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Course overview

Do you want to combine your knowledge of languages with history? Are you interested in learning a new language? This is a combined honours course, which means that you will study History and two modern languages as equally weighted subjects

The languages offered for this degree are:

  • French (beginners’ or post-A level)
  • Spanish (beginners’ or post-A level)
  • German (beginners’ or post-A level)
  • Russian (beginners' or post-A level)
  • Portuguese (beginners’ only)
  • Serbian/Croatian (beginners’ only).

Only one language can be taken from beginners' level.

In your language courses, you will study core language modules and select from a range of optional modules relating to the history, culture, politics, literature, film or linguistics of the languages you are studying. In history you also select modules from a wide range of historical and/or political topics.

The exciting experience of the year abroad develops your communication skills, builds your confidence and helps you stand out to future employers. You have three options: teaching English in a School; studying at one of our partner universities; or working anywhere your chosen language is spoken. We also have dedicated year abroad team.

More information

For more information on our teaching, research and what it's like to study with us see:

Why choose this course?

  • Combine the study of languages with History

  • Develop your understanding of past and contemporary Europe

  • Learn a language from beginners to degree standard

  • Choose from a wide range of modules in your chosen subjects


Entry requirements

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

UK entry requirements
A level offer ABB
Required subjects

You will need an A level in French, German, Russian or Spanish for your first language, but no language qualification is needed for the intensive beginners’ language programme permitted as your second language.

IB score 32, including 5 at Higher Level or 6 at Standard Level (B Programme) in French, German, Russian or Spanish

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 our Foundation Year. This may be suitable if you have faced educational barriers and are predicted BCC at A level.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Teaching methods

  • Lectures
  • Oral classes
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials

How you will be assessed

This course contains a period of study or work abroad between the third and final year of the degree programme. Students' language skills and cultural understanding are assessed through a mix of presentations and written assignments upon their return to Nottingham.

 

Assessment methods

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

Contact time and study hours

As well as scheduled teaching you’ll carry out extensive self-study such as preparation for seminars and assessments, as well as language practice. As a guide 20 credits (a typical module) is approximately 200 hours of work (combined teaching and self-study). An average week will have between 12 to 15 hours of classes.

Your lecturers will usually be academic staff . Almost all our language teachers are native speakers. Some of our postgraduate students also support teaching after suitable training.

Class sizes vary depending on topic and type. A lecture may have up to 100 students attending with seminar groups of up to 20. Most of your classes will be taught in English, however Language classes and some final year modules will be taught in the target language.

Study abroad

You will divide your time between countries where your chosen language(s) are spoken. Depending on where your placement is, you could study at one of our exchange universities, teach on the British Council assistantship programme, or undertake a work placement with a company. 

Options available to you may depend on the details of the Brexit settlement negotiated by the UK government.

For more information, see:

Placements

Work experience gives you the skills and experience that will allow you to stand out to potential employers and is a crucial part of becoming 'workplace-ready'.

Become 'workplace-ready' with our Work Placement and Employability programme tailor made for students in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies. It helps you develop skills and experience that allow you to stand out to potential employers.

You also have access to a wide range of work experience and volunteering schemes through the:

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

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

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

Why study more than one subject?

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

Modules

In year 1 you will study 40 credits of core history modules and 40 credits in each of your two languages.

  • If your language is post A-level you will take 20 credits of core language and 20 credits of core or optional modules
  • If you are a beginner in French, German, Russian or Spanish, you will take 40 credits of core language modules
  • If you are a beginner in Portuguese or Serbian/Croatian, you will take 20 credits of core language and 20 credits of core or optional modules

You must successfully complete year 1 but it does not count towards your final degree classification

Core language modules (A level and beginners):

French 1

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

French 1: Beginners

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

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.

German 1

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

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

German 1: Beginners

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

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

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.

Spanish 1

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

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

Spanish 1: Beginners

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

Modern Latin American History

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

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

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

Portuguese 1: Beginners

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

Culture and Society in Brazil, Portugal and Portuguese-speaking Africa

This module will introduce you to the cultures and societies of the portuguese-speaking world.

Russian 1

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

Russian 1: Beginners

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

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

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

The module introduces the study of Serbian/Croatian from beginners’ level, taking you to intermediate level by the end of the year. The module introduces different points of grammar and vocabulary through everyday situations. Basic case and verb patterns are covered, building up to more complex grammatical points, such as modal verbs and the conditional. You also learn about aspects of daily and cultural life.

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.

The Clash of Empires: History of the Balkans from Alexander the Great to Napoleon

This year-long module is an introduction to Balkan history and Balkan cultural studies, covering the cultural history of the South Slavs and the legacy of empires in this region since antiquity – the Hellanistic Empire, the Roman Empire, Byzantium, the Ottoman Empire, the Habsburg Empire, Venice, France and Russia.

By focusing on the visual cultures of the three key religious traditions – Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and Islam – the module explores the common features and differences in alphabet, architecture, sculpture and painting across the region. The topics covered include the imperial border, army structure, types of conquest, capital and peripheries, client states and demographic policies.

The module will develop your understanding of how living under empires informed the self-understanding of Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks and other South Slav nations. This module is an option for those studying Russian or East European Cultural Studies.

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.

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

In year 2 you will study 40 credits of history modules and 40 credits in each of your two languages. Whether you are beginners' or post A-level, you will take 20 credits of core language modules and 20 credits of optional modules in your chosen language area.

You must successfully pass year two and it counts as one third of your final degree classification.

You will divide your time between countries where your chosen languages are spoken. Depending on where your placement is, you could study at one of our exchange universities, teach on the British Council assistantship programme, or undertake a work placement with a company.

Core language modules (A level and beginners):

French 2

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

French 2

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

German 2

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

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

German 2 - Beginners

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

Spanish 2

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

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

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

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

Russian 2 - Beginners

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

Portuguese 2: Beginners
This module aims to consolidate the achievements of Portuguese 1 – Beginners, and to prepare students to be able to function effectively in a university or work situation in a Portuguese-speaking country. On completion of the module, awareness of grammar and sentence structure is improved, and vocabulary broadened. Listening comprehension exercises develop the ability to comprehend Portuguese spoken at authentic speed, and oral classes enable students to build up fluency and confidence in spoken communication. There is also an emphasis on learning the language through the study of Portuguese and Brazilian cultures.
Serbian / Croatian 1: Beginners

The module introduces the study of Serbian/Croatian from beginners’ level, taking you to intermediate level by the end of the year. The module introduces different points of grammar and vocabulary through everyday situations. Basic case and verb patterns are covered, building up to more complex grammatical points, such as modal verbs and the conditional. You also learn about aspects of daily and cultural life.

Serbian / Croatian 2

This year-long module builds on the skills acquired in Serbian/Croatian 1 with more emphasis on independent learning and preparation.

The module develops abilities to break down complex linguistic structures in order to facilitate comprehension and communication skills.

Teaching uses materials from written, audio and video sources, and includes grammar classes. There are exercises in comprehension, translation, guided composition writing, and presentations in the target language.

Optional examples of language modules

Modern Spanish and Spanish American Literature and Film

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hispanic Cinemas

This module will provide a general introduction to cinema in the Hispanic and Lusophone world. The first semester will examine contemporary cinema from Spain and Latin America addressing questions of style, form, socio-historical context and narrative content. The films will be available with English subtitles. The second semester will examine Lusophone cinema from Portugal, Brazil and Africa.

The History and Culture of Early Rus' c.800-1400

This module introduces you to the medieval period in the history of the East Slavs, covering pre-Christian times to the Mongol conquests and beyond.

Through lectures and workshops, we will explore political, cultural and social developments, with a particular emphasis on working with primary sources in various media (including texts, painting and architecture).

The module draws on a selection of primary sources in translation, which you learn to assess as historical evidence. It also focuses on basic trends in the historiography of this period and how it has been manipulated for various political purposes in modern times.

European Silent Cinema

This module will examine the development of cinema during the silent era, from its invention in the 1890s through to the early 1930s, in France, Germany and the Russian Empire/Soviet Union. Because silent cinema was easy to translate and export from one country to another, it was highly transnational, and the module will enable you to see how filmmakers in different countries entered into dialogue with one another. You will be able to compare and contrast the themes and preoccupations of films produced in these countries, and consider how these reflected distinct political and cultural agendas.

The first part of the module will introduce students to the history of early film, primarily as it developed in France, looking at short actualité films produced by the Lumière brothers and others. It will consider the practices of display of ‘silent’ film (looking especially at how it was accompanied by music, speech and sound effects), and look at its appeal to popular audiences as well as its broader critical reception. We will then go on to consider a range of films made during the silent era, which represent two main tendencies:

  • a tendency towards realism and the examination of everyday life
  • a tendency towards fantasy and the creation of spectacular new realitie

You will be introduced to the fundamentals of film language and will be encouraged to engage in close analysis of short extracts from the films.

Films will include (but will not be limited to):

  • Georges Méliès, Voyage to the Moon (1902)
  • Louis Feuillade, Fantômas serial (1913)
  • Paul Wegener, The Golem (1920)
Screening Russia: Film and Society from the Tsars to Putin

 If you are studying Russian or East European Cultural Studies, this is an optional year-long module. It examines Russian society and culture as reflected in popular and influential films from 1900 to the present day, covering a variety of genres (including melodramas, biopics, youth films and musical comedies).

Lectures and seminars examine Russian and Soviet cinema’s historical contexts and reception, as well as how films are constructed technically. You develop skills in analysing cinema in its historical and social contexts, from the products of the burgeoning industry of late imperial Russia to post-Soviet arthouse films and blockbusters – via the extraordinary legacy of Soviet cinema. All the films covered are available with subtitles, and this module does not require any prior study of film.

History of Yugoslavia and Successor States since 1941

This module covers the history of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, formed after WWII. We will discuss key economic and political factors of the state’s creation and disintegration, as well as Yugoslavia’s individuality during the Cold War.

Other topics for discussion include gender and social inequalities, nationalism and its rise, and circumstances surrounding the state’s collapse into the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s.

Repression and Resistance: Dissidents and Exiles in Russian Culture

The relationship between the state and the intellectual in Russia has traditionally been a problematic one, marked by repression, persecution, forced and voluntary exile and censorship. Political concern and resistance to an authoritarian state are central themes in the Russian cultural and literary tradition as well as a defining feature in the lives and works of numerous Russian writers and intellectuals.

We will explore the cultural tradition and identity of the literary intelligentsia in Russian and Soviet history. We'll also examine different responses to the experience of state persecution in the work of writers and artists.

Covering an extensive period of Russian history we will look at examples of writers and artists who have defied the state.

Wider questions which will be discussed include the role of the artist and the intellectual in Russian culture, the myth of the persecuted writer and the complex relationship between the intellectual and the masses.

Media in Russia

This module aims to develop understanding of Russian-language media from the Soviet era to the present day.

You will explore the use of Russian on different media platforms, including print, broadcast, television, and online media, and will cover such topics as advertising, internet, music, television, radio, journalism and the freedom of the press.

The module aims to develop translation and comprehension skills when dealing with Russian media. You will widen your vocabulary and gain experience in dealing with more complex grammatical structures, taking into consideration style and register.

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.

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.

Leben und Arbeiten in Deutschland: Introduction to Contemporary Germany

This module is aimed at students on our intensive beginners’ pathway. The module will use a range of authentic and adapted German sources to combine language learning with an introduction to some aspects of contemporary German society, focusing on elements which are particularly relevant for the year abroad. We will practise working with the types of texts that are particularly useful for students preparing for the year abroad, as well as text genres which you will encounter during your time in Germany and Austria (e.g. application letters, CVs, how to approach an interview). Classes will also help you to develop your understanding of key aspects of contemporary German society.

Reason and its Rivals from Kant to Freud

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

Media in Germany

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

National Socialist Germany

This module focuses on the social, economic and political-ideological structures which shaped domestic and foreign policy between 1933 and 1945. We will begin by examining the process through which Weimar democracy was overthrown and the structures of dictatorship imposed. We will then turn to the social, economic and ideological factors which shaped the transformation of Germany into a Volks-gemeinschaft before examining the development of Nazi foreign policy and the genesis of the Holocaust. Throughout the module we will consider political, social, economic and ideological factors in shaping Nazi policy at home and abroad.

Introduction to Literary Translation
The module provides an introduction to literary translation from German into English. We will analyse key issues of cultural difference and historical distance by comparing different translations of the same original text. As part of the assessment for the module you will compose your own translation of a literary text of your choice and summarise your translation strategy. Class discussions and the translation work you undertake for this module will help you to improve your understanding of the linguistic and cultural differences between English and German, develop enhanced translation skills, and gain insights into literary texts.
The Language of German Media - Linguistic and Journalistic Perspectives

This module investigates the specific language used by the German media from linguistic and journalistic perspectives. You will learn about the distinctive pragmatic and semantic features of the language used on radio, on television and in the print media. This linguistic analysis then enables us to explore how journalists attract their target audience.

We will look at various text types and media genres including news and advertisements, as well as analyse the differences between media-specific language and the language used in society at large. In this context you will not only learn how journalists write for different media and genres but also about the ethics of journalistic writing and how ethical concerns affect the language of the media.

Life and Demise of the GDR

This module investigates social developments in GDR society over four decades of communist rule and social changes in Eastern Germany after the demise of the GDR. You will be introduced to the ideological principles which that the Socialist Unity Party attempted to legitimize in the GDR as the only viable alternative to fascism for a modern society. You will then look at how this ideology was enforced through state authority in every domain of society.

Based on contemporary texts (eg GDR propaganda, GDR writers and other intellectuals) you will further examine how people negotiated their lives within these officially imposed ideological structures, exploring a range of individual responses from conformism to non-conformism and opposition.

Finally you will look at a new kind of “public authority” during the Wende period in the GDR, which triggered the disintegration of communist power structures, and the subsequent changes in East German society. 

Introduction to Contemporary Science Fiction

Focusing on texts ranging from the novels of Jules Verne through to Élisabeth Vonarburg, this module will engage with key themes in French science fiction writing. Whether it deals with the discoveries of new worlds or the confrontation with new technologies, science fiction as a genre expresses the anxieties and hopes specific to the contemporary era. Science fiction is political in that it deals with questions of power, ecology and science. It is also philosophical, since it calls into question boundaries between cultures, times, genres and species. Drawing on these political and philosophical dimensions, the module will look in particular at how science fiction explores the ways in which identity is constructed and reconfigured by material and technological forces.

Sociolinguistics: An Introduction

This module provides you with an introduction to the rich field of study known as sociolinguistics, which investigates the relationship between language and society through an exploration of the social contexts of language use.

Particular areas of focus in any one year of the module could include:

  • intercultural communication
  • politeness and face
  • linguistic determinism
  • power and solidarity
  • language choice
  • speech act theory
  • the ethnography of communication
  • language and gender
  • approaches to the study of discourse/talk
On Location: Cinematic Explorations of Contemporary France

This module offers students an opportunity to explore actual cultural, economic and social differences within modern France through its representations in contemporary filmmaking. Beyond narrative themes, students will gain an understanding of how filmmakers engage the formal resources of cinema, both fiction and documentary, to capture the specificities of diverse spaces and places and to invite reflection on larger questions of identity and community, nation and citizenship, mobility and belonging.

Introduction to Modern French Poetry

This module provides an introduction to three major figures in modern French poetry (Baudelaire, Rimbaud and Apollinaire), and to the major formal developments in poetry in the period 1850-1914, including the prose poem and free verse. Students will learn to analyse, interpret and write commentaries on poetry, and individual poems will be considered in relation to broad themes such as the representations of self, and notions of modernism. 

Nineteenth Century French Narrative
This module provides an introduction to short narrative in the nineteenth century. It invites students to consider how texts combine literary craftsmanship with an effort to represent, understand and engage with the political, cultural and physical world beyond the page. The module takes in a range of different short narrative genres and themes: the crowd-written character sketches Les Francais peints par eux-memes (1840-1842); nostalgic and impressionistics stories from Emile Zola's Contes à Ninon (1864); lyrical, colonialist depictions of the Orient by Maupassant (1880s); and fin-de-siécle decadent writing by Rachilde (1900). Through these texts, you will also be introduced to a range of reading techniques and critical theory relating to each of these textual forms, whilst exploring the ever-changing landscape of a nation shaken by ongoing revolution and social change.
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.

Literature and Politics in Modern France

This module looks at various ways in which French writers have engaged with the political struggles of their time. Through the study of key authors of what is often referred to as ‘committed’ literature the module will analyse how the tension between literature and politics has shaped these texts. Through an analysis of this committed literature the module will trace the emergence of the ‘intellectual’ as an important figure in modern French culture and society.

Huit Tableaux: Art and Politics in Nineteenth-Century France (1799-1871)

Huit Tableaux examines the course of French history from the Consulate (1799) to the Paris Commune (1871). On this module you will trace how a succession of regimes struggled and ultimately failed to move on from the preoccupations of the Revolution.

Eight more or less well-known works of art (principally painting but also sculpture) are used as a platform for exploring the period, focusing on the way in which these works tackle issues of national identity, religion and political culture.

Among the Huit tableaux dealt with are David's Sacre de Napoléon, Delacroix's La Liberté guidant le peuple, and Meissonier's Le Siège de Paris.

Enlightenment Literature: An Introduction

This module is an introduction to the study of eighteenth-century French literature, through a variety of texts chosen to offer an accessible approach to the period’s main literary genres and movements of thought. Alongside an investigation of how literature developed during this era, you will consider key questions that thinkers and writers grappled with:

  • What is like to fall in love?
  • What is happiness and how do we find it?
  • How important is personal freedom?
  • Are people naturally good?
  • How do we live well with others?
  • How do we learn about the world and make sense of our experiences?
Contemporary Francophone Cinema and Social Issues
This module engages in a detailed analysis of four recent Francophone films that deal with contemporary social issues and institutions: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, L’Enfant (2005); Jacques Audiard, Un prophète (2009); Thomas Lilti, Hippocrate (2014); Stéphane Brizé, La loi du marché (2015). It focuses on the way in which the films present characters in a social context. The module looks at the ways in which these characters are subject to economic forces, interact with institutions, and function as members of social groups. The films are analysed from a formal perspective, considering the ways in which they all draw on the resources of cinematic realism in order to provide a representation of contemporary life that is both compelling and challenging for viewers.
Art and Contemporary Visual Culture in France

The course explores contemporary art and media production in France and beyond, looking at how recent French art and ideas feature in and contribute to a cultural world-system. We will be looking at pioneering artworks from the late 20th century and the 21st century, examining work in film, visual art of many genres, photography, music and also media technology.

Beginning with key foundational artists from the 1960s and 1970s, we move on to consider works across artistic media, mostly from the 21st century, and this will form the principal course content. We will be looking at the work of individual artists in detail, both for the value of the work, but also to explore how contemporary cultural production reflects and reacts to the world in which it is made. Visual art is particularly useful in this context as it necessarily contains a reflective element, and this is often critical of existing situations. We will also incorporate key readings by theorists who have reflected on the themes, media, technology and politics of both art and culture in the broader sense.

History

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.

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.

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.
From the Tsar to the Emperor: Russia in the Early Modern Period 1547–1725

This module studies the emergence of Muscovite Russia as a major player on the European arena by the early 18th century.

It examines:

  • the rapid territorial and racial expansion from the 16th century and its consequences
  • Muscovy’s first civil war
  • the struggle of the Russian crown to curtail the power of its aristocracy
  • the ground-breaking reforms of Peter I
  • the beginnings of Russia’s slow progress towards Westernisation. 
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.
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.

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.
European Fascisms, 1900-1945
The module examines the rise of fascist movements in Italy and Germany in the wake of the First World War, setting this in the context of broader developments towards counter-revolutionary and authoritarian politics in the 1920s and 1930s (e.g. in Spain and Portugal). By comparing Fascism in Italy and National Socialism in Germany with ‘failed’ fascisms in Britain and France, it seeks to understand why certain movements were able to seize power and proved more popular than others. The module examines the social composition of fascist movements, the nature of fascist ideology and the relationship of fascism to the ‘inter-war crisis’, which had economic, political and social dimensions. The practice of the Fascist and National Socialist governments in power is also analysed and compared with particular reference to class repression and attempts to build ‘consent’, policies on ‘race’ and expansion through conquest; the module ends by considering the Axis and genocide during the Second World War.
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.
Villains or Victims? White Women and the British Empire, c.1840-1980
The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules may change or be updated over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for the latest information on available modules.

You will divide your time between countries where your chosen language(s) are spoken. Depending on where your placement is, you could study at one of our exchange universities, teach on the British Council assistantship programme, or undertake a work placement with a company. 

Options available to you may depend on the details of the Brexit settlement negotiated by the UK government.

For more information, see:

In year 4 you will develop your command of your languages and their use in increasingly sophisticated contexts, and study optional modules drawn from the areas of literature, history, politics, society, media and linguistics.

In History, you will study a 40-credit Special Subject, engaging with the latest research in your selected area.

Your assessment results in year 4 are weighted at 67% of your final degree classification.

Core language modules:

French 3

This module develops the following language skills:

  • Oral and written skills
  • The written skills to include translation into and out of French
  • Creative writing in different registers
  • Linguistic commentary
  • Production of summaries

Attention is also applied to perfecting knowledge of French grammar and to increasing knowledge of French vocabulary.

German 3

This advanced German language module will further enhance your practical command and effective understanding in writing, reading, listening and speaking. Working with the support of native speakers, we will use seminar time to engage in class discussions as well as work on texts and practise writing skills in a variety of registers.

You are encouraged to reflect on your year abroad. We will also work on translation skills in this module. Classes will use a variety of authentic German texts to develop your translation skills towards professional standards for translation into English.

Russian 3

This module is designed to develop a high level of Russian language skills, both written and oral. The written skills include English-Russian and Russian-English translation, summaries and creative writing in Russian. Oral classes draw upon and extend the practical language experience of the year abroad. Students also cover the most advanced grammar topics of Russian.

Spanish 3

This module capitalises on the progress made in colloquial and informal language skills during your year abroad, and trains you in a more formal, sophisticated register of spoken and written Spanish.

It uses stimulus texts from a broad range of authentic sources to impart understanding of how texts are put together, and to build up your knowledge of, and confidence in, this register, thus enabling production of written and spoken Spanish of maximum clarity and strength of argumentation.

Portuguese 3
This module, like Spanish 3, capitalizes on the progress achieved during the Year Abroad. It enhances and reinforces grammatical competence, and emphasises use of a more formal and sophisticated register of vocabulary and idiom, and more advanced syntax. Students are expected to discuss a range of topics in written and spoken Portuguese employing complex sentence structure, vocabulary and intellectual content.
Serbian / Croatian 2

This year-long module builds on the skills acquired in Serbian/Croatian 1 with more emphasis on independent learning and preparation.

The module develops abilities to break down complex linguistic structures in order to facilitate comprehension and communication skills.

Teaching uses materials from written, audio and video sources, and includes grammar classes. There are exercises in comprehension, translation, guided composition writing, and presentations in the target language.

Serbian / Croatian 3

This is an advanced language module designed for students who have taken Serbian/Croatian 2 and spent some time in Serbia or Croatia during their year abroad.

You develop expertise in summarising texts in the target language, comprehension of both written and spoken material, translation, guided composition writing and oral presentations in the target language.

The module includes study of the different cultural, social and historical factors which influence language use.

Optional examples of language modules

La République Gaullienne: 1958 to 1969

The module explores how the Fifth Republic came into being and examines the problems of bedding in a regime that revolutionised French political culture without jettisoning the key features of the 'modèle républicain'.

We follow a chronological narrative of French politics between 1958 and 1969, and will also examine themes such as the ‘écriture de la constitution’, the clash of political visions and bipolarisation and its tensions. We conclude with de Gaulle's apparent act of 'political suicide' in 1969.

Contemporary Representations of Travel

This module will study the different ways travel has been used and represented in contemporary French and Francophone texts, arts and films. From tourism to exploration, from exile to migration, from pilgrimage to business travel, we will question the tacit ideologies found in contemporary travel discourses. We will study more specifically how contemporary discourses of travel have been, or not, adapting themselves to a post-colonial awareness and how it has enabled travellers to represent travel differently. The importance of this field has been steadily growing in between disciplines that range from literary studies to ethnography. The module will use these cross-cultural influences to create an arena in which to develop connections between key disciplines and different forms of arts (literature, ethnography, films photography)

French Documentary Cinema

This module aims to introduce you to key aspects of French documentary cinema by considering a range of documentary cinematic techniques, and by looking at the ways in which documentary form has developed over time. The module examines the work of a range of filmmakers and explores the theoretical, socio-cultural and ethical questions raised by documentary cinema.

You will develop analytical tools that can be used to understand the different ways in which documentaries attempt to engage audiences and deal in a sophisticated and often challenging ways with a range of issues.

The Everyday in Contemporary Literature and Thought

The module looks at the various ways in which the novel has evolved and adapted to “the contemporary” by responding to the “everyday”. Giving an overview of the various approaches to the everyday in the contemporary novel from the 60s to the present, this module will explore how key authors negotiate, through their writing, the everyday’s indeterminacy and the unstable space it occupies between the social and the individual.

People and Propaganda: Representing the French Revolution

The module is designed to introduce you to the study of various forms of artistic work in relation to the political and social background of the French Revolutionary decade (1789 - 1799). A variety of works will be studied (theatre, opera, song, iconography, painting) in order to consider the reflection of contemporary events, the notion of politically engaged arts, and questions of cultural administration (theatrical repertory, representation, censorship and privilege).

Subtitling and Dubbing from French into English

This module focuses on the theory and practice of two modes of audio-visual translation: subtitling and dubbing.

The linguistic, technical, and cultural theoretical underpinnings of subtitling and dubbing from French into English will be examined in detail, and students will be able to put the theory into practice using professional dedicated software.

Language Contact and French

This module looks at various issues relating to the field of language contact, including bilingualism, multilingualism and diglossia.

The module also explores the outcomes of such language contact:

  • linguistic borrowing
  • code-switching
  • language maintenance
  • language shift and language death
  • the emergence of pidgins and creoles
  • the development of language policy and planning
  • the shaping of attitudes towards language.

These topics will be explored by using examples from several different languages, and by looking at the French language in contact with other languages in France and further afield.

Citizenship, Ethnicity and National Identity in Post-War France

You'll examine the range of social, political and philosophical questions raised by mass immigration to France in the post-war period. These questions will be tackled through historical analysis of patterns of migration and changing immigration policies, as well as through the study of relevant films, novels and theoretical texts which engage with questions of citizenship, identity and ethnicity.

Individual and Society

On this module we will look at the changing relationship between individuals and society in a French context. Key sociological concepts relating to the social construction of the individual are explored in order to analyse fiction and non-fiction texts that deal with work and social organisation in contemporary France.

The theoretical starting point of the module is Michel Foucault’s analysis of the emergence of ‘disciplinary’ societies.

Key fictional works include Laurent Cantet’s film L’emploi du temps and Thierry Beinstingel’s novel Retour aux mots sauvages.

Brazilian Slave Society

This module aims to provide you with an understanding of the centrality of the history of slavery in the study of Brazil, and of the significance of Brazilian slavery in both the transatlantic slave systems, and slave societies across the Americas.

In the process, you will learn to recognise and use the different historical approaches, tools and skills employed in the historiography of slavery studies, and in social history in general, and to incorporate them into their own analyses of aspects of Brazilian slave society.

Literature and Films, Conflict and Post-Conflicts

We will address the way in which film and literature have reflected, resisted, interrogated, and remembered the socio-political violence and conflicts that have shaped the 20th and 21st centuries so far in Europe (emphasis on the Iberian Peninsula) and Latin America (including Brazil).

The module adopts a comparative approach which focuses on the formal experiments and common preoccupations of filmmakers and writers across different national cultures and historical contexts (translations and subtitles will be provided when required). It will discuss questions on authoritarianism, confronting colonial and neo-colonial practices, racial and class inequality and social injustice, gender and sexuality, living on with the legacies of past traumas.

You may expect to discuss works by writers such as Roberto Bolaño, Ruben Fonseca, Alejandro Zambra, Mariana Enríquez, Clarice Lispector and Fernando Pessoa. Feature films and documentaries by Alfonso Cuarón, Pedro Almodóvar, Kleber Mendonça Filho, Claudia Llosa, Patricio Guzmán and Susana de Sousa Dias will also be discussed.

Culture and Society across the Portuguese-speaking World

This module uses a focus on identities and identity formation, as represented or articulated in literary, cinematic and visual texts, as the basis of a chronological survey of the development of lusophone societies and cultures in the long 20th century (roughly, from 1880 to the present). Approaches to these set texts will introduce, and equip you to evaluate, a history of changing conceptions both of racial, ethnic, sexual, and class identity.

The module will explore how shifts in social taxonomies and conceptions of community and difference relate both to scientific and philosophical discoveries and innovations and to the changing political and socio-economic structures of Portugal and the African territories formerly subject to Portuguese colonial rule. It will also provide an introduction to the study of the concept of identity itself, and of the interrogation, by psychoanalysis and post-structuralist thinking, of preconceptions of either individual or collective identities as stable and unitary. 

Interpreting
Russian Popular Music in the 20th and 21st Centuries

This module covers popular music in Russia during the late tsarist, Soviet and post-Soviet eras as an area of culture that affects ordinary people in many different ways – in Russia, songs have often brought people together, sometimes in celebration, sometimes to challenge authority, and they have also offered individuals fun or solace.

In the module you learn how to examine all this, applying concepts such as authorship, performance, technology and ideology, and learning how to evaluate the relationship Russian music has to popular music in the UK, USA and elsewhere. The examples studied include pre-revolutionary popular songs and gramophone culture, the assimilation of jazz, patriotic and propaganda songs, rock and pop-rock.

With guidance you will develop your own essay question focusing on a topic within Russian popular musical culture of their choice. No prior study of music is required for this module but you must also be taking Russian 3, or to be at an equivalent level in Russian, in order to choose this module.

The World of Orthodox Sainthood

You'll gain an understanding of the growth and development of the cult of saints in the Eastern Christian world in the context of the history and culture of late antiquity and the middle ages.

We focus on the interpretation of original written sources and icons, allowing you to master the basic tools for conducting research in the field.

Dissertation in Russian and Slavonic Studies

Working closely with a supervisor who teaches and researches in a relevant field, final year students carry out in-depth research into a topic of their choice, building on work they have done in a module studied in year two or the final year.

Areas of study include history, literature, cinema, music and religion.

Recent topics include:

  • Mongol rule in medieval Russia
  • the cultural remembrance of Porajmos (the genocide over Roma during World War II)
  • the works of Mikhail Bulgakov
  • reporting on the Pussy Riot trial in UK and Russian media
  • adaptations of US television comedy series for the Russian market

 

Brotherhood and Unity: Yugoslavia on Film

This module offers a detailed study of selected films from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and its successor states, with a particular focus on films from Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia.

You will examine films in terms of their aesthetic and cinematic meaning and also considers the historical and social factors relevant to understanding Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav cinema. Students do not require knowledge of Serbian/Croatian language or prior study of the history of Yugoslavia or cinema in order to choose this module, and all films are available with subtitles.

Myths and Memories: Histories of Russia's Second World War

This module introduces the construction of national and collective memory of the Second World War in Soviet and Russian culture and society. The lectures and seminars focus on contemporary and subsequent artistic and social responses to the experience of war, but also examine individual acts of remembering (diaries, reports, letters) in the context of a wider cultural memory.

The module equips you with the skills to analyse, evaluate and discuss Russian and Soviet commemorations of the Second World War and the construction of a collective memory; to identify and contrast different strands of narratives of war experiences which unite individual and collective responses to the Second World War; to analyse and apply relevant theories of memory to Russian and Soviet strategies of commemorating the war; to discuss some of the central problems related to Russian and Soviet memories of the Second World War, including the relationship between memory and forgetting, narratives of suffering and sacrifice and the relationship between acts and rituals of commemoration and the construction of national identity/identities.

Language Project in Russian and Slavonic Studies

This module aims to equip you with the skills required of linguists in the modern, digital workplace and may be taken by those studying Russian or Serbian/Croatian.

The project gives you the opportunity to combine your achievements in language and non-language modules studied over the course of their degree. You work in a group on a topic agreed with the module convenor to create a final Language Project, in the form of a translation, blogpost, podcast, short film or public performance.

Spanish American Narrative and Film

This module looks at key 20th-century Spanish American novels and short stories and considers issues such as race, gender, sexuality and the conflict of cultures. You will be trained in using a broad range of tools of narrative and rhetorical analysis so as to engage in debates about literary representation and aesthetics, and will hone their use of these through a programme of research tasks, seminar presentations, group discussions, and written assignments.

Politics and Literature in Contemporary Spain

The module aims to impart understanding of the interfaces between literature and politics, by studying the articulation of key social and political issues and aesthetics in contemporary Spanish cultural artefacts.

We discuss the status of literary writing in late capitalism, concentrating on how contemporary ‘Hispanic’ authors have dealt with issues of language, identity, culture, society, nationhood, gender, class, memory, time and writing.

We also explore debates regarding the consistency of the categories of ‘Spain’ and ‘Spanishness’ when analysing cultural production in contemporary Iberia, and assesses the competing discursive practices involved in remapping the notion of Spanish canonical literature at the beginning of the new millennium.

Business and Society in Spain

In this module you will learn to devise and develop projects and teaching methods appropriate to engage the age and ability group they are working with. The module enables you to gain confidence in communicating your subject, develop strong organisational and interpersonal skills, and to understand how to address the needs of individuals.

Thinking the Revolution: Ideology, Education and Culture in Cuba Since 1959

This module assesses Cuba’s revolutionary change since 1959, through an examination of its evolving ideology. The module is structured both chronologically and thematically so as to review the critical factors – nationalism, dependency, radicalism and leadership – shaping developments from the original rebellion up to the present day.

We focus on the role of education policies, and the ways in which a ‘cultural revolution’ was fundamental to the socialisation process of, and popular participation in (or dissent from) the Revolution. This study will inform conclusions about both the meaning of ‘ideology’ within the context of the Revolution, and the international geo-political significance of Cuba's self-definition and evolution.

Literature and Film under Franco

This module aims to further develop your knowledge of 20th century Spanish history, literature and film gained at levels 1 and 2. It familiarizes you with the context and circumstances in which filmic and literary texts were produced under Franco, thereby developing awareness of generic conventions in both literature and film, and perfecting skills in close textual analysis.

The module imparts a solid knowledge of the Francoist régime and of the literature and film produced at this time, plus an understanding of the conditions for cultural production under the Dictatorship.

By the module’s conclusion, you will have gained a good command of the concepts and vocabulary required to analyse literary and filmic texts, a capacity for close reading and textual analysis, as well as seminar-presentation skills and research and essay-writing skills.

Painting in Spain

This module will offer a panorama of painting in Spain from the late 16th century to the late 19th century taking in four themes: portraiture, history and genre painting, religion, and mythology and myths.

Artists covered will include Domenikos Theotocópoulos, Diego de Silva y Velázquez, Jusepe de Ribera and Bartolomé Esteban Murillo from the Spanish Golden Age and Francisco de Goya, Vicente López, Martín Rico and Marià Fortuny from the 19th century.

You will have the opportunity to study other painters in the preparation of assessments throughout the year. There will be an emphasis on designing exhibitions and on understanding the paintings both within the context of art history and the history and cultures of Spain.

Mythology in German Literature

Literature uses ancient mythology as a rich source to describe powerful emotions, cunning politics or psychological drama. This module will explore how selected German writers engage with the myth of Medea, the powerful wife of Jason who – according to the Classical myth - kills the sons she loves to hurt Jason.

We will look at how the myth is used, changed and reinvented in texts written between 1926 and 1998. We will consider theoretical writings on mythology and also look at the the Medea myth in paintings, film, theatre and music.

Vergangenheitsbewaltigung und Nationale Identitat: Geschichte und Gedachtnis nach dem Holocaust

This module will examine historical, political and philosophical approaches to the concept of national identity between divided and post-unification Germany concentrating on the changing relationships between the articulation of conventional patriotism and self-critical reflection on National Socialism.

Twentieth Century German Theatre: From Avant-garde to Virtual World

This module looks at how German-language theatre has responded to the challenge of new forms of media. We will draw on theoretical writings on the theatre and will reflect on such issues as agency and identity, the nature of historical material, the status of the audience and the challenge of new technologies. We will read five formally innovative plays from 1927 to 2000,— one called ‘Offending the Audience’, another in which 10,000 feet of film footage were used in the premiere, one a harrowing portrayal of the events of Holocaust, and one a reality TV-style live soap opera, put on over seven weeks in its premiere.

German Colonialism: History, Literature, Memory

Although Germany only had overseas colonies between 1884 and 1918, German, Austrian and Swiss involvement in European colonial history permeates literature and culture to the present day.

This module uses short novels, stories and poems written between 1800 and the present to look at a range of themes in German postcolonial studies: for example, the exotic fascination with Africa; slavery and Afro-German history; anti-colonialism and nostalgia for Germany’s lost empire; political anti-imperialism and anti-racism; the German writing of African immigrants; and the rise since the 1990s of a critical postcolonial memory of Germany’s often forgotten colonial history.

Translating Culture: Cultural Issues in Translating between English and German

The module examines the problems inherent in translating source-culturally significant materials. Cultural transfer is considered in both directions (English-German and German-English).

The module focuses on two areas of cultural transfer: in literature and in TV- and film scripts. The module is assessed in English.

Communicating and Teaching Languages for Undergraduate Ambassadors

In this module students learn to devise and develop projects and teaching methods appropriate to engage the age and ability group they are working with. The module enables students to gain confidence in communicating their subject, develop strong organisational and interpersonal skills, and to understand how to address the needs of individuals.

History

The History of a Relation: Jews in Modern Europe
This special subject surveys and analyses the place of Jews in modern European history. Throughout the modern period, Jews lived in Europe as part of a minority. The module is concerned to analyse the enduring, productive and resilient relation between Jews and non-Jews. It is the contention of this module that the story of the relationship’s development and evolution can tell us a great deal of the history of Europe as a whole.
Culture, Society and Politics in 20th Century Russia

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

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

Themes include:

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

Module convener: Dr Nick Baron

Victorians in Italy: Travelling South in the Nineteenth Century

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

  • methodologies necessary for analysing travel writing as historical evidence
  • the nature of the 'Grand Tour', including the experiences of women travellers
  • collecting and the development of notions of taste
  • the changing nature of travel writing in the nineteenth century, including the Romanticisation of travel
  • the appearance of middle class travellers as 'tourists'
  • the 'guide book', a new genre of writing
The British Civil Wars c.1639-1652

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

  • the causes of the civil wars
  • the mobilisation of civilian communities
  • the course of the civil wars
  • the impact of war on individuals and communities
  • religious and political change
  • the growth of religious and political radicalism
  • print culture and propaganda
  • the changing roles of women
  • the issues surrounding the public trial and execution of the king
  • the abolition of the British monarchy and the House of Lords
  • the ‘Celtic dimension’ of the conflict
  • the Civil Wars in the British Atlantic
Samurai Revolution: Reinventing Japan, 1853–78

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

The Black Death

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

  • Peasants
  • Merchants
  • Gentry
  • Women

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

  • Impact of the Black Death
  • Religious and scientific explanations of the plague
  • Changes in peasant society and how peasants lived after the plague  Merchants, their lives, businesses and shifting attitudes towards them
  • Gentry society and culture in the fifteenth century and the development of an entrepreneurial ‘middling sort’
  • Women’s lives and experiences in a post-plague patriarchal society The module poses a simple question: How central is the Black Death in explanations of long-term historical change and the evolution of the modern world?
Faith and Fire: Popular Religion in Late Medieval England

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

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

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

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

Module convener: Dr Rob Lutton

After the Golden Age: The West in the 1970s & 1980s

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

  • Détente and the second Cold War;
  • the crisis of industrialism and structural economic change;
  • social change and continuity, with special emphasis on the class structure;
  • the disintegration of consensus politics and the rise of the New Right;
  • liberalisation, new social movements and cultural politics;
  • domestic terrorism, the public and the state; heritage, memory and nostalgia.
Life During Wartime: Crisis, Decline and Transformation in 1970s America
Once dismissed as the “Me Decade” (Tom Wolfe), or a time when “it seemed like nothing happened” (Peter Carroll), the 1970s have enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent American historical scholarship. This module introduces students to the narratives of crisis and decline that defined the 1970s and which helped make the decade such a transformative period in American life - recasting the United States and its society, politics and culture in significant and far-reaching ways - whilst encouraging students to think critically about those narratives and their utility for subsequent processes of political, socio-economic and cultural change. We will explore developments such as the growth of identity politics and the cult of the individual, debates over American foreign policy abroad and social policy at home, the rise of populist conservatism, the market and neo-liberalism, anxieties over the city, the environment and the political system, and a broader political and cultural power shift from Rustbelt to Sunbelt, as we seek to understand why the 1970s are now regarded as the decade “that brought us modern life - for better or worse” (David Frum).
Overseas Exploration, European Diplomacy, and the Rise of Tudor England

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

  • Renaissance attitudes to human potential
  • Motivations for overseas exploration and travel
  • Beginnings of European imperialism
  • Continuities and changes in diplomacy
  • Religion and foreign policy
  • Travel literature and cultural diplomacy
  • Xenophobia and cosmopolitanism
Imperial Eyes: the Body in Enlightenment Thought, c.1730-1830

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

  • What role colonial encounter played in Enlightenment theories of human development
  • How Enlightenment scholars imagined bodily difference
  • The place of the slave trade in Enlightenment thought
  • Enlightenment ideas of the body, sexuality and disability
  • Colonized people's responses to Enlightenment thinking
British Culture in the Age of Mass Production, 1920-1950

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

  • New experiences of factory work and the rationalisation of diverse areas of everyday life;
  • New forms of advertising and commodity culture, and the anxieties and opportunities these produced;
  • New forms of industrial urban leisure (e.g. the cinema and dance hall) and their role in promoting social change;
  • Performances of self-hood and the contested politics of movement and habit;
  • The perceived impact of Americanisation on national traditions, values and ways of life;
  • The rise of the ‘expert’ across a range of fields to manage working-class behaviour;
  • The development of social science and the problems of knowing ‘the masses’; Post-WW2 reconstruction and the early years of the Welfare State;
Alternatives to War: Articulating Peace since 1815
International history is dominated by wars; historians and international relations scholars focus with an almost obsessive zeal on the causes and consequences of conflict. The intermittent periods of peace are rarely scrutinised, other than to assess the imperfections of peace treaties and thus extrapolate the seeds of future wars. This module offers a corrective to this tendency, taking as its focus the multifarious efforts that have been made since 1815 to substitute peace for war. These include diplomatic efforts (e.g. post-war conferences, legalistic mechanisms such as the UN, arms control protocols, etc.), and those advanced by non-state actors (e.g. national and transnational peace movements, anti-war protests, etc.). Taking a broad definition of the term peace , and focusing predominantly (though not exclusively) on Britain, this module revisits some of the pivotal episodes of the 19th and 20th centuries, exposing and interrogating the often complex relationship between war and peace that emerged, and thus arriving at an alternative history of the period.
A Green and (un) Pleasant Land? Society, Culture and the Evolution of the British Countryside

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

  • perceptions and popular representations of the British countryside
  • constructing a rural idyll
  • Englishness and national identity
  • exposing the reality of living and working conditions in the countryside
  • the (un) healthy countryside? - poverty, disease and insanity
  • the agency of the labouring population
  • the radical countryside
  • constructing gender in the British countryside
  • the leisured countryside
  • animal-human relations
  • the preservation and conservation movement 
  • the evolving relationship between town and country
  • public history: representations of the British countryside 
The past that won't go away: the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939
This module examines the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), its underlying causes and legacy for present-day Spain. Commencing with the establishment of the Second Republic in 1931, students will consider the principal historical forces and conditions that gave rise to the outbreak of war in 1936 in Spain. The module is delivered through a combination of lecture and student-led seminars in which students present their understanding of a specific historical event, theme or ideas through their study of primary and secondary sources, and respective historiographical debates. Thus, students will develop an in-depth understanding of the war through propaganda, myth, revolutionary ideology, anti-clerical and gendered violence, as well as, for example, the significance of Badajoz and Guernica. The conflict is also considered in the wider context of the ‘European Civil War’; specifically, the role of military interventions on the part of regimes in Italy, Germany, and the Soviet Union, and the influence of non-interventions by Britain and France. Using Helen Graham’s notion of the ‘past that won’t go away’, the module concludes with a reflection on the legacy of the Civil War in contemporary Spain.
From Revelation to ISIS: Apocalyptic Thought from the 1st to 21st Century
The need to infuse the present moment with apocalyptic meaning is an important theme in the history of ideas. Concerns about the day of judgement, Antichrist, the millennium and the end of time have a significant impact upon many different individuals and societies throughout history, finding expression in literature, architecture and a wide variety of artistic media. In some cases, apocalyptic anxiety directly influenced the actions of kings, emperors, ecclesiastical leaders and religious communities. Students will uncover systems of belief about the end of history and trace the impact of such traditions upon states, societies and religious institutions.
Plague, Fire and the Reimagining of the Capital 1600-1720: The Making of Modern London

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

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

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

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

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

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

To be confirmed in 2020*
Keep checking back for more information
*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

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

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

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

Additional costs

Fees and funding

There are no extra compulsory fees to be paid beyond your standard tuition fees. You'll be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to buy your own copies of core texts.

For voluntary placements (such as work experience or teaching in schools) you will need to pay your own travel and subsistence.

Year Abroad

Reduced fees (subject to change)

As a Year Abroad student, you will pay reduced fees, currently set at:

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

Costs incurred during the year abroad

These vary from country to country, but always include:

  • travel
  • accommodation
  • subsistence
  • insurance

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

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

There are a number of sources of funding:

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

Your access to funding depends on:

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

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

For more information please contact our Year Abroad Officers.

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

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

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

International/EU students

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

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

Careers

You will have achieved a good command of the languages you have studied and be able to use these in a variety of social and professional situations. You will also have acquired understanding of European and world history and will have developed sophisticated intellectual skills in analysing this field. Your year abroad will demonstrate to potential employers that you are adaptable and independent. Find out more about skills gained and career destinations of Modern European Studies students.

Find out more about skills gained and career destinations of Modern European Studies students.

Average starting salary and career progression

76.7% of undergraduates from the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary was £22,668*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

 

75.1% of undergraduates from the School of Humanities secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary was £22,180*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

82.9% of undergraduates from the School of Politics and International Relations secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £26,736.*

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020, using methodology set by The Guardian. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

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

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

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

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

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Related courses

The University has been awarded Gold for outstanding teaching and learning

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) 2017-18

Disclaimer

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