English Literature and Philosophy and Ethics

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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.

Course structure

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.

Modules

Year 1

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.

Year 2

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;
  • Poetry;
  • 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;
  • Manifesto!;
  • Crime Fiction;
  • Twentieth-Century Irish Writing;
  • Renaissance Worlds: sixteenth and seventeenth-century poetry;
  • Adventures in Periodical Culture: beyond the book, 1700-1960.

Year 3

Current Year 3 modules:

  • Research Project (compulsory for Single and Major Hons. English);
  • Shakespeare;
  • 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.

Course assessment

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.

Teaching methods

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.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

admissions@bathspa.ac.uk

Entry requirements

280–320 UCAS Tariff points including A-level English Literature at grade B minimum.

Career opportunities

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.”

Recent graduate:

"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.”

This course is concerned with pursuing and answering questions of truth, knowledge, meaning and reality and exploring crucial ethical issues facing humanity. The approach taken is global, contemporary and applied, and enables you to develop as an analytical, critical and systematic thinker.

Philosophy and Ethics is offered as a Major, Joint or Minor component of a Combined degree. If you want to combine it with Study of Religions you should take the Religions, Philosophies and Ethics specialised award.

Why study Philosophy and Ethics?

‘What I love about this course is being able to discuss and explore topical issues within philosophy and religions with an open mind. Bath Spa has a very good reputation and there is a very personal feel to it’

Philosophy and Ethics at Bath Spa is concerned with pursuing and answering the kind of questions that lie behind all academic disciplines and subjects, for example:

  • what is truth?  
  • what can one know?
  • what is ultimately real?
  • what is the meaning of life?
  • how should one live in the world?

Arguably, nothing is outside the reach of philosophical and ethical enquiry.  All human activities are inevitably shaped by particular assumptions, beliefs and values.  It is the aim of philosophy and ethics to explore the nature of those assumptions, beliefs and values.  For example: what precisely is it that shapes our understanding of mind, religion or society?  In what ways are our thoughts limited by our environment, history or language?  How should one evaluate human relationships, the past or works of art?  

By developing and practising philosophical and ethical analysis and enquiry, you can explore any area of human interest with a level clarity, coherence and rigour unrivalled by other academic disciplines and subjects.

Philosophy and Ethics at Bath Spa University has developed a distinctive identity within the national marketplace for undergraduate philosophy provision.

World Philosophies: The programme is designed to allow you to explore philosophy and ethics as a global phenomenon.  That is, in addition to teaching you about Western’ philosophical and ethical perspectives, the subject introduces you to the philosophies and ethics of the Indian subcontinent and China.  This approach challenges the Anglo-American and analytic focus of philosophy departments in the UK and undermines the assertion that ‘Philosophy speaks Greek and only Greek’.

Doing Philosophy: Rather than teaching philosophy primarily as a history of ideas, Philosophy and Ethics at Bath Spa is concerned with enabling you to develop as analytical, critical and systematic thinkers.  The programme has been constructed to foreground teaching and learning events that promote the formation of subject-specific and employment-facing thinking and practical skills.

Contemporary / Applied: The programme is aimed at exploring how philosophical and ethical analysis can be applied to a range of contemporary debates, issues and problems.  Staff research interests usefully inform teaching and learning events at this point, notably through applied projects and the teaching of such topics as the ethics of war, ecological ethics and the philosophy of gender.

Course structure

In Year 1 we offer a core module which introduces philosophical and ethical enquiry, providing you with the tools of philosophical and ethical analysis, and critically examining core concepts in epistemology, metaphysics and ethics. There is an optional module in global religions and philosophies, looking at major traditions and movements, and key thinkers.

The core module in Year 2 focuses on philosophy in Indian and Chinese traditions. Optional modules include ethics within religious and humanist traditions, on topics such as medical ethics and social justice, and philosophy, religions and the environment, on topics such ecological degradation and nonhuman rights

There is also a Special Project in which you can explore topics of your choice, engage in a placement or project relevant to employment, or take part in a summer school in another country such as Korea.

In the third year, options include a philosophical module on the meaning of human existence, encompassing such topics as absurdity and purpose, identity and mortality and a module on religion, philosophy and gender. There is also a special research project which could focus on Applied Ethics, a Dissertation which allows for in-depth concentration on a topic of your choice, or an employment related project.

 

NOTE: You will need to study another subject to study with Philosophy and Ethics.

 

 

Modules

 

 

Year 1:

  • Beyond Belief: Introduction to the Study of Religions and Spiritualities (core module);
  • Truth and Value: Introduction to Philosophical and Ethical Enquiry (core module);
  • Global Religions and Philosophies

Year 2:

  • Darshana, Dharma and Dao: Philosophy in the Indian and Chinese Traditions (core module);
  • Ethics, Religion and Humanism: Contemporary Moral Dilemmas;
  • Special Project;
  • Philosophy, Religions and the Environment

 

Year 3:

  • Dissertation;
  • Employment related placement (alternative to Dissertation);
  • Religion, Philosophy and Gender;
  • Life and Meaning;
  • Advanced Special Project;
  • Culture and Counterculture: from Orientalism to the ‘Hippy Trail’.

Course assessment

Mainly by coursework such as essays, reports, projects, presentations, on- line discussion board participation. There are also some timed elements such as critical analyses or examinations.

The approach taken to the study of Philosophy and Ethics at Bath Spa is distinctive in taking a global approach. Philosophies studied include South and East Asian philosophies as well as Western approaches. We stress ‘doing philosophy’ and developing your own abilities to argue a case and analyse appropriate evidence. We apply philosophical and ethical thinking to address contemporary concerns such as gender and sexuality, environmental ethics, war and conflict and medical ethics. There are opportunities to follow up your own interests or career plans in a variety of special projects, employment related placements and a dissertation.

We offer excellent teaching with attention to individuals, and staff are active in research and scholarship in their specialist areas. We welcome non-traditional entrants and mature students.

Teaching methods

We offer excellent teaching with attention to individuals, and staff are active in research and scholarship in their specialist areas. We welcome non-traditional entrants and mature students.

Application method

All full time applications are through UCAS

Course enquiries

Please contact our Admissions team (see above)

Entry requirements

260–300 UCAS Tariff points.

Career opportunities

Philosophy and Ethics develops many skills valued by employers such as clarity and precision in thinking, the ability to recognise unnoticed assumptions, the expertise to present a strong case, and to see the ethical issues involved in everyday decisions. Graduate careers for which Philosophy is good preparation include: law, civil service, local government, journalism, financial institutions, management, and IT. Some of some of our students have gone on to teach Religious Education, Philosophy and/or Citizenship in secondary or primary schools, where there is a shortage of specialists. Others have gone on to further academic study.

Since 2010, employers such as Global Xchange. Ethicall, Citizens' Advice Bureau and Birmingham University have recruited graduates from this course. Students have also gone into roles including Healthcare Assistant, Fundraiser,  Children's Home Activities Coordinator and Assistant to the Communications Director.

What students say...

Lindsay Horler, Philosophy & Ethics with Study of Religions, Year 3:

“I chose to study this particular course because I was interested in studying Eastern as well as Western philosophy, and Bath Spa is probably the only University in the UK which offers such an in-depth enquiry into Eastern philosophical thought. While studying Philosophy & Ethics with Study of Religions at Bath Spa I have not only enhanced my intellectual skills, but I have also developed as a person. By thinking critically about philosophical ideas from Anglo-American, European and global perspectives, I have been able to think critically about my own philosophical beliefs.

What I enjoy most about Bath Spa University is that I can speak to my course tutors whenever I have questions to do with my course, or anything else for that matter.”