University of Hertfordshire - BA (Hons) History and English Literature

University of Hertfordshire

BA (Hons) History and English Literature

Our BA History and English Literature gives you the opportunity to study two subjects that speak closely to each other.

Just as poems, plays and novels can offer historians different ways to look at the past, historical documents can also be read as texts to be interpreted as works of narrative.

For both English Literature and History we have modernized and diversified our curriculum to reflect our changing world. Within our research-led courses you’ll study canonical texts and periods of history familiar to a traditional English or History degree but also voices and histories that reflect our modern, globalized 21 st century experiences.

You’ll start this joint degree with a core module that will teach you the skills of close analysis of literary texts. Reflecting on poetry by Danez Smith and Sylvia Plath, Caryl Churchill’s play Cloud 9 as well as work by Shakespeare and Zadie Smith, you’ll discover new ways of thinking about what literature is, and how to read it.

Also in your first year you’ll work through the Historian’s Toolkit, which helps you make the transition from school to university-level study. You will be introduced to an array of primary sources. You’ll also gain insights into historiography, to understand what influences historians, why they write the way they do and how they interact with one another.

Throughout your course, the common link between the two disciplines will be your analysis and interpretation of texts. The skills you’ve learned in your close reading of fiction are in many respects the same as those you will apply to your analysis of historical documents.

One of your second-year core English Literature modules is period-based, focusing on the 18th century, and offers a good example of how English and History are complementary. Your study of 18th century print culture and the emergence of the novel will be enhanced by your understanding of the politics of the day.

Work placement/study abroad option: Between your second and final year, you’ll have the option to study abroad or do a work placement for up to a year. Not only will this give you an amazing experience to talk about but will also give your CV a boost. If you’d rather go straight to your final year, that’s absolutely fine too. 

In your final year your courses will cover themes aligned to our academics’ research interests. You’ll have the chance to follow your interests and shape your studies, which could include African American literature, young adult fiction, or literary adaptations. Your History modules may focus on a particular region, such as Europe, or period, such as the 20th century. 

Entry Requirements

UCAS points

A Level




GCSE: Grade 4/C in English Language and 4/D Mathematics

All students from non-majority English speaking countries require proof of English language proficiency, equivalent to an overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 5.5 in each band.

Course Details

Our history students benefit from being part of a diverse and active academic community. Our interactive seminars and workshops help you find your feet in the academic environment, and establish ways of working confidently, creatively and collaboratively. We see our students as fellow researchers, and we place a great deal of importance on sharing and developing skills.

As one of our students, you will have the opportunity to get involved in activities that will complement your studies. Not only do these enhance your experience, they also make for a more impressive CV. Our renowned staff-student Oral History team has taken students to Australia and produced a BBC Radio 4 documentary, which was commended at the 2018 Royal Historical Society Public History Awards. 

Year 1

Belief and disbelief: faith, magic and medicine, 1500 - 1800
Texts up close: reading and interpretation
Make it new: literary tradition and experimentation
Border crossings: modern literature from around the world
Shakespeare reframed
The fight for rights: freedom and oppression, 1790s-1990s
Historians' toolkit
Africa and the world, 1450-1850
Optional modules

Cashing in: traders and consumers, 1600 - 2001
Journeys and quests: adventures in literature
Identity and contemporary writing
American voices: introduction to us literature and culture
Romantic origins & gothic afterlives
Introduction to public history
The heritage industry in britain
Leisure and lifestyle: 20th century american music, sport and entertainment

Year 2

Ways of reading: literature and theory
Graduate skills
A nation of readers: british identity and enlightenment culture
Optional modules

Studies in twentieth century literature, 1900-1945
Usa 1861 to 1969: from civil war to civil rights a
American literature to 1900
Twentieth century north american writing
Lines on the map: explorations in colonial writing
Images of contemporary society: british literature and the politics of identity
Postcolonial cultures: texts and contexts
Age of transition: the victorians and modernity
Literature at work
Revisiting the renaissance
Hearth & heart: family life in the long eighteenth-century
Propaganda in twentieth-century war and politics
Nation & identity: newly independent states in interwar europe, 1918-1939
Making a historical documentary
Making histories: public history work experience
Postcards from the empire: experiences of british imperialism
Maladies and medicine in early modern europe
Crime and society in england, 1550-1750
The age of the cold war, 1945-1991

Year 3

Optional modules

Between the acts: late victorian and edwardian literature 1890-1920
Children's literature: growing up in books
East end fictions: interdisciplinary studies of london's east end
Texts and screens: studies in literary adaptation
African-american literature
Bodies and sexuality in the early modern period a
Generation dead: young adult fiction and the gothic
Twenty-first century american writing
Euro-crime on page and screen
Italy and fascism
Popular protest, riot and reform in britain, 1760-1848 b
Everyday lives: an intimate history of twentieth century women
Final year history dissertation
Witch-bottles to wishing-wells: the material culture of everyday ritual
Boom cities and new towns in the 20th century a
Pacific histories: colonisation, conflict and connections
Sinners, scoundrels & deviants: non-conformity in the atlantic world a
Cold war film and propaganda
The middle east in turmoil: the arab-israeli conflict since 1948

*The information’s are correct at the time of publishing, however it may change if university makes any changes after we have published the information. While we try our best to provide correct information, It is advisable to call us or visit university website for up to date information.

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