Second Year Modules
The second term of my first year is almost over and it’s getting close to the time when we have to start thinking about which modules we want to take next year.
The English degree at Warwick is really flexible, which means that you get a lot more choice about what you want to study. A lot of other universities are much more prescriptive in what modules you do (eg. at some universities you have to study Shakespeare – which used to be the case at Warwick too, but this changed a few years ago). I know that a lot of my friends on other courses here don’t really get a lot a lot of choice with what they study in their second year as many modules are compulsory, but this is not the case with English.
If you are studying for a degree in English Literature at Warwick, there are no compulsory modules in your second and third year. There are, however, some constraints surrounding your choices, but there is still a lot of freedom. The basic system is that, going into your second year, you choose the ‘Pathway’ which most interests you: English, World, American, or Theory. If – like me – you absolutely detest theory and just want to read novels all day long, the news that theory modules are not compulsory is heaven!
Once you’ve chosen your pathway, you have a list of Pathway Approved Options to choose from. Depending which pathway you’ve chosen, the number of these which you have to take across your second and third year varies. Then there are Distributional Requirements, which are modules that don’t fit into your pathway. For example, if you follow the English Pathway, then you need to take at least one module with a predominantly non-English component (such as a module which deals with American or World literature) across the two years. Or if you follow the World Pathway, then you have to take two modules with a pre-1900 element across the two years. Thirdly, you have Options, which is where you have the most freedom as it’s your chance to choose four modules from the entire English department, one of which can alternatively be from any other department (such as Classics or Law) if you desire!
Although the Pathway system sounds kind of complicated at first, there’s a lot of guidance, and I hope I’ve broken it down in a way which makes it a little easier to understand! We had a Module Fair on Thursday evening where various staff members presented their modules and explained the system to us, which definitely helped make it a lot clearer. There’s also a Module Market run by the Literature Society over the next couple of weeks where we can ask students who are currently taking modules any questions we might have about them (such as workload, enjoyment, assessment etc).
However, my module choices for next year are a little different to the straight English Literature degree as I do English Literature and Creative Writing. In my case, I don’t actually have to choose a pathway, which makes it even more simple! I do have one compulsory module next year called ‘Composition and Creative Writing’, but as a passionate writer I’m not complaining about that one! Then I have Optional Core modules, which are basically the same as Pathway Approved Options, and Options, which, again, are my choice of any module. The only Distributional Requirement we have is that we have to take one module with a pre-1900 element in either year 2 or 3. Other than that, the choices are up to us!
Below I have listed a few of the modules available for next year (the complete list has over 50!) in the English Department just to give you an idea of how broad and varied the options we have here at Warwick really are:
The Practise of Poetry The English Nineteenth Century Novel Arthurian Literature and Its Legacy Crime Fiction, Nation and Empire: Britain 1850-1947 Explorations in Critical Theory The Global Novel Romantic and Victorian Poetry Screenwriting U.S Writing and Culture: 1780-1920 Shakespeare and Selected Dramatists of His Time