (Semester 1) and ‘Modes of Reading’ (Semester 2), designed to equip you with some basic tools of literary criticism and introduce important concepts of critical theory..

The four optional modules are ‘Writing Matters’ and ‘Contemporary British Fiction’ in Semester 1, and –in semester 2 - ‘Literature and Society in Ireland’ and ‘Genres of Writing’ (the first module in the Writing, Editing and Publishing pathway).


Core modules are ‘Early Modern English Culture’ in Semester 1 and ‘Restoration and the Eighteenth Century’ in Semester 2

Depending on staff availability, optional modules include (across both semesters) ‘The Rise of the Novel’, ‘A Brief History of Love Poetry’, ‘Writing and Editing’, ‘Sex and the City of God: Religion and Sexuality in American Literature’, ‘Beat Literature and Culture’, ‘Writing the North: Ulster Literature', ‘Romantic Narrative’,’Modern Drama’, ‘Gender and Creativity’, ‘Angels, Madwomen and Whores: Women’s writing in the nineteenth century’, 'Samuel Beckett Studies' and ‘Modern British Fiction’.


Core modules are ‘Romantics and Victorians’ in semester one, ‘Twentieth-Century Literature’ in semester two, and the dissertation, which can be written in either semester.

Depending on staff availability, optional modules include (across both semesters) ‘Words in Freedom: the Modernist Revolution in Literature’, ‘Romantic Poetry and Theory’, ‘Writing and Publishing’, ‘Nineteenth-Century American Literature’, ‘Adaptation and Historical Fiction’, 'Twentieth-Century American Literature’, ‘Body Mind and Soul in Novels and Non-Fiction from Addison to Austen’, 'Twentieth Century Irish Writers', ‘Renaissance Drama’.

Further information on these modules is available from the English Course Director; Tim Hancock E: – please feel free to email.

Associate awards

Diploma in International Academic Studies DIAS

Find out more about placement awards


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 2017
How to apply

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.

In this section

A level

The A Level requirement for this course is grades BBC to BBB at A2.

Applicants may satisfy the requirement for the final A level grade in the above grade profiles (C or B grade) by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications to the same standard as defined by UCAS.

Preference may be given to applicants holding Grade B in English Literature at A2.


A grade range is in operation for this course.

BTEC Extended Diploma

A minimum of:

DMM including a minimum of 8 distinctions in level 3 units


DDM award profile to include a minimum of 9 distinctions in level 3 units.

BTEC Diploma

The Diploma may be accepted in isolation (the award profile of D*D* including a minimum of 10 distinctions in level 3 units) or in combination with A levels or equivalent qualifications.

Where an applicant presents a profile of Diploma with an A level then we normally make an offer whereby the Diploma must satisfy the higher end of the standard A level offer profile (i.e. if our standard A level offer is BBC∆ then we normally ask for a Diploma at BB equivalent which is a Distinction, Merit award that includes 6 units at distinction, and the A level at the final grade of the standard A level grade profile, grade C∆).

A*A* = Distinction*, Distinction* (plus 10 units at distinction)

BB= Distinction , Merit (plus 6 units at distinction)

BC = Distinction, Merit (plus 5 units at distinction)

CC = Merit, Merit (plus 10 units at merit)

∆ = Diploma and Sub-Dip 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 - C or B) by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications to the same standard as defined by UCAS.


The SubDip may be accepted in combination with A levels. A levels should be achieved at the upper end of the standard A level offer profile (i.e. if two A levels are offered with a SubDip and our standard A level offer is BBC then we normally ask for BB at A level with the SubDip offer at the appropriate differential to satisfy the A level grade profile).

A* = Distinction* (To include 5 units at distinction)

A = Distinction (To include 4 units at distinction)

B = Distinction (To include 3 units at distinction)

C = Merit (To include 5 units at merit).

Irish Leaving Certificate

The Irish Leaving Certificate requirement for this course is grades B2,B2,B3,B3,C1-B2,B2,B2,B2,B2 at higher level.

Preference may be given to applicants holding Grade B2 in English Literature at higher.

Scottish Highers

A grade range is in operation for this course

The Scottish Highers requirement for this course is a minimum of grades BBCCC∆



Preference may be given to applicants holding Grade B in English Literature.

∆ = 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 - C or B) by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications to the same standard as defined by UCAS.

Scottish Advanced Highers

A grade range is in operation for this course.

The Scottish Advanced Highers requirement for this course is a minimum of grades




∆ = 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 - C or B) by substituting a combination of alternative qualifications to the same standard as defined by UCAS.

Preference may be given to applicants holding Grade C in English Literature.

International Baccalaureate

Overall International Baccalaureate profile minimum of:

25 points to include 12 at higher level to 26 points to include 13 at higher level.

Preference may be given to applicants scoring well in literary subjects at higher level.

Access to Higher Education (HE)

A grade range is in operation for this course.

For Access qualifications validated by Ulster University or QUB the entry requirement is currently under review with UCAS for 2017 entry. Please refer to the Equivalence of Qualifications for indicative requirement

For GB QAA accredited Higher Education Diploma qualifications the entry requirement is as follows:

Overall pass in a related subject area, achieving merit or distinction in all of the 45 level 3 graded credits (plus English level 2 equivalences where required).

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


Applicants holding a HND should achieve an overall merit for entry to Year 1.


Applicants holding a HNC should achieve an overall distinction for entry to Year 1.

Foundation Degree

Applicants holding a Foundation Degree should achieve an overall average of 50-55% in second year modules for Year 1 entry.

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 study an an alternative institution

Those applicants seeking entry with advanced standing, (eg. Transfer from another institution or year 2 entry) 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.

Teaching and learning 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 are 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 through averaging all of your final year marks.

Careers & opportunities

In this section

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:

The Career Development Centre (www:// ; T:+44 (0) 28 701 24210) 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.

Academic profile

The teaching of English is driven by the research expertise of the staff, all of whom contributed towards the subject's successful 2014 National Research Excellence Framework (REF) return: on quality of research output, English at UU ranked 27th out of 89 institutions across the British Isles.

Within its numbers, the department is lucky to have several published poets, a celebrated biographer and numerous authors of significant academic monographs.


Applications for full time undergraduate courses are made through UCAS

How to apply

Start dates

  • September 2017

Fees and funding

In this section

Fees (per year)

Important notice - fees information Tuition fees shown are for last years entry. Fees are correct at the time of publishing and may be subject to an annual increase. Additional mandatory costs are highlighted where they are known in advance. There are other costs associated with university study. Read our Tuition Fees Payment Policy

Northern Ireland & EU:
England, Scotland & Wales:

Scholarships, awards and prizes

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

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

Additional mandatory costs

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel and normal living are a part of university life. 

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them in the online prospectus. 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.


Course Director (BA English) / Subject Director (English in combinations):

Dr Tim Hancock

T: +44 (0) 28 7012 4551


School Contact:

Mrs Janetta Chambers

T: +44 (0) 28 7012 4111


For admissions queries contact


'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.