English BA(Hons)

Penryn Campus
3 years full-time
Direct line
01326 213730

This course is open for applications through Clearing. Please contact our Admissions Team on 01326 213730.

English at Falmouth explores how literature shapes, reflects and challenges human experience in the 21st century.

You'll study in the School of Writing & Journalism, a thriving and diverse writing community with dedicated, expert staff who will help you consider the ever-changing relationship between literature and the contemporary reader. You'll explore essential arguments and ideas – what has literature meant in the past, what is it now, and what is its role in the creative economy, from literary festivals to heritage and tourism.

How the course is taught

We offer a unique approach to English, combining traditional study of literature with a practical understanding of the written and spoken word in the workplace, enabling you to develop the imaginative thinking skills that employers value. Our dynamic and innovative curriculum reflects the evolving nature of English, ensuring that you gain a comprehensive understanding of how the written word functions through history and into a digital age.

Teaching is a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops, live briefs and self-directed learning. Our students benefit from a significant amount of contact time every week and the opportunity for frequent one-to-one tutorials.

Course outline

You'll gain a critical understanding of literature now, and through time, from Milton to McEwan, exploring connections between writing from different periods, and continents. You'll also learn about literature's involvement in dissent, social change, censorship, contemporary environmental concerns, and its value in the commercial world, from publishing to literary festivals.

Working on your dissertation, industry-engaged projects, and online profile, means that you graduate with the confidence, knowledge, and skills necessary to launch you into a career in the creative industries or postgraduate study.

What you'll do

Year 1

The first year provides foundational knowledge and skills, enabling you to explore the ever-changing relationship between literature and the contemporary reader. You'll be immersed in literary culture - reading, writing, reviewing, and learning more about the professional contexts of writing from small presses to the impact of digital technologies.

Semester 1

  • Origins
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    This module introduces key texts that have shaped, reflected and challenged human experience through time, and their continued significance today.
  • Writing Toolkit
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    In this module you will learn the nuts and bolts of writing, from composition to editing.
  • Print Culture in Time
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    From Gutenberg to open source, this module examines the impact of technology on the politics of writing and communication.

Semester 2

  • Literature Now
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    In this module you'll learn about the way that contemporary writing draws on earlier traditions and ideas.
  • Reading & Writing as a Critic
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    You'll explore how critics and tastemakers have shaped our responses to literature, from Aristotle's Poetics, to the New Yorker, or social media, where everyone's a critic now. You'll undertake practical reviewing assignments.
  • Introduction to Publishing
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    This module introduces you to the professional contexts of writing, from small presses, to agents, zines, the book trade, and digital books.

Year 2

In the second year you'll take four 'Literature in Time' modules that are distinctive in allowing you to explore connections between different historical periods, such as Victorian Literature or Modernism, and 21st century writing. Option modules look outwards, at the role that literature plays in shaping the world around us, covering topics such as censorship, literary tourism, and environmental concerns.

Semester 1

  • Monarchy & Dissent
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    In this module you'll explore power and state in Early Modern writing, and its continued impact, from Shakespeare's Machiavellian Princes to Game of Thrones.
  • Revolution & Romanticism
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    In this module you'll focus on eighteenth century literature, and its significance as the origin of modern debates about environmentalism, the rise of the 'artist', and human rights.

Select one of the following Literature in the World options:

  • Popular Fiction & Non-Fiction
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    You'll explore trends, tastes and fashions, in fiction and non-fiction over time: what sells, when and why?
  • Go Wild: Literature & the Environment
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    You'll consider how writers past and present have reflected concerns about environment and a changing climate.

Semester 2

  • Reinventing the Victorians
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    In this module you'll examine literature in the nineteenth century, the rise of the novel, and trends in the growth of neo-Victorian writing today.
  • Modernisms
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    In this module you'll explore modernist writing in relation to art, architecture and music, along with the influences of modernism in the 21st century.

Select one of the following Literature in the World options:

  • Scandal & Censorship
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    You'll examine ways in which the power of the written word has challenged, and continues to challenge law, politics and society.
  • Literary Tourism
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    You'll examine how literature works in the cultural economy, from literary festivals to tourist locations such as Cornwall's Poldark or 221B Baker Street.

Year 3

This year is a springboard to your future, beyond university. Working on your dissertation and a live industry project, alongside understanding more about the impact of digital technologies, and trends in the global literary marketplace means that you graduate with the confidence, knowledge, and experience required for a successful career in the creative industries or postgraduate study.

Semester 1

  • Collaborative Project
    (40 credits 20 ECTS)
    In this module you'll work on a live project that focuses on literature's role in the creative economy or workplace. The project may be a placement, case study, or live brief.

Select one of the following Literature in the World options:

  • Global Voices
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    You'll explore writing from around the world, from postcolonial contexts to current trends in global markets such as work in translation or Nordic noir.
  • Reading the Digital
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    You'll consider the impact of technology on storytelling, and writing from experimental digital texts to the fastest-growing medium of them all, digital games.

Semester 2

  • Dissertation
    (40 credits 20 ECTS)
    Independent study with allocated supervisor on topic of special interest.
  • Contemporary Writing: What Happens Next?
    (20 credits 10 ECTS)
    This module focuses on prize-winning, critically acclaimed and bestselling writing of the last ten years. You'll examine publishing trends and tastes, and ask where the market is going next.


Falmouth’s extensive facilities include:

  • Digital labs, recording studios and radio control rooms
  • Libraries housing a collection of 140,000 books, 17,000 DVD and video titles, and exhaustive electronic and journal resources


You'll be taught by academics with expertise in areas such as 20th and 21st century literature, contemporary poetry, digital texts, Victorian literature, the 18th century, literature and environment, gender studies, publishing and print culture.

Staff are active researchers, published in their respective fields. Two Arts and Humanities Research Council funded-projects currently sit within the subject area: 'Telling the Bees' led by University of York, and 'Orkney: Beside the Ocean of Time' led by Dr Niamh Downing at Falmouth.

Experience you'll get

  • Gain an in-depth knowledge of literature, its role in shaping the world, and its place in the contemporary creative economy
  • Work on live projects and real-world challenges with creative industry partners
  • Benefit from lectures and workshops with high-profile guest speakers and our Writers in Residence. Recent residencies have featured Matt Haig, Philip Marsden, Lionel Shriver, Iain Sinclair, Don Paterson and Simon Armitage
  • Write for or join the editorial team on WiTH, our student journal of new writing


  • Continuous assessment with no formal examinations
  • Coursework and e-learning exercises
  • Live creative industry briefs and portfolios
  • Final year dissertation


  • Journalist, writer or editor: Hindustan Times, the Telegraph
  • Copywriter or content producer: Stranger Collective
  • Parliamentary researcher: Liberal Democrat MP
  • Teacher, lecturer in FE and HE, librarian
  • Work in media, publishing, marketing, arts administration
  • Postgraduate study (PGCE, MA, PhD), research assistant

Student Mentor Scheme

Falmouth's Student Mentor Scheme matches new starters with a second year student, to help you settle in and find your feet. Our student mentors are now on Facebook. To chat to a mentor about the course, living in Cornwall or what to expect at Falmouth, check out the English courses group. You'll need to join the group before you can post.

If you don't have access to Facebook please email your name and proposed course to: studentmentors@falmouth.ac.uk

For informal enquiries about the course, contact Dr Niamh Downing, Interim Head of English & Writing: niamh.downing@falmouth.ac.uk

For more information about the application process, portfolios, interviews and selection days, please contact our admissions team using our enquiry form

Or come and see us at one of our open days