BA English Studies (4 yr)

Bhutan's First and Only A+ Accredited Institution      Inspiring Education in Bhutan

Update 2022: New admissions will be for the updated 4-yr programme starting July 2022

The BA programme in English Studies is a single-major undergraduate degree programme designed to provide students with a thorough knowledge of global literature in English and related issues and debates, a flavour of emerging literature by Bhutanese writers, and a solid grounding in communication skills using English as the medium. The literature section of the programme is supplemented by modules addressing the English language and journalism, as well as the core competencies modules common to single-major programmes at Royal Thimphu College.

The Programme seeks to develop students’ appreciation of Literature on multiple levels and aims to encourage students’ thoughtful engagement with important issues and questions raised by the world’s great literature. Engagement with these issues will equip students to be active participants in a democratic society and in a country that is rapidly developing links with the rest of the world. As such, Literature modules form the most substantial portion of the programme. These are intended to provide students with a grounding in the works of key authors as well as important genres and themes in English literature, and selected world literature in translation, throughout history. The curriculum is designed to give students a broad foundational knowledge of historical developments in literature, as well as the opportunity for an in-depth study of significant authors, events, and topics. Moreover, it provides ample opportunities for students to engage in debates around literature that are relevant to the present day.

The Programme, with its combination of Literature and Language modules, aims to enhance students’ ability to read and think critically, and to engage in meaningful communication and dialogue about substantive topics in civic, academic and professional contexts. The study of literature is supported by the language and journalism portions of the programme. These modules build on the core competency language modules which address the four key skills - reading, writing, listening and speaking – in an academic setting. The language and journalism modules give students the opportunity to develop their written and oral English skills, with a view to employment in creative areas (e.g. writing), media settings (e.g., journalism and freelancing), education, business (e.g. human resource officer, programme officer, entrepreneurship, advertising and marketing, and content writing), or government, public policy and advocacy. Moreover, the programme will also provide a sound foundation for those students wishing to pursue higher studies in the fields of literature, English language, media, and cultural studies.

In addition to the subject-specific components of the programme, it is also designed to develop students’ critical thinking skills and their potential to participate in meaningful and productive dialogue at an international standard in academic, professional and civic contexts. Throughout the programme, students will be trained to listen and read carefully, to think critically and independently, and to express their ideas and thoughts clearly in speech and writing. Students will also be nurtured to be conscientious and responsible individuals who develop an awareness of the wealth of their culture and community, and thereby seek to preserve and contribute to it.

Specific Objectives

Upon successful completion of the programme, graduates should be able to:

  1. Write analytically on literature from a broad range of locations and periods.
  2. Discuss literature sensitively and in-depth from a variety of theoretical perspectives.
  3. Appraise texts from a range of sources, including written literature, and media.
  4. Apply their knowledge of literature, its background and contexts, and related debates, to issues of civic life and government as required by their roles as citizens and employees.
  5. Apply theoretical and critical arguments to contemporary debates on literary, social and cultural issues.
  6. Express themselves creatively in both written and spoken English.
  7. Apply basic skills in journalism to write articles.
  8. Employ written and spoken English to communicate effectively in civic, academic and professional situations, and in international contexts if necessary.
  9. Research sources independently using both print and electronic materials.
  10. Write independently and at length, taking and arguing a position on complex and sensitive issues.
  11. Synthesise information from a variety of literary, critical, and theoretical sources.
  12. Create objectives for and design a project, and work towards the completion of those objectives in a timely and organised manner.
  13. Identify their own areas of strength and present themselves effectively for employment.
  14. Work effectively in groups or teams as well as lead them.

Programme Handbook - see complete programme details here

Curriculum Structure and Map

1 I


Life in Verse: Themes in Contemporary Poetry


The Craft of the Short Story


Contemporary Bhutanese Writings in English


Grammar, Vocabulary and Phonology in Context


Personal Development



The Social and Literary Context: Anglo-Saxon to Restoration Period


Myths, Morals, and Memory: Folk Literature



The History of the Future: Science Fiction


Academic Skills


IT and Basic Problem Solving




The Evolution of the Novel: From Origins to Realism


Classical Greek Drama to The Theatre of Ideas


The Social and Literary Context: 18th to 20th Century Literature


Basic Journalism


Dzongkha Communication>



The Evolution of the Novel: From Modernism to Postmodernism


From Stage to Void: 20th Century Drama


Imitation, Imagination, and Tradition: Literary Theory & Criticism I


Creative Writing


Analytical Skills




The Empire Writes Back: Postcolonial Literature


The Shattered Mirror: Modernist Literature


From Sonnet to Song: Understanding Poetry


20th Century‘isms’:  Literary Theory & Criticism II


English Project  I



Language and the Power of Ideas


Women’s Writings


House of Mirrors: Postmodernist Literature


English for Professional Communications


English Project II

All modules comprise 12 credits. Core competencies modules are shown in grey. There are no elective modules in this programme. Twenty-four modules are literature/language-based modules, and the remaining six are core competency modules.

Classification/breakdown of the curriculum into broad component categories

CategoryModules% of curriculum
Core English literature subject modules LIT101, LIT102, LIT103, LIT104, LIT105, LIT106, LIT207, LIT208, LIT209, LIT210, LIT211, LIT212, LIT313, LIT314, LIT315, LIT316, LIT317, LIT318 18/30 = 60%
English language and communication subject modules LAN202, LAN203, LAN304, LAN305 4/30 = 13.3%
English Project modules ENP301, ENP302 2/30 = 6.7%
Core competencies LAN101, ACS101, PRD101, DZG101, IPS101, ANS101 6/30 = 20%


Recommended books for 1st semester modules:
LIT101 Abrams, M.H. (2003). A Glossary of Literary Terms. Singapore: Thomson Asia.
LIT101 Acharya, G. (2011). Dancing to Death. Thimphu
LIT102 Choden, K. (2004). Tales in Colour and other stories. Zubaan Books: New Delhi
LIT102 Rushdie, S. (1991). ‘The Shah of Blah’. Haroun and the Sea of Stories. Pp 13 – 27. New Delhi: Penguin Books
LIT103 Choden, K. (2005). The Circle of Karma. Penguin Global.
LIT103 Dorji, K. (2008). The Realm of Happiness. Thimphu: Siok Sian Pek-Dorji.
LIT103 Powdyel, T.S. (2015). ‘Lest We Cross the Threshold’ in The Right of Vision and Occasional Views. New Delhi: Omega Traders.
LIT103 Ura, K. (2011). The Ballad of Pemi Tshewang Tashi. The Centre for Bhutan Studies.
PRD101 Arora, A. (2010). Meet Your Soul. Gyan Publisher.
PRD101 Khyentse, J. (2012). Not for Happiness. Sambhala.
PRD101 Covey, Stephen. R. (2013). The 7 habits of highly effective people. Simon & Schuster; Anniversary Edition ed.
PRD101 De Bono, E. (2009). Think! Before It's Too Late. Ebury Publishing
LAN101 Hacker, D. (2010). A Writer’s Reference, 7th Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's.           
LAN101 Paterson, K. and Wedge, R. (2013). Oxford Grammar for EAP. Oxford University Press.
LAN101 Schmitt, D. and Schmitt, N. (2011). Focus on Vocabulary 2: Mastering the Academic Word List (2nd Ed.). Pearson Education.
LAN101 Jones, D. (2014). Cambridge Pronouncing Dictionary. Cambridge University Press.
LAN101 Hornby, A.S. (2013). Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. Oxford University Press.