English Studies

BA (Hons)


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.

Key information

EU Applicants
The Scottish Government has confirmed that EU students enrolling in the 2018 and 2019 academic year will be entitled to free tuition fees in Scotland. EU Students will retain that status for the duration of their four year degree.

  • UCAS: Q300
  • Qualification: BA (Hons)
  • Study methods: Part-time, Full-time, Campus based
  • Start date: September / January
  • Course Director: Suzanne Gilbert
  • Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
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Download undergraduate prospectus

Suzanne Gilbert


University of Stirling
Scotland, UK

View fees and finance

What makes us different?

  • In the most recent National Student Survey, English at Stirling gained a 99% overall satisfaction rating, placing us top for English Studies in Scotland.
  • In the 2017 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide we came 3rd in Scotland for English.
  • In the latest Research Excellence Assessment (REF 2014) 81% of our research was viewed as world leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*).
  • 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.

World-class library and teaching facilities

Studying for a degree means learning in different ways; managing your own time; conducting research; mastering new computer skills. We have the facilities and advice on hand to help you do all this - and do it well.

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Life at Stirling

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Four-year Honours degree

SQA Higher: ABBB - one sitting. AABB - two sittings.
GCE A-level: BBB.
IB Diploma: 32 points.
BTEC (Level 3): DDM.

Three-year Honours degree

SQA Adv. Higher: ABB.
GCE A-level: ABB.
IB Diploma: 35 points.

Essential subjects: to include English or English Literature and Language.

Other qualifications


Year one entry
Scottish HNC/D - Bs in graded units
English, Welsh and NI HNC/D - Merits and Distinctions.

Advanced entry
Not available

Access courses:
Access courses and other UK/EU and international qualifications are also welcomed.

Foundation Apprenticeships:

Considered to be equivalent to 1 Higher at Grade B


Additional information

General entrance requirements apply »

If examinations are taken over two sittings, or there are repeats or upgrades, the entrance requirements may be higher.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your English language skills:

  • IELTS: 6.0 with 5.5 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade C
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 54 with 51 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 80 with no subtest less than 17

More information on our English language requirements

If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this course, our partner INTO University of Stirling offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for entry to this degree.

Alternative routes

Students with A-level scores of ABB or higher may be permitted to enter in Year 2.

Fees and costs

Fees 2018/19

Overseas students (non-EU) £ 12,140.00
Scottish and EU students £ 1,820.00
Students from the rest of the UK

£9250 – with a generous package of scholarship options

From 2016/7 onwards, the fees for overseas undergraduates will be held at the level upon entry.





If you plan to commence your studies at the University of Stirling in January 2018, please note you will be subject to our 2017/18 fees. Please contact us for more information.

Please note: Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Students from the rest of the UK can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.

You should expect to pay fees for every year you are in attendance and be aware fees are subject to revision and may increase annually. Students on programmes of study of more than one year should take this into account when applying.

Please note there is an additional charge should you choose to attend a graduation ceremony. View more information

Cost of Living

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

Find information on paying fees by instalments

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

Semesters 1 - 2

You may choose between two and four of the following introductory core modules:

Compulsory modules:
  • Introduction to English Studies 1: Genres An introduction to a range of different genres of literature, including poetry, fiction and drama from Chaucer to the present day. The course has an overarching emphasis on how genres change and develop over time, and how literary texts respond to each other.
  • Introduction to English Studies 2: Theories and ApproachesThis module aims to introduce students to the study of literary texts through a range of different theoretical and literary critical approaches.

These compulsory modules may offer the opportunity to present a piece of creative writing for assessment.

Optional modules:
  • 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

Semester 3

You will take the following compulsory module:

  • Literary Revolutions This module explores the revolutionary potential of literature and the relationships between actual, historical and political revolutions and literary revolutions (and the counter-revolutions prompted by these).

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

Semester 4

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

Semester 5

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
  • Tragedy
  • Creative Writing
  • Becoming a Writer
  • Jane Austen
  • Chaucer

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.

Delivery 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 a Royal Literary Fund Fellow who is 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.


Find detailed module information for your intended degree. For other options, such as combined degrees, please consult the Degree Programme Tables.

The details shown are for illustration only (and may be subject to change). Your adviser of studies can help you choose electives to customise your degree to suit you.

Combined degrees

English can be combined with a diverse range of other subjects:

English can be studied with:
CourseUCAS Code
History and Professional Education QXHC
Religion and Professional Education QXJ1
Film & Media QP33
French QR31
History QV31
Journalism Studies QP35
Philosophy QV35
Politics QL32
Professional Education QX31
Psychology QC38
Religion QV36
Spanish QR34

(For a Combined Honours degree the higher entrance requirements of the subjects usually apply.)

Learn more about studying these subjects

Modes of study

Full-time (three modules per semester).
Part-time (one or two modules per semester).
January entry also available - see semester dates

Find out more


Example timetable

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. 

Year Semester Subject 1 Subject 2 Subject 3

1 Introduction to Literary Studies: Genre Language in Society any module
2 Introduction to Literary Studies: Theories & Approaches Foundations of Language any module

3 Literary Revolutions Language and the Brain any module

TWO from:

Writing and History; Writing and Identity; Writing and Language

any module


ONE from:

From Medieval to Renaissance; Restoration and Eighteenth Century; History of the English Language

ONE from:

British Romanticism; Victorian Literature and Culture; Modernism and Modernity

ONE from:

either Semester 5 group

6 Honours Option Module Honours Option Module Honours Option Module

7 Dissertation Preparation Module Honours Option Module Honours Option Module
8 Dissertation

Why Stirling?


International Students

The University of Stirling welcomes applications from all countries.

Study abroad opportunities

You have the opportunity to study abroad through Stirling's well-established connections with several international universities.


Academic strengths

English Studies has a long-established and vibrant research and teaching culture with staff in English Studies researching and teaching  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 Faculty.

Our staff are international leaders in their fields and have received recognition of this in the form of accolades and awards. Most recently, Kathleen Jamie’s The Bonniest Companie won the Saltire Book of the Year 2016, Kevin MacNeil’s The Brilliant and Forever was also shortlisted in Best Fiction category.

Our students

The lecturers’ passion and enthusiasm for their subject, their approachability and the diversity of the English Studies programme has resulted in an English Studies degree that has given me a wealth and breadth of theoretical and practical knowledge and the confidence that I have a solid foundation for Postgraduate study.

Janine Mitchell BA (Hons) English Studies, graduated 2015.
The English Studies BA at the University of Stirling was my first choice from the moment I realised it contained modules in not only English Literature and Linguistics, but also Creative Writing. Having completed my degree, I can honestly say that this course was everything I’d hoped it would be and more. From the variety of materials studied and modules available, to the superior quality of teaching, this course has given me the perfect foundation upon which I hope to build my future academic career.

Natasha Christensen BA (Hons), English Studies, 2017.

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

Studying English is acknowledged by potential employers as providing important skills as well as motivation, intelligence and an ability to meet deadlines. Although English is not a specifically vocational degree it offers a number of transferable skills including:  


Expand your horizons

As part of this degree you will:

  • be able to choose a range of optional modules* which offer activities and skills to help you get the most from your degree and your future career. These include:
    • Undertaking a work placement to put your learning into context
    • A Career management skills module, preparing you to enter the job market
    • Business, accounting and management modules
    • Law modules
    • Business writing and digital literacy modules
    • French/Spanish language modules
  • Receive talks from visiting speakers from industry and alumni
  • Go on field trips
  • You will also be encouraged to take part in clubs and societies


*modules are subject to availability and the structure of your chosen degree


We’re here to help

We offer a comprehensive employability and skills programme to help you maximise your time at university and develop the graduate attributes required by employers. We have a dedicated Faculty Employability and Skills Officer and a Career and Employability Service who work in partnership with academic staff to ensure you get the best out of your University experience and are given the right opportunities to make you ready for the world of work.

Our Alumni

Our alumni go into a range of careers but some notable alumni include:

Novelists Iain Banks and Alan Bissett, Poet Jackie Kay and Journalist Grace Dent.

Career options

From publishing to digital and editorial work, a degree in English opens up a broad range of opportunities


Jobs directly related to degree include:

Jobs where degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict research or ambition to the jobs listed here.

Typical employers

English Studies graduates are typically employed by:

A wide range of employers employ English studies graduates. Public and private sector organisations such as the National Health Service (NHS), educational institutions, local and national government, financial and legal firms, and voluntary and charitable organisations employ English graduates in a range of roles, including:

  • administration
  • finance
  • general management
  • research.

Other typical employers include:

  • advertising marketing and public relations agencies
  • media organisations
  • publishing companies.

The retail, leisure and tourism sectors also typically recruit English graduates.


Work experience

Before and during your degree you are encouraged to consider volunteering for student newspapers and magazines, get involved with student radio or film societies, or volunteer in the community or local schools or volunteering as a Student Ambassador to assist at university events. Evidence of any skills gained from work experience and extracurricular activities, as well as through study, can help boost your job prospects.


Further study
Many English Studies graduates continue with further study of their discipline, possibly with the intention of pursuing a career as a lecturer, but often due a desire to develop their knowledge of the subject further to improve their career prospects. Other graduates chose to study something vocational at postgraduate level - common areas have included law, publishing and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL). For careers such as law, lecturing and teaching, further qualifications are essential. For careers such as journalism and advertising, a postgraduate qualification may be useful, but it is relevant work experience that is essential.
Relevant further study available at Stirling includes:


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