English Literature and Sociology BSc

Study a BSc (Hons) English Literature and Sociology degree course at Aston University and you’ll learn not just how to understand the world, but how to change it.

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type

Full-time (Hons)

Course format

Placement year (UK/abroad)

Duration

4 years with integrated placement year /

3 years without integrated placement year (option only available for international/EU students)

UCAS code(s)

Q3L3

Start date

Overview
Explore English Literature and Sociology at Aston University

Why study English literature alongside sociology?

Professor Phil Mizen gives a quick one-minute insight into the English Literature and Sociology course at Aston University.

Dr Graeme Hayes, Head of Department for Sociology and Policy, discusses some of the big topics and questions you'll be exploring on a sociology or policy course, here at Aston University.

Best University Careers Service Award

Here to support you.

Aston University recognised as the 'Best University Careers/Employability Service' at the National Undergraduate Employability (NUE) Awards 2020.

Course outline and modules

What you’ll learn

You will study literature, culture and history and explore the style choices of films, digital fiction, Instapoetry and Twitterfiction, alongside more traditional modes of text. We will equip you to critically engage with a variety of texts across both literary genres and periods, and you’ll be able to develop your skills as a writer through our Creative Writing module.

At Aston University, sociology is about real-life, everyday experiences. Our research-led teaching brings social theory to the study of pressing issues in the modern age, such as migration, climate change, welfare, crime, health and sexuality. We focus on key contemporary issues, social policy and decision-making, global trends and international comparisons.

On the sociology strand of the course, you’ll gain an in-depth understanding of social processes, organisational dynamics and inter-group relationships. We explore the social constraints we encounter in our everyday lives and how they are reinforced by class, race, religion and gender. To understand how these issues perpetuate existing inequalities and unequal life chances, we analyse how politics is intertwined with the profit-making aims pursued by big corporations and how their combined interests dominate our social imaginations. When learning about contemporary topics such as inequality, racism, health, migration, sexuality, identity, education, the media, crime and climate change, you will be taught by experts in these fields.

Sociology will equip you with the knowledge and analytical skills that will enable you to think critically and work independently. This includes how to design a research project, collect empirical data, handle complex datasets (e.g., through applying coding techniques) and, most importantly, develop an advanced analytical mindset. This training will be essential for your final-year dissertation during which you will carry out your own individual research project. This experience will provide you with a skillset that is highly desired in a wide range of industries and areas of work.

The innovative Aston placement year offers the chance to apply your learning in a work or study placement in the UK or overseas and in your second year we’ll make sure you’re ready to get the most from this opportunity. Whether you choose to study abroad, work for a company or to teach, Aston’s links with employers, schools and universities around the world mean you will have a wide range of options to boost your employability and explore the world of work.

International students

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students. Students from over 120 different countries chose 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.

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 and our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

Choosing to start your Aston journey with our foundation programme in social science will help you develop specialist knowledge to ensure that you are fully prepared to study your chosen undergraduate course. During your foundation year, you’ll have excellent support from academics and group projects will give you the chance to meet new people, make new friends and build a network of peers who will share your university journey. We also have a Learning Development Centre that can provide additional support and offer pre-sessional English language programmes.

For International Students intending to do a foundation year, visit ONCAMPUS.

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new immigration route which will enable international students to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies to find work. The new post-study work visa will apply to international students starting undergraduate and postgraduate courses from 2020 at universities with a track record of compliance with immigration policy. Click here for more information on post-work visas.

Modules

Year 1

Core modules:

  • Literary Genres in English
  • Literature in History
  • Literature and Film
  • Introduction to Social Theory
  • Becoming a Social Scientist
Year 2

Core modules:

  • Literature, Culture and Society
  • Writing and Ideology
  • Advanced Social Theory
  • Research Methods

 

Optional modules:

  • Stylistics
  • Crime Fiction
  • Creative Writing
  • Post-apocalyptic Fiction
  • Advanced Research Methods
  • Global Society
  • Embodiment and Feminist Theory
  • Media and Society
  • Kith and Kin
  • The Social Life of Stuff
  • Crime, Subversion and Injustice
  • Racisms
  • Contested Cities
  • Welfare States and Welfare Change
  • Organising for Social Justice
Year 3

The Aston placement year forms an integral part of your educational journey and is compulsory for all home students. International/EU students can request permission to opt out of the placement year, but we strongly recommend that it is completed where possible.

Find out more about the Aston placement year.

Final Year 

Core modules:

  • Dissertation (Literature or Sociology)

 

Optional modules:

  • Cognition and Style
  • Marriage in Literature: Class, Race, Gender and Money
  • Language and Literature in Education
  • Ghouls, Goths and Vampires
  • Work, Organisations and Society
  • Bodies, Power and Resistance
  • Contemporary Social Movements
  • Pregnancy and Politics
  • Education and Digital Society
  • Religion and Society
  • Corporate Power in a Globalised World
  • Migration, Borders and Belonging
  • Health Policy
  • The Challenges of Climate Change
  • Community Engagement

 

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.

Entry requirements

Typical offers:

A Levels

BBC (standard offer)

BCC (with EPQ or Core Maths minimum grade B)

CCC (contextual offer*)

IB

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

Standard level Maths and English grade 5 required in lieu of GCSE English and Maths grade C/4.

BTEC, Access & other

BTEC Extended Diploma – DDM (standard offer)

BTEC Extended Diploma – DMM (contextual 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.

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.

Further requirements

GCSE Maths – grade C/4

GCSE English Language or English Literature – grade C/4

Learn more about admission to this course

View our Admissions Policy.

All applications are considered on an individual basis and the whole application is reviewed carefully, including previous and predicted qualifications, experience, reference and your motivation to study the course. Whilst the grades listed here are our entry requirements, we understand that predicted grades are only an estimate. We will therefore consider applicants with predicted grades that fall below these entry requirements if the application is of a high standard. However, any offer made will not be lower than stated above.

*Click here for details on our Aston Ready contextual offer scheme.

Entry onto our Foundation Programme may be offered as an alternative to the degree course if lower entry grades are achieved. Aston University welcomes applications from students with a wide range of qualifications from the UK and overseas, including combinations of qualifications. If your qualifications are not listed here and you wish to check whether they meet the entry requirements for this course, please contact the university.

International students

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification. Find out more about our English language requirements.

For more information about qualifications view our Aston in your country webpage.

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. Find out more.

Learning, teaching and assessment

Learning and teaching

You will be involved in lectures, tutorials, seminars, e-seminars, small-group work, project work and independent study. Many of your modules will be in a workshop format, alternating theoretical input with practical analysis, and allowing you to test out your understanding in discussion with other students and your tutor. There are also opportunities for group and collaborative work. Students undertake a major piece of independent research in the final year. English at Aston is ranked 1st in the UK for staff/student ratio (Guardian, 2020).

Study skills

There is a much stronger emphasis on reading and on your own private, independent study than at pre-degree level. The University offers training courses in study skills, and the Library’s Learning Development Centre provides one-to-one instruction, workshops and study guides for academic research and writing. You will be allocated an academic supervisor for this work and a personal tutor who can provide you with help and advice throughout your studies. To help you manage your learning, we set out your work for the year in online student guides and module handouts, which include full details of all modules including week-by-week lecture breakdowns, reading lists and all coursework assignments for the year.

Assessment

Assessment is through a combination of written exams, coursework, essays, presentations and an extended dissertation during your Final Year. Exams take place in January and May/June.

Programme Director(s)

Dr Chloe Harrison (English)

Dr Tom Mills (Sociology)

Fees and scholarships

UK students (2022/23)

Annual tuition fees: £9,250

During placement year: £1,250

International/EU students (2022/23)

Annual tuition fees: £16,300

During placement year: £2,500

The United Kingdom government has confirmed that European Union (EU), other European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss nationals commencing academic courses in England from August 2021 will no longer be charged the same tuition rates as home students. Further information can be found here.

Tuition fees for students are reviewed annually and may increase in subsequent years in line with inflation linked to the Retail Price Index (RPI) to take account of the University’s increased costs of delivering the Programme. Any such increase shall always be in accordance with the law. When undertaking a placement year, a placement year fee applies.

More information on fees

Scholarships

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. Find out more about our scholarships here.

Career prospects

English Literature and Sociology graduates go on to a range of professions with recent roles including Business Analyst, Digital Marketer, Corporate Engagement Executive, Marketing and Communications Specialist, Languages Teacher, Project Manager, Recruitment Administrator, Insurance Broker, Mental Health Support Worker, National Project Coordinator, Support Worker and Procurement Manager.

Potential employers include IBM, Capgemini, Virgin Active, Hayes, Bosch, British Gas, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Airbus and The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

Employed Aston social science graduates earn £4,000 (23 per cent) more than the UK average, one year after graduating (Longitudinal Education Outcomes, 2020).

Best University Careers Service Award

Aston University was recognised as the 'Best University Careers/Employability Service'.

The Careers and Placements team at Aston University won the 'Best University Careers/Employability Service' category at the National Undergraduate Employability (NUE) Awards 2020 for its use of innovative ideas to engage a high number of students with the service in order to support them with their career planning.

Aston University has strong links with national and international organisations with over 200 employers interacting with students on campus each year.

Languages for All

Learn a language for free with Aston University's Languages for All programme...

First year students at Aston have the opportunity to learn one of the following languages for free at beginners, improvers or intermediate level:

  • Arabic
  • French
  • German
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • Spanish

Fancy learning French?

Hear from one of the Languages for All tutors, Dr Nathalie Mrgudovic...

Click here to find out more

Give German a go!

Hear from one of the Languages for All tutors, Dr Stefanie Kreibich...

Click here to find out more

Make the most with Mandarin!

Hear from one of the Languages for All tutors, Dr Qiaochao Zhang...

Click here to find out more

Strengthen your prospects with Spanish!

Hear from one of the Languages for All tutors, Elena Cancelas-Rodriguez...

Click here to find out more

Frequently asked questions

Why study English Literature and Sociology at Aston?

Our joint honours programme means you can pursue your interest in sociology alongside your passion for English literature, providing you with a great springboard for a wide range of careers.

Why should I do a placement year with Aston?

Aston is one of the leading universities for professional placements abroad. A placement year at home or abroad gives 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.

What careers can an English literature and sociology degree lead to?

Employed Aston Social Studies graduates earn £5,800 (28 per cent) more than the UK average three years after graduation (Longitudinal Education Outcomes, 2019). A whole range of potential careers are available after graduating, across the public, private and third sectors.

Why should international students choose Aston University?

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students. Students from over 120 different 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.

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.

Choosing to start your Aston journey with our foundation programme in social science will help you develop specialist knowledge to ensure that you are fully prepared to study your chosen undergraduate course.

 

 

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