About the course

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Just as poems, plays and novels can offer historians different ways to look at the past, historical documents can also be read as texts to be interpreted as works of narrative.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learned in your close reading of fiction are in many respects the same as those you will apply to your analysis of historical documents.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.

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. 

Fact sheets 2019 Course fact sheet 1 BA (Hons) History
Programme specifications 2019 Programme specification 1 BA (Hons) History 2019 Programme specification 2 BA (Hons) English Literature

Why choose this course?

We give you: 

  • A flexible programme of study, allowing you to concentrate on areas you find especially interesting
  • Exceptional academic teams, conducting world-leading research
  • Stimulating, innovative courses that allow you to make rewarding connections between two disciplines
  • CV-building potential through work placements and extra-curricular activities
  • Teaching rated excellent by 92.14% of our English students in the 2018 National Student Survey, with our History students reporting almost 94% overall satisfaction with their course

Course details

What job can I get?

Employability is central to everything we do. Our History and English Literature students can take a second-year work experience module, either ‘Making Histories’ or ‘Literature at Work’, which is centred on a six-week work placement. The module looks at the graduate and transferable skills you acquire through studying English, the possibilities of teaching, and encourages students to take up work placements as teaching assistants in schools.

The ‘Making Histories’ module offers you the possibility of a voluntary placement in a local museum, archives or history societies, enabling you to gain valuable transferable skills and produce a portfolio of public history material. Our students have also taken up placements in heritage museums such as the Charles Dickens Museum and the Samuel Johnson House.

As well as working in the huge heritage industry, past students have gone on to careers in teaching, publishing and media, journalism and marketing. For those interested in teaching, all Humanities graduates are guaranteed an interview with our School of Education. 

Teaching methods

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. 

Study Abroad

Taking a year’s study abroad is an excellent opportunity to broaden your understanding of the world. Living in another country opens up fresh perspectives and helps create global citizens. For our English and history students, immersing yourself in a host country enhances your learning, giving you a greater appreciation of other cultures and societies, and a deeper understanding of their everyday lives.

Find out more about our Study abroad opportunities.


  • Level 4
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Belief and Disbelief: Faith, Magic and Medicine, 1500 - 1800 15 Credits Compulsory
    Texts Up Close: Reading and Interpretation 15 Credits Compulsory
    Make it New: Literary Tradition and Experimentation 15 Credits Compulsory
    Border Crossings: Modern Literature from around the World 15 Credits Compulsory
    Shakespeare Reframed 15 Credits Compulsory
    The Fight for Rights: Freedom and Oppression, 1790s-1990s 15 Credits Compulsory
    Historians' Toolkit 15 Credits Compulsory
    Africa and the World, 1450-1850 15 Credits Compulsory
    Cashing In: Traders and Consumers, 1600 - 2001 15 Credits Optional
    Journeys and Quests: Adventures in Literature 15 Credits Optional
    Identity and Contemporary Writing 15 Credits Optional
    American Voices: Introduction to US Literature and Culture 15 Credits Optional
    Romantic Origins & Gothic Afterlives 15 Credits Optional
    Introduction to Public History 15 Credits Optional
    The Heritage Industry in Britain 15 Credits Optional
    Leisure and Lifestyle: 20th Century American Music, Sport and Entertainment 15 Credits Optional
  • Level 5
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Ways of Reading: Literature and Theory 15 Credits Compulsory
    Graduate Skills 0 Credits Compulsory
    A Nation of Readers: British Identity and Enlightenment Culture 15 Credits Compulsory
    Studies in Twentieth Century Literature, 1900-1945 15 Credits Optional
    USA 1861 to 1969: From Civil War to Civil Rights A 15 Credits Optional
    American Literature to 1900 15 Credits Optional
    Twentieth Century North American Writing 15 Credits Optional
    Lines on the Map: Explorations in Colonial Writing 15 Credits Optional
    Images of Contemporary Society: British Literature and the Politics of Identity 15 Credits Optional
    Postcolonial Cultures: Texts and Contexts 15 Credits Optional
    Age of Transition: the Victorians and Modernity 15 Credits Optional
    Literature at Work 15 Credits Optional
    Revisiting the Renaissance 15 Credits Optional
    Hearth & Heart: Family Life in the Long Eighteenth-Century 15 Credits Optional
    Propaganda in Twentieth-Century War and Politics 15 Credits Optional
    Nation & Identity: Newly Independent States in Interwar Europe, 1918-1939 15 Credits Optional
    Making a Historical Documentary 15 Credits Optional
    Making Histories: Public History Work Experience 15 Credits Optional
    Postcards from the Empire: Experiences of British Imperialism 15 Credits Optional
    Maladies and Medicine in Early Modern Europe 15 Credits Optional
    Crime and Society in England, 1550-1750 15 Credits Optional
    The Age of the Cold War, 1945-1991 15 Credits Optional
  • Level 6
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Everyday Lives: An Intimate History of Twentieth Century Women 15 Credits Optional
  • Fees & funding

    Fees 2019

    UK/EU Students

    Full time
    • £9250 for the 2019/2020 academic year

    *Tuition fees are charged annually. The fees quoted above are for the specified year(s) only. Fees may be higher in future years, for both new and continuing students. Please see the University’s Fees and Finance Policy (and in particular the section headed “When tuition fees change”), for further information about when and by how much the University may increase its fees for future years.

    View detailed information about tuition fees

    Read more about additional fees in the course fact sheet

    Other financial support

    Find out more about other financial support available to UK and EU students

    Living costs / accommodation

    The University of Hertfordshire offers a great choice of student accommodation, on campus or nearby in the local area, to suit every student budget.

    View detailed information about our accommodation

    Entry requirements

    UCAS points A Level BTEC IB requirement
    104 BCC DMM 104 points

    How to apply

    Course length
    • Full Time, 3 Years
    • Sandwich, 4 Years
    • University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield


    Start DateEnd DateLink
    23/09/202031/05/2021Apply online (Full Time)
    23/09/202031/05/2021Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
    23/09/202031/05/2021Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)


    Start DateEnd DateLink
    23/09/202131/05/2022Apply online (Full Time)
    23/09/202131/05/2022Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
    23/09/202131/05/2022Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
    Optional Sandwich Placement or Study Abroad year