Study Internationally Recognised English
Many of our English teaching staff are internationally recognised researchers.
Studying English at Aberdeen gives you all the advantages of a top class teaching, research and creative hub. You will be taught by internationally renowned academics, writers and poets in the wonderful environment of a historic university with an award-winning library, outstanding literary treasures, and a vigorous calendar of literary events.
This programme is studied on campus.
Aberdeen is a leading centre for the study of literature, language and creative writing and assessed as second in the UK for the quality of its research output and top in Scotland for creative writing.
You will study poetry and prose through considering the dynamic relationship between author, reader and literary text, study every period from Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton to contemporary English, Scottish, Irish, European and American writing and examine the cultural and critical impact of powerful and controversial modern works.
You will gain inspiration and guidance from dedicated teachers and researchers who have published internationally recognised literary criticism and award-winning creative works. You will also benefit from the presence of several world-class Research Centres located in the School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture such as the Centre for the Novel, The Grierson Centre and the WORD Centre for Creative Writing.
Our flexible, modular curriculum gives you the core writing, research, computational and presentation skills vital to many careers. You will also be encouraged to pursue your particular interests while ranging widely across the many exciting areas of English studies, with career options as diverse as publishing, teaching, research, journalism, business, or speech therapy.
And you will thrive in our friendly and vibrant international community, on our beautiful medieval campus with great facilities for learning, sports and leisure and many opportunities to develop extra skills and interests and to broaden your horizons through study abroad.
English at Aberdeen offers a diverse programme that covers all periods of English Literature. The range of courses on offer will enable you to specialise in specific areas of study in your final years. You will gain an in-depth understanding of English by studying topics such as poetry, prose, controversial classics, Shakespeare, Medieval and Renaissance literature, Victorianism and Modernism, including contemporary Scottish and Irish literature.
This compulsory evaluation is designed to find out if your academic writing is of a sufficient standard to enable you to succeed at university and, if you need it, to provide support to improve. It is completed on-line via MyAberdeen with clear instructions to guide you through it. If you pass the evaluation at the first assessment it will not take much of your time. If you do not, you will be provided with resources to help you improve. This evaluation does not carry credits but if you do not complete it this will be recorded on your degree transcript.
This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.
This course, which is prescribed for level 1 students and optional for level 2 students and above, is studied entirely online and covers topics relating to careers and employability, equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing. During the course you will learn about the Aberdeen Graduate Attributes, how they are relevant to you and the opportunities available to develop your skills and attributes alongside your University studies. You will also gain an understanding of equality and diversity and health, safety and wellbeing issues. Successful completion of this course will be recorded on your Enhanced Transcript as ‘Achieved’ (non-completion will be recorded as ‘Not Achieved’). The course takes approximately 3 hours to complete and can be taken in one sitting, or spread across a number of weeks and it will be available to you throughout the academic year.
This course introduces students to the study of English by exploring the dynamic relationship between author, reader and text in a series of classic works of fiction and poetry. It covers a broad historical range (from Folk Tales and ballads to 21st century postmodernity) and offers a basic grounding in key elements of literary theory, literary history and the varieties of literary form.
Literature can provoke, offend and disturb as well as entertain. This course considers some of the most powerful and controversial works of modern literature. It examines the circumstances of publication, the nature of the controversy, and the cultural and critical impact of each work. The course shows how poems, plays and novels can raise searching questions about national, racial and personal identity, and looks at the methods used by writers to challenge their readers, as well the responses of readers to such challenges.
Select a further 90 credit points from courses of choice.
So you think you know Shakespeare? This course invites you to think again. Studying a range of plays we get behind the mythology of Shakespeare, and rediscover the dynamic inventiveness of the Elizabethan theatre. Shakespeare and his contemporaries were the principal players in a period of literary experimentation that reinvented the possibilities of literature. Encounters with Shakespeare is your chance to find out more.
This course traces the use of key Western myths from antiquity to the present to examine the way knowledge is often presented as both dangerous and compelling. As well as introducing students to a range of historical, social, and formal variations on the theme of knowledge, the course also highlights the role of storytelling and adaptation in the formation of knowledge and understanding.
Select a further 60 credit points from courses of choice.
Select one course from each of the following categories:
Plus one course from the following, or an outside subject, to make up 120 credit points in total:
An introduction to late medieval-literature, challenging modern assumptions about the medieval and exploring the diverse range of medieval literary culture, from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales to the autobiographical narrative of Margery Kempe and surprising profanity of medieval lyric.
This course explores the poetry, drama and prose of a period often referred to as the golden age of English literature. A period which saw Shakespeare and his contemporaries produce innovative new literary works in which the language of desire took centre stage.
This level-three course offers an introduction to American literature and culture between 1850 and 1950, a century in which the United States was transformed from a rural economy to an industrialised super-power. You will learn about the key writers of this period, the issues that sparked their imaginations, and the literary strategies which they adopted, or at times invented, to express their response to the changing world around them. This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars.
This course follows the development of American literature in English from the printing of the Declaration of Independence, the defining document of the American Revolution, in 1776, to the end of the Civil War, in 1865. It focusing on the idea of America, both as the subject of American writing, and as the context in which that writing was produced. Among the authors studied in the course are: Benjamin Franklin, Charles Brockden Brown, Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, Edgar Allan Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Frederick Douglass, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson.
Sympathy for the Devil: A Century of Scottish Short Stories
While the short story is often said to have developed in America nineteenth-century Scottish writing is in fact instrumental to the emergence of the form. Often drawing on oral and folk traditions Scottish writers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries employ the supernatural , or our fear of it, to explore subjects such as guilt, fear, remorse and the extent to which we can control our own destinies. This course will explore the ways in which the short story in Scotland develops from the early nineteenth century until the beginning of the twentieth. It will include writers such as Walter Scott, James Hogg, John Galt, Margaret Oliphant, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Conan Doyle, Jane Findlater and Lewis Grassic Gibbon
The Romantic movement swept Europe in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and produced some of the most innovative and exciting literature that has ever been seen. This rule breaking art helped shape the way that we consider art today and underpins many of our ideas about imagination, originality, creativity and self-expression. This course will explore the ways in which the Romantic movement manifested itself across Britain and Ireland and will consider writers such as Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Scott, Austen and Byron.
The early twentieth century was a time of great literary experimentation as literary modernists rose to the challenge to make it new. We will explore modernism’s stylistic experimentation while also considering the social contexts and changes that shaped this literature. The course will examine a range of writers, genres, movements and locations which prompt us to consider what, when and where was modernism.
This course offers an overview of a wide range of twentieth-century Scottish literature, focusing on themes of haunting, death, and place. Including novels, short stories, poetry, and drama, the course explores questions of the relationship between self and society, the legacy of the past, and the formation of gendered and regional identities. There are lots of ghosts.
How is the artist to respond when the virtual becomes the real and when words cannot carry the weight of trauma? How can an author avoid the accusations of voyeuristic prurience or crass opportunism when he or she attempts to re-present events of public violence? This multi-disciplinary course examines work from a wide range of modes, including fiction, poetry, film and graphic art, and looks at the difficulties of inscribing trauma and the ethics and praxis of remembrance. Key events covered include the Holocaust, the Sabra and Shatila massacre, 9-11, the Gulf War and the conflict in the Balkans.
From the picture book to the fairy tale, literature for children offers a wide range of literary modes of engaging with questions of human becoming. This course explores American and British children’s literature from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first century. We will look at a range of genres including poetry, the school story, the adventure story and fantasy, as well as examining the construction of children’s literature as a genre of its own. We will engage in close reading, and consider historical and social context and questions of gender, race and sexuality.
This course is your opportunity to study four of the most influential and gripping texts of world literature. We begin in the oral culture of ancient Greece, with the Iliad's stark meditation on war and death, and the Odyssey's consolatory reflections on divine justice, poetry and love. In imperial Rome, we see the genre transformed into a monument to political power in Virgil's Aeneid, then thrown into disarray by Ovid's irreverent anti-epic, the Metamorphoses. We end by considering some of the ways these texts have been exploited and adapted across the intervening centuries, in poetry and prose, art and film.
This course offers students the opportunity, through lectures and interactive workshops, to develop their understanding of, and practical skills in, the writing of prose fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction. Taught by widely published, award-winning writers, it provides a thorough, practice-based understanding of creative process and of the technical challenges involved in developing an original idea into a completed literary artefact, presented to a professional standard. It also contributes to students' future career potential, whether as ‘creative’ or other kinds of professional writers/communicators.
Students will have the opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic of their choosing within English literature.
Select a further 90 credit points from the following courses:
Drama was the entertainment phenomenon of the early modern period: a popular art form that developed swiftly and attracted mass audiences. London was both the city that played host to this new cultural form, and the subject of much of its output. The course will examine the relation between life in the early modern city and the great flowering of drama by celebrated authors of the period. Using works by well-known writers such as Middleton, Jonson and Shakespeare, as well as lesser known authors, we will explore how the plays of the period engage with key concerns of urban living.
This course examines the development of the short story during the last two hundred years, e.g. from Washington Irving, Hawthorne, and Melville, through Hemingway, Joyce, Lawrence, Woolf and Mansfield, to Raymond Carver and a selection of contemporary writers. The course will consider the distinctiveness of the short story as an art form, its techniques and applications, and the factors that have influenced its evolution.
Psychology, neurology and criminology came to the forefront of late-nineteenth-century thought about pressing issues and anxieties: post-Darwinian fears of decline and degeneration; decadence and neurasthenia; the strains upon and secrets within city spaces; New (and fallen) Women, and imperialist expansion and its attendant masculinities. Examining interdisciplinary exchange between literature and sciences of mind, we will engage in close reading of several texts to understand the role and scope of the novel genre at this time of social, cultural and aesthetic upheaval. Authors studied may include Thomas Hardy, Olive Schreiner, Joseph Conrad, R.L. Stevenson, Oscar Wilde and H.G. Wells.
This course explores the relationship between literature and medicine, and asks what kind of ground the two disciplines might share and how they might enrich one another. The use and abuse of literary concepts in medical practice and of medical ideas and history in literature will be considered along with the literary representations of the physician and narratives of illness, focusing on the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The final part of the course explores the representation of psychiatry and psychiatric theory in twentieth- and twenty-first century literature.
This course charts an idiosyncratic path through twentieth-century Scottish fiction, looking both at canonical novels and works relegated to 'genre fiction' in order to examine the interrelation between place, text, and narrative voice. The course focuses on questions of narrative reliability, depictions of region and nation, and self-reflexivity.
Scotland's history is one of violence, bloodshed and trauma. This is reflected in its literature, above all in the fiction of the nineteenth century. Focusing on pivotal moments of upheaval in Scotland's past such as the Covenanting Wars and the Jacobite Risings this course will explore the ways in which these violent events are reflected in the works of writers such as Walter Scott, James Hogg, Robert Louis Stevenson and those in the modern period who have inherited their legacy. Exploring key concepts such as how the novel might approach and engage with the past, the extent to which it may operate as a form of commemoration and the limits which traumatic events place upon forms of narration, the course will examine the ways in which we can comprehend and remember a nation's violent history through the form of the novel.
Creative Writing: The Writer's Voice will focus on the crucial and often complex role of voice in fiction and poetry, considering both theoretical and practical aspects. It offers students the opportunity to develop their creative processes and practical literary skills in a supportive, constructive learning environment. Teaching consists of carefully targeted critical advice and guidance from the class tutor and peer evaluation from class members in a workshop environment. Examples of writing by recognised authors and class members will be used to enhance students' awareness of the key role of voice in imaginative writing, leading to practical application in their own creative work.
This course will explore the work of some of the most influential and innovative voices in 20th century British poetry. Beginning with the Modernist revolution in technique, theory and taste, it will trace some of the main continuities and reactions that stemmed from the first decades of the century and which culminated in a richly diverse and fascinating late 20th century/early 21st century poetic landscape.
The module looks at a wide range of Spenser's work in different genres, including a substantial proportion of his epic poem, and studies this in the contexts of contemporary political history, Spenser's biography, and the literary traditions stemming from Virgil and Petrarch.
This course addresses Irish writing produced, in or out of the country, between the revolutionary period (1916-1922) and the establishment of the Irish Republic in 1949. Political ferment was matched by a remarkable surge in literary production, in drama, fiction and poetry. We will examine the ways in which writers responded to (and helped shape) political change, while also staging literary revolutions of their own in the bold experiments of Ulysses and other landmark texts.
This course explores the work of women writers with particular emphasis on the role of place (focused mostly, but not exclusively, on modernist women writers from the first half of the twentieth century). We will look at a number of different environments including urban, rural, wild, domestic, trans-national and mythic spaces. We will analyse place in relation to a number of other themes such as gender, sexuality, race, spirituality and creativity. We will read a number of canonical and lesser known women writers, working across various genres, including fiction, poetry and life-writing. Authors may include: Virginia Woolf, Kate O’Brien, H.D., Zora Neale Hurston, Una Marson, Mary Butts, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Rose Macaulay, Gwendolyn Brooks and Dorothy Richardson. Previous study of modernism is not required.
The question of the human is at the forefront of contemporary philosophical and cultural enquiry. Looking at a range of popular and literary texts, as well as recent theoretical writings, this course investigates the relation between the human and animal and the representation of human transformation and adaptation in order to study contemporary approaches to the body, language, and suffering.
We will endeavour to make all course options available; however, these may be subject to timetabling and other constraints. Please see our InfoHub pages for further information.
For each course, you will typically be studying one literary text per week. You will be encouraged to read relevant critical and contextual material on the texts you are studying and also be introduced to some important theoretical approaches to literature. From first through to third year you will follow a programme of lectures supported with a weekly small group tutorial or seminar.
Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:
The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, years of study and individual courses.
Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.
The typical time spent in scheduled learning activities (lectures, tutorials, seminars, practicals), independent self-study or placement is shown for each year of the programme based on the most popular course choices selected by students.
The typical percentage of assessment methods broken down by written examination, coursework or practical exams is shown for each year of the programme based on the most popular course choices selected by students.
The UK's number two centre for the quality of research in English language and literature (Research Excellence Framework 2014) and top in Scotland for creative writing (Complete University Guide 2017).
The WORD Centre for Creative Writing, promoting creative projects in fiction, non-fiction and collaborative mixed-media in all the languages of northeast Scotland (from Doric to Polish).
Research centres including the Centre for the Novel, the Centre for Modern Thought and the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies.
An international profile through major literary projects such as the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jane Austen and the Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels of Sir Walter Scott.
The information below is provided as a guide only and does not guarantee entry to the University of Aberdeen.
Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.
Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.
Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.
32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL.
Irish Leaving Certificate
5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above).
Entry from College
Advanced entry to this degree may be possible from some HNC/HND qualifications, please see www.abdn.ac.uk/study/articulation for more details.
The information displayed in this section shows a shortened summary of our entry requirements. For more information, or for full entry requirements for Arts and Social Sciences degrees, see our detailed entry requirements section.
To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Aberdeen it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:
OVERALL - 6.0 with: Listening - 5.5; Reading - 5.5; Speaking - 5.5; Writing - 6.0
OVERALL - 78 with: Listening - 17; Reading - 18; Speaking - 20; Writing - 21
OVERALL - 54 with: Listening - 51; Reading - 51; Speaking - 51; Writing - 54
Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:
OVERALL - 169 with: Listening - 162; Reading - 162; Speaking - 162; Writing - 169
You will be classified as one of the fee categories below.
Most RUK students (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) on a four year honours degree will be eligible for a full-fees waiver in their final year. Scholarships and other sources of funding are also available.
|Home / EU||£1,820|
|Students Admitted in 2020/21|
|Students Admitted in 2020/21|
View all funding options in our Funding Database.
Studying English at Aberdeen will provide you with a thorough grounding in English Literature in both historical and modern contexts. The writing, research and presentation skills that you will develop are vital to many careers. Our previous graduates have gone on to work areas such as publishing, teaching, research, journalism, banking, speech therapy and television and radio broadcasting.
Many of our English teaching staff are internationally recognised researchers.
You will be taught by a range of experts including professors, lecturers, teaching fellows and postgraduate tutors. Staff changes will occur from time to time; please see our InfoHub pages for further information.
As an English student at Aberdeen, you will have access to excellent library resources built up over 500 years and located in the Sir Duncan Rice Library. You will also have access to state-of-the-art IT facilities whenever you need.