Undergraduate course

English Literature and Media BA (Hons)

The pairing of English Literature and Media develops skills in critical thinking and analysis in response to a range of different types of texts. In the media-saturated society that surrounds us we encounter media products and practices in countless different ways. On this degree programme we believe it is extremely important to understand how literature, media and culture affect who we are, what we do and how we understand ourselves and the world around us.

  • Available in Clearing

100% of Media students were satisfied with their course. National Student Survey, 2018

  • UCAS Code – PQH3
  • Location – York campus
  • Duration – 3 years full-time | 6 years part-time
  • Start date – September 2019, September 2020
  • School – Humanities, Religion & Philosophy

Minimum Entry Requirements

    96 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent) including English Language

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2019-20 £9,250 per year

    International 2019-20 £12,750 per year

The York St John Experience

Course overview

The Media course recieved a 100% satisfaction rate in the 2018 National Student Survey. The course combines critical and theoretical aspects with practical design and marketing elements as you progress. Studying Media at York St John University involves considering the way Media has shaped our culture and includes elements of Philosophy, Sociology and Politics. This broad approach allows you to decide on what really interests and choose your own path as to what you want to develop as your expertise. This includes being taught by professional designers as well as lecturers who will guide you in your studies. Of course we include opportunities to visit cultural hubs such as galleries, cinemas and other media centres and also you can also get involved with an international field trip.

We also have our own publication in the form of Neutral magazine, which is a showcase for our students' talents in terms of writing, design and marketing. You can find our magazine at: http://2018.neutralmagazine.com/

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. 

If you want to get to know the Literature department, have a look at our @YSJLit Twitter feed, or visit our very popular Words Matter blog, run by a team of staff and students. You could also watch York St John Literature alumni Claire Fenby (also known as YouTube vlogger Reading Bukowski) speak about her time at York St John. Several of our recent graduates also tell their stories on the Graduate Success Stories page.

Course structure

In Media and English Literature core skills are identified and honed in the first year of study. 

Media modules include:

Writing the Media
This module encourages you to explore and critically engage with a range of contemporary media debates and communications. The module is both exploratory and practical, using a range of current sources, structured exercises, hand-outs and discussion. Drawing upon this material you will explore media issues in relation to persuasion, tone of voice and dialogue. In doing so, you will analyse the ways in which media texts and images operate and start to question what they can learn from them. Through the investigation of these topics you will consider their own cultural practices and how they construct a sense of identity and give rise to certain meanings.

Critical Perspectives
The module aims to introduce the understanding that differing critical perspectives are possible in the consideration and analysis of any given media text or texts. You will explore the subject of ideology through the viewing practices and belief structures of media audiences. Through the study of media communication models and their history, and through engagement with the extensive body of media audience literature (primarily but certainly not exclusively relating to television audiences), you will explore the nature of contemporary mass communication. 

Media Research
This module introduces you to experiences in higher education. It uses a variety of methods to engage you and to develop their your in research, referencing, critical thinking, academic writing, presentation skills and group work.  Relevant examples of contemporary topics, themes and images will also be used to illustrate the importance of analysing the media. Overall this module provides a range of skills that will be essential to producing successful work as an undergraduate. A key element will be to encourage the idea that studying is fun as well as hard work. 

Media, Culture and Society
This module aims to explore theories and concepts associated with analytical readings of the media. You will examine a variety of ‘texts’ to exemplify essential theoretical perspectives and will introduce key issues and debates relating to Media in social and cultural contexts. In addition, you will be introduced to key methodologies which will be of use throughout their degree and which can be adapted for a wide range of critical enquiry. The module will provide opportunities for you to assess and evaluate key modes of critical and analytical investigation. 

The Medium is the Message – Media Evolution and History
The module will introduce you to the area of study known as ‘media ecology’ which encourages an understanding of a medium as anything in which meaning or communication of any sort talks place. Key thinkers in this field are most importantly Marshall McLuhan, Neil Postman, and Walter Ong amongst a number of others. The module will provide an introduction to the deep history of media and allied technologies (writing, printing, painting) and will examine how media, in the broadest of senses, determine the possibilities of communication, creative activity and understanding.

 

Literature modules include:

Introduction to Literary Studies I
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
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
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
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
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. 

In the second year you are given the opportunity to develop your communication skills using visual media and design packages with the help of a professional graphic designer. This level also involves an employability and enterprise element which further cultivates transferable skills.

Media modules include:

Convergence Cultures
This module will introduce students to the theory and practice of convergence technology and with associated areas of transmedia activity and network theory. You will be encouraged to engage with the continuing development and evolution of communication technologies and the ways in which these can shape our everyday lives. The module will invite you to consider these developments in communications technology in relation to social, political and cultural factors and how these may affect the production and consumption of meaning and content. 

Issues of Taste
This module aims to engage students in debates about the production, reception and contexts of media and cultural products which have produced controversy. It aims to analyse the debates about taste and the reception of text in a range of traditional, new and emergent media and to conduct this analysis using terms from aesthetics, from studies in contemporary media, and from the writings and records of those involved in critical debate and rereading. It will include concepts such as:  propaganda, artistic licence, canonical status, acceptability, pornography, ‘harm’, censorship, etc. 

Popular Genres
The purpose of this module is to explore the significance of popular genres within the fields of cultural production and to appreciate the histories and evolutions of popular genres as indicators of cultural change. The module also seeks to understand the possibilities for social, political and cultural exploration or critique offered through the study of popular genres and to encourage an understanding of popular genres within the context of media production and innovation.

Visual Culture
This module aims to acquaint you with critical debates in visual culture and allow you the opportunity to try out theoretical notions in a creative manner. They will be able to integrate material developed in previous and current modules which will provide a potential focus for the later stages of the programme. You will be able to understand the essential relationships between word and image from illustration to the internet. The module will investigate how visual strategies can be used to communicate complex ideas.

Globalisation
‘Globalisation’ is a fundamentally important term in understanding the processes of cultural, political and social change in the modern world. The role of the media in reacting to these processes through representation and articulation, and also in contributing to these changes, is inescapable. The aims of this module are to introduce you to the key theoretical debates and ideas which surround the contested notion of ‘globalisation’ and to examine the ways in which globalisation has been articulated and understood through media representation. The module will also examine the role of the media in reflecting and reacting to the processes of globalisation and its role in affecting emergent, resistant and dominant cultures. 

Media Enterprise
The module examines some of the different processes required to produce a professional portfolio in the context of practical and vocational activities. The module aims to offer you the opportunity to engage with a more vocational element in the media and cultural context of their degree. You will work in groups to produce a portfolio which requires you to consider, amongst other things, marketing, advertising, business cases, product development and effective communication of ideas.

Literature modules include:

Literary Theory
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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. 

In the final year you are given the opportunity to write an extended dissertation where you can go into detail regarding aspects of Media which have caught your imagination. You will also at this point be invited to our international field trip to see global Media in action.

Media modules include:

Convergence Cultures
This module will introduce students to the theory and practice of convergence technology and with associated areas of transmedia activity and network theory. You will be encouraged to engage with the continuing development and evolution of communication technologies and the ways in which these can shape our everyday lives. The module will invite you to consider these developments in communications technology in relation to social, political and cultural factors and how these may affect the production and consumption of meaning and content. 

Issues of Taste
This module aims to engage students in debates about the production, reception and contexts of media and cultural products which have produced controversy. It aims to analyse the debates about taste and the reception of text in a range of traditional, new and emergent media and to conduct this analysis using terms from aesthetics, from studies in contemporary media, and from the writings and records of those involved in critical debate and rereading. It will include concepts such as:  propaganda, artistic licence, canonical status, acceptability, pornography, ‘harm’, censorship, etc. 

Popular Genres
The purpose of this module is to explore the significance of popular genres within the fields of cultural production and to appreciate the histories and evolutions of popular genres as indicators of cultural change. The module also seeks to understand the possibilities for social, political and cultural exploration or critique offered through the study of popular genres and to encourage an understanding of popular genres within the context of media production and innovation.

Visual Culture
This module aims to acquaint you with critical debates in visual culture and allow you the opportunity to try out theoretical notions in a creative manner. They will be able to integrate material developed in previous and current modules which will provide a potential focus for the later stages of the programme. You will be able to understand the essential relationships between word and image from illustration to the internet. The module will investigate how visual strategies can be used to communicate complex ideas.

Globalisation
‘Globalisation’ is a fundamentally important term in understanding the processes of cultural, political and social change in the modern world. The role of the media in reacting to these processes through representation and articulation, and also in contributing to these changes, is inescapable. The aims of this module are to introduce you to the key theoretical debates and ideas which surround the contested notion of ‘globalisation’ and to examine the ways in which globalisation has been articulated and understood through media representation. The module will also examine the role of the media in reflecting and reacting to the processes of globalisation and its role in affecting emergent, resistant and dominant cultures. 

Media Enterprise
The module examines some of the different processes required to produce a professional portfolio in the context of practical and vocational activities. The module aims to offer you the opportunity to engage with a more vocational element in the media and cultural context of their degree. You will work in groups to produce a portfolio which requires you to consider, amongst other things, marketing, advertising, business cases, product development and effective communication of ideas.

Literature modules include:

Literary Theory
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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. 

Teaching & Assessment

In Media you are encouraged to participate in the ways which suits you best and challenge yourself to engage with others regarding debates and creative practices. We pride ourselves on a high level of tutorial support and will always be available to arrange to meet and discuss any challenges ideas you wish to explore. You will have support from the teaching team and be assigned an academic support tutor to offer advice and guidance.

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. Literature and Media are dialogic disciplines: that is, informed discussions and debates are a crucial part of the learning process. We do not want students to be passive learners, but instead expect you all to be actively engaged and involved with your degree subject.

In your first year, you will typically study three modules each semester. Each module will normally have three hours of contact time each week, so you’ll have a minimum of 9 hours each week in University. This is just the starting point for your learning, as we also expect that you’ll be engaging each week in independent study: you’ll be undertaking reading and writing activities outside the classroom as directed by your module tutor. There’ll be additional guest events and individual tutorials with your academic tutor to attend throughout the year.

There are no exams in either the Media or English Literature modules and your work will be considered in a number of ways including essays, portfolios, presentations and creative visual displays. This involves working individually and as a team which is a valuable transferable skill.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

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

Essential criteria

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 (including English language, theatre, film studies, media, history), wider reading and creative writing.

Valued criteria

  • Candidates can demonstrate a real enthusiasm for the subject that goes beyond achieving good grades in exams. Examples of this could include:
  • Demonstrating the ability to think critically by discussing a range of literature genres and/or your own writing
  • Attending lectures/readings/performances outside of your school/college
  • Being a member of appropriate societies (e.g. writer’s forum)
  • Subscribing/reading relevant journals and magazines
  • Demonstrating transferrable skills e.g. creativity, initiative, having an open mind, being pro-active
  • Taking further study e.g. in modern languages
  • Discussing future career plans

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.

 

Fees and funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay will depend on whether you're a UK & EU student or an international (non-EU) student. Tuition fees are charged for each year of your course.

Find out more about funding for Foundation Year and/or Placement Year by visiting the Funding Advice pages of our website. York St John offer special reductions to students graduating from York St John University Undergraduate degrees in 2019 and continuing directly onto Postgraduate study. Find out more about discounts and scholarships. There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation

Tuition fees

Home / EU students

The York St John University tuition fee for the 2019 entry to Foundation Degree, BA and BSc, PGCE Primary and Secondary and UG Health Programme degrees is £9,250 per year for UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

Overseas students

The York St John University tuition fee for the 2019 entry to Foundation Degree, BA and BSc, PGCE degrees is £12,750 per year for international students.

Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

Funding your course

Additional costs and financial support

COURSE-RELATED COSTS

Whilst studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

STUDY ABROAD

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad webpages.

 

ACCOMMODATION AND LIVING COSTS

View our accommodation webpages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

FINANCIAL HELP AND SUPPORT

Help and advice on funding your studies at York St John is available through our Money Advice service.

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