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Our English degree at University Centre Shrewsbury offers the opportunity to study Creative Writing and Literature and Film alongside English Literature. Our course is wide-ranging, focusing on literary greats such as Shakespeare, Austen and Dickens alongside a range of popular genre fiction in areas such as crime fiction, the gothic, children’s literature and young adult fiction. We specialise, in particular, in texts from the nineteenth century to the present.

New modules

We constantly strive to update our curriculum to include new and exciting areas of study, driven by our lecturers’ own research and incorporating contemporary texts and approaches.

This year has seen the launch of the following new modules: Young Adult fiction; Criminal Fictions; Women’s Writing in the Long Twentieth Century; Victorian and Neo-Victorian Fiction; Contemporary Stage and Screen.

Next year, we will be adding the following new modules to our course: Approaches to Reading; Reading Shropshire; Careers in Literature; Writing and Publishing Short Stories; Popular Fictions: Literature and Film.

Community engagement

Shrewsbury has a wonderful cultural heritage and our students have the opportunity to engage with local arts’ organisations throughout their studies. This year, our students have visited Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery, Theatre Severn, Shropshire Archives and Button & Bear, the children’s bookshop, as part of their course-related activities. Our new Reading Shropshire module focuses on local authors, past and present, and will offer students opportunities to write for our new Reading Shropshire blog. Our new Careers in Literature module seeks to forge links with local arts’ organisations and to give students an insight into the career paths that might be open to them after university.

Employability

Studying English doesn’t offer a fixed career path and so we are committed to helping our students explore potential avenues of employment. Our new Careers in Literature module will give an insight into possible career paths for an English Literature graduate and develop a range of writing skills that could be used in a variety of different career paths, including journalism, creative writing, publishing and teaching. Our Work Based Learning programme offers the opportunity to undertake a five-week work placement. Our current students have undertaken placements in primary and secondary schools, museums, library archives, PR firms and within the university itself.

Promoting creativity

Creativity is a big part of our course. We offer opportunities to study creative writing throughout the degree, including the option of completing an extended piece of creative writing through the completion of our Writing Project module in the third year. This year, Visiting Lecturer Naomi Walker has been running a monthly creative writing group for our students.

In addition to creative writing modules, we engage in creative assessment methods across the course. This year, for example, our second-year students have produced a reading diary for their Nineteenth-Century Women’s Writing module, whilst some of our third years have designed book jackets for a YA edition of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for their Young Adult Fiction module.

Public events and summer school

Outside of the classroom, the English department is at the heart of the university’s public events programme. This year, our lecturers have presented on topics as wide-ranging as Jack the Ripper, Mary Poppins, and Shropshire author Mary Cholmondeley.

We also run an annual English Literature short course, which our students and current applicants for our degree can attend for free. This year, we are running a Popular Fiction Summer School from Friday 28th – Sunday 30th June, with a range of talks, seminars and workshops, after our free Popular Fiction roundtable launch event on Thursday 27th June. For further details, contact Dr Lucy Andrew on l.andrew@chester.ac.uk.

The staff

The course is staffed by active researchers who present their research across a wide range of platforms. This year, Programme Leader Dr Lucy Andrew has appeared on French television show Invitation au Voyage for ARTE and BBC Radio Berkshire to speak about P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins. She has also contributed a Jack the Ripper podcast for Rippercast (you can listen here). Professor Deborah Wynne was recently invited to give a talk to the Arnold Bennett Society, entitled ‘The Romance of the Shop: Life behind the Counter in the Work of Arnold Bennett and H. G. Wells.’ Our lecturers have research expertise in areas such as creative writing, Victorian fiction, women’s writing, children’s literature, young adult fiction, crime fiction, comics and graphic novels, popular culture and fandom.

Find out the latest news from the UCS English department at their Facebook page. If you'd like to learn more about studying English at UCS, why not come along to our upcoming Open Evening? You can book your place here

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