Bachelor in Literature and Society: English
The focus of this program 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.
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.
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. The analysis of literature is therefore inseparably connected to knowledge of visual culture.
Our program 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.
The program in a nutshell
The Literature and Society: English program is a three-year degree. The academic year at VU Amsterdam is divided into two semesters. This BA-program 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.
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In order to be selected, candidates must meet the following admission criteria.
- A diploma equivalent to a Dutch VWO diploma
- Proof of sufficient proficiency in English
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- Tuition fee for EU: € 1,084
- Tuition fee for NON-EU/EEA: € 7,786
On completion of this program, students will receive a Bachelor in Literature and Society: English.
About this institute
Welcome to Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (‘VU Amsterdam’) is an internationally renowned research university founded in 1880. The university offers over 175 English-taught programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level to more than 26,000 students from all over the world. Students and staff...
Why study at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
With more than 24,000 students, of which 4,088 are international, VU Amsterdam conducts cutting-edge research into problems of societal and scientific importance.
They distinguish themselves in research and education through four interdisciplinary themes:
- Human Health and Life Sciences
- Science for Sustainability
- Connected World
- Governance for Society
As a student this will help you to look beyond the boundaries of scientific disciplines, and to seek for tangible solutions for a better world.
In addition, VU Amsterdam regards diversity, whether in culture, conviction, nationality or prior education, as source of innovation and progress, and hence as special strength.
The Dutch higher education system has been ranked in the top 10 by Universitas 21. In the first Times Higher Education University Impact Ranking, VU Amsterdam is ranked 16th worldwide. In this ranking, universities are assessed based on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to measure the impact of the universities on society. In the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018 (Shanghai Ranking) VU Amsterdam holds the 104th position. The international QS World University ranking 2021 places the Vrije Universiteit at number 236 in the world, which means the Vrije Universiteit belongs to the top 20% of the world.
At VU Amsterdam, the teaching style can be described as student-centred: they encourage students to develop their own opinions through independent and creative thinking. This means that teaching is mainly conducted in small tutorials, where interactivity is the norm rather than the exception. At every opportunity, students are encouraged to engage in constructive dialogue with their professors.
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