Course options

There are other course options available which may have a different vacancy status or entry requirements – view the full list of options

Make sure you check on the university, college or conservatoire website for any updates about course changes as a result of COVID-19.

Course summary

Are you fascinated by literature and its cultural and political contexts? Our BA English offers you the chance to study the full range of English literature and to develop valuable new skills in writing, reading and critical thinking. Based in our historic campus in the heart of London, you’ll gain a detailed knowledge of literary works from the medieval period to the present day and discover authors from a variety of places and cultures. Foundational modules will introduce you to key techniques in literary analysis, and show how theoretical approaches can transform the ways in which you read and think, such as:

  • feminism
  • post-colonialism
  • psychoanalysis.
You can then choose from a range of option modules that allow you to focus on single authors, genres and literary periods. You’ll read texts by writers such as Dickens, Zadie Smith, Shakespeare and Plath, encounter genres such as science fiction and romance, and explore literary forms from the novel to comics and beyond. The course’s flexible structure allows you to shape your degree according to your own literary and critical interests. If you opt for the Foundation Year route, this will fully prepare you for undergraduate study. It is ideal if you are returning to study after a gap, or if you have not previously studied the relevant subjects, or if you didn't achieve the grades you need for a place on your chosen undergraduate degree. Highlights
  • You will be taught by world-leading scholars. The Department of English, Theatre and Creative Writing is ranked 2nd in the UK for its research excellence.
  • You could be studying in a building that was once home to Virginia Woolf and frequented by members of the Bloomsbury Group - now home to our School of Arts - and be taught by leading novelists, dramatists and artists. The building houses our own creative hub which includes the Peltz Gallery, the Gordon Square Cinema and a theatre and performance space.
  • Based at the heart of one of the world's most exciting cities, we combine lectures, seminars and workshops with visits to theatres and other cultural and artistic institutions, and we frequently collaborate with leading arts, cultural, theatre and dance and performing arts organisations, allowing you to ground your studies in real-world practice.
  • If you opt for the three-year full-time or four-year part-time course, you can apply to take part in a competitive industry placement module, which offers you the opportunity to spend a term working in an arts-related organisation or arts-related role.
Careers and employability Graduates can pursue career paths in writing and journalism, publishing, editing or research. Possible professions include:
  • editorial assistant
  • newspaper/magazine journalist
  • writer
  • academic librarian
  • public relations officer.
We offer a comprehensive Careers Service - Birkbeck Futures - your career partner during your time at Birkbeck and beyond. At every stage of your career journey, we empower you to take ownership of your future, helping you to make the connection between your experience, education and future ambitions.


For information about course structure and the modules you will be studying, please visit Birkbeck’s online prospectus.

Assessment method

A mixture of continuous assessment of written work and examinations: one three-hour examination in Year 1 and two three-hour examinations in Year 2. In Year 3 only certain modules have examinations.

How to apply

Application codes

Please select a course option – you will then see the application code you need to use to apply for the course.

Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

International applicants

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests. We also accept other English language tests.

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

We welcome applicants without traditional entry qualifications as we base decisions on our own assessment of qualifications, knowledge and previous work experience. We may waive formal entry requirements based on judgement of academic potential. As part of the application process, you may be invited to complete a written task or attend an interview. FOUNDATION YEAR DEGREES Our 'with Foundation Year' route is designed to give you extra support as it provides you with an additional year (full-time) or two years (part-time) of supported study. This is an ideal route if you are returning to study after a gap, or if you have not previously studied this subject, or if you did not achieve the grades you need for a place on this degree. Once you successfully complete your Foundation Year studies, you will automatically advance onto the main degree.

Additional entry requirements

Admission tests

Institutions Own Test (IOT)

As part of the application process, you may be invited to complete a written task or attend an interview.

Unistats information

Operated by the Office for Students
Student satisfaction
Employment after 15 months (Most common jobs)
Go onto work and study

The student satisfaction data is from students surveyed during the Covid-19 pandemic. The number of student respondents and response rates can be important in interpreting the data – it is important to note your experience may be different from theirs. This data will be based on the subject area rather than the specific course. Read more about this data on the Discover Uni website.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

England £9250 Year 1
Northern Ireland £9250 Year 1
Scotland £9250 Year 1
Wales £9250 Year 1
International £16020 Year 1

Additional fee information

Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases.
English at Birkbeck, University of London - UCAS