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BA (Honours) English Language and Literature

If you love the written and spoken word, this course is for you. A comprehensive and stimulating introduction to English language and literature, it investigates how the English language is used in a variety of global contexts, and explores literature from different historical periods and in diverse cultural settings. You’ll explore writing and speech in a wide range of forms, and develop your skills in the interpretation of literary and non-literary texts.

Key features of the course

  • Learn how to analyse a wide range of texts including novels, poetry and drama 
  • Explore the history of the English language and how it has become a global language
  • Have the opportunity to develop a project based on independent study
  • Learn the skills of critical commentary and complex argument that are highly valued in the workplace

Course Summary

Degree

Degree

  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Course code
Q39
Credits

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
360
How long it takes
Part time – 6 years
Full time – 3 years
Time limit – 16 years
Study method
Distance learning

Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • You’ll start Stage 1 with a broad introduction to the arts and humanities followed by beginning your study of English language.
  • Next, in Stage 2, you’ll choose between two option modules and study one compulsory module that examines the development and diversity of English.
  • Finally, in Stage 3, you’ll complete your degree with two advanced modules, one from English language and one from English literature. 

Prepare for OU study with an Access module

We offer two starting points depending on how confident you are or how long it’s been since you last studied. Choose to dive straight in at Stage 1, or if you’d prefer some extra preparation, you can get started with an optional Access module. See Entry requirements for more details.

Stage 1 (120 credits)

In Stage 1 you'll encounter a variety of different times and places and engage with some fascinating people, art works, ideas and stories. This broad foundation will help you develop the skills and the confident, open approach needed to tackle more specialist language and literature modules at Stages 2 and 3.

Stage 2 (120 credits)

In Stage 2, you’ll choose between reading and studying literary texts in their historical and cultural contexts and finding out about the ways in which writers of fiction have put together their stories. You’ll also investigate how people learn English, how English has developed into a global language that interacts with other languages, and how written and spoken English varies in different regional and social contexts.

Stage 3 (120 credits)

In English language you’ll choose between evaluating how the English language is used in different contexts within an up-to-date framework and looking at the creative use of the English language from everyday contexts to ‘high culture’ literary language and the impact of new media.

For your English literature studies, you can focus on children’s literature, English literature from 1570 to 1818, or literature from 1800 to the present. Alternatively you can develop your creative writing ability widening your generic range and knowledge of style.

We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 17 March 2021.


Accessibility

We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BA (Honours) English Language and Literature uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:

  • studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
  • face-to-face and/or online tutorials and day schools
  • finding external/third party material online, such as in ebooks, electronic journals and databases 
  • working in a group with other students
  • continuous and end-of-module assessment in the form of essays and other forms of written assignment
  • using feedback: continuous assessment involves receiving detailed feedback on your work from your tutor and using this feedback to improve your performance
  • engagement with learning and assessment within a pre-determined schedule or timetable – time management will be needed during your studies and the University will help you to develop these skills throughout your degree
  • some modules may require you to use specialist software (for example the grammar software UAM-CT)

For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.


Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment

This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills

The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.

It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.

You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.

For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.


Classification of your degree

On successfully completing this undergraduate course, you'll be awarded the BA (Honours) English Language and Literature degree. The class of degree (first, upper second, lower second or third-class honours) depends on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.

You'll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.

Recognition in your country

If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Read recognition in my country.

Regulations

As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website. 

Compare this course

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.

At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.

How much time do I need?

  • Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
  • This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
In this section:
How much will it cost?
Ways to pay for your qualification and other support

How much will it cost in England?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification up front.
  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • Most OU students study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year.
  • Our current fee for 60 credits is £3,168*.
  • Our current fee for 120 credits, which is equivalent to a year's full-time study, is £6,336*.
  • At current prices, the total cost of your qualification would be £19,008*.
  • .

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2022. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees.


Skills for career development

Studying English language and literature will equip you with an adaptable set of skills that can give entry to a vast range of occupations, leading in a number of career directions. You’ll learn to evaluate and assimilate information in constructing an argument. You'll acquire skills of creative and critical thinking, analysis, and communication. You’ll also sharpen up essential writing and IT skills. These are all key skills that are crucial to many different kinds of complex organisations, and are greatly sought after.

Career relevance

The breadth of study and the range of analysis, combined with training in clear thinking and communication, make this degree course relevant to a wide variety of careers, including:

  • public administration, local government, the civil service, art institutions, and social services
  • advertising, journalism, publishing, creative industries and public relations
  • education
  • legal work
  • business, banking and retail
  • human resources
  • charities and campaigning.

Other careers

Many graduate-level jobs, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector, are open to graduates of any discipline. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice. This includes online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree:

  • editor
  • journalist
  • advertising account manager
  • copywriter
  • publisher
  • public relations manager
  • librarian
  • information archivist
  • civil servant
  • lawyer
  • charity campaigner
  • retail manager
  • human resources manager
  • politician
  • accountant
  • writer
  • teacher
  • further education lecturer
  • arts administration
  • tourist officer
  • local government and NHS management
  • marketing officer
  • business manager
  • arts administration.

Register for this course

Start dates
Credit transfer: apply by 05/08/2021
Credit transfer: apply by 09/12/2021

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