English and History BA

   
   
  

Fact file - 2019 entry

Qualification
BA Jt Hons English and History
UCAS code
QV31
Duration
3 years full-time (available part-time)
A level offer
AAA-AAB 
Required subjects
A in English literature or language (or combined), and history at A level; plus a GCSE at 7 (A) or above, in English
IB score
36-34; 6 in in English and History at Higher Level
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places
16 
School/department
 
We are still currently taking applications for 2018 entry

Overview

This course combines the study of history with the opportunity to study English language, literature and drama from old English to the present day.
Read full overview

This course combines the study of history with the opportunity to study English language, literature and drama from old English to the present day.

In history, you will begin with a general outline of European and world history. In year two you will study more advanced themes in history, selecting from an extremely wide range of options covering topics from the Anglo-Saxons through to the late 20th century. In year three you will have the option of writing a dissertation in history. 

Year one 

You gain familiarity with the practices of working at degree level in both subjects. In English, you have a choice of three core modules from the areas of English language and applied linguistics, English literature 1500 to the present, medieval languages and literatures, and drama and performance.

The core history module, Learning History, develops skills and introduces methodologies. Students reflect on the nature of history as a discipline and develop the skills associated with writing and discussing history.

You will also choose from a range of options covering European and world history.

Year two

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.

The core element in history is provided by the Contemporary World since 1945 module, which deals not just with global developments, political and economic, social and cultural, environmental and demographic, but also explores key historical debates concerning the immediate origins of the world in which we now live. In addition, you will be able to select more specific optional modules from an extensive menu, covering an extremely wide chronological and geographical range.

Year three

You choose from a wide range of final year option modules enabling you to specialise in key areas of English. You will also undertake an individual research project.

In history, you will select a special subject, focusing on a specialised area of history, and one optional module.

More information 

See also the Department of History.
 

Entry requirements

A levels: AAA-AAB, including A in English literature or language (or combined), and A in history at A level; plus four GCSEs at 7 (A) or above, including English

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 recognize that applicants follow a variety of pathways into higher education, and accordingly we might accept applicants with alternative qualifications (besides A-levels and the International Baccalaureate). These can include:

  • Access to HE Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma
  • BTEC HND/HNC
  • BTEC Extended Diploma

Students with queries about the applicability of their qualification are encouraged to contact us.

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.  
 

Modules

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
Compulsory English options

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:

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

 
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.

 
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.
 

You will also need to take this core history module:

Learning History

This module will provide you with the skills necessary to make the most of your studies in history.

You will be introduced to different approaches and perspectives in the study of history. The module also encourages you to reflect on the place, role and function of history within society.

The module aims to:

    • encourage more effective learning
    • bridge the transition from school or college to university
    • prepare you for more advanced work in the discipline
    • enhance skills.

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

 


Optional

Introduction to the Medieval World: 500-1500

This module provides an introduction to medieval European history in the period 500–1500. It offers a fresh and stimulating approach to the major forces instrumental in the shaping of politics, society and culture in Europe. Through a series of thematically linked lectures and seminars, you will be introduced to key factors determining changes in the European experience over time, as well as important continuities linking the period as a whole. Amongst the topics to be considered are: political structures and organization; social and economic life and cultural developments. You will have a one hour lecture and one hour seminar each week.

 
From Reformation to Revolution: An Introduction to Early Modern History, 1500–1789

This module introduces you to major issues in the social, political and cultural history of Europe in the early modern period by analysing demographic, religious, social and cultural changes that took place between 1500 and 1789. You will examine the tensions produced by warfare, religious conflict, the changing relationships between rulers, subjects and political elites, trends in socio-economic development and the discovery of the ‘New World’. You will spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars.

 
Roads to Modernity: An Introduction to Modern History, 1789-1945

In the first semester, the module provides a chronology of modern history from c.1789–1945 which concentrates principally 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. The second semester will look more broadly at economic, social and cultural issues, such as industrialisation, urbanisation, changing artistic forms and ideological transformations in order to consider the nature of modernity. You will spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars.

 
 
Typical year two modules

Core

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, with students spending five hours per week in lectures and seminars.

 


English options
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
Each of the modules in this area of study will offer a comprehensive introduction to the changes in the genres of prose, poetry and drama across the period studied, placing the works encountered in the context of key aesthetic, social and political/historical contexts.  

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 language and applied linguistics
Building on the study of language undertaken in year one, these modules provide the exciting opportunity for you to explore aspects of language use in the mind, in society and in literature.

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
In all of these medieval language and literature modules you will develop your understanding of language change and variety, registers, styles, modes and genres, as they appear in medieval texts, and become expert in reading with reference to wider medieval cultures.

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

Drama and performance
These modules gives you the opportunity to develop approaches from year one by studying 20th and 21st century theatre: by exploring key critical approaches to drama in theory and practice, and by focusing on a key period in the development of our nation's theatre.

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.
 

For a sample of typical modules from each area please see our single honours BA English listing.

 
Typical year three modules

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.

The modules we offer are inspired by the research interests of our staff and as a result may change for reasons of, for example, research developments or legislation changes. You will be able to choose modules based on the indicative topics below. 

Literature, 1500 to the present

    • 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

    • Teaching English as a Foreign Language
    • Language and the Mind
    • Advanced Stylistics
    • Discourses of Health and Work
    • Language and Feminism

Medieval languages and literatures

    • 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

    • 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

Joint honours students have the option to complete a dissertation in the School of English

Joint Honours students have the option of writing an individual research project in their final year in the School of English.  This will give you the chance to work on a one-to-one basis with a supervisor on an agreed area of study to produce a detailed and sustained piece of writing. This can be on a topic of language, literature or performance, or there is the option of undertaking a project-based dissertation, which will suit those students interested in applied or 'hands on' aspects of English as a discipline. The topics available build on the School’s engagement with local theatres and literacy projects.

History options

Dissertation

This module involves the in-depth study of a historical subject from which you will create a 10,000 word dissertation. You will have regular meetings with your supervisor and a weekly one hour lecture to guide you through this task. 

 
 
 
 

Careers

A course in English and history fosters many vital skills in communication and professional practice. Researching and presenting your work involves a high degree of critical thinking and creativity, and you will also learn how to be careful and precise in carrying out analysis of a range of subjects.

You will learn to plan your work, and develop the qualities of self-discipline and self-motivation that are essential to any form of graduate employment. We will help you develop your ability to research and process a large amount of information quickly as well as to present and communicate in an articulate and effective way.

A degree in English and history from The University of Nottingham shows potential employers that you are an intelligent, hard-working individual who is bright and flexible enough to undertake any form of specific career training.

Graduate career destinations

Graduates in English and history, as with many arts graduates, find themselves faced with many choices when it comes to selecting a career. No matter what your initial choice may be, you will find that the skills and knowledge that you have developed during your degree will have equipped you for the demanding and often highly changeable nature of the 21st-century workplace.

Careers of our recent graduates have included:

  • broadcasting
  • publishing
  • TV research
  • Journalism
  • advertising and marketing
  • exhibition managers
  • acting
  • playwriting
  • librarianship
  • specialist archive and collection work
  • communications officers for charities, political organisations, government
  • business, banking, accountancy, law and insurance
  • social work
  • local and central government administration and politics
  • primary or secondary school teachers
  • teachers of English as a foreign language
  • university lecturers
  • public relations
  • events management
  • human resource management
  • financial services

Some students may decide that another year (or more) of study may give them an edge when it comes to seeking out a career and may, for example, choose to undertake postgraduate study or begin teacher training.

Careers support and advice

We have a Careers and Employability Service on campus, with dedicated  School of English support. The service works with students individually and in groups to deliver an extensive range of services such as:

  • careers advice
  • CV reviews
  • drop-in sessions
  • graduate job fairs
  • help finding the latest vacancies listings.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 93.2% of undergraduates in the School of Humanities who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £20,205 with the highest being £38,000.*

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.*

*Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates 2017. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

 
 

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.

Assessment

This course includes one or more pieces of formative assessment. 

How to use the data

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.

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