History and East European Cultural Studies BA


Fact file - 2017 entry

UCAS code:VRD7
Qualification:BA Jt Hons
Type and duration:3 year UG
Qualification name:History and East European Cultural Studies
UCAS code
UCAS code
History and East European Cultural Studies | BA Jt Hons
3 years full-time (available part-time)
A level offer
Required subjects
B in History at A level
IB score
32 (5 in history at Higher Level) 
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places


This course provides the opportunity combine your interests in history with a focus on Eastern Europe, and in particular the vibrant and dynamic cultures of Russia and Southeast Europe.
Read full overview

This three-year degree is aimed at students who wish to combine their interests in history with a focus on Eastern Europe, and in particular the vibrant and dynamic cultures of Russia and Southeast Europe.

In history you will be able to choose from an extensive range of modules, including options in Russian and Eastern European history. In the East European cultural studies part of your degree you will study the societies, histories, politics and cultures of the territory of Eastern Europe and Russia from the Byzantine period to the 21st century, beginning with modules that approach study of these cultures at introductory level, and specialising as your studies progress. Optional modules include topics in the literature, cinema, popular culture and history of Russia and South-East Europe, with a particular focus on the region that was formerly Yugoslavia. If you wish, you may study a Slavonic language: Russian, Serbian/Croatian or Slovene are all offered from beginners’ level. Language study is optional and this degree does not include a year abroad.

By the end of your course you will have acquired a breadth of knowledge across the periods of history you have chosen to study, as well as a thorough grounding in the techniques and theories used by historians. You will also offer specialist knowledge of the histories and cultures of Russia and South-East Europe, which are increasingly important contexts for international diplomacy, politics and business. Your transferable skills will include the ability to plan and carry out research, to analyse texts and other information critically and to communicate and present ideas effectively. You may also be able to offer expertise in a less widely taught language.

Year one 

In History, you will take the core module Learning History which introduces you to the skills and methodologies of historical research, together with modules from the early medieval period to the 20th century. In East European Cultural Studies you will take Nation, Myth, Identity, a core module introducing key issues and concepts in the study of Russian and Slavonic cultures, histories and literatures, as well as selecting from a range of further introductory modules. You may choose to begin learning Russian, Serbian/Croatian or Slovene.

Year two

The core element in History is provided by the module The Contemporary World since 1945, which explores key historical debates concerning the immediate origins of the world in which we now live. In addition you will be able to select more specific optional modules from an extensive menu, covering an extremely wide chronological and geographical range.

The range of options in East European Cultural Studies at this level includes a broad coverage of cultural studies, literature and history. You will also be able to start or continue with the study of Russian, Serbian/Croatian or Slovene.

Year three

In History you will select a Special Subject as well as selecting from a wide range of specialist optional modules. In East European Cultural Studies you will be encouraged to specialise in subjects of particular interest to you. You may also continue your study of the Slavonic language you began in Year One or Year Two, and/or take a fast-track module in Serbian/Croatian or Slovene.

More information 

See also the Department of History.


Entry requirements

A levels: ABB, including B in history at A level

English language requirements 

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

Students who require extra support to meet the English language requirements for their academic course can attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education (CELE) to prepare for their future studies.

Students who pass at the required level can progress directly to their academic programme without needing to retake IELTS.

Please visit the CELE webpages for more information.

Alternative requirements 

We recognise that potential students have a wealth of different experiences and follow a variety of pathways into higher education, so we treat applicants with alternative qualifications (besides A-levels and the International Baccalaureate) as individuals, and accept students with a range of less conventional qualifications including:

  • Access to HE Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma
  • BTEC Extended Diploma

This list is not exhaustive, and we consider applicants with other qualifications on an individual basis. The entry requirements for alternative qualifications can be quite specific; for example you may need to take certain modules and achieve a specified grade in those modules. Please contact us to discuss the transferability of your qualification.

For more information, please see the alternative qualifications page.

Flexible admissions policy 

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, The University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.  


Typical Year One Modules


Learning History
This module will provide you with the learning skills necessary to make the most of your studies in history. You will be introduced to different approaches in the study of history as well as to different understandings of what history is for. The module aims to encourage more effective learning, bridge the transition from school or college to university, prepare you for more advanced work in the discipline, and enhance the skills listed. You will spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.
Nation, Myth, Identity: Introduction to Russian and Slavonic Studies

This module introduces students to important areas and topics in Russian and Slavonic Studies, examining important aspects of the histories and cultures of the region, as well as aspects of the languages, cultures and literary traditions. You will learn to analyse a wide range of cultural phenomena, including pictures, music, film, literary texts and other kinds of written sources.




Modern Russian Literature: Texts, Contexts, Approaches

This module introduces the main developments in Russian literature of the 19th and 20th centuries through study of texts by important writers such as Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Zamiatin, Bulgakov, Akhmatova and Petrushevskaia. You will learn skills for analysing and discussing literary texts, whether prose, poetry or drama, as well as insights into the historical and political evolution of Russia during this period.

The Clash of Empires: Introduction to Balkan Cultural Identities
This module introduces you to the cultural history of the South Slavs and the legacy of great empires such as the Ottomans, and the Habsburgs on the Balkan peninsula. By focusing on the visual cultures of the three key religious traditions – Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Islamic – the module explores the common features and differences in alphabet, architecture, sculpture and painting across the region. You will learn how living under empires informed the self-understanding of Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks and other South Slav nations.
From Tsarism to Communism: Introduction to Russian History and Culture
This module introduces you to the development of Russian history and culture, starting with the reign of Peter the Great (1682-1725), following the development of Russia into a modern state through to the end of the 19th century, and ending with a survey of the Bolshevik Revolution and the Soviet period (1917-1991). Alongside the history of Russia, you will study aspects of Russian culture relevant to different periods of its history (such as painting, architecture, music, folklore and religious beliefs).You will have three hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Introduction to the Medieval World, 500-1500
This module provides an introduction to medieval European history in the period 500-1500. It offers a fresh and stimulating approach to the major forces instrumental in the shaping of politics, society and culture in Europe. Through a series of thematically linked lectures and seminars, you will be introduced to key factors determining changes in the European experience over time, as well as important continuities linking the period as a whole. Amongst the topics to be considered are: political structures and organization; social and economic life and cultural developments. You will have a one hour lecture and one hour seminar each week.
From Reformation to Revolution: An Introduction to Early Modern History, 1500-1789
This module introduces you to major issues in the social, political and cultural history of Europe in the early modern period by analysing demographic, religious, social and cultural changes that took place between 1500 and 1789. You’ll examine the tensions produced by warfare, religious conflict, the changing relationships between rulers, subjects and political elites, trends in socio-economic development and the discovery of the ‘New World’ spending two hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Roads to Modernity: An Introduction to Modern History, 1789-1945
In the first semester the module provides a chronology of modern history from c.1789-1945 which concentrates principally on key political developments in European and global history such as the French Revolution, the expansion of the European empires and the two World Wars. The second semester will look more broadly at economic, social and cultural issues, such as industrialisation, urbanisation, changing artistic forms and ideological transformations in order to consider the nature of modernity. You’ll spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars.



Typical Year Two Modules


The Contemporary World since 1945
The module surveys and analyses some of the main developments in world affairs since the end of the Second World War. This includes major international events, particularly the course and aftermath of the Cold War, as well as national and regional histories, especially in Europe, East Asia and the Middle East and political and social movements. Attention is paid to political, economic and social forces spending five hours per week in lectures and seminars.



Screening Russia: Film and Society from the Tsars to Putin

In this module you will acquire an in-depth understanding of developments in Russian society and culture as reflected in popular and influential films from the period 1900 to 2010. You’ll examine how films are constructed technically and develop skills in analysing cinema in its historical and social contexts. You’ll spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Repression and Resistance: Dissidents and Exiles in Russian Culture
This module provides you with an introduction to the themes of dissidence and exile, central notions in Russian literature, culture and thinking, using the examples of the life and work of four major Russian writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Nabokov, Bulgakov). You will learn the theory of different literary forms (verse narrative, novel, short story and drama).
The World of Orthodox Sainthood

You’ll gain an understanding of the growth and development of the cult of saints in the Eastern Christian world in the context of the history and culture of late antiquity and the middle ages. In particular, you’ll learn to interpret original written sources and icons and will master the basic tools for conducting research in the field, spending around three hours in lectures and seminars each week. 

Serbian and Croatian Literature

You’ll examine major literary movements in Serbia and Croatia during the 20th century, from Modernism to the socially engaged literature of the 1930s, Socialist Realism, literary politics under the Communists in Yugoslavia and the emergence of critical literature in the 1980s and 1990s. You’ll also undertake a textual analysis of representative works from 20th century literature; for example, works by Milos Crnjanski, Ivo Andrić, Miroslav Krleža, Danilo Kiš and Slobodan Selenić. You’ll spend around two hours per week studying in lectures and seminars.

History of Yugoslavia and Successor States since 1941 

The aim of this module is to examine developments in the political, social and diplomatic history of Yugoslavia after 1941 leading towards an understanding of the reasons behind the collapse of the country and subsequent violence in the 1990s. You’ll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.

The Crusaders
This module addresses evidence for crusader motivation and experience through sources relating to crusading activity in Europe and the Middle East from the late eleventh century to the mid-13th century. It seeks to understand how crusaders saw themselves and their enemies, their experiences and activity on crusade and as settlers, and how this horrifying yet enduringly fascinating process has been interpreted historically. You’ll have five hours per week in lectures and seminars.
De-industrialisation: A Social and Cultural History, 1970-1990
This module examines the social and cultural impact of economic change in three traditional industrial regions in the UK, Germany and the US in the 1970s and 1980s. It takes thematic approaches, exploring topics including: overlaps and differences between Contemporary History and the Social Sciences; change and decline in traditional industries such as coal, steel and shipbuilding; political responses to industrial change, with a particular focus on industrial conflict over closures, among others. You’ll spend four hours per week in lecture and seminars.
Soviet State and Society
This module examines political, social and economic transformations in the Soviet Union from the October Revolution of 1917 to Gorbachev’s attempted reforms and the collapse of the state in 1991. You’ll look at Russia both from the top down (state-building strategies; leadership and regime change, economic and social policy formulation and implementation) and from the bottom up (societal developments and the changing structures and practices of everyday life). You’ll spend four hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Race, Rights and Propaganda: The Superpowers, the Cold War, and the Politics of Racial Identity, 1945-89
The Cold War was a conflict defined as much by intellectual and cultural struggle as by conventional military means, diplomacy, or realpolitik. Conceptions of race and identity were by no means immune from this, but heavily disputed and contested in the political environment of the Cold War. This module examines how the two superpowers dealt with issues of race and identity during the Cold War years, confronting questions and challenges from both within their own borders (and each other’s) and in several theatres of superpower conflict – including the Middle East, East Asia and post-colonial Africa. You’ll spend four hours per week in lectures and seminars.

Typical Year Three Modules
Myths and Memories: Histories of Russia’s Second World War
This module introduces you to the construction of national and collective memory of the Second World War in Soviet and Russian culture and society. You’ll focus on contemporary and subsequent artistic and social responses to the experience of war, but also look at individual acts of remembering (diaries, reports, letters) in the context of a wider cultural memory. The module is conducted in English and you’ll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars. 
The History of the Byzantine Empire, 300-1453
This module offers advanced study of the history of the Byzantine Empire from the reign of Constantine I to the fall of Constantinople. The course is structured chronologically, focussing on particular themes for each period: religion and heresy in late antiquity; warfare and the arts in middle Byzantium; and politics and international relations in late Byzantium. In an average week you’ll spend around three hours in lectures and seminars on this module.
From Racial State to Reconstruction: Women and Gender Relations in Germany, 1939-45
This module adopts a perspective of women´s and gender history to explore the history of Germany in the period from the beginning of the National Socialist dictatorship up to the division of Germany into two post-war states in 1949. It will examine National Socialist discourses, policies and practices in relation to women and gender relations by drawing on records of public authorities and institutions concerned with educating and training the female population in line with Nazi precepts, mobilizing labour for the Nazi war economy, sustaining home front morale, and combating 'threats to the race'. You’ll have a weekly three hour seminar to study for this module.
Italy at War, 1935-45
Spending three hours per week in seminars and tutorials, you will be given a framework to understand the experience of Italians (and to a lesser degree their enemies, allies, and collaborators) during the military conflicts in the long decade 1935–45, as well as knowledge of the background factors that shaped these experiences.
The Missing Dimension: Intelligence and International history in the 20th Century
The history of secret intelligence was once called the ‘missing dimension’ in the study of politics and international relations. Today, it has established itself as a separate field of historical enquiry. This module will examine how the study of secret intelligence has informed and sometimes even altered our understanding of some of the major political and international crises of the 20th century. You will spend three hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.
East European and Balkan Cultural Studies

The module examines issues covering the division of Europe into East and West, the West’s construction of Russian, East European and Balkan identities in its own imagination, relations between dominant and subordinate cultures in Europe, and theoretical frameworks in which to examine intercultural relations (semiotics, orientalism). You will examine examples of such constructions in travelogues, popular fiction, film and journalism. The module also includes study of the influence of such largely negative views on identity formation within Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

The Petersburg Text
Through three hours of lectures and seminars each week, you’ll undertake an in-depth analysis of the Russian imperial capital, St Petersburg and its artistic representations. You will study the development of the image of St Petersburg in Russian poetry (Pushkin, Blok, Akhmatova, Mandelshtam) and prose (Gogol, Dostoevsky, Bely, Bitov) of both the 19th and 20th centuries. You’ll also be given a historical overview of the evolution of the legend of St Petersburg, its representations in folklore, and readings of its urban landscape.
Serbian and Croatian Cinema
Developing your ability in addressing the study of cinema, this module examines the ways in which themes, motifs and narrative structures of films combine to produce semantically complex interfaces through which they also reflect the cultural circumstances of their production. In an average week you’ll spend around six hours in lectures, seminars and film viewings.



The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. The above list is a sample of typical modules we offer, not a definitive list.



By the end of this course you will have developed a variety of transferable skills including the ability to communicate effectively, study independently, and to develop a coherent argument. You will have both broad and specialist understanding of Russian and Eastern European histories, cultures and societies. If you have chosen to study a Slavonic language, you will have achieved a foundation knowledge, desirable to employers. You will have a sound understanding of the theories and techniques used by historians and will have experience of undertaking in-depth work with primary sources.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2014, 86% of first-degree graduates in the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £23,375 with the highest being £50,000.*

In 2014, 95% of first-degree graduates in the Department of History who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £22,221 with the highest being £40,000.*

* Known destinations of full-time home and EU first-degree graduates, 2013/14.

Careers Support and Advice

Studying for a degree at The University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our Careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.  

The University of Nottingham is the best university in the UK for graduate employment, according to the 2017 The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide.



Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

The University of Nottingham provides information and advice on financing your degree and managing your finances as an international student. The International Office offers a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees.


Related courses

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This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

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