We believe that literature is, to quote the novelist Milan Kundera, a "fascinating imaginative realm where no one owns the truth and everyone has the right to be understood". Studying it allows us to learn to live with ambiguity, to relate to others while still appreciating their otherness, and to give our lives an enduring meaning.
English at LJMU is defined by its eclectic choice of texts, from the classics to popular fiction. We are interested in traditional authors such as William Blake, Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf and in contemporary writers such as Margaret Atwood, Kazuo Ishiguro and Arundhati Roy.
Alongside British literature we study American literature and culture and Irish, postcolonial and world writing. We introduce you to many different types of text such as detective novels, children's fiction, fairy tales, ballads, prison testimonies, Afro-American slave narratives, travel writing, protest literature, diaries and letters. Our diverse portfolio of options lets you explore new topics and choose your own pathway through the degree as your interests develop. Some modules address a period, such as the Victorian era, the 1950s or the 21st century. Others study particular genres such as poetry, short writing or Gothic literature. We offer modules that allow you to explore themes like madness, masculinity, adolescence, place and belonging, race in America or the crisis of contemporary capitalism. Some modules ask you to engage in collaborative blogging, contributing to online archives and improving your digital skills.
The Foundation Year is ideal if you have the interest and ability to study for a degree, but do not have the qualifications to enter directly onto the English honours degree programme yet.
Once you pass the Foundation Year (level 3) you will progress directly onto the first year of the honours degree. If you are a full-time UK student, you will qualify for student financial support for the full duration of your course (subject to eligibility criteria).
English Literature at LJMU also offers work experience options to help you further hone your professional skills, enhance your CV and equip you for a competitive job market. For instance, if you choose the Working in the USA module, you will have the opportunity to spend a month or more in the United States at the end of your second year. Past students have worked for the editor of Vogue, an advertising agency in New York, a National Park in the Appalachian Mountains, an architect's office in California and theme parks in Florida.
The English Work Experience module offers similar opportunities around Merseyside, including preparation for graduate teacher training, experience in journalism and publishing, local community work and involvement in the unique Shakespeare North project, led by Professor Elspeth Graham, to build a replica Elizabethan theatre in Prescot along with accompanying outreach activities. We can also support you in finding individual placements in areas like the media, international development, the tourism and heritage industries and the charity sector.
The 'International Experience' module allows you to gain credit for ambitious trips abroad, helping you to reflect upon the skills you develop a part of cross-cultural experience. If you choose not to travel, however, the course's inclusion of a wide range of literatures in English and translation from across the world, as well as opportunities to gain international perspectives on literature from visiting academics, will still broaden your horizons.