American Studies and English BA


Fact file - 2019 entry

BA Jt Hons American Studies and English
UCAS code
3 years full-time (available part-time)
4 years full-time including optional year abroad
A level offer
Required subjects
English at A level
IB score
32 (5 in English at Higher Level)
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places


This wide-ranging and diverse course combines the study of English and American literatures and cultures.
Read full overview

You will examine a broad range of prose, poetry and drama from the medieval period to the present, including the development of the novel in England and America. Authors you will study include Conrad, Joyce and Woolf in England, and Twain, Faulkner and Morrison in America.

You will have the opportunity to take optional modules in specialist areas, such as African American literature, English Language in a Global and Digital Age, Ethnic and Immigrant Writing,and American and British theatreand to also explore the development of transatlantic and postcolonial literary cultures. You can also choose from modules in American history, politics and popular culture to deepen your understanding of how literature has shaped society and vice versa.

At the beginning of year two you may apply to transfer to a four-year degree course with a year spent at a North American university, depending on the availability of places and your academic performance.

Year one

You will gain the core skills, knowledge and methods needed to work at degree level by taking a series of introductory modules to North American and English literatures and cultures. In American studies, you will explore key themes and debates in American literature, covering major authors, texts and literary movements from the early 1800s to the present day. You will also take a multidisciplinary module that explores the interaction of literature, media and the broader cultural scene in a Canadian context. In English, you will have a choice of three core modules from the areas of English language, modern English literature, medieval studies and drama.

Year two

You will advance your understanding of core themes studied in year one while developing your interests through more specialist optional modules. In American studies, you will continue to develop a multidisciplinary approach by taking a survey of North American Regions based on analysing diverse literary and cultural texts. You will also select from a range of specialised modules that enable you to study certain periods, events, authors or texts in more depth. In English, you will choose from a wide range of options to develop deeper understanding of the issues and critical approaches across at least two areas of the discipline, depending on what areas of literature, language and drama most interest you.

International study year (optional)

Students registered for the four-year programme attend a major North American university for one year.

Final year

The final year provides the opportunity to extend your analysis of specialist themes and develop your research skills through independent study. In American studies, you will choose from a wide selection of advanced-level modules in North American history, literature, culture and film. In English, you will choose from a range of advanced-level options enabling you to specialise in key areas. You will also write a dissertation in American studies on a topic of your choice and for which you have developed genuine aptitude and enthusiasm. As the culmination of your degree, the dissertation might be used to compare topics, writers or texts in North American and British cultures, or to examine literary forms, genres and cultures in their broadest sense in both national and international contexts. 

More information

See also the School of English.


Entry requirements

A levels: ABB, including English at A level

English language requirements 

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

Alternative qualifications

We recognise that potential students have a wealth of different experiences and follow a variety of pathways into higher education, so we treat applicants with alternative qualifications (besides A-levels and the International Baccalaureate) as individuals, and accept students with a range of less conventional qualifications including:

  • Access to HE Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma
  • BTEC Extended Diploma

This list is not exhaustive, and we consider applicants with other qualifications on an individual basis. The entry requirements for alternative qualifications can be quite specific; for example you may need to take certain modules and achieve a specified grade in those modules. Please contact us to discuss the transferability of your qualification.

For more information, please see the alternative qualifications page.

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, the University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.  


The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication 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. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

Typical year one modules


Canadian Literature, Film and Culture

An introduction to Canadian cultural studies, you’ll examine selected literary, film and visual texts from the 20th century. Topics studied will include Native culture, the emergence of cultural nationalism, popular culture, and Canada’s relationship to the U.S. You’ll spend around two hours per week in lectures and seminars, and two and a half hours per week in workshops, studying this module.

American Literature and Culture 1: To 1945 

An introductory survey of major texts, authors and developments in American literature. You will explore a range of forms (novels, short stories, autobiography and poetry) and issues (race, class, gender) as they have been dealt with by writers. Around four hours per week will be spent in lectures and seminars studying this module.

American Literature and Culture 2: Since 1945

You’ll study a selection of American fiction, poetry and drama, exploring changes in literary form, the rise of women’s and ethnic literatures, and the relationship between literature and its social and political contexts. You’ll spend around four hours per week in lectures and seminars for this module.


English modules

Your module choices in your first year will form the basis of your academic study across three of the following four main areas of study in the School at undergraduate level:

  • Literature, 1500 to the present
  • English Language and Applied Linguistics
  • Medieval Languages and Literatures
  • Drama and Performance

You are able to choose any three of the following four modules during your first year. These modules will give you firm foundations to pursue three areas of study in your second and final year:

Literature 1500 to the present

Studying Literature

The module Studying Literature introduces you to some of the core skills for literary studies, including skills in reading, writing, researching and presentation. The module addresses topics including close reading, constructing an argument, and handling critical material, as well as introducing you to key critical questions about literary form, production and reception. These elements are linked to readings of specific literary texts, focused on poetry and prose selected from the full range of the modern literary period (1500 to the present).

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

Learning objectives:

  • To introduce you to selected literary texts, to deepen your imaginative engagement and analytic response.
  • To provide you with a basis of knowledge, working methods and appropriate terminology for subsequent work at university level.
  • To provide you with knowledge and understanding of the literary, cultural and historical contexts for literature from the period 1500 to the present, and the relationship between period and genre.
English Language and Applied Linguistics

Language and context

The module Language and Context teaches you about the nature of language, as well as how to analyse it for a broad range of purposes, preparing you for studies across all sections of the School.

During the weekly workshops you will learn about levels of language analysis and description, from the sounds and structure of language, through to meaning and discourse. These can be applied to all areas of English study, and will prepare you for future modules. Weekly lectures and seminars provide the Context part of the module. In the lectures you will see how the staff here in the School of English put these skills of analysis and description to use in their own research. This covers the study of language in relation to the mind, literature, culture, society, and more. The seminars will then give you a chance to think about and discuss these topics further.

Learning objectives:

  • To provide you with methods of language analysis and description for each linguistic level (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, discourse)
  • To prepare you for conducting your own language research across your degree
  • To introduce you to the areas of research and study within the School, with particular focus on psycholinguistics, literary linguistics, and sociolinguistics
Medieval Languages and Literatures

Beginnings of English

The module Beginnings of English introduces you to the varied languages, literatures and cultures of medieval England (c.500-1500). You will read a variety of medieval texts which were originally written in Old English, Middle English and Old Norse. We study some texts in translation, but we also introduce you to aspects of Old and Middle English language to enable you to enjoy the nuance and texture of English literary language in its earliest forms. 

We will read texts in a variety of genres, from epic and elegy, to saga, romance and fable. We will discuss ideas of Englishness and identity, and learn about the production and transmission of texts in the pre-modern period. 

Learning objectives:

  • To introduce you to linguistic vocabulary and terminology.
  • To enable you to become proficient in reading Old English and Middle English.
  • To give you an understanding of the complexities of English grammar, past and present.
  • To give you an understanding of the origins of English, and its development over the medieval period.
  • To familiarise you with the themes and genre of medieval English literature. 
Drama and Performance

Drama, Theatre, Performance

The module Drama, Theatre, Performance explores the extraordinary variety of drama in the Western dramatic tradition. You will examine dramatic texts in relation to their historical context, moving from the theatre of ancient Greece, English medieval drama, the theatre of Shakespeare and his contemporaries, the Restoration stage, to nineteenth-century naturalism. In addition to texts produced by writers from Sophocles to Ibsen, you will also consider a variety of extra-textual features of drama, including the performance styles of actors, the significance of performance space and place, and the composition of various audiences. 

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

Learning objectives:

  • To provide you with an understanding of drama as a performance medium, in which real people and objects are presented to other people in real, shared space.
  • To introduce you to a range of historical performance conventions, including Ancient Greek tragedy and nineteenth century naturalism.
  • To enable you to recognise and analyse the varied elements which constitute performance.
  • To provide you with knowledge and understanding of the social, historical and cultural contexts of various play-texts.

Typical year two modules


North American Regions

This module will deploy the concept of "region" and, more broadly, "place" to explore key North American texts - primarily drawn from the spheres of film, television and literature. The notion of the "regional" will be applied expansively as well as conventionally to incorporate everything from the urban to the suburban/exurban, border territories and the transnational. Possible areas of study may include the American West, the Pacific North-West, New York City, the black inner city "ghetto", "mountain" people and the Appalachians, Hispanic-America, first nations, French-Canada, Texas, Chicago, New Orleans, California, and the transnational impact of extensive US Military occupations (post-war Japan, South Vietnam, 21st-century Iraq).


You will pick two modules from American Studies and choose three modules from across four sections in English.


North American Film and Television

This module examines the form and content of North American cinema and television in the 21st century and the forces and trends shaping the nature of American and Canadian films and television programmes. Topics for discussion will include the different film and broadcasting industries in the US and Canada, representation of the past in contemporary cinema and television, representations of technology, identity, gender, and race, and the Canada-US border. If you study this module you'll spend around two hours in lectures and seminars, and two and a half hours in film workshops, per week.


The American Pop Century

This module examines the history of American popular music in the 20th century, focusing on the major genres and exploring the artistic, cultural and political issues they raise. You will examine music's aesthetic qualities genre by genre, as well as key developments within the music industry, the ways in which commercial and technological changes have influenced the production and consumption of music, and the ways in which musicians and audiences use pop music to engage with American culture and society. You'll spend around four hours per week in lectures and seminars for this module.


The Contemporary American Novel

This module covers a representative sample of important literary fiction produced since 2000. It explores how writers have engaged with themes of race, class, gender, religion, labour and war, and the uses of historical revisionism, identity politics, and regionalism. The module covers a variety of narrative forms, genres and critical theories, from fictionalised life-writing and family sagas to speculative fiction and counter-historical narratives to transnational writing and war fiction. If you study this module, you'll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars.


African American History and Culture

This module examines African American history and culture from slavery to the present through a series of case studies that highlight forms of cultural advocacy and resistance. Examples may include the persistence of African elements in slave culture, the emergence of new artistic forms in art, religion and music during the segregation era, and the range and complexity of African American engagement with US public culture since the 1960s across art, literature and popular culture. You will spend three hours per week studying this module.


 American Radicalism

This module will examine American radicals since the American Revolution. 19th-century subjects will include the abolitionists, early feminism, utopian socialism, anarchism, and farmer populism. 20th-century subjects will include the Socialist Party in the 1910s, the Communist Party and the anti-Stalinist left in the 1930s, opponents of the Cold War, the 1960s New Left, Black Power militancy, and recent radicalisms, including the gay liberation movement, women's liberation, and resistance to corporate globalization. You will spend three hours per week studying this module.


The US and the World in the American Century: US Foreign Policy (1898 — 2008)

This module examines how America's involvement abroad has changed over time from the war of 1898 to the 21st century. It analyses how traditional political and diplomatic issues, the link between foreign and domestic policies, and the role of foreign actors and private organisations - from religious groups to NGOs - have shaped America's actions abroad.  It also explores the significance of race, gender, emotions, and religion in shaping US foreign policy. You will spend three hours per week studying this module.


American Violence: A History

This module analyses the patterns and prevalence of violence in the USA. It will consider theories about its origins in frontier settler societies, the relationship between violence and the gun control debate and the related issue of American ideological antipathy to state power. It will consider the celebration of violence as a source of conflict resolution and examine the US government's use of violence as an instrument of foreign policy. You will spend three hours per week studying this module.


 Immigration and Ethnicity in the United States

This course examines the history of immigration to the United States from Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. It traces the development of immigrant communities, cultures and identities from the 19th century to the present day. The module draws on historical, literary and cultural texts, with sources ranging from political cartoons, fiction and testimony to photography, documentary film, digital art and video performance. You will spend three hours per week studying this module.


A History of Crime and Punishment

This module explores the history of crime and punishment in the United States from the period of the US Civil War through to the post-World War II/Cold War years. It looks at the shift from public to 'private' punishments, including the early nineteenth century 'invention' of the penitentiary and development of 'modern' police and the emergence of distinct regional differences in rates of violent crime and official responses. You will spend three hours per week in lectures and seminars.


English Modules

Depending on your module choices in your first year, you will choose three modules in your second year in English that cover at least two areas of study:
Literature 1500 to the Present

From Talking Horses to Romantic Revolutionaries: Literature 1700-1830
This module introduces you to a range of literature written between 1700-1830. This was a dramatic and turbulent period in literary history where anything was possible and many roles were reversed. Writers produced texts about contemporary issues such as class, poverty, sexuality, slavery, and the city, but also had their eyes firmly on the past. They took every available opportunity to promote their own agendas and to savage and ridicule those of their political and literary opponents. You’ll examine a wide-range of literature considering the political, social and cultural contexts of the period.

Literature and Popular Culture
This module will give you an understanding of the relationship between literature and popular culture, as you explore works from across a range of genres and mediums such as prose fiction, poetry, comics, graphic novels, music, television and film. In addition to exploring topics such as aesthetics and adaptation, material will be situated within cultural, political and historical contexts allowing for the distinction between the literary and the popular.

Modern and Contemporary Literature
This module will familiarise you with relevant aesthetic, generic, and literary-historical strategies for tracing formal and thematic transformations in 20th and 21st century literature. Moving between genres, the module will unfold chronologically from modernism, through the inter-war years, and into the ‘contemporary scene’ up to the present day.

Shakespeare and Contemporaries on the Page
This module focuses on material written between 1580 and 1630 to provide you with an introduction to methods of reading early modern texts. Shakespeare’s poetry will be among the core texts; other canonical writers will include Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, Philip Sidney and John Donne. You’ll explore the practice of historicised readings of early modern texts and you’ll consider the related challenges and limitations. 

Victorian and Fin de Siècle Literature: 1830-1910
You will explore a wide variety of Victorian and fin-de-siècle literature, with examples from fiction, critical writing, poetry and drama. It will examine changes in literary forms and genres over this period, as well as looking at the contested transition between Victorianism and Modernism. The module is organised around a number of interrelated themes, to include empire and race, class and crime, identity and social mobility, gender and sexuality, and literature and consumerism. 

Texts Across Time
This module will consider key issues in the study of English language and world literature, locate language and literature in time and place, and extend your knowledge of the intellectual, political, historical, and cultural developments in language and literature.

English Languages and Applied Linguistics

Language in Society
This module provides a broad introduction to sociolinguistic theory. You will investigate:

  • the role that language has to play in constructing and reflecting cultural identities
  • theories of language variation across and within communities
  • the role of the English language in the world
  • the specific role of Standard English within British contexts

You will be introduced to both qualitative and quantitative approaches to the study of sociolinguistics, combining theoretical linguistics and practical methodological investigation.

Language Development
You’ll explore how English is learnt from making sounds as an infant through to adulthood. Topics relating to early speech development include: the biological foundations of language development, the stages of language acquisition and the influence of environment on development. Further topics which take into account later stages of development include humour and joke telling abilities, story-telling and conversational skills and bilingualism.

Literary Linguistics
Bridging the study of literature and language, this module offers training in the discipline of literary linguistics, also known as ‘stylistics’. There is a focus on the analysis of linguistic and narratological aspects of literary texts in order to show their linguistic patterns. You’ll also consider the effects of texts on the reader, including their significance, meaning and value. The module offers an opportunity for specialisation in preparation for year three modules in modern English language, particularly in the areas of stylistics, cognitive poetics and narratology. 

The Psychology of Bilingualism and Language Learning
This module will introduce you to theories and practice of second language learning, enabling you to develop an in-depth understanding of the process in various settings. Topics that are covered include: zone of proximal development, classroom interaction, collaborative learning, learning styles, and classroom methodology.

English Through Time
This module focuses on the development of the English language from before the arrival of Anglo-Saxon settlers in the 5th century to the present day. It offers students a thorough grounding in the changes that the language has undergone over this time. We will look at topics such as the development of writing, language contact and standardisation. An important theme running through the module is the relationship between the historical record and the political power of those who produced and preserved that record. 

Texts Across Time
This module will consider key issues in the study of English language and world literature, locate language and literature in time and place, and extend your knowledge of the intellectual, political, historical, and cultural developments in language and literature.

Medieval Languages and Literatures

Chaucer and his Contemporaries: c.1380-c.1420
In this module you’ll be introduced to the exceptionally rich period of writing in English at the end of the 14th and turn of the 15th century. It will focus on the so-called ‘Ricardian’ poets, Chaucer (selected Canterbury Tales, Parliament of Fowls, Legend of Good Women), Langland (excerpts from Piers Plowman), Gower (excerpts from Confessio Amantis) and the Gawain-poet (Patience). You’ll also discuss Thomas Hoccleve’s early poems, and the prose works of the female mystics Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe.

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

Old English: Reflection and Lament
This module explores the tradition that the poetry and prose of Old English often focuses on warfare and heroic action. You will study and analyse poems from the Exeter Book 'elegies' and also passages from Beowulf to explore this rich and rewarding genre.

English Through Time
This module focuses on the development of the English language from before the arrival of Anglo-Saxon settlers in the 5th century to the present day. It offers students a thorough grounding in the changes that the language has undergone over this time. We will look at topics such as the development of writing, language contact and standardisation. An important theme running through the module is the relationship between the historical record and the political power of those who produced and preserved that record.

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

Drama and Performance

Shakespeare and Contemporaries on the Stage
This module offers an in-depth exploration of the historical and theatrical contexts of early modern drama. This module invites students to explore the stagecraft of innovative and provocative works by Shakespeare and key contemporaries, such as Middleton, Johnson, and Ford (amongst others). You will explore how practical performance elements such as staging, props, costume and music shape meaning.

Stanislavski to Stelarc: Performance Practice and Theory
This module helps you develop your understanding of the theory and practice of theatre and performance from the beginnings of the 20th century through to the present day. Building on the work encountered in Introduction to Drama, you will move forward from naturalism to consider the work of influential theorists and practitioners such as Stanislavski, Brecht, Meyerhold, Barba, Schechner, Boal, Artaud, Berkoff, Grotowski, Jarry and the futurists, whose work has had a major impact on theatre and performance in the 20th and early 21st centuries.

Twentieth Century Plays
This module aims to provide you with an overview of key plays and performances from the 1890s to the present, placing those texts in their original political, social, and cultural contexts and considering their subsequent reception and afterlife. You’ll focus on the textual and performance effects created in those key texts, by writers such as Samuel Beckett and Edward Albee, and will be encouraged to situate those texts alongside the work of relevant theorists and practitioners.


Typical year three modules


Dissertation in EITHER English or American and Canadian Studies 

You will undertake an in-depth study into a chosen subject and produce either a 5-7,000 word or a 10-12,000 word dissertation. There may also be scope to write a project comparing topics within the fields of British and North American literature and culture.



American Madness: Mental Illness in History and Culture

Experiences of and ideas about madness, insanity, and mental illness have varied and changed radically within American history and culture. This module will survey and analyse these changes from the mid-19th century to the present. We will consider how and why medical authority,gender, and class have all impacted the way in which mental illness is understood, and consider the significance of changing approaches to treatment. Sources used on this interdisciplinary module range from medical accounts and psychiatric theory to memoir, fiction and film. The aim is to place representations of mental illness in their historical context, and to ask what they reveal about related ideas about identity, conformity, social care and responsibility.


The American Theatre

This module explores the main developments in North American drama from the late-18th century to the present day. It examines how different theatrical movements - melodrama, minstrelsy, the 'freak' show, expressionism, social realism, the musical - connect with major historical events such as the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression and the Cold War. The module includes practical workshops around the staging, acting, directing and promotion of specific plays. You will spend four hours per week studying this module.


Prohibition America

This module explores the United States’ bold but disastrous experiment with Prohibition during the period 1918 to 1933, with particular focus on crime, disorder and policing. We begin with the reasons for passage of the Eighteenth Amendment which outlawed the liquor trade, and examination of its impact on US society and culture during the 1920s. We shall consider the rise of organized crime, gangsters and G-men, and the expanding crime fighting role of the state. The module concludes with the federal crime crusade of the early 1930s and the inglorious end of Prohibition.

Ethnic and New Immigrant Writing in the United States

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


American Sexuality

This module examines Americans' differing attitudes toward sexuality over time. Representative topics may include marriage and adultery, homosexuality and heterosexuality, nudity, abortion, birth control, prostitution, free love, and rape. The module covers a range of debates about sexuality from colonial America's family-centred production and Puritanism to slavery, "miscegenation" and interracial sexuality, and contraceptive technologies including the pill. You will spend three hours per week studying this module.


Latino Cultures

Latino cultural expression will be examined, exploring genres, forms and sites involved in the production and consumption of Latino culture and its positioning within mainstream US society. You'll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars studying this module.


Contemporary Canadian Literature

Focusing on Canadian authors, this module examines literature published since 2000. It examines how the Canadian nation is imagined through key literary texts in an increasingly globalised world. Discussions will include contemporary Canadian literature's relationships to postcolonialism, globalisation, multiculturalism, Indigeneity, genre, and the US and 9/11. You will spend four hours per week studying this module.


Popular Music Cultures and Countercultures

This interdisciplinary module examines the role played by American popular music in countercultural movements. It focuses on the ways in which marginalised, subordinate or dissenting social groups have used popular music as a vehicle for self-definition and for re-negotiating their relationship to the social, economic and cultural mainstream. It explores how the mainstream has responded to music countercultures in ways that range from repression to co-optation. And it analyses how the music and the movements have been represented and reflected on in fiction, film, poetry, journalism and theory. A central concern of the module is to evaluate the effectiveness and potential of popular music as a socially-critical or oppositional force. The module is built around case studies of key issues and moments in American popular music history. One of the key issues is the debate over the ownership and use of African-American musical resources, from nineteenth-century minstrelsy to twenty-first century hip hop. Another is the function of commercial entertainment institutions in mediating between music subcultures, political countercultures, and the mainstream culture. Among the key moments examined are the folk revival and the 1930s Popular Front, rock 'n' roll and desegregation in the 1950s, rock music and the 1960s counterculture, and postmodernism and identity politics in the music of the MTV age.

 Recent Queer Writing


This module explores lesbian, gay, transgender and queer writing, focusing especially on the search for agency and the representation of gender and sexuality in selected contemporary texts. The majority of writers studied will be Canadian, although some American examples will also be included. The module is multi-generic, engaging with forms including novels, short fiction, life writing, poetry, drama and graphic narratives. Topics for discussion will include: 

  • LGBTQ sexuality; 
  • constructions of masculinity and femininity; 
  • the politics of representation: the extent to which writing can enable agency as subjects or citizens; 
  • intersections between race, ethnicity, class, nationality, religion, and the construction of gender and sexual identites 
  • writing for LGBTQ youth 
  • literature studies will be contextualized in relation to relevant debates in feminist, queer, post-colonial and transnational theories

Representative authors for study may include James Baldwin, Jane Rule, Dionne Brand, Dorothy Allison, Shyam Selvadurai, Tomson Highway, Leslie Feinberg, and Ivan Coyote.


In the Midst of Wars: The US and Vietnam

This module seeks to understand the course of American involvement in Vietnam — to explain why the nation ended up fighting a ruinous war there, to chart the long involvement of the US in Vietnamese life and politics after World War Two, and to assess its long-standing legacy in American politics and culture. It does so by looking at US policy, the reasons influencing US thinking, and the role that other international actors — the Vietnamese, the French, the British, the Soviets, the Chinese — played in the unfolding of events. It focuses on the decisions taken by a range of American presidents from FDR through to Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. It also looks at the wider context, including the emergence of the Cold War, the onset of decolonization, domestic political pressures, public protests and the powerful anti-war movement. We will also look at the war’s legacy and how the memory of Vietnam has shaped perceptions of the use of American force overseas and how it has informed the nation’s politics and culture.

History of the Civil Rights Movement

The module studies the development of the African-American protest movement from the Second World War to the early 1970s. Students will consider the historiographical debates which surround this topic and will be introduced to a variety of source materials and methodological approaches. There will be a particular focus on photographs alongside other primary sources. You'll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars.


English options 

Depending on your module choices in your first and second year, you will choose three modules in your final year in English that cover at least two areas of study.

Literature 1500 to the Present

Depending on your module choices in your first and second year, you will choose three modules in your final year in English that cover at least two areas of study.

  • The Self and the World: Writing in the Long Eighteenth Century
  • Contemporary Fiction
  • Making Something Happen: Twentieth Century Poetry and Politics
  • Single Author Study
  • Dark Futures, Tainted Pasts: Dystopian and Gothic Fictions
  • Reformation and Revolution: Early Modern literature and drama 1588-1688
  • Island and Empire
  • Henry James and Oscar Wilde
English Language and Applied Linguistics
Depending on your module choices in your first and second year, you will choose three modules in your final year in English that cover at least two areas of study.
  • Language and the Mind
  • Advanced Stylistics
  • Discourses of Health and Work
  • Language and Feminism
  • Teaching English as a Foreign Language
Medieval Languages and Literatures

Depending on your module choices in your first and second year, you will choose three modules in your final year in English that cover at least two areas of study.

  • English Place-Names
  • The Literature of the Anglo-Saxons
  • Dreaming the Middle Ages: Visionary Poetry in Scotland and England
  • The Viking Mind
Drama and Performance

Depending on your module choices in your first and second year, you will choose three modules in your final year in English that cover at least two areas of study.

  • Theatre Making
  • Changing Stages: Theatre Industry and Theatre Art
  • Modern Irish Literature and Drama
  • Performing the Nation: British Theatre since 1980
  • Reformation and Revolution: Early Modern literature and drama 1588-1688
  • Writing for Performance


You will have a broad knowledge of the diversity of American and English literatures across time. You will have acquired the writing, presentation, and communication skills much sought after by today’s employers and will be able to apply your skills of critical thinking and independent research in the workplace. If you spent a year abroad, you will have developed greater cultural awareness and resourcefulness, initiative and independence in responding to new situations. Your ability to work across the different fields and disciplines of the joint honours degree programme will demonstrate your adaptability and prepare you for a wide range of professions. 

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 92.2% of undergraduates in the School of English who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £19,061 with the highest being £28,000.*

In 2016, 94.2% of undergraduates in the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £21,336 with the highest being £31,000.*

Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Careers support and advice

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.  


Fees and funding

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 £2,000 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

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.


This course includes one or more pieces of formative assessment.

How to use the data

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.


exploring the past and shaping the future
+44 (0) 115 951 5559 Make an enquiry


Admissions Tutor, School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies  






Student Recruitment Support Hub

The University of Nottingham
King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

t: +44 (0) 115 951 5559
w: Frequently asked questions
Make an enquiry