Hispanic Studies and History BA


Fact file - 2019 entry

BA Jt Hons Hispanic Studies and History
UCAS code
4 years full-time/year 3 out (available part-time)
A level offer
Open to beginners and A level students of Spanish
Required subjects
B in history plus B in your post-A level language, if applicable. No language qualification is required for the beginners' pathway.
IB score
32; including 5 in history at Higher Level, and 5 at Higher Level or 6 in Standard Level (B programme) in Spanish, if applicable. 
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places
25 places across RV11, RV21, VR14
Modern Languages and Cultures


This course offers you the opportunity to combine studies in the language, literature, history and culture of Spanish with a wide range of modules in history.
Read full overview

This course, combining history with degree-level study in Spanish language and culture, is open to beginners in Spanish as well as post-A level students. Beginners’ Spanish students follow an intensive language course designed to take them to degree level within four years. Post-A level students in Spanish take advanced classes in Spanish alongside beginners’ Portuguese in year one, after which Portuguese is optional. Absolute beginners, GCSE, AS, or A level students in Spanish are all warmly invited to apply.

On this course you will normally divide your time equally between the two subjects. In history, project work is introduced in the first year and developed through to the final year when you will undertake a year-long special subject study based on primary historical sources. In Hispanic Studies, you will study Spanish and aspects of the history, culture, cinema and literature of Spain and Spanish America. If you have an A level in Spanish, you will take beginners’ Portuguese in year one and will have the option of continuing with Portuguese language beyond your first year and studying aspects of the histories, cultures and literatures of the Lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) world, including Portugal, Brazil and Lusophone Africa.

Year one 

In Hispanic Studies, both beginners’ and post-A level students will begin a structured course in Spanish to take you to degree level. Students entering with A-level Spanish will also begin the study of Portuguese. Alongside the language modules, you will be introduced to aspects of modern Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American literature, culture and history. The history core is Learning History, a skill and methodology based module to help reflection on the nature of history as a discipline and develop skills required for the writing and debating of history.

Year two

In Hispanic Studies, you will develop knowledge of Spanish (and for those who opt to continue, Portuguese) to prepare for the year abroad and deepen your knowledge of more specialist aspects of modern Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American literature, culture and history. The core element in history is provided by the Contemporary World since 1945, 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

Your third academic year is spent in Spain and/or Spanish America doing one of the following:

  • studying at a university
  • working as a language teaching assistant
  • doing a work placement. 

If you intend to carry on with Portuguese after year two you may also spend the year in Portugal and/or Brazil.

Options available to you may depend on the details of the Brexit settlement negotiated by the UK government. For more information, see our Year Abroad page and the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies statement on Brexit and our year abroad provision.

Year four

In Hispanic Studies, you will build on your language acquisition in year three to develop your language skills to degree level, and will select specialist options study from a range of topics. In history, you will select a special subject and one optional module.

More information 

See also the School of History.

Entry requirements

A levels: ABB, including B in history plus B in your post-A level language, if applicable. No language qualification is required for the beginners' pathway.

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



Spanish 1

This module will combine revision of grammar with intensive exposure to a variety of types and registers of written and spoken Spanish, concentrating on appropriate thematic areas. It will consolidate and build on basic written, aural and oral language skills through spending three hours per week in lectures and seminars. 



Spanish 1 - Beginners

This module is designed to take students from absolute beginners to a level of written and aural comprehension, writing and speaking skills roughly commensurate with A-level. At the end of the course, students should be able to comprehend and respond to written and aural texts over a comprehensive range of current affairs, cultural and every day topics and engage in everyday social conversation. You will spend five hours per week in lectures studying for this module.



Introduction to Literature in Spanish

You’ll read a series of key texts from Spain and Spanish America. Its purpose is to impart an essential body of literary-historical and cultural knowledge relating to the main periods, genres and conventions of literature in Spanish from the Middle Ages to the modern period. You’ll spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.



Portuguese 1

This module aims to introduce you to the basic structures of Portuguese, to enable you by the end of the course to be able to comprehend a variety of texts on everyday life and current affairs in written Portuguese, to be able to conduct an elementary conversation on everyday matters, to be able to produce basic written texts in Portuguese covering everyday issues and to be able to comprehend basic spoken Portuguese in certain situations appropriate for learners at this stage. You will spend three hours per week in lectures studying for this module.

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 the functions served by engagement with the past. 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.



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 spend one hour per week in lectures and one hour in seminars studying for this module.

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


Spanish 2

This module will build on grammatical knowledge and communication skills developed in Spanish 1. Written classes will concentrate on developing essay writing skills in Spanish using a range of Spanish texts as stimuli. Special attention will be given to developing complex sentence structures and rhetorical devices. Laboratory classes will use a range of contemporary audio-visual materials from Spanish and Latin-American.



Modern Spanish and Spanish American Literature and Film

This module explores a cultural period in the Hispanic world characterised by profound social change and the emergence of major world-figures of modern art (e.g. Picasso). It is structured around key literary and artistic movements from Spain and Spanish America from the early nineteenth century to the latter part of the twentieth, movements such as Romanticism, Realism, Symbolism-Decadence/Modernismo, the Avant-garde, and Modernism. You’ll spend two hours per week in classes. 

Hispanic Visual Culture

In this module you will be given a general introduction to cinema and painting in the Hispanic and Lusophone worlds. In the first semester you will be introduced to painting in Spain, Portugal, and Latin America from the late 15th century to the early 19th century with an emphasis on how to analyse paintings and understand the styles and contexts from which paintings emerge. In the 2nd semester you will examine contemporary cinema from Spain and Latin America addressing questions of style, socio-historical context and narrative context. In this module you will have two hours of classes per week.

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.


And for students who, having done Portuguese in year one, decide to carry it into year two:

Portuguese 2

In this module you will develop linguistic skills acquired from the beginners’ Portuguese module taken in year one (Portuguese 1). The module aims to provide you with a more rigorous understanding of grammar and enable you to express yourself in Portuguese. Your Oral and Aural skills will be encouraged through spoken and written comprehension exercises and a more extensive use of vocabulary. You will have three hours per week of classes in this module.

Discoveries, Empire and Colonies in the Lusophone World

This module brings together the histories and cultures of key regions of the world in which Portugal establishes varying degrees of colonial rule between the 16th and 20th centuries. In this module you will examine the historical background to the age of Discoveries against which Portugal emerged as a leader in maritime exploration and European Imperialism. You will also examine the historical and political events of Portuguese colonialism and imperialism in Africa and Brazil, with an emphasis on understanding the political and social significance of cultural production in developing countries. In this module you will have two hours of classes per week.

Nation Building and National Identities in the Lusophone World

In this module you will be introduced to some of the major texts of the Portuguese-speaking world. You will examine the ways in which ideas of nationhood and national identity have been expressed and constructed through cultures of the Lusophone world. You will study the ways in which cultural production is embedded in the formation of nationhood and ideas about national identity and therefore culture are examined through its political and historical context. For this module you will have one two-hour lecture each week.



Heroes and Villains in the Middle Ages

The module compares and contrasts key historical, legendary and fictional figures to examine the development of western medieval values and ideologies such as monasticism, chivalry and kingship. It explores how individuals shaped ideal types and how they themselves strove to match medieval archetypes. The binary oppositions between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are explored through study of the ‘bad king’, and the creation of villains such as the Jew. You will spend four hours per week in lectures and seminars.

The Crusades

This module addresses evidence for crusader motivation and experience through sources relating to crusading activity in Europe and the Middle East from the late eleventh century to the mid- thirteenth century. It seeks to understand how crusaders saw themselves and their enemies, their experiences and activity on crusade and as settlers, and how this horrifying yet enduringly fascinating process has been interpreted historically. You will have five hours per week in lectures and seminars.

The Venetian Republic, 1450-1575

This module explores the nature of the Venetian Republic in the later fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It examines the constitution, its administrative and judicial system, its imperial and military organisation, but will above all focus on the city and its inhabitants itself. The module will discuss the enormous cultural dynamism of the city, especially the visual arts from the Bellini to Tintoretto and Veronese, changing urban fabric, the role of ritual and ceremony, the position of the Church, and class and gender. You will spend four hours each week in lectures and seminars for this module.

De-Industrialisation: A Social and Cultural History, 1970-1990

This module examines the social and cultural impact of economic change in three traditional industrial regions in the UK, Germany and the US in the 1970s and 1980s. It takes thematic approaches, exploring topics including: overlaps and differences between Contemporary History and the Social Sciences; change and decline in traditional industries such as coal, steel and shipbuilding; political responses to industrial change, with a particular focus on industrial conflict over closures, among others. You will spend four hours per week in lecture and seminars.

Soviet State and Society

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 will 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 will spend four hours per week in lectures and seminars.

Year abroad

Your third academic year is spent in Spain and/or Spanish America doing one of the following:

  • studying at a university
  • working as a language teaching assistant
  • doing a work placement. 

If you intend to carry on with Portuguese after year two you may also spend the year in Portugal and/or Brazil.

Options available to you may depend on the details of the Brexit settlement negotiated by the UK government. For more information, see our Year Abroad page and the School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies statement on Brexit and our year abroad provision.

Typical year four modules


Spanish 3

This is a module for all students of Spanish language, and will consist of three hours per week of oral work and writing skills. Recognising that significant progress will have been made in colloquial and informal language skills during the Year Abroad, this module intends to introduce you to a more formal and sophisticated register of spoken and written Spanish using print, off-air and internet sources.



Civil War and Memory Wars in Contemporary Spain

This module will give you an understanding of the origins of the Spanish Civil War, the character of the war itself, the factors which determined its outcome, and the implications of that outcome for Spanish history since 1939. The module will also consider the legacy of this period of history in contemporary Spanish politics and culture. You’ll have one two-hour seminar each week to study for this module.

Spanish American Narrative

You will explore the work of key writers in 20th Century Spanish America, all of whom bear the recognisable imprint of literary Modernism. You will closely study two writers of what has become known as the ‘Boom’, (namely, Gabriel García Márquez and Julio Cortázar); and three precursors of that generation (Jorge Luis Borges, Alejo Carpentier and Juan Rulfo). The module will examine the ways in which they make use of myth, the fantastic and experimental narrative techniques to write about history, traditional, popular and/or mass culture, gender and sexuality. You will have one two-hour class each week.

Exotic Iberia

This module will look at representations of Spain and Portugal in European literature, travel writing, opera and painting from the late eighteenth-century onwards. It will examine the construction of an "exotic", Romanticised "other" Iberia in works of art, music and literature which are as popular today as they were over a century ago and, to some extent, still inform perceptions of European Hispanic identity among non-specialists. You will be trained to compare and contrast cultural production over a range of genres and disciplines such as opera, painting, literature and to inform your discussion with appropriate elements of cultural and historical context. You will be enabled to analyse the manipulation of cultural stereotypes and offer critical assessments of the impact and derivation of these manipulations.

Advanced Spanish Translation

This module offers coaching and practice in high-level translation from Spanish to English. You will work with a variety of texts over the semester, exploring different registers in Spanish and English, and equivalences between source and target languages. You will be required to reflect on the process of translation through annotations on specific translation decisions which will be part of the given task each week. You will also be given a brief for each translation and asked to research the target publication/context for their translation and specify ways in which the target context may differ from the original.


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.

Samurai Revolution: Reinventing Japan, 1853-78

This module surveys the dramatic cultural encounter in the nineteenth century as the world of the samurai was confronted by Western expansion and the Age of Steam. It explores the forces at work in Japan’s rapid transformation from an ‘ancien régime’ under the rule of the Shogun into a ‘modern’ imperial power. Original documents examined in class draw on the growing range of Japanese primary sources available in English translation, together with the extensive works of Victorian diplomats, newspaper correspondents and other foreign residents in the treaty ports. You will have a three hour seminar each week 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. As source material you will have the chance to explore diplomatic correspondence, personal memoirs, newspapers and magazines, newsreels, as well as examining the representation of the war in literature and cinema.


The Missing Dimension: Intelligence and International History in the Twentieth 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 twentieth century. You will spend three hours per week in lectures and seminars studying for this module.

Kings, Saints and Monsters in England, 450-850

This module examines cultural and political changes in the southern half of the island of Britain between the fifth and ninth centuries, in particular the development of kingship and kingdoms as a form of political organisation, and the effects of the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity. You will spend three hours in lectures and seminars studying for this module.


And for students who, having done Portuguese in year two, decide to carry it into year four:

Portuguese 3

In this module you’ll enhance and reinforce the language skills developed in your year abroad. A number of key areas will be targeted, including essay writing and oral presentations. You’ll be expected to conduct a discussion in written and spoken Portuguese at a high level of sophistication in terms of sentence structure, vocabulary and intellectual debate. You’ll have two hours of seminars, an hour of lectures and an hour of language lab classes per week throughout the academic year.

Brazilian Slave Society

This module aims to provide you with an understanding of the centrality of the history of slavery in the study of Brazilian society and of the significance of Brazilian slavery in both the transatlantic slave systems and slave societies in the Americas. In the first semester the module introduces students to the different disciplinary and intellectual approaches to the study of slavery in Brazil. This will require students to draw on comparative contexts of slavery across the Americas both thematically and theoretically. Topics covered in the first part of the module include the ideology of slavery, economics of slavery, systems of slave labour, slave culture and community, slave identity, and slave resistance. Within these topics we examine themes of agency, race, class, ethnicity and gender.

The second semester focuses on presentation work in a seminar setting. Students will be required to produce individual in-class presentations based on a literature review of a topic or theme covered in the first semester. Throughout the module close attention will be paid to the problems of sources and perspectives in the study of the history of slavery. The module encourages students to develop an awareness of how different historical sources are used and think critically about them. In this module you will have a combination of lectures and seminars totalling two hours per week.



You will have a broad knowledge of the literatures, cultures and histories of the countries you have studied. You will have developed critical abilities, especially through the module exploring historiography, which involves planning, researching and writing a 5,000-word analysis of the historiography of a topic of your choice. Your language skills will be advanced and your international experience will have proved you to be adaptable and independent.

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

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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