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The University of Southampton
EnglishPart of HumanitiesUndergraduate study

Flexible study

Humanities at Southampton offers a range of innovative flexible learning options, so you can tailor your degree to suit your specific needs and interests.

Flexible learning at Southampton
Flexible learning at Southampton

Combined Honours

Combined Honours programmes give students the opportunity to study two areas of interest throughout their undergraduate degree. You may be keen to continue with subjects you have enjoyed at college level, or you might be interested in adding a new subject area to your existing study experiences. Find out more here.


All Humanities students have the option to study a minor subject alongside their main course, so you graduate with, for example, BA English with American Studies. Minor subject areas include Creative Writing, Music, Philosophy, Politics and many others. Click here for more information.

Curriculum Innovation Programme

Interdisciplinary modules provide you with the opportunity to broaden your learning. Each module explores key contemporary subjects, such as sustainability or intercultural communication, from the perspective of different disciplines. You work with students from other subjects, learn through innovative methods, such as group work and social media, and are assessed in new ways, such as student-led teaching and presentations. See our Curriculum Innovation Programme page for more information.

Learning a language

The Southampton Language Opportunity provides you with the opportunity to study a language free of charge, alongside your degree programme. The scheme is funded by the Southampton Opportunity and managed by Modern Languages and Linguistics. The classes offer no formal qualification or provide any credit, but are perfect for those wanting to start a new language or polish up on previous skills. For more information click here.

Study Abroad

Spending part of your degree in a new culture will give you knowledge, transferable skills and an international outlook – all of which are highly valued by employers. We have opportunities to study abroad for an academic year, a semester, or a month-long summer school at many universities around the world, including in Europe, Asia, North and South America. Click here for more information.

Part-time degrees

For some of our students, full-time study isn't a practical possibility for professional, financial or personal reasons. Others have made a deliberate choice to take the less pressurised part-time route to a degree - for example embarking on a course after retirement or returning to academic study after a lengthy time away from education.

Full-time undergraduate degrees are usually completed in three years (or four, for language degrees involving a year abroad). Part-time students cover the same content, but over a longer time-scale, between four (or five for language degrees) and eight years.

The most common arrangement is to take half the number of modules per semester taken by full-time students. However, you can complete the degree course more quickly by changing to full-time after a minimum period of study (usually two years) on a part-time basis; this path can be particularly suitable for parents of young children.

Lifelong learning

Lunchtime, evening and weekend courses and events are available in the following subject areas: archaeology, English literature, film, history, Jewish studies, modern languages and philosophy.

Visit the Humanities Lifelong Learning website to find out more.

Transfer applications

We get quite a lot of applications for transfer into English and its combinations. Sometimes these are from within the University, from students who have had second thoughts about the course they are currently taking. Some are from external applicants who want to make either a change of course or (often for good personal reasons) a change of university. If you're thinking of transferring to the English course at Southampton, the following guidelines may be helpful.

First-year transfers

Most (though not all) of our applications for first-year transfer are from students within the University (sometimes from students already reading English, who want to change from combined to single honours or vice versa). There are three important constraints you need to bear in mind, whether you're an internal or an external applicant:

  1. Transfers normally have to be made before the end of week 2 of semester 1, so that you don't fall behind with the work; if you change your mind before you arrive, we strongly recommend that you contact us in advance to ask to be considered for a change of course.
  2. You'll normally be expected to have reached at least the standard entry requirements of the course you're applying for; if you haven't, you may be considered at the discretion of the admissions tutor, but you should always have at least a B in English at A level or an equivalent qualification.
  3. English is a very popular subject (this is particularly the case with single honours English, Film/English and English/History), so even if you're eligible we may not be able to accept you if numbers are high in a particular year.

To apply for transfer, you should email the English admissions coordinator on, explaining why you want to transfer and giving full contact details; if you're applying from outside English, it speeds things up if you can also provide a copy of your UCAS form (ask your academic unit office to fax it to the English admissions co-ordinator, marking it for their attention; our fax number is 023 8059 2157). If you're eligible on grades and there is the possibility of a transfer, you'll be interviewed by the English admissions tutor responsible for transfers; internal candidates can find it useful to talk to the admissions tutor in any case, to discuss the possibilities open to them, and should also talk to their academic advisor. If the interview goes well, your application will still have to be cleared with the Director of Programmes in English before you're accepted.

If you've applied too late, or been rejected, for a transfer from combined to single honours English, you can reapply at the end of your first year for a transfer into second-year single honours. But you will need to have passed the Qualifying Examination with a 2:1 average across the board (including at least a 2:1 average on the English side); and acceptance will depend on whether our numbers allow it. Transfers are also possible at the end of the second year; again, these will depend on numbers, and on at least a 2:1 average in your second year both across the board and in English.

If you want to be considered for an end-of-year transfer of this kind, you should contact the English admissions co-ordinator as early as possible, and preferably before the course ballot in the spring; if you apply later, your choice of modules will be very restricted. When you fill in the online ballot form for your current course, you should also note down on paper your preferences for the single honours course, and hand this in to the Faculty's Student Office before the ballot deadline. When you've received your results at the end of the academic year, if you still want to change, get in touch with us again; you will need to complete a change-of-course form, available from the Student Office, and be signed off by both Departments before you can be transferred.

Second-and final-year transfers

For internal transfers from combined honours to single honours English for the second or final year, see the last two paragraphs of the previous section. External candidates for transfer into the second or final year are considered on their individual merits (generally we don't recommend transfer into the final year, and you would need to make a very strong case). When deciding to accept you, we'll normally take into account whether:

  1. we have room for you
  2. you have the CATS (credit accumulation and transfer) points necessary to transfer into the second or final year course (you'll need 120 credit points for each year of study)
  3. you have been performing at at least 2:1 standard on your current course
  4. your previous degree study was at least broadly compatible in content with the Southampton English course
  5. your reference(s) and personal statement are strong
  6. you have good personal reasons for wishing to transfer (this is taken into account if our numbers are high and transfer would otherwise be difficult)

To apply for transfer, if you are currently on course in another university, you'll need to apply to us formally for second- or third-year entry through UCAS; you're allowed to do this while still on your current course.

If you want to check in advance of applying whether you would be made an offer, email the English admissions coordinator on, explaining why you want to transfer and giving full contact details; it's helpful if you can ask your present institution to provide us with a copy of your original UCAS form (it should be faxed to the Recruitment Office, fax 023 8059 2157, marked for the attention of the English admissions coordinator) and a reference (either from your personal tutor/academic advisor or from another academic who knows your work well; they can email this directly to the admissions coordinator). 

General advice

If you're thinking of changing course, it's as well to get as much advice and information as possible, since these days it can be an expensive as well as risky decision. You may in any case need a plan B if your application isn't successful.

Both my undergraduate and postgraduate courses allowed me to really direct my attention to the areas that particularly interested me, so I was able to mould my education to be exactly how I wanted it.

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