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Course overview

English and Philosophy support each other in looking at what it means to be human:

  • What do we feel? And is it right to feel that way?
  • What is society like? And what should it be like?

Both of these subjects at Nottingham are especially diverse in what they cover:

  • English - language, literature and drama from Old English to the present day
  • Philosophy - traditional topics such as ethics and philosophy of mind alongside emerging areas like environmental and social philosophy

You'll study each subject separately but equally. Choice of specialised modules means you'll be able to deepen your knowledge and follow your passions.

There's lots of reading involved! Also plenty of opportunities to develop your own ideas and work with others.

An ideal degree if you want to be able to say what you mean and mean what you say.

Find out more about the School of English and Department of Philosophy.

Why choose this course?

  • No compulsory modules after the first year - build a degree that suits your interests
  • Develop skills through both subjects that are vital across a wide range of professions
  • Work experience opportunities to enhance your CV
  • Option to study abroad - experience living and learning in different cultures
  • Unleash your creativity - live in a UNESCO City of Literature, take part in the student-run New Theatre and on-campus Lakeside Arts, experience a vibrant visual arts scene and legendary music venues

Entry requirements

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

UK entry requirements
A level offer AAB
IB score 34 (6 in English at Higher Level)

A in English Literature or English Language

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

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

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

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Teaching methods

  • Field trips
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Placements
  • Workshops

How you will be assessed

Different types of philosophy suit different methods of teaching. You might get involved in small-group study of texts or learn alternative styles of presentation - from press releases to legal briefs.

Assessment methods

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

Contact time and study hours

The minimum scheduled contact time you will have is:

  • Year one - 12 hours
  • Year two - 10 hours
  • Year three - 8 hours

Your lecturers will also be available outside of these times to discuss issues and develop your understanding.

Weekly tutorial support and the accredited Nottingham Advantage Award provide further optional learning activities, on top of these class contact hours.

As well as timetabled sessions you’ll carry out extensive self-study. This will include course reading and seminar preparation. As a guide 20 credits (a typical module) is about 200 hours of work (combined teaching and self-study).

Class sizes vary depending on topic and type. A popular lecture may have up to 200 students attending while a specialised seminar may only contain 10 students.

Your lecturers will usually be from our academic staff in English and Philosophy. Some of our postgraduate students also support teaching after suitable training.

As a joint honours student you will have a personal tutor from the Department Philosophy as well as a Joint Honours advisor from the School of English.

Study abroad

  • Explore the world, experience different cultures and gain valuable life skills by studying abroad
  • Options range from short summer schools, a single semester to a whole year abroad
  • Language support is available through our Language Centre
  • Students studying abroad for a semester pay reduced fees (Home/EU students - £6,480, International - 75% of the relevant international fee)
  • Boost your CV for prospective employers

Placements

Become 'workplace-ready' with our Work Placement module. It helps you develop skills and experience that allow you to stand out to potential employers.

Our successful and long-running Philosophy in Schools project gives volunteers:

  • classroom practice with Key Stage 2 children
  • experience of team working and safeguarding
  • training on how to deliver philosophy

The School of English have a range of work placement and volunteering opportunities designed for their students.

You also have access to a wide range of schemes through the:

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

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

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

Why study more than one subject?

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

Modules

Get a thorough grounding in both subjects to prepare you to specialise in years two and three.

You'll take 120 credits split as follows:

  • Compulsory Philosophy modules - 40 credits
  • Optional Philosophy modules - 20 credits
  • Optional English modules - 60 credits

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

Philosophy core modules

Reasoning, Argument, and Logic

This module introduces a series of key skills relevant to the aims and methods of philosophical inquiry. It is designed to:

  • help you understand the nature and structure of arguments
  • acquire critical tools for assessing the arguments of others
  • improve your ability to present your own reasoning in a clear and rigorous manner, particularly in essays
  • supply the basic minimum knowledge of logic and its technical vocabulary which every philosophy student requires
Mind, Knowledge, and Ethics

This module covers issues in ethics, epistemology, and the philosophy of mind. Topics might include the mind body problem, the nature of persons, perception, knowledge, free will, the nature of ethics, normative theories, the problem of moral motivation, and the nature of ethical judgements.

Philosophy optional modules

Metaphysics, Science, and Language

The module will cover topics from each of Metaphysics, Epistemology and the philosophy of science, and the philosophy of language. Indicative questions include:

  • metaphysics – why is there something rather than nothing? Does it make sense to talk of a telos, or purpose, to the universe? Is the universe deterministic, or is there chance
  • philosophy of science – is science the guide to all of reality? Is there a scientific method
  • philosophy of language – what is truth? Is truth relative? Does language create reality?
Philosophy of Religions

This module will explore the thought about religion of a few key philosophical thinkers chosen from more than one tradition. Representative thinkers might include, but are not limited to, atheists such as Feuerbach and Nietzsche, Buddhists such as Śāntideva and Dōgen, Christians such as Augustine, Pascal and Weil, Hindus such as the writers of the Upanisads and Shankara, Jews such as Spinoza and Buber, Muslims such as Mulla Sadra and Nasr, and Taoists such as Zhuangzi; in some years, more contemporary thinkers might be chosen.

The texts will be used to raise issues of wider philosophical significance, such as the variety of conceptions of ultimate reality; goals for the spiritual life; the nature of religious experience; the relations of religion and morality; explanations of suffering and evil; human nature and continuing existence after death; and problems of religious diversity. While such content may vary from year to year, each year will focus on a few key thinkers and themes.

Philosophy and the Contemporary World

This module will provide you with the resources necessary to critically understand and constructively engage with a variety of topical practical, social, and political issues and phenomena. These include a range of psychological phenomena of relevance to both university environments and social life, and large-scale political and cultural developments that invite moral and intellectual concern.

An overt aim of the module is to provide you with the intellectual skills necessary to undertake your duties as responsible citizens in a democratic society within a multicultural and multiracial world. 

Gender, Justice, and Society

Proposed topics include:

  • What is justice?
  • What is gender justice?
  • What would a just organisation of labour and resources look like?
  • How does the gendered distribution of labour and resources affect this?
  • What is autonomy?
  • How does gender affect the way we understand autonomy?
  • What is culture, and why does it matter?
  • How should the state respond to cultural differences?
  • What should feminists say about this?
  • Is violence justified?
  • How can we make sense of gender-based violence?
  • Should there be a distinction between the public and the private?
  • Does it make sense to think of our personal lives as ‘political’?
History of Politics: Ancient to Modern

Through considering some of the greatest thinkers who have ever lived, students on this module will become familiar with some of the main philosophical ideas which have shaped philosophy. They will understand how and why these ideas arose and developed across the history of philosophy in response to wider contexts and movements. The historical scope runs from the ancient to the modern period. Typical figures might include: Plato, Aristotle, Ibn-Tufayl, Ibn-Rushd, Montaigne, Locke, Wollstonecraft, Marx, Gandhi, Fanon, Sartre, de Beauvoir, and Murdoch. Typical topics might include: ancient Greek conceptions of the good life, reason and tradition in classical Islamic philosophy, medieval philosophy, existentialism, and Afro-Caribbean philosophy.

English optional modules

Drama, Theatre, Performance

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

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

Learning objectives:

  • To provide you with an understanding of drama as a performance medium, in which real people and objects are presented to other people in real, shared space.
  • To introduce you to a range of historical performance conventions, including Ancient Greek tragedy and nineteenth century naturalism.
  • To enable you to recognise and analyse the varied elements which constitute performance.
  • To provide you with knowledge and understanding of the social, historical and cultural contexts of various play-texts.
Studying Language

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

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

Learning objectives:

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

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

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

Learning objectives:

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

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

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

Learning objectives:

  • To introduce you to the earliest English and related Old Norse texts
  • To give you an understanding of the cultural and artistic milieux that produced these texts
  • To reflect on the relevance of these texts to our world and the impact they have had on contemporary literature
  • To enable you to understand the development of the English language
  • To familiarise you with the themes and genre of medieval English literature
The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules may change or be updated over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for the latest information on available modules.

Carry on with a particular topic or dive into something new as your interests develop.

You'll study each subject equally (60 credits in each). Some module choices are restricted depending on options chosen in year one and timetabling.

Our Humanities Work Placement module allows you to develop valuable professional experience.

You must pass year two which counts approximately one third towards your final degree classification.

Philosophy optional modules

The Nature of Meaning

The module begins with an exploration of various theories of naming, paying particular attention to the works of Frege, Russell (including the theory of descriptions), and Kripke. We then turn our attention to various puzzles concerning the nature of meaning, including the distinction between analytic and synthetic sentences.

In the final part of the module, we move on to a discussion of some of the mainstream theories of meaning; particularly, a truth-conditional semantics, and we explore how this might be developed to take into account indexical terms such as 'I', 'now', and 'here'. Some of the skills acquired in Elementary Logic will be applied in this module.

Freedom and Obligation

Are you obliged to obey the law even when you disagree with it? What features must a state have in order to be legitimate? In this module we will approach these classic questions of political philosophy by examining the work of a number of important past political philosophers, such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (this list is suggestive, and the line up each year may vary).

The emphasis of the module is partly exegetical and partly evaluative. That is, we will seek both to understand why the thinkers' works have been open to different interpretations, and to evaluate their arguments under these different interpretations.

Mind and Consciousness

This module aims to introduce you to some of the major issues within contemporary philosophy of mind. We will examine four topics and the interactions between them:

  • Intentionality
  • Consciousness
  • Mental Causation
  • The Status of Physicalism
Knowledge and Justification

This module explores contemporary treatments of issues pertaining to knowledge and the justification of belief. It addresses issues such as the following:

  • the structure of justification and its relation to one's mental states and evidence (foundationalism vs. coherentism; internalism vs.externalism; evidentialism)
  • the justification of induction; the notion of a priori justification
  • the relation between your evidence and what you know
  • the natures of perceptual experience and perceptual knowledge
  • safety and contextualist theories of knowledge
  • Moore's response to skepticism
  • testimonial knowledge, "virtue" epistemology and its relation to "reliabilist" epistemology
Normative Ethics

We all have opinions about moral matters. But for most of us, our moral opinions are not very well-organised. Indeed, upon reflection we may discover that some of our beliefs about morality are inconsistent. One of the main projects of moral theorising over the past few hundred years has been the attempt to systematically denominate right and wrong actions.

In this module you will examine some of these, including consequentialism, deontology and virtue ethics. 

Being, Becoming and Reality

We look at some fundamental metaphysical questions about the cosmos. A selection of the following topics will be studied:

  • Objects: concrete vs. abstract; existence and nothingness
  • Sets and mereology
  • Properties, Property bearers, Relations
  • States of affairs and non-mereological composition
  • Modality (including counterfactuals) and possible worlds
  • Time, persistence, change, and the non-present
Topics in Asian Philosophy

This module explores some of the major figures, texts, and schools of the philosophical traditions of India, China, and Japan. The Asian traditions address familiar philosophical themes – in ethics, epistemology, and aesthetics - but often approach them in ways that may seem unfamiliar. Studying them can challenge our culturally inherited presuppositions in instructive ways, as well as illuminating the history and current state of those cultures – an important thing in an age when many Westerners are ‘looking East’.

Topics may include:

  • Confucianism, Mohism, Daoism, and Hinduism
  • the Analects, Bhagavad Gita, and Zhuangzi
  • the relationship between morality and religion
  • etiquette, ethics and aesthetics
  • the nature of ultimate reality and the good life
  • the relation of Asian philosophies to the Western tradition
Social Philosophy

This module addresses issues in social metaphysics and social epistemology. We will examine the metaphysics of social kinds and explore different accounts of social kinds that have been offered. We will also examine how the fact that we are situated in a social world can affect what we can or cannot know or understand about ourselves, each other, and the social world itself. We will also address ethical and/or political issues that arise once we take account of social metaphysics and social epistemology.

In particular, we might consider whether there are special kinds of injustices that arise due to our social reality. What is epistemic injustice and how does it relate to social injustice? How do certain privileged groups structure the social world that create and maintain privilege and patterns of ignorance that perpetuate that privilege? What are some obligations that we have given metaphysical and epistemological concerns we have explored? 

Philosophy of Art

This module aims to promote a deeper understanding of philosophical issues pertaining to art. By the end of the module, you should be able to engage critically with positions and arguments in a wide range of areas within the philosophy of art.

These include debates such as those concerning the nature of art, the relationship between art and ethics, and the relationship between art and emotion.

Philosophy of Science: From Positivism to Postmodernism

What is science? Is there a scientific method, and if so, what is it? Can science tell us what the world is really like? Is it the only way to know what the world is really like? Does science progress? What is a paradigm and when/how does it shift? Is science socially constructed? Can a sociological study of the practice of science tell us anything about the nature of science? Is science "value-neutral"? Should we save society from science? What are "the science wars" and who won?

These are some of the questions we will explore in this module. We will start with the positivism-empiricism of the early 20th century and culminate with the postmodernism-relativism of the late-20th century and its aftermath.

Readings will include seminal works by Ayer, Hempel, Popper, Kuhn, Lakatos, Feyeraband, Bloor, and Laudan. While we may consider various examples from the history of science, no background knowledge of science or logic (beyond elementary first-year logic) is presupposed. 

Ancient Greek Philosophy

This module explores some of the major thinkers, texts and themes of Ancient Greek philosophy. Ancient Greek philosophy stands at the beginning of the western philosophical tradition and western philosophy has been shaped by a sustained engagement with Ancient Greek thought in areas of philosophy, such as epistemology, metaphysics, ethics and political theory.

Topics and thinkers may include: Presocratic Philosophy; Heraclitus; Parmenides; the Sophistic movement; Plato and Platonism; Socrates and the Socratic Schools (Cynics, Cyrenaics and Megarics); Aristotle (ethics, political theory, natural philosophy, metaphysics); Epicurus and Epicureanism; Stoicism; Academic and Pyrrhonian Scepticism; Plotinus and Neoplatonism; Pythagoreansim. No knowledge of the Ancient Greek language is required.

Continental Philosophy

This module will introduce the European tradition of philosophical thinking prevalent over the past two centuries. It will begin with an introduction to the influence of Kant and Hegel and recurrent characteristics of European thought, before turning to focus on representative texts by key thinkers. Texts for more in depth study might include, for example: Ludwig Feuerbach's Principles of the Philosophy of the Future, Henri Bergson's Creative Evolution, Friedrich Nietzsche's Twilight of the Idols, Martin Heidegger's Being and Time, Hannah Arendt's The Human Condition, and Luce Irigaray's Speculum of the Other Woman. Emphasis will be placed on the different images of thought at work in European philosophical texts, as well as on how differing approaches to metaphysics, ethics and politics are grounded in newly-created perspectives.

Intermediate Logic

This module takes formal logic beyond the basics (as covered in first year Reasoning, Argument, and Logic). We’ll cover Propositional Logic, First-Order Logic, and Modal Logic (going into more detail where these were covered in first year).

We’ll learn about existence, identity, possibility, and necessity; and we’ll learn formal techniques for testing the validity of arguments. We’ll apply these logical techniques to help us make sense of challenging concepts and arguments in metaphysics and philosophy of language.

An Introduction to Metaethics
Are there moral facts? What is moral truth? Do psychopaths really understand moral language? These are just some of the questions we’ll be asking on this module. Metaethics isn’t anything like normative or applied ethics; rather it is about asking how ethics works. This means we’ll be thinking about, amongst other things, moral ontology, moral language, moral psychology and moral reasons. Introductory reading Andrew Fisher (2011) Metaethics: An Introduction (Routledge).

English optional modules

Choose three modules in total from at least two of the areas below.

Literature, 1500 to the Present

From Talking Horses to Romantic Revolutionaries: Literature 1700-1830

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

Literature and Popular Culture

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

Modern and Contemporary Literature

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

Shakespeare and Contemporaries on the Page
This module focuses on material written between 1580 and 1630 to provide you with an introduction to methods of reading early modern texts. Shakespeare’s poetry will be among the core texts; other canonical writers will include Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, Philip Sidney and John Donne. You’ll explore the practice of historicised readings of early modern texts and you’ll consider the related challenges and limitations. You’ll have one hour of lectures and two hours of seminars each week.
Victorian and Fin de Siècle Literature: 1830-1910

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

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.

English Languages and Applied Linguistics

Language in Society
This module provides a broad introduction to sociolinguistic theory. You will investigate: the role that language has to play in constructing and reflecting cultural identities theories of language variation across and within communities the role of the English language in the world the specific role of Standard English within British contexts You will be introduced to both qualitative and quantitative approaches to the study of sociolinguistics, combining theoretical linguistics and practical methodological investigation. You’ll have a two-hour lecture and a one-hour seminar each week.
Language Development

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

Literary Linguistics

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

You will: 

  • critically apply and evaluate key approaches to language and literature 
  • investigate the notions of literariness and interpretation
  • consider the scope and validity of stylistics, in relation to literature and literary studies 
The Psychology of Bilingualism and Language Learning
This module will introduce you to theories and practice of second language learning, enabling you to develop an in-depth understanding of the process in various settings. Topics that are covered include: zone of proximal development, classroom interaction, collaborative learning, learning styles, and classroom methodology. You will spend around three hours in a workshop each week.
Texts Across Time
This module will consider key issues in the study of English language and world literature, locate language and literature in time and place, and extend your knowledge of the intellectual, political, historical, and cultural developments in language and literature.

Medieval Languages and Literatures

Chaucer and his Contemporaries
In this module you’ll be introduced to the exceptionally rich period of writing in English at the end of the fourteenth and turn of the fifteenth century. It will focus on the so-called ‘Ricardian’ poets, Chaucer (selected Canterbury Tales, Parliament of Fowls, Legend of Good Women), Langland (excerpts from Piers Plowman), Gower (excerpts from Confessio Amantis) and the Gawain-poet (Patience). You’ll also discuss Thomas Hoccleve’s early poems, and the prose works of the female mystics Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe. You’ll have an hour-long lecture and two one-hour seminars weekly for this module.
Ice and Fire: Myths and Heroes of the North

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

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.
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

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

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

Specialise deeper or explore new areas - the choice is yours!

You'll study each subject equally (60 credits in each). Some module choices are restricted depending on options chosen in year one and timetabling.

If there's a particular topic that fascinates you, you can write a dissertation on it. This can be in English or Philosophy or something that combine both into a single piece of work.

You must pass year three which counts approximately two thirds towards your final degree classification.

Philosophy optional modules

Dissertation in Philosophy

The aim of this module is to provide you with an opportunity to write an 8,000-word dissertation on a philosophical topic, the precise subject of which is by agreement with the supervisor. At the completion of the module, you will have had an opportunity to work independently, though with the advice of a supervisor.

Philosophy of Criminal Law

There is perhaps no more vivid example of the exercise of state power over individuals than through the institution of criminal law. The criminal law raises a host of important philosophical questions, such as these:

  • Is there a general obligation to obey the law? If so, what is the basis for this obligation?
  • What sorts of acts should be criminalised, and why?
  • What does it mean for someone to be responsible for a crime, or for the state to hold someone responsible?
  • What is the proper role for the presumption of innocence: Who must presume whom to be innocent of what? Is criminal punishment justified? If so, why?
  • Is the state ever justified in imposing legal restrictions on offenders even after they have completed their punishment?
  • How should the criminal law function in the international context?

Readings will include seminal works by historical figures such as Plato, Bentham, and Kant, as well as prominent work by more contemporary philosophers such as Hart, Hampton, Duff, and others. All reading assignments for this module are accessible to students with no training in criminal law.

Communicating Philosophy

This module will teach you how to communicate philosophy through a variety of different mediums, assessing them in each. We will look at how philosophy can be communicated through legal documentation, press releases, handouts, lesson plans, webpages, funding bids and posters (with optional presentations).

A number of the sessions will be delivered by professionals from outside the University, with support from the module convener. Seminars will be used to develop each of the items for assessment. You will be invited to draw upon your prior philosophical learning to generate your assessments, except in the case of handout where you will be set a specific philosophical task and asked to complete some (very basic) independent research.

Marx

You will be introduced to the thought of Karl Marx thematically via texts selected from the Marx canon. Marxian themes considered will include:

  • Alienation
  • The Materialist Conception of History
  • Ideology
  • The Labour Theory of Value

Gaining an overview of Marx's attempt to synthesise German philosophy, French political theory, and British economics will be an important objective for the course.

Environmental Ethics

Environmental ethics addresses the issue of how human beings should interact with the non-human natural world. This module will cover a range of topics from contemporary philosophical literature on environmental ethics.

Representative topics include:

  • the scope of moral concern (ie whether and how our moral theory should concern itself with animals, plants, rocks, ecosystems)
  • whether nature is intrinsically valuable, or whether it possesses value only by being valuable to us
  • whether it is reasonable to search for just one overarching ‘environmental ethic’ (ie the debate between monism and pluralism in ethics)
  • the metaphysics, ethics and politics of the ‘deep ecology’ movement; whether there is any connection between the twin oppressions of women and nature (as ecofeminists claim)
  • the ethics of zoos
  • the nature of sustainability
  • ethical issues relating to climate change
  • the ethics of restoring nature after it has been damaged by human development
  • whether there are any distinct environmental virtues
Advanced Logic

This module investigates different kinds of contemporary logic, as well as their uses in philosophy. We will investigate the syntax and semantics of various logics, including first order logic, modal logics, and three-valued logics, as well as ways to apply formal techniques from these logics to philosophical topics such as possibility and necessity, vagueness, and the Liar paradox.

We’ll cover ways to reason and construct proofs using the logics we study, and also ways to reason about them. We’ll look at proofs regarding the limits of formal logic, including proofs of soundness, completeness, and decidability.

Free Will and Action

This module involves the study of a set of related issues concerning the nature and explanation of action and the requirements for free action and free will. Questions to be discussed are likely to include all or most of the following:

  • What would it take for an action to be free (or an exercise of ‘free will’) in a sense that would make it an action for which we are morally responsible?
  • Is there is any way in which our actions could be free in the relevant sense, whether or not determinism is true?
  • How do actions differ from bodily movements that are not actions?
  • Actions are typically (perhaps always) done for reasons, but what exactly is the relation between the reasons and the actions?
  • Do the reasons cause the corresponding actions – and if they do, can this be the same kind of causation as is involved in ordinary ‘mechanistic’ causal explanation?
  • And what about the fact that at least some of our actions seem to have purely physical causes?
  • If they do, doesn’t this make any ‘mental causes’ of those actions redundant?
  • What is the connection between intentional or voluntary action and rational action?
  • In particular, it seems that we sometimes intentionally and voluntarily do things that we ourselves regard as irrational – but how is such ‘weakness of will’ possible?
Philosophy of Mortality

Illness, ageing, dying and death are integral parts of human existence. They're related to deep philosophical questions, for instance, about the nature and meaning of human life. Moreover, our mortality poses new challenges for familiar concerns within philosophy. This module explores such philosophical issues raised by mortality.

Subjectivism and Relativism in Ethics

One often hears the opinion that ethics is subjective. But what does this mean, exactly?

And one often hears the view that ethics is relative. But relative to what?

And what is ‘ethics’ anyway?

And if ethics is subjective, or relative, what does that mean for ethics as a discipline? Does it mean, for example, that our ethical pronouncements can never be incorrect, never be challenged, or never disagreed with?

This module addresses these and other questions about the foundations of ethics, and gives students the material to develop their own views of this peculiarly human phenomenon.

Philosophy of Recreation

We expect recompense when we work but appear to do recreational activities just for their own sake.

You'll use philosophical tools to examine the meaning and value of such recreational activities, exploring questions such as:

  • Is recreational sex and drug consumption merely about pleasurable sensations?
  • Why do we put such great effort into achieving seemingly arbitrary goals in sport?
  • Does it make sense for fans to feel elated if they played no part in a team’s success?
  • Is there something special about being in a zone of effortless attention whilst playing an instrument?
  • Could risking death seeking sensations of the sublime by climbing a mountain be better than safely siting on your sofa watching trash tv?
Taking Utilitarianism Seriously

This module is an extended discussion of utilitarian approaches to moral and political philosophy, including utilitarian accounts of:

  • the nature of wellbeing
  • reasons and rightness
  • rights and justice
  • democracy
  • individual decision-making
  • praise and blame
Advanced Topics in the Philosophy of Mind

The philosophy of mind addresses philosophical questions about the mind and aspects of the mind: mental or psychological states and capacities. Advanced topics in the philosophy of mind will focus on a specific area (or areas) of the philosophy of mind.

Which specific area (or areas) of philosophy of mind is in focus may vary from year to year. So the topics for this area of philosophy of mind may include:

  • the nature of perception
  • the nature of perceptual consciousness
  • the directness or indirectness of perception
  • the perception-knowledge link
  • what properties or kinds perception can present
  • issues about the senses
  • specific issues about vision and audition
Advanced Topics in Aesthetics

This module is a discussion of some philosophical problems pertaining to art. Topics could include definitions of art, the objectivity versus the subjectivity of aesthetic evaluations, emotional response to art, the ontological status of artworks, and Walton's theory of make-believe.

This module aims to promote a deeper understanding of philosophical issues pertaining to art. By the end of the module, you should be able to discuss and evaluate different views of the expressive power of art, to explain certain current views on the status of aesthetic evaluations, and to present the main contemporary viewpoints pertaining to the nature of artworks.

Language, Metaphysics and Metametaphysics

Typically, this module introduces you to some advanced topics in contemporary analytic metaphysics. The module focuses on important topics, which have received recent attention. The topics covered will include:

  • metaphysical nihilism (why there is something rather than nothing, and the subtraction argument)
  • causation (the counterfactual theory and other accounts)
  • the metaphysics of grounding (and concerns with such a notion)
  • the metaphysics of absolute and relational space and time
  • vagueness and indeterminacy

The module presupposes a certain basic familiarity with general issues in metaphysics and the philosophy of language, but is designed to serve as an advanced introduction to new topics that is completely accessible to the uninitiated.

Buddhist Philosophy

The module will focus on a critical examination of core aspects of Buddhist thinking, with emphasis on some of its basic psychological, spiritual, and metaphysical conceptions.

These include, in particular: the origin and nature of suffering, the no-self thesis, enlightenment, consciousness, experiential knowing, and the doctrine of Emptiness (the lack of inherent nature in all things and impermanence).

Philosophy of Education

Education plays a fundamental part of all our lives. It shapes who we are, our value systems, our political and religious outlooks etc. This means it changes how society looks, how it operates, and what we think society ought to be like. Education is then of the most profound importance.

As philosophers we are uniquely placed to think long and hard about education: what its role is, what it role should be, who gets to decide what is taught etc. Rising to this challenge this module creates the space, and provides the tools, for you to do just this.

Philosophy of Sex

This module considers the conceptual, moral, political, and metaphysical issues raised by sexual activity. It also considers philosophical questions arising from the experience of groups considered sexual and gender minorities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people.

Topics include:

  • the nature of sexual desire
  • sexual consent
  • sexual objectification
  • prostitution
  • pornography
  • sexual orientation
  • trans and intersex experiences

You will be encouraged to explore the relationships between these topics and to consider their application to debates and practices outside of philosophy.

Knowledge, Ignorance and Democracy

Politics and truth have always had a complicated relationship. Lies, bullshit, spin, and propaganda are nothing new. But we have allegedly entered the era of 'post-truth' politics in which debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the facts. Moreover, polarization is on the rise in many democracies and political disagreements have spread to disputes about obvious matters of fact.

In this module, we will attempt to answer questions such as:

  • Should the existence of widespread disagreement in politics make us less confident in our own views?
  • Are voters morally or epistemically obligated to vote responsibly?
  • Is it rational for citizens to base their political views on group identity rather than reasoned arguments?
  • Should we have beliefs about complex policy questions about which we are not experts?
  • Is democracy the best form of government for getting at the truth?

English optional modules

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

Joint honours students enjoy the same wide range of final-year options in English as single honours.

Literature, 1500 to the Present optional modules

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.

Contemporary Fiction

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

Oscar Wilde and Henry James: British Aestheticism and Commodity Culture

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

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.

Making Something Happen: Twentieth Century Poetry and Politics

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

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

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

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.
The Gothic Tradition

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

English Languages and Applied Linguistics optional modules

Advanced Stylistics

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

Language and the Mind

Speaking, listening, reading, and writing are a complex set of behaviors that are a fundamental part of our daily lives, yet they remain difficult to fully explain. In an attempt to explain them, this module will look at:

  • how people understand written and spoken language;
  • how people produce language; and
  • how language (both a first and a second language) is acquired.
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 Feminism

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

Medieval Languages and Literatures optional modules

English Place-Names

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

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.

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.

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).
The Viking Mind

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

Drama and Performance optional modules

Changing Stages: Theatre Industry and Theatre Art

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

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.

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.

Dissertation

Dissertation in English

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

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

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

£19,000*
Per year
*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

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

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

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

Additional costs

There are no extra compulsory fees to be paid as part of your course beyond your standard tuition fees. Essential course materials are supplied and recommended reading is available from our libraries.

Some limited modules have compulsory text books that you are required to buy.

For voluntary placements (such as work experience or teaching in schools) you may need to pay for transport and refreshments.

Scholarships and bursaries

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

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

International/EU students

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

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

Careers

English

An degree involving English indicates to potential employers that you have:

  • excellent communication skills
  • an eye for detail and close analysis
  • the flexibility to undertake any form of specific career training

Find out more about opportunities for our English students.

Philosophy

Philosophy doesn’t lead to a single specific career - it leads into a huge range of professions!

A degree involving philosophy will equip you with key professional skills, including:

  • analytical reasoning
  • articulating complex arguments and lines of reasoning
  • constructive criticism and discussion
  • presenting and persuading

Philosophers go on to work in law, politics, the media, education, the charity sector, business, management, the arts – to name just a few. We also have a good record of our undergraduates progressing to Masters and PhD study.

Find out more about opportunities for our Philosophy students.

Average starting salary and career progression

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.

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.

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

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

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

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Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2017-18

Disclaimer

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