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BA English Literature and History

Start date
September
Duration
3 Years
UCAS code
QV3C
Course Type
Undergraduate, Joint Honours combined
Fees

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

Explore the diverse narratives of historical cultures and literary genres across time with our innovative Joint Honours programme in BA English Literature and History at the University of Birmingham. 

This distinctive joint honours programme seamlessly integrates the rich tapestry of English Literature and the intriguing movements of History. Our distinguished faculty offers a breadth of expertise across literary and historical specialisms. Delve into a variety of captivating subjects including: 

  • Shakespeare 
  • Gothic Literature
  • Fantasy and Fandom 
  • Women's writing 
  • Medieval, Early Modern, and Modern History 
  • Political, Social, Cultural, and Religious Histories 
  • Histories of Race and Gender 

Unlock the potential to tailor your learning experience at an elite Russell Group institution through optional modules in Creative Writing, Film Studies, and English Language, as well as opportunities to explore diverse topics across departments such as Art History, African History, and Anthropology, all while honing your critical thinking and analytical skills. 

I love studying English at Birmingham. You are taught new fields of study and apply them to texts to see them in a new light. My favourite is postcolonial criticism as you see how racial identities are portrayed across time and how they have changed.

David

Why study this course?

Our undergraduate BA English Literature and History degree is for you if you want to: 

  • Develop your love of literature -  our staff will support you to you to share in their passion for literary writing of all kinds, from Shakespearean drama to Romantic poetry to postcolonial fiction.
  • Boost your employability skills – an English Literature and History degree will equip you with skills that employers value. There’s a chance to learn a new language for free, take our Professional Skills module and take advantage of the paid internships offered exclusively to University of Birmingham students. 92% of our History graduates are in work or further study (Discover Uni stats 2022).   
  • 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. 
  • Apply history to today’s society - our modules explore how the past informs the present and provides a global historical understanding from the Middle Ages to this century, all through a modern lens. 
  • Live and study in a city that values history and literature as much as you do – explore our exceptional resources, including our Cadbury Research Library, consisting of over 200,000 rare books dating from 1471, as well as the Library of Birmingham, Europe’s largest regional library. Get involved with the History Society or the numerous on-campus writers' groups, including our very own newspaper, radio and TV stations. 

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 2025. 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.

First year 

Compulsory English Literature modules

  • English in the World
  • Poetry
  • Prose
  • Reading English

Detailed descriptions of first year English Literature compulsory modules 

Compulsory History modules 

  • Practising History: Skills in History 

Optional History modules 

  • 40 credits of optional History modules 

Detailed descriptions of first year History compulsory modules and list of optional modules 

 

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.

Second year 

Students choose 100-credits of optional modules. Students must take a minimum of 40-credits in History and a minimum of 40-credits in English Literature.  

Optional English Literature modules

List of second year English Literature optional modules 

Optional History modules

  • Students taking 80 credits in History will choose: an autumn option and Topics in History, plus 40 further credits of optional modules chosen from 'History in Theory and Practice', a 'Sources in History' module, or a spring option. You can also choose, if you wish, a Future or Professional Skills module which is taken in the Autumn term.
  • Students taking 60 credits in History will choose: an autumn option and Topics in History, plus 20 further credits of optional modules chosen from 'History in Theory and Practice', a 'Sources in History' module, or a spring option. You can also choose, if you wish, a Future or Professional Skills module which is taken in the Autumn term.
  • Students taking 40 credits in History will choose: an autumn option and Topics in History.

List of second year History optional 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

Compulsory module

  • English Literature; or History; or Joint Honours Link Dissertation

Optional modules

Students choose 80-credits of optional modules. Students must take a minimum of 40-credits in History and a minimum of 40-credits in English Literature. Students taking 40 credits in either discipline only select optional modules. 

List of final year English Literature optional modules 

List of final year History optional modules 

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.

How To Apply

Standard offer

International Requirements



Number of A levels required:
3
Typical offer:
AAB

A Level History, Medieval History or Ancient History is preferred but we welcome applications from candidates who can demonstrate an interest in and an aptitude for the study of history and literature. Acceptable subjects include: Ancient History, Anthropology, Archaeology, Business Studies, Classical Civilisation, Drama and Theatre Studies, Economics, English Language, English Language and Literature, English Literature, Environmental Studies, Geography, Government and Politics, History, History of Art, Law, Medieval History, Modern or Classical Languages, Music, Philosophy, Psychology, Religious Studies, and Sociology. If you are not studying one or more of the above then please contact us to discuss your application.

If you are not taking A level History then we will require GCSE History grade 7 and at least one humanities subject at A level or equivalent.

For English Literature, A level English Literature or English Language and Literature.

IB Diploma:
6,6,5 in Higher level subjects, plus 32 points overall.

English Literature: 

GCSE History grade 7 and humanities subjects at A level or equivalent + Higher level English Literature / English Literature & Language 

BTEC qualifications:

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

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.

 

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.

English Literature and History graduates have a range of skills that are highly-valued by graduate employers.

These include:

  • Strong communication skills (both in writing and orally)
  • Understanding and appreciation of the past
  • Critical thinking skills
  • The ability to research, analyse and interpret complex information
  • Leadership and teamwork
  • Forming concise and articulate arguments
  • Time management
  • Workload prioritisation.

91% of students go on to work or further study 15 months after graduation (Graduate Outcomes Survey 2020).    

  • Capita
  • Deloitte
  • Birmingham Children’s Hospital
  • Explore Learning
  • JP Morgan
  • Ministry of Justice
  • National Trust
  • Teach First
  • Thames Water
  • Weightmans llp
  • Birmingham Repertory Theatre
  • Brooklyn Museum
  • Daily Mail
  • Hodder & Stoughton Publishers
  • ITV
  • Macmillan Cancer Support
  • National Citizens Service

Roles include:

  • Charity Engagement Assistant
  • Communications Assistant
  • English Teacher
  • Human Resources Business Partner
  • Major Gifts Officer
  • Management trainee
  • PR and Media Relations Intern
  • Researcher
  • Strategy Analyst
  • Social Media & Website Officer
  • Cultural Intern
  • PR Client Executive
  • Research Assistant
  • International Sales & Digital Executive
  • Schools Co-ordinator
  • Editorial Quality Executive

Examples of further study include:

  • NCTJ in Multimedia Journalism
  • MA Magazine Journalism
  • MA Medieval Studies
  • MRes Modern History
  • PGCE (various)
  • PgDipEd Early Years
  • MA Antiquity
  • TESOL Certificate in English Language Teaching
  • MA Medieval & Renaissance Literary Studies
  • MA Writing for Performance and Publication
  • MA Creative Writing
  • Graduate Diploma in Law

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. Recent speakers include authors, writers and graduates that hold positions at companies such as the Guardian, Network Rail, Capital One and the National Trust.

Developing your career

The University of Birmingham is the top choice for the UK's major employers searching for graduate recruits, according to The Graduate Market 2024 report. 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 Internship, 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.