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Course overview

Today's world is complex.

To solve its problems depends on a range of knowledge and skills. No one has it all! But the better you can communicate yours, and recognise the value of others', the more you'll succeed.

Liberal Arts allows you to:

  • follow your passions
  • explore new areas
  • develop the skills to lead, manage and change society

Subject choice

Choose modules for 18 different subject areas covering:

  • arts
  • humanities
  • languages and cultures
  • social sciences
  • politics
  • maths

There are no defined pathways. We'll support you to build a coherent programme that meets your needs.

Core modules

Our core modules develop your interdisciplinary knowledge and skills:

  • team working
  • exposure to subjects beyond your own
  • communicating to people who know little about your specialisms
  • connecting information and combining methods


You'll be part of a distinct Liberal Arts community:

  • work together thorough group and project work and field trips
  • share experiences as part of the Liberal Arts Society

At the same time join in with:

Find out more about how Liberal Arts is different and hear from current students about their experience of the course.

Why choose this course?

  • Flexibility to develop your interests as you go through the course
  • Scope to follow a theme such as climate change or human rights
  • Dedicated Liberal Arts team to teach, guide and support
  • Develop key career skills such as interdisciplinary thinking and problem solving
  • Study abroad and experience learning and living in a different culture
  • Learn a language as part of your degree

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 AAA
Required subjects

There are no specific subjects required for BA Liberal Arts.

However, to select modules from certain subjects you will need an existing qualification:

  • English: A or A* in A-Level English, or equivalent
  • Maths: A or A* in A-Level Maths, or equivalent
  • Music: A or A* in A-Level Music or Music Technology, or equivalent
IB score 36

As Liberal Arts is such a diverse degree we are always happy to discuss alternative qualifications beyond traditional A levels. We have a high proportion of students with an International Baccalaureate background. Contact us if you want to discuss your qualifications.

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

You can also access this course through a Foundation Year. This may be suitable if you have faced educational barriers and are predicted BCC at A Level.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Teaching methods

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

How you will be assessed

As your future career won't be essays and exams we encourage you to apply what you learn with assessments that reflect real jobs. This might include:

  • design a website
  • film a video
  • write a blog
  • make an object
  • map a city
  • report on research
  • create an exhibition

Assessment methods

  • Commentary
  • Dissertation
  • Essay
  • In-class test
  • Oral exam
  • 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

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

Your lecturers will be available outside your scheduled contact time to discuss issues and develop your understanding.

As well as your timetabled sessions you’ll carry out extensive independent 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 subject lecture may have up to 200 students while a specialised seminar may contain 10 students.

Your Liberal Arts lecturers will be members of our academic staff. Subject lecturers will be experts from the relevant Schools and Departments. Some of our postgraduate students also support teaching after suitable training.

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


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

You will also have access to a range of work experience and volunteering 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.

Our Careers and Employment Service have arranged "virtual placements" with some employers and provide other advice on work experience during the coronavirus pandemic.

Introducing Liberal Arts at Nottingham

Find out why a course in Liberal Arts may be right for you.


Your year will be made up of:

  • Core modules (40 credits) - work together to look at causes and solutions to major global challenges.
  • Subject modules (80 credits) - select modules that cover your interests and ambitions

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

Core modules

Introduction to Liberal Arts

You will be introduced to interdisciplinary thinking by exploring the theme of time.

  • Assess how time was ‘invented’ and used to explore issues at a grand level - from astrophysical time that is used to examine the development of galaxies, to the geological movements that have shaped the Earth
  • Examine how societies across the world have created structures of time. Using ideas about chronology and change from historians, sociologists and politicians, and through philosophy, art and psychology, you will examine how time can be represented and experienced differently by individuals and communities.
  • Explore the future and how the world might develop and change over the next few decades, centuries and millennia, using literature and the wider humanities.

Students will develop a strong knowledge of interdisciplinary approaches and skill-sets in applying these ideas to practical situations.

Space, place and belonging in the city

You will explore the theme of space by examining the way in which cities are designed, developed, experienced and represented.

The majority of the world’s population now live in cities and this module will use case studies from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas to develop a global understanding of urban development.

Examine how urban planners and governments change peoples’ habits, values and ideologies through the lens of history, sociology and politics.

Explore how urban spaces have been experienced by individuals and communities, emotionally and physically, using ideas from geography, history of art literature and psychology.

By the end of the module you'll begin to develop your own ideas for how the city of the future could be planned, represented and experienced.

Subject modules

Choose from over 18 different subject areas. The Liberal Arts team will help you to select modules that meet your interests and ambitions.

With such an extensive range not all module combinations are possible. There are two sets of modules in most subjects:

  • Protected modules - we have spaces reserved on these in almost all subject areas.
  • Optional modules - these are usually available but it depends on:
    • avoiding timetable clashes
    • need for existing subject knowledge
    • demand for places

American and Canadian Studies

Protected modules

Race, Power, Money and the Making of North America, 1607-1900

This module provides an introduction to the history of North America from European contact through to the start of the 20th century. It considers how the interactions of European colonizers with Native Americans shaped the future of the region. It also addresses the rise of Atlantic slavery, its development over time and the eventual emergence of distinctive African-American cultures. The module takes students through a broad chronological period which includes European colonization, independence and Civil War while inviting them to examine the influence and development of attitudes towards race, class, gender, democracy and capitalism.

American Freedom? Empire, Rights and Capitalism in Modern US History, 1900-Present

This module examines the history of the United States in the twentieth century. It will assess changes and developments in the lives of the American people who have faced the challenges of prosperity, depression, war, liberal reform, political conservatism, minority protests, multicultural awareness, and international power.

Optional modules

American Literature and Culture 1: 1830-1940

This is an introductory survey of major American literature and culture. It explores a wide range of nineteenth century and early twentieth century American writers of fiction and poetry. The module addresses those questions about the nature of the American ‘canon’ raised by successive generations of critics. It will also explore related developments in visual culture and music.  It is seen as a `core’ module, which will give the grounding for further study of American literature and culture.

American Literature and Culture 2: Since 1940

This is an introductory survey of major American literature and culture since 1940. It explores a wide range of twentieth and twenty-first century American literary writers. The module addresses those questions about the nature of the American ‘canon’ raised by successive generations of critics. It will also explore related developments in late twentieth and early twenty-first century cinema, television and popular music.  It is seen as a `core' module, which will give the grounding for further study of American literature and culture.

From Landscapes to Mixtapes: Canadian Literature, Film and Culture

This interdisciplinary module offers an introduction to Canadian cultural studies through an examination of selected literary, film and visual texts. These cultural texts will be situated in their historical, political, regional and national contexts. While some reference is made to earlier periods, the focus is predominantly on the twentieth century. The module addresses debates about cultural definition and the construction and deconstruction of cultural stereotypes. Possible topics include the wilderness, migration, Native culture, bilingualism and biculturalism versus multiculturalism, the emergence of cultural nationalism, popular culture, and Canada’s relationship to the US. The module provides grounding for further study in Canadian topics. This module is for Single Honours students and Joint Honours English students, Joint Honours Film students and Joint Honours Latin American students.

Classics and Archaeology

Protected modules

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

You will gain an overview of the archaeology of the British Isles from the Roman invasion until the industrial revolution. This was a period of dramatic change in Britain, and using key sites and discoveries you will be introduced to the challenges of understanding the archaeology of periods partially documented in textual sources.

The module covers:

  • the Roman invasion and military and civilian life in the Roman province of Britannia;
  • Anglo-Saxon and Viking incursions and settlement;
  • medieval castles, towns and monasteries;
  • the impact of the Reformation and the growth of the Tudor state;
  • the role of industry and urbanisation in the making of modern Britain.

The teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures, seminars and a museum session, on average taking up 2 hours per week across the spring semester. 

Comparative World Prehistory

Gain an overview of prehistoric archaeology through global case studies.We’ll be covering the latest debate and scholarship, on topics such as:

  • human dispersal
  • technology
  • environmental change
  • food procurement and production
  • monumentality
  • sedentism and urbanisation

You’ll receive a grounding that will feed into our other modules on Prehistoric archaeology in the Department of Archaeology.  

By the end of the module, you’ll have an understanding of the broad chronological development and key themes in Prehistory up to the development of writing. With an appreciation of archaeological approaches in prehistoric periods, and the complexities of integrating varied sources of archaeological evidence including landscapes, monuments, excavated evidence and material culture. 

Optional modules

Greek and Roman Mythology
This module will introduce students to the interpretation of ancient Greek and Roman myth by focusing on a representative range of texts and themes. The module will be team-taught exposing students to a wide range of material and approaches to the use of myth in the ancient world. The module will consider how mythology is used not only in ancient literature such as epic and drama, but also in historical texts, in religious contexts and in the material culture of the ancient world such as statuary, paintings and sarcophagi. It will also introduce students to the variety of methodologies that scholars have used over the years to help interpret and understand these myths and their usages.
Beginners Latin: 1
This module provides an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of Latin; no previous knowledge is assumed. Emphasis is placed on acquiring the ability to analyse and understand basic Latin sentences and short passages.
Beginners Greek: 1
This module provides an introduction to the grammar and vocabulary of classical Greek; no previous knowledge is assumed. Emphasis is placed on acquiring the ability to read Greek; the basis of the course is the study and translation of passages adapted from classical Greek texts.


Optional modules

History of Education

This module will examine how formal education systems reflect the socio-political interests of particular times and places, how these interests have changed over time and the forms of education that result. The focus will be on the English school system, which provides the central case study, but the module will also draw on:

  • international comparisons from different historical periods
  • cross-phase comparisons, for example, with technical and higher education

The module will be structured around some key questions:

  • Who has education been for? (learners)
  • Who have the teachers been? (teachers)
  • How has their work been defined and controlled? (governance)
  • Who determines what is taught? (curriculum)
  • How and why has change occurred? (socio-political change)
  • What is the relationship between education and national identity?
  • What is the relationship between education and the economy?

As well as wide engagement with readings the module willalso explore key areas through the interrogation of a range of historical sources.

Big Ideas in Education: Inclusion, Equalities, Rights and Justice

This module will develop your understanding of what inclusion, equalities, rights and justice mean for and in education, and how these ideas are used in theory, policy and practice.

The module focuses on key issues related to social justice, including marginalisation, privilege, power and voice. You will explore the complexity of these issues and the ways in which they have been understood in different times and places, how they relate to each other and how they interact in the lives of individuals and communities and across formal and informal contexts for learning.

Through participatory and discussion-based sessions, you will consider some of the ways in which experiences of injustice and privilege can be understood, from 'big data' to personal narratives. While the module examines the ways in which these perspectives are used to inform policy and practice in education, you will also be supported to develop a critically reflective personal analysis of these issues and to express their understanding in creative ways.

Learning and Development

The module integrates psychology, educational studies, linguistics and neuroscience to provide an introductory overview of human development and learning. It will outline some of biological, cultural, social, and cognitive factors that shape the course of human learning. It will include:

  • major theoretical frameworks that explain key concepts in learning and development, the architecture of mind and brain and how learning is bounded by context
  • how children develop - how they come to perceive, reason, and understand the word around them, how they learn to communicate with peers and parents and how the social relationships they form are fundamental to their development
  • how people learn - what are the key aspects of the cognitive system that support learning (such as perception, attention, memory and reasoning) as well as how learning is shaped by social contexts
  • how learners differ from one another - what makes an individual learner unique and how are motivation, personality and intelligence are currently understood
The Purposes of Education

This module deals with the most basic, but most important and controversial, question in education: 'What is education for?' We are also interested in the supplementary question: 'who decides?'

Education can have many purposes from developing the future workforce to promoting a more equal society.  However, different objectives may be in tension with each other whilst even apparently simple questions are often complex: what is the 'world of work' that education is preparing people for? What are the skills that people need for employment? Should education prepare people to be 'good employees' in a precarious labour market or be more critical and challenge and transform the status quo?

In this module we will explore a number of issues relating to education and equality, the economy, and the role of education both as a citizenship right and in developing citizens.  We will analyse these issues drawing on philosophical, historical and socio-political perspectives.


The English modules you can take in years two and three depend on what you study in year one.

Protected modules

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.
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
Beginnings of English

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

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

Learning objectives:

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

Film and Television Studies

Protected modules

Producing Film and Television

This module engages with the narrative histories of film and television, from their origins to the present day, a period involving many significant transitional moments in production histories. The module looks at the coming of sound, the rise and demise of the Hollywood studio system, and the emergence of the TV network system. It asks what transition means at different historical moments by raising questions such as: what are the industries producing at these moments, and how are cultural products marketed and distributed? The module also introduces historical method and the idea of historiography. It provides examples of different critical approaches to film and television history and interrogates the key debates around the periodisation of that history.

Reading Film and Television

This module introduces you to formal aspects of screen narratives and the language of textual analysis, enabling you to 'read' and illuminate film and television texts. It also sheds light on the people who work on the production of film/TV texts and some of the key features of their collaboration in areas such as directing, cinematography, editing, production design, sound design and performance.

Optional modules

Media and Society

This module explores communication processes in an international context, outlining key imperatives - including technology, mobility, economics, space/time compression, cultural difference, ethics and conflict - that affect the way we understand each other across the highly mediated communications landscape. The module pays particular attention to transnational media texts and audiences and the emergence of the network society.

Consuming Film and Television

This module asks questions surrounding the consumption - viewing and listening, in public and private environments including theatres, homes and more - of film, television and other screen media. It addresses viewing contexts including public spaces such as cinemas, private spaces such as homes, and emerging hybrid spaces. To understand not only consumption environments but also media users, the module also investigates constructions of screen audiences, through historical as well as contemporary cases. You will complete the module with an understanding of how screen media offer components of experiences dependent on consumption environments and on audiences' attitudes, cultural backgrounds and other activities.


Some of the Geography modules you can take in years two and three depend on what you study in year one.

Optional modules

Exploring Human Geography

The module provides you with introductory knowledge about current issues in human geography. It critically examines the complex relations between people and places through key themes and concepts in current human geography.

Attention is given to innovative work in cultural, historical, medical, environmental, economic and development geography and to the traditionally broad perspective of human geography as a whole. The module will examine a variety of key themes that may vary from year to year. This module provides a foundation for more specialised human geography modules at levels 2 and 3.

Earth and Environmental Dynamics

This module integrates knowledge taken from the hydrosphere, oceans and continents to inform an understanding of global physical systems as they affect people and the environment. The module considers:

  • hydrological cycles
  • principles of Earth and geomorphological systems
  • fluvial geomorphology and biogeomorphology
Globalisation: Economy, Space and Power

The module introduces you to contemporary and historical approaches to understanding economic globalisation and its spatial unevenness. You will develop knowledge relating to globalisation as a set of discourses and practices using case studies relating to key themes of relevance.

Lectures will outline the key debates relating to globalisation as a phenomenon and will interrogate the relevance of the concept through an examination of commodities, labour and work, governance and money and finance.

You will also explore the spatial unevenness of globalisation, and develop understandings of the ways in which globalisation has contributed to an increasingly unequal and differentiated society at a variety of scales. Alternatives to globalisation will also be discussed, focusing upon various counter-globalisation strategies in the forms of localism, activism and protest.

Throughout the module, staff will draw upon their own research as well as the wider academic literature, giving you a sense of the complexity, and importance, of globalisation as a set of theories and a set of sited realities.

Exploring Place

The module introduces you to geographical research on place, conveying current research in the field, including that carried out within the School of Geography. You will gain knowledge of key concepts and methodological approaches, with understanding developed through the examination of place-based case studies.

Lectures will outline developments in the geographical study of place in recent decades, and explore key themes such as place and memory, place and knowledge, and place and identity. The challenges and opportunities offered by the digital exploration of place will be outlined, using case studies of digital mapping and the public display of geographical information. Regional case studies will show how the research themes presented in the module can be brought together around the study of specific places and landscapes.

Throughout the module, staff will draw upon their own research as well as the wider academic literature, giving students a sense of the possibilities of geographical research exploring place.

On Earth and Life

On Earth and Life explores the deep historical co-evolution of Earth and Life and emphasises uniqueness of place and historical contingency. The module leads on from and complements Physical Landscapes of Britain in exploring geological, plate tectonic and palaeoenvironmental ideas and research, but at the global scale.

It emphasises the role of life in creating past and present planetary environments, and conversely the role of environment and environmental change in the evolution and geography of life. The module also serves to prepare the ground for and contextualise several second and third year geography modules, especially Environmental Change and Patterns of Life.


To take History modules in years two and three you need to take the Learning History module in year one.

Protected modules

Learning History
This module will provide students with the learning skills necessary to make the most of their studies in History. It concentrates upon their conceptions of the subject and their strategies as learners, in order to enable them more effectively to monitor and develop their skills and understanding. Students will be introduced to different approaches to the study of History as well as to different understandings of what History is for. The module aims to encourage more effective learning in History, bridge the transition from school or college to university, prepare students for more advanced work in the discipline at year two, and enhance the skills listed.
Roads to Modernity: An Introduction to Modern History 1750-1945

This module provides a chronology of modern history from 1750 to 1945. It concentrates on:

  • key political developments in European and global history such as the French Revolution, the expansion of the European empires and the two world wars
  • economic, social and cultural issues, such as industrialisation, urbanisation, changing artistic forms and ideological transformations in order to consider the nature of modernity.

Optional modules

Making the Middle Ages, 500-1500
This module provides an introduction to medieval European history in the period 500-1500. It offers a fresh and stimulating approach to the major forces instrumental in the shaping of politics, society and culture in Europe. Through a series of thematically linked lectures and seminars, students will be introduced to key factors determining changes in the European experience over time, as well as important continuities linking the period as a whole. Amongst the topics to be considered are: political structures and organization; social and economic life and cultural developments. You will spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.
From Reformation to Revolution: An Introduction to Early Modern Europe c.1500-1800

This module introduces students to major issues in the social, political and cultural history of Europe in the early modern period by analysing demographic, religious, social and cultural changes that took place between c.1500 and 1800. Students will examine the tensions produced by warfare, religious conflict, the changing relationships between rulers, subjects and political elites, trends in socio-economic development and the discovery of the New World.

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

History of Art

Protected modules

History of Art: Renaissance to Revolution

Explore art and architecture from the Renaissance to the Age of Revolutions (c.1789).

  • Discuss individual artists and works and set them within their historical contexts.
  • Question how changing forms of art relate to their social, political and philosophical contexts.
  • Examine the interplay of individual and collective ideas, practices, and institutions.
  • Think about how contextual study can be married to visual analysis.
History of Art: Modern to Contemporary

Explore art and architecture from 1800 to the contemporary world.

  • Discuss individual artists and works and set them within their historical contexts.
  • Question how changing forms of art relate to their social, political and philosophical contexts.
  • Examine the interplay of individual and collective ideas, practices, and institutions.
  • Think about how contextual study can be married to visual analysis.

Optional modules

Art, Methods, and Media
  • Why are particular media and processes used by artists and architects?
  • How does this impact the value, status, and meaning of objects?

We’ll span time from the Renaissance to today and examine materials as diverse as:

  • paint
  • bronze
  • marble
  • plastic
  • text and speech
  • film, both still and moving
  • the human body

You’ll also explore how changes in technology, processes and labour have affected products and production.

Reading and Writing Art History

Following on from The Language of Art History module you’ll consider how objects have been studied and interpreted through different forms of writing.

As part of this you’ll make connections across between the visual arts, and other forms of cultural expression.

A key aim of this module is the continued development of your own study and writing skills.

Institute of Enterprise and Innovation

Optional module

Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice

The module presents a formal analysis of entrepreneurship in theory and practice leading on to a consideration of creativity and business concept generation. The module concludes with the practical application of these theories and concepts in business planning and business concept presentation.

International Media and Communications

Protected modules

Communication and Culture

This module surveys the field of communications theory and provides an introduction to the key methodologies and topics of cultural studies within the context of contemporary life. Students will be introduced to key theoretical approaches to the communications process and encouraged to develop literacies across a wide range of visual and written sources, including advertising, TV, and journalism. Students will also be encouraged to assess the gains and shortcomings of particular theoretical models and to consider the processes that obstruct and frustrate the ambition of establishing clear channels of communication. The module also introduces approaches to cultural studies through the following key themes: 'high' versus 'popular' culture; race and ethnicity; feminism, Marxism and postmodernism; and the internet.

Communication and Technology

This module takes a detailed look at debates around the impact of new information and communications technologies such as the internet, digital TV, and mobile and wireless communications on processes of communication. The module emphasises the social, economic and political implications of information communication technology adoption, such as the ongoing 'digital divide' between the information-rich and -poor. It also investigates issues surrounding human-machine interaction, exploring the reshaping of communication forms and practices together with notions of posthumanism and cyberbodies.

Optional modules

Media and Society

This module explores communication processes in an international context, outlining key imperatives - including technology, mobility, economics, space/time compression, cultural difference, ethics and conflict - that affect the way we understand each other across the highly mediated communications landscape. The module pays particular attention to transnational media texts and audiences and the emergence of the network society.

Cultures of Everyday Life

Our daily lives are filled with 'realities' and phenomena that exceed our abilities to account for them: we might order a headstone on the way to the supermarket or be captivated by a carrier bag blowing in the wind; we may spend much of our time bored or dreaming of winning the lottery. While we may take the idea of the everyday for granted, associating it with routine, familiar and repeated experiences, our everyday lives are, simultaneously, punctuated by the exceptional, the random and the disruptive. Traditional theoretical attempts to account for the everyday tend to overlook aspects of daily life that refuse system and order: sociology, anthropology, cultural and media studies, for example, deal with activities such as work and leisure but neglect the unique texture of everyday experience. This module thus emphasises the everyday world as fraught with difficulty (in terms of seeing, theorising and representing), and looks at a wide range of attempts to register daily existence, including the modernist novel, photography, film, time capsules, poetry, video diaries and comics.


Protected modules

Calculus and Linear Algebra

The module consolidates core GCE mathematical topics in the differential and integral calculus of a function of a single variable and used to solving some classes of differential equations. Basic theory is extended to more advanced topics in the calculus of several variables. In addition, the basic concepts of complex numbers, vector and matrix algebra are established and extended to provide an introduction to vector spaces. An emphasis in the module is to develop general skills and confidence in applying the methods of calculus and developing techiniques and ideas that are widely applicable and used in subsequent modules.

Major topics are:

  • differential and integral calculus of a single variable;
  • differential equations;
  • differential calculus of several variables;
  • multiple integrals;
  • complex numbers;
  • matrix algebra;
  • vector algebra and vector spaces.

Modern Languages and Cultures

To take Language modules in years two and three you need to take appropriate Language modules in year one.

You can take language modules either at either post-A level or as a beginner.

Protected modules

French 1

This module consolidates and develops your command of the French language, both written and spoken. The work covers grammar, aural and oral skills.

French 1: Beginners

The module focuses on the intensive study from beginners’ level of the five key skills of listening, speaking, writing, reading, and grammatical competence. The module will use a set text book, but this will also be supplemented with other exercises and materials designed to work towards the specific requirements of a degree programme in French Studies, whereby students come into contact with modules in French literature, culture, history or linguistics. 

German 1

Building on the four skill areas of A level work (writing, reading, listening and speaking), this module aims to develop your command of German towards the level required in year two. It consolidates your understanding of grammatical structures, and improves spoken and written German.

We will work with authentic texts and media (including journalistic articles, short stories, videos, and clips from TV programmes in German, news items).

German 1: Beginners

This module is designed for absolute beginners.  At the end of the module, you should be able to comprehend and respond to texts on a range of topics and engage in everyday social conversation. You’ll work on reading comprehension, grammar, listening exercises, speaking skills, and writing short texts such as emails and essays.

We follow a structured course and use a textbook, but you’ll also be working with authentic texts from the very first week of German classes, which will help you develop a more extensive vocabulary and show you just how fast you’re progressing.

Russian 1

In this year-long module you consolidate and develop the knowledge of Russian which they gained at A level. This module focuses on practical application of language skills, including reading, writing, listening comprehension and oral communication. You also study some grammar topics in depth. The module involves practical classes, workshops and tutorials, and is taught by experienced teachers, including native speakers of Russian.

Russian 1: Beginners

This module is for students with no previous knowledge of Russian. It will develop your knowledge of the language and your ability to understand and communicate information. 

You will enjoy exposure to written, audio and audio-visual documents supplemented by learning activities that develop your:

  • comprehension (reading/listening) of the texts
  • explicit knowledge of Russian grammar
  • proficiency in spoken and written Russian
  • knowledge and understanding of the Russian-speaking world.
Spanish 1

This module builds on A level Spanish to consolidate your understanding of grammar, and your ability to comprehend both structures and meanings in a variety of written and aural texts.

You will be guided in using a broader range of discursive strategies in both written and spoken Spanish, and trained in the comprehension of broadcast items, on current affairs and culture, from across the Spanish-speaking world.

Spanish 1: Beginners

This module is designed to take you from absolute beginners to a level of written and aural comprehension, writing and speaking skills roughly commensurate with A-level. At the end of the course, you should be able to comprehend and respond to written and aural texts over a comprehensive range of current affairs, cultural and every day topics, and be able to engage in everyday social conversation.

Portuguese 1: Beginners

This module aims to introduce you to the basic structures of Portuguese. By the end of the module, you should to be able to comprehend a range of texts on everyday life and current affairs in written Portuguese, conduct effectively a conversation in Portuguese on similar topics, produce written texts covering everyday issues, and understand and respond to spoken Portuguese in a wide variety of situations appropriate for learners at this stage.

Optional modules

Introduction to Contemporary Iberian History

This module introduces you to the evolution of Spanish and Portuguese history, politics and culture from 1898 to the present day.

You'll be encouraged to draw links between the Portuguese and Spanish experiences, and also to place both countries’ experience of the twentieth century within the broader context of European and wider global history in the period.

Particular emphasis will be placed upon the development of both countries from a (perceived) position of ‘difference’ and ‘backwardness’ to relatively prosperous, economically developed and culturally diverse members of the European Union.

Attention will also be directed towards the:

  • first experience of democratic politics (a failure in both countries)
  • establishment and longevity of authoritarian dictatorships in the Iberian Peninsula
  • process of transition to democracy since the 1970s.
Modern Latin American History

This module aims to introduce you to the main patterns of Latin American political, economic and social history, between Independence in the 1820s and the end of the twentieth century, through a combination of lectures and guided reading and research.

We focus on specific concepts, terminology, events and people, so as to develop an understanding of different perspectives and interpretations of the history in question, and to appreciate the interaction between the ‘political history’ of major events and protagonists in official positions of power, and the ‘social history’ of populations who both contributed to, and were affected by, political change.

You will learn to develop a critical approach to the study of history through a variety of materials; gain an ability to distinguish critically between the particular and the general and to develop the tools for comparative analysis. You will also learn how to research historical sources, and to develop and sustain coherent intellectual argument.

Introduction to French and Francophone Studies

This module, which is compulsory for all post-A level students of French, provides an introduction to a broad range of topics and study skills relevant to the field of French and Francophone Studies.

Drawing on the expertise of the teaching team, the module will cover the main fields of the discipline, including linguistics, politics, history, thought, French and Francophone literature, media, visual culture and cinema.

Through engagement with a range of different texts, images and film, students will also be introduced to core study skills, such as reading strategies, awareness of register, close reading, essay writing, commentary writing, bibliographical and referencing skills and visual analysis.

Introduction to German Studies

This is the core module for first-year students of German. We look at the history of German and introduce you to the linguistic study of the language. We also explore a range of themes and styles in German literature linked to key areas of German and Austrian culture (such as gender relations, migration and race).

Further topics address the study of German film, and German history with a focus on recent history since German reunification in 1990. The module gives you an insight into the different areas we teach and also the skills to explore these areas in more depth in subsequent modules.

German National Socialism (1933-1945): Hitler and the Third Reich

This module explores the period of National Socialism in Germany (1933-1945). After an outline of the historical context of this period we will critically view the ideology and politics of the time with particular focus on society and culture.

We will evaluate original sources (in translation) such as posters, speeches, newspapers and films. Theoretical writings on select topics such as propaganda, leader cult, media, childhood, womanhood and 'the other' will assist our critical analysis.

From Tsarism to Communism: Introduction to Russian History and Culture

In the early sixteenth century, Muscovy was a large but precarious state on the fringes of Europe, characterised by absolute monarchy, an official religion, crude economic and administrative systems, disgruntled ethnic minorities and an impoverished peasantry. Four hundred years later, following rapid expansion, enforced westernisation, industrialisation, a world war and a revolution, everything had changed for Russia … or had it?

This year-long module provides an introduction to the forces that have shaped modern Russia, starting with the first tsar, Ivan the Terrible, through the end of the New Economic Policy. In addition to political and social history, there is a significant focus on culture and the study of primary sources.

This module is an option for those who are studying Russian or East European Cultural Studies.

The Soviet Experiment

Soviet rule lasted not quite three-quarters of a century, but this short and turbulent period of history not only brought profound transformations within Russian society and culture and the societies and cultures of the non-Russian republics, but influenced geopolitics in ways that are still at play in the 21st century.

If you are studying Russian or East European Cultural Studies, this module is available as a year-long option. It offers a grounding in the politics, society and culture of the Soviet Union from the 1917 October Revolution up to its fall in 1991. In lectures, we look at the political and social changes that led to the development of institutions, environment, culture and lived experience that even today we recognise as ‘Soviet’. Topic-based seminars focus on texts, music, visual culture and other sources.


Protected modules

Repertoire Studies 1: Music Before the 20th Century
This module offers an introduction to the principal genres, stylistic trends and cultural contexts of a wide range of European music from the Renaissance to the turn of the twentieth century. Topics covered will include: the impact of the Reformation and Counter-reformation; early opera and oratorio; key composers of the Renaissance, Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras; historical instruments and period performance; chamber music and art-song; choral music; programme music; symphonic forms. Some seminars in the first half of the module will give an introduction to academic writing. They will develop the skills required to research and write essays effectively.
Repertoire Studies 2: 20th-Century Music
This module offers an introduction to the principal genres, stylistic trends and cultural contexts of a wide range of music from the 'long' twentieth century (i.e. from the late nineteenth century to the present day). Topics covered may include: impressionism; modernism; neo-classicism; atonality and its consequences; nationalism; film music; jazz; cross-cultural influences; minimalism.


Protected modules

To take Philosophy modules in year three you usually need to take these protected Philosophy modules in year one.

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.

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 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’?
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.

History of Philosophy

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. You 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.


Protected modules

Introduction to Comparative Politics

This module seeks to compare and contrast the decision-making structures of modern democratic states. Topics to be covered will include: 

  • politics
  • government and the state
  • the comparative approach
  • constitutions and the legal framework
  • democratic and authoritarian rule
  • political culture
  • the political executive
  • legislatures
  • political parties and party systems
  • electoral systems and voting behaviour
  • the crisis of democracy
Introduction to Political Theory

This module introduces you to the ideas of some of the canonical thinkers in the history of political thought, such as Burke, Rousseau, Kant, Mill, and Marx. The module considers the impact of these thinkers on modern political thought and practice, with reference to key political ideas and historical developments (such as liberty and equality, and the Enlightenment). The module will be text based.  


Protected modules

Psychological Approaches to Therapy
You will gain a broad overview of some key theoretical approaches in psychology, in the context of their application to therapy. Three fundamental schools of thought will be examined: the psychodynamic school, the humanistic-existential school, and the cognitive behaviour school, which have strongly influenced the development of contemporary psychological therapy. Lectures will examine the historical context and philosophical origins of a range of different therapies (e.g. psychoanalysis, person-centred therapy, rational-emotive therapy) which may be used in the treatment of common mental health issues (e.g. anxiety, depression, phobias). The theoretical basis of each approach will be addressed, with a consideration of how important concepts are applied in therapeutic interventions.
Social Psychology

An introduction to the core topics in social psychology, which is concerned with trying to understand the social behaviour of individuals in terms of both internal characteristics of the person (e.g. cognitive mental processes) and external influences (the social environment).

Lectures will cover topics including how we define the self, attitudes, attribution, obedience, aggression, pro-social behaviour and formation of friendships.

You will have a one-hour lecture weekly.

Optional modules

Cognitive Psychology 1

Cognitive psychology is the study of mental processes, and this module will provide an introduction to the methods used by cognitive psychologists in their investigations of mental processes in humans.

A wide range of topics will be discussed, with some introductory discussion of how they limit human performance in applied contexts. The mental processes to be covered include those that support attention, perception, language, memory, and thinking.

You will have two one-hour lectures per week for this module.

Developmental Psychology

An introduction to the fascinating world of the developing child.

Lectures consider different theoretical, applied, and experimental approaches to cognitive, linguistic, and social development from early to late childhood.

Topics include the development of thinking, perception, drawing, understanding the mind, intelligence, attachment, language, and moral development.

You will have a one-hour lecture weekly.

Addiction and the Brain

You will gain a broad understanding of the behavioural and biological mechanisms underlying drug and behavioural addictions. You will be introduced to popular drugs of abuse and identify common themes of addiction and the underlying mechanisms.

Biological Psychology

An introduction to the neural and biological bases of cognition and behaviour. You will learn about the structure and evolution of the brain and the main functions of the different parts.

You will examine how the brain receives, transmits, and processes information at the neural level, as well as its visual pathways. The main scientific methods for investigating brain and behaviour will also be covered.

You will have two hours of lectures weekly.

Sociology and Social Policy

Protected modules

Introducing Social Policy

Focusing on the main concepts and approaches to social policy, this module assumes little or no background knowledge. It looks at the means by which something is framed as a social problem, with particular reference to poverty and issues of exclusion.

You will be introduced to the main areas of social policy, mainly in the UK, and explore how different social groups experience social policies, the interaction of public, private, voluntary and informal sectors in welfare provision, and ways in which it is financed.

Citizenship and Rights in a Globalised World

This module first focuses on matters of citizenship and pays particular attention to which groups are included and entitled to citizenship and who is excluded.

It also enables you to develop an understanding of the key theoretical approaches and concepts associated with the analysis of processes of globalisation (social, economic and political) and their implications for human rights. Finally, a third strand is devoted to human rights.

Optional modules

Identity in Popular Culture

The study of culture illuminates how we understand ourselves and others and the meanings we attribute to the world around us. By examining culture we see that many of the 'common sense', 'normal' or 'natural' understandings we have of what it means to be male or female, gay or straight, white or black, middleclass or working-class, are specific to our particular society, and are also laden with implicit judgements about the relative worth of these identities.

This module considers a range of cultural forms, from the everyday popular culture that surrounds us in our daily lives, such as Hollywood films, reality TV and 'ethnic' cuisine, and explores the ways in which social identities and social relations such as class, gender or racial difference are represented and played out in popular culture.

Criminology: Understanding Crime and Victimisation

This module lays the foundations for further study in criminology by looking at its development as a discipline. You will consider how crime is defined and counted, and investigate the sources of criminological knowledge.

The main focus is on key theoretical perspectives in criminology, and how they help us to understand and explain crime and victimisation and social reactions to it.

Introduction to the Criminal Justice 'System' in England and Wales

This module seeks to introduce and contextualise the function and processes of the agencies and institutions that operate within the criminal justice system.

The module will encourage you to identify the tensions and inequalities that lead criminologists and criminal justice practitioners to promote reform of the criminal justice system. Summary of the topics to be covered include:

  • Theorising criminal justice and punishment: Exploring models of criminal justice and penology.
  • Overview of the Criminal Justice System in England and Wales
  • Key agencies, processes and institutions within the Criminal Justice System including: police, prosecution, judiciary, sentencing, management of offenders, youth justice and alternatives to custody
  • Criminal Justice policy-making process, the role of victims and the politicisation of criminal justice
  • Inequalities and bias within the Criminal Justice System: race, gender and class
  • International influences of criminal justice-policy making: organised crime and terrorism; European Union; International cases studies influencing reform agenda
Why Do Policies Fail?

This module provides an introduction to the evaluation of public and social policy, adopting a problem-solving, case-study approach informed by a range of policy areas. Through this, you are introduced to major concepts and topics including:

  • Introduction to policy evaluation: definitions and key concepts
  • Policy problems, solutions and failures
  • Evaluation and the policy-making cycle
  • Policy dynamics and path dependency
  • Assessing policy and public interventions: evidence and perceptions
  • Models and approaches to policy evaluation (including basic evaluation designs)
  • Comparing public and social policies (including international perspectives)
  • Stakeholders and public engagement

Theology and Religious Studies

Optional modules

Interpreting the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

This module is an introduction to the literature, history and interpretation of the Hebrew Bible, also known as the Old Testament or Tanakh.

Attention will be paid to the biblical text as history, as literature and as scripture in the Jewish and Christian traditions, both in general and with particular reference to specific texts.

Interpreting Islam

This module examines the narrative and textual foundations of the Islamic tradition including the Qur'an, the prophetic tradition and the life of the Prophet Muhammad. You’ll also look at the development and structure of Islamic society, law, doctrine and spirituality through the classical period, and Muslim responses to challenges posed by modernity including questions of gender and the nation state.

Reading, Writing and Speaking Religion
This module provides an introduction to key skills required for the discipline of Theology and Religious Studies in the understanding and analysis of primary texts in world religions, and in a range of broader abilities necessary for university level study, including bibliographical and footnoting skills, the use of scholarly journals and monographs, argumentation and essay writing. 
Religion, Media and Ethics

We live in a media environment, surrounded by social media, videogames, TV, movies, 24-hour news and more. The media teach us what to think about each other, how to talk to each other, and who we want to be. This course invites us to think more critically and imaginatively about the media. We will explore how the media portrays religion, and ask why stereotypes persist. We will see how the media challenges religion, and provokes new religious creativity. We ask what the big ideas of religious ethics could teach us about how to use media more wisely. In the process, we will also start learning the key skills we need to be more effective media communicators.

Building the Christian Church
This module introduces students to the lives and works of some of the main Christian theologians. The module will follow the chronological development of Christian thought, both eastern and western, from the first Christian thinkers in the second century, up to the Reformation and Counter-Reformation in the sixteenth century, including key figures such as Origen, Augustine, Aquinas and Luther. It focuses upon the ideas of the theologians, but places them in their broader historical and ecclesiastical context.
This module will investigate the phenomenon of atheism, both traditional and ‘old’ and the cultural phenomenon sometimes referred to as ‘new atheism, place it in a broader historical and intellectual context. Where does it come from? What are the sources and roots of contemporary atheism? How can we explain the transition in Western society from belief as norm to agnosticism or atheism as the majority position? What are the most convincing arguments for atheism, and what are its most radical and interesting versions? The module will include examination of recent writers (e.g. Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens), atheists of the Enlightenment, and thinkers such as Nietzsche and Feuerbach. Secularization and various ways in which scholars have tried to understand it will be explored.
Interpreting the New Testament
This module will cover the following themes: the canon and text of the New Testament; the Roman, Greek and Jewish background to the New Testament; source, form and redaction criticism of the Synoptic Gospels; the historicity of the Synoptic Gospels and Acts, and the authenticity of Paul's letters.
Interpreting Judaism
This module will introduce Judaism in the period from its formation to modernity. We will study major texts of Second Temple and Late Antique Judaism, the developments of medieval Jewish culture under Islamic and Christian rule, and key topics in early modern and contemporary Judaism. Special emphasis will be given to the textual strategies of Jewish readings of the Bible, to the continuing important of the Temple as a central religious symbol, and to the impact of the foundation of the state of Israel. The module will give students an overview of Judaism as a diverse tradition that has always engaged its Roman, Christian, Persian, Muslim and modern Western surroundings.
The Bible in Music, Art and Literature

The Bible is a perennial bestseller and its influence on Western culture is unparalleled. This influence is not always obvious though, nor limited to the 'religious sphere'. In the Arts - whether Bach or The Beatles, Michelangelo or Monty Python - the use of the Bible is extremely varied. This module explores the ways the Bible is drawn upon in art, music and literature ranging from ancient Jewish synagogue mosaics and early Christian iconography, to contemporary - secular - films and music. Students are encouraged not only to engage with case studies of works of art which demonstrate the use and influence of the Bible, but also to consider critically the way in which art, music and literature - both 'religious' and 'secular' - function as biblical interpretations, and as part of the Bible's 'reception-history'. The module is taught by a variety of theologians in the department specialising in different areas of the Bible's reception. Introductory contributions on the influence of the Bible on, and through, a range of authors, musicians and artists can be seen in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies' Bibledex video project.

Philosophy for Theologians

This module will provide an overview of the most important philosophical ideas, theories, and arguments that are of special interest to students of theology. The module will begin with the Greek 'natural theology' of the pre-Socratic thinkers and end with the post-modern 'turn to religion' of Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida. 

Christianity and the Challenge of Modernity

This module introduces students to the development of Western Christian theology, both Protestant and Catholic, from the Enlightenment to the present. It surveys the challenges posed to Christian faith by modernity and a range of theological responses to these challenges. It also introduces modern Christian approaches to ethics.

Introduction to Biblical Hebrew A
This is an introduction to the grammar, syntax and vocabulary of the Hebrew language, as found in the Hebrew Bible; no previous knowledge of the language is assumed.
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.

You'll follow the same balance of core and subject modules as year one. This allows you to build on existing interests or investigate new ones as you learn and develop.

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

Liberal Arts

Core modules

Objects: Design and Communication

Explore how objects have altered our habits, values and identities in the modern era and examine issues of design, function, economics, ethics and reuse.

Consider objects at the core of all our lives – from personal keepsakes to grand symbols of nation-states – that can be used, sold, exchanged and displayed.

Assess how objects can communicate knowledge and practical information to diverse audiences. 


Migration and Identity in a Global Context

Population mobility and displacement represents one of the key challenges for the twenty-first century.

Explore different patterns of displacement in a global context and how a range of migrant identities, such as refugees, settlers and internally displaced person's, affect society, politics and economies.

Examine how the causes of mass-displacement and responses to refugees/migrants have differed through time through examples such as decolonisation, civil war, genocide, development and climate change.

Highlight particular patterns of displacement and identity-formation using specific case studies such as India/Pakistan, Israel/Palestine, Rwanda and Islamic State.

Optional modules

Nottingham Futures

The University focuses on research that integrates the humanities, social sciences, engineering and physical sciences through six Beacons of Excellence:

  • Rights Lab
  • Precision Imaging
  • Future Foods
  • Propulsion Futures
  • Green Chemicals
  • Smart Products

Researchers from these Beacons will explore with you how to apply your skills across different fields and integrate your knowledge with others to solve problems.

You will implement this thinking by looking at how you can solve local economic, social and environmental issues and improve Nottingham’s future.

Working with Natural Science students you might tackle issues such as:

  • improving the design of housing to accommodate a growing population within a limited space
  • how behavioural changes in peoples’ use of public transport can be used to improve the take-up of buses or trams
  • how the social, philosophical and cultural experience of the city can be mapped and understood.

Subject modules

American and Canadian Studies

Protected modules

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.

American Violence: A History

This module seeks to analyse the patterns and prevalence of violence in the USA. You will consider theories such as its origins in frontier settler societies and this may allow comparative study of Canada. You will understand the relationship between violence and the gun control debate and the related issue of American ideological antipathy to state power. You will also look at the celebration of violence as a source of conflict resolution and examine the US government’s use of violence as an instrument of foreign policy. Possible topics include violence incidental to settler-native people contact or plantation slavery, the right to bear arms in the Constitution, the resort to force within US foreign policy including atomic weaponry, ‘state terrorism’, and the military-industrial complex.

Optional modules

American Radicalism

American radicals have been dismissed as impractical, wild-eyed, and subversive - even "un-American"- although many of their most visionary aims have been realized. This module will consider these paradoxes, beginning with the American Revolution in the late 18th century. 19th century subjects will include the abolitionists, early feminism, utopian socialism, anarchism, and farmer populism. 20thcentury subjects will include the Socialist Party in the 1910s, the Communist Party and the anti-Stalinist left in the 1930s, opponents of the Cold War, the 1960s New Left, Black Power militancy, and more recent radicalisms, including the gay liberation movement, women's liberation, and resistance to corporate globalisation.

The US and the World in the American Century: US Foreign Policy 1898-2008

This module examines how America's involvement abroad has changed over time from the war of 1898 to the 21st century. It analyses how traditional political and diplomatic issues, the link between foreign and domestic policies, and the role of foreign actors and private organisations - from religious groups to NGOs - have shaped America's actions abroad. 

It also explores the significance of race, gender, emotions, and religion in shaping US foreign policy.

Contemporary North American Fiction

This course will consider the contexts and development of contemporary fiction and the novel in the United States and Canada since the 1990s. It will do so by positioning literary works within their wider historical, political and cultural context. The course will examine the dominant ideas and concerns of a number of fictions and novels by writers from a range of ethno-cultural backgrounds. Issues for discussion will include the impact of race, ethnicity, gender, class, generation and sexuality on North American fiction and the novel; the bearing of technology on contemporary fiction; and various debates about the nature of the historical novel in the twenty-first century.

Presidential Rhetoric - Genres and Media

This module examines developments in American presidential rhetoric.

It begins with early presidents who set the generic conventions (Washington’s Farewell Address) or became models (Lincoln: Second Inaugural/Gettysburg Address) and established the President as an international leader (Woodrow Wilson).

But the core of the module is the impact of changing media from FDR’s radio “fireside chats” through JFK and Reagan’s use of television to Barack Obama’s and Donald Trump’s use of social media.

Much of the focus will be on speeches and press conferences and the interaction between the White House press corps and the President, his speech writing staff, and press secretary.

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. 

Classics and Archaeology

Protected modules

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

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

Optional modules

Studying Classical Scholarship

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


Optional modules

Curriculum and the Politics of Knowledge

The aim of this module is to subject the fundamental ideas of curriculum and knowledge to close scrutiny and in doing so explore important questions such as: 

  • What should be taught/learnt and why?
  • Why emphasise learning of some knowledges and not others, and who decides?  
  • What is the difference between curriculum and a national curriculum?
  • What factors influence curriculum change? 
  • How do learners experience the curriculum and how does assessment influence this? 

Exploring these questions will show how the curriculum is subject to a range of social, cultural and political influences and that the relationship between the curriculum and knowledge is complex.

Although the focus for the model is on school curricula in England, understanding of the issues will be enhanced by comparative analysis of curricula in other educational phases, national contexts and historical times.

Researching Education: Key Studies and Methods

The researching education module will provide you with an introduction to the principles and concepts which underpin research in education. We ask what research is (and what it isn't), where it is located, how it is used, by whom and to what ends.

We will build on the research components of other modules in which the key studies and theories in those areas were introduced. As well as learning how to access, read and interpret research, in this module, you will also examine the practices and skills associated with the conduct of research. 

You will be taught the core research skills of critique, argumentation and analysis. You will also be introduced to research methods covering the collection, manipulation, analysis and presentation of data about education in research. Using these skills, you will examine and reflect upon key studies of education and explore how knowledge of education - including its effects and its relationships to learning, culture, technology and society - is believed to arise from research.

Literacy, Learning and Education

This module considers the different ways in which literacy is conceptualised, how we learn to read and write and the significance of this to people's lives. It will include:

  • case studies from education policy in order to examine the ways in which these have shaped practice in the teaching and learning of literacy across international contexts
  • key academic studies of literacy which have contributed to our understanding of its role in wider contexts, such as in homes and communities
Education Beyond Borders

This module explores education theory and policy debates beyond the UK. It has three main strands. First, it critically examines major accounts regarding the purpose of education as they are found in international policy, activist and academic debates.

Second, it goes on to look at the increasingly transnational nature of education policymaking, examining prominent examples and major theories about how policies spread.

Third, it draws attention to critiques of these globalising trends by looking at case studies of resistance; examining arguments that education can be a public and private "bad" as well as "good"; and considering debates about whose knowledge counts in national and international education policy debates.

Learning in the Digital Future

This module explores how digital technologies are changing the way people learn – as well as how they play, make friends, qualify in a field, gain employment and participate in the world around them.

It does this by:

  • exploring both well-researched and cutting edge technologies, from multimedia through educational games and massive on line courses (MOOCs)
  • focusing on how people learn with technology by considering the ways that it supports different learning activities
  • addressing a variety of contexts for digital based learning including schools, universities, galleries and museums and the workplace
  • providing opportunities for hands on design experiences to prototype and develop digital learning environments
  • considering complex social aspects of technological change to explore how technology is affecting equity in educational outcomes and whether technological change in workplace and home is fundamentally changing what education should achieve
Mathematics and Science in Schools

In this module, you will take a critical stance in exploring the organisation of mathematics and science as subject disciplines and consequently how they are perceived as school subjects and in society more widely.

You will have opportunities to draw on a range of international studies and research to consider the role of mathematics and science as fundamental areas of knowledge and human endeavour and high-status subjects in the school curriculum, given their economic and social importance in the modern world.

Play, Creativity and the Arts in Education

This module introduces you to some of the key theories relating to the study of play and the ways in which socio-political factors influence how this is conceptualised and enacted within diverse educational contexts. It explores the role play has in developing imagination and possibility thinking and the position of these within education. It goes on to consider the ways in which play may shape understandings of ‘creativity’, through an exploration of different constructions of ‘creativity’, informed by their geographical, political, historical and sociological contexts.

You also explore how creativity is captured within educational contexts, nationally and internationally, formally through what are known as ‘the Arts’ subjects and informally, through dispositions, skills and attributes that may be applicable to any context. Tensions between neo-liberal performative agendas, and the position of play, creativity and the Arts within schools are also explored.

Languages and Education

This module allows you to explore the role that languages have to play within education, from different theoretical perspectives:

  • sociological – languages as a tool for power, oppression and social justice
  • psychological – how we learn our own and other languages
  • philosophical – what language actually is and what it does and doesn’t capture and express
  • historical – how, where, when and why languages have been formally taught in formal educational settings in the past and the present day


You can take multiple English modules but only one from each of the four groups:

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Beginnings of English
  • Studying Literature
  • Drama, Theatre, Performance

Protected modules - Language and Linguistics

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.
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.

Optional modules - Language and Linguistics

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 
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.

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.

Protected modules - Beginnings of English

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

Optional modules - Beginnings of English

Ice and Fire: Myths and Heroes of the North

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

Names and Identities

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

Protected modules - Studying Literature

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

Optional modules - Studying Literature

Victorian and Fin de Siècle Literature: 1830-1910

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

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.

Protected modules - Drama, Theatre, Performance

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.
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.

Optional modules - Drama, Theatre, Performance

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.

Film and Television Studies

Protected modules

Film and Television in Social and Cultural Context

During this year-long module you'll think about industries, audiences and surrounding debates from a social and cultural viewpoint. You'll learn about the way that social and cultural meaning is produced by film and television programmes and explore the social practices that surround the consumption of media, such as movie going and television viewing.

Interrogating Practice

Throughout this module, you'll build on your awareness of film and television as cultural products and discover new ways to do historical research into screen practice. You'll begin to see film and television as cultural artefacts that result from artistic and commercial collaboration and focus on the production, circulation and consumption of film and television around the world, spending around five hours a week in workshops.

Optional modules

Media Identities: Who We Are and How We Feel

This module develops critical modes of attention to the mediation of identity. On our screens and in our headphones, we shape and reshape our selves. Media do not reflect identities but play an active role in bringing them into being. This module takes up the question of 'identity politics', enhancing students' knowledge and understanding of key identity categories that have been advanced and problematized by media scholars, such as gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, national, regional and local belonging, age, ability and disability, and more. The module also interrogates the mediated forms these identities take, considering the politics of looking and visual culture, the politics of hearing and auditory culture, and the politics of affect, emotions and embodiment. The module encourages historical as well as contemporary perspectives.

Transnational Media

You'll learn about the concepts of ‘transnational’ and ‘postnational’ media, taking into account the movement and interactions of people, finance, technology and ideas around the world. The module addresses in particular global media interactions emerging from tensions between forces of cultural homogenisation and heterogenisation. You'll develop a foundation of theoretical knowledge to be applied to case studies in global film, television and other screen and print media.


Some Geography modules are only available if you have taken particular modules in year one.

Optional modules

Environmental Change
This module considers the mechanisms for, and evidence of, global environmental change during the timescale of the Quaternary period. You will evaluate the nature, causes and impacts of change in the context of the available evidence within a range of natural and human environments. Teaching includes lectures, seminars, practicals and computing. 
Urban Geography

This module introduces  you to urban geography, including the:

  • historical development of urban geography as a sub-discipline
  • key thematic areas of contemporary urban geography, including research in the social, economic and cultural and historical geographies of cities
  • theoretical underpinnings of approaches to urban geography
  • importance of cities in understanding social difference, cultural landscapes and economic development in the Global North and South
  • work of key figures from the sub-disciplines past and present
Cultural and Historical Geography

This module introduces you to cultural and historical geography including the:

  • development of cultural and historical geography as sub-disciplines
  • key thematic areas of contemporary cultural and historical geography, including landscape, identity, culture, power and knowledge 
  • theoretical underpinnings of cultural and historical geography 
  • links between cultural and historical geography and other fields of enquiry in the humanities and social sciences 
  • methods and sources used in cultural and historical geographical research, including archives, texts and images, and field study 
  • work of key figures from the sub-disciplines past and present
Patterns of Life
The module focuses on patterns in the distribution of organisms in space and time, and the theories proposed to explain these patterns. Themes you will explore include biodiversity patterns; island biogeography and nature conservation theory; ecological succession; biological invasions; extinction and mass extinctions plus more. 
Rural Environmental Geography

This module explores a range of rural environmental issues in the global South and modern Britain from the perspective of a range of different stakeholders. Particular attention is placed on how environmental use and management varies over time and space and in relation to socio-economic status, gender and community. Key topics examined are:

  • the growth of environmentalist and conservationist thinking
  • the evolution of development thinking
  • the impacts of colonial policy-making on rural environments in the global South
  • agrarian change, the green revolution and sustainable agriculture
  • different types of environmental knowledge, including indigenous and certified expertise
  • gender, environmental use and management
  • participatory appraisal approaches in the global South
  • the ways in which policy has shaped the British countryside since the post-World War II period
  • the rise of agri-environmentalism
  • rural sustainable development
  • rural resource conservation
  • the prospects for future landscape change in Britain
Economic Geography

This module will cover the following topics:

  • Changing economic geographies of the world economy during the 20th and 21st centuries 
  • Global cities, financial geographies and advanced producer services 
  • Alternative economies and labour resistence 
  • Economic geographies of the Global South
  • Economic geographies of forced labour and migration
  • Feminist economic geography


To take History modules in years two and three you need to take the Learning History module in year one.

Optional modules

The Rise of Modern China

This module covers the history of China from the 1840s, through to the establishment of the People's Republic in 1949. It looks at social, cultural, political and economic developments in this period from a variety of angles and approaches.

The module focuses 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.

Consumers & Citizens: Society & Culture in 18th Century England

This thematic module examines the social and cultural world of eighteenth century England in the period when it enters the modern world. Areas for consideration include:

  • the structure of society
  • constructions of gender and culture
  • family life and marriage
  • the urban world
  • consumerism and culture
  • the press and the reading public
  • crime, social protest & the rise of radical politics
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.

British Foreign Policy and the Origins of the World Wars, 1895-1939
This module provides a study of British foreign policy, from the last years of the Victorian Era to the German invasion of Poland in 1939. It focuses in particular on the policy of British governments, giving an historical analysis of the main developments in their relationship with the wider world, such as the making of the ententes, entry into the two world wars, appeasement and relations with other great powers. It also discusses the wider background factors which influenced British policy and touches on such diverse factors as Imperial defence, financial limitations and the influence of public opinion.
The Tokugawa World: 1600-1868
This module covers two-and-a-half centuries in Japan during the early modern era when the land was governed by a dynasty of Tokugawa shogun rulers. Often characterized as a period of relative stability, it was also a time of profound social, cultural and intellectual change. Lectures and seminars address some of the historical forces that would combine to transform society and lay the foundations for Japan’s subsequent encounters with modernity. Key themes include: the premises of Tokugawa rule, control mechanisms and relations with daimyo lords; the self-imposed policy of seclusion, trade and external relations; transport networks, class mobility and urbanization; the emergence of ‘the Floating World’ and the growth of popular culture; natural disasters, famine and economic crises; the responses of competing schools of thought drawing on Japanese, Chinese and European texts to address problems within Japanese society; the ‘Opening of Japan’ and the collapse of the Tokugawa World.
The Second World War and Social Change in Britain, 1939-1951: Went The Day Well?

This module surveys and analyses social change in Britain during and after the Second World War, up to the end of the Attlee’s Labour government in 1951. Key issues include:

  • changing gender roles and expectations
  • the experience and impact of rationing, bombing, conscription, voluntary service and direction by central government
  • historiographical debates about whether Britain was united against a common enemy
  • propaganda, mass communication and the management of information
  • planning for a post-war world, including the creation of the National Health Service and the reform of the education system
  • post-war reconstruction of cities
  • reactions to the Holocaust, atomic weaponry, returning service personnel, returning Prisoners of War
  • post-war austerity
  • representations of the period and the construction of memory
Heroes and Villains in the Middle Ages
The module compares and contrasts key historical, legendary and fictional figures to examine the development of western medieval values and ideologies such as monasticism, chivalry and kingship. It explores how individuals shaped ideal types and how they themselves strove to match medieval archetypes. The binary oppositions between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are explored through study of the ‘bad king’, and the creation of villains such as the Jew. You will spend four hours per week in lectures and seminars.
Cultural Histories of Urban Modernity, 1840-1900

The module introduces students to the cultural historiography on how urban modernity transformed everyday life in British and European cities (covering the period 1840-1900). In particular, it focuses on a range of new spaces, objects, images and discursive representations through which people tried to come to terms with rapid processes of social change. These provide a number of thematic approaches that will build into a composite picture of how experience was reshaped during this period. Topics may include:

  • ‘Haussmannisation’ processes across Europe and the contested terrain of the boulevard;
  • The development of mapping, surveying and statistics;
  • The bourgeois home as a site of identity, the meanings of interior design;
  • The department store and new contested sites of consumer culture;
  • Photography as a means of both identity-creation and detection;
  • The cultural meanings of pollution and waste;
  • Slum literature as a source of anxiety and control,
  • Museum culture, exhibitions, and the ordering of imperial knowledge.
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.
The stranger next door: Jews and Christians in the Middle Ages
The module explores the diversity of ways in which Jews and Christians interacted in middle Ages, seeking to offer alternative views to these of Jews as mere victims in a religious struggle or of economic envy. We will study the complex economic interconnections between the two groups, considering the new approaches to the role of Jewish moneylending and international trade and its connections with structures of power in both communities. The module will also investigate crucial ideas on anti- Semitism and anti-Judaism and will look into case studies of intolerance and conflict between Jews and Christians. Themes to study here are the massacres of Jews in the Rhineland during the First Crusade, the persecution of Jews during the Black Death and the construction of Blood libel and ritual murder accusations. The module will also examine the internal life of the Jewish communities of Western Europe looking at communal organisation and leadership. We will consider differences amongst Jewish communities in different locations of the medieval European landscape in their understanding of Jewish Law and tradition, as well as in their own patterns of interaction with the Christian political and religious authorities in different locations. At the same time, we will explore the common cultural and religious characteristics and the creation of extensive national and supranational Jewish networks. Finally, we will evaluate the historiography on the subject and the changing of perspectives on the history of the Jews in Europe, analysing the debates arisen amongst scholars with their own ideologies, methods and approaches.
Sex, Lies and Gossip? Women of Medieval England
Later medieval England was a patriarchal society. Women were considered of great importance because of their roles as mothers. However, medieval women were also considered to be more passionate and sexual than men; they were considered wile and guileful and it was thought that they spent much of their time gossiping. Using a wide range of translated medieval sources this course will pose questions about how English women overcame and operated within these stereotypical preconceptions. It will examine women in terms of progression through their life cycle from daughters under the protection of their fathers, to the work available to single women, to married women and the law – mothers under the ‘protection’ of their husbands – and then to widows and the increased opportunities available to these women. In doing so, it will examine a number of aspects of medieval women’s lives from female piety to women and work, medieval attitudes to women and sex and the gendered medieval understanding of power and authority. The course will allow students to recover much of the essence of medieval life. Were later medieval English women merely disadvantaged or were they actively downtrodden within a patriarchal society? Further, it considers the extent to which the foundations of modern gender inequalities were established in the middle ages.
A Tale of Seven Kingdoms: Anglo-Saxon and Viking-Age England from Bede to Alfred the Great

The discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard, the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found, has forced historians to re-evaluate the Anglo-Saxon period and ask new questions about this crucial formative stage of English history. 

The history of much of this period of conversions, conflicts and cultural renaissances is documented by Bede, a monk from Wearmouth-Jarrow in Northumbria (c. 673–735). In 793, the world described to us by Bede was thrown into chaos by a Viking raid on the island monastery of Lindisfarne, an event that some Anglo-Saxons interpreted in apocalyptic terms. The subsequent settlement of Vikings across Northern and Eastern England profoundly changed the social, cultural and economic structures of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.

This course covers the period from the beginning of the seventh century to the end of the ninth, ending with the reign of Alfred, the only English king to ever achieve the moniker 'the Great'. 

International History of the Middle East and North Africa 1918-1995

The module offers a knowledge of key developments in the Middle East and North Africa between the collapse of the Ottoman empire and the emergence of a politicised version of Islam. Students should familiarise themselves with the key historical debates surrounding, for example, the relative impact of regional and international factors and begin to work with some primary documentary material relating to political and diplomatic developments. They will also be encouraged to use primary source material from the region and to consider the role which historical events have played in framing current problems in the Middle East and North Africa.

Germany and Europe in the Short 20th Century, 1918-1990

The aim of the module is to provide knowledge about the history of Germany from the end of World War I to the reunification after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It will provide a perspective based on the role of Germany within the European (and broadly global) context from pariah to relevant actor of the European integration process. It will encompass the process of democratisation in the interwar period, the National Socialist dictatorship and the Holocaust and the post 1945 fragmentation until the reunification. It will also include a reflection on the two German dictatorships and the pre and post-unification politics of memory. 

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
The module is an introduction to the environmental history of the Western World over the past two centuries. It examines the history of environmental ideas and our changing attitudes to animals and nature, alongside the history of human impacts on the environment using the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain as case studies. Topics include species history, the rise of popular movements concerned with the environment, the role of the state in environmental protection, the history of pollution and pesticide use; the National Park movement and the Nature Reserve and the rise of outdoor leisure and recreation. The role of wildlife television and natural history film-making will also be examined.
From East India Company to West India Failure: The First British Empire

This module highlights key debates and themes in the history of the ‘first’ British Empire 1600-1807.

Topics include:

  • trade to the East and colonisation to the West

  • how the British government protected their empire and enforced a trading monopoly within it

  • the loss of the American colonies

  • the impact of abolition upon the valuable slave trade.

The module explores the key themes of ideology and identity; the concept of formal and informal empires and the causes and consequences of historical change.

The Victorians: Life, Thought and Culture

The module mixes intellectual, cultural and social history to produce an overview of cultural trends in Britain between c. 1830 and 1901. Key themes include:

  • The Victorians, An Overview
  • Religion: Sin and Redemption
  • Poverty
  • Cities
  • Sanitation
  • Sexuality
  • Consumerism and the Mass Market
  • Entertainment
  • Evolution
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
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.
Liberating Africa: Decolonisation, Development and the Cold War, 1919-1994

The purpose of this module is to examine current debates in the historiography about the end of the European empires in African and the emergence of a new political system of independent states. Topics which will feature particularly strongly are

  • the emergence of a variety of different forms of African nationalism
  • the ongoing debate about the uneven economic development of Africa during the last years of empire and the first years of independence
  • the controversies surrounding the numerous colonial wars which were fought during the liberation struggle
  • the significance of race including the question of European settlements and migration
  • the impact of the Cold War on the politics of decolonisation. Countries which will be examined in particular detail will include Egypt, Algeria, Ghana, the Congo, Kenya, Angola, Zimbabwe and South Africa.
History and Politics: A Problem or a Solution?

This unique and innovative module invites students to think for themselves about the relationship between two seemingly different disciplines, both theoretically and empirically, by encouraging them to reflect on broader conceptual and methodological issues and then apply these to their own understanding of the concept of ‘consensus’ as it is often applied to post-war British history. The module has two principal functions. First, it provides students with an understanding of various methodological approaches that have been applied to the study of political phenomena. In doing so, it will encourage them to develop a more sophisticated critical engagement with the arguments that they encounter. Second, it enhances students’ understanding of some of the concepts that are central to the study of history and politics.


  • Marxist analysis
  • Feminist analysis
  • Structure and agency
  • Post-Structuralism


  • Culture
  • Democracy
  • Ideology
  • Class

To encourage participants to engage critically with these themes and approaches, they will be required to apply them to a particular empirical setting, namely the political history of post-war Britain. They will do this individually but also collectively in the form of group work and in particular an assessed group presentation, one adapted from Fielding’s work as convenor of the Politics module Power and the State. 

'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 Orthdox 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.
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
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)


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.

History of Art

Protected modules

Art at the Tudor Courts, 1485-1603
This module will provide an introduction to visual art at the Tudor courts, from the accession of Henry VII in 1485 to the death of Elizabeth I in 1603. In doing so, it takes account of a wide range of art forms, from portraiture to pageantry, jewellery to the book. Key issues dealt with in lectures and seminars include contemporary theories of visuality and monarchy, the particular context of court culture, and the use of visual material in the service of self -fashioning. It considers the impact of major historical developments including the reformation and the advent of print. As such, the relationship of the arts to politics is a key theme. Through exploring the highly sophisticated uses of visual art at the Tudor courts, the course seeks to re-evaluate the common idea that English art at the time was isolationist and inferior to that of continental Europe.
Black Art in a White Context: Display, Critique and The Other

You will explore the works and practices of Black artists that have been displayed or produced in Europe and America from the nineteenth century to the present day. This includes how methods of display, tactics of critique and attitudes towards the 'Other' have defined and influenced how Black art is viewed and produced in the Western world.

You will begin by considering nineteenth-century attitudes towards African objects, before exploring the influences of ethnography and African material culture on artists working in the early- to mid-twentieth century, such as the Surrealists. You will then consider artworks produced in the Harlem Renaissance by painters like Aaron Douglas and photographers like James Van Der Zee.

You will then think about how artists like Jeff Donaldson and Faith Ringgold sought to recover African history, culture, and forms of memory in the context of the civil rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s, and how their work responded to the political and social pressures of this period.

Examining the practices of more recent artists like Lorna Simpson, Glenn Ligon, and Kara Walker, you will then explore how artists have critically re-presented history’s narratives in ‘the present’ before focusing on the curatorial works of Fred Wilson.

Finally, you will consider the rise of contemporary African art within European and American art markets, and the related economic and political shifts that have occurred since the colonial era. 

Optional modules

European Avant-Garde Film
This module examines avant-garde cinema in early 20th century Europe. It will begin by exploring what is meant by the term ‘avant-garde’, and consider the development of experimental filmmaking in the context of artistic movements such as Futurism, Cubism, Dada, Surrealism and Constructivism. You will focus on developments in Germany, France and the Soviet Union during the 1920s and 1930s, and consider key trends from abstract animation to cinema pur. The module will highlight some key concerns of non-mainstream cinema such as narrative, abstraction, reflexivity, spectatorship, movement, time and space. You will also examine the engagement of experimental film with modernity, considering both aesthetic and political strategies of the European avant-gardes.
Los Angeles Art and Architecture 1945-1980
This module introduces a number of artistic and architectural practices that emerged in Southern California after 1945. Exploring their cultural and historical context, we will consider the role of Los Angeles in the development of post-1945 American art and architecture, including mid-century modernism, Pop Art, Conceptual Art and Light & Space Art. Central to this module is the question of whether all art made in Los Angeles can be classified as “Los Angeles Art” – that is, the extent to which the art and architecture of the region necessarily reflected the geographical location, climate, and expansive urban layout of Los Angeles. To this end, we will consider the critical reception of art of this period, investigating, amongst other critical constructs, the notions of centre and periphery, regionalism and the cultural construction of the American west that shaped much writing on California during the period.

Institute of Enterprise and Innovation

Optional modules

Corporate Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management

The current business climate demands that companies, large or small, develop the capability to anticipate and respond to changes in their external environment. These changes may represent opportunities or threats for companies.

Entrepreneurship has been viewed as a means through which economic actors identify and pursue such opportunities. It is often assumed that large, established organisations are constrained by bureaucracy and are not as flexible and entrepreneurial as new small firms. There are, however, several examples of large companies (such as Sony, 3M and IBM), which have been able to create and sustain a competitive advantage by being consistently innovative and entrepreneurial.

This module explores entrepreneurship in larger companies. Corporate entrepreneurship is a term used to describe entrepreneurial behaviour inside established mid-sized and large organisations.

International Entrepreneurship

This module will develop your understanding of entrepreneurship in an international context through considering a range of key issues and topics. The module adopts a critical and broad-ranging social science approach to the subject and aims to provide you with the ability to analyse entrepreneurship from an international perspective within the context of a wide range of management, organisation studies and social science debates.

The module focuses on both the conceptual aspects of international entrepreneurship as well as practical elements in order to equip you with a valid grounding of both theory and practice.

International Media and Communications

Protected modules

Media Identities: Who We Are and How We Feel

This module develops critical modes of attention to the mediation of identity. On our screens and in our headphones, we shape and reshape our selves. Media do not reflect identities but play an active role in bringing them into being. This module takes up the question of 'identity politics', enhancing students' knowledge and understanding of key identity categories that have been advanced and problematized by media scholars, such as gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, national, regional and local belonging, age, ability and disability, and more. The module also interrogates the mediated forms these identities take, considering the politics of looking and visual culture, the politics of hearing and auditory culture, and the politics of affect, emotions and embodiment. The module encourages historical as well as contemporary perspectives.

Digital Communication and Media

Digital communication and media are significantly transforming the ways our societies operate. This module critically explores key issues behind this transformation. The module tracks the emergence of digital communications and associated media cultures, engages with issues and practices that differentiate digital communication from older forms of media and their associated forms of communication, and draws on a range of theories and methodologies. The module investigates theoretical and practical foundations of digital communication and media and their relationship to contemporary culture. Students also study the cultural, political, economic, technical and regulatory contexts from which digital communication and media have emerged and in which they continue to operate. To link conceptual frameworks to real-life experiences and situations, the module provides opportunities to explore the interactive forms and practices that result from the use of digital communication and media through a range of both individual and group activities.

Optional modules

Political Communication, Public Relations and Propaganda

This module explores the evolution of political communication from the turn of the 20th century and considers its links to the emergence of modern public relations. Starting with the influential work of Edward Bernys, widely considered as the father of modern public relations, we will consider how PR has developed and how its tactics and practices have increasingly been co-opted by modern politicians. The module examines the promotional strategies employed by political parties in campaign cycles and during non-election periods, strategies sometimes described as news management and 'spin'. This module will also look at the history of modern propaganda campaigns from their early origins during the First and Second World Wars, through to more contemporary examples.

Memory, Media and Visual Culture

Media, TV, film and visual culture play a central role in forming our knowledge of the past. There is no memory without its representation in language or images.  Using a range of case studies, this module explores how different forms of remembrance add weight to what they represent. Who remembers what, when, where, why and to what purpose? Why do screen and other media retell certain stories over and over again, and how is such remembrance linked to the erasure of other pasts? How can we explain an abundance of remembered soldiers from the First World War, while millions of victims of the ‘Spanish Flu’ have been publicly forgotten? What is the relationship between national and transnational memories, when set against memories of enslavement and its visualisations? How do images of disaster respond to audience expectations,  and what do they tell us about the ethics of viewing? What needs to be considered when knowledge about atrocities is mediated in photographs taken by perpetrators?  These, and other questions, will guide our approach to an interdisciplinary field of media, film and visual studies. The module will encourage students to reflect critically on regimes of visibility and narration, and on the distinct ways that memories of certain events are communicated via different genres, institutions, and artefacts.


Protected modules

Applied Statistics and Probability is a prerequisite to do the Optimisation module in year 3.

Introduction to Scientific Computation

This module introduces basic techniques in numerical methods and numerical analysis which can be used to generate approximate solutions to problems that may not be amenable to analysis. Specific topics include:

  • Implementing algorithms in Matlab
  • Discussion of errors (including rounding errors)
  • Iterative methods for nonlinear equations (simple iteration, bisection, Newton, convergence)
  • Gaussian elimination, matrix factorisation, and pivoting
  • Iterative methods for linear systems, matrix norms, convergence, Jacobi, Gauss-Siedel
  • Interpolation (Lagrange polynomials, orthogonal polynomials, splines)
  • Numerical differentiation & integration (Difference formulae, Richardson extrapolation, simple and composite quadrature rules)
  • Introduction to numerical ODEs (Euler and Runge-Kutta methods, consistency, stability) 
Applied Statistics and Probability

Cover introductory topics in statistics and probability that could be applied to data analysis in a broad range of subjects.

Topics include:

  • probability distributions
  • parameter estimation
  • confidence intervals
  • hypothesis testing
  • statistical modelling

Topics will be motivated by solving problems and case studies, with much emphasis given to simulating and analysing data using computer software to illustrate the methods.

Modern Languages and Cultures

Protected modules

To take Language modules in years two and three you need to take appropriate language modules in year one.

French 2

This module seeks to consolidate and build on the skills and knowledge and skills acquired in the year one language module. The various language skills required for competence in French language – reading comprehension, listening comprehension, creative writing, summary, review, translation and oral production – are developed through a variety of means and exercises.

French 2

This module seeks to consolidate and build on the achievements of the language module of year one. The various language skills required for competence in the French language - reading comprehension, listening comprehension, summary, translation and oral production - are developed through a variety of means and exercises.

German 2

This module will consolidate your proficiency in the four skill areas of German Language 1 (writing, reading, listening and speaking) and develop these further. The vehicles for instruction will be texts from newspapers and other sources, which will be used for discussion of translation issues and grammatical structures, linguistic analysis and textual comparison, oral presentation, and essay and CV writing.

The module will use texts that cover a broad range of general, journalistic and academic topics, as well as those that will help to prepare you for living, working and studying during your year abroad.

German 2 - Beginners

This module will build on the skills acquired in the first year intensive beginners’ language module. Your skills in writing, reading, listening and speaking will be consolidated and developed further. We will work with authentic texts and media (including journalistic articles, poems and short stories, videos, clips from TV programmes, news items) and focus on both academic and non-academic registers. The module will help you work towards your year abroad, and will use texts that develop your knowledge of Germany and Austria.

Russian 2

If you have completed post-A level Russian 1 in your first year, this module is available to you as an option. It develops your communicative skills in Russian, including oral fluency, as well as your abilities in translating from Russian to English and English to Russian. The module also includes a focus on writing in Russian, as well as study of more sophisticated grammar topics.

Russian 2 - Beginners

In this year-long module you consolidate and develop the knowledge of Russian gained in Russian 1 Beginners in year 1. The module focuses on practical application of language skills, including reading, writing, listening comprehension and oral communication, with some grammar topics taught in depth. The module involves practical classes, workshops and tutorials, and is taught by experienced teachers, including native speakers of Russian.

Spanish 2

This module builds on grammatical knowledge and communication skills developed in Spanish 1, and aims to prepare you to function effectively in a university or work situation in a Spanish-speaking country.

Written classes focus on developing essay writing skills in Spanish, using a range of texts from Spanish and Spanish American sources as stimuli. Special attention is given to developing complex sentence structures and rhetorical devices. Laboratory classes use a full range of contemporary audio-visual materials to develop aural comprehension and conversational ability in Spanish.

Spanish 2: Beginners
This module builds on knowledge and skills developed in Beginners’ Spanish. It aims to consolidate students' understanding of grammar, and their ability to comprehend both structures and meanings in a variety of written texts, journalistic and otherwise, in preparation for university or work on their Year Abroad. The written, oral and laboratory classes all combine revision of grammar with intensive exposure to a variety of types and registers of written and spoken Spanish, concentrating on  appropriate thematic areas. Students are encouraged to broaden their range of discursive strategies in both written and spoken Spanish and are trained in the comprehension of broadcast items on current affairs.

Optional modules

French Cinema: The New Wave

The module is designed to introduce you to a particular period of French cinema by offering a detailed study of the New Wave of the late 1950s and early 1960s, focusing in particular on the films of Godard, Truffaut, Resnais and Chabrol.

As the module will show, New Wave film-makers often employed a variety of new and challenging formal techniques in order to make films that reflected an emergent, modern, iconoclastic sensibility in post-war France. For these reasons, the module combines a contextual approach with introductory teaching in film analysis.

Reason and its Rivals from Kant to Freud

In this module we will examine a selection of approaches to modernity, beginning with Kant’s assertion of individual reason as the founding stone of enlightened social organisation. We will move on to examine how Marx and Engels, Nietzsche and Freud all interrogated Kant’s position in their work. Our discussions will touch on the nature of the individual subject, the role of culture, as well as competing ideas of the status of reality as based in social conditions, or the product of the will, drives, or ideology.

Media in Germany

This module explores the history of print and broadcasting in Germany from 1933 to the 1990s, and investigate the relationship between media content and culture. You will develop a foundation in the key concepts of media studies and gain insight into the connection between media and ideology. They will also have the opportunity to undertake research into primary sources from our extensive newspaper archive.

Nation Building and National Identities in the Lusophone World

If you are studying Portuguese, this modules gives you an introduction to some of the major texts of the Portuguese-speaking world. The commonality of language derives from the colonial experiences of the Portuguese Empire, which resonate through the cultures from the sixteenth century to the twentieth century.

We will examine the ways in which ideas of nationhood and national identity have been expressed and constructed through the cultures of the Lusophone world. The texts studied explore the ways in which cultural production (through the arts) is embedded in the formation of nationhood and ideas about national identity. Culture is therefore examined through and in its political and historical context. The module will address questions of nationalism and identity as expressed through language, race and place, as well as issues relating to globalisation.

Modern Spanish and Spanish American Literature and Film

This module explores a cultural period in the Hispanic world characterised by profound social change and the emergence of major world-figures of modern art (eg Pablo Picasso). It is structured around key literary and artistic movements from Spain and Spanish America from the early 19th century to the late 20th century, such as Romanticism, Realism, Symbolism, the Avant-garde, and Modernism.

We focus on reading literary and visual texts of the period in relation to the socio-economic and political context of Spain’s and Spanish America’s rapid, but hugely uneven, modernisation. Individual novels, plays, films, paintings or poems are used to exemplify and explore particular movements and historical moments.

You will develop skills in close analysis of complex texts, an understanding of some of the major directions of Spain and Spanish American literature in the 20th century, and the ability to relate texts studied to historico-cultural contexts.

New World(s): Contacts, Conquests and Conflict in Early Modern Hispanic History and Culture

This module provides an introduction to art and culture in early modern Spain, Portugal and their Empires. It looks at painting from the mid-fifteenth century, beginning in Portugal where voyages of ‘discovery’ were well under way, and ending in late eighteenth-century Mexico.

The module also balances historical study of key events and developments with readings of political writings, travelogues, literature, and visual culture so as to broaden your understanding both of the history of political and cultural relations across the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking worlds, and of the context of these in global geo-politics and the economy.


Protected modules

Approaches to Popular Music
The module aims to provide a ground in approaches to thinking and writing about popular music critically, with some theoretical and musicological background in musical, historical, and cultural issues. It will cover a variety of general approaches and perspectives, as well as exploring key issues in relation to featured songs, videos, and case studies. More broadly, it aims (i) to give students a sense of the richness and diversity of the theoretical approaches to popular music of the Anglophone world, while exploring common links and themes; (ii) to ask fundamental questions about the social location of popular musics and their role in forming and responding to social practices; and (iii) to explore, where appropriate, connections with other cultural traditions and artistic media.
The Hollywood Musical

This module surveys the development of the Hollywood musical from the invention of “talkies”to the present day.

Through a series of case study films ranging from The Jazz Singer (1927) to The Greatest Showman (2017), it considers the specific issues associated with staging a musical in screen.

Topics will include:

  • theatricality and “backstage narratives”
  • star casting
  • dance on screen
  • the role of animation in developing the form.


Protected modules

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. 

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

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.

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
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).
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. 

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.

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? 

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.

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
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.

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
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.

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.


Protected modules

Democracy and its Critics

Democracy is a contested concept and organising principle of politics both ancient and modern. Its appeal seems to be universal, yet it has always had its critics. 

This module investigates the nature of democratic principles, the arguments of democracy's opponents and the claims of those who say that contemporary life is inadequately democratised. A particular feature of the module is the use of primary sources to investigate historic and contemporary debates.  

International Politics in the 20th Century

The module examines issues and themes in 20th-century international politics, from the eclipse of the 19th-century European diplomatic order to the collapse of the global bipolar system at end of the Cold War.

The course is taught from the disciplinary standpoint of international relations rather than that of international history. Therefore, various theoretical perspectives are brought to bear on each of these themes. For instance, we discuss:

  • the broad differences between the disciplines of international relations and international history in respect of explaining and understanding the international politics of the 20th century
  • questions of causality in international relations with reference to the onset of the Cold War
  • questions about political psychology with respect to the Cuban missile crisis
  • questions about prediction and the purposes of theory in relation to the end of the Cold War

Optional module

School of Politics and International Relations will provide a list of available optional modules during the module selection process for year two.


Protected modules

Conceptual and Historical Issues in Psychology

You’ll learn about the scientific, historical, and philosophical underpinnings of psychology as a discipline, which will demonstrate the inherent variability and diversity in the theoretical approaches to psychology.

By the end of the module, you will have a good knowledge and critical understanding of the influences of history on psychological theories.

There will be two hours of lectures per week.

Social and Development Psychology

Examine theories and experimental studies of social processes and human development.

Topics relating to social processes will include:

  • social cognition and social thinking
  • conformity and obedience
  • intergroup behaviour
  • theories of attraction and relationships
  • prosocial behaviour and intrinsic motivation
  • self-determination

Human development topics are also explored in depth such as the:

  • development of phonology
  • importance of social referencing in early language acquisition
  • atypical socio-cognitive development in people with autism

You will have four hours of lectures weekly.

Optional modules

Cognitive Psychology

This module will examine:

  • Perception, with particular emphasis on vision, but also hearing, taste, touch and smell;
  • The Psychology of Language, including linguistic theory, speech, parsing, word meaning, and language production
  • The Psychology of Reading, including word recognition, theories of eye-movement control, and reading multi-media displays
  • Human Memory, covering the basics of encoding, storage and retrieval with particular reference to real-world applications of memory research
  • Thinking and Problem Solving, including heuristics, biases, evolutionary perspectives on human rationality, and group decision making
Personality and Individual Differences

You will explore psychological explanations of personality and individual differences. In particular, the major personality theories are considered in detail and the application of these theories to areas such as abnormal psychology, criminal behaviour, and health are discussed. IQ is also covered and the evolutionary bases of traits. Complementary and alternatives to trait approaches are discussed.

You will have two hours of lectures per week.

Neuroscience and Behaviour

This module will cover issues in neuroscience and behaviour that are particularly relevant to understanding the biological bases of psychological functions.

Among the topics to be covered are psychopharmacology, psychobiological explanations of mental disorders, dementia, sexual development and behaviour, and methods of studying neuropsychological processes.

You will also examine the effects of brain damage on mental functioning including amnesias, agnosias, and aphasias, among other topics.

You will have four hours per week of lectures for this module.


Protected modules

Youth Crime and Justice

This module explores the phenomena of youth, crime and justice. Analysis of official statistics and self-report survey data will be placed within a broader understanding of the social construction of youth, drawing on political, media and other sources. The module will critically assess explanations of youth crime and desistance, including major theoretical explanations and developmental/life course perspectives.

The second half of the module considers social responses to youth crime and the role of the youth justice system in particular. The various discourses which inform youth justice will be compared and the ways in which they have been applied in different jurisdictions will be assessed. Finally, the module will consider the recent focus on early intervention, emerging arguments for minimum intervention and the potential for youth justice reform.

Optional modules

Ethnicity, 'Race' and Everyday Life

This module examines the intersection of three key concepts in contemporary sociology - ethnicity 'race' and everyday life. It particularly considers:

  • existing sociological theories of everyday life concerning its political relevance and historical specificity as well as methodological issues as to how 'the everyday' has been researched
  • sociological models of ethnicity and 'race', the construction of ethnic boundaries and identities, the relationship between 'culture' and 'ethnicity', and its relevance in the contemporary world
  • a series of empirical case studies illustrating the experience and complexities of ethnic and racial identities in the realm of everyday life
Social Inequalities: Causes, Patterns and Change

The module provides an overview of socio-economic inequalities within and between societies, exploring major theoretical and practical issues regarding data analysis and policy evaluation. Key topics to be covered include:

  • Theoretical overview of social divisions and inequalities
  • Exploring patterns and measuring inequalities
  • The impact of social inequalities on individuals and society as a whole
  • Major social divisions: class, gender and race
  • Other social divisions and intersectionalities
  • Space and inequalities: local, national and global perspectives
  • The social construction and reproduction of inequalities: social control and the role of institutions
  • How policy makes and unmakes inequalities
  • Resistance, alternatives and social change

All these aspects are discussed on the basis of a range of case studies, both national and international, historical and based on current affairs. These are also used to examine different approaches to evidence analysis and data presentation, thus supporting the development of the specific skills necessary to undertake the course assessment. 

Crime Stories: Crime, Justice and the Media

What is the relationship between crime, justice and the media? Does media depiction simply reflect public interests and attitudes, or help to shape them? Does media representation of 'crime', 'criminals' and criminal justice impact penal and social policies?

These are some of the questions we will debate through drawing on theory, research and illustrative media examples.

Chinese Society and Culture: Beyond the Headlines

This module focuses on sociological theories of society and culture, with reference to China since 1978, examining social structures and the impact of economic reforms. Topics covered include gender, family and social welfare, inequalities and social capital, education, popular culture, and crime, deviance and justice.

Controversy: Experts, Post-Truth and Fake News

This module will examine the role of experts and expertise in modern society. In many cases conflicting information circulates in the media and people do not know who to trust and what to believe. Should we listen to ‘the science’? We are allegedly living in a post-truth society where participants in polarized debates go as far as accusing each other of presenting fake news. Experts are supposed to provide neutral advice but often get drawn into the fray, too.

We will examine selected case studies that allow us to better understand the role of experts in society. Case studies may include climate change; Brexit; legal and illegal drugs; and vacation.

#Sociology: Identity, Self and Other in a Digital Age

We now live in a digital age where new technology, online platforms, applications and wearable devices are an indispensable and, in some ways, an inescapable part of our lives. New digital technologies enable us to track our daily lives and routines, to filter our realities, to present different versions of ourselves, to form attachments and intimacies, engage in politics and protest. From the selfie culture, through Tinder love and Twitter revolutions, new digital technologies and social media shape not only our perceptions of Self but also our relations with others.

This module introduces you to the key debates in digital sociology, paying particular attention to the rise of new social media and how this affects identity, belonging, intimacy and civic participation. The main focus of this module is a critical engagement with how Web 2.0 has affected perceptions of self and social relations, exploring why some people engage with new technology whilst others actively resist it.

Theology and Religious Studies

Optional modules

The Philosophy of Religion
In this module you’ll explore significant problems in the philosophy of religion, such as the credibility of the existence of God, the relation between religion and science, the relation between religion and morality, the problem of evil, and the possibility of an after-life. There will also be discussion of significant themes, such as the nature of being, of faith, of religious experience, of religious language, and of religious love.  This module is taught through four hours of lecture and an hour-long seminar weekly.
The Theology of Paul

Explore the theology of Paul as found in the seven letters that are generally considered to be written by him (Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, Philemon).

The major themes explored are:

  • law
  • reconciliation
  • justification
  • grace
  • faith
  • sacrifice
  • word of God
  • Christology
  • Israel
  • the church
  • ethics
  • the ‘last things’.
Virtue Ethics and Literature
Virtue ethics is an ancient form of moral practice, which has also come back into prominence in recent years. It believes that ethics belongs to the lived experience of a tradition and is therefore narrative in character, offering itself naturally to literary embodiment. We shall study key ancient Greek texts, such as Aristotle's Nichomachaen Ethics and Theophrastus' work on character, as well as Cicero, Aquinas and contemporary reconsturals of the virtue tradition by Alasdair MacIntyre and Stanley Hauerwas. Virtue ethics will then be analysed in literary texts, such as Homer's Iliad, the medieval poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Jane Austen's Mansfield Park and Graham Green's Brighton Rock. Students will also do a short presentation, applying virtue ethics to a particular moral problem or specific form of activity, e.g nursing, war, or teaching.
Intermediate Greek: 1

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

Islamic Theology and Philosophy
This module examines how Muslims have addressed fundamental theological and philosophical questions relating to their faith. These questions concern the foundations of religious knowledge and authority, God's unity and attributes, God's relationship to the world, divine determinism and human freedom, prophecy, and eschatology. Key figures will include the rationalist Mu'tazili and Ash'ari theologians, the philosophers Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and Ibn Rushd (Averroes), and the influential medieval intellectuals al-Ghazali, Ibn al-'Arabi, and Ibn Taymiyya. Selections from primary sources will be read in translation, and special attention will be given to the integration of late antique philosophical traditions into Islamic theology.
Jewish Theology and Philosophy: From Philo to Levinas

The module provides an overview of the most important theological and philosophical ideas, theories and arguments that Jewish thought developed from the Hellenistic period of Philo of Alexandria to the postmodern times of Emmanuel Levinas. The method of instruction will combine historical and speculative approaches, using the perspective of the 'history of ideas'. 

Identity, Discipleship and Community in Early Christianity
Using a base of five early church documents reflecting a mix of a. large documents/small documents; b. documents with known authors/anonymous or pseudonymous texts; c. canonical/noncanonical texts; and d. formal/informal texts to see the varying patterns that emerged in early churches with regard to a. their identity as followers of Jesus, b. their understanding of the nature of discipleship, and c. their understanding of themselves as a specific community within history. The documents forming the base are: a. Paul, I Thessalonians; b. The Didache; c. The Gospel according to Mark; d. the text known as I Clement; and e. the text known as I Peter.
Women and Warfare in the Hebrew Bible

Explore a range of historical, ethical, and theological issues relating to women and warfare in the Hebrew Bible and ancient Israel.

You'll start by looking at the Hebrew Bible's portrayals of women and the feminine, including:

  • goddesses
  • biblical queens
  • the role of women in the community.

Next, you'll move on to warfare, considering, for example:

  • the relationship between military victory and righteousness in the Bible
  • the theological implications of YHWH being a god who fights in battle
  • how Judah's greatest ever military defeat became the defining point of its theology."
Abraham's Children: Religion, Culture and Identity
This module seeks to facilitate reflection on religion, identity, and culture within and between Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and modern secularity. A lecture sequence will introduce leading theories of religion and approaches to the ‘other’ from the eighteenth century to today, examine how these theories and approaches developed in response to cultural conflicts and historical events, and introduce some of the qualitative and quantitative research methods used to study religion and secularity today. This will enable students to (1) recognise the legacy of classic theories of religion in contemporary theoretical debates across the humanities, (2) analyse and assess the usefulness of the various theories and approaches for engaging traditions and texts, and (3) plan and conduct their own empirical research projects. The theoretical awareness developed through the lecture series will be put to use in a seminar series, which will be devoted to review of selected texts from V81001 Great Religious Texts I and V81002 Great Religious Texts II through group discussions. The methodological awareness developed through the lecture series will be put to use in a series of methodology workshops. Students will also give two individual 10 minute presentations that are formative and unassessed, one focused on theory and one on method. Students will be provided with guidance on how to give presentations and on where to look for resources to research their presentations. Students will also engage in evaluating their own and others' presentations.
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.

The balance between core and optional modules is maintained in the third year. Module choice is again extensive across the 18 subject areas. 

You'll develop advanced interdisciplinary skills and have the option to create original academic research through a dissertation.

You will also collaborate with Natural Sciences students on projects involving issues such as food security or artificial intelligence.

Liberal Arts

Core modules

The Body: Thinking and Feeling
  • How do we understand the human body?
  • How has the body been represented across time and cultures?
  • How do the ways we think about our bodies shape our everyday lives?

These are some of the many questions we ask in this module.

Explore perspectives on thinking and feeling from a range of disciplines - philosophy, art, literature, sociology and more.

Reflect critically and creatively on what it means to be human in our contemporary world. 

Synoptic Module

You will be part of a group project, run collaboratively with the Natural Sciences programme.

The projects tackled will cover diverse issues such as climate change, health, environment, artificial intelligence, bio-engineering, water management or food security.

None of these issues can be tackled through one perspective: an interdisciplinary agenda is required. You will work with your Natural Sciences colleagues to:

  • share ideas
  • build new frameworks
  • communicate solutions across society
  • demonstrate the importance of interdisciplinary thinking and working.


Optional modules


In your third year you have the option to develop original academic research and produce a final dissertation.

Your liberal arts tutor will work with you to help devise your proposal so that it supports your passions and career ambitions.

Subject modules

As with previous years timetable restrictions mean not all combinations of modules are available. We'll work with you to get the best choices possible as your interests develop.

American and Canadian Studies

Protected modules

Ethnic and New Immigrant Writing

This module will consider the development of ‘ethnic’ and new immigrant literature in the United States from the late 19th century to the contemporary era.  You will examine a range of texts from life-writing to short fiction and the novel by writers from a range of ethno-cultural backgrounds, including Irish, Jewish, Caribbean and Asian American. Issues for discussion will include the claiming of the United States by new immigrant and ‘ethnic’ writers; race and ethnicity; gender, class and sexuality; labour and economic status; the uses and re-writing of American history and ‘master narratives’; the impact of US regionalism; how writers engage with the American canon; multiculturalism and the ‘culture wars’; and the growth of ‘ethnic’ American writing and Ethnic Studies as academic fields.

The Special Relationship, Spit and Slavery- Britain and the US 1776-1877

This module encourages students to reassess the Anglo-American relationship during an era of major upheaval in both nations (1776-1877).

Taking students from the American Revolution through to the end of the Reconstruction era the module will challenge learners to examine how events and ideas forced Britons and Americans to reconceptualize their relationship.

Through the module, students will engage with concepts crucial in the formation of the modern world including race, ethnicity, liberty, republicanism, class, gender, manners and reform.

Classics and Archaeology

Protected modules

Religion and the Romans

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

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

  • the definition of "religion" and comparative studies
  • early Rome and the origins of religion
  • the calendar
  • temples and other religious buildings
  • priesthoods and politics
  • sacrifice
  • the deification of the emperor
  • foreign cults in Rome
  • the supposed "decline of religion"
  • early Christianity
The Silk Road: Cultural Interactions and Perceptions

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

Optional modules

Animals in the Ancient World

Awaiting final description of module content

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

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

The module takes an interdisciplinary approach, combining archaeological and historical evidence – students will be expected to familiarise themselves with a wide range of types of evidence. We will examine the political framework of the later-Roman Empire, the textual and archaeological evidence for Britain’s society and economy, the barbarian peoples who threatened and interacted with it, and the question of how it ended up leaving the Roman Empire. It will encourage students to consider the integration of different types of source material and to think about Britain’s place in the wider world in a broader context.


Optional modules

New Modes and Sites for Learning

This module is focused on the nature of our learning lives and how they interact with the formal and informal places and spaces we inhabit as learners. It (re)visits theories such as experiential learning, place-based education, storythread, making, as well as critiques of these and how they may be enacted in practice.

Sites and modes examined in the module include outside learning and learning in museums, galleries and performances. You will investigate how these are usually incorporated into the curriculum - through the excursion, homework and the field trip - and think about how this might be different and/or better.

During the module, you will have the opportunity to do some primary research in sites across the city of Nottingham, critically exploring how they are represented as places for learning. This includes considering ideas about cultural capital, access and equity which may shape the ways in which sites are used by teachers and learners.

You will have the opportunity to draw on your learning from the module, and from your own experiences of formal and informal learning contexts, to explore the potential of new sites and modes in education.

Big Ideas in Education: the Datafication of Education

In an age of 'big data' and data analytics, this module examines the ways in which the collection and analysis of education (and related) data has framed education policy and practice and how this might develop in the future.

The module examines this trend within the broader sweep of the 'datafication' of capitalist, neoliberal societies. Such data is generated at international, national and organisational levels and education professionals and stakeholders - irrespective of their role - need to develop the necessary quantitative literacy to read and critique these applications and trends.

This module will investigate some of the core principles of sampling, measurement and statistical variation. Importantly, these issues will be explored in the context of some of the most common forms of quantitative/quantifiable data use in contemporary education settings. The module will also consider emerging innovations in data analytics that some enthusiasts predict might transform learning in the coming years.

Alternative Educations

This module introduces you to educational practices that occur outside of traditional, mainstream institutional settings such as schools or universities in order to question the role of education in society.

Lectures and seminar activities will focus on a range of alternative and non-traditional educational practices in different international contexts including home schooling, Saturday Schools, unregistered schools, segregated schools and re-education camps.

You will explore the philosophical and ideological perspectives underpinning alternative approaches to education. We will consider the extent to which decisions about educational choice are made by children, individuals, families, the state or society and discuss whether alternative educations challenge or reproduce the outcomes of more traditional educational pathways.

Inclusive Education

This module will encourage you to consider the notion of inclusion in mainstream education as a philosophically, ideologically, politically and socially constructed ideal. Using debates and dilemma analysis you will lead discussions that focus on some of the key issues and questions raised about inclusive education.

The module will look at inclusion from the perspectives of students, parents, teachers and others involved in the school community and evaluate what the policy and practice means for them.

The concept of Universal Design for Learning will be introduced as an approach that assumes the needs of all students can be met through a well-planned and developed system. It acknowledges the idea that it is the curriculum and the environment that can be disabling or exclusionary for some students and provides a framework for curricula that seeks to change the approach to learning rather than the individuals.

Place, Mobility and Space in Education

The module explores how relationships to places, built spaces, and geographical movements between places structure educational experience. Fundamental questions about how education systems are geographically organised, what is meant by terms such as 'local', and how educational buildings are and have been designed, form the basis of the module content.

The module will draw on your prior study of issues of social justice, power and marginalisation, and will explore how educational inequalities can be understood in spatial terms. You will engage critically with contemporary theory from social and human geography, as well as with current educational research, to develop awareness of how your own and others' experiences of education are located within particular geographies.

The module will include analysis of education policy as well as case studies and research findings from a variety of international contexts.


You can take multiple English modules but only one from each of the four groups:

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Beginnings of English
  • Studying Literature
  • Drama, Theatre, Performance

Protected modules - Language and Linguistics

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.

Optional modules - Language and Linguistics

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.

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.

Protected modules - Beginnings of English

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).

Optional modules - Beginnings of English

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.

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.

Protected modules - Studying Literature

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.

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.

Optional modules - Studying Literature

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.

Single-Author Study

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

The Gothic

This module will provide you with a knowledge and understanding of the Gothic as a genre, introducing you to a range of texts from the late eighteenth-century to the present day. The term ‘texts’ is used here in its most expansive sense and you will encounter works in a variety of formats, including poetry, prose, film and a combination of text and image as presented in the illuminated works of William Blake and the contemporary graphic novel. Emphasis will be placed not only on understanding the cultural contexts out of which the texts under investigation emerged, but also on tracing lines of intellectual inheritance and cultural legacies across periods. This two-pronged approach will in turn lead to an appreciation of the way in which Gothic aesthetics, culture and community intersect in a variety of complex and meaningful ways.

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.

One and Unequal: World Literatures in English

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

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. 

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.

Protected modules - Drama, Theatre, Performance

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. 

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.

Optional modules - Drama, Theatre, Performance

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.

Film and Television Studies

Protected modules

Screen Encounters: Audiences and Engagement

Through four hours a week studying in workshops and seminars, you'll gain an in-depth understanding of film and television audiences and why they watch media, taking into account the social, political and historical factors that shape audience experiences. The module also reconceptualises media users by exploring interactive media experiences such as videogames and smartphone apps. You'll also explore the role of marketing systems used to engage specific audiences and how this knowledge is applied in industry market research.

Film and Television Genres

You'll be introduced to the key concepts and theoretical work on specific film genres. Each year, the module investigates a particular genre or cycle such as action cinema, television drama, low-budget film productions and TV movies, and more. Combined with what you have learnt on previous modules, you will look at genre in the context of production and consumption, spending around five hours a week in workshops and seminars.

Optional modules

Global Cinema

This module investigates critical concepts and theoretical work on cinema in global context, introducing students to critical and theoretical models surrounding global production, film texts, distribution and reception. Addressing ways films have been made and seen worldwide, the module locates aspects of global cinema within historical contexts of production and consumption. The module also seeks to untangle such overlapping categories as global cinema, transnational cinema and world cinema. Looking at a range of historical and contemporary cases, students will interrogate a body of films that both serve and challenge the interests of dominant institutions in their producing cultures.


Optional modules

Some Geography modules are only available in year three if you have taken particular modules in previous years.

Geographies of Money and Finance

This module explores the economic geographies of money and of contemporary processes of financialisation. Competing theories of money, and the changing landscapes of finance and the financial services industry are explored at a variety of spatial scales.

Spaces examined include the global financial system, the UK retail financial market, the City of London and the emergence of local currency systems. More specifically, the following core topics are covered:

  • Financial crisis
  • The history and theory of money
  • Financial services and financial intermediation
  • Globalisation and the international financial system
  • The City of London as international financial centre
  • Landscapes of retail financial services
  • Alternative and imagined landscapes of money
The Cultural Geography of English Landscape

The module addresses issues of landscape and culture in England from the 18th century to the present day. Key themes throughout include landscape and national identity and relations of city and country.

The module utilises sources including archives, literature, paintings, prints, poetry, maps, film and photography.

The first semester focuses on issues of landscape and Englishness since 1880. Topics covered include tradition and modernism, competing notions of heritage, the cultural politics of land, and questions of citizenship and the body. The second semester focuses on landscapes of Georgian England. Topics covered include parks and gardens; colonial landscapes; agriculture; industry and science; towns; and transport and travel.

Throughout the module the focus on landscape allows the exploration of key areas of cultural history. A one-day field trip to Derwent Valley is arranged, full costs will be provided nearer the time of the trip.

Geographies of Fashion and Food

This module covers a range of issues relating to the geographies of fashion and food. Topics covered include:

  • Commodity chains and global networks of supply
  • Governing and regulating food and fashion
  • Commodity biographies and origins
  • Slow and fast fashion and food
  • Theorising value and quality
  • Transforming and industrialising food
  • City fashionscapes and foodscapes
  • Doing food and fashion 'differently', spatially and temporally
  • Contentious commodities
Geological Hazards and Resources

A geohazard is a natural process or phenomenon that has the potential to adversely affect humanity by endangering life or property. A geo resource is a substance or commodity that can be extracted from the subsurface for use by humanity. This module will spend one semester focussing on these two important issues for Environment and Society.

Geographies of Violence

This module will cover:

  • political, historical, and cultural geographies of war 
  • spaces of internal violence and non-violence relating to colonialism, anti-colonialism, religious nationalism, and decolonisation/partition 
  • spaces of terrorism and the war against terror 
  • case studies from a variety of national and international contexts


To take History modules in year three you need to take the Learning History module in year one.

Optional modules

Culture, Society and Politics in 20th Century Russia

This module explores twentieth-century Russian history through the analysis of:

  • film
  • literature
  • visual art
  • architecture
  • first-person testimonies (diaries, letters, memoirs, etc.)
  • political texts
  • scholarly commentaries.

Themes include:

  • the role of culture in late imperial, Soviet and post-Soviet Russia
  • the meanings and forms of ‘culture’ in the past
  • the significance of ideas and ideology in political and social change
  • the nature of power, authority and legitimacy, and of dissidence, opposition and resistance
  • the construction of social identities
  • the political and social roles of history and collective memory
  • the social structures of space and place.

Module convener: Dr Nick Baron

Victorians in Italy: Travelling South in the Nineteenth Century

This module examines the history of travel to and within Italy in accounts written by British travellers in the period c.1780-c.1914, especially these key topics:

  • methodologies necessary for analysing travel writing as historical evidence
  • the nature of the 'Grand Tour', including the experiences of women travellers
  • collecting and the development of notions of taste
  • the changing nature of travel writing in the nineteenth century, including the Romanticisation of travel
  • the appearance of middle class travellers as 'tourists'
  • the 'guide book', a new genre of writing
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
Samurai Revolution: Reinventing Japan, 1853–78

This module surveys the dramatic cultural encounter in the nineteenth century as the world of the samurai was confronted by Western expansion and the Age of Steam. It explores the forces at work in Japan’s rapid transformation from an ‘ancien régime’ under the rule of the Shogun into a ‘modern’ imperial power. Original documents examined in class draw on the growing range of Japanese primary sources available in English translation, together with the extensive works of Victorian diplomats, newspaper correspondents and other foreign residents in the treaty ports. You will have four hours of lectures and seminars each week for this module.

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?
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;
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
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.
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. 

'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 Orthdox 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.
The Rise (and Demise?) of Capitalism

This module examines the development of capitalism from the 15th to the 21st century. It uses England/Britain as its case study, looking at both imperial developments and England’s/Britain’s wider role in world trade.

In particular, this module charts the varying manifestations of capitalism (commercial; industrial; financial; consumer) and how and why the character of capitalism has changed over time.

It also looks at who benefitted/benefits and who lost/loses under each form of capitalism and how it worked/works in practice

Italy at War, 1935-45

Spending four hours per week in seminars and tutorials, you will be given a framework to understand the experience of Italians (and to a lesser degree their enemies, allies, and collaborators) during the military conflicts in the long decade 1935-45, as well as knowledge of the background factors that shaped these experiences. As source material you will have the chance to explore diplomatic correspondence, personal memoirs, newspapers and magazines, newsreels, as well as examining the representation of the war in literature and cinema. You will have four hours of seminars each week for this module.

Napoleonic Europe and its Aftermath, 1799-1848

Napoleon broadened and reshaped the dynamics of the French Revolution, war and state reform. He was also a symbol of a n