English

Supported by world-leading scholarship, the Department of English offers innovative and wide-ranging engagement with literary studies. You will be part of an intellectually rich and friendly community that specialises in research-lead teaching. 

Why study English at Bristol?

English at Bristol is distinguished by a diverse and lively approach to literary studies through small group tutorials, seminars and lectures. It is a serious but enjoyable academic discipline, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary dialogue across the University and beyond.

Our courses are designed to support your growth as an independent learner and give you the opportunity to follow your own interests with many optional units. You can study English literature from the medieval period to the present day, as well as key critical and theoretical approaches to literary study.

Our courses emphasise the chronological development of literature in the global anglophone world, as well as the theoretical and cultural contexts in which development can be understood. 

Year one supports your transition to undergraduate study and lays strong foundations, while also giving you the opportunity to choose optional first year units. Subsequent years allow greater freedom of choice as you develop your own specialisations. You will have the opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic of your own choosing in your final year.

Optional special subject units, which are based on the scholarly expertise of our teaching staff, allow you to explore particular authors, topics or genres in-depth. Our range of research interests include literature, poetry and drama from the Middle Ages to the contemporary period and draw on many perspectives and literary theories, such as postcolonial theory, environmental studies, gender and critical race studies, medical humanities, visual culture and comparative literary studies, among others. Our creative writing tutors have specialisms in poetry, fiction for adults, children’s fiction, creative non-fiction, screenwriting and editing.

What kind of student would this course suit?

This course suits intelligent, imaginative, hard-working students who love to read widely.

Many people take the activity of reading for granted but it is one of the most difficult and exciting things we do. Reading literature allows us to question our world, to realise the limits of our understanding, to make connections across disciplines and ideas, to evaluate historical and cultural processes, and to think through the complexities of our own times.   

How is this course taught and assessed?

Teaching is delivered through lectures, tutorials, seminars and workshops. You will be expected to participate in small-group teaching and may be asked to give introductory talks to initiate discussion.

Coursework essays of different lengths are the most common form of assessment; some units also require short examinations (unseen and take-home). Optional units may be partially assessed by a portfolio of short pieces of writing, a presentation or a poster.

What are my career prospects?

English graduates are versatile researchers, active learners, critical thinkers and good communicators. An English degree will help you to develop a broad range of communication skills and evaluative techniques that are considered very favourably by employers.

Recent Bristol English graduates have been successful in obtaining employment in the media, journalism, publishing, marketing, the theatre, arts administration and various kinds of teaching, as well as in industry, commerce, law, computing, accountancy, human resources, international relations and social work. Some of our graduates have become successful novelists, playwrights and poets.

We also have a lively postgraduate community and many of our students go on to study on our master’s programmes and research degrees.

Find out more about what our students do after graduating.

Disclaimer

Important disclaimer information about our courses.

Every day my inbox is flooded with opportunities – internships, research projects, extra-curricular activities – all of which are the University getting students involved. The University is constantly updating its facilities, which reinforces its friendly and inclusive environment.

Alexandra (LLB Law)

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