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Undergraduate Course

English Literature and Film Studies BA (Hons)

Explore the interaction between the written word, the visual language of cinema, and the wider world of culture and society.

Two students looking at a laptop in the SU bar

Study film and literature together to take an in-depth, varied look at how the stories we tell shape who we are and how we think. Gain new perspectives on these art forms and the world they depict by engaging with many different styles, genres, traditions and voices.

96% of English Literature students felt that their lecturers were good at explaining things. (National Student Survey 2021)

92% of English Literature students felt that their lecturers made the subject interesting. (National Student Survey 2021)

York campus

  • UCAS Code – QP3H
  • Duration – 3 years full time, 6 years part time
  • Start date – September 2022
  • School – School of Humanities

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

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

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 per year full time

Course overview

On this Joint Honours degree we emphasise the relationships between different forms of expression, including film and literature but also visual art, digital media, television, video games and more. Studying these subjects together will allow you to explore communication in all its forms, including:

  • Historical documents
  • Contemporary literary texts
  • Documentaries
  • Film adaptations.

We also focus on the relevance of literature and film to the political, social and cultural contexts which produced it. We believe that words matter, whether they are written in a literary work or spoken on film. We are interested in how these texts can change the world.

In your film modules you will learn to investigate the techniques, styles and creative decisions of cinema. We will introduce you to a wide range of genres and movements, including Gothic and horror cinema, animation and Science fiction. You will also have the chance to study films from around the world, with modules focusing on British, European, American and transnational cinema.

In your literature modules you will have opportunities to engage with classic texts by writers like Shakespeare, Dickens and Austen, but will also engage with diverse genres including Native American writing, prison narratives and LGBTQIA+ rights literature.

You will join a lively department which offers many opportunities to take your learning further. This might include:

  • Getting involved with the writing, publishing and promotion of Neutral magazine
  • Attending talks and workshops at the annual York Literature Festival or the Aesthetica Short Film Festival
  • Taking part in field trips.

 

Course structure

Year 1

Our academic year is split into 2 semesters.

In your first year you will study:

  • 2 compulsory modules and 1 optional module in semester 1
  • 1 compulsory module and 2 optional modules in semester 2.

This is a joint honours degree which means that you must study at least 1 module from each subject every semester. You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. It is not guaranteed that all modules will run every year.

 

Modules

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module is your introduction to film history, theory and analysis as well as some of the technical and commercial aspects of film. You will explore these themes with a focus on key moments in the evolution of film, through the words of filmmakers past and present. We will also introduce you to some of the major approaches used to study and analyse film, such as:

  • Auteur theory
  • Genre
  • Subject positioning
  • Psychoanalysis
  • The gaze
  • Montage.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

This module will help you to become more confident in working with literature at degree level. You will engage with a range of texts written before the 19th century. This includes prose, drama, poetry, speeches, letters and articles. Through this you will start to think about how literature and history can be brought together, and why the study of English Literature remains a popular and important subject.

Credits: 20

Compulsory module

On this module we will examine some well known classic texts alongside more unusual selections. These texts will help you to question the social, political, cultural and historical values through which we approach literature. This includes an exciting range of texts across different media and forms, from 19th century poetry to early cinema and 1930s nonfiction. Along the way we will consider questions of gender, class, war, empire, form, genre and much more.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module will help you to build the skills you need to succeed in higher education, and specifically for researching and analysing media. This includes skills in:

  • Researching
  • Referencing
  • Critical thinking
  • Academic writing
  • Presenting
  • Group work. 

We will make sure you are ready to take on the challenges of degree level study.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will learn the basics of academic writing and research at university level. Drawing on a range of classic and contemporary short stories and poems, you will develop skills such as:

  • Using the library catalogue
  • Choosing secondary sources
  • Planning essays
  • Developing arguments
  • Close reading texts.

These will allow you to write about and discuss the works that inspire you with confidence and flair.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Drawing on relevant debates and scholarship, we will introduce you different films and their audiences, such as popular Hollywood film, independent film and world cinema. You will explore issues surrounding reception, taste and consumption, considering the social and cultural contexts in which film consumption takes place. You will also investigate different methods of studying audiences to consider how audiences engage with film.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module is your introduction to the use of film as a source of historical evidence for cultural, social and political change. American Studies is always interdisciplinary in its approach, and film is 1 of the many mediums we use to explore American history, identity and culture. You will learn the skills of cinematic analysis which will allow you to make the best use of this important medium, as well as discussing the importance of cinema within American society.

Credits: 20

Optional module

The critic Michel Foucault once wrote that ‘power is everywhere’. On this module we will uncover how economic, social and cultural power is portrayed and exerted through the written word. We will explore who has power in a literary text, and we as readers can identify 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.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module we will introduce you to 2 key concepts that will recur throughout your academic study: the idea of literary value and the concept of the canon. This will provide a context for you to reflect on what you study at university and why. We will question how assumptions about what is and isn't great literature can influence our reading and writing choices, potentially restricting us from exploring beyond the classics.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore the idea of cult cinema in the context of its history, the film industry and contemporary culture. You will consider how historic examples of legislation around films have affected the status of cultism and cult cinema. This includes investigating how screen and entertainment developments have played a part in enhancing certain filmic cult movements. You will explore ideas about genre and authorship, subcultures and subversion.

Year 2

In your second year you will study:

  • 3 optional modules in semester 1
  • 3 optional modules in semester 2.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

You must choose at least 1 module from each subject every semester. Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. It is not guaranteed that all modules will run every year.

Modules

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module is an opportunity to engage with the more vocational elements of working with media and explore your entrepreneurial potential. You will work in groups to produce a creative portfolio and will eventually pitch your idea to a panel. This could be, for example, a magazine, a film festival, or an exhibition. You must take into account:

  • Marketing and advertising
  • Business cases
  • Product development
  • Effective communication of ideas.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module we will encourage you to think about your career options after graduation, and how the skills you are developing can help you to achieve these goals. We will focus on team work and project management skills, as you work in groups to develop, plan and execute a project. Alternatively, you could gain some industry experience with an external workplace placement. Guest speakers will share their experiences and introduce you to a variety of graduate career pathways, potentially including publishing, research, teaching, marketing and journalism.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore how America has imagined itself through film, identifying historical patterns, trends and continuities. We examine how American myths and ideologies have dominated attempts to define the national imagination – for example:

  • The mythology of the frontier
  • The myth of the open road in the countercultural 1960s
  • Regional identities of the south, California, the midwest or New York.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will engage in debates about the production, reception and contexts of media and cultural products that have caused controversy. This includes debates about taste and the reception of text in different traditional, new and emergent media. We will introduce you to the terminology of aesthetic discussion and dispute, defining and discussing terms such as:

  • Propaganda
  • Artistic licence
  • Canonical status
  • Acceptability
  • Pornography
  • Censorship.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will develop your research skills in preparation for the more extensive independent research project you will complete in your final year. You will focus on selected science fiction primary texts as well as related theoretical, philosophical, inter-textual and historical secondary material. You will also develop important academic skills through research. Our focus on science fiction includes major discussions within the genre, including:

  • Race
  • The environment
  • The relationship between human and machine
  • What it is to be human.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module we will explore the different ways books and films tell stories, and what happens to literature and literary characters when they are translated onto the screen. We will introduce you to the theory, methods and conventions behind the process of adaptation. In addition to examining specific examples of film adaptation, you can choose to experiment creatively on an adaptation project of your own, using what you have learnt.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will consider the relationship between American literature and the physical and symbolic spaces of its settings. In American culture concepts of space and setting have a particular relevance that dates back to events such as the Declaration of Independence, the founding of civic spaces, and the Californian Gold Rush. You will be challenged to think creatively, critically, and innovatively about physical space and literature. We will explore the relationship between American socio-economic history and the development of a specifically American literary tradition.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module we will consider the significance of various European cinemas and explore the histories and evolutions of these national cinema traditions as indicators of wider cultural change. You will consider cinema’s potential for social, political and cultural critique and contextualise film within counter cultural production, innovation, reception and distribution. This will include discussions about high culture vs low culture and an investigation of the different audiences, institutions and practices that occur within different cultures.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will discuss independent cinema from historical, social, national and international perspectives. We approach independent cinema as an anti establishment voice that stands in opposition to mainstream studio productions. You will explore the wider cultural context of independent cinema, for example:

  • The festival circuit
  • Film preservation
  • Fandom
  • Web communities
  • Cult cinema.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will use different academic subject areas to approach to the Gothic such as film, art and literature. Topics covered will include:

  • The origins and influence of the gothic
  • Dopplegangers
  • Nightmares of science
  • Normality and abnormality
  • Metamorphosis,
  • Gender in horror and the overlap of romance and horror.

Credits: 20

Optional module

The English Civil War, 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. On this module we will discuss how literature challenged and negotiated what it meant to be ‘civil’ in this period. You will consider how new voices contributed to the conversation, including:

  • The working class
  • Women
  • Writers of colour
  • Dissenting writers

You will learn about the new kinds of literature which emerged to make sense of events, and the community that was created through reading.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module we will consider whether we can meaningfully approach literary texts outside of their historical contexts. We will question whether a text can mean anything to anybody, or if are there more objective ways of understanding them. This module engages with some of the most fundamental questions in literary studies. It will equip you with the theoretical background and skills to offer insightful readings of any text, irrespective of when and where it was published.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore the idea of revolution, considering how the literature of this time agitated for and responded to political upheavals and changes. In this era writers took advantage of an increasingly literate population to put forward their views through plays, poetry, novels, treatises, periodical, and newspapers. This gives us an exciting range of texts to draw upon. We will consider:

  • The impact of ‘revolutions’ in literary tastes and production
  • Gender roles and expectations
  • The role of literature
  • The relationship between individuals and society.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module we will consider how diseases are represented in novels from the late 18th century to the present day. You will investigate what disease can represent in literary texts, what associations come with different diseases and what anxieties about society diseases allow the author to explore. You will broaden your research skills by engaging with non literary texts such as medical handbooks and advertisements alongside literary works.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will encounter varied and interesting texts produced within and written about major conflicts of the 20th and early 21st centuries. We will start with depictions of the mechanised horror of the Western Front and progress through representations of:

  • The Second World War
  • The Spanish Civil War
  • Vietnam
  • The Troubles in Northern Ireland
  • 9/11 and the War on Terror.

We will read texts by writers as diverse as Martha Gellhorn, George Orwell and Kurt Vonnegut and examine the complex relationship between language, experience and memory.

Credits: 20

Optional module

From Obama to Beyoncé to the Black Lives Matter movement, 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. We will consider these alongside music, film, art, and political writings to understand how black writers have responded to and shaped American culture and history.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This is an exciting module that will explore Shakespeare’s plays in their early modern contexts, while also considering their creative potential for performance. We will look at contemporary stagings of his plays. This may include debates around colour/gender-blind casting, and exploring the implications of casting on the way we read the texts. Through this module you will engage with a range of theoretical approaches, from new historicism, cultural materialism and postcolonialism to feminist and queer readings.

Year 3

In your third year you will study:

  • A Dissertation module across semesters 1 and 2. This can be focused on either Film or English Literature.
  • 2 optional modules (1 from each subject) in semester 1
  • 1 compulsory and 1 optional module (1 from each subject) in semester 2.

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Course Specifications.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. It is not guaranteed that all modules will run every year.

 

Modules

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

This is your opportunity to demonstrate your abilities as an independent learner through an extended piece of research. You will produce an extended critical and analytical examination of your chosen topic, engaging with the existing literature surrounding it and offering your own original take on the subject. You will apply many of the analytical and research skills you have developed over the course of your degree. A dedicated academic tutor will support you through throughout the research process.

Credits: 20

Optional module

In this module we will explore and analyse different forms of animated film and video games. This will include analysis of the different visual styles and genres in animation. You will examine the production, distribution and consumption of animated films and video games in contemporary culture. You will consider both large media companies like Disney and Studio Ghibli and smaller, independent studios, engaging in debates about realism, hybridity and ideology in animation.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will deepen your understanding of the history, theory and practice of documentary film. You will learn about the production and consumption of documentary film through various cultural and historical contexts. You will discuss how ideas about reality, realism and representation can be expressed through documentary film, as well as considering the impact of new and emergent communications technologies.

Credits: 20 each

Optional module

This is an opportunity to get involved with a current staff research project. The topics on offer in any particular year will reflect the research being carried out by your tutors. This is a great way to be part of the research culture within the department and add to the creation of new knowledge. You will build further on the research skills you have already developed, which will help you with your own independent dissertation.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will investigate how the novel form was developed, challenged, and experimented with in the Victorian period. You will consider how the novel engages with and represents social issues in the period, but also how the novel form itself adapted and transformed as a vehicle of expression. You will discover how novels transformed from realist texts which set out to depict believable and probable events and characters to varied and experimental genres, including:

  • Science fiction
  • The sensation novel
  • Romance
  • Mystery and adventure.

Credits: 20

Optional module

By the beginning of the 20th century many of the religious, philosophical and cultural assumptions of the West had been overturned, and new aesthetic movements emerged whose radical call was to ‘make it new’. On this module we will introduce you to these restless modernists and the consequences of their work in 20th century culture. You will examine how the Civil Rights Movement, feminism, and queer subcultures used emerging ideas and experimental aesthetics as tools in their politically radical activism.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module examines the origins of Gothic literature and conventions, exploring how 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 such as art, film, and sound and critical theories of the Gothic.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will investigate the theatrical experimentation that took place over the last century, and consider its impact on the contemporary stage. You will consider the major movements and perspectives of the period against the background of wider intellectual, cultural and aesthetic debates. Through this we will explore the creative dynamics between:

  • Tradition and innovation
  • Word and image
  • Writing and performance
  • Reading and spectatorship.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module we will examine texts from the English speaking and Creole Caribbean, a region that has produced2 Nobel Prize winners in Literature. We will introduce you to a range of writing from and about the Caribbean, allowing you to appreciate the longstanding global impact of this writing and how it is currently being marked and remembered. We will particularly focus on the close connections of the past and present between Britain and the Caribbean.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module will examine a selection of texts from 20th century American literature, and relate these works to their cultural, social and political backgrounds. We will focus on texts that demonstrate formal innovation and experimentation, and the selection will reflect the variety of twentieth century American experience. You will read Native American, African American and Chinese-American texts alongside literature produced in the wake of radical social change such as Beat writing, Vietnam narratives, and responses to 9/11.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will examine texts from a variety of locations, including Europe and the USA, Africa and the Asian subcontinent. Using these texts we will debate the contradictions of contemporary global society. You will consider:

  • Whether local traditions or global culture has more impact in the modern world
  • What those in one part of the world do or do not owe to those living in another
  • Whether the popularity of literary texts which aim to represent and understand ‘the other’ is something to celebrate, or simply another form of exoticism.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module requires you to engage with a wide range of media representations of gender and sexualities. In doing so you will critically assess how certain forms, formats and practices of media transgress, reinforce or challenge assumptions and prejudices relating to gender and sexuality. This will build upon previous discussions about identity and representation from other modules, encouraging you to cultivate nuanced responses towards contemporary debates. We will also encourage you to reflect upon the evolution of critical perspectives on gender and sexualities.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will examine how transnational film can articulate themes of displacement, nomadism, cosmopolitanism, border-crossing, homelessness, diaspora, and hybridity. This includes exploring how transnational cinema, both as a cultural form and a mode of production. We will consider cinematic representations of marginalised groups like immigrants, exiles and asylum seekers and case studies of a diverse range of film makers. This module will also include a field trip relevant to the study of transnational cinema.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and learning

Discussions and debate is central to your learning on this course. We want do not want you to be a passive learner, instead we expect you to be actively engaged in every aspect of the course. We use a range of different teaching methods to support your learning on this course. You will take part in:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Task focused activities
  • Field trips and excursions
  • Engagement with media practitioners and those working in the creative industries.

You will typically study 3 modules each semester. Each module will normally have 3 hours of contact time each week, so you will have a minimum of 9 hours each week of teaching.

Alongside your timetabled contact time, you will need to study independently. This means spending time reading around the topics we cover and preparing for your taught sessions. This will ensure that you get the most out of your degree, as well as building valuable time management skills.

Our teaching draws on both our research and professional experience. This means your learning is informed by the most current thinking in the subject area. You can find out more about our research and backgrounds by visiting our staff pages. 

Assessment

There are no exams on this course. You will be assessed entirely through coursework, which could include:

  • Essays
  • Portfolios
  • Individual and group presentations
  • Interactive digital portfolios (using platforms such as WordPress)
  • Reflective writing
  • Creative visual pieces.

You will receive feedback on your work throughout each module. This will help you to improve your work for your graded assessments.

 

 

Career outcomes

Your future with a degree in English Literature and Film Studies

This degree will build skills and knowledge which will be useful in a variety of careers. This is a great choice if you want to keep your options open. You will gain valuable skills in writing, analytical thinking, time management, collaborative and independent working, problem solving, public speaking and more.

This degree could be the first step toward your career in:

  • Editing and copywriting
  • Journalism
  • Marketing or PR
  • Writing or producing for TV and film
  • Researching for TV and film
  • Advertising.

Discover more career options on Prospects careers advice pages.

You could also progress onto a postgraduate degree and take your learning even further.

Postgraduate degrees at York St John University

Contemporary Literature MA

Publishing MA

Creative Writing MA

 

Whatever your ambitions, we can help you get there.

Our careers service, LaunchPad provides career support tailored to your ambitions. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interview skills
  • Work experience and volunteering opportunities
  • Personalised career advice.

This support doesn't end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice for the rest of your life. We will help you gain experience and confidence to succeed. It's your career, your way.

Entry requirements

Qualifications

Minimum Entry Requirements

    104 UCAS Tariff points

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

Calculate your UCAS Tariff points

International Students

If you are an international student you will need to show that your qualifications match our entry requirements.

Information about international qualifications and entry requirements can be found on our International pages.

If English is not your first language you will need to show that you have English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

International entry requirements

This course is available with a foundation year

If you do not yet meet the minimum requirements for entry straight onto this degree course, or feel you are not quite ready for the transition to Higher Education, this is a great option for you. Passing a foundation year guarantees you a place on this degree course the following academic year.

Liberal Arts foundation year

Mature Learners Entry Scheme

If you have been out of education for 3 years or more and have a grade C GCSE in English Language or equivalent, you are eligible for our entry scheme for mature learners. It's a scheme that recognises non-traditional entry qualifications and experience for entry onto this course. Information on how to apply can be found on our dedicated page.

Mature entry offer scheme

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. You can read them on our Admissions page.

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 depends on whether you live inside the UK or EU, or internationally (outside the UK/EU). Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

UK and EU 2022 entry

The tuition fee for 2022 entry onto this course is

  • £9,250 per year for full time study
  • £6,935 per year for the first 4 years if you study part time.

These prices apply to all UK/EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

You can find out more about funding your degree by visiting our funding opportunities page.

Funding Opportunities

Placement year funding

If you choose to take a placement year, and your course offers it, you can apply for the Tuition Fee and Maintenance Loan for your placement year. How much you are awarded is based on the type of placement being undertaken and whether it is a paid or unpaid placement. The tuition fee for your placement year will be reduced.

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2021 entry £9,250 per year full time

    International 2021 entry £12,750 per year full time

International 2022 entry

The tuition fee for 2022 entry to this course is £12,750 per year for full time study.

This price applies to all students living outside the UK/EU.

Due to immigration laws, if you are an international student on a Student Visa, you must study full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

Find out more about funding your degree.

International Fees and Funding

Additional costs and financial support

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

Course-related costs

While 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 pages.

Accommodation and living costs

For detailed information on accommodation and living costs, visit our Accommodation pages.

Financial help and support

Our Funding Advice team are here to help you with your finances throughout your degree. They offer a personal service that can help you with funding your studies and budgeting for living expenses. 

For advice on everything from applying for scholarships to finding additional financial support email fundingadvice@yorksj.ac.uk

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