Triangle

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.

Your departments

See the Department of Classics and Archaeology and School of English websites to find out more about what it's like to study with us.

Why choose this course?

Beginners welcome!

No previous knowledge of the ancient world or ancient languages is required

Get creative

Put your skills into practice and get involved with Impact Magazine, the Creative Writing Society, or the Words on Words blog

Double your skillset

Benefit from the skills development and assessment methods of studying two subjects

Get involved

Join the Classics and Archaeology societies and explore the ancient sites of Greece and Rome during their annual trip

For literature lovers

Unleash your creativity in a UNESCO City of Literature, with opportunities both on campus and in the city


Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level AAB
Required subjects

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

GCSE at level 4 (grade C) or above in English

IB score 34, with 6 in English at Higher Level

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.

Foundation progression options

If you have faced educational barriers and are predicted BCC at A Level, you may be eligible for our  Foundation Year. You may progress to a range of direct entry degrees in the arts and humanities. 

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 quality

Over 90% of our class of 2019 joint honours students graduated with a 1st or 2:1 degree classification. University of Nottingham Degree Outcomes statement

32 of our academics from the School of English and 9 from the Department of Classics and Archaeology have received Advance HE recognition for their contribution to education, becoming Teaching Fellows.

Peer mentoring

All new undergraduate students are allocated a peer mentor, to help you settle into life at Nottingham.

Find out more about peer mentoring

"Going to university is a daunting prospect. Lots of people will be moving away from home and living independently for the first time. It is so important to have people you can speak with about your concerns and queries, and that is why the peer mentor scheme is so brilliant. I used the scheme in my first year and learnt some valuable information into the academic and social side of university life."

- Emily Hall, third-year English BA student

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 the following hours of timetabled contact a week through lectures, seminars and workshops, tutorials and supervisions.

  • Year one: minimum of 12 hours
  • Year two: minimum of 10 hours
  • Final year: minimum of 8 hours

Your tutors will also be available outside these times to discuss issues and develop your understanding. We reduce your contact hours as you work your way through the course. As you progress, we expect you to assume greater responsibility for your studies and work more independently.

Your tutors will all be qualified academics. You will have a personal tutor from the Department of Classics and Archaeology and a joint honours adviser from the School of English.

In English, the largest first year lectures are typically attended by up to 300 students, whereas the corresponding seminars are of 16 students. In years two and three, lectures may include up to 170 students, and seminar groups may range from 12 to 24. For Classics, the largest lectures are typically attended by 80 students, whereas the corresponding seminars are normally of 16 students.

As well as scheduled teaching you’ll carry out extensive self-study such as:

  • reading
  • locating and analysing primary sources
  • planning and writing essays and other assessed work
  • collaborating with fellow students

As a guide, 20 credits (a typical module) is approximately 200 hours of work (combined teaching and self-study).

Study abroad

  • Apply to spend a semester abroad as part of your degree
  • Explore the world, experience different cultures and gain valuable life skills by studying abroad
  • Language support is available through our Language Centre where required
  • 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.

Classics have an optional Work Placement module, for second year students. The School of English also offer the below volunteering schemes: 

  • Vikings and Anglo-Saxons for Schools – Design and lead workshops on Viking and Anglo-Saxon culture and society for local primary schools.
  • The Literacy Support Project – Help to raise literacy standards in primary and secondary schools in the local area.
  • Peer mentoring – Act as a mentor to new students, sharing your experience of living and studying in Nottingham.
  • Dementia Reading Group – Become a Reading Group Facilitator and get involved in group reading and one-on-one reading with residents in a local care home.

In addition, you will be able to take part in volunteering and employability schemes, including the Nottingham Advantage Award.

Why study more than one subject?

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

Modules

Our first-year core modules are designed as an introduction. This means that we will build everyone's knowledge to the same level, so you can progress through to year two.

You will take 120 credits of modules split as follows:

  • Classics modules (60 credits) – 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 modules (60 credits) – choose three core modules from four areas of English

You must pass year one, but it does not count towards your final degree classification.

Core Classics modules

Studying the Greek World

Gain a wide-ranging interdisciplinary introduction to the history, literature and culture of the ancient Greek World. Covering from c.1600-31 BC, you will explore Greek history from the Mycenaean period to the coming of Rome.

You will:

  • Examine the major topics in Greek history – from the Mycenaean Period and the Dark Ages, through 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 by the Roman Empire
  • Explore primary evidence from Greek literary and material culture
  • Consider the relationship between ancient Greece and the modern world

This module is followed by the Studying the Roman World module, in the spring semester. No prior knowledge of Greek history or Greek language is needed.

This module is worth 10 credits.

Studying the Roman World

This module gives a wide-ranging interdisciplinary introduction to the history, literature and art of the Roman world. We will explore from the beginnings of the city of Rome, to the fall of the Roman Empire in the West.

You will:

  • examine 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
  • discover coinciding developments in Roman literary and artistic culture
  • consider the reception of ancient Rome in modern western culture

We will also examine the relationship of the Roman world to the Greek world. This 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 needed.

This module is worth 10 credits.

And either two of the following:

Interpreting Ancient Literature

This module will introduce you to the interpretation of ancient literary texts (in translation) as sources for ancient culture, by focusing on a representative range of texts and themes.

We 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
  • how to compare translations

The autumn semester will focus on Greek texts, and the spring semester will focus on Latin texts.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Interpreting Ancient History

This year-long module is devoted to the history of the ancient world. You will investigate some of its key themes and approaches through a series of historical case studies, covering major periods of Greek and Roman history.

You will explore:

  • What do we know (and not know) about the ancient world?
  • How do ancient politics, society, culture and morality differ from our own?
  • What evidence informs us about the ancient world? What are its limits and pitfalls?
  • How do modern concerns influence academic debates about the ancient world, and the views of individual scholars?
  • How far can we hope to know ‘how things really were’ in the ancient world?

This module is worth 20 credits.

Interpreting Ancient Art and Archaeology

Explore Greek and Roman art, from the Bronze Age to the end of the Roman Empire (roughly 1600 BC to AD 400). We will consider classic sites and monuments that are among the great lasting achievements of mankind, including the Parthenon, Trajan’s Column and the statue of Augustus of Prima Porta.

You will learn how to look at works of art and artefacts from the ancient world. This includes how to describe, explain and analyse them. As a result, you will unlock the meanings of these images and monuments for the people who made, commissioned and looked at them.

You will build a thorough understanding of the key contexts and media of ancient art and archaeology. This includes:

  • sculpture
  • vase-painting
  • coins
  • mosaics
  • architecture and urban structures

We will cover the Greek world in the autumn semester, and the Roman world in the spring semester. Rather than working chronologically, the material on this module is organised by media and contexts (topography, sculpture, vase painting, temples, tombs, houses etc.) This gives you a grasp of formal and stylistic developments within each of these media through the centuries, helping you understand their meanings in their original contexts.

This module is worth 20 credits.

"'Interpreting Ancient Art and Archaeology', which was a first-year module, is by far my favourite. You spend the first semester doing Greek art. You progress from the earliest Greek art, to when the Romans conquered them. Then in the spring semester, you do Roman art from beginning to the end and talk about all the different periods. It was interesting for me, as you got to do a presentation on a specific piece of art. It was really fun." - Hannah Parker, second-year Classical Civilisation

 

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

Beginners' Latin: 1

This module is for complete beginners to Latin.

It offers an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary and you will be supported to analyse and understand basic Latin sentences and short passages.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Beginners' Greek: 1

This module is for complete beginners to Greek.

It offers an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary and you will be supported to analyse and translate passages adapted from classical Greek texts.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Greek Texts: 1

Explore a Greek literary text and begin the systematic revision of grammar, to be completed in ‘Greek Texts: 2’.

We will reinforce your knowledge of the Greek language, developing your ability to read with fluency and understanding.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Latin Texts: 1

Explore a text in the original Latin.

This text will be representative of an author, genre, period, or theme of Latin literature.

We pay special attention to language and style, and detailed analysis will build your literary appreciation and linguistic skills.

You will also explore:

  • The position of the text in the development of the genre
  • The relationship with its social context

This module is worth 20 credits.

Beginners' Latin: 2

This module continues from ‘Beginners’ Latin: 1’.

You will:

  • Continue to study the structure of the language
  • Develop your reading skills until you can read almost unadapted passages from Latin texts

This module is worth 20 credits.

Beginners' Greek: 2

This module continues from ‘Beginners’ Greek: 1’.

You will:

  • Continue to study the structure of the language
  • Develop your reading skills until you can read almost unadapted passages from classical Greek texts

This module is worth 20 credits.

Latin Texts: 2

Study a Latin literary text and complete the systematic revision of grammar, as started in the module ‘Latin Texts: 1’.

You will:

  • Reinforce your knowledge of the Latin language
  • Develop your ability to read Latin with fluency and understanding

This module is worth 20 credits.

Greek Texts: 2

Explore a significant literary text in the original Greek.

We pay special attention to language and style, as well as the text’s literary and broader contexts.

The module will reinforce your knowledge of the Greek language, developing your ability to ready with fluency and understanding.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Greek and Roman Mythology

This module introduces the interpretation of ancient Greek and Roman myth, focussing on a representative range of texts and themes.

The module will be team-taught, exposing you to a wide range of material and approaches to the use of myth in the ancient world.

We will consider how mythology is used in:

  • ancient literature, such as epic and drama
  • historical texts
  • religious contexts
  • the material culture of the ancient world, such as statuary, paintings and sarcophagi

We will also introduce the variety of methodologies that scholars have used over the years, to help interpret and understand these myths and their usages.

This module is worth 20 credits.

English modules

Choose three modules from the below:

English Language and Applied Linguistics

Studying Language

On this module you will learn about the nature of language, and how to analyse it for a broad range of purposes. It aims to prepare you for conducting your own language research across your degree.

The accompanying weekly workshops will explore 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 your future modules.

In your lectures, you will see how our staff 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. Your seminars then give you a chance to think about and discuss these topics further.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Literature, 1500 to the Present

Studying Literature

This module introduces the core skills for literary studies, including skills in reading, writing, researching and presentation. Topics covered include:

  • close reading
  • constructing an argument
  • handling critical material
  • introducing you to key critical questions about literary form, production and reception

You will put these new skills into practice through reading specific literary texts. These are 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.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Medieval Languages and Literatures

Beginnings of English

What was the earliest literature in English like? Where does English come from? What does ‘English’ really mean, anyway?

On this module, we’ll explore a range of English and Scandinavian literature from the medieval period. You'll also meet themes and characters who are at once familiar and strange: heroes and heroines, monster-slayers, saints, exiles, tricksters, lovers, a bear, and more.

From Tolkien to Marvel, the medieval past has been an inspiration for fantasy fiction and modern myth. As well as introducing you to stories and poetry which is exciting, inspiring and sometimes plain weird, we’ll also be looking at some of the challenges of the modern world.

Thinking about the past, means thinking about how it is used in the present day. The idea of a 'beginning' of English language and literature often gets incorporated into modern beliefs about national, ethnic and racial identity. On this module, we’ll begin the necessary work of challenging these ideas and building a better understanding of the medieval past and why it still matters.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Drama and Performance

Drama, Theatre, Performance

Who makes theatre? Where does performance happen, and who is in the audience? How is society represented on stage?

These questions are at the heart of this module, and we will explore the extraordinary variety of drama in the Western dramatic tradition. You will examine dramatic texts in relation to their historical context, spanning:

  • ancient Greek tragedy
  • medieval English drama
  • Shakespeare and his contemporaries
  • the Restoration stage
  • 19th century naturalism
  • political theatre of Brecht
  • drama and performance, for example the West End hit Emilia by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm (2018), a celebration of women’s voices and history, inspired by the life of the trailblazing 17th century poet and feminist Emilia Bassano

Alongside texts, you'll also consider the 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, where we will explore adaptation and interpretation of the texts through different media resources. You can also take part in practical theatre-making, exploring extracts from the selected play-texts in short, student-directed scenes in response to key questions about performance.

This module is worth 20 credits.

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 (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, 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 information on available modules. This content was last updated on Monday 17 May 2021.

You will take 120 credits of modules split as follows:

  • Classics modules (60 credits) – you will take two core modules in which you write extended essays. You'll also choose from 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 modules (60 credits) – choose three optional modules, from at least two areas of study

You must pass year two, which counts 33% towards your final degree classification.

Core Classics modules

Extended Source Study
This module is designed to develop your skills of research, analysis and written presentation as preparation for a third year dissertation in classical civilisation. You will write a 5,000 word essay chosen from a range of topics, each focusing on a single piece of ancient source material. You will be provided with a topic for investigation, starter bibliography and tips on how to approach the question. The questions will suggest a range of possible approaches, from evaluation of historical source material to exploration of literary effects, relationships with other material, discussion of context or reception. For this module you will have a mixture of lectures and four 2-hour seminars over a period of 10 weeks.
Studying Classical Scholarship

This module focuses on the history and development of the scholarship on ancient Greece and Rome and on specific theories, approaches and methods used by modern scholarship. The aim is to sharpen your engagement with and understanding of scholarship, and to give a deeper appreciation of the ways the ancient world has been appropriated. Studying the history of scholarship in its socio-political context will show you how the questions we ask depend on the situations we live in; it will also allow you to judge the merits and limitations of scholarly approaches and will develop your skills of research and analysis, as preparation for your third-year dissertation. As with the Extended Source Study, you will choose a work-sheet relating to an area of the ancient world which particularly interests you; the module is assessed by an oral presentation and a 4,500-5,000 word essay.

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.

Beginners Greek for second and third years: 1 and 2

This module is for complete beginners to Greek. It covers the same material as in ‘Beginners' Greek: 1’ and ‘Beginners Greek: 2’ and lets you take up the language at a later point in your degree.

Emphasis is placed on learning to read Greek. You will:

  • Get an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of classical Greek
  • Be supported to translate passages adapted from classical Greek texts

This module is worth 20 credits.

Beginners Latin for second and third years: 1 and 2

This module is for complete beginners to Latin. It covers the same material as in ‘Beginners Latin: 1’ and ‘Beginners Latin: 2’ and lets you take up the language at a later point in your degree.

You’ll get an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of Latin and you will be supported to analyse and understand basic Latin sentences and short passages.

This module is worth 20 credits.

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.

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. 

Greek Texts: 3

Explore a text in the original Greek.

This text will be representative of an author, genre, period, or theme of Greek literature.

We pay special attention to language and style, and detailed analysis will build your literary appreciation and linguistic skills.

You will also explore:

  • The position of the text in the development of the genre
  • The relationship with its social context

This module is worth 20 credits.

Latin Texts: 3

Explore a text in the original Latin.

This text will be representative of an author, genre, period, or theme of Latin literature. We pay special attention to language and style, and detailed analysis will build your literary appreciation and linguistic skills.

In recent years, themes have included:

  • Flavian personal poetry (Martial and Statius)
  • Roman comedy (Plautus and Terence)
  • The emperor Claudius (Suetonius and Tacitus)

You will also explore the text's relationship with its social, political and cultural context.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Greek Texts: 4

Explore a significant literary text in the original Greek.

We pay special attention to language and style, as well as the text’s literary and broader contexts.

The module will reinforce your knowledge of the Greek language, developing your ability to ready with fluency and understanding.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Latin Texts: 4

Explore a text in the original Latin.

This text will be representative of an author, genre, period, or theme of Latin literature. We pay special attention to language and style, and detailed analysis will build your literary appreciation and linguistic skills.

You will also explore the position of the text in the development of the genre, as well as the relationship with its social context.

This module is worth 20 credits.

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
The Peloponnesian War

The Peloponnesian war lasted for more than 25 years. It came to involve much of the Greek world, as diverse states and peoples felt compelled to become allies of either Sparta or Athens. The scale of this struggle, and its repercussions, make it a highly significant period of Greek history.

You will answer key questions about this conflict, including:

  • Why and how did it start?
  • Why did it last so long?
  • How was it fought?
  • How was it won?
  • What were its consequences?

In particular, we will examine the disproportionate role that one man, the Athenian historian Thucydides, plays in shaping our knowledge and understanding of this conflict. How far can we use other authors and types of evidence to get beyond this hugely significant, but imperfect source?

This module is worth 20 credits.

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 the Romans really 'believe'?

This module explores the traditions and rituals that operated in Roman society, from the earliest stages of archaic Rome, to the advent of Christianity. It will help you to make sense of customs and practices that could baffle even the Romans themselves, alongside showing how the religious system controlled Roman social, political and military activities.

You will examine evidence drawn from the late Republic and early Principate, and use literature and images from the Augustan period as a central hinge for studying the dynamics of religion in Rome.

Topics covered 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

This module is worth 20 credits.

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.

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.

But 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.

This module is worth 20 credits.

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

This module examines Britain in the later-Roman Empire. It is a fascinating period of prosperity, integration, and sophistication. Yet it is also marked by rebellion, civil war, and the sundering of the links that had bound Britain to the continent so deeply for so long.

We will cover from the crisis that marked the middle years of the 3rd century, to the disappearance of Roman power in the early 5th, and the rapid economic collapse and social transformation that followed.

You will take an interdisciplinary approach, combining archaeological and historical evidence, and will be expected to familiarise yourself with a wide range of evidence.

We 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
  • the question of how it ended up leaving the Roman Empire

You will also consider the integration of different types of source material, thinking about Britain’s place in the wider world in a broader context.

This module is worth 20 credits.

The Silk Road: Cultural Interactions and Perceptions

This is a discipline-bridging cross-campus module, involving 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
  • 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. This could be between, for example, China, central Asia, Scandinavia and the Middle East.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Optional English modules

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

Literature, 1500 to the Present

From Talking Horses to Romantic Revolutionaries: Literature 1700-1830

This module introduces different kinds of literature, written between 1700-1830. This was a dramatic time in literary history, resulting in the Romantic period. It involved many areas of great contemporary relevance, such as class, poverty, sexuality, and slavery.

We will examine:

  • utopian literature (through Gulliver’s Travels)
  • the developing novel (such as Moll Flanders and Pride and Prejudice)
  • how irony works
  • what is self-expression
  • how the emergent genre of autobiography can be either manipulated, or used as part of a larger cause

As part of this module, you will explore novels, poems, and prose works that bring to life the intellectual, social and cultural contexts of the period.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Literature and Popular Culture

This module investigates the relationship between literature and popular culture. You will explore works from across a range of genres and mediums, including:

  • prose fiction
  • poetry
  • comics
  • graphic novels
  • music
  • television
  • film

As well as 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.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Modern and Contemporary Literature

This module charts the dramatic transformations and innovations of literature in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Moving between genres, the module unfolds chronologically from modernism, through the inter-war years, and into postmodernism and the contemporary scene.

We explore some of the huge artistic shifts of this long and turbulent period. You will examine how modern and contemporary literature connects to the cultural revolutions, intellectual debates, political and social upheavals, and ethical complexities of its times.

This module is worth 20 credits.

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

Explore a wide variety of Victorian and fin-de-siècle literature, with examples taken from fiction, critical writing and poetry.

You will examine works by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Charles Dickens, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Oscar Wilde, Henry James, HG Wells and Joseph Conrad.

We will focus on understanding changes in literary forms and genres over this period, and how these relate to broader developments in Victorian social, economic and political culture.

The module is organised around the following interrelated themes:

  • Empire and race
  • Class and crime
  • Identity and social mobility
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Literature and consumerism

This module is worth 20 credits.

English Language and Applied Linguistics

Language in Society

When we study language, we learn about how society works. Why do some people have more noticeable accents than others? Why are some people taken seriously when they talk, while others aren’t? How do those with power use language to manipulate us into thinking a certain way?

On this module, these are the sorts of questions you’ll be thinking about. We focus on how people use language, how language varies between different speakers, and how language is used to represent different social groups. We consider:

  • The way that language is used by people online to create communities
  • How the mainstream media uses language to represent particular groups, such as immigrants or gay people
  • The ways that language is used in particular contexts, such as the workplace
  • How advertisers use language to persuade us that we need their products
  • The relationship between language, gender and sexuality
  • How language can be used to signal a person’s race or ethnicity

You’ll learn how to conduct a sociolinguistic study which explores topics such as these. You will also spend time each week analysing original language data.

The module is worth 20 credits.

The Psychology of Bilingualism and Language Learning

Are you interested in languages and the multilingual world? Have you ever wondered how our brains process learning a second language? Would you like to teach English overseas one day? If so, this module could be for you.

Drawing on current theories of second language acquisition, we will consider:

  • How globalisation has increased bilingualism in the world
  • How languages are learnt
  • How students differ from each other in their mastery of languages
  • How the psychology of the classroom environment impacts the effectiveness of learning
  • How to motivate students and create good learner groups

You will spend three hours per week on this module, split equally between a lecture and follow-up seminar.

This module is worth 20 credits.

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

All literature is written in language, so understanding how language and the mind work will make us better readers and critics of literary works.

This module brings together the literary and linguistic parts of your degree. It gives you the power to explore any text from any period by any author.

You will study how:

  • Literature can feel rich, or pacy, or suspenseful, or beautiful
  • Texts can make you laugh, cry, feel afraid, excited, or nostalgic
  • Fictional people like characters can be imagined
  • We can get inside the thoughts, feelings, and hear the speech of characters, narrators and authors
  • Imagined worlds are built, and how their atmosphere is brought to life
  • You as a reader are manipulated or connect actively with literary worlds and people

This module is worth 20 credits.

Medieval Languages and Literatures

Chaucer and his Contemporaries

Chaucer dominates our conception of late Middle English literature, but he was one among several exceptional writers of his time.

This module focuses on 40 years of writing, to consider whether Chaucer’s concerns with identity and authority, comedy and tragedy, and wit and wisdom are uniquely his, or shared with other writers.

We will cover a wide range, including:

  • romance
  • dream vision (both mystic and secular)
  • love poetry
  • lyric

You will read works by the so-called Ricardians: Chaucer, Gower, the Gawain-poet, and Langland, but also the mystic writings of Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe and some poetry by Thomas Hoccleve.

By the end of the module, you will have gained confidence in reading and discussing Middle English texts, and be aware of key issues around form, language, and authority and influence.

This module is worth 20 credits.

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

Odin, Thor and Loki: almost everyone has heard about them, but where do their stories come from?

In this module, we will learn about the origins of their myths from various sources: images on stone and wood in the Viking Age, as well as the written texts of the Middle Ages.

We will learn about giants, dwarves, valkyries and rumour-spreading squirrels, as well as the cosmology and religion which are embedded in Old Norse mythology. We will talk about heroes and villains, from dragon-slayers to queens who kill to avenge their brothers.

The stories of Old Norse mythology have influenced writers throughout history. from Tolkien to the Marvel Universe, they are still part of our culture. This module will take you back to the beginnings and show that there are so many more marvellous myths to explore.

The module is with 20 credits.

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

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

Theatre makers in the long 20th century have been dealing with a series of pressing artistic and social issues, many of which still concern us today.

These issues include:

  • What makes a play worth watching?
  • Why do audiences enjoy watching bad things happening?
  • How are minority groups represented on the stage?
  • How might the stage advance the cause of gender or sexual equality?
  • What role does social class or nationality play in the workings of theatrical culture?
  • How can we talk accurately about an art form like performed theatre, that is so fleeting and transitory?

In order to answer such questions, this module gives an overview of key plays and performances from the 1890s to the present. You will study these key texts in their original political, social, and cultural contexts. You will also:

  • consider their reception and afterlife
  • focus on the textual and performance effects created
  • place the texts alongside the work of relevant theorists and practitioners

This module is worth 20 credits.

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 (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, 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 information on available modules. This content was last updated on

You will take 120 credits of modules split as follows:

  • Classics modules (60 credits) – 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
  • English modules (60 credits) – 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 choose to combine both subjects in one dissertation

You must pass year three, which counts 67% towards your final degree classification.

Optional 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.

This module will explore:

  • How myth works in the ancient world
  • How representations in different media interact
  • When myth-making becomes reception
  • How the Greeks represent Greek culture and the barbarian other
  • How Roman literature re-appropriates and re-works Greek myth
  • How 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.

This module is worth 40 credits.

Augustus

The year-long Special Subject module allows you to intensively study one of the most influential figures in Roman history – Augustus.

We examine how, after his victory in the civil wars, Augustus established his rule over the Roman world on a secure and generally acceptable basis. You will pay attention to the ancient sources (studied in translation). These include not only historical and literary texts, but also inscriptions, coins, art and architecture.

This module covers political aspects of the theme, but also Augustus' impact on society, religion, culture, and ideology.

You will have three hours of seminars per week. Assessment is through a combination of coursework essays, formal presentation and exam.

This module is worth 40 credits.

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.

The Peloponnesian War

The Peloponnesian war lasted for more than 25 years. It came to involve much of the Greek world, as diverse states and peoples felt compelled to become allies of either Sparta or Athens. The scale of this struggle, and its repercussions, make it a highly significant period of Greek history.

You will answer key questions about this conflict, including:

  • Why and how did it start?
  • Why did it last so long?
  • How was it fought?
  • How was it won?
  • What were its consequences?

In particular, we will examine the disproportionate role that one man, the Athenian historian Thucydides, plays in shaping our knowledge and understanding of this conflict. How far can we use other authors and types of evidence to get beyond this hugely significant, but imperfect source?

This module is worth 20 credits.

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 the Romans really 'believe'?

This module explores the traditions and rituals that operated in Roman society, from the earliest stages of archaic Rome, to the advent of Christianity. It will help you to make sense of customs and practices that could baffle even the Romans themselves, alongside showing how the religious system controlled Roman social, political and military activities.

You will examine evidence drawn from the late Republic and early Principate, and use literature and images from the Augustan period as a central hinge for studying the dynamics of religion in Rome.

Topics covered 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

This module is worth 20 credits.

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.

But 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.

This module is worth 20 credits.

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

This module examines Britain in the later-Roman Empire. It is a fascinating period of prosperity, integration, and sophistication. Yet it is also marked by rebellion, civil war, and the sundering of the links that had bound Britain to the continent so deeply for so long.

We will cover from the crisis that marked the middle years of the 3rd century, to the disappearance of Roman power in the early 5th, and the rapid economic collapse and social transformation that followed.

You will take an interdisciplinary approach, combining archaeological and historical evidence, and will be expected to familiarise yourself with a wide range of evidence.

We 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
  • the question of how it ended up leaving the Roman Empire

You will also consider the integration of different types of source material, thinking about Britain’s place in the wider world in a broader context.

This module is worth 20 credits.

The Silk Road: Cultural Interactions and Perceptions

This is a discipline-bridging cross-campus module, involving 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
  • 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. This could be between, for example, China, central Asia, Scandinavia and the Middle East.

This module is worth 20 credits.

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
Beginners Greek for second and third years: 1 and 2

This module is for complete beginners to Greek. It covers the same material as in ‘Beginners' Greek: 1’ and ‘Beginners Greek: 2’ and lets you take up the language at a later point in your degree.

Emphasis is placed on learning to read Greek. You will:

  • Get an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of classical Greek
  • Be supported to translate passages adapted from classical Greek texts

This module is worth 20 credits.

Beginners Latin for second and third years: 1 and 2

This module is for complete beginners to Latin. It covers the same material as in ‘Beginners Latin: 1’ and ‘Beginners Latin: 2’ and lets you take up the language at a later point in your degree.

You’ll get an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of Latin and you will be supported to analyse and understand basic Latin sentences and short passages.

This module is worth 20 credits.

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.

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: 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.

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: 5

Explore a text in the original Greek.

This text will be representative of an author, genre, period, or theme of Greek literature.

We pay special attention to language and style, and detailed analysis will build your literary appreciation and linguistic skills.

You will also explore:

  • The position of the text in the development of the genre
  • The relationship with its social context

This module is worth 20 credits.

Latin Texts: 5

Explore a text in the original Latin.

This text will be representative of an author, genre, period, or theme of Latin literature. We pay special attention to language and style, and detailed analysis will build your literary appreciation and linguistic skills.

You will also explore the position of the text in the development of the genre, as well as the relationship with its 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

This module is worth 20 credits.

Greek Texts: 6

Explore a significant literary text in the original Greek.

We pay special attention to language and style, as well as the text’s literary and broader contexts.

The module will reinforce your knowledge of the Greek language, developing your ability to ready with fluency and understanding.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Latin Texts: 6

Explore a text in the original Latin.

This text will be representative of an author, genre, period, or theme of Latin literature. We pay special attention to language and style, and detailed analysis will build your literary appreciation and linguistic skills.

You will also explore the position of the text in the development of the genre, as well as the relationship with its social context.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Dissertation in Classics

The dissertation is your opportunity to carry out an in-depth investigation of a chosen area, to be agreed with a supervisor in advance. You will use the skills that your degree has equipped you with thus far to plan, research and complete a 10-12,000-word essay. There will be a mix of contact to achieve this, including workshops, lectures and one-to-one tutorials.

Optional English modules

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

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

Explore the novel from the late twentieth century onwards, in Britain and beyond.

We will concentrate on the formal operations and innovations of selected novelists, considering how the contemporary socio-historical context influences these questions of form. Topics considered include:

  • an interrogation of the ‘post-consensus novel’
  • an exploration of postcolonial texts which represent the transatlantic slave trade
  • the cultural politics of late twentieth-century and twenty-first century Scottish literature

Contemporary fiction is focused on writing emerging from Britain and closely-related contexts in the post-war period. This module offers strands structured around a number of political, social and cultural frameworks in Britain. These include:

  • 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 particularly explores the network of relationships between context, content and form, supported by related literary and cultural theory and philosophy.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Making Something Happen: 20th Century Poetry and Politics

This module introduces key modern and contemporary poets.

You will build 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 20th century.

The module will include such (primarily) British and Irish poets as:

  • W.B. Yeats
  • T.S. Eliot
  • W. H. Auden
  • Dylan Thomas
  • Ted Hughes
  • Sylvia Plath
  • Wislawa Szymborska
  • Tony Harrison
  • Seamus Heaney
  • Derek Mahon
  • Adrienne Rich
  • Geoffrey Hill
  • Jo Shapcott
  • Patience Agbabi
  • 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.

To develop a more complete perspective on each poet’s engagement with 20-century formal and political problems, we also examine these figures’ writings in other modes. This includes critical essays, manifestos, speeches, and 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.

This module is worth 20 credits.

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 connections between literary texts, politics, and relevant historical/cultural contexts in gothic texts. You may cover:

  • poetry
  • novels
  • graphic novels
  • films

Examples include The Haunting of Hill House (both Shirley Jackson’s novel and the Netflix adaptation), The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez, and Saga of the Swamp Thing by Moore, Bissette and Totleben, and The Visions of the Daughters of Albion by William Blake.

You will explore various critical and theoretical approaches to literature, film, comics, adaptation, and popular culture. The module also seeks to decolonise Gothic Studies, including work by creators from a wide range of backgrounds who identify with a diverse range of subject positions.

This module is worth 20 credits.

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

Henry James and Oscar Wilde had a passionate dislike of each other, as well as very different values. Even so, they moved in similar circles. Both men found themselves at the centre of British cultural and intellectual life, experimenting within the same set of literary, critical and theatrical modes.

This module uses the writings of Oscar Wilde and Henry James, alongside some of their contemporaries, to examine changes in literary culture and the practices of literary composition in the late 19th century.

We will explore:

  • The role of new technology in literary creativity
  • The growth of mass and 'celebrity' culture
  • The development of consumerism and resulting commodification of literary art
  • The changing relationship of art to politics
  • Anxieties about artistic originality and plagiarism
  • Attempts (via censorship) to police literary expressivity

You will study a range of texts by Wilde and James, including drama, fiction and criticism. These will be compared with pieces by a number of their contemporaries (including Walter Pater and William Morris), in order to assess both the modernity and radicalism of their writings.

This module is worth 20 credits.

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 behaviours that are a fundamental part of our daily lives. And yet they remain difficult to fully explain.

When you hear ‘FIRE’, you immediately look for an exit and start moving. Yet all that a speaker has done is produce a string of sounds. Your mind distinguishes these from the murmuring of other voices, feet clomping on the floor, and any background music. Your mind matches the sounds f-i-r-e with a word, retrieves the meaning, and relates them to the current circumstances and responds accordingly.

How does the mind do this? And what makes our minds so special that we can do this? On this module, we begin to address these questions.

You will consider:

  • Is there a language gene?
  • What makes human language different from animal communication?
  • What is the relationship between thought and language?
  • Does everyone talk to themselves? What purpose does our inner voice serve?
  • How do we learn language? And does cognition underpin our ability to learn language?
  • What do language deficits tell us about language and the brain?
  • How do we understand and produce speech, words, and sentences?
  • What is the best way to teach children to read?
  • How is sign language similar to/different from spoken language?

This module is worth 20 credits.

Advanced Stylistics

This module offers an advanced study of the language of literary texts and how it impacts reading and interpretation. It bridges the gap between the literary and linguistics aspects of our BA degrees. It also equips you with skills that will be useful in the teaching of English, or for a career in publishing.

You will study:

  • literary style and technique
  • the style of poetry and narrative
  • the representation of characters' voices and consciousness
  • the style of difficult texts, such as surrealism
  • the history of literary style

You will learn to explain how style contributes to meaning and interpretation, and why texts affect you in different ways.

This module is worth 20 credits.

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 comprehensive knowledge of feminist theory, as applied to a series of language and linguistic contexts.

You will explore a range of analytical approaches to language, including conversation analysis, critical discourse analysis, and interactional sociolinguistics. You will also respond to, and critically engage with, contemporary real-world problems associated with gender and sexuality, through the consideration of discourse-based texts.

Topics covered include:

  • gender and sexual identity construction in a range of interactive contexts
  • sexist, misogynistic, homophobic and heteronormative representations in texts
  • feminist theory from the 1970s to the present, with particular focus on contemporary approaches to gender theory

This module is worth 20 credits.

Medieval Languages and Literatures

English Place-Names

The module uses the study of place-names to show the various languages – British, Latin, French, Norse and English – that have been spoken in England over the last 2000 years.

You will learn how place-name evidence can be used as a source for the history of English, including:

  • its interaction with the other languages
  • its regional and dialectal patterns
  • its changing vocabulary

We also consider the interdisciplinary contribution that place-names offer to historians and geographers.

For this module's assessment, you can choose a geographical area of particular interest.

This module is worth 20 credits.

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

Our images of Vikings come largely from the Icelandic sagas. These present a Viking Age of daring exploits, global exploration and bloody feuds, as carried out by valiant warriors and feisty women. But how accurate are the sagas when it comes to understanding what really happened in the Viking Age? Can they provide an insight into the Viking mind?

This module explores Norse and Viking cultural history, using an interdisciplinary approach grounded in the study of texts. 

Topics covered include:

  • The Viking Age and Viking society
  • Exploration and diaspora
  • Gender, marriage and family
  • Religion and belief
  • Outlaws
  • Poetry
  • The supernatural

Your one-hour lectures will provide the evidence base for discussion in the two-hour, student-led seminars. The seminars also include some language work.

Assessment for this module is by a one-hour exam of comment and analysis, and a 3000-word project on a topic of your choice in consultation with a tutor.

This module is worth 20 credits.

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

Peter Pan, Les Misérables, Hamilton... just a few of the iconic productions that started life in London’s West End, or on Broadway in New York. But why and how did they become so successful?

The 20th and 21st centuries have seen major changes in the way theatre is financed, produced and presented, both on stage and on screen. This module explores the fascinating world of theatre production, covering:

  • the development of long-running, commercial productions
  • the role of the theatre producer in making theatre
  • subsidised theatre
  • touring and national theatre companies
  • reviewing cultures
  • relationship between the theatre and film industries
  • the advent of the mega-musical

Examining the mainstream and the fringes, we apply case studies including Shakespeare in production, new plays, revivals, and international hits like the ones listed above, illustrating how theatre responds to changing contexts and audiences.

This module is worth 20 credits.

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 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. 

English Dissertation: Full Year

You have the option of writing an individual research project in your final year. This can be on a topic of language, literature or performance.

You will work on a one-to-one basis with a supervisor, producing a detailed and sustained piece of writing.

There is also the option of completing a project-based dissertation. This is useful if you are interested in applied or practical aspects of English.

Recent dissertation titles include:

  • 'From Diamonds to Dust: An Ecocritical Comparison Between Modernist Literature and Contemporary Environmental Fiction'
  • 'The Representation of Racial Injustices in Claudia Rankine's Citizen: An American Lyric'
  • 'Seamus Heaney and Samuel Beckett in Relation to British Imperialism'
  • 'Ethical Criticism and Zadie Smith'

This module is worth 20 credits.

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 (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, 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 information on available modules. This content was last updated on

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

To be confirmed in 2021*
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 2022/23 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

Essential course materials are supplied.

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. A limited number of modules have compulsory texts which you are required to buy. We recommend that you budget £100 per year for books, but this figure will vary according to which modules you take. The Blackwell's bookshop on campus offers a year-round price match against any of the main retailers (e.g. Amazon, Waterstones, WH Smith). They also offer second-hand books, as students from previous years sell their copies back to the bookshop.

Volunteering and placements

For volunteering and placements e.g. work experience and teaching in schools, you will need to pay for transport and refreshments.

Optional field trips

Field trips allow you to engage with source materials on a personal level and to develop different perspectives. They are optional and costs to you vary according to the trip; some require you to arrange your own travel, refreshments and entry fees, while some are some are wholly subsidised.

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 students

We offer a range of international undergraduate scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

International scholarships

Careers

As a Classics and English graduate, you will have gained the following key transferable skills:

  • strong communication, both oral and written
  • researching and presenting skills
  • source analysis
  • critical thinking
  • text analysis
  • planning and researching written work

Read our Department of Classics and Archaeology graduate profiles

Read our School of English graduate profiles

You can also learn more about subject-related careers opportunities from our Careers and Employability Service:

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).

Dummy placeholder image

Related courses

Important information

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.