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BA (Hons) English for Literature

BA (Hons) English

BA (Hons) Englishis offered in 46 colleges in Delhi University of which 17 will admit students through the Common Aptitude Test for English (CATE). English (honours) has been a favourite with those who are fond of reading and also those who have a flair for writing. But often, teachers say, aspirants mistake the course, which is all about ancient and contemporary literature, for an English language course.


Right aptitude and an aggregate between 70% and a little over 90% can get you admission in BA (honours) English. For the Common Aptitude Test for English colleges, a best of four of 60% and the same in English is the basic requirement to apply for the entrance. ‘‘Students often assume that studying English will groom them. But the course is not about spoken English. It’s for only those who have a love for literature or an inclination towards it,’’ said Ira Pandit, associate professor, department of English, Daulat Ram College. The highest first cut-off last year was 91% in Lady Shri Ram College, Kirori Mal College and SGND Khalsa College while the lowest was 70% in Moti Lal Nehru College (evening). The cut-offs in CATE colleges — announced on the basis of Common Aptitude Test for English scores as well as CBSE marks — figured in the eighties. The cut-offs in the 12 colleges which switched to Common Aptitude Test for English last year came down drastically as compared to previous years. For instance, the first cutoff for English (honours) in Hindu in 2008 was 90-98% whereas in 2009 (based on Common Aptitude Test for English score and CBSE marks) it came down to 81.28%. Twelve colleges had participated in Common Aptitude Test for English last year but the number has increased to 17. This time LSR, Miranda House and Hindu will also accept Common Aptitude Test for English scores. The forms will be available at all 17 colleges from May 20 to 31. The entrance test will be held on June 9. Students can apply in Common Aptitude Test for English colleges as well as other colleges, which take candidates directly through cut-offs.


The course had two papers in the first and second year each, three in the final year with two optional papers. The course was revised around three years ago. It begins with canonical writers like Shakespeare, Victorian poets in one paper and contemporary Indian writing in the second. ‘‘Students even get to read Amitav Ghosh and also the English translation of regional literature. In the second year, we have Greek literature, feminist plays and portions from Mahabharata and Shakuntalam,’’ Pandit said. She added that students can score in 60s, which is good, if they study the text well.

Future Prospects

Pandit feels studying literature gives a perceptive eye and indepth reading helps develop a flair for writing. This is perhaps why many students of English (honours) go on to pursue journalism or mass communication. ‘‘Students of English have a range of opportunities once they graduate. Besides media, they can also go for civil services, advertising and of course teaching. Many of our students have joined publishing houses in the past. There is a world of opportunities waiting for them. You just need an aptitude for English,’’ Pandit said. Many who are interested in academics or teaching go for higher studies and research in English. But for those who want to work right after graduation, jobs like content creation, accent training in BPOs and translation are some options. TOI