English Literature and Geography
- Award: BA/BSc (Hons)
- UCAS code: QF38
- School: School of Humanities and Cultural Industries & School of Science, Society and Management
- Fees and Finance Information
- Course length: 3 years full-time
- Campus: Newton Park
- English Literature Course Handbook (PDF)
- Geography Course Handbook (PDF)
- Geography Course Handbook (PDF)
Lectures and seminars are lively and offer plenty of opportunities for involvement and debate. Throughout your study you can experiment with new ideas and new perspectives, both critically and creatively.
English at Bath Spa is a dynamic subject offering a broad and stimulating approach to literary studies.
Why study English Literature?
Literature can change the way we see the world; it can introduce us to new experiences; it can be dangerous, or exciting, or heart-rending.
Here at Bath Spa we welcome students who share our passion for the written word. A current student describes the course as 'enlightening, eye-opening and endlessly entertaining'.
The English programme is large and varied and offers you plenty of choice. It is designed to balance the study of canonical writers - Shakespeare, Wordsworth, James Joyce, Charlotte Bronte - with texts and writers who may be less familiar to you. We are keen to bring literature to life, and the course features options that include field trips to London, Oxford, Krakow and Auschwitz, and Berlin, amongst others. The modules range from those on specific authors (Shakespeare, Ian McEwan, or Virginia Woolf, for instance), to topic-based subjects (Writing and the Environment, Post-Colonial Literatures, or Literary London), to period-based study (Gender and Eighteenth-Century Fiction or Gothic Origins and Innovations). You will be encouraged to explore diverse areas of literature and to investigate issues that matter to you.
English staff are committed to sharing their literary enthusiasms with students. We are all active researchers, writing scholarly books and articles and engaged in debate on literary and critical issues. We have specialists in the Gothic, writing and the environment, Renaissance literature, women's writing and modern and contemporary culture.
We are also passionate about teaching: we encourage our students to bring their own literary loves into the seminar room and we aim to foster a supportive atmosphere of lively, interactive debate. Lectures and seminars offer plenty of opportunities for involvement and debate. Throughout your study you can experiment with new ideas and new perspectives, both critically and creatively.
Don't just take our word for it: in the 2011 National Student Survey *100%* of our BA Hons. English Literature students were satisfied with their experience of the course.
The English Literature course at Bath Spa offers a large range of diverse modules. Although most English modules are optional, there are core modules in Years 1 and 2 which provide a common framework to explore central issues and aspects of literary study. The course is structured to allow an extended independent project or dissertation in Year 3.
In year 1, all students study the core module, Critical Reading I, which covers texts ranging from Ovid's Metamorphoses to Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre to James Joyce's modernist classic Ulysses. There are also a number of optional modules which give students the chance to broaden their experience of literature before moving into more specialised study in years 2 and 3. To accompany the core module you can study contemporary literature, 19th-century literature, or you can explore the 18th century or the Renaissance.
In year 2, all students study the core module, Critical Reading II, which, as its title suggests, follows on from Critical Reading I. In the year 2 core module, you will read a range of prose, poetry and drama; the authors studied include Samuel Richardson, Samuel Beckett, Shelley, Keats, Aphra Behn and Sylvia Plath. This module also features a PDP/employability strand, closely linked to its academic content.
In the third year of the course, a project or dissertation is core for students on the single honours BA English route and for those students taking English as their major. All other third-year English modules - of which there are a wide variety - are optional.
The reading list for the compulsory first year core module (EN4001: Critical Reading 1) is listed below. It is important that only the editions listed are purchased.
- Genesis, chapters 1-22, in the Authorised Version, translated 1611. Suggested editions are from Grove Press or Oxford University Press, or the on-line text athttp://etext.virginia.edu/kjv.browse.html
- William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra (1607), (ed.), Norton Critical Edition.
- Alexander Pope, Selected Poems, Pat Rogers (ed.), Oxford University Press.
- William Wordsworth, Selected Poems, Stephen Gill and Duncan Wu (eds), Oxford University Press.
- Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre (1847), Richard J. Dunn (ed.), Norton Critical Edition.
- James Joyce, Ulysses (1922), Jeri Johnson (ed.), Oxford University Press.
All students take Critical Reading I in the first year. This core module introduces a variety of texts and critical debates, and provides a foundation for English Literature in Years 2 and 3. All other first-year modules are optional.
- Critical Reading I (core); EN4001 Critical Reading 1 Order Form 2015-2016 (1).xlsx
- Writing and the Self;
- Writing, Gender and Politics, 1500-1750; EN4002 Writing, Gender and Politics Order Form 2015.xlsx
- Scandal and Sobriety: Enlightenment to Victorianism, 1750-1890; EN4003 Scandal and Sobriety Order Form 2015.xlsx
- From Decadence to the Naughties, 1890-2009; EN4004 From Decadence to the Naughties Order Form 2015 (1).xlsx
- Print, Book, and Candle: the production, form and reception of literary texts.
Current Year 2 modules:
- Critical Reading II (core);
- Theatre, Sex and Power in Early Modern England;
- Nineteenth-Century European Literature;
- Gothic Origins and Innovations, 1780-1890;
- Historical Fiction;
- Three Women Writers;
- Gender & Eighteenth-Century Literature;
- Canadian Literature and Culture;
- Post-Colonial Literatures;
- Practical Criticism and Close Reading;
- Reading Animals;
- Writing America: Identity, Ethnicity, Nationhood;
- Crime Fiction;
- Twentieth-Century Irish Writing;
- Renaissance Worlds: sixteenth and seventeenth-century poetry;
- Adventures in Periodical Culture: beyond the book, 1700-1960.
Current Year 3 modules:
- Research Project (compulsory for Single and Major Hons. English);
- Aspects of Modernism;
- Writing and the Environmental Crisis;
- Twentieth-Century European Literature;
- Virginia Woolf;
- Sylvia Plath;
- Bronte and Dickens;
- Gothic Revivals;
- Authors, Books and Readers in Early Modern England;
- Literary London;
- Margaret Atwood;
- In Search of America;
- Publishing: the Literary Journal;
- Empire and Identity in the 18th Century;
- Caribbean Writings, 1950 - the present;
- Women's Writing 1960-2000;
- Irish Women's Writing;
- European Drama from Ibsen to Ionesco;
- Ian McEwan;
- Gender, Race & Nation in Early Modern Britain;
- Literature & Evil;
- Love & Desire in Contemporary Culture;
- Meanings of Friendship in Literature and Philosophy;
- Literary Women, Work and Art: Romantic to Modern;
- Contemporary Crime Fiction;
- Digital Literary Studies;
- Literature and Psychology.
The course is assessed by coursework (including essays, portfolios, study journals and reviews), projects and dissertations, individual and group presentations, and seen and unseen examinations. An increasing proportion of English assessment is online and we offer plenty of guidance and support on writing for the web, for example.
English staff are all active researchers in their fields, writing scholarly books and articles and engaged in debate on literary and critical issues. We are also expert and enthusiastic teachers: our staff have held National Teaching Fellowships and have won awards for the quality of their teaching. Year on year, National Student Surveys show that students value our commitment to undergraduate teaching.
Students on our course also have access to a well-stocked library that includes a large range of high-quality online resources, such as The Dictionary of National Biography, the OED, Early English Books Online, and JSTOR, a database of journal articles.
English modules are taught via seminars, lectures, individual tutorials, and IT workshops.
In addition, there are opportunities for field trips to enrich the course: places we visit include the City of London, the Bodleian Library in Oxford, Krakow and Auschwitz, and Berlin.
All full time applications are through UCAS
280–320 UCAS Tariff points including A-level English Literature at grade B minimum.
Our students go on to higher degrees, to teaching, journalism and PR/marketing, librarianship, and to other careers where excellent communication skills and analytical abilities are valued, such as arts management and the civil service.
Through Artswork, our Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, you’ll have access to cutting-edge resources in the areas of publishing and broadcast media to prepare you for careers or for self-employment in the media and creative industries. We have a wealth of contacts in the media and creative industries and our students are well-placed to gain internships and placements.
Since 2010, employers such as Edward Elgar Publishing, Amberley Publishing. Steel Media, IHS Global Insight and The Green Living Magazine have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including Editorial Assistant, Marketing Executive, Communications Officer, Account Executive PR and Middle East and Telecommunications editor.
What students say...
Chris Simmonds, English Literature, Year 3
“The staff here are very approachable and easy to talk to and there are plenty of services to help with anything from finance to careers. The tutors have office hours at convenient times so if you need any advice on an assessment they are more than able and ready to help. The general feel of the campus, and the knowledge that you as a student are being represented in the decision making process of how the university is run, really makes you feel at home. You couldn’t find a better place to study.
I am currently applying for a job with the Civil Service. The way that the course encourages you to think critically and objectively as well as to plan ahead will definitely assist me in this process and any future jobs I may have.”
"It is, perhaps, only after graduating that students have the time to reflect on how well the course was designed, administered and delivered… without exception, the English Literature tutors all possessed great enthusiasm… Their choice of set texts and teaching style provoked engagement and involvement and I always looked forward to their classes… Studying English Literature at Bath Spa University was an enlightening, enriching, and a very rewarding experience. I will miss it greatly and remember it fondly."
Nathan Jones, English Literature, Year 3:
“I have always had an intense love for literature which I gained from studying both English and Greek literature and plays at A level. English is all about your opinion and how you respond to a particular text which I find hugely appealing as I love to vocalise and write down my opinions. English is not just reading books though; it is about comprehending the historical, political, social and ideological movements both inside and outside the text’s context.
The first thing that struck me about Bath Spa University was the sheer sense of serenity I got while visiting. I come from East London, a place of buildings and business, which is all very hectic; I really enjoy being surrounded by greenery and foliage. I strongly believe being surrounded by such things is conducive to a healthy working environment. If I have a stressful day, a walk around the campus, past the ponds or in the gardens always eases my mind and lets me unwind.”
Geography is about places and people. It is about understanding why 'here' differs from 'there', how people's lives vary in these different places, and how our own lives are dependent on people and places, near and far.
Geography is the 'best of both worlds', as it combines the earth and social sciences through exploration of themes including sustainability, development, climate change and geomatics (GIS) methods.
Why study Geography?
Studying Geography expands your understanding of the interactions people have with the environment, both physical and human. An ability to link environmental processes and social and spatial behaviours is a defining feature of geographical practice. As a result, Geography is clearly important in understanding today’s pressing global and local issues from climate change to sustainable development. At Bath Spa you learn geographical concepts, theories and knowledge and also gain skills that can improve your career prospects. Geography graduates are valued by employers for this unique combination.
At Bath Spa, we take an integrated approach to Geography, so you will gain an understanding of both the human and physical aspects of the subject. However, a key feature of our course is that you can specialise more in the physical or in the human side as your interests, abilities and career plans evolve.
The course allows you to do both physical and human Geography or to specialise in one or the other after Year 1.
Fieldwork is an integral part of your learning and underpins our commitment to a relevant, interesting and useful degree. There are various field days during modules, as well as residential fieldwork options in the UK and overseas in Years 2 and 3. You will visit places and landscapes such as Avebury, Mendip, the Somerset Levels, the Welsh National History Museum, the Royal Geographical Society in London, and the Jurassic Coast of Dorset. Residential courses currently go to Spain, the Lake District and Northern India.
A special feature of our course is the opportunity to gain valuable experience, and academic credit, through volunteering in the local community. You can also study abroad for one term, either in a European university or further afield in Australia or the USA.
Your first year (level 4) is centred on a core double module (40 credits) Environment, People and Place. This deals with what makes Geography an exciting, varied and applied subject. The module offers an integrated approach to the study of the geo-social and earth sciences and what makes this module special lies in our attention to developing skills as well as knowledge: you will learn how to use the technologies, methods, techniques and equipment that geographers need to use, with increasing confidence. You will also start to build your employability profile under our guidance. The practical application of subject knowledge is the underlying philosophy of this module.
In addition to the core module we usually offer these options (all 20 credits) from which you can choose one or two:
- Investigating Earth Environments;
- Global Development;
- Visualising Society;
The remainder of level 4 is made up with at least 40 credits from a complementary module of your choice, such as Biology, Sociology, Criminology, or an interdisciplinary module focusing on Sustainability in Life and Work.
Your second year (level 5) also centres on a core double module (40 credits) titled The Enterprising Geographer. The aim here is for you to acquire specialist skills in geographical research methods, human and physical, and to extend your abilities as a team player and as a professional. The Enterprising Geographer puts the subject and the sectors it serves in historical context and highlights the relevance of geographical knowledge to many different professional sectors. Your research skills are developed through two extended research projects where you will apply your growing mastery of your subject to real-world problems and issues. This module also gives you the chance to engage with the Royal Geographical Society and other professional bodies as we begin to help you map out potential career paths. The rest of your studies are optional, and the usual module choices are (you can choose four):
- River and Coastal Systems;
- Climate Change and Sustainability;
- Environmental Hazards;
- Geographical Fieldwork (includes a residential fieldtrip to Northern India);
- Global Cities;
- Criminology and Criminal Justice;
- Work Placement;
All optional modules are 20 credits each.
In your final year (level 6), you take the skills and knowledge perfected throughout the degree to design, conduct and write up your very own geography Dissertation (40 credits). There is a huge variety in choice in what you do for a dissertation and throughout the study you will benefit from one-to-one tuition and expert guidance. The rest of the third year is made up from 20 credit optional modules such as these (you can choose four):
- Coastal and River Management;
- Advanced Geographical Fieldwork (includes a residential fieldtrip);
- Development and Disasters;
- Globalisation and Work;
- Global Mobility, Risks and Environmental Justice;
- Identities and Inequalities;
- Community Engagement (includes a local volunteering placement).
You will experience a variety of different assessment methods throughout your degree. These include essays, industrial project reports, scientific project reports, presentations, posters, field-craft assessments, reflective items, time-constrained tests and examinations. These will give you a rich and diverse skills learning experience, be of real benefit in the search for a good career, and be useful in your professional activities.
Each module will have a different set of assessment items, and not all will include an examination. These assessment items enable you to demonstrate that you have achieved the learning outcomes.
Good teaching is important to us, and our graduates and consistently rate the quality of teaching on the course highly. In our friendly department you will benefit from small classes, specialist expertise, and up-to-date technologies, including ArcGIS, GPS survey instruments, campus river gauging and digital ‘met’ stations. Our rural site is a superb ‘natural laboratory’ where you will learn a range of scientific techniques including field sampling and the use of laboratory instruments for sediment and water analysis. Through your degree you will also develop 'people' skills such as communication, team work and critical thinking - skills that are highly valued by employers.
Geography encourages your learning through a variety of formats: lectures, seminars, team work, laboratories, IT workshops, and in the field - for 'hands on', real life experience.
Our location, nestled in a parkland valley setting just outside Bath, is a beautiful and unique 'natural laboratory' in which to pursue environmental education and we make the most of the setting. We have all the latest technologies and learning resources and Geographers have access to IT laboratories with geographical software such as ArcGIS and Idrisi. In addition there is a comprehensive stock of field and laboratory equipment. Practicals take place in well-equipped science laboratories or out in the grounds of the Newton Park campus. You will find free wireless internet access is available in the Department and across our campus. We subscribe to an extensive range of online journals so you can access the latest geographic research in seconds.
Other resources available include Leica Smart Rovers, handheld Global Positioning System devices, survey seismograph, Russian and standard sediment corers, teaching microscopes, stream flow meters, particle size analysis kits, digital Schmidt hammers, digital weather station, campus stream gauging station, digital dictaphones, digital video cameras and laptops. Do please note that not all field courses are run every year and that all off-campus events and their funding are subject to annual review. Also, module availability may vary over time - if a particular module is of interest and you want to know more, just get in touch with us and we'll be happy to help!
The Department hosts two active research groups covering physical and human geography, ensuring that your teaching is informed by up-to-date, specialised staff expertise. The research groups often inform dissertation ideas for students and you will benefit from our annual Research Seminar Series which includes external guest speakers and is open to all.
All our academic staff are professional geographers who undertake research and scholarship at the cutting edge of their discipline, publishing papers in international journals, textbooks for undergraduate use, and speaking at international conferences, as well as making media appearances. All research undertaken is of direct benefit to students. Indeed, some of our work is about enhancing the learning of geography at university. Students have co-authored papers with members of staff, and some have remained with us to carry out postgraduate research leading to doctorate level.
Teaching quality excellence
We are proud of the quality of our teaching in Geography at Bath Spa. During your degree you will taught by experienced, specialist staff, who undertake research in their specific areas of expertise, as well as into the learning and teaching of different aspects of geography.
Subject tutors regularly attend Professional Development Workshops that inform curriculum development and we regularly attend academic and commercial conferences. We subscribe to industry societies and their journals, such as the Royal Geographical Society with the Institute of British Geographers (RGS-IBG), the Association for Geographic Information (AGI), the Development Studies Association (DSA), Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry Society (RSPSoc), American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS), the British Cartographic Society (BCS), GIS Professional, GIM International.
All full time applications are through UCAS
Want to know more about studying Geography at Bath Spa? We have Open Days and Visit Days throughout the year. If you can't make any of those, we are also happy to arrange individual visits for you to have a look around at the facilities and ask any questions you may have. You can get in touch using the contact details adjacent. We hope to see you here soon!
Please contact Dr Rebecca Schaaf, Subject Leader for Geography: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a look at our related courses:
260–320 UCAS Tariff points with minimum 80 points from geography or a related subject such as science, sociology, economics.
We welcome applications from mature students with an Access to HE qualification. If you have non-standard qualifications we will consider any prior learning and professional experience in your application.
Our graduates possess a diverse range of skills, knowledge and expertise, suitable for many careers and occupations. This is due to the great appeal of your geographical skill-set to employers. Environmental bodies, utilities, planning, police and armed forces, retail and financial services, heritage management, local government and school teaching are typical destinations. Many geography graduates are hooked on the subject and undertake further study, including doctoral research here in the department.
The opportunity to undertake a work placement as part of your degree is an excellent way of gaining some experience in the workplace, while guest speakers from industry contribute to your learning experience throughout the course. This engagement with potential employers will stand you in good stead for making those all-important career decisions when you move into the world of work.
Since 2010, employers such as Geomatics Group, At-Bristol, Discover Battle, Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre and The Ministry of Defence have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including Assistant Geomatics Surveyor, Renewables Developer, Business Analyst, Oceaneer and Press Officer.
What students say...
Tim Johns, Geography, graduated July 2012:
“I thoroughly enjoyed my course at Bath Spa University and would recommend it to anyone interested in pursuing a career in the environmental industry. Academically, the course was fantastic and offered the opportunity to learn a diverse range of skills that would equip anyone with the necessary attributes to enter the world of work, or pursue postgraduate studies. At Bath Spa my learning was not just restricted to the classroom; I had the opportunity to undertake a live Dissertation project working in conjunction with the Environment Agency. This was an invaluable experience giving me the opportunity to work with industry professionals. My advice to those starting their studies would be to take full advantage of the facilities Bath Spa has to offer, including the excellent support from staff and tutors. Just remember from the offset… you have to work hard to play hard and all things are achievable no matter what!”
We take the views of our students very seriously, and evaluations of each module are undertaken each year, incorporating feedback from all students. You will also have the opportunity to represent your peers at committee and board meetings that meet regularly to discuss the shape and evolution of your course.
Please look at the video clips to see what our students have said about studying Geography at Bath Spa University.
Alice - second year Geography student
Read about the activities and achievements of our students and staff in our annual Geography Newsletter: