English BA (Hons)

The top UK modern university for English
The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023


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 subject 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.

The course provides the opportunity to study at a partner university overseas, or take a work placement in industry.

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

We have a 93% satisfaction rate for our English course (National Student Survey, 2022)

Man talking whilst using his hands for gesturing whilst a woman listening stands behind him in a library

Mode of Study:



4 years

Start date:


UCAS code:


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 modern drama 
  • Poetry from the Romantic age to the present  
  • Environmental writing to memoir and graphic novels 
  • Scottish, Irish, and American literatures  
  • Modernism to contemporary fiction and filmmaking 
  • Literary and cultural theory to science fiction and the Gothic

Option modules include creative writing in Years 2 and 3.

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

Additional costs

There are no additional costs that are mandatory to pass the course. 

All compulsory texts studied on the programme should be available in the university library.  Accessing those texts may require student organisation, such as requesting ahead of time if available copies are all on loan.  Many texts are available for free online via the university library holdings, through major online repositories such as archive.org, Jstor, and similar databases.  Some readings are digitised and provided via the Moodle virtual learning environment.  Any films or visual materials studied are usually accessible for free through Box of Broadcasts, or a screening is put on.

However, many students like to have their own copies of compulsory texts.  This can be advantageous in terms of notetaking and detailed engagement over an extended period.  Texts we teach are mostly available in mass-market paperback, and copies can often be obtained cheaply secondhand.

It may also be useful to allow a budget for printing materials (although submission is now almost entirely electronic), and to have a storage device for your work such as a USB stick (although networked storage is available via university computers).

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    How you’ll be taught

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

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    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.

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    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 in North America and Europe.

Popular modules

Year 1

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

Year 2

  • Narratives of Social and Sexual Deviance: Rethinking the Victorians 
  • The Modern Novel 
  • Shakespeare & the Renaissance 
  • Option module e.g. Creative Writing: Finding Your Voice, Modern Drama, American Outlaws, The World at War, Fantasy Fiction and Film 

Year 3

  • Cultural and Literary Theory: Debates and Applications  
  • C21 Literature 

Four option modules from: 

  • Science Fiction: Text & Film 
  • Introduction to Television Studies 
  • Women’s Writing and Filmmaking 
  • Creative Writing: Genre Writing 
  • Narratives of Nature 
  • Unacknowledged Legislators: Poetry in History and Society 
  • Modernisms in the Magazines and at the Margins 

Year 4

  • Dissertation 

Four option modules from: 

  • Postcolonial Fiction & Film 
  • Modern Scottish Fiction 
  • Reading Experiments: Children’s Literature and Science 
  • The First World War in Culture, 1914 to the present 
  • The Gothic Tradition 
  • Cities Real & Imagined 
  • Crime in Text and Film 
  • Comics and Documentary: New Forms of Memoir 


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

Full information is available in our disclaimer.

Entry requirements

Our entry requirements indicate both Standard and Minimum qualifications with which we normally accept students. Competition for places varies from year to year and you aren't guaranteed a place if you meet the minimum qualifications.

Minimum Year 1

SQA Higher

  • Standard Entry Requirement: ABBB including English.
  • Minimum Offer Entry Requirement: BBBC including Grade B in English.

You may be given an adjusted offer of entry if you meet our specified minimum entry requirements within our widening participation criteria, and outlined in our Contextual Admissions Policy. Click here for further information about our entry requirements and admissions policies.

A Level

  • BBC including English.

Irish Leaving Certificate

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


  • Pass HNC in Social Sciences, Creative Industries: Professional Writing Skills, Creative Industries: Media and Communication or Practical Journalism 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) National Diploma Level 3

  • 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.

T Level

  • Grade Merit
  • T Level must be completed in a English subject or A Level English may be required. Please contact ugadmissions@napier.ac.uk to check if you meet the subject specific 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.

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

Please note that international students are unable to enrol onto the following courses:
  • BM Midwifery/MM Midwifery
  • All Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

See who can apply for more information on Graduate Apprenticeship courses.

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 2023/24 2024/25
Scotland £1,820 £1,820
England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland £9,250 £9,250
Overseas and EU £15,160 £16,680
Students from England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and Republic of Ireland will be invoiced the tuition fees for 3 years of their 4 years of study. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.
Please note tuition fees are subject to an annual review and may increase from one year to the next. For more information on this and other Tuition Fee matters please see Frequently Asked Questions about Fees Click this link for Information of Bursaries and Scholarships
If additional compulsory costs other than the tuition fees are applicable, these will be detailed in the course details.
Please note that the tuition fees liable to be paid by EU nationals commencing their studies from 1 August 2021 will be the Overseas fee rate. The University offers a range of attractive Tuition Fee bursaries to students resident in specific countries. More information on these can be found here.


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Career opportunities include:

  • Writer
  • Teacher
  • Publisher
  • Journalist
  • Arts Administrator
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