Bachelor of English (BAENG)

Description

The Bachelor of English degree at Nord University (Bodø campus) seeks to, with an eye toward in-depth learning and interdisciplinary and research-based teaching, introduce the foundations of the discipline of English, and to engage students in a meeting with the most central ideas within the English language, its literature, and its cultures, with the goal of fostering identity, community, and belonging, both in the classroom and in an international English-speaking context. Students of the English One-Year Programmes can transition their studies into the full Bachelor of English degree. We are particularly proud of the degree’s appeal to both Norwegian and international students, who come together in their desire to improve their knowledge of English in a constructive, friendly, and student-centred learning environment. Contextualizing ideas about the human experience through the reading and interpretation of authentic English-language texts from a range of historical and contemporary perspectives allows students to develop broad and well-grounded understandings of how the English language, and its literature and cultures, affects both Norwegian and international culture and discourse. This perspective provides a strong foundation for further disciplinary and inter-disciplinary studies, and many of our graduates have pursued this path, or additionally have moved into professional employment within the spheres of business, tourism, and diplomacy.
Throughout the three-year Bachelor of English programme, the dialectical learning process is central, as it offers students the possibility to learn about and take part in an ongoing and worldwide discussion of central issues surrounding key concerns about the history, social, and economic issues that affect English-speaking people over time. We model, through careful text selection and thoughtful teaching practice, a willingness to explore the subject’s unique potential to encourage flexible thinking on and sensitive treatment of important themes such as environmental sustainability, democracy and citizenship, and inclusion and exclusion. In doing so, we inspire our students to consider the essential role that language plays in the creation and maintenance of power, and how familiarity with the art of language can inform and increase opportunities for justice and tolerance. As these themes are also central to the aims of the Norwegian national school curriculum, engagement at the bachelor level can inspire graduates to advance toward the teaching profession, thus ensuring that future generations of English learners have increased access to these opportunities as well. Many of our graduates have completed the further education requirements to become elementary, middle, and high school teachers, and we see them as active partners in our planning and development.

The Bachelor of English affords students numerous possibilities to actively engage in research and other activities that promote critical thinking and in-depth learning, including a one-week study trip to England. These activities are structured in such a way that promotes creativity, independent thinking, and opportunities to reach across traditions in order to develop a strong sense of how English can serve both as a culture-bearing tool as well as a way into increased self- and societal reflection. Examples of our most recent outreach efforts include collaborations with the Humanities, Education and Culture Research Group, the International Student Union, and the Bodø Film Club, as well as, in 2018, our participation in the international Frankenreads project. As a result of our high engagement and awareness of what matters to today’s student of English, the Bachelor of English at Nord University receives consistently excellent results on the annual student survey taken by the Norwegian government agency NOKUT.

For more information, visit the BAENG Programme page and BAENG Study Plan page on the main Nord University website.

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Programme Model

The Bachelor of English degree is divided into three years. The first year consists of four courses of 15 ECTS credits each. The courses are English Language and Linguistics, British Studies (which includes a study trip to England), American Studies, and Research and Writing. The second year includes an Advanced Study for 20 ECTS (topics rotating annually), as well as Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics (10 ECTS), English Didactics for Grades 8-13 (15 ECTS) and the production of an independent Bachelor Thesis (15 ECTS). The third year presents elective options for in-depth study of speciality topics in English (60 ECTS). This year also features possibilities for a semester abroad in the fall semester for all qualified students. You will find below a list of all the classes that currently comprise the Bachelor of English, as of Fall 2021 (you can click to expand each course to read a full description).

Year One

What do you know when you know a language? English Language and Linguistics studies this question by looking closely at English: how it is pronounced, how words, phrases, and sentences are formed, how it is acquired by children, how it is used in social context, how English varies in different parts of the English-speaking world, and how it has changed, and continues to change, over time.

British Studies is designed to make the student conversant with the literary tradition of Great Britain, as well as provide them with the variegated social, cultural, and historical contexts for each work. The course articulates four overarching themes – War, Death, and Heroism; Sex, Relationships, and Gender Roles; Dream, Prophecy, and Vision; Monarchy, Democracy, and Empire – to unify course content, encourage development of an historical consciousness, and provide specific critical entries into each work. In addition, the student will be introduced to a selection of current British young-adult fiction placed in a critical and didactic context. A one-week stay at the Norwegian Study Centre in York, England, is a feature of this course.

Research and Writing is a course designed to acquaint the student with scholarly research methods, as well as familiarize them with the proper format for persuasively and elegant scholarly writing in the humanities. A major part of the course will be spent on an introduction to current thought in Critical Theory. In order to facilitate the development of graceful written English, the course presents a selection of various literary and scholarly texts as models and starting points for critical reflection.  

American Studies is designed to make the student conversant with the canonical literary tradition of the United States, as well as provide them with the variegated social, cultural, and historical contexts for each work. The course articulates four overarching themes – Frontier, Space and Wilderness; Hope, Struggle, and Transformation; Race, Rights, and Inequalities; and Markets, Materialism, and Money. In addition, the student will be introduced to a wide selection of American young-adult fiction placed in a critical and didactic context.

Year Two

American Fiction since 1945 is an in-depth review and examination of central works of American literature in the period from the end of WWII until the present day. By focusing on a large selection of writings in several prose genres, as well as related secondary criticism, students will gain new appreciation for key writers as well as a clearer understanding of their place in the emergent canon of American literature. The course includes texts by, among others in rotation, Flannery O’Connor, Paul Auster, Ursula K. LeGuin, David Foster Wallace, and Alison Bechdel.  

Language is a raw material for certain kinds of human play and art, from the invention of sound symbolic words and language games, to the sophisticated verse and narrative forms of epic poetry. This course introduces the study linguistic poetics and semiotics articulated by the Russian linguist and literary scholar Roman Jakobson, and follows the main lines of its development and interaction with other approaches in Europe and the US to the present day, examining the nature of literary language and linguistic form, performance, figures of language (e.g. rhyme, alliteration, parallelism), figures of thought (e.g. irony, metonymy, metaphor), the relation between meter and song, and the linguist structure of narrative.

The aim of Exam Philosophicum NOVO is to give the students an introduction to some of the key ideas, concepts and theories of Western philosophy. Philosophical traditions linked to non-European cultures are drawn on and illuminated to provide a basis for a better understanding of global similarities and differences. Understanding the relationship between philosophy, art and science has a central place in the course. With roots in philosophical knowledge and its methods the students develop competence in dealing with current national and global issues relating to politics, the environment, community, media and religion. By working with the curriculum in Examen Philosophicum NOVO the students will develop theoretical knowledge, practical skills and the critical reflection necessary to understand inter-disciplinary and cross-cultural issues.

The course will provide a basis for professional methodological competence in relation to English education. The academic content is situated within current pedagogical and social understandings of seven central curricular focus areas for the subject of English, which are language learning, oral communication, written communication, culture competence, digital competence, trade/international-English learning, and differentiated English learning for varied student needs. A selection of youth and contemporary literature in various genres is also used as a starting point for work with a variety of teaching methods and as inspiration for relevant discussions.

This course is an independent study, directed and advised by a member of the English teaching faculty or another qualified faculty member appointed by the study program coordinator, in which the student, pursuing an original line of inquiry and drawing extensively on primary and secondary sources, will produce an individually written, high-level scholarly paper conforming to the requirements of academic research in the discipline. The completion of this thesis and all component assignments is a requirement for the Bachelor of English degree. 

Year Three

The aim of this course is to explore the relationship between literature, literary theory, and philosophy with especial emphasis on developments in the 20th century. The course will address the question of the relationship between philosophy and literature at a deeper level and in this sense will involve a normative discussion, not of how philosophy and literature have interacted but how they should. The course will also examine some of the major schools of philosophical thought that have shaped literature and literary theory in the foregoing century and the way these lines of influence have evolved and manifested themselves. Among these schools of thought are deconstructionism, Marxism, and psychoanalysis. 

The epic poem is a foundational genre that not only reflects, but also speaks for the cultures in which it was produced; Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey have been both reference points for and challenges to later writers across genres. In the face of the wide-ranging societal changes that followed from various modernizing processes, twentieth-century poets sought to revisit and remake the form, and this course seeks to explore what modern writers were attracted to in these foundational texts and how ideas of gender, empire and nation shaped these re-writings. Students go on to consider the revival of oral traditions in recent poetry, the modern revisiting of the classical past, and the idea of the postcolonial epic. Students will have the opportunity to make wide-ranging comparisons between the texts discussed and to develop strategies for reading these open-ended, reflective works.

In Literature and Environmental Catastrophe, students will read, analyze, discuss, and write about literary representations of natural disasters, environmental catastrophes, and extreme climatological phenomena. Engaging with accounts (both fiction and non-fiction) of these transformative events, students will develop an understanding not only of how narrative can articulate causation and agency, but also how stories can negotiate the (often violent) relationship between humankind and the natural world.

Shakespeare and His World is an in-depth review and examination of Shakespeare’s plays and their context. The students will read an extensive selection of plays and secondary literature.

Crime Fiction is an in-depth review and examination of one of the most compelling genres of American and British literature, and one which maintains significant worldwide interest and is an important part of the Scandinavian cultural landscape. By focusing on the origin of crime stories, and the development of the genre throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and into the present, with biographical, historical, and critical connections made between the authors and their work, students gain new appreciation for the crime genre, and a greater understanding of how crime and detection serve as important social and philosophical metaphors for our darker impulses, and our simultaneous desire to understand and control these. The course includes texts by, among others in rotation, Edgar Allan Poe, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, Patricia Highsmith, and Louise Erdrich.  

The course provides an introduction to Old English in its historical context. We examine the reasons behind the Anglo-Saxon settlement of the former Roman province of Britannia, the factors behind the emergence of England as a nation under King Alfred, and the nature of Anglo-Saxon England’s complex relations to Scandinavia, France and Normandy. By working through a series of original texts in Old English, students acquire knowledge of sound structure and pronunciation, spelling, vocabulary, and the principles of word formation and sentence construction.

International Exchange Opportunities

Students of English are, by definition, interested in the larger world and in learning more about other peoples and cultures. In cooperation with the Norwegian Study Centre at the University of York, BAENG students have the chance for a week-long study trip to England, where they will learn about diverse themes from experienced UK lecturers, both inside and outside of the classroom. We also encourage all qualified third-year BAENG students to consider a semester or year-long exchange. Our international exchange partners include Augustana University (USA), University of York (UK) and Ryukoku University and Gakushuin University (Japan), as well as various Erasmus+ and consortium agreements. Students can visit the Nord University exchange website for more information or can contact International Coordinator Charlotta Langejan.