English - BA (Hons)

Course Overview

The essential course information

How to apply
UCAS Code:
Full-time: Q301
Part-time: apply direct to the University
BA (Hons)
  • Full Time (3 years)
  • Part Time (6 years)
School of English
City Centre (from 2015)

Our BA (Hons) English degree offers a wealth of opportunity to combine subjects to suit your interests. With a broad array of options available, you will enjoy a range of study topics from literature and language to creative writing and drama; ideal if you don't want to focus your studies on a particular area through one of our specialist pathways.

What's covered in the course?

  • A common first year will give you a solid grounding in four key areas of English – literature, language, creative writing and drama.
  • A variety of literature modules cover influential periods in literature, theories and ideologies, enabling you a wide spectrum of learning.
  • Language modules on offer will broaden your skills of description and analysis and you will learn about the context of language in use.
  • Working with fellow students and expert staff encourages a cross-flow of ideas and creative inspiration, where you can share and absorb different insights.
  • A range of assessment forms will develop your research skills, your confidence and your competence, enhancing your employability.

“My English degree changed my life. It was the best thing I’ve ever done. It made me a better human being and more analytical.”
Frank Skinner, comedian, writer and alumnus*

“I’ve discovered, having been at the University for a year-and-a-half now, that the tutors are fantastic – they are always there to help the students, and they are enthusiastic about the modules they teach, which is always something that gives your own enthusiasm a boost.”
Danielle Cotton

*Taken from the Metro, 20 Sep 2011

Why Choose Us?

  • The only English course in the region offering such a flexible combination of subjects that can be adapted to suit your interests.
  • You will receive inspirational tuition and guidance from nationally and internationally renowned experts and writers.
  • The university is an important research centre in linguistics and the latest Research Assessment Exercise results found 80 per cent of the School's research to be of international standard and some to be 'world-leading'.
  • You will be supported by a richly-stocked library, including electronic resources giving you access to every printed book published in the UK between 1470 and 1800.

Download the Course Programme Specification

Entry Requirements

We accept a range of qualifications, the most popular of which are detailed below.

Typical UK QualificationRequirements 2015/16

You must have the minimum of 5 GCSE's at Grade C or above which MUST include English Language C+.  No other equivalence (including Key Skills) will be considered.

GCE A Level/ AS Level 280 UCAS Tariff points from 3 A level subjects including English at grade C or above.  This may also include General Studies and Critical Thinking. Remaining points can be made up with AS levels in different subjects.  AS level in the same subject of an A level will not be accepted.
Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass with 60 credits, 45 at level 3 and 15 at Level 2 including English at Level 3.  Distinction/merit in 18 credits at Level 3 plus answer set essay question.
BTEC National Diploma (12-units not including early years) D*D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points
BTEC Extended Diploma (18-units not including early years) DMM (280 UCAS points) in related area (e.g. Media, Performing Arts).
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/ National Award (6-units not including early years) D* or combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points
International Baccalaureate Diploma 26 points overall
Irish Leaving Certificate 280 points, including 4 higher level passes
Scottish Higher/ Advanced Higher 280 points, including 3 higher level passes
Welsh Baccalaureate (core plus options) 120 tariff points combined with other level 3 qualifications to achieve a minimum total of 280 UCAS points

If you have a qualification that is not listed in the table please refer to our full entry requirements on UCAS.

Further guidance on tariff points can be found on the UCAS website.

Unconditional Offers 2015/16

If you are a full-time undergraduate applicant for the 2015/16 year, and show particular potential, we may be able to make you an unconditional offer if you make us first choice and satisfy certain criteria.
To be considered you must hold, or be predicted to achieve:

  • 280 tariff points or above from three A levels (equivalent to grades BBC or above)
  • or
  • be predicted DMM profile at BTEC level

You will also be required to attend an interview.

Learn more about unconditional offers >>

Typical EU/Non-EU (International) QualificationsRequirements 2015/16
IELTS 6.0 overall with TOEFL 550 (paper) 213 (computer based)
International Baccalaureate Diploma (or equivalent, including internationally accredited Foundation courses). 26 points overall
Country-specific entry requirements and qualifications.

How to Apply

Full Time

Apply through UCAS.
UCAS Code: Q301.
Apply via UCAS

Non-EU (International) students: There are three ways for international students to apply: direct to the University, through a country representative or through UCAS. Please read our guidance on how to apply.

Part Time
Online application for UK or EU students
Sep 2015 BA (Hons) Part Time (6 years)

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our pdf application form instead.

UCAS Information

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK organisation responsible for managing applications to university and college.

UK, EU and international students applying for most undergraduate degree courses in the UK will need to apply through UCAS.

You submit an application via the UCAS website with a list of up to five courses. All choices are confidential during the application process so universities and colleges considering an application cannot see your other choices. Applications must be completed by mid-January of the year that you wish to start university.

You can monitor the progress of your application using the UCAS Apply system.

Fees and Finance

Fees for students from the UK or EU countries?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2015 FT 3 years BA (Hons) £9,000 per year
Sep 2015 PT 6 years BA (Hons) TBC
Fees for students from non-EU countries (International)?
Start Mode Duration Award Fees
Sep 2015 FT 3 years BA (Hons) £11,500 per year

The University reserves the right to increase fees broadly in line with increases in inflation, or to reflect changes in government funding policies or changes agreed by Parliament.

Additional costs

You should allow approximately £100 per semester for buying books.

Financial Options and Advice

We have deliberately tried to set fees that reflect the cost of course delivery in order to help our students avoid debt.

Full-time students won't have to pay for tuition fees until after their studies - there are government tuition fee loans available. If you are a full-time student, after leaving university you will start to pay back your loan once you are earning over £21,000 a year, at a rate of nine per cent on any income above £21,000. So if you were earning £25,000, you would pay back nine per cent of £4,000, or £30 per month.

Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis offers key facts on fees, loans and grants:

Financial Support

We offer further information on possible financial support. This includes the type of loans, grants and scholarships available both from the government and from Birmingham City University.

International Students

International Students at BCU

Birmingham City University is a vibrant and multicultural university in the heart of a modern and diverse city. We welcome many international students every year – there are currently students from more than 80 countries among our student community.

The University is conveniently placed, with Birmingham International Airport nearby and first-rate transport connections to London and the rest of the UK. Our reputation for excellence is soaring globally, thanks to the superb links we forge with industry, our international alliances, and our focus on practical, vocational learning.

Our international pages contain a wealth of information for international students who are considering applying to study here, including:

University Approach to Employability

Birmingham City University is committed to preparing students for successful employability and professional careers. We have an innovative approach to employability that will help you obtain an interesting and well-paid graduate job.

Read our Employability Statement to find out more.

Employment Opportunities

Due to their ability to analyse and interpret text, accurately communicate information, work independently or collaboratively and present material with confidence, English graduates are highly employable. Our alumni have found employment in arts administration, teaching, lecturing, law, media and marketing, management, research and writing, politics and public relations, social work and social administration and librarianship, information services and many other areas.

Further Studies

We offer a respected MA English Linguistics and Research degrees (MPhil or PhD) in all areas of English. Postgraduate study in a range of other disciplines is available through the wider University. For further information on courses contact Birmingham City University Choices - Tel: 0121 331 5595 Email: choices@bcu.ac.uk.

Full Time

About KIS data

From September 2012, all universities and colleges are publishing standardised information for all undergraduate courses in the form of a Key Information Set (KIS). The KIS data is designed to meet the needs of prospective students and allow for informed decision-making when choosing a university course.

Putting our students first

We pride ourselves on our student satisfaction levels which have risen from 73 per cent to 83 per cent between 2010 and 2012. Our dedication to improving the student experience is illustrated by our award-winning student engagement, our close links with business and industry and our £180 million investment in new facilities.

Employability facts

78.9% of graduates from the School of English who responded to our survey went into either employment and/or further study. The average full-time salary for a leaver was £16,700. Employers hiring graduates from the School include Headline Communications and Nottingham Trent University, offering positions such as Junior Account Executive and Sessional Lecturer.

Working with your Students’ Union

Improving student satisfaction is a priority commitment shared by both Birmingham City University and its Students’ Union. In its strategic planning, the Union has pledged to be more accessible, more relevant and provide more opportunity to engage with a diverse student community.

The Students’ Union is already a key stakeholder in supporting an excellent teaching experience at Birmingham City University, through joint projects such as the Extra Mile Teaching Awards and the Student Rep scheme, which allows students to share their ideas on how they are taught.

As Birmingham City University moves towards a two campus strategy where it can better support enhanced learning and student support facilities across a two-mile radius, the Students’ Union will also be better able to implement its commitment to improve communication and engage with its valued student membership.

Course Structure

Following the common first semester, and making use of regular module guidance fairs, you will begin to customise your study by selecting module options that complement your core studies in language and literature.

The BA (Hons) English course includes a wealth of topics where core study in period literature modules is complemented by specialist interests from any area of the course. Literature modules include 21st Century Poetry, Early Modern Drama, Gender, Sex and Culture and more. Language modules provide an overview of the description, analysis and context of language in use, with options to study each area in greater depth. Practical modules in drama and creative writing are also available.

Alongside class teaching and discussion, workshops combining elements of small group work, mini-lectures and other tasks will make a fundamental contribution to your learning. Throughout the course, you will have regular contact not only with your fellow students, but with our team of expert and dedicated staff, each of whom is active in research, professional practice or both. The course is supported throughout by a range of electronic resources, including the latest web 2.0 applications. Assessed group work, such as presentations, will help you to develop confidence as well as competence in your area of study. The development of basic research skills - covering library research, the use of electronic databases and web material - will make an important contribution to your employability. In the final stage of your studies, an independent study module will give you the option of focusing on a creative or critical project of your own devising.

Assessment Methods

Depending on the modules you choose, your assessments may include coursework essays, group and individual presentations, seen and unseen examinations, reports, portfolios, essay plans, annotated bibliographies and creative work.

Dr Anthony Howe

Senior Lecturer and Director of Graduate Research

Dr Anthony Howe hails from the North East of England and was educated at Liverpool and Cambridge; he has held posts at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford.

His main research focus is Romantic period poetry, but he has wider interests in literary theory, literary controversies, and the connections between poetry and philosophy. His recent monograph, Byron and the Forms of Thought, offers a provocative re-reading of Byron’s philosophical thought through an analysis of the poet’s varied use of literary form. He has published a number of essays on the Romantics and is co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Percy Bysshe Shelley.

He is currently working on a project about letter writing and Romantic poetics. He is keen to receive PhD proposals in the area of Romantic poetry, letters and poetics.

Dr Robert Lawson

Lecturer & Joint BA Course Director

Dr Robert Lawson completed his ESRC-funded PhD thesis at the University of Glasgow in 2009 which focused on urban adolescent language use in Glasgow. During the course of his PhD, he completed a period of overseas research training at the University of Arizona, taught a range of undergraduate courses at the University of Glasgow and University of Stirling, and presented at a number of international conferences.

Since starting in his role at Birmingham City University, Dr Lawson has continued to focus on language use in Scotland and the UK, as well as the application of sociolinguistic research beyond academia. In the academic year 2012/13, he was seconded to the University of Pittsburgh as the recipient of the Fulbright Scholar's Award in Scottish Studies, during which he completed a major edited volume about sociolinguistic research in Scotland and started a longer term project examining the application and impact of sociolinguistic research beyond academia (with Dr Dave Sayers).

Dr Lawson is also working on a project with Dr Ursula Lutzky which analyses patterns of interruption and turn-taking in the television show 'Mock the Week' and examines these patterns in relation to issues of institutional sexism in the entertainment industry.

Dr Serena Trowbridge


Dr Serena Trowbridge read English and Art History at King's College London, followed by an MA in textual studies at the University of Birmingham. Her PhD, entitled 'Christina Rossetti's Fractured Gothic', was completed at Birmingham City University in 2010, supervised by Professor Fiona Robertson. Her monograph Christina Rossetti's Gothic was published by Bloomsbury in 2013.

Serena has taught at the University of Worcester and Birmingham City University, mostly in the fields of gender and literature, and poetry. She has recently developed a new module on Gothic literature, and is preparing proposals for a book on graveyard poetry and Gothic. She is the editor of the journal of The Pre-Raphaelite Society, and a member of the committee of the Midlands Interdisciplinary Victorian Studies Seminars (MIVSS). She blogs for the Journal of Victorian Culture Online.

Professor Mark Addis

Professor of Philosophy

Mark primarily focuses upon Wittgenstein and related areas but also has active research interests in the philosophies of language, mind, and religion. He has published three books on Wittgenstein, namely, Wittgenstein: Making Sense of Other Minds (1999), Wittgenstein and Philosophy of Religion (2001) and Wittgenstein: A Guide for the Perplexed (2006).

Mark's contributions to the study of Wittgenstein are widely cited across academic disciplines within the humanities and social sciences, and have received international recognition. He is the General Editor for the Philosophy Insights series at Humanities-Ebooks.

In 2005, Mark was a Visiting Scholar at the Department of Philosophy at Georgia State University and from 2007 onwards a Visiting Professor at the Department of Philosophy at Aarhus University.

He is a Research Associate at the Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science at the London School of Economics and Deputy Director for the Centre for the Study of Expertise at Brunel University.

Mark is a member of the Schools and Executive Committee of the British Philosophical Association and the AHRC Peer Review College (2007 - 2014). He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

David Whitehead OBE

After studying for a degree in English at the then Birmingham Polytechnic, David's career began with commercial roles for the publishing and food industries, as section head for Oyez Stationery Ltd between 1975 and 1978, followed by a management traineeship at Fyffes Group Ltd in 1978 to 1982. He then spent two years at the British Poultry Federation before joining the ports industry in 1990 as Director of Policy of the British Ports Federation, subsequently becoming Director of the BPA in 1992.

The UK ports industry plays a fundamentally important role in the country's economy. A staggering 95 per cent of the UK's international trade - imports and exports - is carried through UK ports, which also handle 25 million international passenger journeys each year. Created in 1992, the British Ports Association represents the interests of its 91 full members, and numerous associate members, to the United Kingdom and devolved Governments, the European Union and national and international bodies.

David's current roles include board membership of the EcoPorts Foundation which coordinates environmental research and good practice schemes for use throughout the EU as well as membership of the government (BIS) Ports Advisory Group, the Industrial Advisory Panel to the Marine Geography Department, Cardiff University and the Greenwich Forum.

He was until recently a board member of Freight by Water, an organisation which promoted the benefits of coastal shipping. He is a founder member of the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) and was the first Chairman of its Environment Committee. He was elected Chairman of ESPO on two occasions, holding office from 2001 to 2004 and has been closely involved in the major policy changes that have occurred since then, both in the UK and in the EU.

His services to the ports industry led to him being awarded the Order of the British Empire in the 2011 New Year's Honours List.

Our Facilities

We are constantly investing in our estate and are currently in the process of spending £260 million on new learning facilities. It’s no surprise that the Complete University Guide placed us in the UK top 10 for spending on facilities in both 2012 and 2013.

Moving to the City Centre Campus

In September 2015 all business, English, law and social sciences courses will move to our City Centre Campus – and specifically The Curzon Building. The £63m building will offer students a unique social learning space, including a dedicated student hub incorporating student support services, in the heart of Birmingham’s Eastside development.

What do our students think?

"It's shaping out to be a great futuristic building."

English student Isaac had a sneak peek of the Curzon building.

Read Isaac's blog >>

Gallery - Curzon Building preview Atrium
Gallery - Curzon Building - library 1
Gallery - Curzon Building preview cafe 1
Gallery - Curzon Building preview cafe 2
Gallery - Curzon building preview lecture theatre
Gallery - Curzon Building preview boardroom
Gallery - Curzon Building preview - library upper
Gallery - Curzon Building preview library 2

Read more about the City Centre Campus


If you are from the UK or EU please enquire using the Course Enquiry Form or contact +44 (0)121 331 5595.

If you are from outside the EU please use the International Enquiry Form or contact +44 (0)121 331 6714.


For an overview of our undergraduate courses and a range of other information order a printed Prospectus or download a PDF of our Prospectus (16Mb).

Further Information

Email: english@bcu.ac.uk

Web: www.bcu.ac.uk/english