History and English Literature BA (Hons)

Full-time, part-time undergraduate (3 years, 6 years)

University Centre West Anglia (King's Lynn)



History and English are fascinating subjects in their own right, but studying them together is excellent training for analysing and expressing complex ideas generally. In other words, you'll be developing abilities that will be useful in a vast range of careers and which employers especially value.

Full description


Our graduates have gone on to postgraduate study, and many careers including teaching and lecturing, social work, the caring professions, journalism, business and management, and library or museum work.

Modules & assessment

Level 4 modules

  • Introduction to English Literature 1
    This module gives students an outline knowledge of the history of English Literature from the Anglo-Saxon period to the end of the eighteenth century. It uses a selection of texts taken from volume 1 of The Norton Anthology of English Literature, supplemented by handouts, to give students examples of different literary forms belonging to every period of English literary history prior to the Romantic movement. The juxtaposition of pieces by well known authors such as Chaucer, Marlowe, Milton and Swift with less familiar texts is intended to encourage reflection upon what constitutes the 'canon'. Students are expected to acquire a basic knowledge of the terms used in English literary history ('Medieval', 'Tudor', 'Renaissance', 'Reformation', 'Early Modern', 'Restoration', 'Augustan', 'NeoClassical', 'Enlightenment', 'Sensibility') and are encouraged to think critically about these terms. During the course of this module (and its sister module in semester 2) we want students to acquire a sense of literary history and an outline knowledge of the main literary periods but also hope they will engage in a direct and pleasurable way with a variety of extremely interesting texts.The module complements Ways of Reading by offering a broad overview rather than focusing on specific critical approaches but we hope that some of the close reading skills acquired while taking Ways of Reading can also be put into practice on this module. The core book for the module and an essential purchase is Greenblatt, S. et al, eds (2006) The Norton Anthology of English Literature (8th edition), vol. 1, New York and London: W.W. Norton.
  • Introduction to Literary Criticism
    This module will introduce you to studying English Literature at University, and allow you to develop skills such as reading critically and communicating clearly. In the first semester you'll get an overview of the degree structure and examine some key critical terms, problems and approaches for students of English. These include, for example: the literary canon and value; narrative theory; realism and representation; genre; the production of meaning; relationships between literature, history and the world; selected approaches to literature, (including formalist, new historicist, feminist, psychoanalytical and postcolonial criticism) and relationships between literature and identity. You'll explore these topics through a selection of critical texts and short extracts from plays, novels, short stories and poems (extracts provided). You'll attend a one-hour lecture and a two-hour seminar each week, including a library induction session.

Level 5 modules

  • History Today: Methods and Approaches
    On this module you'll reflect on the methods of the discipline of History and, in the Personal Development Plan element, on your own progress as a student. You'll also be instructed in Research Methods, in preparation for writing your dissertation in the final year. You'll discuss how to analyse historical sources and consider the merits of varied historical traditions, as well as reflecting on the nature and problems inherent in the process of constructing history. You’ll attend twelve seminars and your assessment will take the form of a set of exercises asking you to reflect on the nature of the discipline of History, show competence in the research skills you have learned and reflect on your progress as a student through the PDP element. Your teamwork and oral skills will be promoted through group discussion during seminars, helping to prepare you for employment by encouraging your interaction with colleagues. Furthermore, the research skills and forms of information retrieval that you’ll develop can be used in a variety of different forms of employment. You can also take this module by distance learning.
  • Romantic Conflicts
    This module will develop your knowledge of the Romantic Period, which usually covers literature produced between 1770 and 1832. In this course you will develop your analytical skills as well as your abilities in communicating the research and analysis that you will apply to literature of the period. Working with other students in class you will develop your social and critical skills in whole and small group discussions. You will realise the broader cultural capital of the course as you engage with themes that transcend the literature of the period. Conflict can be found in all literature. However, in the Romantic period it seems to have been the essence of the spirit of the age. Percy Shelley called the French Revolution of 1789 ‘the master theme of the epoch in which we live’, and indeed many critics and historians date the beginning of the Romantic period from then. In fact Britain was at war with France for most of this period (from 1793 to 1815) trying to undo the revolution, restore a king, and with him, the old aristocratic ruling class. Class conflict was in the air well before 1789 as William Hazlitt notes: ‘the French revolution might be described as a remote but inevitable result of the invention of the art of printing.’ What he means is that an overwhelming public consensus had to be achieved before a revolution could occur, and the only way to achieve this is through the mass dissemination of ideas –through literature. Therefore, this module will help you consider your own individual identity, as well as your attitude and adaptability to ideas on a diverse range of subjects. Notions of class, race, debates over work, the individual in society, women’s rights, slavery, protest and land ownership all feature in this module and require engagement with you as a person who has to examine many still current ideas from the Romantic period. Therefore, the scope of this module is a large one.
  • The United States in the 20th Century
    On this module, you'll study the development of the United States during the 20th century as it gained superpower status, investigating social and political change from the Progressive era through to Ronald Reagan's presidency. You'll consider such key figures as Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Al Capone, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Richard Nixon, with topics including US foreign policy, imperialism, the New Deal, McCarthyism, the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War and Watergate. You'll evaluate themes such as the continuities and changes in foreign policy, the development of the reform tradition as well as the problems of race. This module builds on you work in 'The Growth of the USA,' teaching you to draw upon the history of the United States in order to understand the country's present status. You’ll attend a combination of lectures and seminars. Your teamwork and oral skills will be promoted through group discussion during seminars, helping to prepare you for employment by encouraging your interaction with colleagues. You’ll develop the ability to offer cogent written analysis and informed analysis under pressure. You can also tale this module by distance learning.

Level 6 modules

  • History Special Subject
    This module will allow you to interrogate a specialist area of contemporary research in the subject area, particularly those with ongoing research being produced by staff members in the Department. For History, this topic might be either ‘Twilight of the Raj’or ‘Bells to Boomboxes: Sound in Britain, Europe and America, 1500-1980.


We’ll assess your progress mostly from your coursework (including essays, reviews and your major project), but there’ll be some oral and written exams.

Where you'll study

Your faculty

In the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, we use our expertise and connections in Cambridge and beyond to nurture creativity through experimentation and risk-taking, and encourage critical thinking, in order to educate, entertain, inspire and understand, as well as to improve people’s lives.

Where can I study?

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2019/20 (full-time, per year)


UK & EU students, 2018/19 (per year)*


How do I pay my fees?

You can pay your fees in the following ways.

Tuition fee loan

UK students can take out a tuition fee loan, which you won’t need to start repaying until after your graduate. Or there's the option to pay your fees upfront.

Loans and fee payments


We offer a fantastic range of ARU scholarships, which provide extra financial support while you’re at university. Some of these cover all or part of your tuition fees.

Explore ARU scholarships

Funding for UK students

Most new UK undergraduate students can apply for government funding to support their studies and university life. This also applies to EU, EEA and Swiss nationals who have citizens' rights following Brexit.

Government funding includes Tuition Fee Loans and Maintenance Loans. There are additional grants available for specific groups of students, such as those with disabilities or dependants.

We also offer a range of ARU scholarships, which can provide extra financial support while you’re at university.

Important fee notes

The part-time course fee assumes that you’re studying at half the rate of a full-time student (50% intensity, or 60 credits per year). Course fees will be different if you study over a longer period, or for more credits. All fees are for guidance purposes only. Your offer letter will contain full details of credits and fees, or you can contact us if you'd like more information.

Entry requirements

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You will need:

  • 72 UCAS traiff points from a minimum of 2 A levels or equivalent level 3 qualification, eg Extended Diploma or Access course (30 level 4 credits at Merit grad are required for progression from Access)
  • GCSE English at grade 4 (C) or above

Important additional notes

Whether you're studying entirely online or through a blend of face-to-face and online learning from September 2021, you'll need a computer and reliable internet access to successfully engage with your course. Before starting the course, we recommend that you check our technical requirements for online learning. Our website also has general information for new students about starting university in 2021-22.

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@aru.ac.uk for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

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UCAScode: QV31

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