English (BA, Dip HE and Cert HE)

Goldsmiths

A flexible BA English degree developed by the UK's leading creative university

Our English programme gives you the opportunity to study and enjoy some of the great literatures of the world, immersing yourself in a range of works from the Middle Ages to the present day. The programme was redeveloped in 2012 to include a range of new optional courses, including ‘Introduction to Creative Writing’, ‘Language and the Media’ and 'Language and Gender'. Popular literature courses, such as 'Postcolonial Literatures in English', 'American Literature' and 'Drama since 1860' reflect exciting new global approaches to English studies in the 21st century.  Your study experience will be enriched by online support through tutor groups, e-seminars and formative assessment.

Studying this programme will enable you to:

  • expand your knowledge and understanding of cultural, historical and regional evolutions or continuities of literatures in English
  • develop an understanding of the diverse and sometimes conflicting ways in which literary texts have been interpreted and area being reinterpreted
  • gain the skills to read, discuss and write about literary and non-literary texts effectively and with confidence.
Key dates  
Application deadline 1 October in the year before you intend to sit your first examinations
Registration deadline 9 October
Start studying Study materials are usually available from mid-August
Examinations take place May

Study options

You can choose from a full BA (12 courses), Diploma of Higher Education in English (8 courses) or a Certificate of Higher Education in English (4 courses). The Certificate is an ideal option if you don't feel ready to commit to a full Diploma or degree programme or don't satisfy the entrance requirements. Once you pass the Certificate, you can transfer your registration to the Diploma or BA. You can also transfer to the BA on completion of the Diploma.

Credit-bearing individual courses at Level 4 are now offered. This is an ideal option if you're keen to update your professional knowledge, enhance your career or sample the programme. For further information about the provision of individual courses please see the current English Regulations.

Please be aware that these programmes are specifically concerned with the study of English Literature and it is assumed that prospective students will already be fluent in spoken and written English.

A prestigious qualification

The English programme has been developed by Goldsmiths, the UK's leading creative university. Goldsmiths brings creative and unconventional approaches to subjects in the arts, humanities, social sciences and computing, with an emphasis on the highest academic standards of teaching and research. The Department of English and Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths is one of the highest ranking English departments in the UK. Research and creative writing published by its 35 academic staff puts the Department at the cutting edge of new thinking.

Develop transferable skills

Studying English will equip you with transferable skills that can be used in a wide range of contexts. You will be able to understand and analyse complex ideas and to present your ideas clearly and logically. This will give you a sound basis for a career in areas such as the civil service, teaching and research, advertising and marketing, journalism, radio and television, and commerce and business. If you complete the BA successfully you may be able to progress to postgraduate study in the degree field or a related area of the arts and humanities.

Flexible study at a reasonable cost

You have 3-8 years to complete the BA degree and 1-5 years to complete the Dip HE or Cert HE. Fees are payable as you progress rather than as a single lump sum. The following are examples of University fees for the whole programme of study: £5,335 for the BA, £3,711 for the Dip HE and £2,087 for the Cert HE. Please note that these examples are calculated using current fees for 2014-15, do not reflect any annual fee change in fees and assume completion in the minimum time permitted.

Suitably qualified candidates may apply for Accreditation of Prior Learning for any of the Level 4 courses of the BA English.

Goldsmiths

Structure and syllabus

Bachelor of Arts degree in English

The BA in English consists of twelve courses. Choose four courses from level 4, four from level 5 and four from level 6.

Diploma of Higher Education in English

The Dip HE in English consists of eight courses. Choose four courses from level 4 and four from level 5.

Certificate of Higher Education in English

The Cert HE in English consists of four courses from level 4.

Level 4

Two core courses (BA, DipHE & CertHE)
Explorations in Literature

This course introduces a wide range of works from the literary canon, from ancient Greek texts in translation to the contemporary, covering the major genres, and embodying significant interventions or influences in literary history. The emphasis is on reading primary texts voraciously and discovering—or rediscovering—diverse writers and cultures, so that students can make informed choices from more specialized courses later in their programme. Not being limited to a period, genre or single approach, the course cultivates difference and chronological sweep; it aims to challenge and surprise, as rewarding ‘exploration’ should.

By the end of the course you should:

  • have read a number of works that have been influential in the literary ‘canon’
  • be aware of the cultural diversity that has informed and continues to inform ‘English’ literature
  • understand how literary genres and forms yield experimentation as well as continuities
  • recognize the historicity as well as continuing accessibility of texts from diverse backgrounds
  • have improved your historical overview of literature by study of primary texts in ways that will help orientate you in relation to other more specialized courses in the programme
  • have improved basic skills in written expression and critical analysis
  • be able to reflect on 'exploration' of and within texts

Main texts (all prescribed)

  • Homer The Odyssey
  • Sophocles Antigone
  • Ovid Metamorphoses
  • Dante The Inferno
  • Geoffrey Chaucer The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale
  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
  • William Shakespeare Hamlet
  • Metaphysical Poetry: John Donne, Andrew Marvell, Thomas Carew
  • John Milton Paradise Lost Books 1 and 2
  • Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock
  • Henry Fielding, Joseph Andrews
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
  • Jane Austen Emma
  • Charles Dickens Great Expectations
  • August Strindberg, Miss Julie
  • Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure
  • James Joyce A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • T.S. Eliot Prufrock and Other Observations
  • Samuel Beckett Waiting for Godot
  • Leonora Carrington The Hearing Trumpet
  • Margaret Atwood The Penelopiad
  • Virginia Woolf Mrs Dalloway
Approaches to Text

This course introduces you to essential concepts in modern literary study, enabling you to become a more observant, perceptive and analytical reader and critic in your own right.  You are introduced to the history and nature of literary studies, and to contemporary critical debates.  You learn a vocabulary in which to discuss literary language, ideas of literary convention and genre, poetic rhythm and form, and the nature of narrative voice and narrative structures.  You are introduced to debates about the relation of texts on the page to texts in performance, and to wider questions about the interpretation of texts.

By the end of the course you should:

  • be able to apply accurately the basic terms and concepts of literary critical and cultural analysis to a range of literary and non-literary texts
  • be able to discuss and evaluate contemporary debates about the nature of literary studies
  • be able to understand the interpretative issues raised by modern literary theory, and their relevance to the reading of a range of literary and non-literary texts
  • be able to identify and productively explore some of the most significant technical means by which texts produce meaning

Main texts

Students may draw on reading completed for Explorations in Literature answers to questions, but must not present substantially the same material in more than one answer in this or in any other part of the Level 4 course examinations. In addition, students are required to read the following:

  • M.H. Abrams, A Glossary of Literary Terms, (Heinle Languages, 2008), ninth (International) edition
  • Peter Barry, Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory, (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2009), third edition
  • Jonathan Culler, Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction, (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2000), new edition
  • Martin Montgomery, Alan Durant, Nigel Fabb, Tom Furniss and Sara Mills, Ways of Reading: Advanced Reading Skills for Students of English Literature, 2nd edition (London: Routledge, 2006), third edition
  • D. Walder (ed.) Literature in the Modern World, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), second revised edition

Level 4 (BA, DipHE & CertHE)

Plus two courses chosen from
Renaissance Comedy: Shakespeare and Jonson

This course provides students with an introduction to the works of Shakespeare and Jonson within the genre of ‘comedy’, and seeks to draw attention to the principles of classification which enable these plays to be seen as forming a group. Starting with the hypothesis that the plays themselves may problematize such formulations, the course will examine the cultural specificity of the term ‘comedy’, and the extent to which these plays are part of a process which redefined the role of drama in Elizabethan/Jacobean society. The plays will be treated primarily as literary texts but students will be encouraged to consider the possibilities for interpretation which a ‘stage-centred’ critical approach produces. The plays will be placed in the context of a new dramatic practice which arose within a London of competing commercial and political interests, and students will be required to grasp an overview of the forces shaping the creative production of Shakespeare and Jonson. The demands of the market for which the dramatists were producing, the operation of patronage, the expectations of theatre audiences, and the role of censorship will be considered, and the course will attempt to read through the plays to find the ‘marks’ of these influences.

By the end of the course you should:

  • have read the comic dramatic writings of Shakespeare and Jonson
  • have an understanding of the creative context in which the texts have their origin, namely the world of Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre, and the social context in which it operated
  • have some understanding of critical developments in the field
  • know and be able to apply the terminology associated with the period
  • be able to develop your own critical approaches to the plays

Main texts

Shakespeare

  • Much Ado About Nothing
  • As You Like It
  • The Merchant of Venice
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • The Taming of the Shrew
  • Twelfth Night

Jonson

  • Bartholomew Fair
  • Volpone
  • The Alchemist
  • Every Man in his Humour
  • Eastward Ho!
  • Epicoene; or The Silent Woman.
Introduction to Creative Writing

This course introduces students to some of the key concepts involved in Creative Writing, especially for those beginning to write. Students are introduced to a writing practice in three different styles of writing (writing fiction; writing poetry and writing for the stage), and will explore how to differentiate between the approaches needed for each style. The course will help students to develop an awareness of not only of the contexts into which they write, but some of the different techniques that can be used to grow their writing. The course further aims to develop understanding of Creative Writing in its literary contexts, using texts students may study elsewhere on their programme as examples. As such, this course ties students’ writing practice very closely to their reading practice, which they may find helpful in subsequent study in the wider field of English.  

By the end of the course you should:

  • understand some of the skills and techniques required when  beginning to write creatively
  • understand  three different kinds of writing (fiction, prose, and writing for the stage), and some of their literary contexts
  • be able to practise writing a short piece of fiction, poetry, and a piece for the stage
  • be able to develop an extended writing project in one of these three kinds of writing
  • be able to make connections between the literary texts studied on your programme and the writing you undertake
  • be able to reflect critically on your own writing practice
  • understand more fully the kind of writing you wish to undertake in the future

Essential literary texts

  • Samuel Beckett, Collected Shorter Plays, (London: Faber and Faber, 2006)
  • Seamus Heaney, North, (London: Faber and Faber, 2001)
  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway, (1925). Numerous editions, any will suffice.

Essential critical texts

  • J. Bell and P. Magrs. The Creative Writing Coursebook: Forty Authors Share Advice and Exercises for Fiction and Poetry, (London: Macmillan, 2001)
  • L. Anderson and D. Neale, Writing Fiction, (London: Routledge, 2008)
  • M. Strand and E. Boland, The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms, (New York: Norton, 2001)
  • V. Taylor, Stage Writing: A Practical Guide, (Marlborough: Crowood Press, 2002)
Introduction to English Language

This course introduces students to basic terminology and concepts in the study of the English language. Students get a general introduction to English linguistics, including phonetics and phonology (the study of speech sounds), morphology (the study of words), syntax (the structure of sentences), and semantics (the study of word and sentence meaning). The aim of the course is to give students a basic critical understanding of the theoretical notions used in these disciplines, as well as of the range and variety of approaches to them. The terms and concepts introduced in this course are of relevance to the study of literary texts in any of the English Literature units. Students who complete this course may also wish to take Varieties of English at Level 5, Language and Gender and/or Language and Media at Level 6.

By the end of the course you should:

  • have good knowledge of the basic structure of the English language
  • have sound understanding of the basic terminology and concepts relevant to the study of languages
  • have developed a basic critical understanding of the range and variety of traditions and approaches to the study of languages
  • have improved basic skills in written expression and critical analysis

Main texts (all prescribed)

D. Crystal, (2003). The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2nd edition

K. Börjars, and K. Burridge, K. (2010). Introducing English Grammar. Hodder Education, London, 2nd edition.

R. Huddleston, and G.K. Pullum,. (2005). A Student’s Introduction to English Grammar. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

I. Plag, M. Braun, S. Lappe, and M. Schramm, (2007). Introduction to English Linguistics. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin and New York.

G. Yule, (2010). The Study of Language. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 4th edition.

Sample materials

You can get a taste of what it will be like to study this Creative Writing course through completing this sample exercise.

Level 5

Two courses chosen from
Literature of the Later Middle Ages

This course offers an introduction to English literature of the later Middle Ages, placed within a broad historical and cultural context. A diversity of genres, styles, dialects and literary traditions may be explored. Among topics which students may study are: social satire; the Arthurian tradition and uses of the Arthurian myth; shifts in literary technique, genre and attitudes toward women; myths of social and literary decadence; ideas of society and the individual; high and low culture, spirituality and secularity; chivalry and the figure of the knight; literacy and education; art and architecture; magic and the supernatural; medieval Scotland and the Scottish Chaucerians.

By the end of the course you should:

  • be able to describe a range of genres and conventions in medieval writing and deploy critical concepts appropriate to the period in response to such conventions
  • be able to show some facility in reading texts in the original
  • be able to recognize some ways in which the writings articulate the period’s social and cultural assumptions
  • be able to discuss gender implications in the texts
  • be able to reflect critically on how texts articulate relations between individual and society

Main texts

Among texts and authors which students may choose to study are:

  • Chaucer
  • The Gawain poet
  • Malory
  • Henryson,
  • The Breton lai
  • Selected lyrics
Renaissance and Restoration

This course offers an overview of English literature and literary culture in the period from the reign of Henry VIII (the lyric poets Thomas Wyatt and the Earl of Surrey) to the satirists and dramatists of the Restoration. Among topics which students may study are: women and writing in the early modern period; Jacobean drama; the origins of Elizabethan tragedy; literature of the commonwealth; Restoration comedy; surveys of the period and other more specialist topics.

By the end of the course you should:

  • have a detailed knowledge of a range of Renaissance and Restoration texts
  • have acquired the knowledge and skills to identify the key formal and thematic   features of literature of the period
  • demonstrate critical understanding of how this period and its genres are related torelevant cultural and historical contexts
  • be able to analyse and explain how rhetorical language contributes to the meaning in selected period texts
  • be able to employ appropriate interpretative models and critical terms to read the different texts studied on the course

Main texts

Among topics and authors which students may choose to study are:

  • Wyatt
  • Surrey
  • Castiglione
  • Machiavelli
  • Sidney
  • Spenser
  • Raleigh
  • Kyd
  • Marlowe
  • Shakespeare
  • Jacobean tragedy
  • Jonson
  • the Metaphysical poets
  • Milton
  • Dryden
  • Rochester
  • Restoration Comedy
  • Bunyan
  • Locke
  • Hobbes
  • Aphra Behn
  • Lady Mary Wroth
Augustans and Romantics

This course draws together two periods of English literary history that have traditionally been seen in strong contrast; an antithesis which was frequently underscored by critical manifestoes issued during the eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. The course  explores what appear to be the important distinctions, but also considers continuities that may exist between the two periods.

By the end of the course you should:

  • have a detailed knowledge of a range of Augustan and Romantic texts
  •   have acquired the knowledge and skills to identify the key formal and thematic of the literature of the period
  •    be able to demonstrate critical understanding of how this period and its genres are related to relevant cultural and historical contexts
  •   have a critical understanding of the historical development of a number of literary genres (including satire in prose and verse and the emergent novel)
  •   be able to employ appropriate interpretative models and critical terms to read the different texts studied on the course

Main texts

Among topics which students may study are:

  • prose and verse satires of the early eighteenth century
  • the emergent novel
  • attitudes towards the language of poetry
  • Romantic poetry; author-based studies.

Among authors whose work students may choose to study are:

  • Swift
  • Defoe
  • Gay
  • Pope
  • Thomson
  • Richardson
  • Fielding
  • Sterne
  • Gray
  • Goldsmith
  • Sheridan
  • Blake
  • Wordsworth
  • Coleridge
  • Keats
  • Austen

Level 5

Plus two courses chosen from
Victorians

This course considers a range of textual forms typical of the Victorian period, with reference to poetry, fiction and drama in the nineteenth century. The course will develop your understanding of change and continuity in the literary culture of the period, provide a context for the application of a wide range of critical approaches to the literature of the period, and enable you to handle with confidence a range of terms used in contermporary readings of Victorian literature such ‘realism’, ‘naturalism’, and ‘Darwinism’.

By the end of the course you should:

  • have developed a working knowledge of the connections between literary practice in the Victorian period and the historical and cultural context of that practice
  • have an enhanced ability to recognise the aesthetic principles underlying the use of genre, and the ethical and cultural weight of those principles
  • be able to formulate critical arguments based on a range of Victorian texts and authors
  • have improved skills of critical analysis that enable you to offer close readings of Victorian texts and to situate such texts historically by identifying and linking formal and thematic characteristics

Main texts

Among topics which students may study are:

  • the narrative poem
  • the social problem novel
  • the literary avocation of the woman’s role
  • Darwinism
  • faith and doubt
  • social unease
  • Decadence
  • author-based studies

Among authors whose work students may choose to study are:

  • Thackeray
  • Hopkins
  • Mrs Gaskell
  • Tennyson
  • Dickens
  • Christina Rossetti
  • Hardy
  • George Eliot
  • Charlotte Brontë
  • Emily Brontë
  • Browning
  • Elizabeth Barnett Browning
Moderns

This course considers a range of textual forms typical of the modern and contemporary period, being concerned with poetry, fiction and drama in the 20th/21st centuries. The course will develop your understanding of change and continuity in the literary culture of the period, provide a context for the application of a wide range of critical approaches to the literature of the period, and enable you to handle with confidence a range of terms used in contemporary readings of 20th and 21st century literature (terms such as ‘modern’, ‘postmodern’, ‘postcolonial’ and so on).

By the end of the course you should:

  • have detailed knowledge of key moments in the development of literature in the 20th/21st centuries
  • show critical understanding of how the literature of the 20th/21st centuries is connected to the historical, social and cultural contexts in which it was/is written
  • have an enhanced ability to use and develop appropriate critical concepts
  • have an enhanced ability to critically engage with specific texts

Main texts

Among topics which students may study are:

  • the definition and function of terms such as ‘modern’, ‘modernism’, ‘postmodernism’
  • the effects of war and technological change on literary production
  • the link between art and politics
  • the proletarian novel
  • feminist drama
  • regional literatures (such as Scottish poetry or Caribbean novels)
  •  the fiction of empire
  • poetry of the First World War
  • postmodern fiction
  • author-based studies

Among authors whose work students may choose to study are:

  • Virginia Woolf
  • Joseph Conrad
  • James Joyce
  • Ezra Pound
  • TS Eliot
  • WB Yeats
  • WH Auden
  • Aldous Huxley
  • Evelyn Waugh
  • Earl Lovelace
  • George Barker
  • Philip Larkin
  • Sylvia Plath
  • George Orwell
  • Lewis Jones
  • John Somerfield
  • John Osborne
  • Alan Sillitoe
  • John Braine
  • Muriel Spark
  • Harold Pinter
  • Kurt Vonnegut
  • Vladimir Nabokov
  • JG Farrell
  • Jean Rhys
  • Samuel Beckett
  • Doris Lessing
  • John Fowles
  • Amos Tutuola
  • Angela Carter
Varieties of English

This course explores how and why language is used differently in a range of contexts. Students will examine the variation of spoken language in relation to region, gender, ethnicity, age and social class; students will see that individuals are able to shift their style of speaking from one situation to the next and we will explore the attitudes that people have towards different varieties of English. The course also examines a range of tools and methodological frameworks that linguists use to analyse both spontaneous spoken interaction, written media and advertisement texts/discourses. The questions that will be addressed may include the following: Do women and men speak differently? What is slang? How and why do adolescents speak differently from adults? What are the public stereotypes about speakers with “non-standard” accents? What is Standard English?  How do language choices influence the representation of social groups (e.g. women, asylum seekers) in the media? What are the language strategies employed by politicians? What is the difference between spontaneous talk and scripted drama/soap opera interaction?

The course builds on theoretical knowledge and analytical skills developed in ‘Introduction to English Language’ at Level 4.  Students who complete this course may also wish to take Language and Gender and/or Language and Media at Level 6.

By the end of the course you should:

  • have become familiar with regional, socio-cultural and situational language variation
  • have acquired a range of analytical frameworks and tools and empirical research from linguistics and discourse analysis
  • be able to transcribe and analyse spontaneous spoken language
  • have analysed spoken language as well as examples of media and political discourse
  • have explored the representation of language variation in a range of texts
  • have studied language variation in relation to social, political and philosophical issues
  • have investigated the role language plays in constructing social identities and realities

Main texts

  • Thomas, Wareing and Singh (eds.) (2003) Language, Society and Power. Second Edition. Taylor & Francis Books Ltd
  • Janet Holmes. (2008) An Introduction to Sociolinguistics. 3nd edition. Longman
  • Deborah Cameron. (2001) Working with Spoken Discourse. London: Sage

Level 6 (BA only)

Four courses chosen from
American Literature

This course introduces students to the diverse literatures and literary trends of the United States of America, from its early inception as a colonial project through to the present day, ranging across the 17th/18th/19th/20th and 21st centuries, and exploring the main concepts and contestations which have underpinned the evolution - and various re-shapings - of what has come to be known as ‘American’ literature.  The main areas that will be covered in this course – which proceeds thematically rather than strictly chronologically – include:  colonial visions of America; postcolonial/revolutionary and republican inventions of the nation, including Transcendentalism; Native American literature, culture and identity;  the Frontier, the West and Manifest Destiny; regional literatures, including the Southern Gothic; constructions and treatments of race and ethnicity, including the literature of slavery, African-American writing, constructions of whiteness and white anxieties, Jewish-American writing; constructions of gender and sexuality, including writing by women, treatments of ‘masculinity,’ and queer texts;  and the impact of modernity and globalisation, especially within modernist/postmodernist American writing, including the ‘Lost’ and ‘Beat’ generations.  Students will consider a range of genres (prose fiction, short stories, poetry, plays), and their connections to other creative mediums (especially visual cultures and music), and will be encouraged to explore a host of literary modes (Romanticism, Realism, Naturalism, Modernism, Postmodernism) as they have been constituted and contested in various American contexts.

By the end of the course you should:

  • know some of the key concepts and principles that are central to the formation of American/United States identities as expressed through American literature
  • critically recognise important themes and debates within American literature and culture
  • have a critical understanding of some of the linkages between American literary texts and discourses of nation, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class and religion
  • be able to relate the texts studied in their context, identifying how they articulate and shape the intellectual and creative assumptions of that context
  • be able to apply appropriate critical concepts and terminology in the formation of critical readings of the American literary texts studied

Main texts

Among authors whose work students may choose to study are:

  • Anne Bradstreet
  • Mary Rowlandson
  • Phyllis Wheatley
  • Louise May Alcott
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Washington Irving
  • Henry James
  • Sarah Orne Jewett
  • Herman Melville
  • Edgar Allan Poe
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Henry David Thoreau
  • Mark Twain
  • Walt Whitman
  • Ralph Ellison
  • William Faulkner
  • Gertrude Stein
  • Carson McCullers
  • Toni Morrison
  • Alice Walker
  • Amy Lowell
  • Marianne Moore
  • Ezra Pound
  • Allen Ginsberg
  • Langston Hughes
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Arthur Miller
  • Tennessee Williams
  • Paul Auster
Drama since 1860

This course aims to provide students with historical and critical perspectives on the major thematic and stylistic developments in a selection of British, American and European drama between 1860 and the present day. The course encourages students to trace the relationship between the theory and practice of the dramatists listed and seeks to examine the way in which the choice of style or presentation, be it realism, expressionism or the avant-garde, might be seen to reflect the thematic concerns of their plays. The course will also encourage students to consider the relationship between the dramatic text on the page and play in performance, where appropriate.

By the end of the course you should:

  • have a detailed knowledge of a range of dramatic texts studied on the course
  •   have acquired the knowledge and skills to identify the key thematic and stylistic developments within British, American and European drama between 1860 and the present day
  •    be able to demonstrate critical understanding of the relationship between theory and practice in the work of a range of dramatists
  •   be able to evaluate precisely and resourcefully issues concerning the relation of written texts to texts in performance

Main texts

Among playwrights whose work students may choose to study are:

  • Ibsen
  • Strindberg
  • Shaw
  • Yeats
  • Eliot
  • Synge
  • Wilde
  • O’Casey
  • Lorca
  • Brecht
  • Beckett
  • O’Neill
  • Williams
  • Miller
  • Pinter
  • Osborne
  • Delaney
  • Hellman
  • Wandor
  • Gems
  • Orton
  • Churchill
  • Friel
  • Roche
Language and Gender

This course aims to give a comprehensive introduction to the study of language and gender. We will examine how gender is reflected and constituted in language, that is, how women and men speak, how language is used to accomplish femininity and masculinity. Students will become familiar with a wide range of studies exploring the language used by women, men and children in a range of different contexts, including informal talk among friends and talk in work or public settings. The course encourages a critical engagement with past and present approaches to the study of language and gender and draws on a range of different theoretical and methodological frameworks to show how gender and identity can be analysed in language.

Questions which will be addressed on this course include: Do women and mean speak differently? How do men and women speak to their friends and to their colleagues at work? How does gender interact with other social variables such as ethnicity, class, and age? In what way does language constitute a resource for the construction of (gender) identity?

The course builds on theoretical knowledge and analytical skills developed in Varieties of English at Level 5.

By the end of the course you should:

  • have become familiar with different theoretical and methodological frameworks used in the field of language and gender
  • have developed a critical awareness of different conceptualisations of gender and identity
  • be able to contrast folklinguistic and stereotypical notions of gender with empirical findings generated in sociolinguistics and discourse analysis
  • be equipped to investigate the role that language plays in constructing gender and other identities
  • have acquired the knowledge and skills to carry out independent empirical investigations in the field of language and gender

Main texts

  • Jennifer Coates and Pia Pichler, (eds.) (2011) Language and Gender: A Reader. Second Edition. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Jennifer Coates (2004) Women, Men and Language. Third edition. Longman.
Language and the Media

This course offers an introduction to a number of approaches in the analysis of media texts, and to a multi-modal perspective in the analysis of communication. Students will compare and analyse media and literary texts and genres, engaging with a broad range of examples, for instance newspaper texts, advertising, the language of film, language of television, and others. The course develops critical awareness of a variety of linguistic techniques for analysing media discourse types, and engages with the relationship between text and context. 

The course builds on theoretical knowledge and analytical skills developed in Varieties of English at Level 5.

By the end of the course you should:

  • have become familiar with a range of approaches to media analysis (for example semiotics, genre analysis, narrative analysis)
  • be conversant with multi-modal analyses of communication
  • have developed a critical awareness of a variety of media discourse types and genres
  • understand the relationship between text and context in particular media discourses/genres
  • be able to compare and analyse media and literary genres

Main texts

  • R. Carter, M. Bowring, A. Goddard, D. Reah, K Sanger, N. Swift (2007). Working with Texts, 3rd edition. London and New York: Routledge. Edited by A. Beard.
The Novel

This course aims to provide students with some historical and critical perspectives on an evolving aesthetic form central to English Studies. Focusing on both works originally written in English and ones in translation, the course surveys selected novels in three broad chronological groupings: eighteenth and nineteenth-century realist novels; early 20th-century modernist novels; and finally a wide-ranging exploration of the major themes and characteristic narrative strategies associated with ‘anti-realist’ or ‘postmodern’ works of fiction in the later 20th/ early 21st centuries.  The course encourages students to consider some relevant theoretical questions on the nature of narrative and the role of the reader, together with critical writing on a variety of topics, ranging from mimesis to genre. Attention will also be given to narrative techniques, including characterisation, use of imagery, narrative voice, scene-making - the strategies of fiction whereby novelists develop individual structures that enable them to say something new in fictional terms.

By the end of the course you should:

  • be able to discuss and critically evaluate debates about the development and nature of the novel from its beginnings to the present day
  •   be able to recognise, understand and explain the complexity of the relationships between the formal and thematic concerns of particular novels and their historical, social and cultural contexts
  •   be able to analyse and explain how individual novelists employ specific techniques in order to serve their particular narrative strategies
  •   be able to compare how different novelists have used the novel to address recurrent thematic concerns and exploited the possibilities of the form in different ways

Among the texts which may be studied for this course (these are suggested texts, not prescribed texts) are:

  • Defoe, Moll Flanders
  • Laclos, Les Liaisons Dangereuses
  • Zola, Germinal
  • Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
  • Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment
  • James, The Turn of the Screw
  • Woolf, To the Lighthouse
  • Nabokov, Lolita
  • Robbe-Grillet, In the Labyrinth
  • Calvino, If, On a Winter’s Night, a Traveller
  • Rushdie, Midnight’s Children
Postcolonial Literatures in English

This course will primarily examine the range of literature produced since 1947 in the regions of the world formerly under British rule. Students may study literature from the former ‘white Dominions’ such as Australia and Canada, as well as literature from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean and work produced by the various diasporas of Commonwealth origin within contemporary western societies such as Britain.  Themes to be explored include:  representations of ‘the metropolitan centre’ and ‘the periphery’; postcolonial interactions with the metropolitan centre through British colonial novels; disillusion with independence; problems of identity and cultural identification; exile and diaspora; neo-colonialism; the role of the intellectual and the artist; the subversion of western literary form; the usages of the English language; problems and opportunities of the postcolonial woman.

By the end of the course you should:

  • possess a coherent knowledge and a critical understanding of postcolonial literature and its key historical, cultural and theoretical developments
  •   be able to compare, discuss and explain interconnections and functions of postcolonial literature and its contexts, including comparative and interdisciplinary issues
  •   be able to critically evaluate arguments and assumptions about postcolonial literature, texts, and modes of interpretation
  •   be able to communicate arguments effectively and show a degree of independent thinking in so doing

Main texts

Among authors whose work may be studied are:

  • Achebe
  • Ngugi
  • Soyinka
  • Narayan
  • Desai
  • Aidoo
  • Harris
  • Brathwaite
  • Collins
  • Philips
  • Atwood
  • Hulme
  • Head
  • Naipaul
  • Mo
  • Rushdie
  • Lovelace
  • Emecheta

Levels 4, 5 and 6 refer to qualification descriptions given in the framework for higher education qualifications (FHEQ).

Goldsmiths

How you study

We offer you the maximum flexibility in planning your studies; you can study at a time and place to suit yourself.  When you first register you will receive:

  • subject guides for each course studied
  • The Arts Good Study Guide
  • access to the University of London Online Library with a selection of links to relevant materials
  • past examination papers and Examiners' reports
  • a student handbook
  • regulations

Each year you continue to register, you will receive updated materials.

In addition to the materials we provide, you will need to buy some books, and others you will need to refer to in a library. As far as possible, you should consider the facilities available locally to you, and how accessible books are likely to be before registering.

We also provide all students with a student registration card.

Online support

You will be given access to the programme’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) where you can:

  • preview and download subject guides, supplementary materials, past examination papers, reading lists, and additional audio-visual material
  • interact with tutors and other students in discussion groups (both open and course-specific)
  • confidentially submit formative assessments.

Tutor groups, e-seminars and written feedback

When you begin your studies, you will be assigned a tutor and a tutor group for each Level 4 course you do. The tutor provides monthly online discussion forums, which run over the course of five months. All Level 4 English courses require you to submit a piece of formative assessment in the form of an essay (for all courses except ‘Introduction to Creative Writing’)  or in the form of a creative piece (fiction, poetry, or stage writing) for ‘Introduction to Creative Writing’ only. This requirement is to help you prepare for examinations and final assessment. The piece of formative assessment is compulsory but does not contribute to your final assessment.

When you reach Level 5/6 you will have developed the study skills to self-manage your studies, so you then swap the assigned tutor group for a more flexible pattern of support to suit your needs and interests.  This includes the option to participate in e-seminars, focussed around a text and/or literary topic, and the opportunity to submit up to two practice essays per year for feedback by academic staff.

Sample study materials

You can get a taste of what it would be like to study the English programme by looking at the taster materials below. The exercises are aimed at those studying at Level 4 (year 1) of the programme.

Introduction to English Language
Using English: causes and effects.

Download: Introduction to English Language [pdf: 2 pgs, 26KB]

Explorations in Literature
Practice close reading with a poem studied on the Explorations in Literature course, T.S. Eliot’s ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’.

Download: Practice close reading [pdf: 2 pgs, 32KB]

Approaches to Text
A quiz to find out what kind of critic you are.

Download: Approaches to Text [pdf: 3 pgs, 70KB]

A window on the world
A practical exercise to creative writing.

Download: Introduction to Creative Writing [pdf: 1 pg, 24KB]

Renaissance Comedy
An exercise to determine the characters in Ben Jonson’s Volpone.

Download: Renaissance Comedy [pdf: 3 pgs, 37KB]

Goldsmiths

Fees

The fees below relate to the 2014-2015 session and are subject to annual review.

Academic year2014-2015
Application handling fee£ 76
Initial registration fee£ 1,119
Continuing registration (if you register in or after 2012)£ 732
Accreditation of prior learning fee (per course)£ 80
Examination fee per course£ 223
TOTAL BA £ 5,335
TOTAL Diploma of Higher Education £ 3,711
TOTAL Certificate of Higher Education £ 2,087
Individual courses taken on a stand-alone basis
Application handling fee£ 76
Composite fee (registration and one examination attempt) per course£ 503
Re-entry examination fee per course£ 223
Fee for extension of registration, per annum, per Individual course£ 252
ConvertGBP x 1

Disclaimer: the currency conversion tool is provided to you for convenience only and does not constitute an endorsement or approval by the University of London; the exchange rates are provided dynamically via a third-party source, consequently, the University of London International Programmes is not responsible for their accuracy.

The totals provided above are examples of the total amount of fees payable to the University for the whole programme of study. These examples use the current fees, do not reflect any annual change to fees and assume completion in the minimum time permitted.

When to pay

The application handling fee is payable when you make your application. The closing date for applications is 1 October. If you meet the entrance requirements you will be invited to register.

The initial registration fee is payable when you register with the University. Please note that students registering for Level 4 courses should ensure they complete their registration by 9 October in time for the commencement of VLE Tutor Groups on 15 October.

The continuing registration fee is payable in the second and subsequent years of registration at the time when you confirm the courses that you will be registered for during that year. The continuing registration fee is effective between 1 March and 1 November.

The examination fee is payable when you choose to enter an examination. Examinations take place in May or June each year and examination entries are accepted between 30 November and the examination entry closing date, 1 February. The examination fee and dates also apply to students who are re-entering the examination.

An application fee may be payable if you wish to have prior learning considered for accreditation on, or transfer to, the degree programme. Such applications may be made throughout the year.

An extension of registration fee is payable if you are permitted to extend your period of registration for a stand-alone Individual course. You may make this request throughout the year.

How to pay

All University fees must be paid in pounds sterling (GBP). The University accepts:

  • Western Union - Quick Pay
  • Credit/debit card (Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, Electron, JCB)
  • Sterling banker's draft/cheque
  • International money/postal order.

Further details are given in payment methods.

Other costs

In addition to the fees payable to the University, you should also budget for:

  • textbooks (this may well be in the region of £400 per year if you are taking four courses in one year)
  • tuition costs if studying at a teaching institution
  • the fee charged by your local examination centre to cover its costs; this fee will vary.

Note

Fees are subject to annual review and the University reserves the right to amend previously announced fees, if necessary. For a full list fees that may be applicable, please see the fee schedule.

Goldsmiths

Assessment

All courses are assessed in May by unseen written examination, with the exception of ‘Introduction to Creative Writing’ (Level 4), which will be assessed by coursework to be submitted to the University no later than 1 May.

All Level 4 English courses require students to submit a piece of formative assessment in the form of an essay (for all courses except ‘Introduction to Creative Writing’)  or in the form of a creative piece (fiction, poetry, or stage writing) for ‘Introduction to Creative Writing’ only. This requirement is to help students prepare for examinations and final assessment. The piece of formative assessment is compulsory but does not contribute to the student’s final assessment. The formative assessment for a Level 4 course is due on 1 March in the year of examination in that course.

You do not have to come to London to take your examinations. Examinations are held once a year in exam centres around the world as well as in London. Examinations overseas are arranged mainly through Ministries of Education or the British Council. You will be charged a fee by your local examination centre (this fee will vary).

For further information please see the Assessment and examinations section of our website.

Goldsmiths

Academic Requirements

BA and Dip HE in English

In order to satisfy the entrance requirements for the BA or Dip HE in English you must

  • normally* be aged 17 or above by the 30 November in the year of registration and
  • satisfy the University’s General Entrance Requirements and 
  • have a competence at least equivalent to a pass in the UK GCE A level in English (equivalents can be found within the above link) and
  • satisfy the University’s general English language proficiency requirements as outlined below.

Cert HE in English

To be eligible for the Cert HE you must:

  • normally* be aged 18 or above by the 1 September at the time of registration
  • have passed the equivalent of at least three separate subjects at UK GCSE/GCE O level (at not less than grade C).
  • satisfy the University’s general English language proficiency requirements as outlined below.

UK GCSE equivalents, including grade requirements can be found at: Entrance Qualifications [pdf, 52 pages, 465KB].

* Applications will be considered from applicants who do not meet the normal minimum age requirement for admission. Each application will be considered on an individual basis, and the decision taken at the discretion of the University of London.

If you are not automatically eligible then you will be individually considered by the University of London’s Special Admissions Panel. The Special Admissions Panel will consider qualifications which are not published under the Qualifications for Entrance Schedule, incomplete qualifications (e.g. diplomas / degrees) and substantial relevant work experience. If we cannot accept you with your current qualifications and experience, we will advise you what qualifications you could take in order to become eligible in the future.

English language requirement

The language of instruction, reading and assessment is English. To succeed on our programmes you need a good level of competence in English. If you doubt your ability in written or spoken English we advise you take a course and test in English language before enrolling on the programme.

Required standard of English

You will usually meet the English language requirement for undergraduate programmes if you:

  • hold a UK GCSE / GCE O level in English at grade C or above
  • have five years secondary schooling taught solely in English or have passed GCE A levels or IB in essay-based subjects
  • have passed an International Foundation programme that permits entry onto a recognised UK bachelor degree
  • hold a full Postgraduate award, or a full first degree or Associate degree taught and examined in English from an institute that is acceptable to the University
  • have passed, within the past three years, an Associate degree, Diploma or Higher Diploma awarded by an acceptable institute / polytechnic / university in Hong Kong, Malaysia or Singapore, or
  • have passed, within the past three years, a test of proficiency in English language from an organisation acceptable to the University.

Where an applicant does not meet the required English language level but believes they can demonstrate the required level for admission the University may, at its discretion, consider the application.

Please note if an applicant satisfies one of the above conditions yet provides evidence of a test of proficiency in English language, awarded within the past three years, which is below the University’s minimum requirements then they will be required to retake such a test before being offered admission.

Accreditation of prior learning

If you have studied a syllabus as part of a previous qualification which is comparable in level, content and standard, you might not have to take a particular course as part of your University of London International Programmes degree if we believe that the subject has been covered to the same breadth and depth. This is called Accreditation of prior learning or APL. It is also sometimes known as Credit Transfer or Exemption.

APL may be awarded for up to four full courses at Level 1. For more information about APL please see the APL section of the website.

Computer Requirements

All students must have regular access to a computer and the internet. This may be for accessing the Student Portal, downloading course materials from the virtual learning environment or accessing resources from the Online Library. You will also need suitable hardware capacity on your computer for document storage as well as basic software such as a PDF reader.

We recommend that you use the latest version of Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome and that your screen resolution is 1024 x 768 or greater. JavaScript and cookies must be enabled to access particular online services such as the Student Portal.

Some programmes have courses or modules that use additional software. Where this is the case, information is given with the relevant course descriptions.

Goldsmiths

Academic direction - English - Goldsmiths, University of London

Goldsmiths is all about the freedom to experiment, to think differently, to be an individual. Founded in 1891, the College brings creative and unconventional approaches to all of its subjects, always based on the highest academic standards of teaching and research. From undergraduate and postgraduate programmes to part-time and professional courses, Goldsmiths has an excellent range of innovative study opportunities, with the visual and performing arts departments being especially renowned. No fewer than five of its graduates, including Damien Hirst, have gone on to win the prestigious Turner Prize.

The Department of English and Comparative Literature (external link) contributes significantly to the cultural 'buzz' that characterises Goldsmiths. It draws on the energies and high standards of some 30 staff who combine a core of modern specialisms with coverage of literature down the centuries. This gives you an opportunity to explore a wide range of study areas - from traditional to contemporary - to suit your emerging interests.

Apply online

Read our blog posts from our English students.

Download BA English taster podcasts from iTunesU.

Michael Boyd and Richard Sandland London Connection Q&A: Richard Sandland
Peter Quinn talks to RSC Music Coordinator Richard Sandland about sourcing strange instruments, great theatre scores and why the BA English degree gave him an organised mind.

Alumni Inspiration: BA English - Malta

Tatjana Chircop speaks about why she decided to study BA English with University of London International Programmes and shares her thoughts on why she loved the course, what makes people succeed and what her favourite book was from the course.