Your feedback is important to us
Please take two minutes at the end of your visit to help us improve our information and services.
Skip to content The Open University
    Back to BA (Honours) English Language and Literature

BA (Honours) English Language and Literature: Standard pathway

On this page
This degree is made up of 360 credits.

What you will study

There are two ways to start a qualification. You can begin your studies at Stage 1, or, if you haven’t studied for a long time, you can get started by studying an Access module as an additional preparatory stage of your chosen qualification. We know from experience that students who have completed an Access module do better in their subsequent modules, so it could be the vital first step you take to help you succeed in your future studies.

To find out the recommended Access module for this pathway, choose your country in the Fees section below.

Stage 1

You’ll begin your studies with the compulsory 60-credit module The arts past and present (AA100)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q39-1,module,AA100,,1, an absorbing and broad-based grounding in the arts and humanities, including:

  • history    
  • philosophy
  • music
  • literature
  • art history
  • classical studies
  • religious studies.

You’ll develop essential study skills while engaging with a wide range of topics, periods and approaches and enhancing your enjoyment and understanding of fascinating and diverse aspects of human culture.

We recommend that you build on this with two 30-credit Level 1 modules designed to hone your critical and analytical skills and prepare you for study at Level 2. In the first, Voices and texts (A150), you’ll explore language, particularly English, in a wide range of contexts and from the perspective of related academic subjects, with a particular emphasis on questions of voice in literary texts and in creative writing. In the second, Making sense of things: an introduction to material culture (A151)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q39-1,module,A151,,1, you’ll be introduced to the study of objects, in both the past and present. From October 2014, these 30-credit modules are being merged into one 60-credit module Voices, texts and material culture (A105)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q39-1,module,A105,,1.

Alternatively, you could choose from other options which include languages, social sciences and design.

Stage 2

Your study at Level 2 will give you a wide-ranging introduction to English language and literature. Reading and studying literature (A230)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q39-1,module,A230,,1, is a 60-credit module designed to equip you with different approaches and techniques for reading texts. You’ll explore:

  • a selection of texts from the Renaissance to the present day
  • a stimulating mix of classic texts and less well-known works
  • a range of genres, including drama, poetry and prose fiction as well as autobiography, travel-writing and film
  • how contemporary texts make use of literature of the past.

Your language study, with the 60-credit module Worlds of English (U214)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q39-1,module,U214,,1, will range from the history of the English language to its current international role, and equip you with the means to describe, analyse and critically reflect on English use around the world. You’ll explore:

  • the role and status of English and how it interacts with other languages
  • how English varies between different speakers and writers in different regional and social contexts
  • the structure of English-language texts and how to analyse them
  • how English is learned as a first and as an additional language and its significance to people’s sense of identity.

These modules can be studied in any order and throughout your Stage 2 studies, you’ll continue to develop your critical thinking, writing and analysis skills. You’ll also begin to work and think more independently in relation to a range of problems and questions posed by your course of study.

Stage 3

Your Level 3 study is divided equally between language and literature. Current English language options include:

  • English grammar in context (E303)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q39-1,module,E303,,1: focusing on English grammar and how English works, using specially developed software tools to investigate contexts including the media, academic writing and conversation
  • The art of English (E301)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q39-1,module,E301,,1: investigating creativity in language, from everyday use of English (conversation, children’s language, correspondence, online chat) to ‘high culture’ literary language and media texts.

For your English literature study, you’ll choose from a list of options:

  • Shakespeare: text and performance (AA306)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q39-1,module,AA306,,1: covers a range of Shakespeare's dramatic plays and poetic work
  • The nineteenth-century novel (AA316)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q39-1,module,AA316,,1: focuses on understanding the novel's relationship with society and how it developed  through the works of Charles Dickens and Jane Austen, amongst others
  • 20th century literature: texts and debates (A300)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q39-1,module,A300,,1: featuring key writers such as Chekhov and Virginia Woolf
  • Advanced creative writing (A363)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q39-1,module,A363,,1: improves your creative writing style; explores how scriptwriting might influence and improve your fiction, poetry and life writing
  • Children's literature (EA300)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q39-1,module,EA300,,1: from its beginnings in eighteenth-century fairy tales, through nineteenth-century novels to contemporary fiction, poetry and films.

These modules can be studied in any order and being at Level 3, you’ll work more independently than you did at Levels 1 and 2, devoting some of your study time to exploring topics and issues in greater detail.

Modules quoted in qualification descriptions are those that are currently available for study. As the structure of our qualifications is reviewed on a regular basis, the University is unable to guarantee that the same selection of modules will continue to be available in future years.

How long it takes

Typically it takes six years part-time study to complete this qualification, but you can take anything from three to 16 years.

We recommend spreading Stage 1 over two years, giving you time to get used to distance learning as well as a solid foundation of knowledge and skills for future study. You could then continue at this pace or speed up to complete in four or five years.

If you are considering taking just three years, the equivalent to full-time study, we strongly recommend that you first speak to an adviser.

Fees

Where will you be resident whilst you study?

If your country isn’t shown here, please visit our website for international students.

Fee: Choose country above to see fee.

Register

Choose country above to register.
Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.

Your questions

Try our frequently asked questions.

Come and meet us at an event near you.

Or contact an adviser by Email or call +44(0) 845 300 60 90 +44(0) 845 366 60 35

Employers' questions

Contact Corporate Enquiries
Visit our website for employers or Email us

Get a prospectus

Download or
order