The 21st century has already witnessed global political, environmental and cultural change. How are writers responding to such turbulence? On Kent’s Contemporary Literature degree, you study the literature of your own time. Analysing style, form and content, you start to define the literature of the 21st century.
Kent’s School of English is ambitious, inclusive, engaged and international. Several of our staff are published authors and poets and there are also numerous internationally recognised scholars. We try to ensure that you are taught by different lecturers with varying approaches, so that, throughout your degree, you encounter fresh ideas and new authors.
We keep our class sizes small to ensure you receive as much individual attention as possible.
Our degree programme
The School has always been at the forefront of contemporary theory and practice and this new programme continues that legacy.
In your first year, you are introduced to the major forms of literature: poetry, narrative prose and drama. You study how writers of different backgrounds and time periods have confronted the subject of identity and the kinds of identities literature depicts. You also gain an understanding of critical theory and the way we read and think about literature in the 21st century.
In your second and final years, you take further modules on contemporary literature, and modernism. You then choose modules from a broad range available which cover areas such as Irish literature, innovation and experiment in New York, race and gender in modern America and coming-of-age narratives. You also write a ‘Long essay’ on a subject you are fascinated by, supported by a member of staff.
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.
On this programme, it is possible to spend a year studying or working abroad. This takes place between your second and final year. You don't have to make a decision before you enrol at Kent but certain conditions apply. See the Course structure tab for details.
There are a variety of literary activities at Kent. Students in the School of English publish a magazine of their creative writing, poetry and prose. There are also a number of student-run societies with a literary theme. In previous years these have included the:
- Creative Writing Society
- T24 Drama Society
- Poetry Society
- Literature Society.
The student newspaper, InQuire, is run by the student union and gives you the opportunity to develop your writing skills and to gain valuable work experience in journalism.
The School of English runs research seminars, workshops and social events, as well as a successful creative writing series of readings, where well-known writers and publishers share their experiences and skills. Previous guests include:
- Iain Sinclair
- Patience Agbabi
- Terry Eagleton.
All our students receive free membership to the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in central London, giving you access to the ICA’s facilities and a small number of internships.
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 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% 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.
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 choose EN677 The Contemporary and EN689 Modernism and two other optional modules. In Stage 3, you choose four optional modules from a wide choice of modules, some of which are listed below. You also have the option in Stage 3 to take a long essay module, which allows you to research and write in an area of particular interest.
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.
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.
Modules may include
Year in industry
All our undergraduate degrees are also available with a year in industry. For more information about this option please see Placement Year.
Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally. You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability.
All students within the Faculty of Humanities can apply to spend a term or year abroad as part of their degree at one of our partner universities in North America, Asia or Europe. You are expected to adhere to any progression requirements in Stage 1 and Stage 2 to proceed to the term or year abroad.
The term or year abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and does not count towards your final degree classification. Places and destination are subject to availability, language and degree programme. To find out more, please see Go Abroad.
Modules may include
You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage
Teaching and assessment
Modules are taught by weekly seminars. Compulsory modules include a weekly lecture, with individual supervision offered for the Long Essay. Assessment at Stage 1 is by a mixture of coursework and examination. Some modules may include an optional practical element.
The programme aims to:
- introduce you to a wide range of literatures (particularly British and American) 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
- develop your ability to argue a point of view with clarity and cogency, both orally and in written form
- 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 related disciplines at a higher level
- provide a basis in knowledge and skills for those intending to teach English literature, including a broad frame of cultural reference.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- a wide range of authors and texts from different periods of literary history, from 1350 to the present day, in both British and American literature
- the principal literary genres, fiction, poetry, drama and of other kinds of writing and communication
- literatures in English from countries outside Britain and America
- traditions in literary criticism
- the challenges of creative writing
- terminology used in literary criticism
- the cultural and historical contexts in which literature is written, transmitted and read
- critical theory and its applications, understood within its historical contexts
- the study of literature in its relation to other disciplines.
You develop intellectual skills in:
- applying the skills needed for academic study and enquiry
- evaluating critical interpretations
- synthesising information from a number of sources in order to gain a coherent understanding of critical theory and general methodology
- making discriminations and selections of relevant information from a wide source and large body of knowledge
- how to exercise problem-solving skills
- the ability to organise and present research findings.
You gain 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.
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.
School of English graduates have gone on to work in areas including:
- publishing and writing
- project management.
Our graduates include:
- Kazuo Ishiguro
- David Mitchell
- Sarah Waters.
Help finding a job
The University’s friendly Careers and Employability Service offers advice on how to:
- apply for jobs
- write a good CV
- perform well in interviews.
Alongside specialist skills, you also develop the transferable skills graduate employers look for, including the ability to:
- think critically
- communicate your ideas and opinions
- work independently and as part of a team.
You can also gain extra skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.
For graduate prospects, English was ranked 15th in The Complete University Guide 2018.
Of English students who graduated from Kent in 2016, 98% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).
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|
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.
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
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 tuition fees have not yet been set. As a guide only, the 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
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 2018/19 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 2018/19 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
Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details.
You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.
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.
For 2018/19 entry, 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.