Students preparing for their graduation ceremony at Canterbury Cathedral

English, American and Postcolonial Literatures - BA (Hons)

UCAS code Q302


English at Kent is challenging, flexible, and wide-ranging. It covers both traditional areas (such as Shakespeare or Dickens) and newer fields such as American literature, creative writing and recent developments in literary theory. 


In this degree programme (alongside a selection of literature modules) you take modules that address the phenomenon of empire and its contemporary consequences: for example, nationhood, diaspora and migration. The material studied includes literary texts and theoretical texts as well as life-writing. You are encouraged to consider how these texts reflect on the colonial experience and the construction of a narrative of its aftermath.

The School of English is a large and thriving department but we take great care in ensuring that it is a supportive environment in which to be a student. From the moment you arrive you are an integral part of a scholarly community of students, teachers and researchers and participate in a dialogue, which seeks to push the boundaries of the subject into new fields of social and cultural inquiry. You are taught by leading international researchers and award-winning creative writers in a location steeped in literary history.

Placement year

It is possible to spend a year on placement gaining valuable workplace experience and increasing your professional contacts. You don’t have to make a decision before you enrol at Kent, but certain conditions apply.

Year abroad

There is also the possibility of spending a year studying abroad at one of our partner universities. Previous destinations include: North America, Asia and Europe. For details, see English, American and Postcolonial Literatures with an Approved Year Abroad.

Independent rankings

English and Creative Writing at Kent was ranked 7th in The Guardian University Guide 2018. In the National Student Survey 2017, over 92% of final-year students in English who responded to the survey were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

For graduate prospects, English was ranked 15th in The Complete University Guide 2018. Of English students who graduated from Kent in 2016, 98% of those who responded to a national survey were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).

Teaching Excellence Framework

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

TEF Gold logo

Course structure

The course structure below gives a flavour of the modules available to you and provides details of the content of this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

For September 2018, the School of English Stage 1 curriculum has had an exciting and innovative redesign, based on student feedback and the passions and interests of our academic staff.  These new modules will better prepare you to approach the evolving scope of the subject and provide an excellent foundation for your studies.

In Stage 2 you take EN695 Empire, New Nations and Migration and three other literature modules. In Stage 3, you take the Postcolonial Dissertation and choose three other modules, at least one of which should be a postcolonial module. In addition to this, at least one of the literature modules you take in Stage 2 must be in pre-1800 literature. A selection of the other modules available are listed below.

Stage 1

Compulsory modules:

Literary Forms - an introduction to the major forms of literature: poetry; narrative prose; and drama.

Mapping Identities - explore the ways writers of different backgrounds and time periods have confronted identity.

Thinking Through Theory - an introduction to some key theoretical readings in four broad areas: postcolonialism and race theory; theories of gender and sexuality; psychoanalytic theory; and Marxist theory.

Optional module:

Reading & Writing the Everyday - examine how everyday objects and phenomena – from the city to the home – communicate meaning to us and are open to different interpretations.

Further details on our new Stage 1 modules can be found here.

Stage 2

Modules may include

EN695 - Empire, New Nations and Migration

EN697 - Chaucer and Late Medieval English Literature

EN721 - American Modernities: US Literature in the 20th Century

EN672 - Reading Victorian Literature

EN675 - Declaring Independence: 19th Century US Literature

EN677 - The Contemporary

EN681 - Novelty, Enlightenment and Emancipation: 18th Century Literature

EN689 - Modernism

EN692 - Literature and Life 1400-1700

EN694 - Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama

Year in industry

All our undergraduate degrees are also available with a Placement Year between the second and final year. For more information about this option please see Placement Year.

Stage 3

Modules may include

EN668 - Discovery Space: Theatres in Early Modern England

EN669 - Marriage, Desire and Divorce in Early Modern Literature

EN676 - Cross-Cultural Coming-of-Age Narratives

EN588 - Innovation and Experiment in New York, 1945-2015

EN667 - Harlem to Hogan's Alley: Black Writing in North America

EN580 - Charles Dickens and Victorian England

EN583 - Postcolonial Writing

EN604 - The Unknown: Reading and Writing

EN633 - Bodies of Evidence: Reading The Body In Eighteenth Century Literature

EN655 - Places and Journeys

EN657 - The Brontes in Context

EN658 - American Crime Fiction

EN659 - Contemporary Irish Writing

EN661 - The Stranger

EN722 - Global Capitalism and the Novel

EN723 - The Gothic: Origins and Exhumations, 1800 to the Present

EN724 - Holy Lives, Horrid Deaths: Medieval Saints and their Cults

EN701 - The Global Eighteenth Century

EN708 - Virginia Woolf

EN709 - Animals, Humans, Writing

EN713 - The New Women: 1880-1920

EN714 - Utopia: Philosophy and Literature

EN717 - The Graphic Novel

EN597 - Postcolonial Long Essay

EN598 - Postcolonial Long Essay

Teaching and assessment

Teaching and assessment can vary between modules. All modules are taught by weekly seminars. In addition to seminars, the majority of literature modules also include a weekly lecture.

Assessment at Stage 1 and 2 is by a mixture of coursework and examination. Some modules may include an optional practical element.

Assessment at Stage 3 is by coursework only and may include an optional Dissertation.

Attendance at seminars is required, and for the majority of modules, you are assessed on your seminar contribution/performance.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • introduce you to a range of postcolonial literatures in English (in addition to English and American literature) and encourage you to develop your own interests and expertise in fields of literary study
  • enable you to develop an historical awareness of literary traditions
  • develop your understanding and critical appreciation of the expressive resources of language
  • offer opportunities for you to develop your potential for creative writing
  • offer generous scope for the study of literature within an interdisciplinary context
  • develop your ability to argue a point of view with clarity and cogency, both orally and in written form
  • develop your ability to assimilate and organise a mass of diverse information
  • offer you the experience of a variety of teaching styles and approaches to the study of literature
  • develop your independent critical thinking and judgement
  • provide a basis for the study of English or postcolonial studies or related disciplines at a higher level
  • provide a basis in knowledge and skills for those intending to teach English or postcolonial literatures, including a broad frame of cultural reference.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You develop knowledge and understanding of:

  • contemporary postcolonial writing in English, and English and American literatures
  • the principal literary genres, fiction, poetry drama and of other kinds of writing and communication
  • postcolonial theory and traditions in literary criticism
  • the challenges of creative writing
  • terminology used in literary theory and criticism
  • the cultural and historical contexts in which literature is written, transmitted and read
  • critical theory and its applications, understood within its historical contexts
  • literary criticism as a practice subject to considerable variation of approach
  • the study of literature in its relation to other disciplines.

Intellectual skills

You develop the following intellectual skills:

  • application of the skills needed for academic study and enquiry
  • evaluation of critical interpretations
  • ability to synthesise information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding of critical theory and general methodology
  • ability to make discriminations and selections of relevant information from a wide source and large body of knowledge
  • exercise of problem-solving skills
  • the ability to organise and present research findings.

Subject-specific skills

You develp the following subject-specific skills:

  • enhanced skills in the close critical analysis of literary texts
  • informed critical understanding of the variety of critical and theoretical approaches to the study of literature
  • ability to articulate knowledge and understanding of texts, concepts and theories relating to English studies
  • sensitivity to generic conventions in the study of literature
  • well-developed language use and awareness, including a grasp of standard critical terminology
  • articulate responsiveness to literary language
  • appropriate scholarly practice in the presentation of formal written work, in particular in bibliographic and annotational practices
  • understanding of how cultural norms, assumptions and practices influence questions of judgement
  • appreciation of the value of collaborative intellectual work in developing critical judgement.

Transferable skills

You develop the following transferable skills:

  • developed powers of communication and the capacity to argue a point of view, orally and in written form, with clarity, organisation and cogency
  • enhanced confidence in the efficient presentation of ideas designed to stimulate critical debate
  • developed critical acumen
  • the ability to assimilate and organise substantial quantities of complex information of diverse kinds
  • competence in the planning and execution of essays and project-work
  • enhanced skills in creative writing (where the relevant modules have been taken)
  • enhanced capacity for independent thought, intellectual focus, reasoned judgement, and self-criticism
  • enhanced skills in collaborative intellectual work, including more finely tuned listening skills
  • the ability to understand, interrogate and apply a variety of theoretical positions and weigh the importance of alternative perspectives
  • research skills, including scholarly information retrieval skills
  • IT skills: word-processing, email communication, the ability to access electronic data.


Throughout your studies, you learn to think critically and to work independently; your communication skills improve and you learn to express your opinions passionately and persuasively, both in writing and orally. These key transferable skills are essential for graduates as they move into the employment market.

Our graduates have gone into: journalism, broadcasting and media, publishing, writing and teaching; more general areas such as banking, marketing analysis and project management; or on to further study for postgraduate qualifications.

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

ABB including English Literature or English Language and Literature grade B

Access to HE Diploma

The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 17 points at HL, including HL English A1/A2/B at 5/6/6 OR English Literature A/English Language and Literature A (or Literature A/Language and Literature A of another country) at HL 5 or SL 6

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

Meet our staff in your country

For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.


The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £15700
Part-time £4625 £7850

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Fees for Year in Industry

For 2019/20 entrants, the standard year in industry fee for home, EU and international students is £1,385

Fees for Year Abroad

UK, EU and international students on an approved year abroad for the full 2019/20 academic year pay £1,385 for that year. 

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.


University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.


General scholarships

Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.



The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact