Bachelor in Literature and Society: English

General

Program Description

Application deadline update

  • Non-EU/EEA students: 1 May (the original deadline of 1 April has been extended due to COVID-19)
  • EU/EEA students and students who do not need a study visa/residence permit through VU Amsterdam*: 1 June (the original deadline of 1 May has been extended due to COVID-19)
Interaction between literature and society
The focus of our programme is on the interactions between literature and society, and literature and visual culture. You will read canonical British works, and also explore contemporary novels from different English-speaking countries. In our courses, you will analyze these texts from two cutting-edge perspectives: English literature in a changing world, and English literature in a visual culture.

English literature in a changing world
How does literature react to major changes in society? Think of the attacks on the Twin Towers and the novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. In our courses you will discover how literature can also cause social change. A famous example is Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which played an important role in the abolition of slavery.

Literature has the power to change readers’ ways of looking at the world. The novel 1984 raised concerns over government surveillance of its citizens. In other words, literature is not positioned at a remove from society, but at its very center. Studying English literature therefore also entails studying the major social developments in various English-speaking countries.

English literature in a visual culture
A story is hardly ever told only in words: nineteenth-century novels were often illustrated, and contemporary fiction is marketed by its cover image. But the relation between word and image extends beyond illustrations. The same story can be told both in a novel and in a film – or even multiple films, think of Pride and Prejudice.

The graphic novel has grown out of its superhero phase and now deals with issues such as the Holocaust in Maus. The computer game Resident Evil has spawned as many as seven novels. The analysis of literature is therefore inseparably connected to knowledge of visual culture.

Study English Literature in Amsterdam
Our programme is taught by a young, dynamic, and award-winning staff who teach courses on the interactions between literature, visual culture, and social change. You will work in relatively small seminar groups, where you will be motivated to engage in critical discussions, and where you have the opportunity to grow in your personal development and follow your individual interests. Our vibrant student community invites you to join them in a variety of extracurricular activities.

If you are interested in doing an BA in English literature abroad, VU Amsterdam is an excellent choice! VU Amsterdam is known as a high-quality university with a social heart. You will benefit from the personal atmosphere and easy access to all facilities due to our campus setting, and still have the vibrant city of Amsterdam – including its museums, libraries and bars – close at hand.

This is what you will be doing
The BA-programme Literature and Society (English) offers a unique opportunity to combine classic literature study with two cutting-edge specializations. You will read canonical British works, such as William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, en Virginia Woolf. But also explore contemporary novels from different English-speaking countries. In our courses, you will analyse these texts from two cutting-edge perspectives: English literature in a changing world, and English literature in a visual culture.

First year -
In the first year you are introduced to literary analysis and literary theory. You learn how to read a Brontë novel as well as a film version of a Shakespeare play. We train your general academic skills and also kindle your creative writing practice.

Second year - After the first year, you have a solid base from which to explore the relations between literature, culture and society. We take you from the Renaissance to the twenty-first century, reading canonical English works of literature as well as new and lesser known genres such as travel literature, graphic novels and gothic genres.

Third year - You become a specialist either in ‘English literature in a changing world’ or ‘English literature in a visual culture,’ and conduct your own research project, resulting in your BA thesis.

Last updated Feb 2020

About the School

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to 23,00 ... Read More

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 150 English taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to 23,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff of 122 nationalities create a dynamic international academic community. The University distinguishes itself in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes: Human Health and Life Sciences, Science for Sustainability, Connected World and Governance for Society. Curious about student life at VU Amsterdam? Click here to ask our International Student Ambassadors. Read less