Reading English Literature

A group of mature students in a classroom in discussion

This course aims to be an enjoyable introduction to the study of classic and modern literature. Share your ideas, explore poetry and gain a greater understanding of Shakespeare.


12 Wednesday evenings 6 pm to 8:45pm, running 24 January to 8 May 2024 with breaks for half-term and Easter.


University of Bristol Micro-Campus, East Bristol and University of Bristol Arts Complex, Woodland Road, Clifton Main Campus


Reading English Literature is a short 20-credit course designed to help mature students progress to a part-time degree in the English department or to explore other opportunities for further study. It enables students to develop skills in literary study, critical thinking and essay-writing.

Students will have full access to the University library and student study centres.

Example Course outline 

Week 1: Reading skills
Week 2:
'Head of English' by Carol Ann Duffy
'Do not go gentle into that good night', Dylan Thomas, reading by Benjamin Zephaniah
Week 3:
'Bliss' by Katherine Mansfield
'Who is Like God' by Akwaeke Emezi
Weeks 4-6: Shakespeare's Macbeth 
Week 7: Poetry in Time - medieval lyric to Nineteenth Century
Week 8: Poetry in Time - early Nineteenth Century to the modern period
Week 9: Writing skills
Week 10: 'Giovanni's Room' by James Baldwin
Week 11: 
excerpts from Exile and Pride by Eli Clare
excerpts from Letters to My Weird Sisters by Joanne Limburg
Week 12
Girl by Jamaica Kinkaid
The Husband Stitch by Carmen Maria Machado

Course fee

Course Fee £410. Payment can be made in instalments. 

Students from low income backgrounds are welcome to apply for funding support.‌ Click the following link to download the Pathway Funding Guidance (PDF, 69kB)

Application deadline

15 December 2023

Informal interviews will be taking place in December 2023 and January 2024

If you require the form in an alternative format, please email us at

Previous qualifications/experience No qualifications needed. Open to the public.

What our students say...

It was a great confidence boost to have an essay marked, after 15 years out of education, and know that I can write something that is worthwhile reading and got good marks. I would recommend it to anyone who feels like they aren't sure if they're clever enough for university level work, your confidence and knowledge is built up slowly and in a fun and engaging way.

Reading English Literature student, 2022

The REL course has been illuminating and enabled me to think about texts in much more depth. I have been introduced to literature that has really interested me and has contributed to many more ideas. I have found the expertise of each tutor to be equally valuable and have benefitted from every session. The tutors have been patient and have taken much trouble to ensure that I feel confident to make comments and have responded encouragingly.

Reading English Literature student, 2021


Please address any enquiries about the courses to:

Department of English Part-time Courses
School of Humanities
3-5 Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 1TB

Tel: 0117 928 8924

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