Triangle

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.

Community

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

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

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.

Placements

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

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.

Modules

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

Recognising your specialisation

If you choose to specialise by taking 90 credits or more in a particular subject over the course of your degree this can be shown as part of your final degree award. For example, if you take two 20 credit modules a year from the School of Politics your final degree can be shown as "BA (Hons) Liberal Arts (Politics)", demonstrating your interdisciplinary approach and specialist knowledge.

American and Canadian Studies

Protected modules

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

Discover the history of North America, from European contact through to the start of the 20th century.

You will explore how the interactions of European colonizers with Native Americans shaped the future of the region, as well as the rise of Atlantic slavery, its development over time and the eventual emergence of distinctive African-American cultures.

We cover a broad chronological period, which includes European colonization, independence and Civil War. You will also examine the influence and development of attitudes towards race, class, gender, democracy and capitalism.

This module is worth 20 credits.

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

Discover the history of the United States in the 20th century.

You will explore the changes in the lives of American people, focussing on:

  • Prosperity
  • Depression
  • War
  • Liberal reform
  • Political conservatism
  • Minority protests
  • Multicultural awareness
  • International power

This module is worth 20 credits.

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

By the end of the module, you’ll understand the broad chronological development and key themes in Prehistory, up to the development of writing.

You will also have 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.

This module is worth 10 credits.

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 is for complete beginners to Latin.

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

This module is worth 20 credits.

Beginners' Greek: 1

This module is for complete beginners to Greek.

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

This module is worth 20 credits.

Education

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.

English

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

An essential introduction to the key:

  • stylistic and narrative elements in films, television programmes and streaming media
  • roles that are involved in creating these elements

  • language used to analyse these media

Decisions around lighting, sound, scripts and edits all affect how an audience understands and reacts to what they are seeing and hearing. Using case studies across periods and genres you'll develop an ability to "read" these decisions and why they've been made.

You'll also become familiar with who's making and implementing these decisions.

Over the course of the module we'll build a common understanding of the language used when analysing film and television. This will help you both understand the analysis of others and make sure your own voice is clearly understood.

You'll watch plenty of film and television as case studies and work with your fellow students in small groups to tackle questions and present your findings.

Recent films students have worked with include:

  • Nosferatu - a classic black and white horror movie from 1922
  • Vertigo - one of Alfred Hitchcock's most talked about movies from 1958

  • Deadpool - superhero comedy from 2016

By the end of the module you'll have the knowledge, skills and confidence to explain what's happening in what you see, ready for more specialised study in the rest of your degree.

This module is worth 20 credits.

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.

Geography

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.

History

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

Protected modules

Learning History

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

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

We will:

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

This module is worth 20 credits.

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

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

We concentrate on:

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

This module is worth 20 credits.

Optional modules

Making the Middle Ages, 500-1500

Discover medieval European history from 500-1500.

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

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

We will consider:

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

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

This module is worth 20 credits.

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

Discover key themes in the history of early modern Europe.

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

Themes include:

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

This module is worth 20 credits.

The Contemporary World since 1945

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

We will consider:

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

This module is worth 20 credits.

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.

Maths

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

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

Designed for students who have completed an A level (or equivalent) in the language, this module will support you to improve in all the key areas of language acquisition: reading, writing, listening and speaking.

We'll support you to continue growing your language abilities, improving your speaking, comprehension and grammar usage through a wide range of source materials and lively classroom conversations.

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

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 is the starting point for your French Studies journey at Nottingham. Having studied French at A level you’ll already have a good command of the language but now it’s time to go deeper. Together we’ll explore a variety of topics to help you develop a fuller understanding of the history and cultures of France and the Francophone world. These topics may include linguistics, politics, history, thought, literature, media, visual culture and cinema.

 

You’ll study a range of different texts, images and film, through which we’ll help you develop the core study skills necessary for studying this subject at degree level, such as 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.

Music

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.

Philosophy

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

Ideas are at the heart of philosophy. Creating them, arguing your case and defending your thinking is a core skill. Equally, being able to interrogate other people's arguments is essential.

The knowledge, skills and tools to do this can be learnt. And that's what we'll do together in this module. We'll help you to:

  • 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

Philosophy isn't just about opinions and arguments. It's also about clear proof. So we'll also develop some knowledge of logic and its technical vocabulary.

As a core first year module it will help you develop some of the key skills you need to philosophise with confidence.

 

This module is worth 20 credits.

Mind, Knowledge, and Ethics

This is your main starting point to explore philosophical thinking about understanding ourselves and relationship with the world.

It introduces several different areas of philosophy, and the links between them. These include:

  • philosophy of the mind
  • perception
  • epistemology
  • agency
  • normative ethics
  • meta-ethics

Some of the key issues we'll look at include:

  • the relationship between mind and body
  • free will
  • moral scepticism and relativism
  • the nature of moral judgements

We know our students come with a wide range of philosophical knowledge and skills so this core first-year module helps develop a common level of:

  • understanding of philosophical terms and concepts
  • skills in argument and debate

This gives you the building blocks for successful study and philosophising in the rest of your degree.

This module is worth 20 credits.

Optional modules

Metaphysics, Science, and Language

Come and explore some fundamental thinking about the world around us and our knowledge of it.

You'll look at questions such as:

  • metaphysics – how should we think about the identity of things over time and through change? What does your personal identity over time consist in?
  • 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?

An ideal introduction to metaphysics, epistemology, the philosophy of science, and the philosophy of language.

This module is worth 10 credits.

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.

Politics

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

Watch a video about this module.

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.  

Watch a video about this module.

Psychology

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.
Atheism

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 Tuesday 22 June 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: