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BA (Hons) English

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Institution code: 


Three years full-time.

Four and a half to nine years part-time.

Course Options: 
Professional Placement
Study Abroad
Typical Offer: 

2023-24 and 2024-25 entry; 112 UCAS tariff points (or above), BBC (A-Level), DMM (BTEC), Merit (T Level).


The BA (Hons) English enables you to combine diverse literary studies with innovative creative writing practice and cutting-edge research in linguistics. On the course, you will engage with contemporary subjects in literature, including queer approaches to poetry, gothic horror in young adult fiction, and the apocalyptic imagination in twenty-first-century writing. You will have the opportunity to progress on the distinct Literature and Creative Writing and Literature and Linguistics pathways, or to select options from both routes on our flexible English degree programme.

Course News

The Literature and Creative Writing pathway invites you to create a portfolio of published work, including poems, short stories, scripts, flash fiction, and novellas. You will enter exclusive writing competitions, such as the Student New Angle Prize, and develop confidence in creativity and critical skills under the guidance of published, award-winning authors. Our alumni have found employment as editors, copywriters, teachers, writers and poets. They have undertaken postgraduate studies in the humanities, including our MA Creative and Critical Writing.

On the Literature and Linguistics pathway, you will immerse yourself in a range of linguistic topics, including language acquisition and disorders, variation in spoken language, and dialects in literature and film. You will practise key skills, such as numeracy, data collection, problem solving and analysis, and receive support from active researchers and HEA-accredited lecturers. Our graduates have entered Masters-level study in the fields of speech therapy and literary linguistics. They have pursued doctoral research, commenced careers in a variety of professional contexts and seen their work cited at national conferences.

Suffolk is an inspiring place to study English. The county’s coastal villages and towns attract writers and artists from all over the world and feature in classic novels by Charles Dickens, George Orwell and Arthur Ransome. The richly intriguing historical development across the region also makes East Anglia a fascinating dialect area for linguistics studies. Share your love of literature, language and creative writing in a stimulating learning environment that encourages independent thinking, intellectual rigour and academic excellence.


Further information

Course modules

Full-time students typically complete six modules a year during the first two years of study for increased subject diversity. In the first year, all students commence on the English study route, completing introductory modules in literature, creative writing and linguistics. In the second year, students may specialise on one of two distinct pathways, Literature and Creative Writing or Literature and Linguistics, or continue on the English route for a multi-disciplinary approach. In the final year, students complete a Literature, Linguistics or Creative Writing Independent Project in an area of their choosing, along with four other selected modules.

Part-time students may negotiate their programme of study with their tutors to suit their individual needs and requirements. 

Full downloadable information regarding all University of Suffolk courses, including Key Facts, Course Aims, Course Structure and Assessment, is available in the Definitive Course Record.

Introduction to Linguistics

'Language is a purely human and non-instinctive method of communicating ideas, emotions and desires by means of a system of voluntarily produced symbols' - Edward Sapir

This module equips students with the tools and terminology required for describing language and helps to develop analytical skills. Students explore the basic frameworks of phonology, grammar and semantics, and learn about the development of the English language. The module is of particular use to those wishing to become teachers or to enter language-based fields.

Literary Criticism: Theory into Practice

‘There is nothing outside the text’ - Jacques Derrida

This module enables students to gain the necessary knowledge and skills of analysis and criticism on which to base the rest of their undergraduate work in English. Students will explore various methodologies in the study of literary texts and consider the purpose of literary criticism and its relationship with culture, philosophy and politics.

Staging Scandal: Classical to Contemporary Drama

‘It's so easy for propaganda to work, and dissent to be mocked' - Harold Pinter

This module introduces students to the study of Western drama, covering both its historical and literary development from the classical era through the Renaissance and up to the twenty-first century. Students will explore a wide selection of dramatic works in English and in translation, focusing on plays that have often prompted hostile speculation from audiences and critics.

Starting Points in Creative Writing

'It is only by writing, not dreaming about it, that we develop our own style' - P. D. James

This module creates a toolkit of necessary skills that students will build upon in later creative writing modules. Paying particular attention to narrative strategies and the craft of writing, students will be encouraged to examine how critical reflection and creative practice inform and supplement each other, and to view writing as part of an ongoing, developing practice, informed by diverse influences, experiences and cultures.  

Poetry Matters

‘In this gorgeous mess of our own gravity’ - Jo Shapcott

This module introduces students to the complexity and pleasure of this literary form. It is designed to help students engage with poetry in a creative and active manner. Students examine a wide range of poetic forms, from canonical texts of the English tradition to digital and performance poetry, including poems in translation. 

Research Skills

'We retain from our studies only that which we practically apply' - Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

This module enables students to develop skills that are central to the study of English, such as critical reading, writing, analysing, presenting, and researching. On the module, students will have the opportunity to design and complete a short research project, selecting their own topic in literature, linguistics or creative writing.

Critical Theory

‘Welcome to the desert of the real’ - Slavoj Žižek

Students examine a range of theoretical approaches to texts, including Marxism, psychoanalysis, structuralism, feminism, postcolonial theory and postmodernism. They are encouraged to engage with theory as an intellectual activity that develops multiple perspectives on a variety of topics such as language, reality, subjectivity, gender, race, and sexuality.

Research Methods

'Research is formalised curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose' - Zora Neale Hurston

This module builds on the knowledge and practice obtained on Research Skills, supporting students as they prepare to design and complete an individual academic research project in English studies. On the module, students will explore the methods, approaches and structural components of an extended research project through examples in literature, linguistics, and creative writing.

Textual Afterlives: Adapting Literature and Film

‘An adaptation may come second, but that doesn’t make it secondary' - Linda Hutcheon

This module introduces students to the literary field of adaptation studies, exploring the afterlives of a range of ‘source’ texts through a critical and creative assessment of processes of textual transformation. Through an analysis of texts where characters’ afterlives also feature in the narrative, students will investigate shifts in media, genre, audience, ideological positions and modes of production and consumption.

Shakespeare’s Sceptred Isle: Power and Performance

'Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown' - Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part II

This module enables students to undertake a thematic study of Shakespeare’s dramatic work based on the detailed study of plays from different genres. These plays will be studied both as responses to the political, social and religious changes of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries and as works of continuing relevance through a close examination of recent and varied performance contexts.

The Short Story (Literature and Creative Writing pathway)

'You become a different writer when you approach a short story' - Zadie Smith

Students will be encouraged to develop their skills as critical readers and creative writers through the close reading of short stories and the undertaking of creative writing exercises, culminating in the writing of an original short story. The emphasis of this module will be on craft and technique, with an eye to wider questions of critical analysis, authorship, identity and place.

Structures of Spoken English (Literature and Linguistics pathway)

'The exercise of power, in modern society, is increasingly achieved through ideology, and more particularly through the ideological workings of language' - Norman Fairclough

This module represents a more theoretical consideration of textuality, providing preparation for students' own independent research. Students consider core topics and approaches in language study such as language variation, creativity in language use, stylistics, cognitive poetics and critical discourse analysis.

Language Development and Disorders (Literature and Linguistics pathway)

'Our minds influence the key activity of the brain, which then influences everything; perception, cognition, thoughts and feelings, personal relationships; they're all a projection of you' - Deepak Chopra

The module examines three major frameworks of language: acquisition, production and comprehension. These are examined and analysed through a range of case studies and linguistic data. In addition, Learning English presents and discusses theories and data relating to the acquisition of conversational skills in English, as well as a variety of language disorders. 

Who Do you Think You Are? Life Writing and Memoir (Literature and Creative Writing pathway)

'I believe in my mask - the man I made up is me' - Sam Shepard

This module will explore how versions of the self are written through memoir, autobiography and life writing. Students will consider different critical responses to autobiography and life writing and ways of creatively writing the self.  The module will also examine the relationship that autobiographical writing has with writing fiction, autobiografiction and ethnographic practices.

Robots and Rebels: Writing Genre Fiction
After the Apocalypse: Writing the Contemporary

'There is no god and we are his prophets' - Cormac McCarthy

The module enables students to evaluate the complex and thought-provoking forms of contemporary texts which transgress genre boundaries and solicit a speculative exploration of contemporary issues, such as transcultural identities, queer sexualities, dystopian spaces, and technological and post-humanist approaches to reality. 

Stranger Things: Young Adult Fiction

'The Gate ... I opened it. I'm the monster' - Eleven, Stranger Things

This module introduces students to the role of horror in young adult fiction, inviting analyses of works from literature, cinema and television that are categorised as dark fantasy, dystopian fiction, sci-fi horror and paranormal romance. Through close reading and independent research, students will examine issues relating to gender, power, identity and sexuality against the self-reflexive nature of horror and its highly subversive potential.

Professional Practice (Educational/Professional Writing)

'Any positive emotion that you're infusing into a workplace needs to be grounded in reality. If it's not realistic, sincere, meaningful, and individualised, it won't do much good' - Tom Rath  

Students undertake student-centred learning based on a placement, which will build on their knowledge from language and creative writing modules, along with subject specific writing and IT skills. Moreover, students gain knowledge about professional writing from seminars with professional writers.

Independent Project

'All you need is the plan, the roadmap, and the courage to press on to your destination' - Earl Nightingale

This module provides an opportunity for students to explore, over a year, a chosen area of English studies. Students will design and carry out an extensive or significant piece of independent research, examining an area of scholarship that they wish to pursue. They will meet regularly as a supportive learning group to consider common research issues. Mostly, they will work independently, guided by a specialist supervisor.

Writing for Performance: Theatre, Film, Television (Literature and Creative Writing pathway)

'Before I write down one word, I have to have the character in my mind through and through. I must penetrate into the last wrinkle of his soul' - Henrik Ibsen

This module invites students to work with influential and contemporary scripts written for the stage and screen to support the production of their own short script. Students will explore a selection of performance texts written for theatre, television and cinema in the twentieth century and up to the present day, engaging with crucial differences in forms of performance writing to understand the demands of each particular medium.

Independent Project (Literature and Creative Writing pathway)

'That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you've understood all your life, but in a new way' - Doris Lessing

The Independent Project in Creative Writing is the culmination of students’ progressive, specialist learning in creative writing throughout their degree. Students will produce an original creative writing portfolio. This can be a novel extract, a novella or a portfolio of stories or flash fiction. Students will also produce a critical essay, reflecting on their use of sources, their writing practice, influences, and editing choices.

Researching Spoken Language (Literature and Linguistics pathway)

'Language is the most massive and inclusive art we know, a mountainous and anonymous work of unconscious generations' - Edward Sapir

Research has shown that variations found in spontaneous speech aren’t, as once thought, random and unstructured, but, instead, systemic/ meaningful. This course will examine the theory behind variation as it occurs in natural, face-to-face communication, and how we model variation according to social constructs, such as age, gender and style.

Dialects in Literature and Film (Literature and Linguistics pathway)

‘Never let it be said that dialect is a reflection of intellect’ - Patricia H Graham

This module considers how language, and particularly dialect, are used in literature and film. The focus is primarily on sociolinguistic aspects, allowing students to assess how literature and film reflect actual language, and what this may tell us about linguistic attitudes and use. The module will give students a foundation in some key dialect features and characteristics, with a particular focus on British and North American dialects. 

Independent Project (Literature and Linguistics pathway)

'Research means that you don't know, but are willing to find out' - Charles F. Kettering

The Independent Project in Linguistics is the culmination of students’ progressive, specialist learning in linguistics throughout their degree. Students will undertake a project that synthesises novel data and scholarly literature to examine an original research question. The project can focus on any topic in linguistics.

Career opportunities

The BA (Hons) English offers two professional practice modules: English Education Practice and Professional Writing Practice. Students may undertake one of these modules in their final year of study to enhance employability skills and build effective relationships with local schools, businesses and arts organisations.

The modules include short-term placements, talks and seminars led by industry experts, and opportunities for professional recognition, such as the EADT Award for Professional Writing and the Steve Ransom Award for English Education. 


Students on the BA (Hons) English are also invited to join the Talking Shop community. The Talking Shop is hosted by the English Department and seeks to develop cultural innovation, creativity and student engagement. It offers a valuable space for students to share their work, publish news, attend live guest speaker events and participate in a series of extra-curricular workshops across the academic year. Previous guest speakers include novelists, memoir writers, poets, journalists, publishers and literary agents.

Our graduates have gone on to successful careers in writing and journalism, editing, arts management, teaching and consulting. Some have started their own businesses in areas like copyediting, public relations and freelance writing, while others have gone on to postgraduate study. Over the last three years, 100% of students applying for teacher training have been successful at interview and accepted onto postgraduate courses.

Student profiles

I started my University degree in 2015 with no previous experience of studying linguistics. Throughout the three amazing years I spent on the English degree, my linguistics lecturer started to answer questions I had pondered for years: is human language unique? How do we physically ...

At enrolment, I hadn't written an essay in over ten years; I had limited experience of creative writing and critical thinking; and I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career. I wasn't even a big reader. Thanks to the support and guidance of my lecturers, these things were not pr...

I began my journey with the University of Suffolk back in 2016. After attending a few open days and meeting the fantastic English team, my decision to study here was easily made. I studied the BA (Hons) English course for three years and enjoyed every minute. All the worries I had a...

Fees and finance


  • UK full-time tuition fee: £9,250 p.a
  • UK part-time tuition fee: £1,454 per 20 credits (please contact the Student Centre for further information)
  • Full-time International tuition fee:  £13,992 p.a

Further Information

At University of Suffolk, your tuition fees provide access to all the usual teaching and learning facilities that you would expect. However, there may be additional costs associated with you course that you will need to budget for.

Entry requirements


Course Leader, BA (Hons) English

Course leader for MA Creative and Critical Writing

Lecturer in English and Creative Writing

Lecturer in Linguistics

Associate Professor English and Creative Writing, Associate Dean for Research and Knowledge Exchange (School of Social Sciences and Humanities)

Visiting Fellow in English

Visiting Senior Fellow in Linguistics

Visiting Senior Fellow in English and Creative Writing

Academic Administrator

Facilities and Resources

This course is taught at the beautiful Waterfront Campus in Ipswich, a unique location offering spectacular views and a vibrant space for study and socialising.

Teaching and learning takes place in the Waterfront Building, the Arts Building and the new Atrium Building, providing access to the campus’ best facilities including purpose-built seminar rooms and state-of-the-art screening theatres. 

Photo by Katie Hayward

Suffolk celebrates the literary arts every year with events such as the Halesworth Arts Festival, the FlipSide Festival, the award-winning Latitude Festival and the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival.

Ipswich has a thriving theatre scene including the New Wolsey, Regent, East Anglia’s largest theatre, and Red Rose Chain, an award-winning, community-driven theatre company working in partnership with TV presenter Jimmy Doherty to stage outdoor summer productions of Shakespeare’s plays for over 10,000 spectators. Sir Trevor Nunn, former Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, schooled in Ipswich and is patron of the New Wolsey Theatre, a vibrant performance space at the heart of the region’s cultural life.

The county is also home to a number of prestigious publishing houses including Full Circle Editions, set up by Bloomsbury co-founder and Harry Potter discoverer-in-chief, Liz Calder.