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English BA Honours

Learn about the course below
October 2019
International induction: September 2019
3 years full-time
5 years part-time
£9,250 (UK/EU) *
£13,000 (INT) *
Course leader
Anna Charalambidou

This course explores English everywhere: in novels, theatre, poetry, everyday and professional conversations, media texts, non-verbal communication and in your own writing.

Why study BA English at Middlesex University?

This is a new kind of English degree, geared towards enhancing your skills and enthusiasms. It offers you the opportunity to engage in English as a broad but unified subject and to expand your understanding of 'English' through encounters with literary and non-literary texts. You will explore how language works in literature and in social interaction, and develop your own voice in creative writing.

The course will give you the opportunity to produce, analyse and critically discuss texts in a wide range of media. If you have enjoyed working on aspects of language, literature or writing in your previous studies, or if you have professional or vocation interests that involve English, this programme allows you to make the most of these connections.

BA English integrates language, literature and writing, to help you understand how they interact with each other. You will develop skills in each of these areas, helping you to speak and write in a range of contexts as you bring your own interests and skills into your learning.

You will produce your own texts, explore the work of others, engage in critical and theoretical debates, and develop your own investigations. You will be able to examine the choices and strategies communicators make in producing texts, addressing audiences and how audiences respond to these in different contexts

The English work placement offers a professional arena in which to apply your ideas, implement approaches from your study and gain additional experience in your chosen field.

This unique English course not only allows you to specialise but also encourages you to create your own career path by combining English language, literature and creative writing or, if you choose, to focus on one of these specifically.

Course highlights

  • Taught by a research-active team of academics and published creative practitioners with extensive professional networks
  • Small class sizes allow you to receive the personal attention that is required to thrive in your studies
  • We make the most of our London location to explore English in the outside world, organising regular visits to West End shows and places such as the British Library, the House of Commons or the Old Bailey
  • You will have the chance to organise and take part in events on- and off-campus, such as our annual student-run North London Literary Festival, or the UK Linguistics Olympiad
  • Opportunities to work on and contribute to Mesh, a journal publishing work by undergraduate students
  • As a student of this course you'll receive a free electronic textbook to keep for every one of your twelve modules

Find out more

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What will you study on the BA English degree?

You will develop an understanding of English as a global language and of the broad range of work in English by exploring linguistic, literary and creative approaches. You will engage with key concepts, theoretical approaches and practices in English by focusing on media, popular and professional texts alongside core literary and creative ones. You will study how language and communication work in different situations and will interrogate the role of literariness in the world of communication.

You will take four modules a year (if studied full time) over three years. Each module is designed to be flexible, allowing you to bring your own interests to the assignments and develop key skills and knowledge that will benefit not only your final independent project but also your ambitions and career goals beyond this course.

What skills will you gain?

You will learn how to write in different forms and for different purposes and to give a range of types of presentations. You will gain competence in penetrating communication, and the ability to engage in close reading and rapid analysis. You will develop the ability to draw creatively on your specialist knowledge and skills in English to work in diverse environments such as education, publishing, media and marketing. You will develop distinctive creative, investigative, theoretical and critical skills.


  • Year 1

    • Language, Literature and Writing (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module introduces key topics and methods for work in English. It develops your ability to reflect on your own practice and personal development within and beyond this programme, and on your career plans. You also develop your ability to produce, interpret and evaluate texts in a range of media and genres, your understanding of methods and approaches used to explore texts and practices, and your understanding of the cultural and other contexts in which texts are produced and circulated.

    • Global English (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module will familiarise you with key terminology and concepts used in describing and investigating language variation. It explores how English varies between regions, different groups and individuals and how to recognise and describe phonological and grammatical variation in examples of language in use. You will use terms and concepts studied during the module in developing your own investigations of local and international varieties of English.

    • Writing and the Contemporary World (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module explores different ways in which we make sense of the world and communicate with others through creative or professional writing. On this module, you will develop your reading and writing skills through exploration of a wide range of literary or journalistic forms and through writing practice in these forms. It introduces you to the importance and practice of reflective evaluation of your own and other’s creative work through self and peer review.

    • Literary Analysis (30 credits) - Compulsory

      This module introduces you to the interpretation of literature and helps you to develop a capacity to enjoy, understand, and individually analyse the variant and complex meanings of literary texts. It develops skills for personal critical analysis of prose, poetry and drama, and the knowledge of what a textual reading of each of the different forms requires. The module examines one chosen sub-genre to explore how the format expands in relation to readers’ expectations and social anxieties, helping you to develop an understanding of how cultural contexts affect the interpretation of literature.

  • Year 2

    • Research, Practice and Professional Communication (30 credits) - Compulsory

      In this module, you will develop your understanding of the role of research and practice in English and connect this to professional contexts. You will create texts using particular techniques and critically appraise them for literary, creative and academic purposes. You will also develop your practical and collaborative research skills, reflect on this development in relation to professional plans, and prepare for independent work in your final year.

  • Year 2 optional modules - choose three modules from the following:

    • Language Acquisition (30 credits) - Optional

      This module explores how human language is acquired and how this differs from communication by other species. It introduces a range of methods used to explore this question and key theoretical approaches. You will explore work on the stages involved in language acquisition, and on how language and language acquisition interact with other aspects of cognition, with other kinds of communicative and non-communicative behaviour, and with environmental factors.

    • Language and Identities (30 credits) - Optional

      This module helps you to understand the dynamic relationship between language and identities. You will explore how language shapes and is shaped by aspects of social identity, such as gender, sexuality, age, social class, culture, ethnicity, and institutional identities and roles. The module will enable you to research identities in spoken, written, and electronic texts, applying key notions from interactional and critical approaches to linguistics.

    • Writing Short Scripts (30 credits) - Optional

      This module will help you to understand the particular demands, constraints and potentials of the short film form. It will help you to understand the significance of story structure, visual storytelling and characterisation in conveying meaning and affect and how screenplays are written on the page. You will conceive, research and develop a short screen story, write and rewrite a short dramatic script, taking account of and evaluating feedback, including peer group feedback, and evaluate the completed work critically and analytically, formatting your screenplay to industry standards.

    • Writing Short Fiction (30 credits) - Optional

      In this module you will develop your fiction-writing skills in the context of the distinctive aesthetics of the short story, with group study of seminal texts in the history of the modern short story forming a context for work-shopped exercises. You will explore such techniques of fiction as voice, setting and atmosphere, narrative tension, character and dialogue, as foregrounded by the short form, and will also learn about the distinctive publishing environment for short fiction.

    • Reality, Fantasy and Metafiction (30 credits) - Optional

      This module explores the literary modes of realism, the anti-real and the fantastic in contemporary literature, to help you analyse what the different literary tropes and forms can encompass and critique. It considers how social criticism, philosophic exploration, representations of the literary real and fabulation of alternative others have excited writers’ imaginations. You will continue the development of your critical expertise through critical readings and comparative analysis of mimesis, surrealism and magical realism to develop an appreciation of their diverse impacts and confrontations.

  • Year 3

    • Independent Project (30 credits) - Compulsory

      In this module you will design and carry out an independent project, which can take the form of an investigative project and report; a critical and theoretical discussion; or a creative project with reflection. Workshops will help you to develop a proposal and you will then work independently with advice from supervisors to complete your project.

  • Year 3 optional modules - choose three modules from the following:

    • Teaching Englishes (30 credits) - Optional

      This module explores issues around the teaching of varieties of English in first and second language contexts. You will consider pedagogical, practical and policy issues, explore theories of language teaching and learning, and develop aspects of your own teaching philosophy which you will put into practice in preparing lesson plans and delivering parts of lessons to other students.

    • Media Communication (30 credits) - Optional

      This module helps you to develop an understanding of contemporary multimodal communication. Focusing on media texts, you will explore the relationships between verbal and nonverbal modes and between different genres and different media. You will explore the variety of social and cultural forms and contexts of textual production, interpretation and communication. You will develop skills in textual analysis focusing on the roles of language, structure, form and reader in communication and interpretation. You will also explore the concept of mediation and a number of theories of media communication.

    • Writing Reality (30 credits) - Optional

      In this module, you will develop your understanding of how close reading of nonfiction, including forms such as travel and history writing, biography and memoir, can help you to develop your own creative writing abilities within these genres. It explores the nature of the self, its presentation in text, and the depiction of other lives, helping you to adopt different narrative structures and styles in your own work. It explores the notion of place and voice in nonfiction writing and helps you to understand how research informs writing while developing an understanding of styles found within the various forms and your own practice.

    • Writing for Popular Markets (30 credits) - Optional

      This module explores the tropes and subjects of popular fiction, including such genres as romance, historical fiction, horror, crime, fantasy, and science fiction. It explores the contextualisation of new creative work within the market and traditions of popular genres, the development of sub genres, features of genre plots, the marketing of genres and the emergence of genre marketing code, the generation of "reading protocols" for genres, the emergence of reading "communities", as well as self-conscious "writer communities". You will develop understanding of characteristics and requirements of a range of genres to inform your own creative writing practice.

    • Identities and Global Literature (30 credits) - Optional

      This module examines representations of identity in relation to gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity, while exploring global literature written in English. It considers issues of identity, in relation ideas about gender and sexuality through literary gender theory. You will engage with a variety of literary texts, analysing representations of femininity, masculinity, and how gender impacts on other aspects of identity such as race and sexuality. It also considers the impact of globalisation on literature in English, examining how contemporary novels challenge binary categories of national states and identities and how they represent the transnational movement of characters experiencing hybridity and multi-rootedness.

    • Work Placement (30 credits) - Optional

      This module helps you to develop your skills and practices at an appropriate professional level in the workplace, in industries relevant to the rest of your work on the programme. It enables you to locate and reflect on your academic learning in the day-to-day operation of industries and institutions and to prepare for carrying forward the outcomes of your studies into professional life.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Optional modules are usually available at levels 5 and 6, although optional modules are not offered on every course. Where optional modules are available, you will be asked to make your choice during the previous academic year. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, or there are staffing changes which affect the teaching, it may not be offered. If an optional module will not run, we will advise you after the module selection period when numbers are confirmed, or at the earliest time that the programme team make the decision not to run the module, and help you choose an alternative module.

  1. Overview
  2. Teaching and learning
  3. Assessment and feedback
  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. Additional costs
  • Yvonne Alexander-Taylor

    First year English BA student

    My Dearest Pearl,

    Your name is as precious as you are dear to me. I desperately need your help. I'm afraid my past has caught up with me and now I have found myself in deep dung. I'm alone at the moment and I thought the best thing to do is write to you as it may help. You are the only one that has always helped me out of these kind of situations before.

    I am trapped. Trapped in the deepest darkest dungeon of desire. I don't know how to escape. I have tried each cell, each lock, each path and I seem to end up twisted in the wrath and tangles of this emotional wreckage. The forces are strong, I am weak. This is one demon that wants to take me under his wings but as I look I can see that the wings are different. One of hope and one of loss, however the loss seems so attached; attached to my being...

    Continue reading Yvonne's epistolary writing

  • Melissa Nabre

    First year English BA student

    Here, could you finish this for me? It’s her milk, but she’s finally cried herself to sleep and it would be a waste so just drink the rest, will you?

    No! Don’t try to take her from me, I’m finally able to hold her without wanting to throw her into a wall so I want to hold her for a little longer.

    She’s so cute, now that she’s quiet. I never realised how much I loved her until now.

    Even just moments ago, I hated her to the very bone, even though she was my own daughter.

    No matter what I did, she just wouldn’t stop crying.

    I gave her milk, I changed her diaper, I threw her, I played with her, I slapped her, I even tried to use my pillow to shut her up but she just wouldn’t stop crying.

    I hated it. I was so sick of it...

    Continue reading Melissa's short story

  • Zhengqing Li

    Exchange English BA student

    Affection between family members originates from blood ties and close relationships, but sometimes it is not related to bloodlines.

    My grandparents told me that Miss Liu came to my home soon after I was born and became a babysitter. She was born in Anhui, but her Mandarin was extremely good. At that time, she was slim and worked very well. Perhaps because we were her first employer, she always did everything to the best of her ability.

    At that time I was a crazy man and always acted up in front of others. I often stuck stickers on her clothes when she was doing laundry and chased her, to braid her long hair. Sometimes I pulled her hair hard. She was in pain but seldom lost her temper. All she did was to solemnly tell me not to treat others like that...

    Continue reading Zhengqing's non-fiction writing

How can the BA English support your career?

The excellent professional communication, critical and creative skills of English graduates are highly valued by all employers in the private and public sector. This course will leave you ideally placed for a range of employment opportunities in:

  • Teaching
  • Copywriting
  • Creative writing
  • Publishing
  • Marketing, branding, advertising, PR
  • Journalism
  • Creative industries
  • Civil service

Our past graduates have developed successful careers in:

  • Primary, secondary and further education
  • English language teaching
  • Speech therapy
  • Advertising
  • Politics

Dr Anna Charalambidou
Lecturer in English Language

Anna is the programme leader for BA English. She researches how the way we talk in everyday conversations is shaped by our age, gender, linguistic and sociocultural background. She is particularly interested in language and ageing and in the concepts of tradition and authenticity in and through language. Her publications include a co-authored book on the construction of authenticity in national foods and drinks and papers on old-age and gender identities, joke-tellings, conversational recipe, and police-citizen encounters. She is currently leading a project on accent diversity in Higher Education. She enjoys teaching sociolinguistics and supporting students through their own investigative projects.

James Kenworth
Lecturer in Media Narrative

James is an acclaimed playwright; his writing includes ‘verse-prose’ plays, black comedy, issue-led plays (about elder abuse and dementia), plays for young people/schools and a Newham-based trilogy of site-specific plays, When Chaplin Met Gandhi, Revolution Farm and A Splotch of Red: Keir Hardie. His play, Dementia’s Journey, won the 2015 University of Stirling International Dementia Award. He is currently working on his new play Alice in Canning Town, a contemporary, urban adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, reconfigured for the East End and performed site-specific in Arc in the Park, an inclusive adventure playground in Canning Town. He is a PhD by Public Works candidate.

Professor Paul Cobley
Professor in Language and Media

Paul is interested in the way in which language and communication are distributed across a wide range of different forms. Being concerned with how texts appear in numerous different media, therefore, he has been particularly drawn to the study of popular narrative and genres. Because there are so many such texts, he believes that we need to develop short-hand ways to recognize certain kinds of texts and how they operate. For him, this is precisely the work which enables humans to know their environment more precisely, to achieve more in life and advance as a species. His latest books include Cultural Implications of Biosemiotics (Springer, 2016), Narrative (Routledge, 2013) and The American Thriller: Generic Innovation and Social Change in the 1970s (Palgrave, 2000).

Dr Carina Hart
Lecturer in English Literature

Carina joins Middlesex in September 2018, after working as Assistant Professor of English Literature at the University of Nottingham (Malaysia Campus). Her specialisms are in contemporary Gothic, fairy tale fiction and literary theory. She has a wealth of teaching and operational experience in the higher education sector in the UK and overseas. In addition to gothic and fairy tales, her publications also include Romantic poetry, literature and food, and alchemy in fiction. She is currently writing her monograph entitled Beastly Beauties: The Contemporary Gothic Fairy Tale.

Dr Lorna Gibb
Senior Lecturer in English Language and Creative Writing

Lorna is interested in both Fiction and Non Fiction. She has published an academic book, two biographies and her debut novel was published by Granta in 2015.  She has reviewed for The Times, The Independent and TLS and spoken at conferences and events in the USA, Serbia, Middle East, Netherlands, Poland, Canada and France, as well as Literary Festivals including the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Charleston Lit Fest and Dartington. In 2013 she won the Granta Memoir Prize and in 2015 she was shortlisted for the Sperber Prize for Biography in the US. Her new non-fiction book Childless Voices: Stories of Longing, Loss, Resistance and Choice will be published in 2019.

Dr Adam Lively
Lecturer in Creative Writing

Adam has published four novels and two non-fiction books (including Masks: Blackness, Race and the Imagination (Chatto /Oxford University Press)), as well as short stories and journalism for the national press. He has also worked as a writer/producer of television documentaries, including the multi award-winning Jihad: The Men and Ideas behind Al Qaeda (PBS/Channel 4). His doctorate, from the University of London, was for a thesis on philosophical and psychological approaches to narrative, and he continues to research and publish in that field. He is currently working on a collection of interlinked stories titled The Central Line, and he reviews fiction regularly for the Sunday Times.

  • Alicjia Rutkowska

    English BA graduate

    That’s what I got from Middlesex: confidence to ask for support every time I need it. Studying here was the experience of my life. I especially enjoyed spending time with my friends, the library that is open 24/7 and the incredible atmosphere at university. My lecturers inspired me to always be curious and think critically.

  • Georgi Yordanov

    English BA graduate

    Studying at Middlesex was a great experience and a path that gave me the opportunity to pursue postgraduate studies and to take my career in an international scale.

    My experience at Middlesex University was a real roller-coaster. I loved the University from the first moment (from the huge green yard and massive library building to meeting great people and learning from their experiences). My favourite topic was language and gender. I became a better person after these three years at Middlesex and a fully educated man.

  • Rosie Peacey

    English BA graduate

    I have had a wonderful time on this course. This has been an amazing experience and has given me the opportunity to extend and improve my knowledge of English, as well as having fun and making friends.

    After Middlesex, I secured a place to do a PGCE in Primary Education. My time at Middlesex has helped me in providing me with skills for: writing for different purposes; improving my communication and performance skills; and also improving my ability to critically reflect on my own work.

  • Bircan Hassan

    English BA graduate

    I really enjoyed studying English at Middlesex. The module teachers were very supportive and the feedback on my work helped me to improve.

  • Kvetoslava Drabikova

    English BA graduate

    The support from teachers and My Unihelp was amazing! As I transferred from a Slovak University, I was a bit worried at the beginning if I’ll adapt to the new systems and different teaching methods. But, thanks to the great support and the really interesting modules, I could adapt very quickly and enjoyed my studies here. Thank you Middlesex!

  • Yu-Hsuan Chen

    English BA graduate

    I've had a really good experience at Middlesex despite only studying here for my final year. I learned a lot from every modules and the teachers and classmates were amazing, kind and helpful. I also enjoyed spending time in the library, it has so many great resources and is open 24 hours.

  • Jade Denmark

    English BA graduate

    I've really enjoyed studying BA English over the past three years. The modules were well organised and provided me with the skills and knowledge I need for my future career. The module leaders were all really helpful and supportive throughout my studies.

    Middlesex provided me with the skills, knowledge and confidence required for the graduate job market. Since graduating I have worked in recruitment and  I am now looking to use the skills and knowledge I developed at Middlesex to begin my teacher training in English.

Other courses

Creative Writing and Journalism BA Honours

Start: October 2019, EU/International induction: September 2019

Duration: 3 years full-time, Usually 5 years part-time

Code: WP85

PGCE Secondary Education English

Start: September 2019

Duration: 1 year full-time

Code: Q3X1

Media and Cultural Studies BA Honours

Start: October 2019, EU/International induction: September 2019, Entry is only for Year 3

Duration: 3 years full-time, Usually 5 years part-time

Code: LP63

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