FAQ’s about taking an English BA at King’s

This post was written by Romilly

(please note modules and course structure can change. Please check the King’s website for the most up-to-date information)

What modules are offered?

King’s English students take eight modules in our first year, seven of which are mandatory. Four of the mandatory modules are taken in our first semester:  

 Writing London (focusing on literature set in- you guessed it, London) 

Introducing Literary Theories (does what it says on the tin) 

Reading Poetry (you read and analyse poetry) 

Introduction to American Literature (… again, pretty self-evident) 

 The next semester covers Medieval Literary Culture, Classical and Biblical Contexts of Literature, and Early Modern Literary Culture. The fourth is a module you choose yourself from a various array of modules which vary from year to year, and include modules from other departments such as Music, Classics, or Film. In my personal opinion, taking mandatory modules especially in the first term has helped me to find my feet: everyone is studying the exact same texts each week, so it’s easy to form study groups and meet people on your course. 


How many contact hours per week? And what are class sizes like?

You are taught each module in a weekly seminar and lecture, meaning four hours of seminars and (roughly) four hours of lectures each week. Seminars are currently taught in person, either by a professor or a graduate student, and you are free (and encouraged) to ask them questions during the seminar. You can also book time with them in their office hours which they will inform you of. Class sizes are usually a few people over a dozen, making seminars a lively but hopefully less daunting environment for discussion. 


Do you have field trips?

So far, we have been taken on a field trip to Islington Archives! We were invited to look at archived newspaper articles and pieces of art made by Joe Orton, an author we were studying. It was a fascinating day, though different to the type you have at school! I’m looking forward to many more trips throughout my course. 


How many assignments or exams are there?

I’m afraid the number of assignments varies depending on who you’re being taught by, but there’s a roughly equal load of coursework and assessments across the modules on the English course. In the first term, you’ll have two prior-disclosure assessments (Intro to Lit Theories and Reading Poetry) and two coursework essays (Intro to American Lit and Writing London), allowing you to spread your effort across the month rather than having to take all your exams in one week. Next semester you’ll have two assessments and one coursework module, plus whatever examination method your module of choice requires. It’s important not to stress too much about exams in your first year – they don’t count towards your final grade, they’re just there to help you get accustomed to uni-style assessments and find your strengths (though it is, of course, important to try your best!).  

What resources do you have access to?

King’s College London provides a plethora of resources for its students. For example, KCL curates its own archive which is fully available to any King’s students after booking an appointment (for which instructions can be found on KCL website). Our institution also has access to many popular e-resources such as Cambridge University Press, JSTOR, SAGE and Senate House Library e-resources. As a College within the University of London, King’s students can access any UoL library, though access arrangements may differ, as well as the five KCL campus libraries. Recorded lectures, module descriptions and learning forums are all hosted on KEATS (King’s E-learning and Teaching Service), to which a login is provided before term starts. Academics are also available to contact during their office hours which can be booked with them individually.   

Ultimately, the flexible nature of King’s courses allows you to have a personalised version of what you want your course to be, a freedom which only grows as you progress through the course. I, for one, have certainly enjoyed my time at King’s so far and cannot wait to learn more, both about my course and our university.  


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