English Literature and Film Studies BA (Hons)
This is a dynamic and innovative degree that will equip you with a range of interdisciplinary skills. The pairing of English Literature and Film Studies allows you to develop skills in critical thinking in study an exciting range of different types of texts. Film is beneficial as mode of engagement and inquiry in relation to literary texts, and literature can help film specialists to analyse different forms of text and adaptation. You might find yourself referring to film sources as part of your literary studies, as well as reading literary texts as a way of developing your understanding of film and film history. Studied together, these subjects will allow you to gain a detailed understanding of communication in all its forms, from historical sources and documents, to contemporary literary texts, documentaries, and film adaptations.
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- UCAS Code – QP3H
- Duration – 3 years full-time | 6 years part-time
- Start date – September 2020, September 2021
- School – Art, Design & Computer Science
Minimum Entry Requirements
96 UCAS Tariff points
3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language
UK and EU 2020-21 £9,250 per year
International 2020-21 £12,750 per year
The York St John Experience
Film is beneficial as mode of engagement and inquiry in relation to literary texts, and literature can help film specialists to analyse different forms of text and adaptation. You might find yourself referring to film sources as part of your literary studies, as well as reading literary texts as a way of developing your understanding of film and film history. Studied together, these subjects allow students to gain a detailed understanding of communication in all its forms, from historical sources and documents, to contemporary literary texts, documentaries, and film adaptations.
The programme is specifically designed so that you will have a foundational Level 1 year that introduces you to the skills required for University-level Literature and Film Studies. You will investigate the ways in which these two forms of storytelling have blended with one another for almost a century. This will include the study of the adaptation process which includes a range of literary forms such as the novel, plays and comic books. You will also consider the film industry and the ways in which historical fiction is used to make the British film industry a global presence and the ways in which cinematic universes (such as the Marvel universe) draw upon the traditions of the graphic novel which has recently dominated popular cinema.
All our introductory Literature modules seek to equip students with an understanding of historical developments in the form of the written word. These modules provide you with a basic grounding in key texts, major historical moments, and important critical terms that will be applicable across the rest of your degree.
Literature modules include:
Introduction to Literary Studies I (20 credits)
In this module you will have the chance to build your confidence in working with literature at degree level. You will engage with a range of texts written prior to the nineteenth century that includes prose, drama, poetry, speeches, letters and articles. Together, we will start to think about some of the ways that literature and history can be brought together and why the study of English Literature remains a popular and important discipline.
Writing, Research and Literature (20 credits)
On this module you will learn the basics of academic writing and research at University level. Drawing upon a range of classic and contemporary short stories and poems as your starting point, you will develop a range of skills such as, using the library catalogue, choosing secondary sources, planning essays, developing arguments, and close reading texts, so that you can write and discuss the works that inspire you with confidence and flair.
Introduction to Literary Studies II (20 credits)
On this module we’ll examine some well-known classics alongside more unusual selections that help us to question the social, political, cultural and historical values by which we approach literature. This includes an exciting range of texts across different media and forms, from nineteenth century poetry to early cinema and 1930s nonfiction. Along the way we’ll be thinking about gender, class, war, empire, form, genre, and much more besides.
Theorising Literature: Power and Identity (20 credits)
The critic Michel Foucault once wrote that ‘power is everywhere’; on this module we seek to uncover the ways that economic, social, and cultural power is portrayed and exerted through the written word. Who has the power in a literary text? And how do we as readers discern this? We will discuss these issues as they relate to identity politics and the intersections between class, gender, race, sexuality, ability, nation, and age in selected literary works.
Canonicity (20 credits)
This module prepares students to reflect on the study of Literature at undergraduate level by introducing them to two key, overarching concepts: the idea of literary value and the canon. The module is designed to complement semester 1 modules in which issues of literary value and the canon are raised, albeit in less detail, and to provide a meta-context for students to learn and reflect on why they study what they study at university as well as, more precisely, how canonical assumptions can influence their reading and writing.
Film modules include:
- Filmmakers on Film (20 credits)
- Media Research (20 credits)
- Film and its Audiences (20 credits)
- Cinema and Society (20 credits)
- Cult and Extreme Cinema (20 credits)
Literature modules include:
Literary Theory (20 credits)
Is it proper to remove literary texts from their historical contexts, or is historical awareness essential to any understanding of the text? Is it really the case that a text can mean anything to anybody, or are there more objective ways of understanding what texts are and how they work? What is actually happening when we read literature? And what is ‘literature’ anyway? This module will engage with the fundamental questions lying behind the discipline of literary studies.
Mapping America (20 credits)
This module introduces students to the relationship between American literature and physical and mythical/symbolic spaces, and explores the ways in which this space is imagined and represented in a range of texts. The rationale behind this module is to ask students to think creatively, critically, and innovatively about physical space and literature, and explore the relationship between American socio-economic history, and the development of a specifically American literary tradition.
Conflicting Words (20 credits)
This module provides an opportunity to read texts produced by and written about major conflicts of the twentieth and early twenty first centuries. We will start with the mechanised horror of the Western Front and work our way through the Second World War, the Spanish Civil War, Vietnam, the Troubles, 9/11 and the War on Terror. We read texts by writers as diverse as Martha Gellhorn, George Orwell and Kurt Vonnegut and examine the complex relationship between language, experience and memory.
Sick Novels: Literature and Disease (20 credits)
On this module we’ll be looking at the ways in which diseases are represented in novels from several different periods. What sorts of things can disease suggest in the literary text, and what kinds of associations come with different diseases? Why do some diseases seem to appear in many novels (tuberculosis and cancer, for example) and why are some less often written about? What kinds of anxieties about society do diseases embody or allow the author to explore?
Shakespeare: Perspectives (20 credits)
This is an exciting module which will explore Shakespeare’s plays in their early modern contexts but also understand them as written for performance. We will also explore them as modern/post-modern texts in reception. The module engages with a range of theoretical approaches, from new historicist to feminist and queer readings.
From Harlem to Hip-Hop: African American Literature and Culture (20 credits)
Without doubt, the African American experience is a major influence on our contemporary political, cultural, and social landscape. Starting with the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s and continuing through to the present day, we will discuss key African American novels, plays, and poems alongside music (including jazz, soul, blues, and hip-hop), film, art, and political writings in order to better understand the ways that black writers respond to and shape American culture and history.
Civil War to Civil Society: British Literature, 1640-1740 (20 credits)
The English Civil War and execution of Charles I, the Commonwealth, the ‘Glorious Revolution’, and the Restoration of the Crown led to a period of great literary production – as well as suspicion from those in power towards writers and publishers. This module will engage with the ways in which literature challenged and negotiated what it meant to be ‘civil’ in the 17th and 18thcenturies.
Adaptations (20 credits)
We look at the different ways books and films tell stories, and what happens to literature and literary characters when they get ‘translated’ onto the screen. In addition to examining specific examples of film adaptation, students can choose to experiment creatively on a project of their own.
Literature at Work (20 credits)
This module will enable English Literature students to engage in discussions about a range of career trajectories relevant to their degree on both a practical and ideological level. Crucially, the module will facilitate reflective thinking about skillsets and their relationship to students’ career aims. Team work and project management are integral features, with students working in groups to develop, plan, and execute a project or alternatively, to engage in work-place learning through an external placement. Guest speakers will introduce a variety of graduate career pathways, potentially including publishing, research, teaching, marketing, and journalism.
Revolution and Response: British Literature, 1740-1840 (20 credits)
Beginning with the ‘rise of sensibility’, this module will explore the idea of ‘revolution’ and the myriad ways in which the literature published in these decades agitated for and responded to political upheavals and changes as well as ‘revolutions’ in literary tastes and production, gender roles and expectations, the role of literature, and the relationship between individuals and society. This module will engage with the idea of ‘revolution’ through a wide range of topics and texts, including poetry, prose, and drama.
Film modules include:
- Independent Cinema (20 credits)
- Film and the American Imagination (20 credits)
- Gothic and Horror (20 credits)
- Media Enterprise (20 credits)
- Imaginary Worlds: Researching Science Fiction (20 credits)
- Adaptations (20 credits)
- Writing Fiction (20 credits)
- Writing Reality: Creative Non-Fiction (20 credits)
- Script-writing (20 credits)
In your final year you will be ready to take on a bigger role in the management of your learning. You might find yourself leading a class discussion, or giving a non-assessed presentation in a seminar. You will write a dissertation (an extended project that runs for the whole academic year) on the subject of your choice, and with the support of an academic supervisor. In many ways, this is in the intellectual culmination of your degree, as you become an independent researcher and are required to manage your own academic project. Many of our students note that this is one of the most enjoyable sections of their degree, as they are specialising in a topic that they are passionate about, and are putting into practice the skills they have accrued during their time at York St John University.
Literature modules include:
English Literature Dissertation (40 credits)
In your final year, you will be ready to take on a bigger role in the management of your learning. Students write a dissertation (an extended project that runs for the whole academic year) on the subject of their choice, and with the support of an academic supervisor. In many ways, this is in the intellectual culmination of the degree, as students become independent researchers and are required to manage their own academic project. Many of our students note that this is one of the most enjoyable sections of their degree, as they are specialising in a literary topic that they are passionate about, and are putting into practice the skills they have accrued during their time at York St John.
The Victorian Novel: Realism, Sensation, Naturalism (20 credits)
On this module we’ll focus on the ways in which the novel as a form was developed, challenged, and experimented with in the Victorian period. We’ll consider how the novel engages with and represents social issues in the period, but we’ll also look at the ways in which the novel form itself adapted and transformed as a vehicle of expression: from realist texts which set out to depict believable and probable events and characters, to science fiction, the sensation novel, romance, mystery, and adventure.
The Experimental Century (20 credits)
By the beginning of the twentieth century, many of the religious, philosophical and cultural assumptions of the Western hemisphere had been smashed into pieces. In this pessimistic moment flourished a range of aesthetic movements whose radical call was to ‘make it new’. This module will introduce students to these restless modernists, and explore the consequences of their work in twentieth century culture. Along the way it will examine how the Civil Rights Movement, feminism, and queer subcultures turned experimental aesthetics to new, politically radical ends.
Gothic Origins (20 credits)
‘The Gothic’, according to David Punter, ‘arises on the sites of vanished cultural territories’ (2000). The point of ‘vanishing’ conceals and reveals the origin of this ‘contested, maligned, and misunderstood’ (Carol M. Davison, 2009) mode of writing. This module will provide an opportunity for students to engage with the ‘origins’ of Gothic literature and conventions, exploring the ways in which the Gothic persists and adapts to different historical and cultural contexts. We will be reading poetry and prose, drama and non-fiction throughout the module, as well as considering other media (art, film, sound) and critical theories of the Gothic.
The Making of Modern Drama (20 credits)
This module examines aspects of theatrical experimentation over the last century, and its impact on the contemporary stage. In addition to comparing the aims and achievements of different theatrical movements, students may undertake a creative project (e.g. writing a script or designing a stage-production) in response to what they have learned.
Research Now I and II (20 credits)
This module recognizes the interest students have in the research culture and open environment that we have cultivated at YSJU. It allows final year students to respond to current and ongoing research projects within the lecturing team, building on their research skills and supporting the specific skills demanded of final-year work and dissertation modules.
American Radicals: Outside the Canon (20 credits)
This module will examine a selection of texts from twentieth century American literature and relate the works to their cultural, social and political backgrounds. The module will focus on texts that demonstrate formal innovation and experimentation, and will reflect the plurality of twentieth century American experience. Students might read Native American, African American, Chicana, Chinese-American texts alongside literature produced in the wake of radical social change such as Beat writing, Vietnam narratives, and responses to 9/11.
Cultures of the Now: Contemporary Writing (20 credits)
This module encourages students to consolidate their understanding of the history of literature by examining a range of texts from a variety of locations – Europe and the USA, but also Africa and the Asian subcontinent – in order to get a grip on the strange paradoxes of our own global moment. Is the world a fragmented assortment of local traditions, or a conformist monoculture? What do those in one part of the world owe to those living in another? And is the popularity of literary texts which seek to represent and understand ‘the other’ something to celebrate, or simply another manifestation of consumerism?
Gender and Sexualities (20 credits)
When it comes to issues of gender and sexuality, what is natural and what is cultural? How have gender debates informed popular culture and critical theory? And how do different cultural groups use popular culture and literature to reinforce, challenge, transgress or disrupt traditional gender expectations? Coming in the final semester of third year, this module challenges students to draw on all of the skills, theories and approaches they have rehearsed throughout the degree to confront, explore and interrogate the representation of gender roles and sexuality in popular culture.
Film modules include:
- Special Study (40 credits)
- Documentary Film Studies (20 credits)
- Animations (20 credits)
- Transnational Cinema (20 credits)
Teaching & Assessment
The aims of all our teaching is to help you to become a better writer and literary critic, to challenge you to consider new ideas and concepts, and to support you in understanding the complex connections between literature and contemporary society. We do not want students to be passive learners, but instead expect you all to be actively engaged and involved with your degree subject.
We use a range of teaching styles and settings to help support you during your time at University. You will attend lectures, seminars (groups of students with a tutor), tutorials (one-to-one meetings with a tutor), workshops, and experience collaborative learning (working with your fellow students), events, field trips, as well as independent study sessions, and times when you will need to use online resources through the University’s Virtual Learning Environment.
Your first year with us is about supporting you in making the transition to university-level study. You will be assigned your own Academic Tutor, a member of staff who will meet with you and other students on a weekly basis during your first semester. Modules such as ‘Writing, Research and Literature’ have been specially designed to help you adapt to the University environment and the requirements of the subject. As you progress to your second and third year, you will be able to shape your degree according to your own research interests. You can choose to specialise in a certain genre, historical period, or literary form.
There are no exams, and your English Literature degree will be assessed through coursework. As well as writing essays, however, there are other assessment opportunities designed to help you develop new skills and prepare for graduate employment. You will encounter a wide range of assessment, including portfolios, close-reading exercises, and opportunities for reflective writing. Some modules are assessed by one piece of coursework (usually a portfolio) and you will have the chance to work on this throughout the semester. The feedback you will receive focuses on how you can improve your work for future assessment, and we encourage all students to keep a feedback folder to help keep track of their academic development. You will have the chance to work with published and professional writers, as our resident Royal Literary Fellow is available for additional tutorials and writing support.
In your final year, you will be ready to take on a bigger role in the management of your learning. You might find yourself leading a class discussion, or doing a non-assessed presentation in a seminar. You will write a dissertation (an extended project that runs for the whole academic year) on the subject of your choice, and with the support of an academic supervisor. In many ways, this is in the intellectual culmination of your degree, as you become an independent researcher and are required to manage your own academic project. Many of our students note that this is one of the most enjoyable sections of their degree, as they are specialising in a literary topic that they are passionate about, and are putting into practice the skills they have accrued during their time at York St John University.
Level 1 modules engage you with a range of analytical and research techniques and methods, as well as introducing you to various conceptual frameworks. Level 1 modules will enable you to achieve a knowledge and application of generic core skills in communication, problem solving, team-work and personal management in order to establish the foundation to the programme of study.
Level 2 modules build on the foundation established at Level 1 by enabling you to apply theories and concepts and to continue practising core skills.
You will engage in a greater level of conceptual thinking and are encouraged to embark upon, plan and execute work more autonomously (individually and in a team) and to take increasing responsibility for the process of your own learning. Students are prepared for more independent working practices, which uses their ability to transfer classroom learning into the real world. In addition, we will foster your research skills in preparation for specialist research in your final year.
Level 3 modules enable you to take a high degree of responsibility for the planning, direction and management of your own learning. You are required to work with an enhanced degree of autonomy and independence and to demonstrate increased powers of self-criticism.
The minimum entry requirements for this course are:
96 UCAS Tariff points
3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language
As well as a strong standard of written English, we also look for the ability to demonstrate knowledge and commitment to the subject. This can be done in a variety of ways, for example, through previous study or wider reading.
Candidates can demonstrate a real enthusiasm for the subject that goes beyond achieving good grades in exams. Examples of this include further study, career plans and transferrable skills such as time management.
Terms and conditions
Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.