Texts are all around us - from books to magazines to TV, e-mail and the internet.
As texts of all kinds become more prominent and powerful in our lives, the ability to analyse them and appreciate their often elusive meanings becomes more highly prized.
The skills you will learn in an English Studies degree will enable you to recognise ideology and bias, and see through the spin of cultural and political debate. You’ll refine your ability to think and write clearly – valuable skills in many careers and professions. Our graduates are well prepared in these transferable skills and have an excellent success rate in finding rewarding employment in many fields.
BBBB - one sitting.
ABBB - two sittings.
SQA Adv. Higher:
To include English or English Literature and Language.
Modes of study
Full-time (three modules per semester).
Part-time (one or two modules per semester).
February entry also available.
Students with A-level scores of ABB or higher may be permitted to enter in Year 2.
Find out more
Semesters 1 - 2
You may choose between two and four of the following introductory core modules:
- Author, Reader, Text: looks at different ways of reading literary texts, raising questions such as ‘What is an author’ and, ‘What is a reader?’ You will cover texts from the 14th century to the present day
- Texts and Contexts: considers the relationship between texts and their wider cultural, historical and geographical contexts over the past 200 years
Both these compulsory modules offer the opportunity to present a piece of creative writing for assessment.
- Language in Society: an introduction to the intricacies of regional and social variation in language, how we influence and judge each other through the way we speak, and how language varieties reflect and construct social contexts and identities.
- Foundations of Language: provides an introduction to the structures of language and the ways in which language works on various levels (sounds, words, sentences, meaning), exploring the uniqueness and diversity of human language
You will take the following compulsory module:
- Meaning and Representation: introduces a number of key theoretical concepts in order to help you understand how meaning is produced and how it circulates in literary texts and other artworks (for example, film, painting)
You may also take the following optional module (depending on the degree programme you are following):
- Language and the Brain: an introduction to the relationship between language and the brain, and to the cognitive basis of language more generally, exploring issues such as language acquisition, linguistic universals, categorisation, metaphor, and the evolution of language
You will choose either one or two of the following core modules (depending on the degree programme you are following):
- Writing and History: Scotland and Empire: studies aspects of Scottish literature, history and identity since the defining moment of the Union of the English and the Scottish Parliaments in 1707
- Writing and Identity: explores the constitution and representation of the ‘self’ and ‘identity’ in a range of literary texts from the 17th century to the present day
- Writing and Language: will provide you with the technical tools and vocabulary to describe in detail how language choices produce particular effects in literary texts
You will choose between one and three of the following historically-orientated modules (again depending on the degree programme you are following):
- From Medieval to Renaissance
- Restoration and 18th Century
- British Romanticism
- Victorian Literature and Culture
- Modernism and Modernity
- The History of the English Language
Semesters 6 and 7
You will choose from a range of Honours option modules. The selection of modules varies every year, but typical option modules may include:
- Scottish Literature
- Modern Gothic
- Shakespeare's Theatre
- The Art of Fiction
- Children's Literature
- Critical Theory
- Postcolonial Writing
- Rotten English
- Language, Power and Ideology
- Language and Gender
- Creative Writing
- Becoming a Writer
- Jane Austen
Semester 8: Final-year dissertation
This last semester is spent writing a dissertation (15,000 words for Single Honours; 10,000 words for Combined Honours). Every student is given a series of meetings with the tutor who will supervise their dissertation project and give feedback on each draft chapter as it is submitted.
Teaching and assessment
Lectures are supplemented by teaching and discussion in tutorial groups. Options are taught by seminar only. Visiting creative writers, scholars and critics are involved in a lively programme of extra-curricular lectures and readings. We also host two Royal Literary Fund fellows who are on site specifically to give students extra one-to-one support as they develop their essay writing skills. Assessment takes the form of essays or other assignments written during each semester with credit sometimes given for oral presentations. There are no final exams in English.
The timetable below is a typical example, but your own timetable may be different.
The structure of the Single Honours degree programme in English Studies is shown below; modules shown in italics are optional and can be replaced by another module.
||Author, Reader, Text
||Language in Society
||Texts and Contexts
||Foundations of Language
||Meaning and Representation
||Language and the Brain
Writing and History; Writing and Identity; Writing and Language
From Medieval to Renaissance; Restoration and Eighteenth Century; History of the English Language
British Romanticism; Victorian Literature and Culture; Modernism and Modernity
either Semester 5 group
||Honours Option Module
||Honours Option Module
||Honours Option Module
||Honours Option Module
||Honours Option Module
English can be combined with a diverse range of other subjects, including Business Studies, Film & Media, Philosophy, Modern Languages, History and Professional Education.
English can be studied with:
|History and Professional Education
|Religion and Professional Education
|Film & Media
|Global Cinema and Culture
(For a Combined Honours degree the higher entrance requirements of the subjects usually apply.)
- Teaching provision in English Studies has been assessed by the Scottish Funding Council and rated as excellent, the highest categorisation.
- In the most recent RAE, over half the department’s research was judged either ‘internationally excellent’ or ‘world leading’.
- Breadth and variety; you will have the opportunity to read and enjoy some of the greatest poems, plays and novels written in English across the world. You will engage critically with the popular culture of music, films, newspapers, magazines and electronic forms of text.
- As well as understanding concepts such as genre and the unreliable narrator, you will deal with theoretical concepts such as the death of the author, the debates of feminist criticism, postcolonial perspectives, the unconscious in Gothic literature, and the challenge of the ‘modern’ in every age.
- Creative writing is fully integrated into the degree, since we believe it strengthens your understanding of literary style and technique and develops the imagination.
- Our aim is to produce students who are well informed and skilled in interpretation and expression, whose written work can be produced to professional standards of presentation. The giving of class papers and open discussion in tutorials will promote confidence and expertise in oral skills.
- We do not use exams. In order to train you in both understanding and expression, we feel written course work creates a more productive and personal dialogue between you and your tutor and is the main form of assessment.
The results of the UK’s most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) confirm the quality and impact of research produced in English Studies. 90 percent of our assessed research was graded ‘internationally recognised’, with more than half considered ‘internationally excellent’ or ‘world leading’.
English Studies at Stirling has received an outstanding 100 percent overall quality and satisfaction rating in the National Student Survey, 2011, with staff being particularly praised for their ‘enthusiasm’ for making their subject ‘interesting’. This is the joint top result for English Studies across universities in Scotland and the UK.
Staff in English Studies research and teach in areas from the medieval period to the present day, as well as in linguistics and creative writing.We have recognised research and teaching expertise in Scottish Studies, the Gothic, Creative Writing, and Postcolonial Studies,and across literary periods ranging from the Middle Ages to the contemporary. Currently two major literary series and two international journals are edited from within the School.
The tutors approach their subjects with an enthusiasm and passion which is both infectious and inspirational.
Martine Flynn BA (Hons) English Studies and Scottish Literature, graduated 2006.
The mixture of core and option modules has allowed me to concentrate on what interests me most while also introducing me to ideas and authors I might not otherwise have come across.’
John Miller BA (Hons) English Studies, graduated 2004.
94% of University of Stirling 2012 graduates have found work, or are in a
further programme of study within 6 months of graduation. The Telegraph
ranks Stirling in the top 12 UK universities for getting a job.
The ability to think and write clearly is extremely valuable in many careers and professions. English Studies graduates from Stirling are well prepared in these transferable skills, and have an excellent success rate in finding rewarding employment in many fields.
Skills you can develop through this course
- Skills in both speaking and writing are developed throughout the degree programme, in group discussion, academic presentations and the writing of essays. Advice on composition, the structuring of essays and forming a written argument is provided by tutors, who also provide feedback on written work.
- Analytical skills are crucial to all parts of the degree programme. The ability to think rigorously and critically about an argument or point of view, and the capacity to analyse written texts in detail and in an informed way are essential.
- Independent study is an important part of any English degree. The ability to find and use available resources (both electronic and printed) effectively is a necessary part of the research process, and is a valuable transferable skill that all students acquire.
- All students are required to manage their time effectively in order to derive the greatest benefit from the experience of higher education. It is important for them to plan ahead in order to manage their workloads and to meet academic deadlines.
- Group work, whether in tutorials or outside the seminar room, is an important aspect of many parts of the English Studies degree, and gives students the opportunity to develop their interpersonal skills.
- The cultural knowledge acquired by any student of English Studies will be a valuable asset outside, both within and outside the workplace. This knowledge is particularly valuable in teaching, journalism, advertising and publishing.
Chances to expand your horizons
- Regular research seminars are held throughout the semester, which all students are very welcome to attend. These are typically given by a guest academic or postgraduate.
- Creative writing options are available to students from Semester 6. Stirling is fortunate to have the poet Kathleen Jamie as a member of its academic staff, and writers such as Iain Banks, Jackie Kay and Alan Bissett are among its alumni (these writers are regular guests at the university, providing readings and occasional writing workshops).
- We are fortunate that the MacRobert Arts Centre is at the centre of the University, presenting a widely varied programme of film, drama and music throughout the year.
- Small magazines are published on campus and the Literary Society organizes visits from distinguished creative writers each year, along with theatre trips to Glasgow and Edinburgh.
- Finally, the University Drama Society is very active, producing about seven plays a year, including performances at the Edinburgh Festival.
Where are our graduates now?
Our English graduates are currently contributing to the performance of the following organisations:
- The Royal Bank of Scotland
- The Pheonix Comic
- The Scottish Parliament
- Historic Scotland
- Harper Collins
- NHS Grampian
- Capability Scotland
Here are some of the roles our English graduates are in, who graduated in the past two years:
- Realtime MI Analyst
- Producing Assistant
- Recruitment Consultant
- Postgraduate Student
- Publishing Assistant
- PR & Events Team Member
- Barista & Supervisor
- Sales Assistant
- Publishing Marketing Manager
Building on that foundation, alumni of Stirling’s English degree who graduated between five and ten years ago have since advanced into some of the following positions:
- Executive PA
- Media Researcher
- Senior Recruitment Consultant
- HI-Net Website Advisor
- PhD Student
- ChM Programme Administrator
- Caretaker for a Castle
- Aboriginal Justice Team, full-time member
- Parliamentary Assistant
- Employment Services Officer
- Creative Writer
- Admin Assistant
Some of our more established alumni are currently leading and shaping strategy across many different sectors – here is an example of how a few former English students have advanced in their careers:
- Active Citizenship Worker
- Employability Adviser
- Induction Team Leader
- Records & Imformation Manager
- Business Analyst
- Managing Director
- English Teacher
Find out more about the sorts of careers available to English graduates at http://www.afterenglish.ac.uk/