English BA (International Honours) 2024 entry

The BA (International Honours) in English will provide you with the opportunity to explore a range of historical periods and critical approaches to literature, across a wide variety of genres. Through this course, you will develop your writing skills, sensitivity to language, and awareness of the intellectual challenges and aesthetic pleasures offered by literature, as well as an understanding of the cultural values it reflects. You can also choose to take creative writing classes.

The BA (International Honours) is a joint degree delivered by both the University of St Andrews and the College of William & Mary in Virginia, USA. This joint degree allows you to spend two years at each institution.

Start date
September 2024
End date
September 2028
Four years full time
School of English
“The programme is obviously an incredible academic experience — being able to study your subject from multiple and dynamic perspectives. But more than that, it is a practice in personal development, providing exercises in independence, adaptability, and self advocacy. The programme sends you to a promising future, and prepares you for this future by getting the most ‘life’ under your belt.”
- Colorado, USA

Entry requirements

The University offers different entry requirements, depending on your background. Find out more about Standard and Minimum entry requirements using academic entry explained and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.

  • Standard entry grades:
    AAAAB, including A in English.
    Minimum entry grades:
    AABB, including A in English.
  • Standard entry grades:
    AAA, Including A in English or English Literature.
    Minimum entry grades:
    ABB, Including A in English or English Literature.
  • Standard entry grades:
    38 (HL 6,6,6), Including HL6 in English.
    Minimum entry grades:
    36 (HL 6,5,5), Including HL6 in English.

General entry requirements

All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.

  • SQA National 5 (B) in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing science
    • Geography
    • Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.
  • GCSE (5) in English language or English literature, and one GCSE (5) from the following:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing Science
    • Geography
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.

Other qualifications

We accept a wide range of qualifications for entry on to our programmes. Please see our entry requirements for more information.

More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

Students must have studied English or English Literature at SQA Higher, GCE A-Level or equivalent.

Alternative study options



International applicants

If English is not your first language, you will need to provide an English language test score to evidence your English language ability.

Course details

The BA (International Honours) in English is a four-year course run jointly by the School of English at St Andrews and the Department of English at the College of William & Mary

You will study for two years at both St Andrews and William & Mary, spending the first year of the programme at one institution and the second year at the other. You will then be able to choose where you wish to spend your third and fourth years of study and graduate from either university.

You will apply to the university where you intend to spend your first year, and then you will transfer to the other institution for your second year.

What you will study

If you study the BA (International Honours) in English, you will learn to:

  • read, discuss, and reflect with clarity on a wide variety of texts
  • develop analytical, descriptive and evaluative skills
  • communicate more fluently and persuasively
  • write creatively and engage critically with a wide range of English-language texts, including plays, novels, poems and short stories.

The BA (International Honours) is a single Honours degree, and other combinations – such as joint Honours degrees – are not available with this programme. However, during the programme you will have opportunities to study a range of other subjects alongside your major at both institutions. Find out more about the St Andrews – William & Mary joint degree.

About the BA (International Honours) programme

The BA (International Honours) is a four-year undergraduate degree that combines the best of the Scottish and American educational experiences.

Teaching in the School of English at St Andrews covers writing in poetry, prose, and drama from Old English up to the present day, as well as creative writing.

While the St Andrews degree shares many interests with William & Mary, such as Romantic and Victorian literature, Shakespeare and Jane Austen, the emphases of the two departments differ. William & Mary has particular strengths in American literature and offers specialist strands on subjects such as African American literature. St Andrews, meanwhile, has expertise in Scottish and Irish writing and offers research-led teaching on a broad range of classic and innovative topics. In general, the American side of the degree has more general components while the British side offers more in-depth study in the latter two years of the programme.

At both universities, the International Honours degree in English offers students a comprehensive introduction to literary study, teaches effective writing, and develops skills in critical analysis. At St Andrews, these aims are supplemented by a range of other activities and events, including:

The University of St Andrews operates on a flexible modular degree system by which degrees are obtained through the accumulation of credits. More information on the structure of the modules system can be found on the flexible degree structure web page.


Students studying the English BA (International Honours) will take the required modules at both institutions in their first and second years.

The following modules are those offered at St Andrews. Find out more about module requirements at William & Mary.

At St Andrews, the compulsory modules in first year are:

  • Culture and Conflict: An Introduction to Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Literature: Introduces texts in prose and verse from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
  • Empires and Revolutions: Literature 1680 - 1830: examines travel, colonialism, and different constructions of 'man’s natural estate' in the 18th century.

At St Andrews, the compulsory modules in second year are:

  • Medieval and Renaissance Texts: introduces early forms of English language and literature, using specially edited texts from Old English, Middle English and Older Scots.
  • Drama: Reading and Performance: introduces a number of representative plays from the Renaissance period to the 21st century. Emphasis is placed upon the context in which these plays were first created and those in which they are now received.

Students will spend either their third or fourth year in St Andrews. You will be able to choose from a wide variety of advanced options.

Here is a sample of optional Honours modules that have been offered at St Andrews in recent years:

  • Black and Asian British Writing
  • Contemporary Fiction
  • Literature and Culture of Sport
  • Literature and Ecology
  • Postcolonial Literature and Theory
  • Reading Popular Music
  • The Novels of Jane Austen in Context
  • The Younger Romantics: Poetry and Prose (1810 - 1830).

All English majors in the joint programme have the opportunity to work on an independent research project as part of their degree. You will either write a dissertation at St Andrews or take a senior research seminar at William & Mary.

The compulsory modules listed here must be taken in order to graduate in this subject. However, most students at St Andrews take additional modules, either in their primary subject or from other subjects they are interested in. For Honours level, students choose from a range of Honours modules, some of which are listed above. A full list of all modules appropriate to the programme for the current academic year can be found in the programme requirements.


At St Andrews, modules are delivered through lectures which are supported by smaller seminar groups or tutorials.

Typical English class sizes at St Andrews are:

  • First year: lectures – 240; tutorials – 5 to 9
  • Second year: lectures – 150; tutorials – 5 to 9
  • Honours (Third and Fourth years): classes generally have no more than 20 in a class.

Though a good deal of the study of English involves individual effort, group work provides a sense of confirmation, fruitful disagreement, and community to complement the sometimes solitary business of reading and writing.

In addition to these classes, students at St Andrews are expected to undertake substantial independent, but guided, work outside of the classroom. Typically, this will involve:

  • working on individual and group projects
  • undertaking research in the library
  • preparing coursework assignments and presentations
  • preparing for examinations.

Modules in English at St Andrews are assessed by a balanced combination of coursework and written exams. In each compulsory sub-honours module, there are two essays and two examination questions. Assessment at Honours level varies, although essays and examinations remain a central component.

Coursework takes the form of essays, along with other kinds of assessed work including oral presentations, electronic projects and creative writing portfolios.

Examinations are held at the end of each semester during a dedicated exam diet with revision time provided beforehand.

Several Honours-level modules involve creative coursework, such as:

  • literary journal keeping
  • writing a short play
  • recording a podcast episode explaining a literary concept. 

The School aims to provide feedback on every assessment within three weeks to help you improve on future assessments.

Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To gain access to Honours-level modules, students must achieve the relevant requisites as specified in the policy on entry to Honours and in the relevant programme requirements. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please see the common reporting scale.

At St Andrews, you will be taught by an experienced teaching team with expertise and knowledge of English. Postgraduate research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of classes and seminars under the supervision of the module coordinator.

You can find contact information for all English staff on the School of English website.

The University’s Student Services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long-term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities web page.


Find out about fees, living costs, scholarships and funding.


The skills you gain through studying English are marketable in many career areas, and recent graduates in English have pursued a wide variety of career paths.

Perhaps the major strength of all English graduates is communication skills, both in speech and in writing. Other skills you will develop during your degree include:

  • critical analysis
  • structuring information
  • organisation of time and workload
  • effective IT skills.

Career destinations for recent St Andrews English graduates include:

  • internships with the United Nations
  • writing and editing for various publishing houses and magazines
  • sales for Waterstones and WHSmith
  • charitable organisations
  • teaching
  • public policy
  • the financial sector.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills.

What to do next

Online information events

Join us for one of our information events where you can find out about different levels of study and specific courses we run. There are also sessions available for parents and college counsellors.

Undergraduate visiting days

We encourage all students who are thinking of applying to the University to attend one of our online or in-person visiting days.

Contact us

+44 (0)1334 46 2666
School of English
Castle House
The Scores
St Andrews
KY16 9AL

School of English website