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There are lots of English departments in UK universities. What makes Bangor distinctive?
Size is everything
In spite of being one of the oldest English departments in the UK (English was taught in Bangor even before it was taught at Oxford or Cambridge), Bangor School of English is still relatively small. This means that our students benefit from one-to-one tutorials and small seminar groups, in addition to the usual workshops and lectures. Tutors are friendly and approachable. The small size of our School means that we know each of our students by name and offer excellent pastoral support.
We offer all our students the chance to study writing across all the major literary periods of English literature. Students can also choose courses with a more international flavour, including postcolonial and world literature, or courses with a topic-based approach, for example, Arthurian literature, detective fiction, film, or experimental writing. We also have a long-standing tradition in creative writing and are one of the few Schools in the country to offer expert teaching in all areas of literature from the seventh century to the present day.
The vast majority of our teaching is carried out by full-time academic staff who combine (relative) youth and experience. The quality of our teaching is outstanding. In the latest NSS survey, students gave the English Literature teaching in our School a rating of 100%. As part of a new UK-wide scheme, two members of staff from the School of English recently won highly prestigious student-nominated Teaching Awards.
All our staff are published academics or creative writers, experts in a wide range of fields which include the modern novel, William Shakespeare, John Milton, Welsh writing in English, contemporary poetry, medieval women’s literature, George Herbert, seventeenth-century literature, Samuel Beckett, and the nineteenth-century British publishing industry. Our combination of critical and creative practice is recognised at an international level and amongst our faculty are prize-winning authors.
Old Worlds and New
The School of English combines tradition and cutting-edge research. Set in the Old Arts Building, perched on a hill between the mountains of Snowdonia and the castles and beaches of the coast, the School has strong links to the brand-new Bangor Arts Centre (opening in 2014). This multi-million pound initiative is a cultural hub for the region and will be one of the main UK centres for the Arts outside of London. It has already attracted to Bangor internationally-renowned organisations including the Globe Theatre and other major acting companies. Events include poetry readings, theatrical productions and film screenings. At Bangor, the study of literature is as much a cultural experience as it is a form of academic enquiry.
We are keen to transcend the traditional boundaries of ‘English Literature’, and so contribute to cross-disciplinary research centres including the R.S. Thomas Centre, which focuses on Welsh literatures, the Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, the Centre for Medieval Studies, and ContemPo, the institute for research into contemporary poetry. At undergraduate and postgraduate level, we work closely with colleagues from other Schools, including Music, Modern Languages, Creative Studies and Media, Welsh, History, Welsh History and Archeology and English Language and Linguistics in order to offer combined degrees which cross subject divides.
The journal English, one of the best-selling literary journals in international English studies, is edited by members of the School. Another of our strengths is English-language Welsh literature. Poetry Wales is currently edited by one of our senior lecturers. Almanac, the international journal for Welsh writing in English, began in Bangor. International conferences regularly make use of our excellent facilities, for example, that for the North America-Wales Association.
At postgraduate level we offer a range of taught courses. Our prestigious MA in English allows students to choose modules from across a range of periods and topics, or to specialise in a particular pathway: Modern, Medieval or Early Modern. We also offer teaching in more areas including Welsh Writing in English, Arthurian literature and Creative Writing. If you are looking for a potential supervisor for your research degree, please consult the staff pages.
Alongside supportive personal tutors, Bangor has an award-winning peer mentoring scheme. Students regularly praise the care and attention that is offered to them throughout their studies.
Student Success Stories
Our graduates have gone on to make exceptional contributions to their chosen fields. Danny Boyle, director of Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire and of the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony is one of our former students. The Shakespearean actor, Frances Barber, is another of our alumni, as is respected star of stage and screen, John Sessions. More typically, our graduates emerge from their Bangor degree well-prepared for the world of work, either here in the UK or abroad. Many have gone on to achieve great success in careers which include teaching, journalism, Higher Education, business, the Civil Service and law.