Insider’s guide to English BA

What’s the academic experience like? 

Fun, and independent.   

With only eight contact hours a week throughout your first and secondyear, you’ll be covering a lot of ground on your own. Happily, the reading material is always super interesting! Plus, support is available if and when you need it. 

Sometimes, we even go on field trips. My secondyear medieval class visited the British Museum! 

Tell me about some modules! 

In your first-year as an English BA student, you’ll be introduced to a wide variety of literary texts (and their contexts) that vary in time, place and form — in a lot of detail! 

You’ve probably studied a bit of Shakespeare previously. The English BA preferentially reads works by playwrights and writers operating in the same period as Shakespeare, a similar context, during your first and secondyear early modern modules. After you’ve bulked up your knowledge base, if you like, you can choose to study Shakespeare’s works in association with the Globe Theatre during your final year.  

My recent experience with the Globe module was divided between in-depth contextual teaching by the department at King’s, and teaching with a focus on performance considerations by researchers, actors, costume designers and musicians working at the Globe. 

A topic you may not have come across before is literary theory. ‘Introducing Literary Theories’ is jam-packed with many very complicated ideas. The department has structured these into relatively more manageable chunks to give you a comprehensive overview of the field’s breadth, and provide an opportunity for you to consider your thoughts about the ideas discussed. 

Are modules flexible? 

You have the option to take modules outside of the department of English. I studied one optional Classics module in firstyear — the rest were compulsory. 

In secondyear, you get to choose! You’re required to take a certain number of classes focussing on topics before the 1800s, however. By thirdyear, you can choose anything. However, some modules have prerequisites so you may need to do some planning! You can also change modules within the first week or so of each semester.  

How are you assessed? 

Although most modules only have one end semester coursework essay or an examination, there are a few with mid-semester assignments sprinkled in. On some modules, I have also been partially assessed on my weekly journal submissions, each a few hundred words long. 

What academic help is available? 

Independent study can be challenging. The University of London Senate House Library, King’s College London Library catalogue and supplementary reading lists put together by course conveners are great resources for your studies. 

However, the lecturers and seminar leaders in the department aren’t only very nice people. They are also experts within their fields of study! Be prepared to talk during their office hours and come with specific topics in mind. 

… Are the lecturers scary? 

Not unless you are afraid of kindness! 

About that semester abroad… 

Optional, and extremely fun. I did one during my second semester of secondyear, in the States, which you can read about here!

More information:

To explore the King’s English Department page, click here

To see what other courses King’s has to offer, click here

To read blog posts about Arts & Humanities career options at King’s, click here

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