DSC_0204New year, new you? The year you will never have to ask a friend to borrow a pen. The year you will always complete the extra-but-not-compulsory reading (as well as the compulsory reading, but you do that already, right?). The year you will complete your assessments a month before the deadline and make the most of all the opportunities provided by the university, even if that means cancelling your Netflix marathon and swapping your pajamas for attire that will be deemed acceptable outside the four walls of your bedroom. Even if you can’t stick to all of these goals this year, I recommend you that you take advantage of that which our school has to offer.

Since starting my English degree, I have completed study in Language modules, including Grammar and Vocabulary, Language and Gender, Literary Linguistics and Narrative Analysis. While Grammar and Vocabulary provided me with the essential skills to improve my writing and formed a foundation from which to analyse texts, Language and Gender made me better informed on issues of great importance (especially in today’s current circumstances) and developed my ability to analyse, argue and understand the views of myself and others in discussions surrounding gender. Literary Linguistics introduced me to the world of Corpus Linguistics, a branch of study I have found particularly interesting and have taken forward as a means of analysis within the Independent Study Module. I was also able to use this method of study in my recent Narrative Analysis project where I analysed the impact of Textual Patterning on the reader’s understanding of narratives. I have found all of my modules thoroughly enjoyable and have gained transferable skills that have been useful within the study of each of these topics and the general practice of ‘adult’ life.

Throughout my time at BCU, I’ve also realised how lucky we, as English Language students, really are. Unlike many other departments, faculties and universities, our tutors provide us with regular tutorials and office hours for the one-to-one discussion of projects, problems and progress. At first, I was reluctant to make use of these opportunities. However, after getting over the ‘safety in numbers’ element and realising that although the teaching staff are experts in the subjects they specialise, they are just as normal as the students they teach, I’ve discovered how useful and important these meetings are.

I now make sure to book as many tutorials as I feel necessary for my development and work hard to devise drafts within the given time-frame, in order to receive valuable feedback before final submission. I believe that in doing this, I have not only improved my grades, but it has made a significant impact on my organisation, motivation and self-awareness. Guidance and feedback are essential to effective personal development, and it would be silly not to learn from the breadth and depth of wisdom and advice provided by the expertise of our accomplished tutors and lecturers.

In 2016, I learned how to really get the best out of my BCU experience and in continuing this and further making use of these chances, I believe that 2017 will be a prosperous year of which I can be proud. In attending events, handing in drafts, asking questions and making the most of the vast range of opportunities and modules the School of English provides, I’ve been able to increase my confidence, develop and build upon valuable skills, qualities and knowledge, and become a valued member of a very supportive and tight-knit community.

– Katie


Hello and welcome to the School of English blog! My name is Dr Robert Lawson and I’m the Course Director for the School of English at Birmingham City University. I’m responsible for the undergraduate programme of studies in English, which includes not just looking after students’ academic progression, but also their pastoral and professional development.

The School of English started this blog with the main aim of this blog of giving you a better perspective of what it’s like studying here at the School of English at BCU. Starting university can be daunting, especially if you’re moving away from home. Hopefully, the experiences of our students will give you a bit of a better insight into university life, what to expect when you arrive, and the kinds of things that you can look forward to studying and reading.

Over the course of the next six months, we’ll have a variety of posts from our current students talking about their experience on their degrees in literature, language, drama, and creative writing, as well as our joint degrees in English and Media. All of our students come from different walks of life, but they’re all united by a passion and a love for English, in all its guises.

We expect our readers to come from all sorts of different backgrounds. You may be a prospective student looking for more information about our courses; you may be a parent checking out what we offer here in the School; or you may just be dropping in because you’re interested in what kinds of things folks in the School of English get up to. Whatever your reason for visiting the blog today, we hope that you find the information you’re looking for.