English Literature here is taught to small groups by energetic and enthusiastic staff, led by Oxford-trained academics with international research profiles in 19th- and 20th-century studies. Ideas developed in core seminars are taken forward in weekly small-group tutorials, where half a dozen students are encouraged to discuss and interpret specific passages of writing, under the watchful guidance of their tutor.
Our students are expected to read widely and to develop strong lines of argument and personal responses to what they find, anchored in an informed understanding of the discipline and with reference to the critical debates that animate it. We believe, as Jeanette Winterson says, that ‘learning how to read deeply – and that means diverse and sometimes difficult texts – trains the brain and improves your sense of self. Learning how to write, even reasonably well, gives fluency to the rest of life’.
The degree is structured around a combination of period study, thematic study, and modules inculcating theoretical and practical skills. Victorian literature modules cover prose from Dickens to Gaskell, and poetry from Browning to Hardy; 20th-century literature topics range from Rhys, Hurston, Woolf, and Plath to Hemingway, Forster, Larkin, and Beckett. Shakespeare is one central focus. Other earlier writers who are studied include Marlowe, Donne, Webster, Herbert, Milton, Dryden, Centlivre, Swift, Pope, Blake, Wordsworth, Austen, Keats, and Shelley. Thematic study encourages students to analyse contextually based on sociological variations, gender, contemporary politics, and psychological influences. We encourage the understanding of contemporary literary and cultural theory while never losing sight of the values of liberal/aesthetic education.
This is the 3-year format of the BA degree (UCAS code Q321), which allows you the traditional summer break. Starting each September, there are 3 terms per year, leading to an assessment period in early June. Then the summer is free, before the return for the new academic year in late September. This allows you more time for reading and reflection. For the 2-year format of the degree see BA English Literature | 2 Years, 2 Years (+ 1 term).
Our recent graduates have gone on to pursue careers in the media, creative writing, teaching, academia, business, and marketing.
Make your degree as unique as you! If you choose English Literature (Single or Flexible Honours) you’ll have the freedom to tailor your English Literature degree to reflect your interests and passions by combining it with a wide range of other subjects taught here at the University. This means that when you graduate you will have a highly personalised degree that will suit you and your aspirations perfectly.
If you choose Flexible Honours you have the freedom to select up to a third of your modules from the whole range of what is taught at the University. This means you can mix and match lots of different subjects with English Literature or focus solely on English Literature. At every stage, your Personal Tutor will be on hand to advise and guide your choices.
Availability of modules are subject to timetabling constraints, minimum and maximum class sizes and any agreed pre-requisite modules.
In your final year, you are given the opportunity to research, develop, and write a mini-dissertation of 6,000 – 8,000 words. This sounds daunting, but you have six months to complete it, and plenty of guidance from us, so many of our students have found it one of the most rewarding parts of their studies.
Among other outcomes, you should gain from this course:
In-depth understanding of your chosen field of study.
Experience of completing an individual piece of research through from conception to final, fully-documented work.
Understanding of scholarly standards of objectivity, documentation, referencing and citation.
A more nuanced sense of the complexities of contemporary critical practice.
The final dissertation has to be bound, fully ‘styled’ and sourced (in other words, a professional piece of report writing in every sense), and is your chance to connect together many of the skills you have acquired on the Literature programme here at Buckingham. Subjects presented recently include ‘The Idea of the Gentleman in Victorian Fiction,’ ‘Heroes, Anti-Heroes, and Villains in Gothic Fiction,’ ‘Virginia Woolf’s prose fiction in the 1920s’, and ‘Sympathy and Alienation in the Plays of Christopher Marlowe’. Your bound dissertation makes an ideal accompaniment to your CV if you are applying for jobs where research and report-writing are important.
The standard entry requirements for English are A-level : BBB-BBC , IB:31-32 or equivalent qualifications.
Applications to Buckingham are individually considered by the Admissions Tutor and other factors may be taken in to account. Applicants with BTEC qualifications are welcome to apply, including if you have a mix of BTEC and A levels. Equivalent A-level grades are also accepted (for example BBD equivalent to BCC)
Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A-levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in a slightly lower A-level grade offer.
Foundation options are also available. Please contact the Admissions Office (firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0)1280 820227) for more information.
Applicants must also have GCSE English and Maths at Grade C / Grade 4, or above (or equivalent). If English is not your first language you will also need an IELTS score of 6.5 (with at least 6.0 in each component).
All of our undergraduate programmes operate a flexible entry process, and the Admissions Tutor is happy to consider entrants from all backgrounds with slightly lower qualifications if they are able to demonstrate an alternative eligibility for the course. This may be in the form of relevant work experience, keen aptitude and a passion for the subject, or unlocked potential that you feel can be discovered through your studies at Buckingham. If you are uncertain whether you will be eligible to apply for this course, please contact the Admissions Team.
You may apply either through the national UCAS university admissions system or at any time directly to the University using our own online application form. Our UCAS code is B90.
Because of our two-year degree, we find that the age range of our student body varies between those who have recently completed A-levels (or equivalent) to more mature students. Age is no barrier to learning and we welcome all applications from suitably qualified students.
Wherever possible, you will be invited to the University to meet the Admissions Tutor for an informal interview and to have a tour of our campus. If you are an international applicant, it may not be possible for you to visit in person, so if the Admissions Tutor has any queries about your application you may be contacted by Skype, email or phone.
Our Admissions Team will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Call us on +44 (0)1280 820227 or get in touch via our online contact form.
Student Contract for prospective students
When you are offered a place at the University you will be notified of the student contract between the University and students on our courses of study. When you accept an offer of a place on the course at the University a legal contract is formed between you and the University on the basis of the student contract in your offer letter. Your offer letter and the student contract contain important information which you should read carefully before accepting an offer. Read the Student Contract
We offer high quality, traditional Oxbridge-style teaching, which leads to our degrees being recognised around the world. The standards of degrees and awards are safeguarded by distinguished external examiners – senior academic staff from other universities in the UK – who approve and moderate assessed work.
High calibre staff
Most of our academic staff teach for three terms out of four, with the remaining term used for research. Because of this, we have no difficulty in attracting high calibre, highly respected lecturers, many of whom also have a background in business or industry and can offer networking opportunities for students.
Teaching is carried out through a combination of lectures supported by seminars, workshops, tutorials and informal one-to-one discussion.. A key feature of the Buckingham teaching method is the use of small tutorial groups which provide the most effective means of ensuring that the students benefit from the academic expertise at their disposal. It is also the philosophy of Buckingham’s faculty to be available to students outside the scheduled tutorial times and to encourage good working relationships between staff and students.
We believe in the surpassing value of the reading, discussing and understanding of great works of literature, not simply as processes that lead to higher levels of employability and the development of valuable critical skills (which they undoubtedly do) but as ends in themselves which are enriching and, ultimately, liberating.
The assessment of individual modules within each course varies according to the subject. Assessment is usually by examination, assessed coursework, or a combination of the two. Please check module information for more details.
Preparation for work
All our degree courses combine academic challenge with the transferable skills that will stand you in good stead for future employment. Many of our more vocationally-focused degrees offer the opportunity of work placements and experience in industry.
Our graduates have gone on to further study at most of the world’s leading universities, including Harvard, London, Oxford and Cambridge and secured jobs in senior positions around the world. Among our alumni we have a graduate who became the head of his country’s civil service and one who became a leading Formula One motor-racing driver. Another secured a position as the Minister of Sabah and one female law graduate became the first British lawyer to become a French Advocate.
What our students and alumni say
“I started studying English Literature in October 2007 and immediately realised that the Department has a warm and friendly feel, where enthusiastic lecturers are always on hand to help. Owing to the small student population, the Department is able to offer small, informal tutorials that can lend a hand in putting you on the path to success. These are the reasons why I will be staying on at Buckingham to study for a postgraduate degree in English Literature by research.”
English Literature, 2009
“Having experienced the anonymity of the state university system, coming to Buckingham and immediately receiving attention from academic staff was a shock – as was their level of enthusiasm. It’s a real pleasure not simply to be lectured at, but to be positively encouraged to debate literature with world-class specialists.”
English Literature, 2010
“I wanted to study English Literature in England – where it all began! I doubted my capacity to survive financially or emotionally in any of the bigger centres. Buckingham’s snug rural setting seemed irresistible, as did the accelerated degree programme. In the event, my expectations were more than realised. My Oxford-trained lecturers are experts and published authors within their fields. But – more importantly – they are enthusiasts and educators of the first rank, showing an unfeigned interest in the personal advancement of every student. They taught me to weigh words in wholly new ways.”
Grant Christison English Literature, 2004
“Buckingham is a university with an intimate, supportive atmosphere that is hard to beat. Here you are not just another ‘number’ but an individual whose needs matter to all the staff – whether academic or domestic. If you have a problem there is always someone to talk it over with. My A-level tutor warmly advised me to attend this literature course, as she had been both student and lecturer here. Teaching staff here are passionate about their chosen fields and it shows! Being taught with enthusiasm is inspiring and it is primarily that which makes this university so special. Add an English riverside campus, fast track degrees, and access to scholarships, and you have an unbeatable package.”
Setara Pracha English Literature, 2002
“The degree has been a wonderful experience. I’ve learnt about all aspects of writing in the English language as well as having the opportunity to research an area of special interest to me for my Dissertation. I’ve also studied with an enthusiastic, friendly and diverse group of students from all over the world. The best thing has been the people, staff and students. As far as I can gather, at nowhere else – except maybe Oxford and Cambridge – would you get the chance to have this much real, one-to-one interaction with lecturers.”
English Literature, 2008
“University can be a daunting prospect when you are not long out of school but the Buckingham English and Digital Media Department nurtures you and allows your personal talents to shine. I edited the university magazine and chaired the theatre group and I am now using the media component of my degree course as a springboard into desktop publishing which I adore.”
English Literature with Multimedia Journalism, 2004
“The tuition is fantastic, groups are tiny, very much a one-to-one situation – you couldn’t get better at Oxbridge. My passion for English combined with the international atmosphere at Buckingham has led me to a satisfying career teaching Business English at an international school in Bournemouth.”
English Literature, 2003
*The University reserves the right to increase course fees annually in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering educational services. If the University intends to increase your course fees it will notify you via email of this as soon as reasonably practicable.
The University of Buckingham Bursary aims to support students on low incomes or from low income families. The bursary is worth £2000 per year and students receive this as a termly reduction in tuition fees (£500 reduction per term). Read about the eligibility criteria and how to apply.
Students who graduate from the University and plan to continue their studies with a postgraduate degree at Buckingham can benefit from a very generous automatic discount on their fees:
33%, those with a first class honours degree from Buckingham
25%, those with a Second Class Honours, Upper Division (2:1) degree from Buckingham
We guarantee on-campus accommodation to all new students for their first four terms of study, as long as it is booked and paid for in good time, so you’re assured of a safe and secure home from home when you arrive at the University. Most new students choose this option.
Living on campus enables you to become involved in University activities, make friends, and integrate with the University community. For some of you this will be your first time in the UK; for others it will be the first time living away from home – and independence brings its challenges as well as its excitements. Whatever your circumstances, we know how important it is for you to feel comfortable in your accommodation.
All our study bedrooms are fully furnished, centrally heated, and connected to the internet. With few exceptions they have a wash basin and small refrigerator. We have a large number of ensuite rooms, and are upgrading more rooms each year. There are shared kitchens for when you wish to cook for yourself.
We welcome applications in two different ways – directly via our online application form or through UCAS.
Apply online via our course pages:
Most flexible option
Apply until shortly before the course starts
No application fees
You can apply to us as an extra option alongside your UCAS choices
You can apply directly through our website by clicking the ‘apply’ button at the bottom of the course page.
Apply via UCAS
You can easily make Buckingham one of your UCAS choices:
You can apply to up to 5 choices
The application and decision deadlines are set by UCAS
There is an application fee to UCAS
Our UCAS code is B90. The University will be attending lots of UCAS fairs throughout the year, take a look and see if we’ll be visiting a city near you.
If you’re interested in transferring to Buckingham from another university then please get in touch to talk through your options.
Help and support
If you need any help making your application or if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch using the form below, or by phone on +44 (0)1280 820227. We are available between 09:00 and 17:00, Monday to Friday.