Triangle Skip to content
Exit nav

Course overview

Today's world is complex.

To solve its problems we need a range of knowledge and skills.

Liberal Arts at Nottingham allows you to explore across a wide range of subjects and build your own degree programme.

  • Extensive choice - develop existing interests or explore new topics
  • Connect different areas to create unique solutions

The Liberal Arts way of studying will help you discover your passions and build the skills needed to tackle the major issues we face today.

Subject choices

Choose modules from 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 programme that meets your needs and interests.

Core modules

Our core modules help to knit your different subjects together. You'll work closely with other Liberal Arts students to look at some of the key issues facing society today. You'll combine your knowledge, skills and approaches to tackle problems and develop solutions.


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 you'll be able to join in with your subject-specific societies

Your department

Find out more about the unique Liberal Arts experience:

Why choose this course?

  • Over 400 modules available to choose from
  • 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

Entry requirements

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

UK entry requirements
A level AAA
Required subjects

There are no specific subjects required for Liberal Arts BA except:

  • to select English modules you need ‘A’ or ‘A*’ in A-Level English, or equivalent
  • to select Maths modules you need ‘A’ or ‘A*’ in A-Level Maths, or equivalent
  • to select Music modules you need ‘B’ 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

We are preparing your tutorials, laboratory classes, workshops and seminars so that you can study and discuss your subjects with your tutors and fellow students in stimulating and enjoyable ways. While we will keep some elements of online course delivery, particularly while Covid-19 restrictions remain in place or where this enhances course delivery, teaching is being planned to take place in-person wherever possible. This will be subject to government guidance remaining unchanged.

We will use the best of digital technologies to support both your in-person and online teaching. We will provide live, interactive online sessions, alongside pre-recorded teaching materials so that you can work through them at your own pace. While the mix of in-person and digital teaching will vary by course, we aim to increase the proportion of in-person teaching in the spring term.

With such a diverse range of modules across all subjects you'll encounter a wide variety of teaching methods.

You'll be part of large lectures, small seminars and individual tutorials - some will be in person and some will be online.

You'll work in groups on projects and presentations but also be responsible for doing a large amount of individual study.

The teaching on the core modules focusses on developing skills that allows you to apply them to your own subject areas.

Teaching quality

We work hard on our teaching to ensure you benefit from the unique Liberal Arts mix. Staff have wide experience of interdisciplinary programmes across the arts, humanities and social sciences and use this to support your specific needs.

If you have worries about your work we won't wait for them to become problems. You'll have a personal tutor who will review your academic progress and help find solutions to any issues.

"As a personal tutor I'm here to support you. Whether exploring your interests and aspirations to find module options that work for you, helping you to make the most of university life, or thinking through options for your future I'll help you get the most out of your degree."

Dr Kim Lockwood, Teaching Associate, Liberal Arts

Teaching methods

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

How you will be assessed

All assessments in the 2021/22 academic year will be delivered online unless there is a professional accreditation requirement or a specific need for on-campus delivery and in-person invigilation.

Your future career won't be essays and exams! Our core modules 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

For your subject specific modules a combination of essays and exams are the norm for most modules. Weekly reading summaries, presentations and online quizzes and tests may also be used by individual lecturers.

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. This can be in-person and online.

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 from the relevant Schools and Departments many of whom are internationally recognised in their fields.

Study abroad

Nottingham's a global university so we support a range of opportunities for you to study abroad.

In the past five years over 1,500 of our students have benefitted from living and learning in a different culture. And boosted their CVs for prospective employers.

You've a range of options - from short summer schools, a single semester to a whole year abroad.

We've a dedicated team to help you with the practicalities and many opportunities mean you pay reduced fees.

If you need support for your language skills before you go our Language Centre will have resources to help.

Explore your study abroad opportunities

Year in industry

The university runs an optional year long placement scheme. It's is a great way to explore an area of career interest, build professional skills and ease the transition into working life.

Successful completion of your placement will result in ‘with a Placement Year' being added to the end of your degree title.


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:

Introducing Liberal Arts at Nottingham

Find out why the Liberal Arts way may be right for you.


Liberal Arts students come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences so our first year:

  • ensures you have the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive
  • helps you connect with your fellow students for better academic work and friendships

You'll choose modules from 18 different subject areas. With so much choice your Liberal Arts tutors will help you navigate the many options and plan for the future.

Your year will be made up of:

  • Core modules (40 credits) - look at causes and solutions to major global challenges
  • Subject modules (80 credits) - choose modules that match your interests and ambitions

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

Making module choices vlog

Hear from Cesca about how she chose modules in her first and second years.

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.

Explorations: Space and Place

Together we’ll explore the world around us and the ideas, experiences and values that shape it.

We’ll look at home – comforting and familiar for most. We’ll explore the city – a dynamic social world. And we’ll examine the natural world – often regarded as wild and untamed.

These explorations will raise issues of:

  • identity and personal experience
  • social and cultural values
  • equality, diversity and inclusivity
  • sustainability and globalisation

We’ll reflect critically and creatively on the spaces and places that surround us and develop new ideas about what our world should look like in the future.


This module is worth 20 credits.

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 - these are the modules we have selected
  • 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

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

You will:

  • Examine the major topics in Greek history – from the Mycenaean Period and the Dark Ages, through the rise of the polis in the Archaic period, to the height of Greek civilisation in the Classical and Hellenistic periods, and finally its conquest by the Roman Empire
  • Explore primary evidence from Greek literary and material culture
  • Consider the relationship between ancient Greece and the modern world

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

This module is worth 10 credits.

Studying the Roman World

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

You will:

  • examine the major chapters of Rome's history – such as the Roman Republic, the rise of the empire, the establishment of the Principate, and the fall of Rome
  • discover coinciding developments in Roman literary and artistic culture
  • consider the reception of ancient Rome in modern western culture

We will also examine the relationship of the Roman world to the Greek world. This will complement the autumn semester module, Studying the Greek World, by continuing training in a number of basic study skills. No prior knowledge of the Roman world is needed.

This module is worth 10 credits.

Rome to Revolution: Historical Archaeology of Britain.

This module gives 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. Using key sites and discoveries, you will be introduced to the challenges of understanding the archaeology of periods partially documented in textual sources.

You will study:

  • 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

Teaching is delivered in a mix of lectures, seminars and a museum session. On average, this will be two hours per week across the spring semester.

This module is worth 10 credits.

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

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

We will consider how mythology is used in:

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

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

This module is worth 20 credits.

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 will also 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 means for 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 the 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 bound 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
    • how are motivation, personality and intelligence 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 the core skills for literary studies, including skills in reading, writing, researching and presentation. Topics covered include:

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

You will put these new skills into practice through reading specific literary texts. These are focused on poetry and prose selected from the full range of the modern literary period (1500 to the present).

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

This module is worth 20 credits.

Studying Language

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

The accompanying weekly workshops will explore levels of language analysis and description – from the sounds and structure of language, through to meaning and discourse. These can be applied to all areas of English study, and will prepare you for your future modules.

In your lectures, you will see how our staff put these skills of analysis and description to use in their own research. This covers the study of language in relation to the mind, literature, culture, society, and more. Your seminars then give you a chance to think about and discuss these topics further.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Beginnings of English

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

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

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

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

This module is worth 20 credits.

Drama, Theatre, Performance

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

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

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

Alongside texts, you'll also consider the extra-textual features of drama, including the performance styles of actors, the significance of performance space and place, and the composition of various audiences.

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

This module is worth 20 credits.

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. You will explore the coming of sound, the rise and demise of the Hollywood studio system, and the emergence of the TV network system. By raising questions such as: what are the industries producing at these moments, and how are cultural products marketed and distributed? this module also asks what transition means at different historical moments. It provides examples of different critical approaches to film and television history and interrogates the key debates around the periodisation of that history. This module is worth 20 credits.

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
In this module you will critically examine the social forces that have shaped different media, focussing on the press, broadcasting, the internet, and film & television. You will explore key debates surrounding the development, composition and function of these different media forms, and examine the social, political, economic and cultural conditions that shaped their evolution.
You will be introduced to a range of theoretical approaches to understanding the production, content and reception of media messages and representations, with a particular focus on the social and political role of the mass media.
This module is worth 20 credits.
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. For you 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. This module is worth 20 credits.


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

You will critically examine the complex relations between people and places through key concepts in human geography.

Themes include:

  • cultural
  • historical
  • medical
  • environmental
  • economics
  • development

The key themes may vary from year to year. This module provides a foundation for more specialised human geography modules at levels two and three.

Planet Earth: Exploring the Physical Environment

This module explores some of the key parts of the Earth’s dynamic physical environment. This typically includes issues connected with the atmosphere, hydrosphere, oceans and land surface. You’ll develop an understanding of global physical systems and how they affect people and the environment. You’ll consider topics such as:

  • key processes such as hydrological cycles
  • principles of Earth and geomorphological systems
  • fluvial geomorphology and biogeomorphology
  • biogeography and biodiversity
Globalisation: Economy, Space and Power

This 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 understanding 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 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

This 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 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

We live in culture and we communicate with each other every day, online and offline. What is communication? How is it shaped by culture? In this module, you will learn theories on communication, media and culture. These theories include Marxism, structuralism, poststructuralism, feminism, queer theory, postcolonialism, critical race studies and digital media studies. They will enable you to look at society and culture with fresh eyes and use media and communication more self-consciously. You will be aware of how social structures and power relations shape media and communication practices, and what we can do as individuals and social groups to challenge these structures and relations. Eventually, you will use these theories to critically analyse a wide range of media and cultural texts and practices such as film, television, journalism, advertising, popular culture and social media. This module is worth 20 credits.

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
In this module you will critically examine the social forces that have shaped different media, focussing on the press, broadcasting, the internet, and film & television. You will explore key debates surrounding the development, composition and function of these different media forms, and examine the social, political, economic and cultural conditions that shaped their evolution.
You will be introduced to a range of theoretical approaches to understanding the production, content and reception of media messages and representations, with a particular focus on the social and political role of the mass media.
This module is worth 20 credits.
Cultures of Everyday Life

While we may take the idea of our daily lives for granted, they are filled with 'realities' and phenomena that exceed our abilities to account for them: associating it with routine, familiar and repeated experiences, our everyday lives are, simultaneously, punctuated by the exceptional, the random and the disruptive. This module explores the cultural theory of everyday life, and covers the work of key theorists Michel de Certeau and Henri Lefebvre. You will be introduced to methods for representing everyday life in arts and media. You will also look at a wide range of attempts to register daily existence, including the modernist novel, photography, film, time capsules, poetry, video diaries and comics. This module is worth 20 credits.


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

Welcome to French at the University of Nottingham — this is where your journey to fluency shall begin!

Designed for students who have little or no prior knowledge of the language, this intensive study module will support you to develop in all the key areas of language acquisition: reading, writing, listening, speaking and grammatical competence.

We'll use a set text book, but to keep the classes engaging and interesting, we'll also use a variety of contemporary texts which may include literature, newspapers, websites and audio recordings.

You'll also become more culturally aware of the countries that make up the French-speaking world and get a better understanding of their varying current affairs and culture.

German 1

Designed for students with an A level in German, this module will build on the skills you already have and get you started on your exciting journey towards degree-level German.

We'll be using structured course materials and textbooks but believe it's important to use as many 'real life' examples as possible, so we'll be looking at magazines, websites and television programmes as well.

In class you'll work on all the key language skills: reading comprehension, grammar, listening exercises, speaking skills, translation exercises and writing texts such as essays and summaries.

At the end of the module you'll have made significant progress with understanding written and spoken German in a variety of contexts. You'll also be able to write essays on a contemporary social issue and conduct a discussion of an academic topic in German.

German 1: Beginners

This is where it all begins. Designed for absolute beginners (those with GCSE German are also welcome), this module is going to get you started on your exciting journey towards German fluency.

From the very first session, you'll be immersed in the German language. We use a structured course following a textbook but believe it's important to use as much 'real life' material as possible, so we'll be looking at real German articles and websites right from the beginning.

In class you'll work on all the key language skills: reading comprehension, grammar, listening exercises, speaking skills, and writing short texts such as emails and essays.

At the end of the module you'll have made significant progress with understanding written German in a variety of everyday contexts, and you'll also be able to engage in social conversation.

Russian 1

We'll take your A level Russian skills and support you towards becoming fluent by the end of your degree and this module is where it all begins! Designed for students who have an A Level in Russian, we'll identify any gaps in your knowledge and help you improve in that area.

Using examples from newspapers, short stories, websites and television we'll take your studies outside of the textbook and explore 'real' Russian in its natural environment.

Through classroom conversations and written exercises, you'll become more confident in your language skills and gain the ability to start tackling increasingly complex subject areas.

Russian 1: Beginners

This is where it all begins. Designed for absolute beginners (those with GCSE Russian are also welcome!), this module will get you started on your exciting journey towards Russian fluency.

From the very first session, you'll be immersed in the Russian language. We believe it's important to use as much 'real life' material as possible, so we'll be looking at real Russian articles and websites right from the beginning. You'll work on all the key language skills: reading/listening comprehension, grammar, oral, and written.

We'll also explore the culture and society of the Russian-speaking world through a variety of contemporary texts such as newspapers/magazines, websites and video.

At the end of the module you'll have made significant progress and be able to understand Russian in a variety of everyday contexts and you'll feel confident to engage in social conversation.

Spanish 1

Welcome to Spanish at the University of Nottingham — this is where your journey to Spanish fluency shall really begin to take off!

Designed for students who have completed an A level in the language, this module will support you to improve in all the key areas of language acquisition: reading, writing, listening and speaking. To keep the classes interesting and relevant we'll use a wide range of source material from newspapers, audio-visual content and websites.

Through this, not only will your speaking and comprehension skills improve, but also your grammar usage and ability to understand the language in different contexts.

You'll also become more culturally aware of the countries that make up the Spanish-speaking world and get a better understanding of their varying current affairs and cultures.

Spanish 1: Beginners

Welcome to Spanish at the University of Nottingham — this is where your journey to Spanish fluency begins!

Designed for students who have little or no prior experience of the language, this module will support you as you develop all the key areas of language acquisition: reading, writing, listening and speaking. To keep the classes interesting and relevant we'll use a wide range of source material from newspapers, audio-visual content and websites.

Through this, not only will your speaking and comprehension skills improve, but also your grammar usage and ability to understand the language in different contexts. By the end of this module, you'll be able to read basic texts, follow everyday conversations and engage in social conversation.

You'll also become more culturally aware of the countries that make up the Spanish-speaking world and get a better understanding of their varying current affairs and cultures.

Portuguese 1: Beginners

Aimed at total beginners (or those with a little knowledge) this lively module will lay the foundations for your Portuguese language skills. Right from the first class we'll help you feel confident in gaining the key skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking.

We appreciate the importance of using interesting, relevant materials to aid your learning and will make use of a range of texts covering subjects from everyday life to current affairs. This way you will not only learn the Portuguese language, but also cultures from the lusophone world.

By the end of the module you will have the ability to understand spoken Portuguese, produce written texts and participate in conversations.

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

Through a combination of lectures, guided reading and research you'll explore the main patterns of Latin American political, economic and social history, between independence in the 1820s and the end of the twentieth century.

We'll focus on specific concepts, terminology, events and people, so as to develop an understanding of different perspectives and interpretations of the history in question. We'll also encourage you 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 between the particular and the general and to develop the tools for comparative analysis.

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

You'll get a thorough knowledge of European musical repertoires from the Renaissance to the turn of the twentieth century.

As well as learning about composers, styles and genres, you’ll develop an appreciation of how musical traditions have been shaped by their cultural contexts – and how cultures have been shaped by their musical traditions.

Topics covered will include:

  • early opera and oratorio
  • chamber music
  • choral and religious music
  • programme music
  • historical instruments and period performance
  • the invention of ‘Classical Music’
  • women in music history
  • histories of amateur participation
  • global perspectives on European music

You'll also learn about how music history is researched and studied today, and how the stories we tell have changed over time.

As this is one of the first modules you will take at university you'll also get an introduction to the skills required to research and write essays effectively.


This module is worth 20 credits.

Repertoire Studies 2: 20th-Century Music

You'll be exploring a wide range of genres and stylistic trends in key repertoire from the late nineteenth century to the present day.

Topics covered will include:

  • impressionism
  • modernism
  • neo-classicism
  • atonality and its consequences
  • nationalism
  • film music
  • jazz
  • the work of female composers
  • cross-cultural influences
  • minimalism

You'll also develop an appreciation of the cultural contexts in which these repertoires developed.

As this is one of the first modules you will take at university, it will also help you develop the general skills required to research and write essays effectively.

This module is worth 20 credits.


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
  • the nature of ethical judgements

Optional modules

Metaphysics, Science, and Language

This 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

Philosophy can teach us to ask hard questions and help change the world for the better. 

We'll help you develop the skills to critically understand and constructively engage with a wide range of contemporary issues. Together we'll tackle topics relevant to university life and wider society. You should finish the module with a greater understanding of:

  • the value of philosophical thinking in relation to the contemporary world
  • using key philosophical arguments, concepts and methods in everyday contexts

Possible topics we'll look at

  • What is the purpose of education?
  • Why value free speech?
  • Censorship and pornography
  • Race and Racism
  • Sexual identities
  • Disability
  • Implicit bias
  • People, animals and the environment
  • Migration and refugees
  • Drugs and sport
  • Ethics and artificial intelligence
  • Mental illness

This module is worth 20 credits.

Gender, Justice, and Society
  • What is institutional racism?
  • What do feminists mean when they say, 'The personal is political'?
  • Are borders unjust?
  • Are direct action and criminal damage legitimate forms of protest?

These are just some of the questions you'll think about on this module.

We'll take a critical look at some of the answers given by thinkers across the political spectrum, from right-wing libertarians like Robert Nozick to socialist anarchists like Emma Goldman.

We'll also look at some of the political contexts in which these questions have been asked and answered. This might include the:

  • Peterloo Massacre
  • civil rights movement
  • invention of the police
  • Paris Commune of 1871
  • Black Lives Matter and Youth Strike4Climate movements

This module is worth 20 credits.

Philosophy of Religions

All religions have a distinctive philosophical framework. Together we'll look at some of the common concerns 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

As there is such a range of beliefs we'll also look at the problems of religious diversity.

Some of the sources we draw on might include (but is not limited to):

  • atheists - Feuerbach, Nietzsche
  • Buddhists - Śāntideva, Dōgen, Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Christians - Augustine, Pascal, Weil
  • Hindus - such as the writers of the Upanisads and Shankara
  • Jews - Spinoza, Buber
  • Muslims - Mulla Sadra, Nasr
  • Taoists - Zhuangzi

More contemporary thinkers might also be included.

With such a wide range of issues and traditions the exact mix will vary - each year will focus on a few key thinkers and themes.

This module is worth 10 credits.

History of Philosophy

Philosophy develops, confronts and destroys previous thinking. It reinforces the status quo and acts as a foundation for revolution. It's a product of its time and helps to shape the future.

Together we'll become familiar with some of the main philosophical ideas and thinkers that have shaped philosophy. And you'll come to understand how and why these ideas arose and developed in response to wider contexts and movements.

Influential thinkers might include:

  • Plato and Aristotle
  • Ibn-Tufayl and Ibn-Rushd
  • Montaigne, Locke and Wollstonecraft
  • Marx and Gandhi
  • Fanon, Sartre and de Beauvoir
  • Murdoch

Particular topics might include:

  • ancient Greek conceptions of the good life
  • reason and tradition in classical Islamic philosophy
  • medieval philosophy
  • existentialism
  • Afro-Caribbean philosophy

You won't be taught whether any of these thinkers and thoughts were right. But by the end of the module you'll be able to recognise and judge for yourself the strengths and weaknesses of arguments on both sides of each philosophical issue.

This module is worth 20 credits.


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, middle class 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.

Watch Dr Cat Quine give an overview of this module in just over 90 seconds.

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.

Watch Dr Tim Hutchings give an overview of this module in just 80 seconds.

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.

Watch Dr Conor Cunningham give an overview of this module in under 90 seconds.

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.

Watch Dr Michael Burdett give an overview of this module in less that 90 seconds.

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 (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Friday 26 February 2021.

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

You are surrounded by stuff. Your stuff is part of who you are.

Stuff helps us create identities. Achieve things. Connect with others.

Stuff can be easy or difficult to use. It can last for a moment or forever.

But stuff has an impact beyond ourselves.

In this module you'll look at objects:

  • affect on our habits, values and identities
  • design and function
  • cost and economics
  • ethics and reuse

We'll examine objects large and small, personal and national, ones we keep and ones we trade.

Understanding objects helps us understand ourselves and others - humans are a material species.

Beyond this, if want to address some of the most pressing problems we have in the world today, such as inequality, poverty and sustainability, we have to take stuff seriously.

Objects podcast

Our podcasts look at objects in more detail:


This module is worth 20 credits.

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

Our University is staffed by world-leading researchers. It’s home is Nottingham - a large, dynamic, complex city.

On this module you’ll learn from researchers across the arts and social sciences to address local problems and create innovative solutions for Nottingham’s future.

You might look at issues around:

  • democracy and human rights
  • sustainability
  • transportation
  • government and community
  • housing and design

You'll work with Natural Science colleagues and students from across the wider university to:

  • learn new methods and theories across disciplines
  • engage with researchers and local officials
  • build solutions to complex problems
  • apply your knowledge and see the difference you can make

This is why we do Liberal Arts. To think differently and solve problems!


This module is worth 20 credits.

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. Firstly, it critically examines major accounts regarding the purpose of education as they are found in international policy, activist and academic debates.

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

Thirdly, 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 open online 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 the 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

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

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

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

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

This module is worth 20 credits.

Language in Society

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

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

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

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

The module is worth 20 credits.

Optional modules - Language and Linguistics

Literary Linguistics

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

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

You will study how:

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

This module is worth 20 credits.

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

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

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

We will cover a wide range, including:

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

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

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

This module is worth 20 credits.

Old English: Reflection and Lament
This module explores the tradition that the poetry and prose of Old English often focuses on warfare and heroic action. You will study and analyse poems from the Exeter Book 'elegies' and also passages from Beowulf to explore this rich and rewarding genre. You'll have a two-hour lecture and one-hour seminar each week for this module.

Optional modules - Beginnings of English

Ice and Fire: Myths and Heroes of the North

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

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

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

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

The module is with 20 credits.

Names and Identities

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

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

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

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

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

The module is organised around the following interrelated themes:

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

This module is worth 20 credits.

From Talking Horses to Romantic Revolutionaries: Literature 1700-1830

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

We will examine:

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

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

This module is worth 20 credits.

Literature and Popular Culture

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

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

As well as exploring topics such as aesthetics and adaptation, material will be situated within cultural, political and historical contexts allowing for the distinction between the literary and the popular.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Modern and Contemporary Literature

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

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

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

This module is worth 20 credits.

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

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

These issues include:

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

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

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

This module is worth 20 credits.

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

In this module 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 also develop a foundation of theoretical knowledge to be applied to case studies in global film, television and other screen and print media. This module is worth 20 credits.


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

This 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. In this module you will critically explore key issues behind this transformation, and investigate theoretical and practical foundations of digital communication and media and their relationship to contemporary culture. You will 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 also provides opportunities for you 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. This module is worth 20 credits.

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, you will explore 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? What is the relationship between national and transnational memories, when set against memories of enslavement and its visualisations? These, and other questions, will guide our approach to an interdisciplinary field of media, film and visual studies. The module will also encourage you 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. This module is worth 20 credits.


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 will build on the French language and cultural skills you developed in year one and get you started on your exciting journey towards degree-level French. We're going to take your language skills to the next level and by the end of this module you'll be ready to spend time living in a French-speaking country.

We'll push you to improve your confidence in reading comprehension, listening comprehension and oral skills. In addition to this you'll get the opportunity to develop your French writing skills through a variety of tasks such as creative writing, summary writing and even resume writing. You'll also practice translation activities, allowing you to prepare for being immersed into the language next year.

We'll keep your studies interesting and relevant by using a variety of contemporary texts including journalistic articles and audio-visual clips.

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 build on the German language and cultural skills you developed in year one and get you started on your exciting journey towards degree-level German. We're going to take you to the next level and by the end of this module you'll be ready to spend time living in a German-speaking country.

We'll focus on getting you confident in your German reading, writing, listening and speaking abilities. In addition, we will develop translation skills into and out of the target language. In class we'll keep your studies interesting and relevant by using a variety of contemporary texts, including journalistic articles, videos, clips from TV programmes and news items.

German 2 - Beginners

Now that you've gained good German language skills by completing Beginners' German, we're going to take you to the next level. By the end of this course, you'll be ready to spend time living in a German-speaking country.

Working at a steady pace, we'll focus on getting you confident in your German reading, writing, listening and speaking abilities, encouraging you to push yourselves to gain the best German skills possible.

In class we'll keep your studies interesting and relevant by using a variety of contemporary texts, including journalistic articles, poems and short stories, videos, clips from TV programmes and news items.

Russian 2

Building on the Russian skills developed in Year One, this module is going to improve your language proficiency skills and confidence so that by the end of the year you're ready to spend time living in a Russian-speaking country.

We'll develop your communicative skills, including oral fluency, through classroom discussions and interesting texts such as newspapers, websites and video. You'll improve your written Russian and get to grips with more sophisticated grammar topics.

We'll also help you build translating skills from Russian into English and English to Russian.

Russian 2 - Beginners

Building on the skills developed in Russian 1 Beginners, this module shall help you improve your language proficiency skills and gain confidence so that by the end of the year you're ready to spend time living in a Russian-speaking country.

We'll focus on the practical application of language skills including reading, writing, listening comprehension and oral communication. In classes, workshops and tutorials you'll have the opportunity to be involved in discussions to build your conversational skills and sessions to help you use more in-depth grammar.

Spanish 2

This module will build on the language and cultural skills developed in year one and get you started on your exciting journey towards degree-level Spanish. Over the year, we're going to take you to the next level so by the end of the module you'll be ready to spend time living in a Spanish-speaking country.

We'll further develop your grammar and communication skills, building your confidence so that you feel happy working or studying abroad during year 3. We know the thought of essay writing in another language may feel daunting, but we will help you develop these skills to competence.

To prepare you for participating in conversation with fluency we'll pay special attention to developing your ability to use complex sentence structures and rhetoric. You'll get plenty of practice during laboratory classes where you'll have access to a wide range of contemporary audio-visual materials.

Spanish 2: Beginners

This module will build on the language and cultural skills developed in last year's beginners' classes and will get you started on your exciting journey towards degree-level Spanish. Over the year, we're going to take you to the next level so by the end of the module you'll be ready to spend time living in a Spanish-speaking country.

We'll further develop your grammar and communication skills, building your confidence so that you feel happy working or studying abroad during year three. We know the thought of essay writing in another language may feel daunting, but we will help you develop these skills to competence.

To prepare you for participating in conversation with fluency we'll pay special attention to developing your ability to use complex sentence structures and rhetoric. You'll get plenty of speaking and writing practice during classes, collaborative projects and on your own time through a wide range of online and in-person interactive activities.

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 investigates 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. You 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

In this module you will explore 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, and Modernism. A large part of your focus will be 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 will also be 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 Spanish and Spanish American literature in the 20th century, and the ability to relate texts studied to historico-cultural contexts. This module is worth 20 credits.

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-15th century, beginning in Portugal where voyages of ‘discovery’ were well under way, and ending in late 18th-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

Get a grounding in approaches to thinking and writing about popular music critically.

You'll cover a variety of perspectives and explore key issues in relation to featured songs, music videos and performers.

We'll ask fundamental questions about the contexts of popular music and their role in forming and responding to social and political issues. We'll also explore connections with other cultural traditions and artistic media.

Overall you will develop a sense of the richness and diversity of scholarly approaches to popular music in the Anglophone world.


This module is worth 20 credits.

The Hollywood Musical

Hollywood musicals have been hugely popular from the invention of “talkies” to the present day. But how are they different to musicals written for the stage?

We'll use a range of case studies, from The Jazz Singer (1927) to The Greatest Showman (2017), to consider specific issues such as:

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

You'll develop a broad knowledge of the:

  • range of musicals produced
  • key figures in their development
  • musicological debates around them.

This module is worth 20 credits.


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 scepticism
  • 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

Where does the mind meet the world? In sensory perception.

By perceiving, we become conscious of a reality beyond our minds. Or do we?

Mind and Consciousness explores perception and perceptual consciousness.

It asks question such as:

  • Do we really perceive a world beyond our minds?
  • What are the theories of perception and perceptual consciousness?
  • How do we distinguish different senses – what makes seeing different from hearing?
  • Can our perceptions be biased? Do our prejudices change the way we see things?
  • Is dreaming perceiving, or does it belong to another category of mind like imagining?

By the end of this module, you'll be able to:

  • understand the main positions in the philosophy of perception
  • analyse and evaluate rival views on these topics

This module is worth 20 credits.

An Introduction to Metaethics

Metaethics is about how ethics works. It's not about judging whether something is morally good or bad in any particular instance but critiquing the foundations used to make the judgements. Some of the questions we might ask are:

  • Are there moral facts?
  • What is moral truth?
  • Do psychopaths really understand moral language?

Like many areas of philosophy metaethics has several branches and by the end of this module you'll be able to:

  • understand the main positions in contemporary metaethics
  • analyse and evaluate rival views on these topics

This module is worth 20 credits.

For a good pre-module introduction to the subject have a read of chapter six of Ethics for A level by Mark Dimmock and Andrew Fisher. It's an open-source resource so free to access.

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. This might include Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau but this isn't a fixed list - it may vary according to particular issues and student input.

We will look at both:

  • why the thinkers' works have been open to different interpretations
  • evaluate their arguments under these different interpretations

This module is worth 20 credits.

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
  • What is art?
  • Is there a relationship between art and ethics?
  • What is the relationship between art and emotion?

Together we'll explore these philosophical issues and more. By the end of the module you'll:

  • have a good awareness of many of the critical debates in the philosophy of art
  • recognise and judge for yourself the strengths and weaknesses of arguments on the issues

This module is worth 20 credits.

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

A list of the optional modules available will be provided when it's time to select year two modules.


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.

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


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.


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.



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

This 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 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.

Watch Dr Conor Cunningham give an overview of this video in just over 60 seconds.

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’.

Watch Professor Richard Bell give an overview of this module in less than 60 seconds.

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.

Watch Professor Alison Milbank give an overview of this module in less than 80 seconds.

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.

Watch Dr Jon Hoover give an overview of this module in just 60 seconds.

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.

Watch Dr Cat Quine give and overview of this module in less than 100 seconds.

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.

Watch Dr Tim Hutchings give an overview of this module in under 100 seconds.

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

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

You'll choose at two or three of these core Liberal Arts modules.

The Body: Thinking and Feeling
  • How do we understand the human body?
  • Where do these ideas about our bodies and our selves come from?
  • How do our ideas about our bodies shape our everyday lives?
  • What will "being human" mean in the future?

These are the questions at the heart of this module. By exploring these ideas and more, we'll think about how our bodies shape who we are and what we can do.

An opportunity to reflect critically and creatively on what it means to be human in our contemporary world.


This module is worth 20 credits.

Synoptic Module

Put your advanced interdisciplinary skills into practice by tackling some of the most urgent issues facing society today. You might cover:

  • climate change
  • health
  • environment
  • artificial intelligence
  • bio-engineering
  • water management
  • food security

Run as a group project, you'll work with Natural Science colleagues to:

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

This is Liberal Arts in action!


This module is worth 20 credits.


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

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 the Romans really 'believe'?

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

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

Topics covered include:

  • The definition of 'religion' and comparative studies
  • Early Rome and the origins of religion
  • The calendar temples and other religious buildings
  • Priesthoods and politics
  • Sacrifice