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BA (Hons) English Literature

  • Placement year available
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Introduction to our English Literature degree

Explore how literature has reflected and influenced different societies over the centuries and prepare for many careers – some you might not even have thought about yet – on our BA (Hons) English Literature degree in Cambridge.

English Literature student Chloe working with another student A day in the life of BA (Hons) English Literature student Chloe

English Literature at ARU

Join a course ranked 11th in the UK in the Guardian University Guide 2024, and 7th in the UK for student satisfaction in the Complete University Guide 2023.

The Guardian University Guide 2024
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Study at an award-winning university

We're the Times Higher Education (THE) University of the Year. We've also been awarded a Gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework – a reflection of the outstanding education we offer our students.

You’ll study a range of texts, including classic literary forms such as the novel, poetry, and plays, but also theatrical performances, films, essays, pamphlets, reviews and works of critical and cultural theory, developing your ability to read and respond critically.

Studying literature - by its nature a multi-disciplinary subject - will develop your understanding of history, politics, philosophy, religion, psychology and many other subjects, as well as your understanding of the written works that have shaped our world.

Throughout the degree, you’ll have opportunities to explore topics from other creative subjects too, including writing, film and media.

Our English Literature degree will help you develop many transferable skills valued by employers from all industries, including literacy, communication, critical thinking, problem-solving, research, and working both independently and collaboratively.

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Outstanding student support

Join our student community and:

  • benefit from award-winning learning facilities, including extensive library and IT resources
  • learn from expert staff who will guide your research interests and career development
  • access support, should you need it, with study skills, careers advice, health and wellbeing, and more.
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Our BA (Hons) English Literature will equip you with many skills that are transferrable to a wide range of graduate occupations. These include research and communication, which lend themselves to careers close to the study of literature and writing such as journalism and teaching, while the course’s emphasis on critical thinking and independent learning will transfer to professions including (but not limited to) business, law, consultancy, administration, librarianship, publishing and arts management.

You’ll also develop a range of intellectual, research-based and practical skills that will give you the vital combination of flexible thinking and transferable expertise required for the 21st century workplace.

Throughout the course, you’ll receive reflexive peer and tutor support with our Personal Development Tutoring (PDT) programme, while your core modules at every level will include built-in Employability sessions.

Live Briefs in years 1 and 2, and on the optional level 6 module Research Communication, will give you opportunities to devise solutions for real-world industry professionals, at once giving you both work experience and potential connections for your future career.

You might also decide to further develop your specialisms or start an exciting career in research with our Masters degrees in English Literature or Creative Writing - take advantage of our Alumni Scholarship to get 20% off your fees.

Employability and personal career development

Informed by employers, our courses support an integrated approach to employability. You’ll have opportunities to develop the skills and abilities they are looking for and gain a deeper understanding of how your academic learning relates to the world of work through Live Briefs and Ruskin Modules.

To amplify your career ambition, you will need to actively dedicate time outside of your studies, whether you choose to explore placements, internships or volunteering. Or you could make a social impact by collaborating with our partner organisations through our volunteer scheme Students at the Heart of Knowledge Exchange (SHoKE). These all give you an edge, providing you with experience that you will be able to evidence on your CV and talk about in interviews.

Our Employability and Careers Service offers a range of expert advice and support to build your unique professional profile, including tailored career appointments, advice on writing your CV, and help to complete job applications. You’ll have 24/7 access to the Careers Centre, our comprehensive online digital resource, which empowers you to start building a Personal Career Development Plan from the very start. Design your future at ARU.

Apply now for BA (Hons) English Literature

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Our friendly, bustling campus is a stone’s throw from the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

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Do you have a question that we haven't answered so far? Talk to our application experts. You can also ask our Student Ambassadors about life at ARU.

We're here Monday-Thursday 9am-5pm (please note we close at 3.30pm on the first and third Thursday of the month for staff training), and Friday 9am-4.30pm.

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Placement year available

You have the option to take a placement year as part of this course. It’s a great chance to get hands-on experience in the industry you want to work in.

Your guide to placements