English Language (Single Honours) BA (Hons) module details

Routes: You can select to study a route in Block 3 during your first year. When selecting a module for Block 3 in your second year you can opt to remain on your chosen route or return to English Language. If you choose to remain with the route, it must be continued in your third year.

Year one

Block 1: Approaches to Reading and Writing

You will develop your understanding of standard English grammar and sentence construction and knowledge of how terminology can be applied to the description of diverse forms of language and writing techniques. The module will be taught using a variety of literary and non-literary texts and modes such as, for example, poetry, dramatic monologues, myth and fairy tales, political speech, and film. You will put this knowledge into practice in your own writing alongside learning how to organise and reference writing appropriately and accurately for assignments within your discipline/s.  

Assessment: 60% wiki article and learning diary and 40% essay.


Block 2: Words in Action

This module is designed to introduce you to key concepts in the study of language and to instruct you how to carry out forms of linguistic analysis. Taught in workshops, the emphasis is therefore very much on putting theory into practice. Starting with the overall system of language, each week you will be introduced to an element of linguistics and taught how to apply appropriate and corresponding analytical skills in practical work and class exercises. The major areas of linguistics which are covered are: phonetics and phonology, morphology, lexicology, phrase structure and generative grammar, and clause analysis. 

Assessment: 40% group presentation, 30% report and 30% report

Block 3: Topics in Linguistics: Theory in Practice

This module develops your knowledge of the history and evolution of linguistics as a discipline, examining a range of critical and theoretical approaches to the study of language. As well as developing your knowledge base, it also increases your skills in linguistic analysis, by introducing you to various methods of examining linguistic texts, and the contexts in which such examination may occur. Typical themes and topics may include the history of linguistics, from classical approaches to examining language to the beginnings of modern linguistics (Saussure, Bloomfield, and Chomsky), cognitive linguistics, approaches to pragmatics and corpus linguistics. 

Assessment: 40% critical review, 20% creation of a wiki page, 20% a blog and 20% group presentation

OR you can select to study one route from the list below:

English Literature: Intro to Drama: Shakespeare 

This module will introduce you to the playwright, William Shakespeare. You will explore textual production and the performance of plays in the early modern period. You will also examine Shakespeare’s meaning in contemporary culture by considering the continued adaptation of his work in other media forms such as novels or films. You will use examples of Shakespeare in adaptation to discuss key topics such as gender, social justice and (post)colonialism. In doing so, the module will explore Shakespeare’s significance to British culture, as well as his global legacy. 

Assessment: 60% blog and 40% presentation and reflection.

Creative Writing: Writers Salon  

Writers always learn from reading. Drawing on the tradition of the literary salon and writers’ salons in the 21st century, this module provides a framework for you to extend your writing skills through an exchange of ideas and collaborative learning. You will reflect on how your reading can inform and improve your own practice as a writer. Areas for consideration may include voice, form and structure, pace and development, genre, language, and the relationship of writer to reader. Reading for craft will be introduced through core readings in poetry and prose and will draw on materials from a range of countries and cultures, including published work from writers of colour and writing in translation.

Assessment: 70% two creative responses to reading and 30% plan for hosting your salon.

Drama: Shifting Stages

You will develop and demonstrate performance skills relevant to chosen theatrical texts. Analysing the structures, both linguistic and narrative, of play texts and performances, you will explore a range of critical and technical perspectives. Through workshops, you will engage in a practical exploration of the module topic through a range of tutor led exercises, consolidating your knowledge through creative practice, and working collaboratively with others. 

Assessment: 60% Solo Performance or Presentation and 40% essay.

Film: Disney, Warner Bros and the Film Studio

You will develop your understanding of the historic and current operation of major film studios, by reviewing their releases, changing structures over time, and their practices today. You will explore the history of movie studios and the evolving business practices of studios, focusing on the activities of two studios, the Walt Disney Company and Warner-Discovery. You will discover the key activities carried out by studios, including production, distribution, license sales and marketing. 

Assessment: 80% essay and 20% presentation or written piece.

Education: Childhood, Social Justice and Education 

You will explore and evaluate the construction of childhood, the inequalities which surround childhood, and what it means to be a child in the UK in the 21st century. Drawing on a range of sociological and political conceptualizations of childhood and the many factors that shape our understanding of it, you will critically evaluate key issues impacting on childhood and how these issues are reflected in, or sustained by, or challenged by society. You will be encouraged to contest and interrogate your own thinking and assumptions about children, childhood, and society.

Assessment: 60% academic report and 40% academic poster.

History: Global Cities

This module examines the role of cities in global history, particularly the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. You will gain an understanding of the significance of urbanisation in modern history, and the development of cities as key sites of global trade and exchange of ideas. Topics covered may include sanitation processes and hygiene movements, city planning, migration, the slave trade, colonialism, sport and leisure, religion, and the arts. You will be introduced to cultural and social history concepts and engage with different types of history, such as urban history, medical history, environmental history, visual and material history, and migration history. 

Assessment: 60% short written pieces and 40% presentation. 

Media: Media, Culture and Society

This module considers a range of approaches to the study of media, culture, and society, particularly focusing on the socio-cultural contexts in which contemporary media operate on a domestic and global scale. You will examine the notion of 'culture' as a range of mediatised practices and explore the everyday significance of contemporary cultural and media forms. 

Assessment: 60% essay and 40% creative project.

Journalism: Understanding Journalism

You will be introduced to classic and new theories and practice of journalism, and the role the news media have in explaining and shaping society. You will reflect on the evolutions and the current state of the sector, and develop your understanding of global news debate and the role of journalism in shaping communities. Theories introduced include journalism and its role in society, theories of news production, content, and audience theories, and digital news theories.

Assessment: 60% essay and 40% presentation.

Block 4: Evolving Language

This module will examine theories about the origins of language, and use English as a case study to show how languages change over time. By the end of the module, you will have examined the history of English through the close study of texts chosen from the full range of the language's history; including early Celtic languages and Anglo-Saxon (translations will be provided). The vexed question of language 'decay' will also be addressed, and the module will close with an examination of the various ways English is evolving in a globalised, IT-saturated world.

Assessment: 40% group presentation, 40% online test and 20% report.


Year two

Block 1: Structure and Meaning

You will examine linguistic data, primarily from English, but also from other languages, with many opportunities to describe and analyse the differences in the linguistic structures of different languages and dialects, and contextual, social, cultural, and cross-linguistic differences in concepts and meanings communicated through language. You will also be encouraged to collect your own linguistic data for analysis. Through this, you will extend your skills in morphological and syntactic analysis.

Assessment: 40% presentation, 35% three blogs posts and 25% report.


Block 2: Research Methods for Linguists

You will be introduced to key principles in conducting an effective research study within the specific context of linguistic study. You will consider such issues as: designing a research project. conducting an effective literature review, quantitative versus qualitative research, corpus linguistics, introspective research, the principles of fieldwork, questionnaire, and survey design, engaging with statistics, the use of mixed and blended methodologies, conducting research in an ethical manner.

Assessment: 40% critical analysis and 60% plan.


Block 3: Sociolinguistics

This module develops awareness of the link between language and society and the issues that may arise from this link. It includes such topics as the relationship between language and society, how English varies between regions and countries, the debate on standard English, multilingualism and language choice, attitudes to language use in society, language and gender, language and class/age, and linguistic imperialism or a global language.

Assessment: 30% group research project, 30% analytical study, 20% critical review and 20% online test.

OR continue with the route selected in the first year:

English Literature: Text Technologies

Literary and historical texts have always come down to us in material forms - from stone and wax tablets inscribed with a chisel or stylus to being held as electron charges within capacitors on computer microchips. This module is concerned with how these material forms function and how they have shaped the writings we read. You will explore three topics: '‘Manuscript, writing up to the year 1500’, ‘Printing, 1440-2000’, and ‘Digital texts, the 20th century and beyond'. You will discover the revolutionary aspects of each of these and how they transformed writing, its dissemination and consumption.

Assessment: 60% digital resource, 30% case study and 10% short tests. 


Creative Writing: Story Craft

Narrative remains a tremendously powerful tool in all aspects of media, in marketing, advertising, gaming, as well as all aspects of fiction. Main themes may include narrative arcs and structures, characterisation, pace, event, story-world, dialogue, clue-laying, revelation, and concealment, and means of involving the reader. The module will focus on storytelling and prose, looking at story structure, narrative structure, and drive, and how writers compel us to turn the pages. You will develop your understanding of the importance of showing rather than telling and of the capacity strong image has to carry emotional content. 

Assessment: 60% new creative work and 40% proposal to your story craft.

Drama: Theatre Revolutions

You will engage with key moments of transition in theatre practice and develop your understanding of those changes from a range of cultural and historical perspectives. Theatre is an ever-changing form and this module provides you with the opportunity to explore exciting moments of change throughout history such as the shift from melodrama to naturalism or the shift from naturalism to post-dramatic performance. Themes you will explore could include Justice, War and Love. 

Assessment: 50% group performance and 50% essay.


Film: Screen Archives

You will discover how to identify, approach, and mitigate the threats that time and space pose to the preservation of film and media heritage for future generations, identify and explore the various purposes for which this archival material is utilised by a range of external stakeholders. The module’s hands-on practical evaluation of historical material will encourage you to consider: what can we find and study in film archives? How do we present these items to the public? Who is an archivist and who a collector? And what, ultimately, are the purposes and uses of an archive’s holdings and how can they best be served?

Assessment: 50% essay and 50% presentation with exhibition materials.


Education: Preparing for professional practice and Cultural and Educational Transformations

You will consider key cultural changes, for example, that we now live in the ‘digital age and how technological change has impacted on notions of children’s and young people’s media literacy, e-learning, e-safety, and social networking. Many students do not have access to technology and you will consider the inequalities this perpetuates, as well as how technologies can create a more inclusive form of education for neurodiverse students and students with disabilities. You will also consider how technology can create empowering learning opportunities, through gaming, podcasting, wikis, and virtual world platforms for all students. 

Assessment: 100% group work to create a portfolio presented either as a wiki, website, or interactive Sway. 


History: Humans and the Natural World

This module will examine how humans have used, adapted, represented, changed, and explored the natural world through the sciences and medicine, sport and leisure, industry, religion, and visual culture, among others. You will be introduced to a diversity of historical approaches, including the history of science, medicine and technology, environmental history, sport history and visual history. 

Assessment: 50% podcast or video, 40% thematic essay, 10% to introduce your podcast or video. 


Media: Public Relations

This module introduces you the concepts and debates that underpin both the practice and the academic discipline of public relations. You will learn about the different strands of public relations, the industry structures and the tools used by practitioners to engage with their audiences. You will develop an understanding of mediated communications and the relationship between practitioners and journalists. The ability to practically utilise new media and technology as part of strategic communications will also form a key strand of the modules learning and teaching strategy. 

Assessment: 60% online PR campaign plan and 40% group presentation and reflective report.


Journalism: Beyond News

You will explore innovative and constructive approaches to journalism, such as peace journalism, constructive journalism, and solution journalism, which aim to create opportunities for change through journalism. You will gain an understanding of practical elements of writing an entertaining, interesting, and compelling first-person opinion column. You will also look at review writing and the journalistic similarities here with opinion writing.

Assessment: 50% journalism report and 50% review or column.


Block 4: Pragmatics, Theory and Practice

This module explores the nature of human communication, and the ways in which the meaning communicated by utterances goes beyond the meaning of the words and sentences used. You will examine how hearers understand indirectly communicated meanings (conversational implicatures) and a variety of kinds of non-literal meanings (for example, metaphor, irony, metonymy), and compare how these meanings are conveyed in verbal communication versus in certain kinds of text (for example literary texts).

Assessment: 60% pragmatic analysis and 40% group presentation.


Year three 

Block 1: Year-long Dissertation

You will research and write an extended piece of work on a topic in Linguistics.

Assessment: 90% dissertation and 10% poster presentation.


Block 2: Language Acquisition and Expression

You will be introduced to different theoretical approaches to first language acquisition (including Chomskyan nativist and more recent Constructivist approaches). You will examine how children acquire the sounds, words, and grammatical structures of their first language as well as considering the psychology of learning to read and dyslexia. You will also consider the nature of bilingual and second language acquisition, and ask: is there a critical period for language acquisition or is it possible to attain native competence in a language later in life?

Assessment: 40% presentation, 35% report and 25% report



Block 3: Language and Identity

You will learn about a range of theoretical approaches to the study of language and identity, including performativity and intersectionality. These approaches will be examined in relation to various spoken and written data from domains such as the media, the workplace, and online spaces. You will critically evaluate the role that language plays in the construction of identities and in real-world issues such as sexism and racism. You will carry out your own research on a topic that relates to language and identity, developing their skills in data collection, analysis, and evaluation.

Assessment: 50% podcast, 30% report and 20% report plan.

OR continue with the route selected in the first year


English Literature: World Englishes: On the Page and Beyond

This module explores a diverse range of ‘World Englishes’ or English-language literature from across the globe. You will develop your knowledge on the production of English literature in a variety of national, ideological, historical, or social contexts and examine examples both on and off the written page. You will focus on the legacy of colonisation in anglophone and/or postcolonial nations, and the literature thereof.

Assessment: 60% essay and 40% blog posts.


Creative Writing: Uncreative Writing, Creative Misbehaviour

There is an alternative history of ‘Uncreative Writing’ that challenges these ideas and welcomes kinds of writing practice open to chance procedures, ‘conceptual writing’, ‘found’ and ‘appropriated’ texts, and experiments with artificial constraints. You will learn about the innovations of Cubism, Dada, Surrealism, Oulipo, L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E and Conceptual Writing. You will also explore a range of ideas, attitudes and practices that have been central to visual art, musical composition, mathematics, and Zen. Central to the module is a celebration of the importance of play and experimentation and you will rethink notions of originality, authenticity, authorship, inspiration, and self-expression. 

Assessment: 60% creative work and 40% case study.


Drama: Performance, Identity and Activism

You will explore the ways in which theatre and performance has been, and can be, used as a vehicle to discuss politics, to emancipate individuals and communities, as a tool for intervention and liberation, or as a means of engagement and communication within society.  Exploring politics of personal identity and social relations, the module enables you to make connections between performance and political activism, using intersectional perspectives – race, gender, sexuality, class, and (dis)ability – to create work that pushes beyond pure entertainment. It also considers ways in which drama, theatre, and performance functions as a means of engagement and communication within society.  

Assessment: 60% solo piece or group performance and 40% presentation and essay.

Film: British Cinema

This module explores British cinema, its cultural specificity, and its remarkable creative and cultural diversity within an industry-grounded framework, with a particular focus on the post-studio period since the late 1960s and developments between the 1980s and the present. You will gain an understanding of some of the creative figures, individual producers and production companies, films, cycles, genres, and trends which have shaped post-1960s and contemporary British film.

Assessment: tbc.


Education: Preparing for Professional Practice 

This module is intended to support students who wish to go into both teaching and non-teaching-based careers. It will equip you to make informed, critical, and confident assessments of the opportunities, debates and challenges that are available to you. You will also gain the practical skills and reflect on the development of your professional identity and application of academic knowledge in practical environments. You will attend career guidance sessions throughout the academic year and could undertake a placement.         

Assessment: 100% reflective report.


Reflection on Practice: Teaching and Learning

You will undertake a placement in a learning environment which could be within schools, arts and community projects, gallery education, post-compulsory education, prisons, early years settings, Scout groups, extra-curricular clubs, hospital schools, as well as alternative educational settings. You will adopt the approach of a reflective practitioner and get involved in the 'process' of critical reflection. In so doing, you will use this as a tool for developing and consolidating your knowledge and understanding of the teaching and learning process. 

Assessment: 70% e-portfolio and 30% presentation.


History: The World on Display

This module explores the complex histories of collecting and displaying. You will examine the relationship between museums and history by looking at the origins of museum objects and the histories that shaped collecting practices. You will examine these which may include public history and heritage sites, the impact of colonialism and decolonisation processes in the formation of museums, as well as the effects of the emergence of academic disciplines such as archaeology and anthropology in the shaping of collecting and displaying practices.  

Assessment: 45% online exhibition, 40% literature review and 15% critical reflection.


Media: Gender and TV Fictions

What have women/those who identify as women contributed to the production of television drama and sitcom? How have women been represented within these genres in terms of their gender, class, sexuality, race, and age? These are key questions which this module addresses by exploring British feminine-gendered fiction from the 1960s to the contemporary period. Taking an historical approach, this module contextualises key shifts to women’s positioning on both sides of the television screen in relation to broader cultural, economic, social, and industrial change.

Assessment: 50% portfolio of research materials and 50% group presentation.


Journalism: Music, Film and Entertainment Journalism

You will develop your understanding of music, film and entertainment journalism, its history, and its cultural importance. This a practical module designed to prepare you for a career as a journalist, PR, or promoter. You will produce a varied multi-media journalism portfolio showcasing your ability to preview events and write reviews of gigs/albums/films/theatre/TV/comedy and other arts forms to industry standard on various media platforms, including digital, print, and social media.

Assessment: 100% Journalism portfolio.

Block 4: Communication, Control and Resistance

You will be introduced to the key concepts of rhetoric and oratory as a discipline and will enable you to both analyse and produce texts which employ language powerfully to persuade your target audience. You will be taking ideas and issues which have endured from Aristotle and the Renaissance to the present and will examine rhetoric in theory and practice; while you will need to acquire a detailed knowledge of rhetorical structures and figures (and the associated technical vocabulary), the main concern of this module is to consider praxis, and the way in which theory is enacted in practice. Building on theories of figures such as Bernays and Cialdini, it will introduce you to a variety of ways of analysing techniques of persuasion, manipulation and perception management, and the methods used to shape opinion.

Assessment: 40% group presentation, 25% analysis, 20% online test and 15% critical review.

Note: All modules are subject to change in order to keep content current.