English Literature and Philosophy and Ethics

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Change the way you see the world by exploring new experiences and ideas.

  • Study a wide range of historical periods from Early Modern drama to Postmodern poetry.
  • Exciting and challenging modules that explore the ways writers experiment with philosophical and political ideas.
  • Explore new ways of reading and thinking about this strange thing called literature.

"I chose Bath Spa University because it felt like the perfect university. Everyone is friendly, helpful, and loves what they do. It's a great atmosphere to grow academically and as a person."
– Santino Prinzi, English Literature and Creative Writing graduate

Why study English Literature?

Our English Literature programme is large and varied, offering you plenty of choice. We balance the study of canonical writers – Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Bronte – with texts and writers who may be less familiar to you.
Options range from modules on specific authors (such as Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf), to topic-based subjects (Writing and the Environment, Post-Colonial Literatures), period-based study (Gender and Eighteenth-Century Fiction, Romanticism) and popular genres (Gothic Origins and Innovations, Crime Fiction). We’ll encourage you to explore diverse areas of literature and to investigate issues that matter to you in your final year project.

Course structure

You’ll study a broad and diverse range of intellectually stimulating modules. You’ll benefit from the fact that English modules reflect our tutors’ areas of research specialism.

Each year has a core module, as well as a large selection of optional modules from which you can choose. These modules are organised around a number of key strands running through the programme – Transnational English Literature; Medical Humanities; and Digital Humanities – but you can choose to study any of the available modules and develop your own literary interests.

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

Most modules use essays with other forms of coursework such as journals, portfolios and short critical pieces, projects and dissertations, or special assignments such as seminar presentations, collaborative magazines, and web-based essays. Some modules include seen and unseen exams. Second and final year grades contribute towards your final degree award.

Study abroad

All English students have the opportunity to apply for an Erasmus placement which allows them to study for one or more terms in their second or third year of study. We also have links with partner institutions in the USA and Australia.

Field trips

We are keen to bring literature to life, and the course features optional modules that include field trips to London, Oxford, Krakow and Auschwitz, and Berlin, among others. Our students have also won places on summer schools in Beijing and Monterrey.

Career preparation

In your second year you’ll benefit from our innovative and institutionally recognised programme of personal development. Employability skills are built into the curriculum and you’ll also have access to our distinctive digital facilities in publishing and broadcast media.
You’ll graduate with transferable skills to engage critically and creatively with a full range of possible careers. Our English Literature graduates are very popular with employers.

Competitions/awards

There are annual prizes for the best overall performance in both core modules in Years 1 and 2, and a very special prize for the best final year English Project.

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

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry to our undergraduate programmes. The main ones are listed below:

  • A Level - Grade BCC accepted with a minimum of Grade B in English or related subject.
  • BTEC - Extended Diploma grades Distinction. Merit, Merit (DMM) in a related subject accepted.
  • International Baccalaureate - A minimum of 27 points are required with evidence of study in Higher level English.
  • Access to HE courses - Typical offers for applicants with Access to HE will be the Access to HE Diploma or Access to HE Certificate (60 credits, 45 of which must be Level 3, including 30 at merit or higher) accepted.

English Language Requirements for International and EU Applicants

IELTS 6.0 - for visa nationals, with a minimum score of IELTS 5.5 in each element.

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.

List of current alumni careers

Many of our graduates pursue careers in publishing or teaching. Organisations including New Scientist, Trinity College Library, DigitalBox and Cengage Learning EMEA have employed our graduates. Graduate professions include:

  • Editorial Assistant;
  • Publishing Outreach Executive;
  • Content Writer; and
  • Campaigns Officer.
  • Some graduates choose to progress onto postgraduate study.

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.”

Truth, knowledge, meaning, reality – ask and answer crucial questions with this course.

  • Global – study philosophy from Western and Eastern perspectives
  • Contemporary – explore current debates, dilemmas and approaches
  • Applied – use philosophical concepts in real time, on real world projects

“I have been challenged, supported, and inspired during my time here ... My way of thinking has been changed by what I've studied, and I can happily say that I have become a confident critical thinker, and a more thoughtful human being.”
– Jessica Tamsin Milton, Philosophy with English Literature student

Why study Philosophy and Ethics?

 This Philosophy and Ethics course explores the assumptions, beliefs and values which shape human behaviour and our responses to it. You’ll explore our relationships with the natural world and our attitudes towards the past and in the present.

The course addresses the key questions which underpin all academic disciplines and concepts, so combines well with other subjects, contributing to your confidence in tackling them.

You must study another subject with Philosophy and Ethics; it’s offered as a Major, Joint or Minor component of a Combined Honours award. You can choose from a wide range of disciplines and build expertise in a related area or from a different perspective. Popular combinations include Psychology, Geography, History and Creative Writing. If you would like to take this with Study of Religions, you should apply for Religions, Philosophy and Ethics.

Course structure

Rather than teaching philosophy primarily as a history of ideas – although we do explore this – we focus on the application of current philosophical thinking in contemporary settings and circumstances. You’ll consider our responses to environmental crisis, for example, or questions of identity, belonging, roles and responsibilities.

We consider Western philosophical and ethical perspectives, and introduce you to the systems of thought of India and China. This mix and inclusiveness makes our Philosophy and Ethics course particularly distinctive.

Modules

  • Year One
    We introduce you to the principles of philosophical and ethical enquiry. We’ll equip you with some basic methods to philosophically analyse and critically examine core concepts in epistemology, metaphysics and ethics. There is an optional module in global religions and philosophy which looks at major traditions, movements and key thinkers.
  • Year Two
    You’ll focus on philosophy in the Indian and Chinese traditions. Optional modules explore ethics within humanist and religious traditions, medical ethics and social justice, and environmental politics and nonhuman rights.
  • Year Three
    You’ll bring together and develop philosophical ideas through the study of morality, identity, or gender. There are opportunities for in-depth study through a dissertation or an employment related project.

Course assessment

Assessment is mainly through coursework such as essays, projects, presentations, or online discussion.

Study abroad

Our students make good use of the opportunities to study abroad through Erasmus and other programmes, usually in the second year, with one of our many partner universities. You’ll be able to find out more about this during your first year, including meeting up with students who have already benefited from the experience.

If you opt to join one of the study abroad programmes, you might find yourself in Denmark, Spain, Australia or North America. We have developing partnerships with universities in China and the Far East.

Field trips

Fieldwork and visits are an integral part of the course. We visit religious communities, mosques, temples, gurdwaras and churches.

Teaching methods

Our focus is on ‘doing philosophy’ and developing your confidence and capacity for philosophical analysis and debate. We’ll support you through lectures and seminar work, as well as individual tutorials and support.

Special projects in years two and three and the dissertation in year three provide opportunities for independent work which builds on your own interests, adds new dimensions to your thinking, or relates to plans for future careers and personal development.

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.”