English Literature


English literature explores human experience and imagination as it has been expressed in written form over more than five centuries.

The University is a centre of excellence in creative writing. Professional writers in residence are on hand to provide you with advice and encouragement.

Programme structure

In first and second years you will study three literary genres – poetry, drama and prose fiction – from Shakespeare to the present. 

Year 1

You will be introduced to literary genres (poetry, the novel and narratives, and drama) in terms of their history, the theories that literary criticism has developed to talk about them, and the technical features they deploy. At the same time you will be introduced to essential skills in the study of literature, including using theory and close reading, and will be encouraged to develop skills in writing and talking about literature. 

The writers studied in recent years include Shakespeare, Defoe, Woolf, Twain, Walcott, Beckett, Austen, Donne, Shelley and Dickinson.

Year 2

In second year you will build on your reading and analytical skills, applying these to more conceptually challenging texts. You will examine the relationship between literature and notions such as place, period/time, and genre and consider how a selection of novels, poems and plays engage with and complicate their historical, social, cultural and political contexts. 

Writers studied in recent years include Milton, Swift, Conrad, Achebe, Spark, James and Bronte. 

You will also study other subjects in years 1 and 2: see Degrees in Arts, Science and Social Sciences.

Years 3 and 4

If you progress to Honours (years 3 and 4) you will have scope for more specialised study with a significant degree of choice, including American literature, Irish literature, literary theory, cultural and postcolonial studies, and literary and linguistic computing, as well as being able to concentrate upon major literary periods.

Our international links

Glasgow maintains agreements with a range of universities in North America as well as further afield. As well as sending students to the University of British Columbia (in Vancouver) and SUNY Albany (in the USA), in recent years we have also sent students to Hong Kong, Otago (in New Zealand) and Melbourne.

Entry requirements

Academic entry requirements
for entry in 2015


  • Standard academic entry requirements: AAB.
  • Minimum academic entry requirements: BBB.
  • Other mandatory requirements: Must include at least one arts, humanities or language subject.


  • Standard academic entry requirements: S5 entry requirement = AAAA/AAABB. S6 entry requirement = AAAAAB (S6 entry requirements only apply to applicants who achieved the minimum S5 requirements and have been made a conditional offer).
  • Minimum academic entry requirements: Applicants who achieve less than AAAA or AAABB in S5 but have achieved at least ABBB MAY receive an offer based on S6 results. A decision will be made in March 2015 once all applications have been reviewed.
  • Other mandatory requirements: Must include English and a humanities subject or language at Grades A/B or B/A.

Accepted humanities and languages Highers

Higher applicants to Arts MA degrees must attain, or have attained, grades A/B or B/A at Higher in English Higher AND another humanities/language Higher subject at their first sitting to have their application considered. The accepted humanities/languages Higher subjects are listed below.

  • Art & Design
  • Business Management
  • Chinese Language and Culture
  • Classical Greek
  • Classical studies
  • Drama
  • Economics
  • English
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages
  • French
  • Gaelic
  • Geography
  • German
  • History
  • Italian
  • Latin
  • Media Studies
  • Modern Studies
  • Music
  • Personal and social education
  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Psychology
  • Religious Education
  • Religious Moral and Philosophical Studies
  • Russian
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Urdu

International Baccalaureate

  • Standard academic entry requirements: 36 points, with grades 6,6,5 at Higher Level.
  • Minimum academic entry requirements: 34 points.
  • Other mandatory requirements: For any mandatory subject requirements please see the mandatory requirements for ‘Highers’ above.

European qualifications

Typical entry requirements for European qualifications: Arts European Requirements [pdf]

A-level and IB applicants can expect offers to be between the minimum and standard entry requirements depending on demand for places on the degree.

Please note: all A-Level, International Baccalaureate, and other EU entry requirements must be achieved in first sitting.

English language requirements

For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):

  • overall score 6.5
  • no sub-test less than 6.0
  • or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)

Common equivalent English language qualifications:

  • ibTOEFL: 92; no sub-test less than 20*
  • CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
  • CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
  • PTE Academic (Person Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
  • IGCSE: English language: B minimum.

* Please note that TOEFL is still acceptable for admission to this programme for both home/EU and international students.

For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use TOEFL to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level courses. We therefore still accept TOEFL tests taken in the last two years for admission to this programme.

Pre-sessional courses
The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the Language Centre Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:


What do I do if...

my language qualifications are below the requirements?

The University's Language Centre offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.

my language qualifications are not listed here?

Please contact the Recruitment and International Office: Elaine.Shortt@glasgow.ac.uk

If you require a Tier 4 student visa, your qualification must be one of the secure English language tests accepted by UK Border Agency:

my academic qualifications are below the requirements?

Glasgow International College offers Foundation courses to upgrade your academic qualifications.

Visa requirements and proof of English language level

It is a visa requirement to provide information on your level of English based on an internationally recognised and secure English language test. All test reports must be no more than 2 years old. A list of these can be found on the UK Border Agency website. If you have never taken one of these tests before, you can get an initial idea of your level by using the Common European Framework self-assessment grid which gives you a level for each skill (e.g. listening B1/writing B2 etc.) However, please note that this is not a secure English language test and it is not sufficient evidence of your level of English for visa requirements.

For further information about English language, please contact the Language Centre.

Career prospects

An Honours degree in English Literature opens up a wide range of career opportunities, such as administration, journalism and publishing, marketing, management, teaching (at home or overseas), public relations, accountancy and media research.

Degrees and UCAS codes

When applying you will need to know the UCAS code for the subject or subject-combination that you wish to apply to:


  • KIS
    Law/English Literature: MQ13


  • KIS
    English Literature: Q301
  • KIS
    Archaeology/English Literature: QV3K
  • KIS
    Celtic Civilisation/English Literature: QQ5J
  • KIS
    Celtic Studies/English Literature: QQ3M
  • KIS
    Central & East European Studies/English Literature: RQ7J
  • KIS
    Classics/English Literature: QQ3V
  • KIS
    Comparative Literature/English Literature: Q290
  • KIS
    Computing Science/English Literature: GQ4H
  • KIS
    Digital Media & Information Studies/English Literature: GQ5H
  • KIS
    Economic & Social History/English Literature: QV3H
  • KIS
    Economics/English Literature: LQD3
  • KIS
    English Language/English Literature: Q304
  • English Literature/Business & Management: QN32
  • KIS
    English Literature/Film & Television Studies: QW3P
  • KIS
    English Literature/French: QR3C
  • KIS
    English Literature/German: QR3F
  • KIS
    English Literature/History: QV3C
  • KIS
    English Literature/History of Art: QVHH
  • KIS
    English Literature/Latin: QQ3P
  • KIS
    English Literature/Mathematics: QG3C
  • KIS
    English Literature/Music: QW3H
  • KIS
    English Literature/Philosophy: QV3M
  • KIS
    English Literature/Politics: LQ2H
  • KIS
    English Literature/Russian: QRHR
  • KIS
    English Literature/Scottish History: QVHF
  • KIS
    English Literature/Scottish Literature: QQ2H
  • KIS
    English Literature/Sociology: LQ3H
  • KIS
    Portuguese/English Literature : 6L8B
  • KIS
    Public Policy/English Literature: LQ4H
  • KIS
    Spanish/English Literature: RQ43
  • KIS
    Theatre Studies/English Literature: WQ4H
  • KIS
    Theology & Religious Studies/English Literature: VQ63

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

How and when you pay tuition fees depends on where you’re from: see Tuition fees for details. If you’re from outside the EU, please see International students for more information.


We offer a wide range of scholarships to our undergraduates, including both home/EU and international students. The University is committed to supporting students and rewarding academic excellence. That’s why we’ve invested more than £1m in additional scholarship funding over the last year.

For a full list of scholarships including eligibility criteria and how to apply, please see:

How to apply

Entry to the English Literature programme is normally only available to students who have been specifically admitted on English Literature codes through UCAS. This is due to very high demand for the subject. If you wish to be considered for English Literature you must apply using a UCAS code for English Literature, either as a single subject or part of a Joint Honours combination.

UCAS closing dates for entry in 2015

The UCAS process requires applications to Medicine, Vet Medicine and Dentistry to be submitted by 15 October each year, and applications to all other degree programmes by 15 January each year. The University of Glasgow cannot accept any applications after these UCAS deadlines, nor can it accept changes to applications after these dates. It is the applicants responsibility to ensure the accuracy of their application prior to submission, and requests from applicants to correct erroneous application content, change degree programme or change college of entry, will not be allowed after these UCAS deadlines. This policy is in place to ensure fairness and consistency to all applicants, and no exceptions will be made.

  • 15 October 2014: if including Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or applying to Oxford or Cambridge
  • 15 January 2015: all other UK/EU applicants
  • 30 June 2015: international (non-EU) students.

Apply at www.ucas.com or through your school or college.
Contact UCAS on 0871 468 0468.

UCAS tariff points

The University does not frame its offers in terms of UCAS tariff points.

How soon will I receive a decision?

We will usually respond before the end of March 2015.

If your qualifications meet our requirements and we believe you could benefit from study at Glasgow, you will receive an unconditional offer.

If you haven’t yet gained the necessary passes for entry to your chosen subject(s), we may look at the qualifications you are taking when you apply and make you a conditional offer.

Will I be interviewed?

An interview will be part of the selection process for: Community Development, Dentistry, History of Art & Art-world Practice, Medicine, Music, Nursing, Teaching, and Veterinary Medicine & Surgery. You may also be interviewed if you’re applying for entry into Year 2 in any subject.

Is deferred entry available?

For Dentistry, Nursing and Veterinary Medicine programmes we are unable to consider applications for deferred entry. In other cases deferring may be possible but it’s not granted automatically.

University Transfers

Transfers from another University to the University of Glasgow will only be considered under the following circumstances:

  1. The applicant has a genuine personal circumstance (illness, bereavement or other family situation) which requires the student to move back to their home town to be closer to family; AND
  2. The applicant would have met the University of Glasgow entrance requirements at the time he/she went to the other institution. In exceptional circumstances, a student may be admitted if he/she was marginally below the University of Glasgow entrance requirements, and they have performed above average at the other institution.

Widening participation

We want to help talented applicants from all backgrounds to study at Glasgow. See our range of widening access pre-entry programmes at Widening Participation.

British Sign Language

UCAS has launched seven new videos using British Sign Language, including details on how to apply and a Parents' Guide.  

Apply at www.ucas.com or through your school or college.
Contact UCAS on 0871 468 0468.