English Language and Literature

BA (Hons)

Ready to become an expert communicator and discover the crucial role of English language and literature in today’s world?

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type
Entry requirements

BBC (standard offer)

BCC (contextual offer)


4 years with integrated placement year (international students may opt out of the placement year)

UCAS code(s)


Start date

Course overview

The BA (Hons) English Language and Literature course has been designed with your future in mind, linking your studies to professionally relevant contexts with practical applications. It is directly informed by the research expertise of our staff, who specialise in disciplines spanning linguistics, literature, language education, workplace communication and more.

We study everything from poetry and plays to news reporting and social media, providing you with the opportunity to develop skills in linguistic analysis, while exploring literary genres from Shakespeare to post-apocalyptic science fiction, considering periods from the seventeenth century to the present day. This equips you with theoretical depth, cutting-edge linguistic abilities and techniques for close reading and analysis, applicable in legal, educational and business domains.

The integrated placement year offers the chance to apply your learning in a work or study placement in the UK or overseas. Whether you choose to study abroad, work for a company or to teach, Aston University’s links with employers, schools and universities around the world mean you will have a wide range of options to boost your employability.

Maryam Choudhury English Language and Literature graduate

"Studying English at Aston University allowed me to explore a wide range of modules which were simultaneously engaging and challenging. I thoroughly enjoyed how the course enabled me to integrate elements of both language and literature which suited my individual interests."

Maryam Choudhury
BA (Hons) English Language and Literature

Why English Language and Literature at Aston University?

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Teaching that works
96% of students felt positive about teaching on their course (English Language and Literature; National Student Survey, 2023)
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Gold standard teaching
Aston University was awarded Gold - the highest possible rating for the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2023)
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Our academics are clear
100% of students felt that teaching staff were good or very good at explaining things (English Language and Literature; National Student Survey, 2023)
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Excellent prospects
Aston University was named runner-up in the University of the Year for Graduate Employment Award (Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide, 2024)
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Earn more
Our graduates are among the highest paid in the country, earning on average £36,100 five years after graduating (Longitudinal Education Outcomes, 2023)
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Investing in you
English at Aston University was ranked 5th in the UK for ‘spend per student’ (Guardian, 2023)

Course description

BA (Hons) English Language and Literature

Our BA (Hons) English Language and Literature degree at Aston University trains you to harness the power of the written and spoken word to help you discover how English works in society and become an expert communicator.

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What we will provide
First-class teaching in the UK’s second-largest city, delivered by a diverse array of staff who will inspire and excite you. You will benefit from applied learning, research-informed teaching and authentic assessment. As a student on this programme, you will be one of the first to know about advancements in topical research by staff across the department, even before it is published.

We are also an Adobe Creative Campus meaning you will have access to top-notch software licenses, including Adobe and Solidworks, commonly used in industry.

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What you will provide
It is important you learn how to adapt a growth mindset to your studies – understanding that intelligence and success come from applying yourself, a willingness to learn and an ambition and drive to excel. 

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What skills we teach
You will develop key analytical and critical thinking skills, hone writing proficiency, and unravel cultural complexities. Our graduates are articulate, creative and versatile communicators equipped with an appreciation for the written and spoken word, empowering their personal and professional growth.

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Placement year
We all know that taking a placement year will boost your employability – it’s what makes Aston University graduates some of the most employable in the country. It’s for this reason that we encourage every student to take one. The placement year gives you the chance to put theory into practice, gain relevant work experience, and develop professional and transferable skills.

The placement year is compulsory for BA (Hons) English Language and Literature students. International students can request permission to opt out of the placement year, but we strongly recommend that it is completed where possible.

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Career prospects
As an Aston University English Language and Literature graduate, you will be equipped for a range of different career options. Our recent graduates have gone on to work across the public, private and third sectors for organisations including: Airbus, Lloyds Banking Group, BBC, Ministry of Justice, NHS and West Midlands Police.

How you will learn

Our programme is designed to provide you with a dynamic and engaging learning experience that prepares you for a successful career beyond graduation. Our teaching approach combines academic rigor with practical application, ensuring that you not only grasp linguistic theories and concepts but also develop communication, critical thinking and research skills that are highly valued in today’s society.

You will engage in a range of learning activities including lectures, tutorials, seminars, e-seminars, group work, project work, and independent study. Many of your modules will be taught in a seminar format, bridging theoretical input with practical activities, and allowing you to develop your understanding in discussion with your tutor and fellow students. You will complete a major piece of independent research (a dissertation) in the final year.

Applied modules, study trips, and the compulsory placement year will provide hands-on experience, enabling you to apply what you have learned in a professional context, whilst preparing you to tackle the complexities of a rapidly changing world.

What you will learn

Driven by the needs of industry and individuals, our course provides you with a comprehensive understanding of English language and literature alongside the opportunity to specialise in areas of English that interest you. Our graduates leave well-equipped as critical thinkers and expert communicators.

First year

In your first year, you will grasp fundamental concepts of text analysis, exploring how contexts shape writing and reading. You will trace intertextual connections and genre adaptations over time, and you will delve into grammar, vocabulary, and discourse description. You will examine the role of language in personal, social, and political contexts, focusing on applied and literary linguistics in English.

Second year

In second year, you will refine your communication and teamwork skills, whilst building upon the foundations developed in your first year. You will develop an ability to gather and critically assess evidence from a variety of sources, and you will explore links between literary study, linguistics, creative writing and genre-based theories.

Placement year

The Aston University placement year forms an integral part of your educational journey and gives you the chance to put theory into practice, gain relevant work experience, and develop professional and transferable skills. Our award-winning careers and placements team are on hand to support you through every step of your placement journey.

Final year

In your final year, you will complete a research dissertation on a linguistic or literary topic of your choice, showcasing your ability to conduct independent research with a clear consideration of ethics, theory and methods. You will have the opportunity to specialise in topics you enjoy most by choosing from a range of optional modules.

Bethany Grice-Hanson English language and literature

My placement year at The Prince's Trust

Bethany Grice-Hanson discovered her passion for marketing during her placement year with The Prince’s Trust.

Course objectives

  1. Provides a syllabus with historical range, developing your knowledge and understanding of English language and literature through time.
  2. Provides a degree-level education in the study of the English studies, with special emphasis on practical application and the exploration of social contexts.
  3. Develops students’ skills in close reading and text analysis, literary analysis and interpretation.
  4. Provides grounding in approaches to language description and situates these descriptions in historical, comparative, cultural and social contexts.
  5. Situates analysis and interpretation in historical, comparative, cultural and social contexts.
  6. Takes account of the impact of new technologies on change in linguistics theory and literary form.
  7. Relates the application of knowledge about language to problem solving in the contemporary world.


Modules and learning outcomes

Year 1 modules

In your first year you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Introduction to Language Study30
Introduction to Discourse Analysis15
Language and Society15
The Novel Through Time15
Reading Poetry15
Rewriting Shakespeare15

Year 1 outcomes

On successful completion of the first year, you will be able to:

  • Understand concepts, terminology and principles for the study of texts.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the ways in which contexts of production and reception influence writing and reading.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the ways in which writers and readers make connections across and between texts.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the literary and linguistic genres and how these have been adapted across time.
  • Understand concepts, terminology and principles for the description of grammar, vocabulary and discourse.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with theories and methods used in researching language in use.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the role of language and linguistic knowledge in personal, political and social action and decision making.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the main areas of applied linguistic and literary linguistic inquiry, with specific reference to English.

Year 2 modules

In your second year you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Reading and Society15
Writing and Ideology 15
Written Text Analysis15
Spoken Discourse Analysis15

You will choose four of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
Post-apocalyptic Fiction  15
Introduction to Corpus Linguistics15
Literature in Film15
Professional Communication15
English Language Teaching15
Language at Work15
The Language of the Law15
Language in the News Media15
Language and Style15
Crime Fiction15

*Availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules.

Year 2 outcomes

On successful completion of the second year, you will be able to:

  • Enhance your communication and team working skills.
  • Plan and carry out empirical work on the reception of literary texts and present your findings.
  • Gather, organise, and deploy wider reading from a range of sources and integrate these into your work.
  • Develop your knowledge of the links between literary study and the study of linguistics, creative writing, or genre-based theories.
  • Gather, organise, and deploy evidence, data and information form a variety of primary and secondary sources in the area of English.
  • Evaluate contrasting academic arguments and claims about English and its use.
  • Plan, carry out and present investigations into topics in English language.
  • Demonstrate ability to engage in informed discussion, to accept constructive criticism and to criticise constructively.

Placement year modules

You will spend your third year on placement. You will be fully supported throughout the process by our award-winning Careers and Placements team.

Placement year

Module TitleCredits
Integrated Placement Year120

Placement year outcomes

On successful completion of the placement year, you will be able to:

  • Apply your key skills and competencies within a professional context.
  • Demonstrate fluency and effective communication through written correspondence.
  • Reflect on your placement journey.
  • Make informed decisions in matters related to your placement.

Final year modules

In your final year you will study the following core module:

Module TitleCredits
Dissertation (English)30

You will choose six of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
Cognition and Style15
Marriage and Literature: Class, Race, Gender and Money15
Language and Literature in Education15
Ghouls, Goths and Vampires15
Reading and Wellbeing15
Creative Writing15
Learning English15
Multimodal Communication15
Language as Evidence15
Leadership and Management Communication15
Advanced Leadership and Management Communication15
Language Contact and Globalisation15
Advanced Corpus Linguistics15
Child Language Development15

*Availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules.

Final year outcomes

On successful completion of the final year, you will be able to:

  • Broaden your knowledge of text genres, periods and concepts through advanced interdisciplinary study connecting the study of English to other fields of research.
  • Demonstrate an ability to work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time management, and pursuing continuous learning self-critically.
  • Plan, carry out and present investigations, culminating in an extended individual research study.
  • Identify, investigate, analyse and formulate solutions to applied linguistic problems.
  • Identify practical language problems and discriminate between possible solutions in the light of concepts learned.

We may update our courses to reflect best practices and academic developments. If we do, we’ll let you know of any changes at the earliest opportunity by updating our course webpages. If you have already received an offer, we’ll write to you directly to let you know of the changes.


Entry requirements

  • A Levels

    BBC (standard offer)
    BCC (with EPQ or Core Maths minimum grade B)
    BCC (contextual offer)

  • Contextual offers

    Aston Ready is our contextual offer scheme that could reduce your undergraduate offer by one or two grades. Assessed at the point of application, there are no additional forms to fill in.

Contextual offer criteria

BTEC Extended Diploma – DDM (standard offer)

The University also accepts the BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate/BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma and BTEC Level 3 National Diploma/BTEC Level 3 Diploma for entry onto degree programmes, provided that they are studied in combination with other qualifications that are equivalent to three full A2 Levels.

29 points overall in the IB diploma with grades 5,5,4 in 3 higher level subjects.

You must also have Standard Level grade 4 in Mathematics and grade 5 in English Language.

We accept the QAA-recognised Access Diploma which must consist of 45 credits at Level 3.

You must obtain a minimum of 30 distinction and the rest must be at merit or distinction.

Please note that we do not accept the English and Maths components within the Access qualification and you must meet the GCSE entry requirement.


The following T Levels are accepted qualifications for this course:

  • Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction - grade D
  • Digital Production, Design and Production - grade D
  • Education and Childcare - grade D
  • Onsite Construction - grade D
  • Building Services Engineering for Construction - grade D
  • Digital Business Services - grade D
  • Digital Support Services - grade D
  • Health - grade D
  • Healthcare Science - grade D
  • Science - grade D
  • Accounting - grade D
  • Finance - grade D
  • Management and administration - grade D
  • Design and development for engineering and manufacturing - grade D 
  • Maintenance, installation and repair for engineering and manufacturing - grade D
  • Legal Services - grade D 

GCSE Maths – grade C/4

GCSE English Language or English Literature – grade C/4

Year 1 entry: We may consider applicants for year 1 entry who are undertaking a first year degree elsewhere. You must meet the GCSEs and A Level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.
Year 2 entry: Please note that second year transfers are not part of the standard admissions process and is up to the discretion of the admissions team and tutor. Applications are only considered if there is space on that year of the programme. Typically, applicants for second year entry must meet the GCSEs and A Level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. Alongside this you must have successfully passed (or be expected to pass) your first year with 120 credits on an equivalent programme at another recognised university with very similar module content. The equivalency of the programme is reviewed by the Admissions Tutor and you will be required to provide an official copy of the programme specification of this. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.
Year 3 entry onwards: We will not be able to consider any application for Year 3 or final year. 

International students

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our undergraduate programmes. Students from over 120 countries choose to study with us every year. Based in the centre of Birmingham, Aston is not only a great place to study, it’s also a great place to live.

Qualifications in your country

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification.

English language requirements

International students can enter at Year 2 of this course having completed an undergraduate year one programme at the required academic level with approved teaching partners ONCAMPUS Aston or NCUK.

Aston University provides a range of opportunities for international students to join our community and study on our campus. A key part of our strategy is our relationships with teaching partners, providing multiple pathways to Aston.

Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and, as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career. One of the great things about Aston is our focus on employability. Our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

Find out more about applying

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new Graduate Immigration Route which enables international students to remain in the UK for two years after you complete your studies to find work. This new post-study work visa applies to international students completing full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Graduate Immigration Route

Fees and scholarships

Course fees

UK students

Annual tuition fees:£9,250
During placement year:£1,250

International students

Annual tuition fees:£18,250
During placement year:£2,500

More information on fees

For Home students: Tuition fees for UK/Home students may change in line with government policy.

For International students: The International students fee is a fixed annual fee for the duration of the Programme, except whilst on placement when a placement year fee applies.


At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs.

Explore our scholarships 


You will be assessed through a combination of written and oral examinations, class tests, individual and group coursework, projects, presentations and practical assessments. Special emphasis will be placed on authentic assessment.

Career prospects

Our BA (Hons) English Language and Literature programme will prepare you for a range of careers across the public, private and third sectors. Our graduates are among the highest paid in the country, according to the 2023 Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO). This data shows that five years after graduation, employed Aston University graduates have the 15th highest median salary among all UK Higher Education Institutions, with a median salary of £36,100.

The transferable skills that our English programmes provide mean that our graduates are successful in finding employment in a wide range of roles such as:

  • Teacher
  • Marketing executive
  • Research and content writer
  • Social media executive
  • Police officer
  • Education consultant
  • Policy adviser
  • Copywriter
  • Operations support manager
  • Merchandising assistant

Our graduates have gone on to work at companies such as the BBC, Lloyds Banking Group, West Midlands Railway, West Midlands Police, Ministry of Justice, NHS and Airbus.

Parisa cover image

Making headlines around the world

English Language graduate Parisa Qurban shares how her experience at Aston University helped prepare her for her career within the BBC.

Our students achieve some amazing things during their time with us and after they graduate - whether it's setting up their own businesses, landing competitive graduate schemes, or making real differences within their communities.

Hear from our graduates


Be part of our community

Once you have joined us at Aston University, you’ll always be part of our community, even beyond graduation.

Frequently asked questions

Is Aston University a good place to study English?

Yes. If you're serious about studying a subject you enjoy but want the additional benefit of excellent career prospects and a quality student experience, Aston University is a great place to study English.

From journalism and writing to teaching and marketing, our students are all here for a reason. Discover how you can become an expert communicator with an English degree at Aston University.


How will a placement year benefit me?

Whether you choose to study abroad or do a work placement, Aston University’s links with employers and universities around the world mean you will have a wide range of options to boost your employability and explore the world of work.

Our work placements give you the opportunity to apply what you have learnt on your course while gaining valuable professional and paid experience. It can enhance your graduate employment prospects and help you to make more informed career decisions. Around one in five of our placement students are offered graduate jobs by their placement employer.

Find out more

Is Birmingham a good place to study?

Our campus is based in the centre of Birmingham, the youngest major city in Europe and a great place to live, work and study.

  • Great music and entertainment with a vibrant nightlife. Bars, clubs, pubs, live music, festivals, concerts. Whatever your tastes, there's something here for everyone.
  • Fantastic food. Birmingham's diverse community means you can try anything from the famous Balti triangle, the Chinese Quarter, high street chains, halal and vegan food, and Michelin-star dining.
  • World-class shopping. The Bullring and Grand Central is a shopper's paradise. From the world's biggest Primark to luxury brands at the Mailbox.
  • Arts and culture. Museums, galleries, theatres, concerts and Birmingham's art collection is as wide as it is impressive - not to be missed.
  • Green, open spaces. One of the greenest cities in Europe, Birmingham has hundreds of publicly accessible parks and green spaces across the city.
  • Sporting action. Birmingham has some of the most exciting venues for watching or participating in sport in the UK.

Discover Birmingham


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