BA (Hons) English

Undergraduate, Full-time

English BA (Hons)

The top modern university in the UK for studying English

(1st of 49) Complete University Guide 2019


This English degree will develop your critical skills and nurture your awareness of the enduring appeal of literature in the modern world.

Study English literature from Shakespeare to contemporary popular culture, via classic works of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  You’ll learn about these texts in their cultural-historical contexts and within wider theoretical frameworks, considering the ways they function in society. You’ll study English within exciting interdisciplinary contexts and benefit from the wide range of subject expertise within the English group.

Edinburgh is a vibrant city with a rich literary heritage, offering an excellent learning environment and lots of world-leading cultural events, such as the International Book Festival. You may also have the opportunity to study abroad through our exchange programmes.

This qualification will prepare you for a career in a number of areas of the cultural and creative industries and beyond.
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Mode of Study:



4 years

Start date:


UCAS code:


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Course details

You'll learn about major genres and critical issues within the field of English studies including a range of subjects from:

  • Shakespeare to transgressive texts
  • poetry from the Romantic age to the present
  • the modern novel to eco-critical narratives
  • Scottish, Irish and American literatures
  • science fiction to modern drama
  • literary theory to the gothic tradition in literature

This course aims to develop a broad knowledge of the relationships between literature, culture and the modern world. By the end of the course you'll be able to engage in informed and critical readings of literature and to understand the contexts within which works of literature are produced.

This is a full-time course studied over four years. You'll learn by a variety of teaching methods including lectures, seminars, workshops and independent study.

Module choices in creative writing allow you to apply your understanding of literature to your own creative work.

  • calendar How you’ll be taught

    Academic modules are taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials and independent study.

  • note and pen Assessments

    All your modules are assessed by coursework, including: essays; presentations; creative writing options; reading diaries; online writing activities, such as blogs and discussions. There are no formal sit-down exams on modules offered by the English teaching team.

  • briefcase Work placement

    Our dedicated placement scheme offers the opportunity to:

    • Gain teaching experience in primary or secondary schools in Edinburgh
    • Participate in our award-winning partnership with the Scottish Prison Service
    • Apply for research project internships
    • .
  • study abroad Study abroad

    Our study abroad schemes give you the opportunity to apply to study at foreign universities, including Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, and Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada.

Popular modules

Year 1

  • Introduction to Literature
  • 19th Century Literature & Culture
  • Reading Texts: Analysing Film, Literature and Culture
  • Narrative: Text & Film
  • Literature & Adaptation
  • Case Studies in Cultural Studies
  • Option module e.g. Case Studies in Cultural Studies, Introduction to the Web

Year 2

  • Literature of Empire: Texts & Contexts
  • The Modern Novel
  • Narratives of Social and Sexual Deviance: Rethinking the Victorians
  • Shakespeare & the Renaissance
  • Option module e.g. Creative Writing: Starting to Write, Modern Drama, American Outlaws, Global Literatures of Conflict

Year 3

  • Understanding Cultural & Literary Theory
  • Cultural & Literary Theory into Practice

Four option modules from:

  • Women's Writing & Film-making
  • Unacknowledged Legislators: Poets in History and Society
  • Science Fiction: Text & Film
  • Introduction to Television Studies
  • Creative Writing: Genre Writing
  • Narratives of Nature
  • First World War and Modernity
  • Starting a New Business
  • Launching Your Graduate Career

Year 4

  • Dissertation

Four option modules from:

  • Postcolonial Fiction & Film
  • Modern Scottish Fiction
  • Reading Experiments: Children’s Literature and Science
  • Critical Psychology
  • Lateness and the Modern
  • The Gothic Tradition
  • Cities Real & Imagined
  • Crime in Text and Film
  • Memoir, Documentary and the Essay Film


Study modules mentioned above are indicative only. Some changes may occur between now and the time that you study.

Full information on this is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

Minimum year 1

SQA Higher

ABBB including English.

Adjusted Offer Entry Requirement

BBBC including Grade B in English.

You may be given an adjusted offer of entry if you meet specific widening participation criteria as outlined in our contextual admissions policy. For further information, see our entry requirements and admissions policies.

A Level

BCC including English.

Irish Leaving Certificate

Pre-2017 Grading System:

B1, B1, B1, B3 at HL to include English.

New Grading System:

H2, H2, H2, H3 at HL to include English.


Pass HNC in a related subject with Grade B in the graded unit.

BTEC (QCF) Extended Diploma Level 3

Minimum grades DMM (Distinction, Merit, Merit) in a related subject, plus A Level English Grade C.

BTEC (QCF) Diploma

Minimum grades D*D* (Distinction*, Distinction*) in a related subject, plus A Level English Grade C.

International Baccalaureate Diploma

Award of Diploma with 29 points overall including three HL subjects with grades 6,5,5 including Grade 5 in English.

Minimum year 2

SQA Advanced Higher

BBC including Grade B in English.

A Level

BBB including English.

BTEC (QCF) Extended Diploma Level 3

Minimum grades DDD (Distinction, Distinction, Distinction) in a related subject, plus A Level English Grade B.

English language requirements

If your first language isn't English, you'll normally need to undertake an approved English language test and our minimum English language requirements will apply.

This may not apply if you have completed all your school qualifications in English. Check our country pages to find out if this applies to you.

International students

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
Entry requirements by country

Please note that non-EU international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BN Nursing/MN Nursing (Adult, Child, Mental Health or Learning Disability)
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery

Admissions policies

We’re committed to admitting students who have the potential to succeed and benefit from our programmes of study. 

Our admissions policies will help you understand our admissions procedures, and how we use the information you provide us in your application to inform the decisions we make.

Undergraduate admissions policies
Postgraduate admissions policies

Fees & funding

The course fees you'll pay and the funding available to you will depend on a number of factors including your nationality, location, personal circumstances and the course you are studying. We also have a number of bursaries and scholarships available to our students.

Tuition fees
Students from 2018/19 2019/20
Scotland/EU n/a £1,820
England Wales and Northern Ireland (RUK) n/a £9,250
Overseas n/a £12,845
RUK Students starting in 2018/19 will be invoiced the 2018/19 fee for 3 years of their 4 years of study. Students starting in 2019/20 will be invoiced the 2019/20 fee for 3 years of their 4 years of study.

Frequently Asked Questions about Fees
Information of Bursaries and Scholarships


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Career opportunities include:

  • Writer
  • Teacher
  • Publisher
  • Journalist
  • Arts Administrator
Female student at Freshers' Fair