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Course overview

This course welcomes the curious. If you are fascinated by ancient civilisations and how they helped shape the modern world, this is the choice for you.

We will combine studying the literature, history, art and culture of ancient Greece and Rome with English language, literature and drama from Old English to the present day. You’ll explore different aspects of ancient society, choosing modules ranging from the Aeneid to ancient novels, religion, violence, comedy, animals and citizenship, as well as Classics on film or on the modern stage. You can also choose to study ancient Greek or Latin at any level as part of this course.

In English, you’ll choose modules from applied linguistics, drama, and literature from 1500 to today, exploring the beginnings of modern literature including novels, poetry and plays.

Why choose this course?

  • Join the Classics and Archaeology societies and explore the ancient sites of Greece and Rome during their annual trip
  • Unleash your creativity in a UNESCO City of Literature, with opportunities both on campus and in the city
  • Put your English skills into practice and join Impact Magazine, the Creative Writing Society, or the Words on Words blog
  • Benefit from skills development in both Classics and English. Each subject is taught separately, but you can choose a common theme for your final year dissertation

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2021 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level offer AAB including an A in English
Required subjects

A in English literature or language (or combined) at A level

IB score IB score of 34-32, with 6 in English at Higher Level

GCSE at 4 (C) or above in English

No previous knowledge of the ancient world or ancient languages is required, and the study of Greek or Latin is not compulsory, but is optional as part of this course.

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

If you have already achieved your EPQ at Grade A you will automatically be offered one grade lower in a non-mandatory A level subject.

If you are still studying for your EPQ you will receive the standard course offer, with a condition of one grade lower in a non-mandatory A level subject if you achieve an A grade in your EPQ.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

When you begin studying at University, you will probably find that you cover material much more quickly than you did while studying for your A-levels. The key to success is preparing well for classes and then taking the ideas you encounter further in your own time.

Lectures - provide an overview of what you are studying, using a variety of audio and visual materials to support your learning.  

Seminars and workshops - give you the chance to explore and interact with the material presented in lectures in a friendly and informal environment. You will be taught in a smaller group of students, with discussion focusing on a text or topic you've previously prepared.

Tutorials - individual and small-group tutorials let you explore your work with your module tutor, perhaps discussing plans for an essay or presentation, or following up on an area of a module which has interested you.

eLearning - our virtual-learning system, Moodle, offers 24-hour access to teaching materials and resources.

Teaching methods

  • Field trips
  • Lab sessions
  • Lectures
  • Practical classes
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Placements
  • Workshops

How you will be assessed

As part of the ‘Communicating the Past’ module, students can produce assessed creative writing projects or other formats (e.g. exhibitions, video, blogs, scripts, teaching plans) to engage different audiences about the ancient world.

Assessment methods

  • Commentary
  • Dissertation
  • Essay
  • In-class test
  • Portfolio (written/digital)
  • Presentation
  • Reflective review
  • Written exam

Contact time and study hours

You’ll have at least nine hours of timetabled contact a week (during first year). The rest of the time is yours to carry out independent work. This may mean time spent in the library, doing preparation work for seminars, reading books and journal articles from the reading list and researching your assignments. 

Your lecturers will also be available during their office hours to discuss issues and develop your understanding.You will have a personal tutor from the School of English and a joint honours adviser from the Classics Department.

Study abroad

  • Explore the world, experience different cultures and gain valuable life skills by studying abroad
  • Options range from short summer schools, a single semester to a whole year abroad
  • Language support is available through our Language Centre
  • Boost your CV for prospective employers

See our study abroad pages for full information

Placements

Work experience gives you the skills and experience that will allow you to stand out to potential employers and is a crucial part of becoming 'workplace-ready'.

You will have access to a range of bespoke placement opportunities applicable to the skills you acquire as an English and Classics student. We work closely with you to find placements to accommodate your interests. In addition, you will be able to take part in volunteering and employability schemes, including the Nottingham Advantage Award.

Classics have an optional Work Placement module, for second year students.

Impact of the Coronavirus on work placements, field trips and volunteering

We work with a range of organisations to provide work placements, field trips and volunteer opportunities. As you'll appreciate they are all disrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

We expect opportunities to run as usual from the academic year 2021/22 but this cannot be guaranteed. We will do our best to arrange suitable activities as previous students always tell us how much they appreciate these opportunities.

Why study more than one subject?

Watch our animation about studying a joint honours degree with us.

Modules

Classics

You'll study two core modules, introducing the history and culture of Greece and Rome, and modules on ancient literature, history, or art and archaeology.

English

You'll choose three core modules from:

  • English language and applied linguistics
  • English literature 1500 to the present
  • Medieval languages and literatures
  • Drama and performance

Core classics modules

Studying the Greek World
This module provides a wide ranging interdisciplinary introduction to the history, literature and art of the Greek World from c.1600-31 BC; that is from the Bronze Age to becoming part of the Roman Empire. As well as examining all the major chapters of Greece's history from the Mycenaean Period and the Dark Ages, to the rise of the polis in the Archaic period, to the height of Greek civilisation in the Classical and Hellenistic periods, and finally its conquest and absorption into the Roman Empire, it also explores synchronous developments in Greek literary and artistic culture, and considers aspects of the reception of ancient Greece in modern western culture. This module will also examine the relationship of the Greek world to the Roman World, and will be complemented by the Spring semester module Studying the Roman World. No prior knowledge of the Greek world is assumed.
Studying the Roman World
This module provides a wide-ranging interdisciplinary introduction to the history, literature and art of the Roman world from the beginnings of the city of Rome to the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. As well as examining all the major chapters of Rome's history such as the Roman Republic, the rise of the empire, the establishment of the Principate, and the fall of Rome, it also explores synchronous developments in Roman literary and artistic culture, and considers aspects of the reception of ancient Rome in modern western culture. This module will also examine the relationship of the Roman world to the Greek world, and will complement the Autumn semester module Studying the Greek World by continuing training in a number of basic study skills. No prior knowledge of the Roman world is assumed. 

And either two of the following:

Interpreting Ancient Literature
This module will introduce students to the interpretation of ancient literary texts (in translation) as sources for ancient culture, by focusing on a representative range of texts and themes. The module will address issues such as ancient performance-contexts and audiences, the workings of genres, analysis of rhetoric and literary style, representations of gender and sexuality, study of classical reception, and how to compare translations. The focus will be on Greek texts in autumn and Latin texts in spring.
Interpreting Ancient History
This full-year module is devoted specifically to the history of the ancient world, and investigates some of its major themes and approaches through a series of historical case studies. The range of topics introduces students to important historical issues from the major periods of Greek and Roman history, with an emphasis on the methodological questions raised by the relevant ancient source material and on the modern debates about those issues. As a result, students should gain a more detailed knowledge of important topics in ancient history, a clearer understanding of the evidential basis on which ancient historians rely, and some appreciation of how contemporary preoccupations can influence the perspectives of modern practitioners of the discipline and generate vigorous debate between them.
Interpreting Ancient Art and Archaeology
This module explores Greek and Roman art in detail and it aims is to give students a broad overview of visual material from classical antiquity, whilst concentrating on a cross-section of the most famous and talked about objects and monuments of Greek and Roman culture. More specifically, it offers an introduction to sculpture in the public and private sphere, vase-painting, numismatics, architecture and urban structures from 8th century BC Greece to the 4th century AD Rome. The module covers the Greek world in Autumn and the Roman world in Spring. Rather than proceeding chronologically, the material is organised by themes and media, starting with topography, then sculpture, vase painting etc. This is meant to give students a grasp of formal and stylistic developments within each of these media through the centuries, along with the meanings attached to them.

Or, if you would like to learn an ancient language, one of the following:

Beginners Latin: 1
This module provides an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of Latin; no previous knowledge is assumed. Emphasis is placed on acquiring the ability to analyse and understand basic Latin sentences and short passages.
Beginners Greek: 1
This module provides an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of classical Greek; no previous knowledge is assumed. Emphasis is placed on acquiring the ability to read Greek; the basis of the course is the study and translation of passages adapted from classical Greek texts.
Greek Texts: 1
This module studies a Greek literary text and begins the systematic revision of grammar to be completed in Greek Texts: 2. The module reinforces students' knowledge of the Greek language and develops their ability to read Greek with fluency and understanding. 
Latin Texts: 1

This module examines, in the original Latin, a text representative of an author, genre, period or theme of Latin literature, paying special attention to matters of language and style. Literary appreciation and linguistic skills are developed through detailed analysis of the original Latin. The position of the text in the development of the genre will be explored, as well as its relationship with its social context. 

Beginners Latin: 2

This module continues the introduction to Latin begun in Beginners' Latin: 1. Study of the structure of the language continues, and reading skills are further developed until almost unadapted passages from Latin texts are read.

Beginners Greek: 2

This module continues the introduction to classical Greek begun in Beginners' Greek: 1. Study of the structure of the language continues, and reading skills are further developed until almost completely unadapted passages from classical Greek texts are read.

Latin Texts: 2
This module studies a Latin literary text and completes the systematic revision of grammar begun in Latin Texts: 1. The module reinforces students' knowledge of the Latin language and develops students' ability to read Latin with fluency and understanding.
Greek Texts: 2
This module examines, in the original Greek, a significant literary text, paying special attention to matters of language and style. It completes the systematic revision of Greek grammar begun in Greek Texts: 1, but also devotes attention to the text’s literary and broader contexts. The module reinforces students' knowledge of the Greek language and develops students' ability to read Greek with fluency and understanding.
Greek and Roman Mythology
This module will introduce students to the interpretation of ancient Greek and Roman myth by focusing on a representative range of texts and themes. The module will be team-taught exposing students to a wide range of material and approaches to the use of myth in the ancient world. The module will consider how mythology is used not only in ancient literature such as epic and drama, but also in historical texts, in religious contexts and in the material culture of the ancient world such as statuary, paintings and sarcophagi. It will also introduce students to the variety of methodologies that scholars have used over the years to help interpret and understand these myths and their usages.

Optional English modules

These modules will give you firm foundations to pursue our key areas of study in your second year:

English language and applied linguistics

Studying Language

This module teaches you about the nature of language, as well as how to analyse it for a broad range of purposes, preparing you for studies across all sections of the school.

During the weekly workshops you will learn about levels of language analysis and description, from the sounds and structure of language, through to meaning and discourse. These can be applied to all areas of English study, and will prepare you for future modules. In the lectures you will see how the staff here in the School of English put these skills of analysis and description to use in their own research. This covers the study of language in relation to the mind, literature, culture, society, and more. The seminars will then give you a chance to think about and discuss these topics further.

Learning objectives:

  • To provide you with methods of language analysis and description for each linguistic level (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, discourse)
  • To prepare you for conducting your own language research across your degree
  • To introduce you to the areas of research and study within the school, with particular focus on psycholinguistics, literary linguistics, and sociolinguistics

Literature, 1500 to the present

Studying Literature

This module introduces you to some of the core skills for literary studies, including skills in reading, writing, researching and presentation. The module addresses topics including close reading, constructing an argument, and handling critical material, as well as introducing you to key critical questions about literary form, production and reception. These elements are linked to readings of specific literary texts, focused on poetry and prose selected from the full range of the modern literary period (1500 to the present).

Across the year you will learn about different interpretive approaches and concepts, and will examine literary-historical movements and transitions.

Learning objectives:

  • To introduce you to selected literary texts, to deepen your imaginative engagement and analytic response.
  • To provide you with a basis of knowledge, working methods and appropriate terminology for subsequent work at university level.
  • To provide you with knowledge and understanding of the literary, cultural and historical contexts for literature from the period 1500 to the present, and the relationship between period and genre.

Medieval languages and literatures

Beginnings of English

This module will introduce you to a range of medieval English literature, and to the language(s) in which that literature was written. It will give you a solid introduction to the study of medieval English in all its variety, including the study of related Old Norse texts.

Over the course of the year you will discover a wealth of literature that is moving, exciting and thought-provoking with texts and language that inspired great writers from Shakespeare to Neil Gaiman, including Hopkins, W.H. Auden, Heaney, Tolkien and J. K. Rowling.

Learning objectives:

  • To introduce you to the earliest English and related Old Norse texts
  • To give you an understanding of the cultural and artistic milieux that produced these texts
  • To reflect on the relevance of these texts to our world and the impact they have had on contemporary literature
  • To enable you to understand the development of the English language
  • To familiarise you with the themes and genre of medieval English literature

Drama and performance

Drama, Theatre, Performance

This module explores the extraordinary variety of drama in the Western dramatic tradition. You will examine dramatic texts in relation to their historical context, moving from the theatre of ancient Greece, English medieval drama, the theatre of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, the Restoration stage, to nineteenth-century naturalism. In addition to texts produced by writers from Sophocles to Ibsen, you will also consider a variety of extra-textual features of drama, including the performance styles of actors, the significance of performance space and place, and the composition of various audiences.

You will study selected plays in workshops, seminars and lectures, during which we will explore adaptation and interpretation of the texts through different media resources.
You will also have the opportunity to engage in practical theatre-making, exploring extracts from the selected play-texts in short, student-directed scenes in response to key questions about performance.

Learning objectives:

  • To provide you with an understanding of drama as a performance medium, in which real people and objects are presented to other people in real, shared space.
  • To introduce you to a range of historical performance conventions, including Ancient Greek tragedy and nineteenth century naturalism.
  • To enable you to recognise and analyse the varied elements which constitute performance.
  • To provide you with knowledge and understanding of the social, historical and cultural contexts of various play-texts.
The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules may change or be updated over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for the latest information on available modules.

Classics

You'll combine a wide range of optional modules exploring ancient literature and culture, art and history, with case studies on the ancient world and its interpretation to prepare you for the third-year dissertation.

English

You'll choose three optional modules, from at least two areas of study.

Core modules

Classics

You will study an 'Extended Source Study’ and ‘Studying Classical Scholarship’.

In these modules you write extended essays which, in the first, explore the implications in detail of one piece of ancient evidence, such as Euripides’ Cyclops, or Martial’s epigrams about gladiators, and, in the second, the context and importance of a key scholarly work, such as Gibbon’s Decline and Fall.

Optional Classics modules

We offer a range of optional modules, running on a two-year cycle which change frequently following the research expertise of staff. You can choose from these in both your second and third year.

You can also continue learning Latin or Greek.

Greek Texts: 3

This module examines, in the original Greek, a text representative of an author, genre, period or theme of Greek literature, paying special attention to matters of language and style. Literary appreciation and linguistic skills are developed through detailed analysis of the original Greek. The position of the text in the development of the genre will be explored, as well as its relationship with its social context. Students will also develop their understanding of the Greek language more generally.

Latin Texts: 3

This module examines, in the original Latin, a text representative of an author, genre, period or theme of Latin literature, paying close attention to matters of language and style. In recent years, themes have included: Flavian personal poetry (Martial and Statius); Roman comedy (Plautus and Terence); the emperor Claudius (Suetonius and Tacitus). Literary appreciation and linguistic skills are developed through detailed analysis of original Latin. The module will not just be about literature: you will also explore the text's relationship with its social, political and cultural context. 

Intermediate Greek: 1

In this module you will study classical Greek from the level reached in Beginners Greek 2. This will complete instruction in the basic aspects of the Greek language and enables students to undertake the detailed linguistic and literary study of an unadapted Greek text, such a Lysias 1. 

Intermediate Latin: 1

This module continues the study of Latin from the level reached in Beginners' Latin 2. It provides the opportunity to revise basic aspects of the Latin language and enables students to proceed to the reading of Latin texts. The assessment-pattern emphasises comprehension and analysis of grammatical structures over memorisation and translation.

Beginners Greek for second and third years

Covering the same material as Beginners' Greek in year one this module allows you to take up the language at a later point in your degree.

You'll get an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of classical Greek; no previous knowledge is assumed.

Emphasis is placed on acquiring the ability to read Greek; the basis of the course is the study and translation of passages adapted from classical Greek texts.

 

Beginners Latin for second and third years

Covering the same material as Beginners' Latin in year one this module allows you to take up the language at a later point in your degree.

You'll get an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of Latin; no previous knowledge is assumed.

Emphasis is placed on acquiring the ability to analyse and understand basic Latin sentences and short passages.

Greek Texts: 4

This module examines, in the original Greek, a significant literary text, paying special attention to matters of language and style, but also to the text's literary and broader contexts. The module reinforces students' knowledge of the Greek language and develops students' ability to read Greek with fluency and understanding.

Latin Texts 4

This module examines, in the original Latin, a text (or selection of texts) representative of an author, genre, period or theme of Latin literature, paying special attention to matters of language and style. Literary appreciation and linguistic skills are developed through detailed analysis of the original Latin. The position of the text in the development of the genre will be explored, as well as its relationship with its social context.

Intermediate Greek: 2

This module continues the study of classical Greek from the level reached in Intermediate Greek 1. It continues with the study of Greek grammar and focuses on the reading of one or more classical Greek texts. 

Intermediate Latin: 2

This module is for students in their fourth semester of Latin. You will read a text such as Cicero Pro Archia or Virgil Aeneid 2 in some depth, and practise close reading of Latin literature, as well as continuing to revise and consolidate Latin grammar. 

Oedipus Through the Ages

You will explore the ancient evidence for the myth of Oedipus and selected representations of the myth in the post-Classical world. In terms of evidence, you will have the opportunity to explore ancient drama and other poetry as well as visual culture and mythographic writings. In terms of post-Classical representations, there will be a particular focus on performance and on modern popular culture, including (but not necessarily limited to)

  • film
  • popular mythology books,
  • material aimed at children,
  • on-line representations,
  • humour
Animals in the Ancient World

Awaiting final description of module content

The Peloponnesian War

The Peloponnesian war lasted for more than 25 years, and came to involve much of the Greek world, as diverse states and peoples felt compelled to become allies of either Sparta or Athens – the central protagonists. The scale of this struggle, and its repercussions, make this a highly significant period of Greek history. You will consider this conflict in detail - its causes and background, protagonists, character and consequences.

You will also consider the disproportionate role that one man, the Athenian historian Thucydides, plays in shaping our knowledge and understanding of this conflict. You will seek to look beyond this major (but imperfect) source using other ancient authors and other types of evidence.

Writing History in Ancient Rome

This module will examine the writing of narrative histories in ancient Rome and their importance in the study of Roman history, particularly in the late Republic and Imperial periods. The works of ancient historical writers differ significantly from modern historians in their approach to evidence, narrative, and impartiality, and we need to be aware of these differences when using these texts as sources. This module will therefore consider the importance of the works of historians like Livy, Tacitus, and Ammianus not only as sources for the study of history, but as literary works in their own right, examining issues of historical accuracy and reliability alongside generic conventions, narrative structures, and issues of characterisation. 

Religion and the Romans

Religion was central to all aspects of Roman life; but did Romans really "believe"? This module explores the traditions and rituals that operated in Roman society from the earliest stages of archaic Rome through to the advent of Christianity. It helps the student to make sense of customs and practises that could baffle even the Romans themselves, and shows how the religious system permeated and controlled Roman social, political and military activities.

This course will be principally concerned with evidence drawn from the late Republic and early Principate, and will use literature and images from the Augustan period as a central hinge for studying the dynamics of religion in Rome. Topics to be covered will include:

  • the definition of "religion" and comparative studies
  • early Rome and the origins of religion
  • the calendar
  • temples and other religious buildings
  • priesthoods and politics
  • sacrifice
  • the deification of the emperor
  • foreign cults in Rome
  • the supposed "decline of religion"
  • early Christianity
The Origins and Rise of Aegean Civilisation

In the early 20th century, British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans’s excavations at the site of Knossos on the island of Crete uncovered the remains of the earliest palatial civilisation in Europe. Knossos, the home of the mythical king Minos and the monstrous Minotaur, became the landmark of a new culture termed as ‘Minoan’.

Based on a combination of lectures and workshops, this module introduces students to the origins of the Aegean complex societies from the late 4th millennium BC and to the rise, apogee and fall of the Minoan palatial, state-level societies of the 3rd and early 2nd millennia BC. 

Communicating the Past

This module is your opportunity to expand your knowledge of an aspect of Classics or Archaeology which interests you, and to experiment with methods of communicating that knowledge which take you beyond the usual assessment practices of essays and exams. You might undertake research that leads to (for example) the creation of a museum exhibition, the reconstruction of an ancient artefact, or the design of a new public engagement strategy for a historic site. You might acquire experience of a communication method which could be of use to you in a future career, e.g. by constructing an education pack, writing in a journalistic style, or creating an archaeological site management plan. You might choose to experiment with a different medium of communication such as video, website or phone app. The topic and form of the project chosen must both be approved by the module convener. This module is ideal for any student who is interested in pursuing a career in heritage, museums or education, while developing skills in research, project design and communication are essential for a wide range of career choices as well as being excellent preparation for your third-year dissertation.

Classics and Comics

Awaiting final description of module content

The World of the Etruscans

When Rome was still a small town and before Athens became a city of international significance the Etruscan civilisation flourished in Italy and rapidly gained control of the Mediterranean. Who were the Etruscans?

The Greeks and the Romans regarded them as wealthy pirates renowned for their luxurious and extravagant lifestyle and for the freedom of their women. Archaeology, however, tells us much more, about their daily life and funerary customs, their religious beliefs, their economy, their language, and their technical abilities and artistic tastes.

In this module, you will examine visual and material culture, as well as epigraphic and literary sources, in order to lift the shroud of mystery that often surrounds the Etruscans. You will also place them in the context of the wider Mediterranean world in the 1st millennium BC, examining their exchanges with the Near Eastern kingdoms, their cultural interactions with Greece and the Greek colonial world, and their role in the early history of Rome.

By exploring Etruscan cities and cemeteries from the 9th to the 3rd centuries BC, with their complex infrastructures and technologies, lavish paintings, sculptures and metalwork, you will discover a most advanced civilisation that shared much with the classical cultures and yet was very different from them.

Britain in the Later Roman Empire (c. 250-450)

You will examine Britain in the later-Roman Empire, from the crisis that marked the middle years of the third century to the disappearance of Roman power in the early fifth and the rapid economic collapse and social transformation that followed. This is a fascinating period: an era of prosperity, integration, and sophistication, and yet marked also by rebellion, civil war, and the sundering of the links that had bound Britain to the continent so deeply for so long.

You will take an interdisciplinary approach, familiarising yourself with a wide range of types of archaeological and historical evidence. You will examine the political framework of the later-Roman Empire, the textual and archaeological evidence for Britain’s society and economy, the barbarian peoples who threatened and interacted with it, and the question of how it ended up leaving the Roman Empire.

You will be encouraged to consider the integration of different types of source material and to think about Britain’s place in the wider world in a broader context.

The Silk Road: Cultural Interactions and Perceptions

This discipline-bridging cross-campus module will involve colleagues from across the School of Humanities. The Silk Road will be presented as a range of archaeological, historical and scientific themes. Broad cultural themes will be balanced with the presentation of specific case studies, such as the definitions of the Silk Roads, Byzantine, Islamic and later medieval Silk Roads, luxury production, trade and exchange from the Roman and later periods, and Ming Dynasty links with the west. Scientific techniques for the analysis of materials and their role in the interpretation of trade and exchange along the Silk Roads will also be considered, between for example China, central Asia, Scandinavia and the Middle East.

Optional English modules

Depending on your module choices in your first year, you will choose three modules in your second year in English that cover at least two areas of study.

Literature, 1500 to the present

Each of the modules in this area of study will offer a comprehensive introduction to the changes in the genres of prose, poetry and drama across the period studied, placing the works encountered in the context of key aesthetic, social and political/historical contexts.

From Talking Horses to Romantic Revolutionaries: Literature 1700-1830

This module introduces you to a range of literature written between 1700-1830. This was a dramatic and turbulent period in literary history where anything was possible and many roles were reversed. Writers produced texts about contemporary issues such as class, poverty, sexuality, slavery, and the city, but also had their eyes firmly on the past. They took every available opportunity to promote their own agendas and to savage and ridicule those of their political and literary opponents. You’ll examine a wide-range of literature considering the political, social and cultural contexts of the period. 

Literature and Popular Culture

This module will give you an understanding of the relationship between literature and popular culture, as you explore works from across a range of genres and mediums such as prose fiction, poetry, comics, graphic novels, music, television and film. In addition to exploring topics such as aesthetics and adaptation, material will be situated within cultural, political and historical contexts allowing for the distinction between the literary and the popular. 

Modern and Contemporary Literature

This module will familiarise you with relevant aesthetic, generic, and literary-historical strategies for tracing formal and thematic transformations in 20th and 21st century literature. Moving between genres, the module will unfold chronologically from modernism, through the inter-war years, and into the 'contemporary scene' up to the present day.

Shakespeare and Contemporaries on the Page
This module focuses on material written between 1580 and 1630 to provide you with an introduction to methods of reading early modern texts. Shakespeare’s poetry will be among the core texts; other canonical writers will include Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, Philip Sidney and John Donne. You’ll explore the practice of historicised readings of early modern texts and you’ll consider the related challenges and limitations. You’ll have one hour of lectures and two hours of seminars each week.
Texts Across Time
This module will consider key issues in the study of English language and world literature, locate language and literature in time and place, and extend your knowledge of the intellectual, political, historical, and cultural developments in language and literature.
Victorian and Fin de Siècle Literature: 1830-1910

You will explore a wide variety of Victorian and fin-de-siècle literature, with examples from fiction, critical writing, poetry and drama. It will examine changes in literary forms and genres over this period, as well as looking at the contested transition between Victorianism and Modernism. The module is organised around a number of interrelated themes, to include empire and race, class and crime, identity and social mobility, gender and sexuality, and literature and consumerism.

English language and applied linguistics

Building on the study of language undertaken in year one, these modules provide the exciting opportunity for you to explore aspects of language use in the mind, in society and in literature.

Language in Society
This module provides a broad introduction to sociolinguistic theory. You will investigate: the role that language has to play in constructing and reflecting cultural identities theories of language variation across and within communities the role of the English language in the world the specific role of Standard English within British contexts You will be introduced to both qualitative and quantitative approaches to the study of sociolinguistics, combining theoretical linguistics and practical methodological investigation. You’ll have a two-hour lecture and a one-hour seminar each week.
The Psychology of Bilingualism and Language Learning
This module will introduce you to theories and practice of second language learning, enabling you to develop an in-depth understanding of the process in various settings. Topics that are covered include: zone of proximal development, classroom interaction, collaborative learning, learning styles, and classroom methodology. You will spend around three hours in a workshop each week.
Texts Across Time
This module will consider key issues in the study of English language and world literature, locate language and literature in time and place, and extend your knowledge of the intellectual, political, historical, and cultural developments in language and literature.
Language Development

You’ll explore how English is learnt from making sounds as an infant through to adulthood. Topics relating to early speech development include: the biological foundations of language development, the stages of language acquisition and the influence of environment on development. Further topics which take into account later stages of development include humour and joke telling abilities, story-telling and conversational skills and bilingualism.

Literary Linguistics

This pod explores the use of linguistic frameworks to investigate literary texts. Through practical analysis and interactive tasks, you will consider a variety of linguistic explorations of poetry, prose and drama from a wide range of historical periods.  

You will: 

  • critically apply and evaluate key approaches to language and literature 
  • investigate the notions of literariness and interpretation
  • consider the scope and validity of stylistics, in relation to literature and literary studies 

Medieval languages and literatures

In all of these medieval language and literature modules you will develop your understanding of language change and variety, registers, styles, modes and genres, as they appear in medieval texts, and become expert in reading with reference to wider medieval cultures.

Chaucer and his Contemporaries
In this module you’ll be introduced to the exceptionally rich period of writing in English at the end of the fourteenth and turn of the fifteenth century. It will focus on the so-called ‘Ricardian’ poets, Chaucer (selected Canterbury Tales, Parliament of Fowls, Legend of Good Women), Langland (excerpts from Piers Plowman), Gower (excerpts from Confessio Amantis) and the Gawain-poet (Patience). You’ll also discuss Thomas Hoccleve’s early poems, and the prose works of the female mystics Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe. You’ll have an hour-long lecture and two one-hour seminars weekly for this module.
Old English: Reflection and Lament
This module explores the tradition that the poetry and prose of Old English often focuses on warfare and heroic action. You will study and analyse poems from the Exeter Book 'elegies' and also passages from Beowulf to explore this rich and rewarding genre. You'll have a two-hour lecture and one-hour seminar each week for this module.
Ice and Fire: Myths and Heroes of the North

In this module you will study and analyse the key texts of old Norse myth and legend from which popular stories come, along with pictorial versions in wood and stone from throughout the Viking world. You’ll explore the development of Norse myth and legend from the Viking Age, through medieval Christian Iceland, and into more recent times.

Names and Identities

What can given names, surnames and nicknames tell us about people in the past? What determines the choice of a name for a child? Where does our hereditary surname system come from? How have place, class and gender impacted upon naming through time? This module will help you answer all these questions and more. Interactive lectures and seminars, and a project based on primary material tailored to each participant, will introduce you to the many and varied, fascinating and extraordinary types of personal name and their origins.

Drama and performance

These modules gives you the opportunity to develop approaches from year one by studying 20th and 21st century theatre: by exploring key critical approaches to drama in theory and practice, and by focusing on a key period in the development of our nation's theatre.

Shakespeare and Contemporaries on the Stage
This module offers an in-depth exploration of the historical and theatrical contexts of early modern drama. This module invites students to explore the stagecraft of innovative and provocative works by Shakespeare and key contemporaries, such as Middleton, Johnson, and Ford (amongst others). Students will explore how practical performance elements such as staging, props, costume and music shape meaning. You’ll have one hour-long lecture and one two-hour long seminar each week, with occasional screenings.
Stanislavski to Stelarc: Performance Practice and Theory
This module helps you develop your understanding of the theory and practice of theatre and performance from the beginnings of the twentieth century through to the present day. Building on the work encountered in Introduction to Drama, you will move forward from naturalism to consider the work of influential theorists and practitioners such as Stanislavski, Brecht, Meyerhold, Barba, Schechner, Boal, Artaud, Berkoff, Grotowski, Jarry and the futurists, whose work has had a major impact on theatre and performance in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries . You’ll have a mix of lectures and workshops totalling three hours per week for this module.
Twentieth Century Plays

This module aims to provide you with an overview of key plays and performances from the 1890s to the present, placing those texts in their original political, social, and cultural contexts and considering their subsequent reception and afterlife. You’ll focus on the textual and performance effects created in those key texts, by writers such as Samuel Beckett and Edward Albee, and will be encouraged to situate those texts alongside the work of relevant theorists and practitioners.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules may change or be updated over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for the latest information on available modules.

Classics

In addition to your optional modules, you'll either pursue your own interests through a dissertation, or take a Special Subject which involves in-depth study in seminars on a staff-member’s topic of special expertise. Or, you'll continue to learn Latin or Greek.

Special subject modules

These modules are based on a member of staff’s research area and are taught entirely in seminar groups, through discussion and student-led activities.

English

You'll choose three optional modules, from at least two areas of study.

Dissertation

You will write a dissertation, which can be in either English or Classics. You may combine both subjects in one dissertation.

Classics modules

Jason and the Golden Fleece

Jason and Medea, the quest for the golden fleece, the journey of the first ship, Greek civilisation meets Colchian barbarism: the myth that pre-dates Homer and brings together the famous fathers of Homeric heroes (Peleus, Telamon); the gathering of the marvellous, the semi-divine and the ultra-heroic; a quest that replaces war with love. The central texts will be the Hellenistic Argonautica of Apollonius Rhodius and the Roman epic version of Valerius Flaccus, both read in translation, but a wide range of texts, images and films, Greek, Roman and beyond will be part of the module. Things to think about: how does myth work in the ancient world? How do representations in different media interact? When does myth-making become reception? How do the Greeks represent Greek culture and the barbarian other? How does Roman literature re-appropriate and re-work Greek myth? How do modern versions reflect on and construct the ancient world? Themes include: the Greeks and the other; civilisation and colonisation; Jason and Medea; gender and sexuality (the Lemnian women, Hercules and Hylas); the nature of heroism (Cyzicus and friendly fire); monsters, marvels and magic.

Augustus

The year-long Special Subject module involves 3 hours of seminars per week, and provides an opportunity for intensive study of one of the most influential figures in Roman history. The module examines the ways in which, after his victory in the civil wars, Augustus established his rule over the Roman world on a secure and generally acceptable basis. Attention is paid to the ancient sources (studied in translation): these include not only historical and literary texts, but inscriptions, coins, art and architecture. This module covers not only political aspects of the theme but also Augustus' impact on society, religion, culture, and ideology. It is assessed through a combination of coursework essays, formal presentation and exam.

Greek Work, Class and the Economy: Good and Bad Strife

The title (Good and Bad Strife) is derived from the opening lines of Hesiod’s Theogony, in which the poet explains that there are two goddesses called Eris (Strife), one who stirs men to productive labour and another who fosters domestic conflict. We will examine both forms of strife: on the one hand the division of labour in antiquity and attitudes towards work and, on the other, notions of class struggle between a ‘leisured elite’ and a working ‘mass’. This module thus aims to provide students with an introduction to the economic and social history of archaic and classical Greece.

These two areas of endeavour, work and class conflict, are of central importance to the history of the Greek city and a much-contested field of research. We will examine key methodologies that have been applied to the study of ancient society and its economy, including Marxist approaches to class and sociological theories of professions. Students will engage in ongoing debates that are currently shaping our understanding of ancient work. These include recent challenges to the notion that the Greeks believed work to be inherently low-status. How does work affect status in antiquity? Could the ‘elite’ have included not only those who possessed land and slaves but also those who had obtained wealth and status through the practice of a valuable skill? We will thus attempt to broaden the subject of work beyond its usual parameters of agriculture and estate management to include manufacturing and the ‘learned professions’, such as doctors, seers, poets and sculptors. The first semester considers what has been termed ‘the aristocratic ideal’: the concept of a leisured elite of rentiers, the importance of agriculture, the spectre of class conflict and finally the different forms of education (both liberal education and training for specific work). The second semester will cover the existence of a labour market, the division of labour and the role of a professional class of skilled workers in ancient society.  

From Petra to Palmyra: Art and Culture in the Roman Near East

This module focuses on the variety of local cults and cultures in the Near East (modern Syria, Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, Jordan) under Roman rule. We will zoom in on a number of localities in order to look at social, cultural and religious interactions between Greeks, Romans, Jews, Arabs and various other local cultures through literary, epigraphic, visual and archaeological evidence. In the great urban centres such as Palmyra, Tyre, Damascus, we will observe the adoption of the trappings of Graeco-Roman urbanism and public life (from peristyle temples to honorific statues) and their significance within the Second Sophistic.

On the other hand, we will explore alternative “pockets” of non-Hellenisation such as the lava lands of southern Syria with their distinct style of art and architecture in black basalt. ‘Oriental’ gods feature prominently in this module: We will explore their great sanctuaries (Temple of Jupiter at Heliopolis-Baalbek, Temple of Bel at Palmyra, Temple of Zeus at Damascus) in terms of architecture and ritual, and investigate their iconographies (Jupiter Heliopolitanus, Bel, Baalshamin, Atargatis of Hierapolis and myriads of other local gods). In contrast to Judaism and Christianity, there is a colossal lack of literary sources for these gods, and as a consequence, our understanding of their function and character hinges on how their worshippers depicted them in reliefs, statues, figurines and paintings.

Animals in the Ancient World

Awaiting final description of module content

The Peloponnesian War

The Peloponnesian war lasted for more than 25 years, and came to involve much of the Greek world, as diverse states and peoples felt compelled to become allies of either Sparta or Athens – the central protagonists. The scale of this struggle, and its repercussions, make this a highly significant period of Greek history. You will consider this conflict in detail - its causes and background, protagonists, character and consequences.

You will also consider the disproportionate role that one man, the Athenian historian Thucydides, plays in shaping our knowledge and understanding of this conflict. You will seek to look beyond this major (but imperfect) source using other ancient authors and other types of evidence.

Writing History in Ancient Rome

This module will examine the writing of narrative histories in ancient Rome and their importance in the study of Roman history, particularly in the late Republic and Imperial periods. The works of ancient historical writers differ significantly from modern historians in their approach to evidence, narrative, and impartiality, and we need to be aware of these differences when using these texts as sources. This module will therefore consider the importance of the works of historians like Livy, Tacitus, and Ammianus not only as sources for the study of history, but as literary works in their own right, examining issues of historical accuracy and reliability alongside generic conventions, narrative structures, and issues of characterisation. 

Religion and the Romans

Religion was central to all aspects of Roman life; but did Romans really "believe"? This module explores the traditions and rituals that operated in Roman society from the earliest stages of archaic Rome through to the advent of Christianity. It helps the student to make sense of customs and practises that could baffle even the Romans themselves, and shows how the religious system permeated and controlled Roman social, political and military activities.

This course will be principally concerned with evidence drawn from the late Republic and early Principate, and will use literature and images from the Augustan period as a central hinge for studying the dynamics of religion in Rome. Topics to be covered will include:

  • the definition of "religion" and comparative studies
  • early Rome and the origins of religion
  • the calendar
  • temples and other religious buildings
  • priesthoods and politics
  • sacrifice
  • the deification of the emperor
  • foreign cults in Rome
  • the supposed "decline of religion"
  • early Christianity
Classics and Comics

Awaiting final description of module content

The World of the Etruscans

When Rome was still a small town and before Athens became a city of international significance the Etruscan civilisation flourished in Italy and rapidly gained control of the Mediterranean. Who were the Etruscans?

The Greeks and the Romans regarded them as wealthy pirates renowned for their luxurious and extravagant lifestyle and for the freedom of their women. Archaeology, however, tells us much more, about their daily life and funerary customs, their religious beliefs, their economy, their language, and their technical abilities and artistic tastes.

In this module, you will examine visual and material culture, as well as epigraphic and literary sources, in order to lift the shroud of mystery that often surrounds the Etruscans. You will also place them in the context of the wider Mediterranean world in the 1st millennium BC, examining their exchanges with the Near Eastern kingdoms, their cultural interactions with Greece and the Greek colonial world, and their role in the early history of Rome.

By exploring Etruscan cities and cemeteries from the 9th to the 3rd centuries BC, with their complex infrastructures and technologies, lavish paintings, sculptures and metalwork, you will discover a most advanced civilisation that shared much with the classical cultures and yet was very different from them.

Britain in the Later Roman Empire (c. 250-450)

You will examine Britain in the later-Roman Empire, from the crisis that marked the middle years of the third century to the disappearance of Roman power in the early fifth and the rapid economic collapse and social transformation that followed. This is a fascinating period: an era of prosperity, integration, and sophistication, and yet marked also by rebellion, civil war, and the sundering of the links that had bound Britain to the continent so deeply for so long.

You will take an interdisciplinary approach, familiarising yourself with a wide range of types of archaeological and historical evidence. You will examine the political framework of the later-Roman Empire, the textual and archaeological evidence for Britain’s society and economy, the barbarian peoples who threatened and interacted with it, and the question of how it ended up leaving the Roman Empire.

You will be encouraged to consider the integration of different types of source material and to think about Britain’s place in the wider world in a broader context.

The Silk Road: Cultural Interactions and Perceptions

This discipline-bridging cross-campus module will involve colleagues from across the School of Humanities. The Silk Road will be presented as a range of archaeological, historical and scientific themes. Broad cultural themes will be balanced with the presentation of specific case studies, such as the definitions of the Silk Roads, Byzantine, Islamic and later medieval Silk Roads, luxury production, trade and exchange from the Roman and later periods, and Ming Dynasty links with the west. Scientific techniques for the analysis of materials and their role in the interpretation of trade and exchange along the Silk Roads will also be considered, between for example China, central Asia, Scandinavia and the Middle East.

Oedipus Through the Ages

You will explore the ancient evidence for the myth of Oedipus and selected representations of the myth in the post-Classical world. In terms of evidence, you will have the opportunity to explore ancient drama and other poetry as well as visual culture and mythographic writings. In terms of post-Classical representations, there will be a particular focus on performance and on modern popular culture, including (but not necessarily limited to)

  • film
  • popular mythology books,
  • material aimed at children,
  • on-line representations,
  • humour
Intermediate Greek: 1

In this module you will study classical Greek from the level reached in Beginners Greek 2. This will complete instruction in the basic aspects of the Greek language and enables students to undertake the detailed linguistic and literary study of an unadapted Greek text, such a Lysias 1. 

Intermediate Latin: 1

This module continues the study of Latin from the level reached in Beginners' Latin 2. It provides the opportunity to revise basic aspects of the Latin language and enables students to proceed to the reading of Latin texts. The assessment-pattern emphasises comprehension and analysis of grammatical structures over memorisation and translation.

Advanced Greek: 1

In this module you will do detailed guided study of a prose or verse text in Greek. Those who have taken Greek A-level and third-years who began the study of Greek in their first year at Nottingham are taught together. Attention is paid to the development of translation skills, but the focus of the module will not be merely linguistic as you will be encouraged to explore the set text’s interrelation with its literary tradition and its socio-political background, as well as to appreciate style and imagery through your access to the text in the original language. You might study a book of Homer, a tragedy of Euripides or Sophocles, a selection from the works of Lucian, a speech by Demosthenes or a book of Herodotus.

Advanced Latin: 1

Detailed guided study in Latin of a prose or verse text designed for those who have begun the study of Latin as part of their University course. Careful attention will be paid to the development of translation skills, but the focus of the module will not be merely linguistic. Students will also be encouraged to explore the set text's interrelation with its literary tradition and its background as well as to appreciate style and imagery through their access to the text in the original language.

Greek Texts: 5

This module examines, in the original Greek, a range of texts representative of an author, genre, period or style of Greek literature, paying special attention to matters of language and style. Literary appreciation and linguistic skills are developed through detailed analysis of the original Greek. The position of the texts in the development of the genre will be explored, as well as their relationship with their social context.

Latin Texts: 5

This module examines, in the original Latin, a range of texts representative of an author, genre, period or theme of Latin literature, paying special attention to matters of language and style. Literary appreciation and linguistic skills are developed through detailed analysis of the original Latin. The position of the texts in the development of the genre will be explored, as well as their relationship with their social context. A recent example is to focus on a selection of Martial’s epigrams and Statius Silvae 2, studying the poems as part of life in Flavian Rome. Themes include: the emperor, patronage, daily life, gender and sexuality, genre, satire, the city of Rome.

Beginners Greek for second and third years

Covering the same material as Beginners' Greek in year one this module allows you to take up the language at a later point in your degree.

You'll get an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of classical Greek; no previous knowledge is assumed.

Emphasis is placed on acquiring the ability to read Greek; the basis of the course is the study and translation of passages adapted from classical Greek texts.

 

Beginners Latin for second and third years

Covering the same material as Beginners' Latin in year one this module allows you to take up the language at a later point in your degree.

You'll get an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of Latin; no previous knowledge is assumed.

Emphasis is placed on acquiring the ability to analyse and understand basic Latin sentences and short passages.

Intermediate Greek: 2

This module continues the study of classical Greek from the level reached in Intermediate Greek 1. It continues with the study of Greek grammar and focuses on the reading of one or more classical Greek texts. 

Intermediate Latin: 2

This module is for students in their fourth semester of Latin. You will read a text such as Cicero Pro Archia or Virgil Aeneid 2 in some depth, and practise close reading of Latin literature, as well as continuing to revise and consolidate Latin grammar. 

Advanced Greek: 2

This module involves detailed guided study in Greek of a significant literary text, designed for those who have begun the study of Greek as part of their University course. Special attention will be paid to matters of language and style, but students will also be encouraged to explore the set text's interrelation with its literary tradition and its socio-political background as well as to appreciate style and imagery through their access to the text in the original language.

Advanced Latin: 2

This module involves detailed guided study in Greek of a significant literary text, designed for those who have begun the study of Greek as part of their University course. Special attention will be paid to matters of language and style, but students will also be encouraged to explore the set text's interrelation with its literary tradition and its socio-political background as well as to appreciate style and imagery through their access to the text in the original language.

Greek Texts: 6

This module examines, in the original Greek, a significant literary text, paying special attention to matters of language and style, but also to the text's literary and broader contexts. The module reinforces students' knowledge of the Greek language and develops students' ability to read Greek with fluency and understanding.

Latin Texts: 6

This module examines, in the original Latin, a text or range of texts representative of an author, genre, period or theme of Latin literature, paying special attention to matters of language and style. Literary appreciation and linguistic skills are developed through detailed analysis of the original Latin. The position of the text or texts in the development of the genre will be explored, as well as relationships with social context.

English options

Depending on your module choices in your first and second year, you will choose three modules in your final year in English that cover at least two areas of study.

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. You will be able to choose modules based on the indicative topics below.

Literature, 1500 to the present

The Self and the World: Writing in the Long Eighteenth Century

The years from 1660 to 1830 are enormously important, especially in terms of the representation of the self in literature: Milton promoted the idea of the poet inspired by God; Pope and Swift mocked the possibility of anyone truly knowing their self; Wordsworth used poetry to explore his own life; and Byron and Austen provided ironic commentaries on the self-obsessions of their peers. This period also saw the rise of the novel (a form that relies upon telling the story of lives), a flourishing trade in biography, and the emergence of new genre, autobiography. This module will look at some of the most significant works of the period with particular reference to the relationship between writers and their worlds. Topics might include: the emergence, importance and limitations of life-writing; self- fashioning; the construction – and deconstruction - of the ‘Romantic’ author’; transmission and revision; translation and imitation; ideas of the self and gender; intertextuality, adaptation, and rewriting; creating and destroying the past; and writing revolution. Texts studied will range across poems, novels and prose.

Contemporary Fiction

The focus of the module is the novel from the late twentieth century onwards, in Britain and beyond. Discussion will concentrate on the formal operations and innovations of selected novelists, and will be underpinned by a consideration of how the contemporary socio-historical context influences these questions of form. Indicative topics include: an interrogation of the ‘post-consensus novel’; an exploration of postcolonial texts which seek to represent the transatlantic slave trade; and the cultural politics of late twentieth-century and twenty-first century Scottish literature.Contemporary Fiction is focused on writing emergent from Britain and closely-related contexts in the post-war period. The module offers strands structured around a number of political, social and cultural frameworks in Britain. These include, but are not limited to:              

  • Formal analysis and literary innovations in Britain
  • Temporalities and the representation of time
  • Issues of gender, race and class
  • Histories of colonialism and slavery
  • National traditions and politics of state
  • The country and the city
  • Postmodernism

This module is particularly attentive to the network of relationships between context, content and form, supported by related literary and cultural theory and philosophy.

Making Something Happen: Twentieth Century Poetry and Politics

This module introduces participants to key modern and contemporary poets, equipping them with a detailed understanding of how various poetic forms manifest themselves in particular historical moments. Unifying the module is an attention to poets’ responses to the political and ideological upheavals of the twentieth century.

Beginning with Yeats and Eliot, the module will include such (primarily) British and Irish poets as W.B. Yeats, W. H. Auden, T.S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Wislawa Szymborska, Tony Harrison, Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, Adrienne Rich, Geoffrey Hill, Jo Shapcott, Patience Agbabi and Alice Oswald. Some of the forms examined will include: the elegy, the pastoral (and anti-pastoral), the ode, the sonnet (and sonnet sequence), the ekphrastic poem, the version or retelling, the villanelle, the parable and the sestina.

In order to develop a more complete perspective on each poet’s engagement with twentieth-century formal and political problems, we will also examine these figures’ writings in other modes – critical essays, manifestos, speeches and, where permitted, primary archival materials such as letters and manuscript drafts. Grounding each week will be readings on poetry and the category of the ‘political’ from an international group of critics, including such thinkers as Theodor Adorno, Charles Bernstein, Claudia Rankine, Peter McDonald, Angela Leighton, Christopher Ricks and Marjorie Perloff. 

Single-Author Study

This stranded module provides students with a detailed introduction to the major works of a single author (e.g. James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, D. H. Lawrence). Students will select one author to study from a range on offer. They will then have the opportunity to consider in detail important thematic and stylistic aspects of their chosen author’s work, taking account of the chronological development of his/her writing practice (if relevant), and his/her relationship to key historical and literary contexts.

The Gothic Tradition

This module focuses on the diverse connections between literary texts, politics, and relevant historical / cultural contexts in texts from the dystopian and gothic traditions. Poetry, novels, graphic novels, and films may be covered, and there is potential to examine works in other media as well. The goal of the module is to consider the extent to which a range of texts from two exciting and interrelated traditions intervene in diverse political, philosophical, and theological debates. Students will also explore various critical and theoretical approaches to literature, film, comics, adaptation, and popular culture.

Island and Empire

While the vexed questions of British identity and its relationship to empire have been at the forefront of political debate in the last decade, they have also been integral to literary production for many centuries. This module interrogates English and British representations of colonisation and empire, within Great Britain and Ireland and with particular reference to India. Well known writers such as Edmund Spenser, Jonathan Swift, Walter Scott, Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling and Salman Rushdie, will be set against less familiar voices, to consider the ways in which dominant narratives come about and can be challenged.

Oscar Wilde and Henry James: British Aestheticism and Commodity Culture

This module will use the writings of Oscar Wilde and Henry James and some of their contemporaries to examine changes which took place in literary culture and the practices of literary composition in the late 19th century. Topics to be explored will include: the role of new technology in literary creativity; the growth of mass and 'celebrity' culture, the development of consumerism and consequent commodification of literary art; the changing relationship of art to politics; anxieties about artistic originality and its obverse, plagiarism; and attempts (via censorship) to police literary expressivity. Students will study a range of texts by Wilde and James (drama, fiction and criticism), and these will be compared with pieces by a number of their contemporaries (including Walter Pater and William Morris) with a view to assessing both the modernity and radicalism of their writings.

Modern Irish Literature and Drama

This module will consider Irish literature and drama produced in the twentieth century. Taking the Irish Literary Revival as a starting-point we will consider authors in their Irish and European context: W.B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, Lady Gregory, James Joyce, Seán O'Casey, Seamus Heaney, Brian Friel, and Marina Carr. The focus throughout will be upon reading texts in relation to their social, historical, and political contexts, tracking significant literary and cultural responses to Irish experiences of colonial occupation, nationalist uprising and civil war, partition and independence, socio-economic modernisation, and the protracted period of violent conflict in Northern Ireland.

Reformation and Revolution: Early Modern literature and drama 1588-1688

Literature and Drama across the early modern period contributed to, and was often caught up in, dramatic changes in social, political, and religious culture which changed the way that people experienced their lives and the world around them. This module gives students the opportunity to read a wide range of texts in a multitude of genres (from drama, to prose fiction, pamphlets and poetry) in their immediate contexts, both cultural and intellectual. This module will situate the poetry, prose and drama between 1580 and 1700 against the backdrops of civil war and political revolution, scientific experimentation, and colonial expansion; in doing so, it will ask how the seventeenth century forms our current understandings of the world. Students will be encouraged to read widely, to develop a specific and sophisticated understanding of historical period, and to see connections and changes in literary and dramatic culture in a period which stretches from the Spanish Armada of 1588 to the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688.

Songs and Sonnets: Lyric poetry from Medieval Manuscript to Shakespeare and Donne

Through the exploration of lyric poetry, this module examines cultural and literary change from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century. It will consider the rise of ‘named poet’, the interaction of print and manuscript culture, the representation of love, and the use of the female voice. It will develop further students’ confidence in handling formal poetic terminology and reading poetry from this period. It will also enable students to think pragmatically about the transmission of lyric in modern editions, and about how best to represent the form.

One and Unequal: World Literatures in English

This module examines the late twentieth and early twenty-first century globe through its correlates in fiction. The primary materials for the module will be post-war Anglophone works drawn from a wide geographical range across the world. After introducing the history of the idea of world literature, these works will be situated within a series of theoretical ‘worlds’: world literary systems; post-colonial criticism; cosmopolitanism; world ecologies; resource culture; literary translation theory. The module will also attend to critiques of 'world literature’ as a concept.

English language and applied linguistics

Teaching English as a Foreign Language

The module is designed to provide students with an understanding of the process of English Language Teaching (ELT) and of the theoretical underpinnings of this practice. In this module students will learn the principles behind the learning and teaching of key aspects and skills of English, including:

  • vocabulary
  • grammar
  • reading
  • writing
  • speaking
  • listening
  • intercultural communicative skills

Students will also learn how to apply these theoretical principles to the development of teaching materials. This module will therefore be of interest to students who want to pursue a teaching career, and in particular to those interested in teaching English as a second or foreign language.

Language and the Mind

Speaking, listening, reading, and writing are a complex set of behaviors that are a fundamental part of our daily lives, yet they remain difficult to fully explain. In an attempt to explain them, this module will look at: 1. how people understand written and spoken language; 2. how people produce language; and 3. how language (both a first and a second language) is acquired.

Advanced Stylistics

This is an advanced course in the linguistic analysis of literary texts and reading. Building on the revised Level 2 'Literary Linguistics' course, the module bridges the gap between literary and linguistics aspects of the BA degrees. The course emphasises in particular aspects of literary style, from a readerly, perspective as well as adding a historical dimension to the study of style. There is also an emphasis on the practical application of literary linguistic pedagogy, in accordance with the educational and applied linguistic traditions of the discipline.

Discourses of Health and Work

This module explores the vital role that discourse plays in various communicative domains in healthcare and workplace settings. Students will explore these domains through a variety of contemporary frameworks for examining discourse and communication, including critical discourse analysis, multi-modal discourse analysis, and interactional sociolinguistics.The module offers the opportunity to analyse and reflect on the discourses of healthcare and the workplace, as two crucially important domains of social and professional life. To this end, professional and healthcare discourses will be investigated through a range of genres and communicative modes, including face-to face communication advertising, media discourse and digital interactions. The module offers a rich resource for discourse-based studies of language in professional and social life and enables students to examine the strategic uses of communicative strategies in specific social settings.

Language and Feminism

This module provides students with comprehensive knowledge of feminist theory as applied to a series of language and linguistic contexts. Students will engage with a range of analytical approaches to language, including conversation analysis, critical discourse analysis, and interactional sociolinguistics. Students will respond to and critically engage with contemporary real-world problems associated with gender and sexuality through the consideration of discourse-based texts. Topics will include gender and sexual identity construction in a range of interactive contexts, as well as sexist, misogynistic, homophobic and heteronormative representations in texts. Students will engage with feminist theory from the 1970s to the current day, with particular focus on contemporary approaches to gender theory.

Medieval languages and literatures

English Place-Names

The module employs the study of place-names to illustrate the various languages - British, Latin, French, Norse and English - that have been spoken in England over the last 2000 years. You will learn in particular how place-name evidence can be used as a source for the history of English: its interaction with the other languages, its regional and dialectal patterns, and its changing vocabulary. The interdisciplinary contribution that place-names offer to historians and geographers is also considered. Part of the module's assessment can be directed at a geographical area of particular interest to the student.

Old English Heroic Poetry
This module gives an opportunity to those who already have a basic knowledge of Old English language and literature to explore some of the astonishing range of texts from the earliest stages of English literature. The texts studied are heroic and Christian. Themes include Germanic myth and legend, heroic endeavour, Christian passion. A study of the epic poem Beowulf — its characters, its themes, its ‘meaning’ — is essential to the module. Texts are read in Old English (with plenty of help given).
Dreaming the Middle Ages: Visionary Poetry in Scotland and England

The genre of dream-vision inspired work by all the major poets of the Middle Ages, including William Langland, the Pearl-Poet, and Geoffrey Chaucer. The course will aim to give you a detailed knowledge of a number of canonical texts in this genre, as well as ranging widely into the alliterative revival, and chronologically into the work of John Skelton in the early sixteenth century. The course will depend upon close, detailed reading of medieval literary texts, as well as focusing on the variety and urgency of issues with which dream poetry is concerned: literary, intellectual, social, religious and political.

The Viking Mind

The module will explore various aspects of Norse and Viking cultural history using an interdisciplinary approach grounded in the study of texts. Topics covered will include Gender and Status, Migration and Diaspora, Religion and Belief(s), The Supernatural, Orality and Literacy, Geography and the Other.1-hour lectures will provide the evidence base for discussion of these topics in 2-hour student-led seminars. The seminars will also include some language work.Assessment will be by a 1-hour exam of comment and analysis and a 3000-word project on a topic devised by the student in consultation with a tutor.

Songs and Sonnets: Lyric poetry from Medieval Manuscript to Shakespeare and Donne

Through the exploration of lyric poetry, this module examines cultural and literary change from the fourteenth to the seventeenth century. It will consider the rise of ‘named poet’, the interaction of print and manuscript culture, the representation of love, and the use of the female voice. It will develop further students’ confidence in handling formal poetic terminology and reading poetry from this period. It will also enable students to think pragmatically about the transmission of lyric in modern editions, and about how best to represent the form.

Drama and performance

Modern Irish Literature and Drama

This module will consider Irish literature and drama produced in the twentieth century. Taking the Irish Literary Revival as a starting-point we will consider authors in their Irish and European context: W.B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, Lady Gregory, James Joyce, Seán O'Casey, Seamus Heaney, Brian Friel, and Marina Carr. The focus throughout will be upon reading texts in relation to their social, historical, and political contexts, tracking significant literary and cultural responses to Irish experiences of colonial occupation, nationalist uprising and civil war, partition and independence, socio-economic modernisation, and the protracted period of violent conflict in Northern Ireland.

Performing the Nation: British Theatre since 1980

This module introduces a range of new plays and performances staged in the British Isles between 1980 and the present day, with a particular focus on the ways in which the theatre of the period has engaged with questions of nation and identity in the period which saw the fall of Thatcher and the rise of New Labour, the peace process in Northern Ireland, increasing devolution in Wales and Scotland, and the London 7/7 attacks as well as the celebrations of the 2012 London Olympics. Most recently of all the UK's EU referendum of 2016 has prompted reflection on our national, regional and local identities across and within the UK, and we finish the module by looking at how theatre makers and practitioners have begun to respond to these challenges.

Changing Stages: Theatre Industry and Theatre Art

The twentieth and twenty-first centuries have seen major changes in the way theatre is financed, produced, and presented, on stage and on screen. This module delves into the fascinating world of theatre production, beginning with late nineteenth-century actor-managers and the development of long-running, commercial productions and moving through subsidised theatre, touring and national theatre companies, reviewing and disseminating cultures, and the advent of the mega-musical. Attending to the mainstream and the fringes, the module utilises case studies including Shakespeare in production, new plays, revivals and international hits such as Les Miserables and Hamilton, to illustrate how theatre responds to changing contexts and audiences. 

Reformation and Revolution: Early Modern literature and drama 1588-1688

Literature and Drama across the early modern period contributed to, and was often caught up in, dramatic changes in social, political, and religious culture which changed the way that people experienced their lives and the world around them. This module gives students the opportunity to read a wide range of texts in a multitude of genres (from drama, to prose fiction, pamphlets and poetry) in their immediate contexts, both cultural and intellectual. This module will situate the poetry, prose and drama between 1580 and 1700 against the backdrops of civil war and political revolution, scientific experimentation, and colonial expansion; in doing so, it will ask how the seventeenth century forms our current understandings of the world. Students will be encouraged to read widely, to develop a specific and sophisticated understanding of historical period, and to see connections and changes in literary and dramatic culture in a period which stretches from the Spanish Armada of 1588 to the ‘Glorious Revolution’ of 1688.

English Dissertation

Joint Honours students have the option of writing an individual research project in their final year in the School of English. This will give you the chance to work on a one-to-one basis with a supervisor on an agreed area of study to produce a detailed and sustained piece of writing. This can be on a topic of language, literature or performance, or there is the option of undertaking a project-based dissertation, which will suit those students interested in applied or 'hands on' aspects of English as a discipline. The topics available build on the school’s engagement with local theatres and literacy projects.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules may change or be updated over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for the latest information on available modules.

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

To be confirmed in 2020*
Keep checking back for more information
*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland starting your course in the 2021/22 academic year, you will pay international tuition fees.

This does not apply to Irish students, who will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our Brexit information for future students.

Additional costs

Books

You'll be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to buy your own copies of core texts.

The Blackwell's bookshop on campus offers a year-round price match against any of the main retailers (i.e. Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith). They also offer second-hand books, as students from previous years sell their copies back to the bookshop.

Scholarships and bursaries

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 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

We offer a range of Undergraduate Excellence Awards for high-achieving international and EU scholars from countries around the world, who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers. This includes our European Union Undergraduate Excellence Award for EU students and our UK International Undergraduate Excellence Award for international students based in the UK.

These scholarships cover a contribution towards tuition fees in the first year of your course. Candidates must apply for an undergraduate degree course and receive an offer before applying for scholarships. Check the links above for full scholarship details, application deadlines and how to apply.

Careers

A degree in English and Classics develops many vital skills, including:

  • communication and professional practice
  • creativity
  • researching and presenting skills
  • source analysis
  • critical thinking

You will also learn to plan your work, and develop the qualities of self-discipline and self-motivation that are essential to any form of graduate employment. We will help you develop your ability to research and process a large amount of information quickly, and to present the results of your research in an articulate and effective way.

Average starting salary and career progression

89.3% of undergraduates from the School of English secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary was £22, 441.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

75.1% of undergraduates from the School of Humanities secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary was £22,180*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

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 consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

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Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2017-18

Disclaimer

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.