BA (HONS) SPECIALISING IN ENGLISH [BA(Hons) English] (Code 01240211)

Programme manager:

For the first half of 2021, please contact Prof. D. Medalie, email: [email protected]

Prof. C. Sandwith,
HB 16-16
Tel: (012) 420-2421, or (012) 420-2617
Email: [email protected]

Admission requirements:

A Baccalaureus Artium degree with a minimum of 132 credits in English (of which 60 must be from the modules ENG 310 and ENG 320 or equivalent modules from other universities), with an average mark of 70%, except at the discretion of the Head of Department. Teaching or other experience will be taken into account.

An Honours degree in English is the culmination of coursework in this subject at most universities. The University of Pretoria's course is exciting and stimulating as well as challenging.
Full-time students are encouraged to complete the course in one year; part time students should consider taking eighteen months or two years.
The Honours degree consists of a total of 120 credits, selected as follows:

- A compulsory fundamental module, ENG 701: Poetics & Literary Theory (15 credits)

- A compulsory mini-dissertation, ENG 778 Essay (30 credits)
  The mini-dissertation, under supervision, is done on a subject of the student's choice, provided a suitable     supervisor is available.

- Five of the following core modules (15 credits each) (note that not all courses run every year, and that a minimum of five students must take a module for the module to run):

  • ENG 703 African Literature I 
  • ENG 704 African Literature II
  • ENG 708 Introduction to TESOL
  • ENG 773 Children's Literature
  • ENG 776 English Grammar and Phonology
  • ENG 777 Editing: Principles and Practice
  • ENG 780 Creative Writing
  • ENZ 701 Medieval Literature
  • ENZ 710 Shakespeare and his times
  • ENG 760 Reading Popular Culture
  • ENZ 705 The Augustan Vision
  • ENZ 706 The Romance in England
  • ENZ 771 Modernism
  • ENZ 772 Postmodernism

In all modules, 90-minute seminars or lectures will take place weekly, some in the late afternoon. The timetable is arranged each year to suit students and staff, at the first meeting. This meeting is usually held in the last week of January every year. Consult the Events page of this website for the date, or contact Prof. Sandwith. It is vital for all students to attend this meeting, armed with their choice of modules.

The modules on offer and their order may vary from year to year, subject to demand and the availability of staff. Only courses taken by at least five students will be offered in any year. You are therefore advised to have second choices in reserve. Course descriptions are provided later on in this web page.

For more details on any of these courses, contact the course manager:

Prof. C. Sandwith,
HB 16-16
Tel: (012) 420-2421, or (012) 420-2617
Email: [email protected]
For the first half of 2021, please contact Prof. D. Medalie, email: [email protected]

Performance scholarships are available at the University of Pretoria (but are not guaranteed). Consult the bursaries and scholarship pages.

Students may also apply for the Marguerite Sabbagha Bursary, the RM Titlestad Bursary, or the Jean McWilliam Scholarship.

Honours course descriptions:

ENG 701 Poetics and Literary Theory 701 (15 credits)
This module provides survey of poetics and literary theory in English, with particular reference to developments since the beginning of the twentieth century. It covers aspects such a New Criticism, Structuralism and Post-structuralism, as well as feminist and Marxist approaches to literature.

ENG 703 African Literature I 703 (15 credits)
This module introduces students to a range of texts and authors in the field of African and South African writing. The course places particular emphasis o the notion of the 'postcolony' and its usefulness for the study of literary texts in this region. Within this focus, the module engages with a number of interconnected topics or themes, including questions of gender and sexuality, space/place, violence, trauma and the body. The first semester focuses on first- and second-generation African texts.

ENG 704 African Literature II 704 (15 credits)
As above. The second semester covers contemporary African literature.

ENG 708 Introduction to TESOL
Students are introduced to the principles of TESOL.

ENG 773 Children's Literature 773 (15 credits)
A range of interest in children's literature is represented in this course. The course discusses literature for children, covering various genres and periods.

ENG 776 English Grammar and Phonology 776 (15 credits)
The course focuses on grammar and phonology, largely from the perspective of teaching English as a foreign language. It pays special attention to the typical problems learners have in both these areas and to dealing with these problems.

ENG 777 Editing: Principles and Practice 777 (15 credits)
The course develops language editing skills, using a variety of texts from different fields and of varying levels of complexity. Students edit texts to produce grammatical, idiomatic and logical English texts, taking into account peculiarities of South African English and local needs. They adjust texts to meet the needs of a specified target audience. The principles of Plain Language Editing are applied, in addition to strategies to overcome textual complexities for given target audiences, ranging from academics to neo-literates. Editing according to specification, with the emphasis on academic editing and electronic editing are covered. On request, a special focus is the editing of translations in the SA context.

ENG 778 Essay 778 (30 credits)
A specialised topic (in an extended essay form) on any aspect of English language or literature, written under supervision.

ENG 780 Creative Writing 780 (15 credits)
This module caters for students who have an interest in writing and who wish to produce original, creative work of their own. It is practical in orientation, and the aim is to guide and assist students in producing a portfolio of creative work of a high standard.

ENZ 701 Medieval Literature 701 (15 credits)
This module introduces the student to the reading and appreciation of Old and Middle English literature. The course includes the study of Old English texts, including the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf and Anglo-Saxon homiletic or heroic poems. The focus then shifts to Middle English, highlighting the work of Chaucer and Medieval lyrical poetry and drama.

ENZ 710 Shakespeare and his times (15 credits)
The course consists of a selection of Shakespeare's plays and non-dramatic poetry, focusing on specialised topics. Works by other key 17th century authors are also studied, such as John Donne, Sir Philip Sidney, Milton, Marvell and Bunyan. In addition to a text-based approach, it also covers contemporary theoretical approaches to Shakespeare and his contemporaries.

ENZ 705 The Augustan Vision 705 (15 credits)
This module explores a range of works written between 1660 and 1760 and, in keeping with recent critical approaches to the period, emphasises the age's exuberance, comic and satiric energy, and willingness to experiment with literary forms. Writers discussed include Pope, Johnson, Swift, Wycherley, Congreve and a selection of less well-known female poets and dramatists.

ENZ 706 The Romance in England 706 (15 credits) 
In reading works by writers such as the 'Gawain' poet, Malory, Spenser and Tolkien, students will be encouraged to see how such works can conform to generic conventions while also reflecting the preoccupations and values of very different societies.

ENZ 771 Modernism 771 (15 credits)
The modernist movement is examined in the context of contemporary developments in psychology, physics and anthropology, with an emphasis on the break with traditional literary and artistic conventions. Literary developments will be discussed in relation to seminal texts in poetry. prose and drama, including the work of authors such as Yeats, Eliot, Hardy, Lawrence, Joyce, Conrad and Beckett. (Texts vary.)

ENZ 772 Postmodernism 772 (15 credits)
This module introduces students to certain key concepts in relation to postmodernism and postmodern literature. A wide range of texts are studied, which may include works by British, American, Canadian and South African writers.

ENG 760 Reading popular culture (15 credits)

This course will have a much wider reach than conventional literary studies courses. Intending to grapple with the growing notion of ‘the text’ in global popular culture, this course undertakes an interdisciplinary examination of more popular texts such as newspapers, television, movies, graphic novels, and VR culture. Students will be exposed to multimedia texts and popular discursive approaches from cultural studies and Black aesthetics. In this manner, this course wishes to engage with current thinking around the g/local that is both contextually relevant and racially, ideologically and socially transformative. 



(Code: 01250211)

It is possible for a student to do a research MA culminating in a dissertation.

ENG 890 Dissertation: English

Contact the programme manager:

Prof D Medalie, HSB 16-18 Tel 012 420 2716 [email protected]

Admission at the discretion of the Department.

Admission requirements:

A BA Hons in English degree with an average of 70%, except at the discretion of the Department.

Additional requirements:

An acceptable level of proficiency in English is a requisite.

An approved research proposal is required.

PhD in English (Code: 01260211)

Students can register for a PhD in English, focusing on literature or language. The research culminates in a doctoral thesis and an examination.

ENG 990 Thesis: English [480 credits]
ENG 900 Examination: English

Admission at the discretion of the Department.

Programme manager:

Prof D Medalie, HSB 16-18 Tel 012 420 2716 [email protected]

Admission requirements:

A minimum of 70% for the dissertation in the related Master’s degree programme articulating with the specific doctoral degree programme.

Selection takes place before admission.

Additional requirements:

Prospective students may have to submit an admissions essay or sit for an examination or do additional modules to enable them to reach the desired level of study.

  • An acceptable level of proficiency in English is a requisite.
  • An approved research proposal is required.
Published by Idette Noome

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