Literature and Society: English

Analyze literature’s role in society

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.

Thinking of studying English Literature? Come to a taster day

Do you have a passion for English literature? Would you like to delve into the stories behind the stories that you already know? Do you love language and are you fascinated by the power and magic of stories? In that case we would be happy to meet you during one of our taster days at the VU-campus.

Each year, our graduates choose from a range of different career paths. Our graduates become high school teachers; work in translation and editing; become organizers of literary festivals; work in the publishing industry; become researchers both within academia (who write a Ph.D. dissertation after completing a Research master’s degree) and work for cultural institutions, government agencies, or NGOs. If you are considering further education, a BA in Literature and Society will qualify you to enroll in a number of Master’s programmes.

If you have obtained or will obtain a Dutch diploma, please check the criteria on our Dutch webpage.

Applicants holding a diploma from another country must meet a number of requirements:

  1. A diploma equivalent to the Dutch pre-university VWO diploma
    See the Diploma Requirement List for examples of accepted diplomas per country. Please note: this list is meant to give you an indication of admissibility; no rights can be derived from it.

    Applicants who do not meet this criterion may be asked to sit (an) entry exam(s) to prove they are eligible for admission.

  2. Proof of sufficient proficiency in English
    See the General Admission Requirements for the English language requirements.

 

Please check our step-by-step application guide for more information.

International applicants will be asked to submit the following documents:

  • Transcript(s) of records (e.g. High School grade list)
  • Curriculum Vitae (your personal details, previous education and any relevant work experience in approximately one A4 page)
  • Copy of valid passport
  • English language test results (if already obtained)

Deadline
International students who require university housing and/or a student visa must apply before 1 April. Students who do not require university housing and/or a student visa must apply before 1 May. You will be informed about your admission within four weeks after you completed and submitted your application.

Ready to apply?
Great! All applicants must start the application procedure through the Studielink.nl portal.

As a prospective student at VU Amsterdam you will take part in the VU Matching programme. VU Matching consists of two parts: you must fill out a digital questionnaire on VUnet and participate in a matching activity organized by the study programme. The matching activity aims to give you a realistic idea of the content of the study, so you can determine if it matches your expectations and, whether you have chosen the right programme.

Dutch Nationals are expected to participate in the matching activity on campus. This activity will take place at 4 June. Please consider this when planning your holiday(job). Keep an eye out for the invitation email for the matching activity which will be send by the end of April 2019. For general information about matching check the website VU Matching.

International students are expected to participate in a digital matching activity once they are conditionally admitted. Invitations will be send by the end of April 2019. For general information about matching check the website VU Matching

If you have questions about the matching activity, please contact the matching coordinator of the Faculty of Humanities: matching.fgw@vu.nl.

Some international students are happy to tell you about their experiences with living and studying in Amsterdam. These Student Ambassadors come from all over the world and have attended various bachelor's and master's programmes.

Our student ambassadors are listed here on this webpage: vu.nl/ambassadors.

Reach out to them and get their stories about being a student at VU Amsterdam!

Bachelor's day
Join us on the Bachelor's day; learn everything about this programme and VU Amsterdam, and ask your questions to students and teachers.

For questions, please contact your International Student Advisor:

Rosa Vijftigschild - ContactRosa Vijftigschild
E: bachelors.hum@vu.nl
T +31 20 59 85641

How will you be spending your time?
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Overview Literature and Society: English

LANGUAGE OF INSTRUCTION

English

DURATION

3 years (fulltime)

APPLICATION DEADLINE

1 April (non-EEA students requiring visa and/or housing) / 1 May (all others)

START DATE

1 september 2018

STUDY TYPE

Full-time

FIELD OF INTEREST

Art, Culture and History
Language and Communication

Hana Abukar

Graduate in Literature and Society

Studying literature took my love and appreciation for reading to another level. I was able to make sense of the world around me through rich experiences brought to me in covers from distant lands. Suddenly the world around me didn’t seem so small, and I can honestly say that each text, academically approached or not, functioned like a visa or an expressway to a different enriched self.