Study English Literature surrounded by the iconic scenery which inspired some of Britain’s greatest writers – including Wordsworth, Ransome, Potter and Ruskin.
You’ll explore the development of English Literature from the Renaissance to the present in global and regional contexts, in idyllic Cumbria, on the doorstep of the Lake District National Park – now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This is not your average English Literature course – it’s much more.
You’ll write essays and a dissertation, just as you would on any other English Literature degree, but in addition you’ll also develop the skills required for the contemporary workplace by scripting and recording a mock radio programme, designing a webpage, and even submitting a ‘job application’ assessed by academic and careers staff.
Why choose University of Cumbria
- Excellent working relationships with literary and cultural organisations such as Brantwood, Dove Cottage and the National Trust
- Fieldtrips to places which inspired some of Britain's literary greats, to enrich your studies
- Opportunities to design and implement real world projects to boost your CV
- Taught by tutors who all research and publish in their specialist areas
- Small class sizes enable us to guide and work closely with you throughout your studies
- Opportunities to get involved with Carlisle’s thriving literary scene and local literary festivals
- Boost your job prospects by developing contemporary communication skills
Live and learn at our vibrant and creative Institute of the Arts on our Carlisle campus, where the River Eden - once described by the poet William Wordsworth as his “life’s neighbour” - flows through the adjacent and beautiful parkland.
From your base in the historic and bustling city of Carlisle you will be conveniently close to the Lake District and Scotland. And, with great transport links to major cities, including Glasgow and Newcastle, you'll never be stuck for something to do outside of your studies.
On our course, your passion for literature will be embraced and empowered while you develop strong and relevant employment skills that will bolster your CV and stand you out from the crowd to future employers.
Follow @CumbriaEnglish on Twitter to find out more about what we offer.
Year 1 - All students follow a common pathway in the first year, providing a solid foundation for the study of English Literature and developing a range of skills in critical and cultural analysis.
You’ll have the opportunity to study a wide variety of texts drawn from different cultures and socio-historical contexts, and to explore the treatment of literature and literary topics within the contemporary media industry.
Year 2 - You’ll develop a more in-depth understanding of major shifts in the development of an English literary tradition, focusing on significant literary periods, contexts, and developments.
This will be coupled with increasing your knowledge of the development of English Literature, which will also equip you to cover the National Curriculum, should you be interested in teaching at a later stage.
Plus, you’ll examine how literary texts live on today by applying knowledge of literature to real-world contexts. It will see you visit and study regional cultural heritage sites to gain insights into the cultural heritage industry.
And, you’ll have the opportunity to develop new skills including designing and producing a webpage.
Year 3 - You’ll research and produce a study of a topic which appeals to you. Recent student dissertations include Native American Writing, The Vampire Novel, and industrialism and The Lord of the Rings.
You’ll conduct a project-based module too, applying the skills and knowledge you have developed to a real-world setting –cultural events, editing a festival magazine, journalism writing, or shadowing a job in the cultural or educational sectors.
There’s also an opportunity to choose modules which explore some of the new directions and developments in the study of English Literature.
- Texts and Contexts
- Introduction to Literary Studies
- Texts and Readers
- Travels in Poetry
- Literature in the Media
- Reading for Writing
- Early Modern Writing
- Texts in the World
- Research Skills for English
- Literature and the Environment
Optional modules (subject to availability and demand)
- British Romanticism: Literature in an Age of Revolution
- Literature in the Victorian Period
- Gothic Literature
- Literature and Film
- Poetry and Place
- English in the World
- British Romanticism and the Lake District
Optional modules (subject to availability and demand)
- The Twenty-First Century British Novel
- British Children’s Fiction
- Shakespeare and Performance
- Popular Fiction
- Contemporary Women’s Writing: Challenging the Canon
- Advanced Fiction: The Short Story
- Northern Noir
For detailed summary of all course content please read our programme specification for this course.
96-120 UCAS tariff points - to preferably include an A-level in English Literature. Potential to succeed can be measured in a number of ways including academic qualifications and skills obtained outside academic study such as work experience. We have a points range so we can take into account all of the information on your application form and adjust the offer from the evidence provided.
Find out more about qualification options from the UCAS tariff table.
Please check selection criteria for any additional entry requirements.
Apart from looking at predicted grades, we read the UCAS form carefully, paying particular attention to personal statements.
We value applicants with non-traditional entry profiles and welcome informal approaches to discuss how other qualifications and experience may be relevant to an application for a place.
The programme seeks to widen access by means of a flexible admissions policy and applicants who do not present the normal entry requirements may be required to submit a short piece of work to enable us to assess their aptitude for the programme.
Apply online through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), between September and January; they will send your application on to us. Applications submitted after this date will be considered late and the course you have applied for might be full by this time; however, we will consider you for alternative suitable courses.
Their website provides all the information you need about universities, courses, locations, entry requirements and financial support. You are allowed to select up to five course choices. You need to use the correct UCAS campus and course codes as not all courses are offered at every campus. You will be asked for the following information when you apply online:
Institution code name: UoC
Institution code: C99
- A Ambleside
- B Brampton Road, Carlisle
- E University of Cumbria at Energus, Workington
- F Fusehill Street, Carlisle
- L Lancaster
- T University of Cumbria in London
- Y University of Cumbria at Furness College, Barrow-in-Furness
Applications should be made online directly to the university; visit our website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details and guidance. There is no official closing date but we would encourage you to apply as early as possible, as many courses are competitive.
What makes a good application?
We consider all aspects of your application, not simply your qualifications and grades. We look at your academic background and performance, relevant experience (particularly for professional courses where some voluntary or paid experience is required) and your reference. Above all, we look for motivation, commitment and potential-evidence that you can benefit from study at higher education level.
Make sure you include:
- Relevant qualifications/evidence of ability: check our website for the specific entry requirements required for each course. Tell us your previous academic results and your projected grades.
- A supportive reference, from an employer or your school or college.
- A good personal statement.
- Explain clearly what attracts you to the course and tell us about your wider interests and experience. If you are applying for a course that incorporates professional training and placements, you should include any relevant experience or visits you have made in the workplace. Highlight your individual strengths and qualities, personal skills, capacity for teamwork, contribution to the community and your enterprise, originality and determination. Select some activities which bring out these qualities.
When we receive your application, we will send you an acknowledgement and if you are successful at this stage you will get either an offer (with an invitation to visit the campus to which you have applied), or an invitation to interview on a particular date. If we are not able to offer you a place on your chosen course we will usually try to offer you a place on a similar course and will contact you to discuss this. Alternatively, if we think you are suitable, but cannot offer you a place on your preferred campus because of the level of competition, we will offer you a place at another campus if one is available.
And if I accept?
The admissions team will contact you and send further information from February onwards about accommodation, and from May/June onwards about preparing to join the university. If you have any other queries, please telephone the admissions offices for information and advice on 0845 6061144.
We welcome applications for deferred entry on some courses. If you have specific plans during your year out, indicate these on your personal statement as they may be relevant to your course and could enhance your application.
Applications for full-time undergraduate study are made through UCAS. Please see the international pages of our website for full details of our entry requirements (including English-language skills) as well as contacts for advice and support.
From 2009 the UK Border Agency introduced a Points-Based Immigration System (PBS) for students coming to the UK from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). Students entering higher education will need to obtain a Confirmation of Acceptance (CAS) plus finance confirmation to obtain a Tier 4 student visa. UK education providers are licensed by the UK Border Agency. When students apply for their visa (or entry clearance) they will need a valid Certificate of Acceptance of Studies from the university. Please note that a CAS is not a guarantee that a visa will be issued.
See the following websites for further details: www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/studyingintheuk
Students will be issued with reading lists in advance of each year of study indicating primary texts which you will need to purchase. In addition two key fieldtrips are included in the programme - a visit to Brantwood and a visit to Dove Cottage. Students contribute to the costs but the remainder is subsidised by the department.
A degree in English Literature suits a range of careers demanding high-level analytical, interpretative, written and oral communication skills. Recent graduates have gone into teaching, lecturing, the cultural heritage sector, and work with major national organisations and companies.
Many English Literature graduates use their degree as the basis for further study and training in order to pursue high level ‘graduate’ work in a wide variety of fields. For the latest on what English graduates do, see the publication ‘What do graduates do?'.
How my Cumbria English degree helped land me my dream job
English Graduate Chandni Asher's story
After leaving, I went straight onto a Graduate Scheme with Network Rail entitled MSc Project and Programme Management. It is specially designed by Network Rail to prepare their candidates for entering the business after a year long Masters Course in a Project Management capacity. The Scheme is open to any graduate in any discipline from any UK university – they don’t usually take English graduates!
When looking at the job specification, I first identified the core skills from my time at university: time management, research, analysis and application. But it wasn’t just the skills I gained from the degree that helped me. The opportunities you have being a part of the department and the university are invaluable. Whilst with UoC, I took on extra responsibilities to gain experience. Being a cohort student rep, for example, can present you with unusual communication tasks that you may have never come across before since your role is to act as a go-between/buffer for students and tutors and, sometimes, university staff.
What’s important about this English degree is that it doesn’t just develop essential skills in for your work life. The tutors make the effort to push you (gently) out of your comfort zone to show you exactly how much you can do. That is why when doing modules such Literature in Media and English in the World is so important: it will challenge you and help you understand your own personal skill set. It was through the English in the World module that I found myself being good at project management!
Resources and facilities
One of our most important resources is our proximity to the Lake District, a beautiful part of England with a rich literary heritage. The programme team have long standing arrangements with key literary organisations in the region, including Brantwood, Dove Cottage, the National Trust, and the Words by the Water Literary festival and we use these excellent working relationships to enhance your studies with input from external speakers, fieldtrips, and opportunities to get involved with project work.
The degree is taught at the Brampton Road Arts campus in the historic border city of Carlisle. The campus has a friendly and lively atmosphere and offers a great environment for your studies. Just across from the campus is the beautiful Rickerby Park. The River Eden, described by the poet Wordsworth as his ‘life’s neighbour’, flows through the park and from here you have views across to Carlisle’s castle and medieval Cathedral, at which your graduation ceremony will take place.
The campus itself has its own theatre and art gallery, and Carlisle has a vibrant literary and cultural scene. It also has one of the best Independent Bookshops in the country as well as its own annual literary festival, Borderlines.
Awards and recognition
English Literature staff were awarded a Vice-Chancellor's Teaching Excellence Award for 2011, making English the top-rated teaching team in the university's higher education provision for the academic year 2010-11. The award citation said that tutors "demonstrated a highly innovative and adventurous approach to the design of a single honours English degree, taking a usually traditional disciplinary area and introducing elements which address a range of agendas to enhance the engagement of students with English in the world and the development of skills and attributes for employability and further study."
English at Cumbria was also shortlisted for the Student Experience award by Educate North (June 2015).
Programme Leader, Dr Penny Bradshaw’s new critical edition of Ann Radcliffe’s Observations during a Tour to the Lakes was runner up for Lakeland Book of the Year in 2015. Penny is an Editorial Board Member for Romanticism: Life, Literature and Landscape (a digital resource published by Adam Matthew Digital and Adam Matthew Publications using archives held by The Wordsworth Trust) and she reviews for Green Letters, the journal of the Association for Literature and the Environment.
Dr Paul Ferguson reviews for the journal Literature, Interpretation, Theory and has been invited to give a lecture at the Scottish Universities’ Summer School at Edinburgh University in 2016.
Steve Longstaffe has had an article on employability and the English Degree published in The Times Higher Education Supplement in 2015. He reviews for a variety of journals and has acted as external consultant for curriculum reviews of Drama, English, and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and London Met. He also reviews theatre for The Stage and Northern Soul.