History and East European Cultural Studies BA


Fact file - 2019 entry

BA Jt Hons History and East European Cultural Studies
UCAS code
3 years full-time (available part-time)
A level offer
Required subjects
B in history at A level
IB score
32 (5 in history at Higher Level) 
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places


This course provides the opportunity to combine your interests in history with a focus on Eastern Europe, and in particular the vibrant and dynamic cultures of Russia and South East Europe.
Read full overview

This three-year degree is aimed at students who wish to combine their interests in history with a focus on Eastern Europe, and in particular the vibrant and dynamic cultures of Russia and South East Europe.

In history you will be able to choose from an extensive range of modules, including options in Russian and Eastern European history. In the East European cultural studies part of your degree you will study the societies, histories, politics and cultures of the territory of Eastern Europe and Russia from the Byzantine period to the 21st century, beginning with modules that approach study of these cultures at introductory level, and specialising as your studies progress. Optional modules include topics in the literature, cinema, popular culture and history of Russia and South-East Europe, with a particular focus on the region that was formerly Yugoslavia. If you wish, you may learn a Slavonic language: Russian and Serbian/Croatian are both offered from beginners’ level. Language study is optional and this degree does not include a year abroad.

By the end of your course you will have acquired a breadth of knowledge across the periods of history you have chosen to study, as well as a thorough grounding in the techniques and theories used by historians. You will also offer specialist knowledge of the histories and cultures of Russia and South-East Europe, which are increasingly important contexts for international diplomacy, politics and business. Your transferable skills will include the ability to plan and carry out research, to analyse texts and other information critically and to communicate and present ideas effectively. You may also be able to offer expertise in a less widely taught language.

Year one 

In History, you will take the core module Learning History which introduces you to the skills and methodologies of historical research, together with modules from the early medieval period to the 20th century. In East European Cultural Studies you will take Nation, Myth, Identity, a core module introducing key issues and concepts in the study of Russian and Slavonic cultures, histories and literatures, as well as selecting from a range of further introductory modules. You may choose to begin learning Russian or Serbian/Croatian.

Year two

The core element in History is provided by the module The Contemporary World since 1945, which 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.

The range of options in East European Cultural Studies at this level includes a broad coverage of cultural studies, literature and history. You will also be able to start or continue with the study of Russian or Serbian/Croatian.

Year three

In History you will select a Special Subject as well as selecting from a wide range of specialist optional modules. In East European Cultural Studies you will be encouraged to specialise in subjects of particular interest to you. You may also continue your study of the Slavonic language you began in Year One or Year Two, and/or take a fast-track module in Serbian/Croatian.

More information 

See also the Department of History.


Entry requirements

A levels: ABB, including B in history 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 requirements 

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


Learning History

This module will provide you with the learning skills necessary to make the most of your studies in history. You will be introduced to different approaches in the study of history as well as to different understandings of what history is for. 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, and enhance the skills listed. You will spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.

Nation, Myth, Identity: Introduction to Russian and Slavonic Studies

This module introduces students to important areas and topics in Russian and Slavonic studies, examining important aspects of the histories and cultures of the region, as well as aspects of the languages, cultures and literary traditions. You will learn to analyse a wide range of cultural phenomena, including pictures, music, film, literary texts and other kinds of written sources.



Modern Russian Literature: Texts, Contexts, Approaches

This year-long module introduces Russian literature of the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries through study of texts by canonical writers such as Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Zamiatin, Bulgakov and Akhmatova, as well as by some exciting contemporary authors. Alongside insights into the changing culture of Russia over this dynamic period of history, the module equips students with skills for analysing and discussing prose, poetry and drama.

The Clash of Empires: Introduction to Balkan Cultural Identities

This module introduces you to the cultural history of the South Slavs and the legacy of great empires such as the Ottomans, and the Habsburgs on the Balkan peninsula. By focusing on the visual cultures of the three key religious traditions – Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Islamic – the module explores the common features and differences in alphabet, architecture, sculpture and painting across the region. You will learn how living under empires informed the self-understanding of Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks and other South Slav nations.

From Tsarism to Communism: Introduction to Russian History and Culture

This module introduces the development of Russian history and culture, starting with the reign of Peter the Great (1682-1725), following the development of Russia into a modern state through to the end of the 19th century, and ending with a survey of the Bolshevik Revolution and the early Soviet period (1917-c.1928). Alongside the history of Russia, students learn about aspects of Russian culture relevant to different periods of its history (such as painting, architecture, music, folklore and religious beliefs)

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’ll 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’ spending 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’ll spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars.

Typical year two modules


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 and political and social movements. Attention is paid to political, economic and social forces spending five hours per week in lectures and seminars.



Screening Russia: Film and Society from the Tsars to Putin

In this module you will acquire an in-depth understanding of developments in Russian society and culture as reflected in popular and influential films from around 1900 to the present day. You’ll examine how films are constructed technically and develop skills in analysing cinema in its historical and social contexts. You’ll spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars.

Repression and Resistance: Dissidents and Exiles in Russian Culture
This module provides you with an introduction to the themes of dissidence and exile, central notions in Russian literature, culture and thinking, using the examples of the life and work of four major Russian writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Pushkin, Dostoevsky, Nabokov, Bulgakov). You will learn the theory of different literary forms such as verse narrative, novel, short story and drama.
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. In particular, you’ll learn to interpret original written sources and icons and will master the basic tools for conducting research in the field, spending around three hours in lectures and seminars each week. 

Serbian and Croatian Literature

You’ll examine major literary movements in Serbia and Croatia during the 20th century, from Modernism to the socially engaged literature of the 1930s, Socialist Realism, literary politics under the Communists in Yugoslavia and the emergence of critical literature in the 1980s and 1990s. You’ll also undertake a textual analysis of representative works from 20th century literature; for example, works by Milos Crnjanski, Ivo Andrić, Miroslav Krleža, Danilo Kiš and Slobodan Selenić. You’ll spend around two hours per week studying in lectures and seminars.

History of Yugoslavia and Successor States since 1941 

The aim of this module is to examine developments in the political, social and diplomatic history of Yugoslavia after 1941 leading towards an understanding of the reasons behind the collapse of the country and subsequent violence in the 1990s. You’ll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.


Plague, Famine and Flood: Crisis and Change in English Society, 1250-1540

The later middle ages was a period of stark contrasts. From a population explosion and dynamic economic expansion at the end of the thirteenth century through the dark years of famine and plague of the fourteenth century, to the social and economic upheavals of the fifteenth century, this was a world that contemporaries believed had been turned upside down. This module examines how medieval society weathered these changes and the ways historians have tried to explain them. Translated medieval documents, which allow students to get as close as possible to the medieval people themselves, are a central element of the module. 


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 first part of the course considers the British Caribbean, with a particular focus on the transition from slavery and the period of instability in the decades that followed. The second part focuses 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”). The final part discusses Britain’s participation in the “Scramble for Africa” and the rise of “popular imperialism” with the 2nd Anglo-Boer War


Soviet State and Society, 1917-1991

This module examines political, social and economic transformations in the Soviet Union from the October Revolution of 1917 to Gorbachev’s attempted reforms and the collapse of the state in 1991. You’ll look at Russia both from the top down, state-building strategies; leadership and regime change, economic and social policy formulation and implementation, and from the bottom up, societal developments and the changing structures and practices of everyday life. You’ll spend four hours per week in lectures and seminars.


Germany in the Age of Extremes, 1890s-1990

The module analyses the formation of the modern German state through the combined processes of nation-building and industrialization, and the multiple tensions that characterized it in the decades following unification: class conflict, ethnic tensions and problems of the constitution. The module examines how the First World War and the German revolution intensified these tensions, which proved incapable of resolution in the period of democracy that followed. It goes on to consider the crisis of the democratic state, the rise of National Socialism and its unleashing of war and genocide. Finally, it analyses the de-nazification and division of the country after the Second World War, the politics of memory in the 1950s and 60s and the reconciliation between West Germany and Eastern Europe in the early 1970s.


Typical year three modules

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

This module introduces you to the construction of national and collective memory of the Second World War in Soviet and Russian culture and society. You’ll focus on contemporary and subsequent artistic and social responses to the experience of war, but also look at individual acts of remembering (diaries, reports, letters) in the context of a wider cultural memory. The module is conducted in English and you’ll spend around three hours per week in lectures and seminars. 

The History of the Byzantine Empire, 300-1453

This module offers advanced study of the history of the Byzantine Empire from the reign of Constantine I to the fall of Constantinople. The course is structured chronologically, focussing on particular themes for each period: religion and heresy in late antiquity; warfare and the arts in middle Byzantium; and politics and international relations in late Byzantium. In an average week you’ll spend around three hours in lectures and seminars on this module.

Serbian and Croatian Cinema

This module focuses on the representation of Balkan Roma in Serbian and Croatian cinema. It examines the ways in which the themes, motifs and narrative structures of films combine to produce semantically complex interfaces through which they also reflect the cultural circumstances of their production. The films examined include feature films and documentaries. Students learn to apply theories from film studies (montage, framing and acting) and cultural theory (including postcolonialism and trauma studies) and also learn about Romani life and culture.


Nabokov’s Fiction

This module examines the life and work of Vladimir Nabokov, one of the most important writers of twentieth-century Russian literature. The main focus is on Nabokov’s works from his Russian-language period (1919-40), but examples of his later work written in English (1940-77) are also studied.


Dissertation/Long Essay 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 selected for Long Essays and Dissertations include Mongol rule in medieval Russia, the poetic mythology of Mayakovsky and adaptations of US comedies for Russian television.   

From Racial State to Reconstruction: Women and Gender Relations in Germany, 1939-45

This module adopts a perspective of women´s and gender history to explore the history of Germany in the period from the beginning of the National Socialist dictatorship up to the division of Germany into two post-war states in 1949. It will examine National Socialist discourses, policies and practices in relation to women and gender relations by drawing on records of public authorities and institutions concerned with educating and training the female population in line with Nazi precepts, mobilizing labour for the Nazi war economy, sustaining home front morale, and combating 'threats to the race'. You’ll have a weekly three hour seminar to study for this module.


Italy at War, 1935-45

Spending three hours per week in seminars and tutorials, you will be given a framework to understand the experience of Italians, and to a lesser degree their enemies, allies, and collaborators, during the military conflicts in the long decade 1935–45, as well as knowledge of the background factors that shaped these experiences.

The Missing Dimension: Intelligence and International history in the 20th Century
The history of secret intelligence was once called the ‘missing dimension’ in the study of politics and international relations. Today, it has established itself as a separate field of historical enquiry. This module will examine how the study of secret intelligence has informed and sometimes even altered our understanding of some of the major political and international crises of the 20th century. You will spend three hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.


By the end of this course you will have developed a variety of transferable skills including the ability to communicate effectively, study independently, and to develop a coherent argument. You will have both broad and specialist understanding of Russian and Eastern European histories, cultures and societies. If you have chosen to study a Slavonic language, you will have achieved a foundation knowledge, desirable to employers. You will have a sound understanding of the theories and techniques used by historians and will have experience of undertaking in-depth work with primary sources.

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, 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.


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