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Getting into English - The Kings School Grantham

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English at University College London
This is likely to be typical of any Russell Group institution
Our courses
1. Single-subject degree in English Language and
UCAS Code Q300
(this year 136 offers for 64 places; around 1300
2. Modern Language Plus (new for 2009 entry)
UCAS Code RY00
(French, German, Scandinavian Studies or Dutch
. . . PLUS English)
(8 offers for 4 places)
Neither of our degree programmes
are available part time, or by
distance learning.
For part-time study in London, we
recommend Birkbeck College.
For distance learning, we recommend
the External Degree Department of the
University of London.
First Year:
Narrative Texts
all students
Modern Lang plus
students choose one
of these 2 courses
Introduction to Medieval
Language and Literature
Intellectual and Cultural Sources
English students
Second and Third year
Compulsory courses
second year
third year
Commentary and Analysis
most third years
Second and Third year
Optional courses (students choose 5)
Old Icelandic
Old English (I and II)
Middle English (I and II)
Renaissance Literature
The Restoration and Eighteenth Century
The Romantic Period
The Victorian Period
Modern Literature, 1890-1945
Modern Literature, 1945 to present
American Literature to 1890
Literature in London
Literary Representation and the History of Homosexuality
History of the Language
Modern English Language
• Lectures
• Seminars
• One-to-one
tutorial teaching
English at UCL
student views
�The student of English at
UCL benefits immensely
from his or her interaction
with a faculty of exceptional
quality and the unique
cultural fabric of London.
There is something quite
special about discussing
Shakespeare with UCL's
experts in the classroom by
day and hearing plays and
lectures at the Globe Theatre
by night.’
Christopher Ellis
�English at UCL made a great
impression on me because of the
very high staff to student ratio. Along
with the very small year groups, this
allows a one-on-one tutorial and
small-group seminar system that is
unusual outside of collegiate
universities, and which I would never
relinquish! The fairly small
department also results in a friendly
atmosphere, as it's very easy to
know all your fellow students and
most of the staff.’
Jessica Lazar
• mostly three-hour question papers
• Some courses, such as Chaucer and Shakespeare, are
examined by six-hour examinations with plain texts
provided of the author's complete works.
• A compulsory 6,000-word essay on a 'Special Subject',
chosen by you with guidance from the tutor.
• It is usually possible to replace 2 of the 3-hour
examinations with 8,000-word course essays.
Students taking A levels are normally expected to achieve the
following (for both BA English (Q300) and Modern Languages
Plus (RY00)): three grades at AAA, to include English (grade A).
They will also be required to have a pass in a further subject at AS
level, and a foreign language is necessary at GCSE if not offered
at A or AS level. The latter can include Latin or Classical Greek.
For Modern Languages Plus BA combination English and French,
A levels must include French, for English and French, A levels
must include German; for combination English and Dutch, or
combination English and a Scandinavian language, A levels must
include a foreign language (any) at A level.
Q. Will I still be considered for the BA courses if I don’t have an
additional pass at AS level?
A. Yes, if you have a good reason for not having it and you, or
preferably your referee, make this clear in your UCAS application.
However, the offer you might ultimately receive may reflect this.
Q. Can I apply for the BA in English if I don’t have a GCSE in a
foreign language?
A.Yes, if your other qualifications meet our requirements and your
application is generally strong. However, you should let us know,
either in the personal statement on the UCAS form or in a separate
letter, why you have not obtained this, so that we can take the
information into account when considering your application. If you are
applying straight from school, it might be useful for your teacher to
include the information in the reference.
English Lit or Eng Lang?
We don’t accept candidates with only an English
Language A Level.
Candidates taking the combined A level in
English Language and Literature are sometimes
However, we regard the English Literature A
level, which exposes students to a wider range
of literary works, as a better preparation for our
very challenging course.
Other A-levels: does it matter
The Department will consider applicants
offering a range of A level subjects
alongside English Literature. Candidates
should always study subjects in which they
have a genuine interest, rather than
choosing subjects for strategic reasons.
The A level subjects studied by our best
recent students have included History,
French, German, Maths, Chemistry and
A minimum of three Highers at grades AAB, including A in
English, in addition to two A grades at Advanced Higher
level OR two A grades at CSYS. Whether you are offering
Advanced Highers or CSYS, one of the subjects should be
English Literature.
A minimum of four A grades and one B grade in the Irish
Leaving Certificate, including an A in English Literature.
International Baccalaureate
BA English (Q300): 38 points overall, including 6 in English
A1 at higher level;
Modern Languages Plus BA (RY00): 38 points including
grade 6 in English A1 and a foreign language at higher
level (which must be French to study English and French,
and German to study English and German). Applicants have
to have been awarded the Diploma.
Adults returning to education
We normally require such applicants to have undertaken some form of preparatory course.
This will usually involve some recent literary critical study leading to the fulfilment of one
of the conditions given below:
Passing one A level (we usually look for a Grade A). This would normally be in
English Literature, but if you already have an A in English at A level, and are
not able to take a different course in English, you could take History or French
or another Arts subject.
Gaining the Literature in English Extra Mural Certificate or Diploma offered by
Birkbeck College Faculty of Continuing Education. This may be especially
appealing to those who have taken A levels within the last few years and would
prefer to take a different type of course as preparation for degree study.
Successful completion of a �kite-marked’ Access course in Humanities. These
courses are useful for students who left school without gaining many academic
qualifications and need a general introduction to academic study. Students
who already have some academic qualifications would be best advised to take
a course in English Literature instead, as an Access course covers other areas
within the Humanities as well and so less literature is studied.
A 60 point Open University course at level one: An Introduction to the
We believe that these various courses of study, though demanding, are helpful to
applicants. They enable students to develop their interest in the academic study of
literature, and prepare them for the rigours of university coursework.
The Personal Statement
• We take everything in the application into consideration. The
personal statement is looked at carefully for evidence of, and
information about, the student’s literary interests.
• The Department prefers to see a large part of the personal
statement on the UCAS form given to specific details about an
applicant’s reading, rather than to information about other extracurricular activities, gap year plans, etc.
• We are not asking candidates to list every book they have read.
Rather we are looking for applicants who can explain what it is that
they especially admire, or find interesting, about particular books
and films. We tend to be more interested in recent reading than
childhood favourites!
Selection procedures
• We receive around 1500 applications every year for the
BA in English
• We aim to interview or ask for Further Information (for
those not available for interview) about a quarter of
candidates (this year around 360). No one is made an
offer on the basis of the UCAS form alone.
• We make around 130-140 offers, with a target intake of
64 (this year) to 70.
• This is the first year of the Modern Language Plus
Degree. We have had around 150 applications (mostly
for French + English) but have a target of only 4.
The Interview
Candidates are interviewed by two members of the academic staff for
twenty-five minutes. They will usually discuss A level texts, and/or the
candidate’s private reading and the topics raised in the personal
We are looking for applicants who like to think and talk about the
books they read. We want our students to listen and consider what we
say, but also to be able to weigh up different arguments and to think
for themselves.
After the interview, candidates are taken to a room with other
applicants where they are asked to complete a short piece of critical
commentary on a poem or short prose passage, taking no longer than
forty minutes. We recognise that some applicants have more
experience of this kind of exercise than others and always take that
into account.
Please write a critical commentary on this complete poem, paying
particular attention to language, structure and point of view. You should
aim to spend about 40 minutes on your essay.
�Golden Retrievals’
Fetch? Balls and sticks capture my attention
seconds at a time. Catch? I don’t think so.
Bunny, tumbling leaf, a squirrel who’s—oh
joy—actually scared. Sniff the wind, then
I’m off again: muck, pond, ditch, residue
of any thrillingly dead thing. And you?
Either you're sunk in the past, half our walk,
thinking of what you never can bring back,
or else you're off in some fog concerning
—tomorrow, is that what you call it? My work:
to unsnare time’s warp (and woof), retrieving,
my haze-headed friend, you. This shining bark,
a Zen master's bronzy gong, calls you here,
entirely, now: bow-wow, bow-wow, bow-wow.
Prospective Students
Undergraduate study
•Introductory letter and reading list for full-degree BA
students starting in September 2008
•Undergraduate Programmes
•Current undergraduate pages
•Information for International and Affiliate Students
Including letter to new affiliate students (2009-10)
•Further Information and Frequently Asked Questions
•Some Recommended Reading for ages 14-18
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