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Undergraduate Course

Media and English Literature BA (Hons)

Discover how both Literature and the wider field of Media have the power to change the world, influencing our behaviour, views and identities.

Study group working at table

This Joint Honours degree lets you explore many different forms of media text. You will read different styles, genres and voices in literature. At the same time you will engage with diverse forms of media; from film and television to advertising and digital media. Through this combination of subjects you will refine your skills in analysis, critical thinking and communicating your ideas.

  • Available in Clearing

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 – PQH3
  • Duration – 3 years full time
  • Start date – September 2021
  • 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

In both Literature and Media, we are concerned with how texts and different forms of popular culture are formed by and have an impact upon the world around them. You will investigate the styles, techniques and artistic decisions behind these texts. However, you will also always be thinking about their relevance to the political, social and historical contexts they are part of.

On your literature modules you will have the opportunity to choose from a varied selection of periods and genres. You will not study only well known classics, you will also expand your understanding by going beyond the canon to hear from voices on the margins of literary tradition.

In your Media modules you will broaden your knowledge further by engaging with many different forms of media. You will investigate the history, nature and impact of media. As with our literature modules, you will go beyond a traditional western view of media to take a global view. You will also reflect on the power dynamics behind contemporary media, and consider how media responds to and impacts on the biggest political and social issues of our time.

There are many opportunities for you to go beyond the classroom and get more from your degree. This might include:

  • Getting involved with the writing, publishing and promotion of Neutral magazine
  • Attending talks and workshops at the annual York Literature Festival
  • Taking part in field trips, which could include an international trip in your final year.

Course structure

Year 1

Our academic year is split into 2 semesters. How many modules you take each semester will depend on whether you are st­udying full time or part time.

In your first year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

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

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

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

On this module you will explore some of the theories and concepts relating to the analytical interpretation of the media. We will introduce you to major issues that relate media to social and cultural contexts and to key You will also have the opportunity to assess and evaluate approaches to critical and analytical investigation.

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

Compulsory 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

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

On this module you will investigate the relationship between media and power. This includes discussing the role of new media technologies in facilitating self expression and agency through creations like mash ups and fan fiction. You will also explore how these technologies impact the power and dominance of more traditional forms of media. We also discuss the positive and negative aspects of social media, from its role as a platform for activism to concerns about surveillance and privacy.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will think critically about how media informs, intersects and engages with concepts of identity. You will engage with contemporary discussion and debate surrounding identity, which will include considerations of:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • Age.

You will use these varied perspectives to evaluate the theoretical, historical and socio-political influences and implications that contemporary mediated identities may communicate.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This module is your introduction to media ecology, which encourages you to understand media as anything in which meaning or communication takes place. You will explore the deep history of media and allied technologies (for example writing, printing and painting) to examine how media can determine the possibilities of communication, creative activity and understanding. You will examine how traditional, new and emergent technologies influence our relationship with information and culture. You will also think about how these factors affect social organisation, aesthetic practice and political structure.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore the concept of ideology by analysing the viewing behaviour and beliefs of media audiences. You will study media communication models and their histories, engaging with research surrounding audiences. Through this you will explore the nature of contemporary mass communication and consider how ideology and meaning impact the communication process.

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.

 

Year 2

In your second year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

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

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

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

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

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 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

This module considers the various forms and uses of music within the fields of cultural production, focusing on the evolutions of these processes and movements as indicators of cultural change. You will explore the possibilities for social, political and cultural exploration offered by the study of music, considering its use within the context of counter-cultural production, innovation, reception, distribution, protest and socio-cultural moments. You will discuss concepts and theories surrounding authorship, activism, mode of production, meaning and representation.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Through this module you will become familiar with important critical debates surrounding visual culture. You will come to appreciate the vital relationship between word and image, from traditional illustration all the way through to contemporary internet culture. This will allow you to investigate how visual strategies can be used to communicate complex ideas.

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 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

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 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

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.

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

This module is an introduction to the theory and practice of convergence technology, transmedia activity and network theory. You will discuss the continuing development and evolution of communication technologies and how they shape our everyday lives. You will consider these developments in relation to social, political and cultural factors and speculate on how these may affect the production and consumption of meaning and content through media.

Credits: 20

Optional module

An understanding of globalisation is essential for engaging with the processes of cultural, political and social change in the modern world. On this module we will introduce you to the major theoretical debates and ideas surrounding the contested idea of globalisation. You will also examine the role media plays in reflecting and reacting to the processes of globalisation, and its influence on emergent, resistant and dominant cultures.

Year 3

In your third year, if you are a full time student, you will study:

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

If you are a part time student, the modules above will be split over 2 years.

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

As you progress towards your final year you will become increasingly independent in your learning. You will write a dissertation (an extended project which runs for the whole of the academic year) on a topic of your choice, and with the support of an academic supervisor. For many students this is one of the most enjoyable parts of their degree, as it gives you the opportunity to specialise in something you are passionate about and explore it in great depth.

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 explore how new and emergent media, communications and technologies shape our way of living, acting and understanding the world and our place in it. Building on previous modules, you will learn about the development of various technologies and consider our changing relationship with them. You will consider how they contribute to and challenge philosophy, ethics, morals and meaning. We will also think about how these developments might influence aesthetic trends in production, consumption and cultural value.

 

Credits: 20

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 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

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

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

On this module we will explore issues surrounding gender and sexuality. We will debate whether various elements of gender are natural or cultural, as well as how different genders and sexualities are presented in film and literature. We will investigate how do different cultural groups use popular culture and literature to reinforce, challenge, transgress or disrupt traditional gender expectations. This module challenges you to draw on all of the skills, theories and approaches encountered throughout your degree to interrogate the representation of gender roles and sexuality in popular culture.

Credits: 20

Optional module

On this module you will explore concepts and issues surrounding globalisation, localisation, regionalism and national identity, particularly in relation to city cultures. You will consider the representations, symbolic and social structures, development, uses and experiences of the modern city. This will involve the experiential exploration of contemporary cities, as well investigating technological advances and futuristic narratives of the city. You will also have the opportunity to take part in an international field trip as part of this module. previous locations have included Istanbul, Madrid and Amsterdam.

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 engage in debates concerning American mass culture and its relationship to social formation, cultural movements and modes of expression. We will examine contemporary popular culture as site of ideological, political and cultural discourse, considering how it uses and subverts America’s ideas and imagery. Through this we will assess how popular forms react to social and cultural changes. These forms include:

  • Animation
  • Comic books
  • Movies
  • Television
  • Websites
  • Music.

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 industry

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 Word Press)
  • 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 Media and English Literature

These broad, versatile subjects can lead to many different careers. This is a great choice if you want to keep your options open. You will gain valuable skills in writing, analytical thinking, creativity, use of digital technology, time management, problem solving, public speaking and more.

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

  • Publishing
  • Editing and copywriting
  • Journalism
  • Marketing or PR
  • Writing or producing 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 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 2021 entry onto this course is £9,250 per year for full time study.

This price applies 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 2021 entry

The tuition fee for 2021 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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