University of London

Small Navigation Menu

Primary Menu


BA, DipHE, CertHE

Study and enjoy some of the world's greatest literature, immerse yourself in a range of works from the Middle Ages to the present day. Expand your knowledge and understanding of cultural, historical and regional evolutions in literature with a flexible degree from the UK's leading creative university.

Thinking about reading lists
Expand your knowledge and understanding of cultural, historical and regional continuity and change in literature.

By studying this course, you will:

  • expand your knowledge and understanding of cultural, historical and regional continuity and change in literature;
  • develop your understanding of the diverse and sometimes conflicting ways in which literary texts are received;
  • discuss texts effectively and with confidence.

Course details

The programme covers a broad chronology, and offers interdisciplinary options with fields including linguistics, media, and gender studies. Popular courses such as 'Postcolonial Literatures in English' and 'American Literature' reflect exciting new approaches to English studies.

View course structure

Application deadline01 October 2019
Registration deadline09 October 2019

Independent study

Distance learning offers you the flexibility to balance your studies with your existing commitments. For the BA English, we supply learning materials which are specially designed for independent study. You will also have access to a significant range of online resources, including a fully supported Virtual Learning Environment and online library.

Study materials

We provide the core study materials you need to complete the programme. These include a Programme Handbook of practical information (such as how to enter exams), subject guides for each course you choose, and past exam papers and commentaries, which give you valuable tips for performing well in exams. Sample study materials are available on Level 4 course pages.

Online support

When you register, we will give you access to your Student Portal. You can then access your University of London email account and two other key resources:

  • The Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). Here, you can access electronic copies of all printed study materials, resources including audio-visual and revision guides, and forums to discuss course material and work collaboratively with others.
  • The Online Library holds thousands of journal articles which you can access free of charge. A dedicated helpdesk is available if you have any difficulties in finding what you need.

Tutor groups

When you begin your studies, you will be assigned a tutor group for each Level 4 course. The tutor provides monthly online discussion forums, which run over the course of five months.

For Levels 5/6, you receive a more flexible pattern of support to suit your interests. You’ll be able to participate in subject-specific e-seminars and submit up to four practice essays per year for feedback.


All courses are assessed by an unseen written exam (except ‘Introduction to Creative Writing’, which is assessed by coursework). You also submit a formative piece of work for all Level 4 English courses.

Exams are held in May each year. You can sit these when you are ready at one of our 400 examination centres. A fee is payable to your local centre for hosting the exams.

More about exams.

What qualifications do you need?

For access to the BA English and DipHE English, you will usually meet the following criteria:

For access to the CertHE English:

  • Age 18+ by 01 September in the year of registration.
  • Three GCSEs (at Grade A*-C / 9-4) or equivalent.

For access to individual courses:

  • As CertHE except minimum age requirement (17+ by 30 November in year of registration).

Even if you don’t meet the standard requirements, we will consider each application on its own merits. Our Admissions Panel will consider whether any alternative/incomplete qualifications or work experience you have are suitable for entry to the programme.

I don’t meet the entry requirements. What can I do?

English language requirements

You need to demonstrate a good level of English to be admitted to our programmes. We accept a range of evidence, including proficiency test scores. If you don’t have evidence but believe you can meet the standard, we may consider your case.

Do I meet the language requirements?

Computer requirements

We set minimum basic computer requirements because your study resources are accessed via the Student Portal and it is vital that you can access this regularly. For this degree, you will also need Adobe Flash Player to view video material and a media player (such as VLC) to play video files.

More about computer requirements.

Can I transfer credits from other awards?

If you have studied material as part of a previous qualification that is comparable in content and standard, you might be exempted from the equivalent course for the University of London degree. This is known as Recognition of Prior Learning (APL). You may apply for recognition for up to four full courses at Level 4.

More about Recognition of Prior Learning.

The fees below relate to the 2018-2019 session. They may increase by up to 5% per year.

Academic year2018-2019
BA / DipHE / CertHE 
Application fee (non-refundable)£92
Registration fee£1,452
Continuing registration fee£907
Examination fee per course£275
Accreditation of Prior Learning application (per course)£98
Indicative total: BA English£ 6,825
Indicative total: DipHE English£ 4,760
Indicative total: CertHE English£ 2,645

These totals reflect average fee increases and assume that you complete the qualification within the minimum time (without resits).

Individual courses (Standalone) 
Application fee (non-refundable)£ 92
Composite fee (registration plus one exam entry)£ 638
Exam resit fee (per course)£ 275
Extension of registration (per year, per course)£ 319

Additional Costs

You will also need to budget for:

  • Textbooks (could extend to around £300 per year)
  • Exam centre fees, which are paid directly to the venues where you sit your exams.

We accept most traditional payment methods, including debit/credit card, international money order, and Western Union.

How to pay your fees.

On 1 July 2017 a Goods and Services Tax (GST) [external website] was introduced in India which applies to online services. From 1 August 2019, the University will be required to add GST at the statutory rate of 18% to its programme fees for new and continuing students resident in India.

Studying English equips you with transferable skills that can be used in a wide range of contexts. You will be able to understand and analyse complex ideas and to present your ideas clearly and logically.

This will give you a sound basis for a career in areas such as teaching, research, advertising and marketing, media and journalism (including radio and television).

What do employers think of our graduates?

In some countries, qualifications earned by distance and flexible learning may not be recognised by certain authorities or regulators for the purposes of public sector employment or further study. We advise you to explore the local recognition status before you register, even if you plan to receive support from a local teaching institution.

Goldsmiths brings creative and unconventional approaches to its teaching. Graduates of the University include Damien Hirst, and four other Turner Prize winners.

The Department of English and Comparative Literature draws on the energies and high standards of its academic team, who combine a core of modern specialisms with coverage of literature down the centuries. 

Programme Director

Dr Sarah Barnsley is Senior Lecturer in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Goldsmiths. Her teaching and research interests lie in American literature, modernism, poetry and creative writing. Dr Barnsley’s current projects include an edition of Mary Barnard’s Complete Poems, a literary biography of May Swenson, and a collection of her own poems.

Without the cost of moving to London, studying for your University of London degree anywhere in the world represents excellent value for money. However, there are additional sources of support depending on where you live and how you choose to study.

More on funding your study.

Anna Morton BA English, Canada

Anna Morton from Canada studied for a BA English by distance learning

"Studying was surprisingly accessible, with quick, responsive help on the website and useful suggestions in the course book for study resources".