Choosing my English Literature modules
There is an amazing variety of modules that are available to choose as an English Literature student at Warwick. While in first year the majority of single honours students will study the same four modules, what drew me to Warwick was that in second and third year you get to choose from over thirty modules that cover a wide range of content. Your experiences in first year will help you to discover new interests and decide what you would like to specialise more in the study of later on in your degree.
While you are limited in how many modules you can choose – most modules are worth 30 or 15 CATs (aka points) and you take 120 CATs a year – the wide variety means that you can really tailor what you choose to what you enjoy studying the most. There is also the potential to take modules from other related departments, the most common being taking a foreign language module.
Since there are so many modules to choose from, it took a while for me to go through them and figure out which ones I wanted to do. You fill out a form with four first choices, and you also have to select extra back-up options in case there isn’t space available on your first choice modules. Since a lot of the modules are very popular but there are only a limited number of teaching staff available, the number of students has to be restricted. However, it’s done fairly and priority is often given to final year students. I didn’t get all of the modules I wanted, but I’m happy with the modules I was allocated and I’ll just try again for the one I missed out on next time.
This year I’m studying:
Literature, Environment, Ecology: an eco-criticism based module exploring the relationship between humans and the environment (this is probably my favourite module and has made me realise that I’d perhaps like to work in a field regarding environmental protection when I graduate).
English Literature and Feminisms 1790-1899: explores a range of intellectual debates from this period surrounding the ‘woman question’ and the impact on literary culture.
The European Novel: in this module we read a variety of long texts written across Europe from the 18 to 21 century, exploring narrative and ideas surrounding modernity.
George Eliot and Sociology: this module focuses specifically on the study of George Eliot’s novels, and the reading of them in relation to a variety of sociological texts.
If you have trouble deciding which modules you’d like to choose, I have some tips:
Start by thinking about what you enjoyed most in your first year modules. For me, this was the eco-criticism aspects of Modes of Reading, and this year I’m taking Literature, Environment, Ecology to explore that interest further. Chances are there will be a module exploring a particular genre, theme, author, time period or literary theory in greater detail. Don’t be afraid to apply for a module that covers something you’re interested in but haven’t had much experience of studying. University is an ideal time to explore something a little more niche, so why not try it?
The English Department also holds a module fair each year where you have the opportunity to meet and discuss with professors and students taking the modules.
Look at the assessment methods for each of the modules. Often they will be either part examined and part coursework, or 100% coursework. Some modules will even give you a choice between them. Occasionally there will also be a smaller project on the side, such as a presentation, that will also make up a smaller percentage of your module mark. Be careful when it comes to choosing the assessment methods. If all of the modules you choose are comprised entirely of coursework, chances are you’ll find yourself being overwhelmed by it. Most coursework deadlines fall between the end of term one and the start of term three, so I recommend taking a close look when it comes to choosing your modules and choosing assessment methods later on, so that you can better distribute your workload.