BA in English Language and Literature (Honours)

The Open University

Program Description

BA in English Language and Literature (Honours)

The Open University

BA in English Language and Literature (Honours)

If you love the written and spoken word, this course is for you. A comprehensive and stimulating introduction to English language and literature, it investigates how the English language is used in a variety of global contexts, and explores literature from different historical periods and in diverse cultural settings. You’ll explore writing and speech in a wide range of forms, and develop your skills in the interpretation of literary and non-literary texts.

Key features of the course

  • Start with studying interdisciplinary themes, before moving on to more specialised modules
  • Options to study areas like creative writing or children’s literature
  • Learn the skills of analysis, critical commentary and complex argument that are highly valued in the workplace.

Educational aims

Your studies will:

  • provide you with a broad understanding of the English language, including its history, contemporary use and development as a global language
  • provide you with a wide-ranging introduction to literary texts that have been either written in English or translated into English
  • develop your skills of analysis and interpretation of both literary and non-literary texts, including spoken, written and multimodal texts
  • enable you to develop a critical understanding of the range and variety of traditions and approaches to the study of literature and language
  • provide you with opportunities to develop conceptual and communications skills, and to progress towards more independent thinking and judgement.

Learning outcomes

The programme leading to this degree provides you with opportunities to develop and demonstrate knowledge and understanding, qualities, skills and other attributes in the following areas.

Knowledge and understanding

When you have completed this degree you will have knowledge and understanding of:

  • a substantial number of authors and texts that have been either written in English or translated into English, including texts written in English outside the United Kingdom
  • the character and conventions of the principal literary genres – poetry, fiction and drama – and of other kinds of writing and communication
  • the history of English, its contemporary diversity, its role as a global language, and its use in a range of contexts in different parts of the world
  • debates surrounding the historical and contemporary position of English in relation to other languages and language varieties
  • how literature and language both reflect and impact upon cultural change and difference; and of the way texts are written and received within literary, cultural and socio-historical contexts
  • how language and literature may be described and analysed
  • the nature of linguistic evidence and different methods used in the collection and analysis of language data
  • the different theoretical approaches to the study of literature, language and literacy.

Teaching, learning and assessment methods

You will gain knowledge and understanding through study of published distance learning materials, including specially written published teaching texts, audiovisual materials, set texts, study guides, assignment and project guides, specimen examination papers, and written feedback on assignments. Learning outcomes are assessed by means of assignments requiring reflection on study materials, text analysis, comparative discussion of texts, independent data collection and project work, and examinations.

You will develop and practice your cognitive skills through study of the study materials, which include self-assessment questions, as well as interactive audiovisual materials and associated study guides, assignment booklets and specimen examination papers. Cognitive skills are also taught and practised through group tutorial and residential school work, and through carefully monitored written feedback by tutors on your written essays and project work.

Practical and/or professional skills are taught cumulatively throughout the programme.

At OU level 1 you are guided through the study of pre-selected texts. At OU level 2 you are expected to make use of relevant information from set books and study materials, including relevant electronic sources. OU level 3 modules lay more emphasis on the use of critical, theoretical and historical materials, and require you to present your work in a more scholarly way. Information on the importance and use of libraries and electronic resources is provided at each level.

You will be taught key skills by published teaching materials, by detailed tutor feedback on written work, and by participation at tutorials and residential school. You will practise and develop your skills throughout all the modules that make up the programme, though there is more emphasis on independent learning at honours level.

How long does it take?

  • Part time – 6 years
  • Full time – 3 years
  • Time limit – 16 years


We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost. Fees for study commencing in academic year 2014/2015 are:

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification upfront.
  • If like most OU students studying part time, you study an average of 60 credits a year – you’ll study for six years to complete a degree. Our typical fee for 60 credits is £2,632.
  • Our current fee is £5,264 – based on 120 credits of study – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study.
  • The total cost of your chosen qualification currently starts from £15,792 based on our current fees.

NB: Prices are subject to change.

Career relevance

The breadth of study and the range of analysis, combined with training in clear thinking and communication, make this degree course relevant to a wide variety of careers, including:

  • public administration, local government, the civil service, art institutions, and social services
  • advertising, journalism, publishing, creative industries and public relations
  • education
  • legal work
  • business, banking and retail
  • human resources
  • charities and campaigning.


The Arts Faculty was rated by a Times Higher Education survey as one of the best 100 institutions in the world for the study of the arts. Noted for the strength of our interdisciplinary approaches, our scholars of international standing also teach and research a very wide range of topics and themes in specific subject areas. These include art history; classical studies; creative writing; English; history; music; philosophy; and religious studies. The Faculty also has validated partnerships with several important institutions in the UK and other parts of the world. The head of the Faculty is the Dean, Professor David Rowland.

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements to study this degree. You will however need to be proficient in English, to an IELTS standard of 7.0. If you are unsure you will be able to take a free English test as part of the registration process.

Read more about this programme on the Open University website here

This school offers programs in:
  • English
The Open University

Last updated October 23, 2017
Duration & Price
This course is Online
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2018
3 - 16 years
Part time
Full time
Contact school
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United Kingdom - Milton Keynes, England
Start date: Aug. 2018
Application deadline Contact school
End date Contact school
Aug. 2018
United Kingdom - Milton Keynes, England
Application deadline Contact school
End date Contact school