Combine your love of English language and literature, and develop a range of professional skills with this highly flexible English degree. Bringing together the study of literature from the Renaissance to the present day with the study of language in social and cultural contexts, you’ll gain specialist skills in analysis, close reading and writing. Your English degree will also develop transferable skills that can be adapted in many ways, ensuring you’ll be prepared to succeed in many careers that need good, thoughtful communicators.
USW’s English degree also offers the option to study TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages) modules, where you can learn specific skills in teaching English, a field where many English graduates gain employment. There is a lively culture of writing at the University of South Wales: your lecturers are leading researchers and writers in various forms, and we have many visiting poets, bloggers and novelists. Specialist areas at USW include Gothic, Celtic literature and myth and narrative. The anthology of student writing, DAPS, is produced entirely by students.
First year literature study on this English degree includes Shakespeare, fiction and poetry, with options such as women’s writing. Language study includes a module on Language and Society, with options in TESOL that cover grammar, lexis and phonology.
Year two modules range from English Renaissance through 19th century literature to Modernism, complemented by a module on Language, Power and Ideology. There are options on the American Dream and TESOL, including Observation and Peer Teaching Practice.
In your final year, you can follow a personal interest in literature or language by writing a dissertation on your choice of topic. You will also choose from a range of other literature and language options, including Gothic literature, Celtic literature, and Communication and the Workplace, alongside TESOL options that include actual teaching practice.
Year One: BA (Hons) English Degree
- Reading/Writing Women
If you’ve ever wondered why so few women writers have featured on school and university syllabi or in poetry anthologies this is the module for you. This is a chance to read and discuss some fascinating texts by women writers and to think about the relationship between gender and literature.
- Thinking With Texts
- Language and Society
- Language Awareness Grammar (TESOL)
Knowledge about grammar is essential for teaching English to speakers of other languages. This module teaches you the metalanguage of your native tongue.
- Reading Poetry
- Language Awareness
This module explores the wonders of words and sounds. It enables students to develop an appreciation for the ways in which English works, and to develop expertise in how the sounds we make convey meaning to the listener.
Year Two: BA (Hons) English Degree
Early twentieth-century writers aimed to ‘Make it New’ through challenging experiments with narrative and language. This module looks at how new ideas about identity, sexuality, gender and war were reflected in innovative texts like The Waste Land, Mrs Dalloway and Women in Love as well as poetry and short stories.
- Nineteenth Century Literature
During the nineteenth century the UK altered beyond recognition, transforming itself from a rural to an urban society and from an agricultural to an industrial economy. The period saw the publication of some of the most celebrated novels in the English language: novels by Austen, the Brontës, Gaskell, Dickens and Wilde among others. Great poets of the time included Wordsworth, Barrett-Browning, Tennyson, Browning, and Rossetti.
- English Renaissance Literature
The first great age of experimentation in English Literature, the period transformed a little-spoken northern-European dialect into a rich, versatile language; by its close, some of the most influential works ever written had been produced in English. The literary innovators of the period brought us the first English versions of: epic, sonnet, lyric, tragedy, comedy, utopia, prose fiction, and even the first attempt to create a dictionary of the language.
- Language, Power and Ideology
- The American Dream
- Introduction to TESOL
Ever thought about all the different options a teacher has when they organise a class? In this module you will explore a variety of ways to set up and manage a classroom full of people, eager to learn a new language. We learn about the importance of communicative activities in language teaching and explore ways to help learners of English understand its structures and complexities.
- Observation and Peer teaching Practice (TESOL)
Learn how music, social media and games can be incorporated within different teaching methodologies to ensure lessons are engaging and interesting. In this module, you undertake lesson planning, material design, lesson delivery and reflection with your peers. It acts as preparation for teaching real learners of English.
- Reflection on Learning in the Workplace
Year Three: BA (Hons) English Degree
- Gothic Literature
Ghosts, demons, vampires or werewolves: each generation reinvents the monstrous figures which haunt its nightmares. This module looks at how writers such as Ann Radcliffe, Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker and Angela Carter have used Gothic conventions to reflect, refract and interrogate contemporaneous anxieties around sexuality, class, gender and identity.
- Celtic Literature
- Myth and Narrative
Beginning with The Epic of Gilgamesh – the oldest complete work of literature in existence – ‘Myth and Narrative’ explores a selection of ancient texts in translation: Genesis and Job (biblical texts), The Odyssey and The Mabinogion. It includes, too, an overview of Egyptian and Norse mythologies, consideration of the transition from myth to Romance in the medieval period, and theoretical approaches to the interpretation of mythic forms in the modern age.
- Historical Fictions
Women writing the past – What does our fascination with the Tudors, the Victorians, or the First World War say about us today? This module explores the complex tension between past and present in historical fictions by writers such as Virginia Woolf, Daphne du Maurier, Pat Barker. Philippa Gregory and Sarah Waters.
- Communication and the Workplace
- Developing the TESOL Professional
This module looks at how languages are learned; How language learners are assessed and the importance individual learner differences. You will work one-to-one with an International learner and produce and present a case study detailing the individual’s learning journey.
- Teaching Experience (TESOL)
In this module, you will employ the TESOL knowledge you have studied and apply it to live teaching with learners within our award-winning teaching practice programme. This module gives you the opportunity to graduate with a USW TESOL certificate, which enables you to gain global teaching employment. We currently have graduates teaching in over 20 countries around the world.
The BA (Hons) English is also available as a four year course including an integrated foundation year, and is designed for students who do not currently meet admissions criteria for direct entry onto the English degree. You will start by completing a foundation year, which provides well structured support, allowing you to develop your skills and knowledge before continuing onto the three year degree programme. See more about BA (Hons) English (including Foundation Year).
You will learn through lectures and seminars, and actively participate in learning through individual study, and written and oral presentations. You will also gain experience in group work and workshops. If you choose to take TESOL modules as part of your English degree programme, you will develop your practical skills through plenty of hands-on teaching experience and classroom observation of your peers and qualified practitioners. In addition to these contact hours you will be expected to undertake a substantial amount of private study. You will also be able to engage with a lively research culture of regular visiting speakers and guest lectures. Experienced writers, academics, research students and alumni will present readings and seminars throughout the English course.
Coursework will take the form of essays, critical exercises, portfolios, and oral presentations. TESOL modules are assessed through a variety of methods, including in-class tests, projects, case studies, reports, observed teaching practice sessions, and portfolios. A number of TESOL students have developed their practical skills through teaching English in the UK and overseas during the summer vacation. Creative writing modules are assessed by coursework, and other modules by coursework and/or exams.