BA English Literature and History of Art

Start date
September
Duration
3 Years
UCAS code
QV3H
Course Type
Undergraduate, Joint Honours combined
Fees

Annual tuition fees for 2024/25:
£9,250 (UK)
£22,860 (International)
More detail.

Studying the BA English Literature and History of Art undergraduate degree at the University of Birmingham, you will explore art and literature from a wide range of perspectives. Learn from world-class researchers and access literature and artworks in our outstanding research library and campus art gallery.

Discover visual and literary culture through a broad range of perspectives, such as social history, global art, philosophy, anthropology, feminism and religion. You will have access to original works through a dedicated fine art library and collection of resources in the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, our acclaimed public gallery on-campus. Here you will find works by artists such as Botticelli, Van Gogh, Monet, Magritte, Vigée LeBrun and Rodin. You will also have access to our Special Collections, which contains over 60,000 rare and early printed books, and over 2 million manuscripts and archive items.

Study trips play an important part in your degree. For History of Art this includes a week-long, University-funded trip to a major European centre of artistic importance, where you’ll examine works of art and architecture in situ. For English, this includes the possibility to partake in our study residential in Stratford-upon-Avon. Our Shakespeare Institute, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, is a world-leading centre for international Shakespeare scholarship.

International undergraduate scholarships available in the College of Arts and Law

We are proud to offer 10 scholarships to international students in the form of £3,000 tuition fee awards for year one entry only.

Learn more about our scholarships and apply

 

Barber Institute refurbishment

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts is currently undergoing a two-phase £10 million improvement program which includes a temporary closure of the Lady Barber Gallery and select areas until June 2024 and, in Phase Two, a temporary closure of the Barber Institute's building from February 2025 until late autumn 2025, as we make essential repairs and upgrades to enhance your future experience.

Find out more

 

From the grounding in a broad variety of art practices and theories, and the community of students and supportive department; to the Barber Institute and growing contemporary arts scene in the city, the University of Birmingham is an amazing place to study.

Ros

Why study this course?

BA English Literature and History of Art is for you if you want to…

  • Develop your interest in two complementary areas - gain key transferable skills including textual and visual analysis. Our staff are here to encourage your passion for literary writing and artworks of all kinds, from Shakespearean drama to postcolonial fiction; Medieval illustrated manuscripts to contemporary global art. You will learn to analyse these from a range of perspectives including social history, feminist, queer and decolonial methodologies. 
  • Go beyond the printed book – take advantage of the wide-ranging expertise within our academic community and explore the study of art, comics, film, marketing, music, social media, textual production, theatre, TV and video games. 
  • Participate in RSC-led workshops – make use of our internationally renowned Shakespeare Institute, based in Stratford-upon-Avon, collaborate with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and take part in fun and interactive study trips, such as the Stratford Residential and this writing workshop with Playwright Juliet Gilkes Romero.   
  • Explore a city brimming with culture – The city of Birmingham hosts many art venues and cultural festivals. You will find a thriving underground arts scene, edgy contemporary pieces in the Ikon Gallery, and stunning traditional works in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, which houses the largest collection of pre-Raphaelite artworks in the world. 
  • Boost your employability - develop transferrable skills and knowledge, such as textual and visual analysis, research skills, and oral presentations. We offer funded internships exclusively for University of Birmingham students, and can help you find paid and volunteer work during your studies through our Careers Network. You will have the opportunity to take employability-focused modules, such as Inside the Gallery, which focuses on how to curate an exhibition, and a final year graduate-level work experience placement on the Professional Skills Module, to further develop your transferable skills, knowledge and confidence.

Open day talks

Two full videos on YouTube of recent open day talks relevant to this course:

Modules

Please note: You will take 120 credits of modules in each year of study. The modules listed on the website for this programme are regularly reviewed to ensure they are up-to-date and informed by the latest research and teaching methods. Unless indicated otherwise, the modules listed for this programme are for students starting in 2024. On rare occasions, we may need to make unexpected changes to compulsory modules; in this event we will contact offer holders as soon as possible to inform or consult them as appropriate.

Joint Honours flexibility

Every degree programme at the University is divided into 120 credits of study for each year of the programme. In the first year of a Joint Honours programme, you will study 60 credits in each subject as you learn the core elements of the disciplines. We recognise that students on Joint Honours programmes might come to favour one subject slightly more than another. To account for this, we have added more flexibility into the second and final years of our programmes. In the second year, you can stick with the 60-60 split between the two subjects or shift to a 80-40 credit weighting, effectively a major/ minor combination. You can either go back to 60-60 in the final year, maintain the same 80-40 split or reverse the major and the minor and go to a 40-80 weighting.

Year 1

History of Art Compulsory Modules

  • Historical Concepts in the History of Art (20 credits)
  • Debates and Methods in the History of Art (20 credits)
  • Writing Art's Histories I (10 credits)
  • Writing Art's Histories II (10 credits)

Detailed descriptions of first year History of Art compulsory modules

English Literature Compulsory Modules

  • Poetry (20 credits)
  • Prose (20 credits)
  • Reading English (10 credits)
  • English in the World (10 credits)

Detailed descriptions of first year English Literature compulsory modules

Year 2

 History of Art Modules

  • 80 credits; Art History in the Field: Overseas Study Trip (10 credits); Research Techniques in History of Art (10 credits); optional modules
  • 60 credits; Art History in the Field: Overseas Study Trip (10 credits); Research Techniques in History of Art (10 credits); optional modules
  • 40 credits; optional modules

List of second year History of Art modules

English Literature Modules

  • 80 credits; optional modules
  • 60 credits; optional modules
  • 40 credits; optional modules

List of second year English Literature modules

Year Abroad

You can apply to study abroad for a year in an approved university around the world. If you achieve a grade of 2.1 or above in your first year, you will be eligible to apply for a Year Abroad in your second year. If your application is successful, you will go abroad in your third year and return to us for your final year.

More about a Year Abroad

Final Year

History of Art Modules

  • 80 credits; History of Art Dissertation (40 credits); optional modules including, if you wish, a Professional Skills module if not undertaken the previous year
  • 60 credits; Dissertation (40 or 20 credits); optional module(s) including if you wish, a Professional Skills module if not undertaken the previous year
  • 40 credits; optional modules

List of final year History of Art modules

English Literature Modules

  • 80 credits; English Literature Dissertation (40 credits); optional modules
  • 60 credits; English Literature Dissertation (40 credits); optional module(s)
  • 40 credits; optional modules 

List of final year English Literature modules

or Link Dissertation (40 credits) 

Fees

For UK students beginning their studies in September 2024, the University of Birmingham will charge the maximum approved tuition fee per year. The fees for your first year of study will therefore be £9,250. Visit our tuition fees page for more information.

Fees for 2024/25 are as follows:

  • UK: £9,250
  • International: £22,860

Eligibility for fees can be verified with Admissions. Learn more about fees for international students.

For further information on tuition fees, living costs and available financial support, please see our pages on undergraduate fees and funding.


Tuition fees when studying abroad

For those spending a whole academic year abroad (where available):

  • Students who are classed as UK for fees purposes are required to pay 15% of their normal annual tuition fee
  • Students who are classed as International for fee purposes are required to pay 50% of their normal annual tuition fee

For those studying abroad for just one semester (where available), normal annual tuition fees apply.

Note - Study abroad opportunities vary between courses; please see the course description for details of study abroad options offered.

Additional Course Costs

For the optional second year Art History in the Field: Overseas Study Trip, students will be expected to cover the cost of passport acquisition and visas (where required), subsistence costs (e.g. lunch, dinner, drinks etc.), travelling around the destination city, and individual entry to museums/galleries where the University was unable to pay in advance as a group. Insurance costs are covered by the University providing students are normally registered and register with the university’s insurance prior to their departure, using the official link provided in the module information. If a student fails to complete the relevant procedure before leaving the UK, they will not be covered by the insurance.

How To Apply

Standard offer

International Requirements



Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
ABB
Required subjects and grades:
A level English Literature or English Language and Literature.

IB Diploma:
6,5,5 in Higher level subjects plus 32 points overall, including HL English Literature / English Literature & Language.

BTEC qualifications:

  • BTEC Extended Diploma: DDM, plus a B at A level in the required subject/s mentioned above.
  • BTEC Diploma: DD, plus a B at A level in the required subject/s mentioned above.
  • BTEC Subsidiary Diploma: D, plus AB at A level, including the required subject/s mentioned above.

Other qualifications are considered - learn more about entry requirements.

Alternative offers through our Pathways to Birmingham programmes and our Contextual Offer scheme

Students who are eligible and successfully complete a Pathways to Birmingham programme will receive special consideration from admissions tutors and an alternative offer (typically two grades below the standard offer). In addition, our Contextual Offer Scheme recognises the potential of students whose personal circumstances may have restricted achievement in school or college. If you are eligible to benefit from the contextual offer scheme, you will receive an offer which is one grade lower than the standard offer.

International Students

We welcome applications from international students and invite you to join our vibrant community of over 4500 international students who represent 150 different countries. We accept a range of qualifications, our country pages show you what qualifications we accept from your country.

Depending on your chosen course of study, you may also be interested in one of our foundation pathways, which offer specially structured programmes for international students whose qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to UK universities. Further details can be found on Birmingham International Academy web pages.

In the 1480s, this was very much a new type of painting: a painting of the Olympian gods dealing with mythological subjects. From that, we can begin to think about how the painting could connect with mythological texts.

Dr David Hemsoll

Support

You will have access to a comprehensive support system to help you make the transition to higher education when you start at Birmingham. 

Personal tutors – You will be assigned your own personal tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies. They will provide academic support and advice to enable you to make the most of your time here at Birmingham.

Wellbeing Officers –You will also have access to dedicated wellbeing officers who provide professional support, advice and guidance to students across a range of issues. They can meet with you to discuss extensions, disabilities, reasonable adjustments, extenuating circumstances, or to talk through any problems you might be experiencing, and help you access wider support on campus and beyond if you need it.

Our Academic Skills Centre helps you to become a more effective and independent learner through a range of high-quality support services. The centre offers workshops on a range of topics, such as note-taking, reading, academic writing and presentation skills.

The Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) provides guidance on writing essays and dissertations if you need it. You can receive individual support from an academic writing advisor and meet with postgraduate tutors who specialise in particular subjects too.

Our Student Experience Team will help you get the most out of your academic experience. They offer research opportunities, study skills support, and help you prepare for your post-university career. They also organise social events, including trips.

Teaching staff

Students at the University of Birmingham are taught by a mixture of professors, senior lecturers, lecturers and doctoral researchers, thereby receiving a rich diversity of academic knowledge and experience. Many of our teaching staff have published important works about their areas of expertise, whilst others have taught at international institutions and can offer unique perspectives of their subjects.

You can find out more about the members of staff (including their qualifications, publication history and specific areas of interest) in their academic profiles linked below.

Study trips play an important part in the teaching on the programme. These include visits to galleries and museums in Birmingham and the West Midlands, as well as overseas group trips that are funded by the University. Recent destinations have included Rome, Berlin and Paris, and provide you with the opportunity to examine works of art and architecture in situ.

One-to-one tutorials become increasingly important as you progress through your course. This is particularly the case in your final year, when a major part of your programme will be a dissertation on a topic of your choice. Tutorials enable you to discuss your research with your project supervisor in depth.

Contact Hours

All Birmingham degrees are set within a credit framework designed to measure your academic achievements. We expect all students to accumulate 120 credits in each full year of study which is equivalent to 40 hours of learning a week. Learning is considered to include contact learning (lectures and seminars), private study, revision and assessment.

For this programme, those 40 hours are estimated to be broken down and split into lectures, seminars and other guided teaching opportunities and then independent study. This is a general rule across the entire academic year and may change week by week.

  • Year 1: 20% Lectures, seminars or similar and 80% Independent study
  • Year 2: 15% Lectures, seminars or similar and 85% Independent study
  • Year 3: 10% Lectures, seminars or similar and 90% Independent study

Assessment Methods

Assessments - you will be assessed in a variety of ways to help you transition to a new style of learning. At the beginning of each module, you will be given information on how and when you will be assessed. Assessments methods will vary with each module and could include:

  • coursework, such as essays
  • group and individual presentations
  • and exams

Feedback - you will receive feedback on each assessment within three weeks, so you can learn from each assignment. You will also be given feedback on any exams that you take. If you should fail an exam, we will ensure that particularly detailed feedback is provided to help you prepare for future exams.

The principal means of assessment for English are coursework essays and written exams.

You will develop skills including visual and textual analysis and interpretation. You will also acquire skills that are highly prized by employers in many sectors such as:

  • Great communication skills;
  • An awareness and appreciation of other cultures;
  • The ability to identify and target key audiences;
  • Strong attention to detail
  • Researching, analysing and interpreting information;
  • Handling complex information;
  • The ability to critically analyse information and form concise, articulate arguments;
  • Managing your time and prioritising your workload.

Throughout your degree you will have the opportunity to gain valuable work experience in museums and galleries, both on and off campus.

You will benefit from organised events in both departments whereby our graduates return to campus to talk to current students about their careers, how to find opportunities and the variety of roles available. Graduates that returned to speak at our biennial Art History Careers Fair hold positions at the Wallace Collection, BMAG, Sotheby’s Institute, Manchester’s Craft and Design Centre and the White Cube Gallery.

Other employers that our graduates work for include:

  • Kettle’s Yard,
  • the BBC,
  • Headline Publishing Group,
  • the Bodleian Library,
  • Cath Kidston,
  • Historic Royal Palaces,
  • The National Portrait Gallery,
  • Oxford University Press,
  • Christie’s,
  • Mirror Group Newspapers,
  • National Museum of Wales,
  • the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Their roles include:

  • Archivist,
  • Curator,
  • Gallery Coordinator,
  • Events Officer,
  • Account executive,
  • Sales and events coordinator,
  • Exhibitions Assistant,
  • Learning and Access Officer,
  • Programme Coordinator,
  • Editorial assistant,
  • Marketing assistant,
  • Researcher.

Other English and History of Art graduates choose to forge a career outside the Arts sector. Recent graduates have obtained graduate positions in sectors such as teaching, media, law, sales, local / central government, management, accounting, horse-racing, real estate and business or entered post-graduate education in a variety of areas.

Developing your career

The University of Birmingham is the 3rd most targeted university by the country’s top graduate employers according to The Graduate Market 2023 report [PDF - 1.4MB]. Our Careers Network are here to offer you tailored, expert advice on your career plans and support you with finding and applying for jobs, internships and further study. There are hundreds of events to help you meet potential employers and learn more about the breadth of opportunities and career sectors available to you.

Support will be offered to you covering the whole job application process, including CVs, LinkedIn, application forms, interviews and assessment centres.  You can also email our experienced Careers Advisors and College Teams to review your applications or answer any careers related question, alongside our on campus and online 1:1 appointments.

We have a number of exclusive Internship Programmes such as our Cultural Internships, which will give you paid, professional experience to set you apart in the graduate market. We also offer work experience bursaries, which allow you to apply for funding to support you during any unpaid internships. 

First years can take part in The Birmingham Project, with themes including celebrating arts and culture and shaping a global society. There’s also a successful Mentoring Programme, where you can gain access to experienced Mentors who can empower, inspire and inform you about their experiences.  As a University of Birmingham student you will also be given access to LinkedIn Learning giving free access to real world training courses to kick-start your careers.

If you want to earn money WorkLink advertises convenient part-time job opportunities on campus to fit round your studies.  

Extra-curricular activities

To enhance your career prospects even further, you may want to engage in extra-curricular activities to broaden your skills and your network of contacts. Our employer-endorsed, award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme.

There are more than 500 student groups and volunteering opportunities offered by the Guild of Students (our Students’ Union) so you’re bound to find activities that you want to be involved in whilst meeting friends who share your interests.

Culture and collections

Schools, institutes and departments

Services and facilities