Course Learning Outcomes
analyze literature through discussion and writing [Critical Thinking & Arts/Humanities];
demonstrate an understanding of such literary terms, themes, strategies, and issues as are relevant to the works being studied;
express their understanding of the relationship between literature and the historical/cultural contexts in which it was written [Arts/Humanities];
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demonstrate basic knowledge of the chronology of authors and literary periods/movements;
interpret literature through the lens of their own experience and through the lenses of various schools of literary criticism; and
demonstrate an understanding of the relevance of literature of the period to the broader history of British literature and to contemporary culture.
A degree in English language and literature is designed to get you reading books, analyzing theories, critiquing prose and verse, and taking a more critical look at the signs and words surrounding us every day. The aim is to get students thinking creatively and analytically about the English language; this differs from other modern language degrees as it is intended for students already proficient in written and spoken English.
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An English degree can focus equally on the literature and language sides, while others specialize in one or the other; this will usually be clear from the course title.
A course with a focus on English literature typically allows students to study literary texts from throughout history. Often you’ll start with modules covering a diverse range of literature from different periods; for instance, you could be reading Shakespeare one week and Virginia Woolf the next. Your reading will require you to study and analyze passages, relating texts to their cultural, social, historical and political contexts.
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An English language-focused degree will train students to analyze the workings of the English language outside of literature, including language-based communication in all kinds of forms and contexts. This could include analysis of casual spoken conversation, text speak, advertising methods or the uses of language in specialized legal and medical discourse.
Common skills gained from an English degree include:
- Ability to critique and analyze a broad range of materials
- Ability to communicate ideas and theories
- Awareness of different theoretical schools and approaches to literary criticism
- Leading and participating in discussions
- Ability to work within a team to develop and present ideas
- Excellent written communication skills
- Correct use of academic citations and referencing
- Ability to develop independent understanding of texts, concepts and theories
- Academic research skills
- Ability to work to independently
- Time management and organization skills
- Creative skills
- Essay planning and writing skills
- Basic IT skills
- Knowledge of how language and literature has evolved and trends that have emerged through time