Triangle

Course overview

If you’re passionate about history but also dream of spending time in China and becoming fluent in the language – how do you choose which degree to study? We say, choose both!

This joint honours course allows you to combine your curiosity for human experience with your love of communicating in another language.

On this course you will follow an intensive language course in Mandarin at an appropriate level designed to take you to advanced, proficiency or research level within four years, depending on your entry level.

You will divide your time equally between the two subjects in year one. In year two, you will take two thirds of your credits in Contemporary Chinese studies and one third in History. In the final year you will undertake a year-long special subject study in History, based on primary historical sources. You will vary the overall credit weighting for the final year according to your preference, so that you take either two-thirds History and one-third Contemporary Chinese studies or vice versa.

Many of our students say the year abroad is their course highlight. Not only do you have the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the Chinese language and culture, but spending time abroad can make you more independent and confident. Taking yourself out of your comfort zone won’t only benefit your degree, it’ll shape the person you are to become.

Learn more about the departments you shall be based in: Modern Languages and Cultures and History

Why choose this course?

Year abroad

Spend a year abroad immersing yourself in the Chinese language and culture

Beginners welcome!

Start learning a language from scratch on our beginners' pathway

Resource access

Learning a language widens your access to original historical sources

Employability

Open up new job opportunities by studying a foreign language alongside history

Best of both worlds!

Get the best of both worlds, divide your time between the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures and the Department of History

Top 10

Named 8th for Asian Studies in UK

Great teaching

Over the last five years, 91% of students in the Modern Languages and Cultures Department say the staff made their subjects interesting

A great track record

94% of students from the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures graduated with a 1st or 2:1 degree classification in 2021

UoN student outcomes data, Annual Monitoring (QDS) Analyses 2021


Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2023 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level ABB - Including B in History

Please note: Applicants whose backgrounds or personal circumstances have impacted their academic performance may receive a reduced offer. Please see our contextual admissions policy for more information.

Required subjects

B in History

IB score 32

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.

Mature Students

At the University of Nottingham, we have a valuable community of mature students and we appreciate their contribution to the wider student population. You can find lots of useful information on the mature students webpage.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

The majority of the language teaching you will experience on this degree will be led by native speakers.

Class sizes vary depending on topic and type. A weekly lecture on a core module may have 100 students attending while a specialised seminar may only contain 10 to 20 students.

Teaching Quality

Our staff know that studying complex subjects can sometimes seem challenging (they've all been where you are!) and take pride in their teaching. Demonstrating this we're proud to have won many Lord Dearing Awards across the two departments over the last three years. These recognise outstanding student learning and are based on nominations from students and other academics.

  • Six have been awarded within Modern Languages 
  • Two have been awarded within History 

If you have worries about your work we won't wait for them to become problems. You will have a personal tutor from the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures as well as a Joint Honours advisor from the Department of History.

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Oral classes
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops

How you will be assessed

Following your year abroad your improved language skills and improved cultural understanding shall be assessed through a mix of presentations and written assignments.

Assessment methods

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

Contact time and study hours

As well as scheduled teaching you’ll carry out extensive independent reading and research. A typical 20 credit module involves between three and four hours of lectures and seminars per week. You would ideally spend 8-10 hours doing preparation work.

Study abroad

Study abroad

You will spend your third year at our campus in Ningbo, where you will have the opportunity to practise your Mandarin skills and explore Chinese culture. You will follow a combination of language, Chinese history and employability options relevant to your level of experience in Mandarin.

We’re dedicated to ensuring that your Year Abroad runs as smoothly as possible and have university staff to provide you with support whilst you are overseas.

For more information, see; Year abroad options in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

Placements

During the four years you'll be with us, there are lots of opportunities for you to gain workplace experience.

The UoN Careers Service - the Careers and Employability Service are on hand to help you find just the right work experience, placement, internship or volunteering opportunity for you.

Nottingham Advantage Award -boost your employability with a range of employer-led projects and career development opportunities through the Nottingham Advantage Award.

Programmes offered by your schools - both History and Modern Languages have well developed work experience and volunteering opportunities. They help you develop skills and experience that allow you to stand out to potential employers and become 'workplace-ready'.

Study Abroad and the Year in Industry are subject to students meeting minimum academic requirements. Opportunities may change at any time for a number of reasons, including curriculum developments, changes to arrangements with partner universities, travel restrictions or other circumstances outside of the university’s control. Every effort will be made to update information as quickly as possible should a change occur.

Why study more than one subject?

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

Modules

Contemporary Chinese Studies

In Chinese you will begin a structured course in Mandarin Chinese (for beginners’ in Mandarin this module will be a basis to lead you from beginners' stage to advanced level; students who begin the degree having previously studied Mandarin will be placed on modules at an appropriate level, and depending on progress during the degree, may reach proficiency or research level). You will also take a module introducing you to Chinese culture and institutions.

History

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.

In history, the Learning History core module will introduce you to the discipline's practical and theoretical elements and you will choose optional modules from the early medieval period to the 20th century.

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

Core modules

Learning History

Learn the skills you need to make the most of studying history.

This module aims to bridge the transition from school to university study, preparing you for more advanced work in your second year.

We will:

  • Focus on your conceptions of history as a subject, as well as your strategies as learners, so you can effectively monitor and develop your skills and understanding
  • Introduce different approaches to studying history, and different understandings of what history is for

This module is worth 20 credits.

"It’s very much a skills-based module. It was so useful. I had a long break from finishing sixth form in May, to starting uni in September – I thought 'how on Earth do I write an essay? What is this thing called referencing?!' The module took those worries away." – Emily Oxbury, History and Politics BA

Culture and Society of Contemporary China

In this module we will look at the social and cultural changes that have taken place in China, since 1979. The module will begin by setting out the programme of economic reform, introduced by Deng Xiaoping in order to integrate the Chinese economy into global flows of goods, services and investments. For example, we will outline the measures introduced to increase foreign direct investment in the country and map the different global companies that have set up business in China since the Reform.  

We will then look at the complex set of social and cultural changes that have taken place in China as a consequence. In this respect we will look at issues such as internal migration from the countryside to the city and international migration from China to the rest of the world. We will address the profound impacts on education, health and social care policy.

We will also look at the rise of the consumer society in China. The focus here will be on issues to do with travel and tourism, leisure time and holidays, the national diet and the rise of the internet, social media, online shopping and electronic payment systems using apps such as ‘wechat’.   

Topics covered may be taken from:

  • Chinese Open-door policy and reform ( economy reform and its impact)
  • The economic impacts of the Reform with the emphasis on foreign direct investment
  • Internal migration
  • International migratory flows
  • Education, health and social care policy
  • The rise of consumer society
  • Travel and tourism industry
  • Retail sector in China
  • Online shopping and electronic payment systems
  • Dietary change 

And one of:

Mandarin Chinese for Beginners

This is the start of an exciting journey where we'll take you through the basics of learning Mandarin.

Designed for beginners, this module will cover Chinese phonetics, grammar and vocabulary helping you to start feeling confident in understanding and communicating in your new language.

We make our sessions as practical and communicative as possible by using a core textbook, supplemented by a wide variety of Chinese learning resources including online news articles, graded storybooks and online video/audio files.

Besides language skills, we recognise the importance of employability skills, such as creativity, teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving . We'll also integrate drama activities including story or script writing, performing and dubbing to not only help you gain new skills but build confidence in your new language.

You will also begin to learn about Chinese culture and society helping you to put your new language understanding into context.

Mandarin Chinese for Intermediate Level

Now that you have gained in confidence and ability, we're going to take your Mandarin skills to the next level!

We'll use interesting examples from online resources to further develop your Chinese comprehension (written and aural) and expression (written and oral).

You'll also learn about Chinese culture and society, preparing you for the exciting time you'll spend in China during year three.

History optional modules

Choose one of:

Making the Middle Ages 500-1500

Discover medieval European history from 500-1500.

We offer an exploration of the major forces which were instrumental in shaping the politics, society and culture in Europe, considering the last currents in historical research.

Through a series of thematically linked lectures and seminars, you will be introduced to key factors determining changes in the European experience, as well as important continuities linking the period as a whole.

We will consider:

  • Political structures and organisation
  • Social and economic life
  • Cultural developments

You will spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.

This module is worth 20 credits.

From Reformation to Revolution: An Introduction to Early Modern Europe c.1500-1800

Discover key themes in the history of early modern Europe.

We analyse the religious, political, demographic, social and cultural history of this dynamic period.

Themes include:

  • Religious toleration and persecution
  • International diplomacy
  • Popular culture
  • Popular protest
  • Health, disease and disability
  • Military change
  • Monarchies and courts
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Ethnicity including Africans in Shakespeare's England
  • Urban and rural life
  • Witchcraft

This module is worth 20 credits.

And one or two of:

Making of Modern Asia

Journey through 200 years of modern Asian history.

We explore the themes of imperialism, nationalism, political economy and democracy to build a broad understanding of some key elements in the making of modern Asia. We then focus on some local contexts, so for example, after covering imperialism, we take a closer look at Japanese imperialism in Korea, British colonialism in Burma, etc.

When looking at nationalism, we consider the emergence of ‘official nationalism’ in Thailand and Japan, and more popular nationalisms emerging from liberation struggles. On political economy, we compare and contrast Taiwan and China to illustrate the different trajectories of market, plan and command rational economies (relatively speaking).

For democracy, we consider whether Asian culture warrants an authoritarian form of ‘Asian democracy’ and whether or not democracy can be ‘built’ and engineered as though it were simply a bridge over water.

This module is worth 10 credits.

Roads to Modernity: An Introduction to Modern History 1750-1945

Explore a chronology of modern history, from 1750 to 1945.

We concentrate on:

  • key political developments in European and global history (including the French Revolution, the expansion of the European empires and the two World Wars)
  • Economic, social and cultural issues (such as industrialisation, urbanisation, changing artistic forms and ideological transformations)

This module is worth 20 credits.

The Contemporary World since 1945

Analyse the key developments in world affairs after the Second World War.

We will consider:

  • Major international events, particularly the course and aftermath of the Cold War
  • National and regional histories, especially in Europe, East Asia and the Middle East
  • Key political and social movements
  • Political, economic and social forces

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 Wednesday 10 August 2022.

Contemporary Chinese Studies - 80 credits

You will consolidate your language studies in Mandarin at the appropriate level (intermediate or advanced or proficiency) and study modules on Chinese contemporary history and culture.

History - 40 Credits

In History, you will take two optional modules from a broad range, covering an extremely wide chronological and geographical range.

You must pass year 2 which is weighted at 33% of your final degree classification.

Core modules

The Rise of Modern China
In this module you will study the history of China from the 1840s, through to the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949. You will focus in particular on the ways in which Chinese society responded to the arrival of ‘modernity’ in the form of the Western powers and Japan throughout the period in question, but also how different groups in China tried to remould or redefine China as a ‘modern’ nation-state and society. In this module you will have a two-hour lecture each week.
China Beyond the Headlines

This module emphasises sociological theories with reference to current events and social policy making in China. Topics change every year according to what is in the news, but may include:

  • nationhood, identity and ethnicity
  • gender, family and sexualities
  • inequalities, social capital and welfare
  • health, education and popular culture
  • crime, deviance and justice

And one of:

Mandarin Chinese for Intermediate Level

Now that you have gained in confidence and ability, we're going to take your Mandarin skills to the next level!

We'll use interesting examples from online resources to further develop your Chinese comprehension (written and aural) and expression (written and oral).

You'll also learn about Chinese culture and society, preparing you for the exciting time you'll spend in China during year three.

Mandarin Chinese for the Advanced Level

Now that you have gained solid Mandarin language skills, we'll push you to develop them to a more sophisticated level. Not only will you continue to improve your understanding of the language but also the cultures of the Mandarin-speaking world.

With your increased proficiency you'll be able to examine more complex texts covering themes such as leisure activities and lifestyles, personalities, love and relationships, economic developments, language learning, and social customs.

You will be asked to reflect and compare your own culture and the target culture via group discussions and debates to enhance both, your cultural awareness and intercultural competence.

Mandarin Chinese for Proficiency Level

This module includes: 

  • topics such as careers, job application, contemporary Chinese families and marriages, gift cultures corruption and life for Chinese people today 
  • vocabulary on the above 
  • grammar knowledge for the level 
  • language functions such as expression ideal situations, reasoning for choices and opinions 
  • understanding of authentic materials on the above topics 
  • productive skills for the above topics

History optional modules

Take two of:

Kingship in Crisis: Politics, People and Power in Late-medieval England

Have you ever wondered what makes a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ king?

We investigate late medieval kingship, the dynamics of politics and power, and the reasons why royal authority was challenged.

You will examine the history of late-medieval England, from the mid-13th to late-15th century, when a series of political crises rocked the English monarchy.

We focus on the political events of the period, especially the times of crisis when the monarchy faced opposition or even usurpation. This includes:

  • Simon de Montfort and the Crisis of 1258
  • Ruling in the king's name: the Ordinances of 1311
  • The depositions of Edward II (1327) and Richard II (1399)
  • Politics and Bankruptcy: Edward III and Henry IV
  • The Wars of the Roses (1450-61)
  • The tyranny of Richard III

England didn’t exist in isolation, however. You’ll also explore its relations with Scotland and Wales, considering how English power was imposed on subject populations, and how they resisted. Case studies include Robert Bruce and Own Glyn Dwr.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Sexuality in Early Medieval Europe

This module deals with an important, but long neglected, aspect of life in the early medieval West - sexual behaviour and attitudes to human sexuality. Key issues include:

  • ancient, medieval and modern theories of sexuality
  • Christian beliefs about the family and marriage, and challenges to these
  • the regulation of sexual behaviour as expressed in law codes and books of penance,  including violent sexual activity
  • alternative sexualities
Environmental History: Nature and the Western World, 1800-2000

Discover the environmental history of the Western World over the past two centuries. The great nature-people stories that have shaped who we are today.

You will examine the history of environmental ideas and our changing and complex attitudes to animals and nature, alongside the history of human impacts on the environment. We will use the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain as case studies. Ultimately, we ask, can environmental history save the world in the 21st century?

Topics include:

  • species history and the rewilding debate
  • the rise of environmental protection groups
  • the role of the state in environmental protection
  • the history of pollution and pesticide use
  • the National Park movement
  • the Nature Reserve and the rise of outdoor leisure and recreation
  • the emergence of modern environmentalism and campaigning
  • the role of wildlife television and natural history film-making

This module is a must for anyone wanting to pursue a career in the environmental sector.

This module is worth 20 credits

Central European History: From Revolution to War, 1848-1914

This module aims to encourage students to develop a detailed understanding of the major political, social and economic developments in Central Europe between 1848 and 1914. They should become aware of the main historiographical debates concerning the region and the Habsburg Monarchy in particular.

As a result of their historical studies and analytical thinking, students should enhance and develop a range of intellectual and transferable skills.

Race, Rights and Propaganda: The Politics of Race and Identity in the Cold War Era, 1945-1990
The Cold War was a conflict defined as much by intellectual and cultural struggle as by conventional military means or diplomatic relations. Cultural concepts such as race and identity were by no means immune from this, but heavily disputed and contested during the Cold War era, playing a decisive role in shaping the foreign relations of the United States, Soviet Union and other powers during this transformative period. This module examines how the United States and Soviet Union dealt with issues of race and identity during the Cold War years, confronting racial questions, challenges and liberation movements from both within their own borders (and each other’s) and in several theatres of superpower conflict – including the Middle East, East Asia and post-colonial Africa - and often viewing them through highly racialised lenses. It also considers how other powers - notably Britain, South Africa and newly-independent African and Asian nations - grappled with issues of race and identity as they sought to understand and work within a new, post-colonial Cold War world. This module aims to provide students with a new and deeper understanding of the relationship between the Cold War world and the politics of race, and an appreciation of the interconnectedness of the domestic and international in Cold War-era foreign relations.
Soviet State and Society

This module examines political, social and economic transformations in the Soviet Union from the October Revolution of 1917 to Gorbachev’s attempted reforms and the collapse of the state in 1991. You will look at Russia both from the top down (state-building strategies; leadership and regime change; economic and social policy formulation and implementation) and from the bottom up (societal developments and the changing structures and practices of everyday life). You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.

The Venetian Republic, 1450-1575

This module explores the nature of the Venetian Republic in the later fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It examines the constitution, and administrative and judicial system, its imperial and military organisation, but will above all focus on the city and its inhabitants. The module will examine the enormous cultural dynamism of the city (especially the visual arts from the Bellini to Tintoretto and Veronese), changing urban fabric, the role of ritual and ceremony, the position of the Church, and class and gender.

  • Venice and international context
  • The Venetian economy
  • Constitution and administration
  • Venice at war and peace
  • Patricians, citizens and popular classes
  • Women in Venice: wives and workers, whores and nuns
  • Urban fabric
  • Patronage and the arts
  • Artisans and printers
  • Religion and the republic
  • Jews and foreigners
European Fascisms, 1900-1945

Examine the rise of fascist movements in interwar Europe, following the First World War.

We focus in particular on the cases of Italy and Germany and also look at other cases for comparison (i.e. Spain, Britain, France, and Romania). This in order to understand why certain movements were more popular than others and able to seize power.

We will examine:

  • the nature of fascist ideology
  • the use of violence
  • fascism and masculinity and femininity

We will also analyse the practice of the Fascist and National Socialist governments in power, comparing these with particular reference to repression and attempts to build ‘consent’, gendered policies on ‘race’, and expansion through conquest.

The module ends by considering the Axis and genocide during the Second World War.

This module is worth 20 credits.

De-industrialisation: A Social and Cultural History, c.1970-1990

In the 1970s and 1980s, momentous economic changes swept through traditional industrial regions across the West, turning proud heartlands into rustbelts in less than a generation. As the lights went out in shipyards, steelworks, coal mines and manufacturing plants, a way of life was destroyed for millions of manual workers and their families, with profound repercussions on identities, communities and urban topographies. This module examines the social and cultural impact of de-industrialisation in the north of England, the German Ruhr basin, and the American Midwest, using a wealth of diverse primary sources, from government records to popular music, to tease out what it meant to live through a period of tumultuous socio-economic change. The module takes thematic approaches, exploring topics including:

  • Change and decline in traditional industries such as coal, steel and shipbuilding.
  • Political responses to industrial change, with a particular focus on industrial conflict over closures.
  • The impact of de-industrialisation on manual workers and their ways of life.
  • Changing ideas of social class.
  • Mass unemployment and its social and cultural consequences.
  • Gender and identity, with a particular emphasis on the crisis of ‘muscular masculinity’.
  • Urban decline and regeneration.
  • Youth and youth subcultures in post-industrial cities.
  • Cultural representations of de-industrialisation, with emphasis on popular music, fiction and feature films.
The British Empire from Emancipation to the Boer War
This module examines the history of the British Empire from the end of the slave trade in 1833-4 to the Second Anglo-Boer War in 1899-1902. The module is divided into three major geographic and chronological sections. In the first part of the course, we will discuss the British Caribbean, with a particular focus on the transition from slavery and the period of instability in the decades that followed. In the second part, we will focus on India and the changeover from East India Company rule to the direct administration by the British government in the wake of the Indian Mutiny (aka “the Sepoy Rebellion”). In the final section, we will discuss Britain’s participation in the “Scramble for Africa” and the rise of “popular imperialism” with the 2nd Anglo-Boer War. The final, pre-revision class meeting will also discuss the metropolitan aspects of empire, examining London’s status as “the Imperial Metropolis.
'Slaves of the Devil' and Other Witches: A History of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe

The module offers an overview of the history of witchcraft and covers a wide geographical area spreading from Scotland to the Italian peninsula and from Spain to Russia. Such breadth of reference is of vital importance because, in contrast to the uniform theology-based approach to witch persecution in Western and Central Europe, the world of Eastern Orthodox Christianity represented a very different system of beliefs that challenged western perceptions of witchcraft as a gendered crime and lacked their preoccupation with the diabolical aspect of sorcery. The module’s geographical breadth is complemented by thematic depth across a range of primary sources and case studies exploring the issues of religion, politics, and social structure.

Rule and Resistance in Colonial India, c.1757-1857

This module introduces the history of the British imperial expansion in India from the mid eighteenth century, through to the Rebellion in 1857. It covers:

  • the rise of trade relations with India
  • the growth of territorial rule through war and negotiation with Indian rulers
  • resistance to imperial rule through mutiny
  • the debate over sati (widow immolation)

 

Poverty, Disease and Disability: Britain, 1795-1930

This module explores the role of the poverty, disease and disability in shaping lives between 1795 and 1930, and how these intersected with ideas of and attitudes to health and welfare. It also examines representations of poverty, disease and disability in museums and on TV.

Themes include:

  • understanding poverty, disease, disability in an age of progress and reform
  • the problem of the poor? Poverty, the poor law and workhouses
  • studying poverty, disease and disability: sources and representations
  • town versus country - the healthy countryside?
  • housing conditions: the slum
  • disease
  • working conditions
  • disability and the deaf
  • ‘madness’: mental illness in an age of reason
  • hygiene and health care
  • unrest and dissatisfaction: resistance, rebellion and riot
Travel and Adventure in the Medieval World

The module looks at peoples and places in the period c.1150-c.1250 from the perspective of travel. It shifts the focus of Christian/Muslim/Jewish/Mongol interactions from the more traditional medieval narratives of conflict, crusade and conquest, to those of Trade, Pilgrimage, Exploration and Mission. The introductory classes look at medieval travel and what people in the world with the Mediterranean at its centre knew, and thought they knew, about the rest of the World, including far-flung places that only a few people had ever ‘seen’. The lecture and seminar topics include introduce Travel Writing, Monsters, Maps, Crusades, Merchants, Pilgrims, Explorers, Envoys, Missionaries, and Assassins. Examples are drawn from Jewish, Muslim and Christian experience.

You may choose one of the following if you wish:

America's Borders: Culture at the Limits

This module offers a hemispheric approach to North America by focusing on the history and culture of two significant borderlands regions, the Canada-US border and the Mexico-US border,as well as providing a general introduction to border theory and comparative approaches to the borderlands.

The module adopts a multi- and interdisciplinary approach to the border as a place, culture and concept and moves from the colonial period into the twenty-first century. We will analyse a diverse range of historical, literary and cultural texts (testimony, fiction, poetry,drama, film, television, art, architecture, music and performance) and engage a series of critical debates about the nature of cultural and ethnic encounter, race, nation and empire. 

African American History and Culture

This module examines African American history and culture from slavery to the present through a series of case studies that highlight forms of cultural advocacy and resistance and thus indicate how African Americans have sustained themselves individually and collectively within a racist, yet liberal society. These will illustrate the resilience of African American culture via music, literature, art and material culture. Examples may include the persistence of African elements in slave culture, the emergence of new artistic forms in art, religion and music during the segregation era, and the range and complexity of African American engagement with US public culture since the 1960s across art, literature and popular culture. Weekly topics might include material culture in the Gullah region of South Carolina; or the growth of urban black churches in the North during the period of the Great Migration highlighted by the development of Gospel choirs and radio preaching.

Business in American Culture

This module introduces students to the conflicting views about business that can be heard echoing through American literature and culture in the last two centuries. These views are evident when literature and culture directly represent the business culture-its executives, managers and employees, or the physical and mental conditions of employment and entrepreneurship; they are also evident in the narrative unconscious of works appreciated for qualities other than their treatment of business. This module aims to try and understand not only what drives American culture's preoccupation with business, but also to study the various strategies used as literature and culture represents what the module calls the discourses of business: the way that business as a theme is written and talked about in the United States by presidents, by social critics, by journalists, and by writers and other cultural producers; the way that the historical accumulation of this collective input has fashioned a set of rules that govern the way successive generations can think about business; the way that specialised and professionalised languages of business become tropes and metaphors to be used outside of a strictly business environment. The module examines these discourses in a variety of representational forms from the mid-nineteenth century through to the present day: shorts stories and novels; newspapers, magazines and illustrations; speeches, autobiographies and memoirs; film and television.

Optional placement module

Work placement

Combine our in-depth sector knowledge with the Careers and Employability Service skills development experience to get noticed when applying for jobs and during interviews.

From constructing an outstanding CV to practicing graduate level interview skills we'll build on your existing abilities.

You'll also get something concrete to talk about through a multi-week work placement. This will be tailored as far as possible to your subject and career aspirations.

This sort of attention to detail is what makes Nottingham graduates some of the most sought after in the job market.

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 spend your third year at our campus in Ningbo, where you will have the opportunity to practise your Mandarin skills and explore Chinese culture. You will follow a combination of language, Chinese history and employability options relevant to your level of experience in Mandarin.

For more information see: Year abroad options in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies

In your final year you will weight your credits towards History or Contemporary Chinese studies according to your preference – either 80 credits in History and 40 in Contemporary Chinese studies, or vice versa.

You will practise your Mandarin skills in increasingly sophisticated contexts and may choose to study optional modules in Contemporary Chinese studies, including the option of a dissertation.

In history, you will really get to grips with historical work during the year-long Special Subject study, based on primary sources, and if you take more credits in History, you will write a dissertation as well as tackling your Special Subject.

Core modules

One of the following (depending upon your Mandarin capabilities):

Mandarin Chinese for the Advanced Level

Now that you have gained solid Mandarin language skills, we'll push you to develop them to a more sophisticated level. Not only will you continue to improve your understanding of the language but also the cultures of the Mandarin-speaking world.

With your increased proficiency you'll be able to examine more complex texts covering themes such as leisure activities and lifestyles, personalities, love and relationships, economic developments, language learning, and social customs.

You will be asked to reflect and compare your own culture and the target culture via group discussions and debates to enhance both, your cultural awareness and intercultural competence.

Mandarin Chinese for Research

This module will focus mainly on:

  • reading skills for understanding research-relevant texts
  • writing skills for presenting academic ideas and debating in such contexts
  • understanding spoken Mandarin Chinese for academic contexts and about social and cultural issues
  • communication in spoken Mandarin Chinese for such contexts
Mandarin Chinese for Proficiency Level

This module includes: 

  • topics such as careers, job application, contemporary Chinese families and marriages, gift cultures corruption and life for Chinese people today 
  • vocabulary on the above 
  • grammar knowledge for the level 
  • language functions such as expression ideal situations, reasoning for choices and opinions 
  • understanding of authentic materials on the above topics 
  • productive skills for the above topics

Optional contemporary Chinese modules

China in Global Politics

China, as the new and upcoming superpower, has become a focal point of global attention. This module introduces you to the major topics in China’s interaction with the evolution of China’s foreign policy since 1949 as well as its role in the international political economy.

The module will explore how domestic politics and other developments have contributed, on the one hand, to the rise of China as a great power of the first league and to the emergence of a 19th-century European-type of nationalism, on the other.

Much of the module will be an examination of China's political and economic relations with major powers and regions such as the US, Asia, the EU, the UK, Russia and Africa, the responses towards China from these powers and regions, and major issues in their relations. This module will also survey China's role in critical global issue(s) as well as the global order and governance.

Optional history modules

Choose one of:

The Collapse of the Weimar Republic
The module evaluates the crisis of modern mass industrial society that underpinned the weakness of democracy in Germany in the Weimar years. It examines the impact of World War One on the German welfare state, the rise new forms of paramilitary politics, the Americanization of industry, new gender roles, and the crisis of the nobility and traditional conservatism in the country-side. It looks in detail at the debates on modern cities that were increasingly identified as the hotbeds of the supposed ills of modernity and the way the Nazis were able to exploit these various pressure points of modern mass society for political gains. It makes detailed use of original source materials.
Culture, Society and Politics in 20th Century Russia

In the early 20th century, Russia embarked on one of the most momentous experiments in history – to transform not only global political structures and social relations, but human nature itself.

Fundamental to the revolutionary project was the creation of a new culture, which would construct and promote new visions of the desired present and ideal future. Through culture, individuals would learn to think of themselves, their relations with others, and their relations with the world in new ways.

On this module, you will:

  • Be introduced to Russian revolutionary culture and trace its evolution during the 20th century
  • Engage with Soviet film, literature, graphic arts and architecture, both state-sponsored and ideologically non-conforming
  • Read first-person testimonies written by ordinary Soviet citizens, offering fascinating insights into historical problems of social and self-identity and changing inter-relations between the individual and collective and state and society

Through grappling with these sources, you will discover new ways of understanding how culture and politics interact and shape one another. This is a vital skill for engaging critically with political and media discourses in the current age of ‘fake news’ and ‘virtual reality’.

This module is aimed at anyone interested in modern Russian history, in the significance of culture in political change, and the role of politics in constructing culture.

This module is worth 40 credits.

The History of a Relation: Jews in Modern Europe
This special subject surveys and analyses the place of Jews in modern European history. Throughout the modern period, Jews lived in Europe as part of a minority. The module is concerned to analyse the enduring, productive and resilient relation between Jews and non-Jews. It is the contention of this module that the story of the relationship’s development and evolution can tell us a great deal of the history of Europe as a whole.
The British Civil Wars c.1639-1652

This module surveys and analyses political, religious, social, cultural and military changes during the civil wars fought across the British Isles and the British Atlantic between 1639 and 1652. The major topics to be explored include:

  • the causes of the civil wars
  • the mobilisation of civilian communities
  • the course of the civil wars
  • the impact of war on individuals and communities
  • religious and political change
  • the growth of religious and political radicalism
  • print culture and propaganda
  • the changing roles of women
  • the issues surrounding the public trial and execution of the king
  • the abolition of the British monarchy and the House of Lords
  • the ‘Celtic dimension’ of the conflict
  • the Civil Wars in the British Atlantic
Sex and Society in Britain Since 1900

This module is an examination of the links between sexuality, intimate life, identity, politics, society, power and the state in Britain since 1900. It also examines the theoretical approaches to the study of sexuality and analyse sexuality as a category of historical analysis.

Key themes include

  • free love and eugenics
  • sexology, psychoanalysis and the therapeutic revolution
  • birth control and sexual knowledge
  • marriage and society
  • male homosexuality
  • the permissive society and Counter Culture
  • the AIDs crisis.

Module convener: Dr Harry Cocks

Faith and Fire: Popular Religion in Late Medieval England

This module explores religious ‘faith’ in England from c. 1215 to the beginning of the Reformation in 1534.

The English church made great efforts in this period to consolidate Christianity amongst the masses through wide-reaching programmes of instruction, regulation and devotion. However, historians disagree as to how successful the church was in its efforts.

The module investigates the relationship between ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ religion and examines how the church sought to maintain its authority in matters of faith. It asks how people responded and the degree to which they fashioned their own religious practices and beliefs. It also considers the violent repression by church and crown of those deemed ‘heretics’.

It looks at the condemned teachings of the Oxford academic John Wycliffe and the significance of those who followed his ideas, known as Lollards.

Module convener: Dr Rob Lutton

The Black Death

In 1348 the Black Death arrived in England. By 1350 the disease had killed half of the English population. The module concentrates upon the stories of the epidemics' survivors and what they did to adapt to a world turned upside down by plague. It examines the impact of this unprecedented human disaster upon the society and culture of England between 1348 and 1520. It examines four particular groups of survivors:

  • Peasants
  • Merchants
  • Gentry
  • Women

The module explores English society through translated medieval sources. Themes include:

  • Impact of the Black Death
  • Religious and scientific explanations of the plague
  • Changes in peasant society and how peasants lived after the plague  Merchants, their lives, businesses and shifting attitudes towards them
  • Gentry society and culture in the fifteenth century and the development of an entrepreneurial ‘middling sort’
  • Women’s lives and experiences in a post-plague patriarchal society The module poses a simple question: How central is the Black Death in explanations of long-term historical change and the evolution of the modern world?
Life During Wartime: Crisis, Decline and Transformation in 1970s America
Once dismissed as the “Me Decade” (Tom Wolfe), or a time when “it seemed like nothing happened” (Peter Carroll), the 1970s have enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent American historical scholarship. This module introduces students to the narratives of crisis and decline that defined the 1970s and which helped make the decade such a transformative period in American life - recasting the United States and its society, politics and culture in significant and far-reaching ways - whilst encouraging students to think critically about those narratives and their utility for subsequent processes of political, socio-economic and cultural change. We will explore developments such as the growth of identity politics and the cult of the individual, debates over American foreign policy abroad and social policy at home, the rise of populist conservatism, the market and neo-liberalism, anxieties over the city, the environment and the political system, and a broader political and cultural power shift from Rustbelt to Sunbelt, as we seek to understand why the 1970s are now regarded as the decade “that brought us modern life - for better or worse” (David Frum).
Imperial Eyes: the Body in Enlightenment Thought, c.1730-1830

This module explores the role of empire and ideas of race, gender and disability in the eighteenth-century enlightenment. The module includes topics such as:

  • What role colonial encounter played in Enlightenment theories of human development
  • How Enlightenment scholars imagined bodily difference
  • The place of the slave trade in Enlightenment thought
  • Enlightenment ideas of the body, sexuality and disability
  • Colonized people's responses to Enlightenment thinking
After the Golden Age: The West in the 1970s & 1980s

In the historiography, the 1970s and 1980s are often referred to as a ‘landslide’ (E. Hobsbawm) or a ‘time of troubles’ (A. Marwick) for the West, which, it is argued, followed upon the ‘Golden Age’ of material affluence and cultural liberalisation that characterised the post-war period. At the same time, historical scholarship is only just beginning to make inroads into a field that has been extensively documented by cultural critics, the media and the social sciences. The module will engage critically with the dominant conceptualisation of the 1970s and 1980s as crisis decades and ask about the contribution that Contemporary History can make to our understanding of the period. It focuses on the UK and W-Germany as case studies, but will also look at developments in the West more broadly, exploring economic, social and cultural change as well as continuity. It takes thematic approaches, analysing topics including:

  • Détente and the second Cold War;
  • the crisis of industrialism and structural economic change;
  • social change and continuity, with special emphasis on the class structure;
  • the disintegration of consensus politics and the rise of the New Right;
  • liberalisation, new social movements and cultural politics;
  • domestic terrorism, the public and the state; heritage, memory and nostalgia.
British Culture in the Age of Mass Production, 1920-1950

The module explores the cultural transformations in Britain brought on by the shift to a Fordist economy (roughly covering the period 1920-50), and the social and cultural contestations that resulted. It takes chronological and thematic approaches, and topics may include:

  • New experiences of factory work and the rationalisation of diverse areas of everyday life;
  • New forms of advertising and commodity culture, and the anxieties and opportunities these produced;
  • New forms of industrial urban leisure (e.g. the cinema and dance hall) and their role in promoting social change;
  • Performances of self-hood and the contested politics of movement and habit;
  • The perceived impact of Americanisation on national traditions, values and ways of life;
  • The rise of the ‘expert’ across a range of fields to manage working-class behaviour;
  • The development of social science and the problems of knowing ‘the masses’; Post-WW2 reconstruction and the early years of the Welfare State;
Overseas Exploration, European Diplomacy, and the Rise of Tudor England

This module evaluates the ways in which ideas during the Renaissance had an impact on both long-distance exploration and interstate relations. Also, of primary importance will be situating Tudor England in a pan-European context, thereby helping students better understand the rise of this island nation to become a global superpower. Topics covered will include:

  • Renaissance attitudes to human potential
  • Motivations for overseas exploration and travel
  • Beginnings of European imperialism
  • Continuities and changes in diplomacy
  • Religion and foreign policy
  • Travel literature and cultural diplomacy
  • Xenophobia and cosmopolitanism
Alternatives to War: Articulating Peace since 1815
International history is dominated by wars; historians and international relations scholars focus with an almost obsessive zeal on the causes and consequences of conflict. The intermittent periods of peace are rarely scrutinised, other than to assess the imperfections of peace treaties and thus extrapolate the seeds of future wars. This module offers a corrective to this tendency, taking as its focus the multifarious efforts that have been made since 1815 to substitute peace for war. These include diplomatic efforts (e.g. post-war conferences, legalistic mechanisms such as the UN, arms control protocols, etc.), and those advanced by non-state actors (e.g. national and transnational peace movements, anti-war protests, etc.). Taking a broad definition of the term peace , and focusing predominantly (though not exclusively) on Britain, this module revisits some of the pivotal episodes of the 19th and 20th centuries, exposing and interrogating the often complex relationship between war and peace that emerged, and thus arriving at an alternative history of the period.
A Green and (un) Pleasant Land? Society, Culture and the Evolution of the British Countryside

This module explores the relationship between society, culture and the British countryside between 1800 and 1918. It examines both perceptions and realities, and reveals a dynamic British countryside which both reflected and shaped society and culture and forged an enigmatic relationship with the urban. Themes include:

  • perceptions and popular representations of the British countryside
  • constructing a rural idyll
  • Englishness and national identity
  • exposing the reality of living and working conditions in the countryside
  • the (un) healthy countryside? - poverty, disease and insanity
  • the agency of the labouring population
  • the radical countryside
  • constructing gender in the British countryside
  • the leisured countryside
  • animal-human relations
  • the preservation and conservation movement 
  • the evolving relationship between town and country
  • public history: representations of the British countryside 
The Past That Won't Go Away: The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939

This module examines the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), its underlying causes and legacy for present-day Spain. Commencing with the establishment of the Second Republic in 1931, students will consider the principal historical forces and conditions that gave rise to the outbreak of war in 1936 in Spain. The module is delivered through a combination of lecture and student-led seminars in which students present their understanding of a specific historical event, theme or ideas through their study of primary and secondary sources, and respective historiographical debates. Thus, students will develop an in-depth understanding of the war through propaganda, myth, revolutionary ideology, anti-clerical and gendered violence, as well as, for example, the significance of Badajoz and Guernica. The conflict is also considered in the wider context of the ‘European Civil War’; specifically, the role of military interventions on the part of regimes in Italy, Germany, and the Soviet Union, and the influence of non-interventions by Britain and France. Using Helen Graham’s notion of the ‘past that won’t go away’, the module concludes with a reflection on the legacy of the Civil War in contemporary Spain.

From Revelation to ISIS: Apocalyptic Thought from the 1st to 21st Century
The need to infuse the present moment with apocalyptic meaning is an important theme in the history of ideas. Concerns about the day of judgement, Antichrist, the millennium and the end of time have a significant impact upon many different individuals and societies throughout history, finding expression in literature, architecture and a wide variety of artistic media. In some cases, apocalyptic anxiety directly influenced the actions of kings, emperors, ecclesiastical leaders and religious communities. Students will uncover systems of belief about the end of history and trace the impact of such traditions upon states, societies and religious institutions.
Dissertation in History

This module involves the in-depth study of a historical subject from which you will create a 10,000 word dissertation. You will have regular meetings with your supervisor and a weekly one hour lecture to guide you through this task.

Recent dissertation topics have included:

  • Richard II, William Shakespeare and the Revolution of 1399
  • The Image of the Male Witch in Early Modern Iceland
  • Lord Salisbury and the Mediterranean Agreements: Revisiting Anglo-German Relations, 1886-1896
  • A Re-evaluation of Prince Lichnowsky's Role as the German Ambassador in London in the July 1914 Crisis
  • Interwar British Fascist Movements and Race, 1922-1940
  • 'No Country, No Home': The Abandonment of the South Vietnamese by the United States after the Vietnam War
  • Visions of Loathing and Desire: Representations of Masculinity in Late Soviet Posters
Plague, Fire and the Reimagining of the Capital 1600-1720: The Making of Modern London

In 1665, London suffered the worst plague epidemic since the Black Death, killing over 97,000 people. The following year, the Great Fire destroyed four-fifths of the ancient City of London within three days. This module explores the impact of these events and places them within the context of the 1660s and the city’s past and future history.

We will investigate how Londoners across the social spectrum responded to natural disasters and crises, the challenges that these presented to community values and group identities and how the spread of news reflected fears over religious difference and terrorist plots. The module also examines the changing character of the city across the period including concerns over health, the environment and the use of green space.

Transnationalising Italy: A History of Modern Italy in a Transnational Perspective

The module looks at the history of modern Italy (19th-21 century) from a transnational framework in order to illuminate different facets of the connections between Italy and the wider world. The module makes use of the methodological innovations of a transnational approach to put emphasis on movement, interaction, connections and exchange. It examines key moments and developments in the history of modern Italy by addressing the connections and circulations (of ideas, people, and goods) that cross borders. 

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 2022*
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, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

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.

Year Abroad - Reduced fees (subject to change)

As a year abroad student, you will pay reduced fees. For students spending their year abroad in 2022 this was set at:

  • Home/EU students: £1,385
  • International: 50% of the relevant international fee

Costs incurred during the year abroad

These vary from country to country, but always include:

  • travel
  • accommodation
  • subsistence
  • insurance

Depending on the country visited you may also have to pay for:

  • visa
  • vaccinations
  • self-funded language courses
  • additional administration fees and study supplies in the host country or organisation

There are a number of sources of funding:

  • Student Finance Loan
  • Means-tested travel grant
  • University of Nottingham bursaries and scholarships

Your access to funding depends on:

  • the course you are taking
  • your residency status
  • where you live in term time
  • your household income

You may be able to work or teach during your year abroad. This will be dependent on your course and country-specific regulations. Often students receive a small salary or stipend for these work placements. Working or teaching is not permitted in all countries. More information on your third year abroad.

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

Faculty of Arts Alumni Scholarships

Our Alumni Scholarships are funding opportunities gifted by some of our alumni who want to help support the next generation through higher education. These scholarships provide eligible students with financial contributions toward essential living costs. Find out more about eligibility and how to apply.

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

Studying languages can open up a world of opportunities. From banking to charities and from teaching to MI5, businesses and organisations across the globe seek to employ language specialists.

During this degree you’ll be able to choose from a wide range of modules, allowing you to tailor your studies around personal interests. In doing so you’ll start to identify potential career paths and begin to discover your areas of professional interest.

In addition to language skills, you’ll develop transferable skills highly sought after by employers such as confident communication skills, strict attention to detail and the ability to work within different cultures and organisational styles.

Combining language studies with history will help you develop critical reasoning skills, becoming an innovative problem solver able to communicate effectively. 

“My [language] studies have helped me to develop excellent communication skills, as well as helping me to hone my reading, writing, listening and speaking skills for both my target languages.  I have also become a much more resilient learner, being able to persevere when things start to get tough and independently solve issues where possible.” Charlotte Allwood , French and Contemporary Chinese Studies BA

Average starting salary and career progression

90.1% of undergraduates from SCHOOL/COURSE NAME secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £25,542.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. 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.

78.9% of undergraduates from the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £24,904.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. 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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" These two subjects have complemented each other immensely, the best part about studying them is that they're so different from one another there's always something new and exciting to learn. Also, they allow me to study the history of China, the country I will be studying abroad in next year. "
Michelle Phan, History and Contemporary History BA

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.