English Literature and History (BA)
The joint honours degree in English Literature and History provides you with the opportunity of specialising in two university honours subjects.
The BA in English Literature and History (Joint Honours) enables students to combine a study of the past and English Literature. Many students find joint honours both stimulating and rewarding as they observe both similarities and differences in the two subjects.
The degree aims to develop your knowledge and critical understanding of the political, social, economic, and cultural structures of past societies with the study of a separate academic discipline, and to cultivate intellectual skills such as the ability to assess evidence critically, to evaluate different interpretations of the evidence, to construct arguments on the basis of evidence, and to express opinions cogently in speech and in writing.
History covers the period from the fall of the Roman Empire to the present day. There is a balance between modules covering specific historical periods and thematic modules that examine broad social and cultural topics, such as warfare, gender, religion, art, medicine and science.
Within English Literature, you are free to follow a traditional programme covering multiple periods and genres or to build a more distinctive mix of modules combining literary study with analysis of other cultural forms.
The degree provides the training necessary for students who wish to study either discipline at postgraduate level, and a valuable range of intellectual and transferable skills for students who wish to enter other professions.
|Entry point||September 2016|
|Typical places available||The School of English, Communication and Philosophy typically has 350 places available. The School of History, Archaeology and Religion typically has 320 places available.|
|Typical applications received||The School of English, Communication and Philosophy typically receives 1450 applications. The School of History, Archaeology and Religion typically receives 1800 applications.|
|Typical A level offer||Grades AAB, to include an A in English Literature, English Literature and Language or Creative Writing, and a B in History. General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted.|
|Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offer||WBQ core will be accepted in lieu of one A-level (at the grades specified above), excluding English Literature or English Language and Literature, or Creative Writing for English Literature degrees.|
|Typical International Baccalaureate offer||35 points from the International Baccalaureate, to include 6 points in Higher Level History and 6 points in English Literature.|
|Other qualifications||Applications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed admissions and selection criteria for more information.|
Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course.
|QAA subject benchmark|
English and History
Dr Anthony Mandal, Admissions Tutor
Important Legal Information: The programme information currently being published in Course Finder is under review and may be subject to change. The final programme information is due to be published by May 2016 and will be the definitive programme outline which the University intends to offer. Applicants are advised to check the definitive programme information after the update, to ensure that the programme meets their needs.
This is a three-year degree programme comprising some core modules that provide essential skills and training as well as a wide variety of optional modules for you to select from to tailor your degree to meet your interests.
In Year 1, you take 60 credits of English Literature modules and 60 credits of History modules.
Students of this course can choose to study modules outside of their allocated School(s) core and optional modules. These can be chosen from modules from participating Academic Schools.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|The Making of The Modern World, 1750-1970||HS1105||20 credits|
|Early Modern England and Wales 1500-1700||HS1106||20 credits|
|Texts in Time 1500-1800||SE2132||20 credits|
|Literature, Culture, Place||SE2133||20 credits|
|Modern Wales||HS1104||20 credits|
|Medieval Europe||HS1101||20 credits|
|Making Global Histories: Asia and the West||HS1108||20 credits|
In Year 2, you take 60 credits of English Literature modules and 60 credits of History modules.
In Year 3, you take 60 credits of English Literature modules and 60 credits of History modules.
If you wish, you can write a dissertation on a topic of your choice in either discipline.
We have a supportive learning environment, where students are enabled to acquire a range of skills and a wealth of specialist knowledge.
Our programmes foster intellectual skills, such as critical thinking, close analysis, evaluating evidence, constructing arguments, using theory, and the effective deployment of language in writing and in debate. We also help you gain experience in team-working, independent research, and time management.
Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, practicals, field trips, and one-to-one tutorials. You will also undertake independent study and research, with guidance from tutors.
A range of formative and summative assessment methods are used, including essays, examinations, presentations, portfolios, and creative assignments.
School of English, Communication and Philosophy
In 2013/14, 91% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.
School of History, Archaeology and Religion
In 2013/14, 92% of the School's graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.
The School of English, Communication and Philosophy admits around 360 students every year to its undergraduate degree programmes.
The School of History, Archaeology and Religion admits around 260 students every year to its undergraduate degree programmes.
The School of History, Archaeology and Religion = 1650
The School of English, Communication and Philosophy = 1500
QAA subject benchmark
|QAA subject benchmark|
English and History
What are the aims of this Programme?
The BA in English Literature and History (Joint Honours) gives students the opportunity to combine the study of all periods of literature in English from the Anglo-Saxon period to the twenty-first century and from many different parts of the world with the study of social and political history. Students divide their modules equally between English Literature and History (and in the first year potentially with a third subject).
In English Literature, the first year is a foundation year designed to equip you with the skills for advanced study and to give you an overview of the subject that will enable you to make informed choices from the modules available in Year 2 and the Final Year. In Year 2 you select from a range of period-, genre- or theme-based modules in which you will build on the foundation year, reading a variety of texts in their historical and cultural contexts. In Final Year there is a range of more specialised modules in which you will pursue interests developed in the previous two years and engage with current issues in research and scholarship, enabling you further to develop analytical and presentational skills that employers will value, as well as equipping you for postgraduate study. The focus throughout the degree is on becoming a careful, attentive, and informed reader, sensitive to the nuances of language and style and able to articulate your responses to texts in writing which is precise, stylish, and effective.
The emphasis on the History side of the degree is on choice. Students have a free choice of all the modules that are offered in History, subject to caps on student numbers. Students are able, in the final year, to produce original historical work of their own in the form of a dissertation.
What is expected of me?
As a student, you are expected to demonstrate that you are progressing and engaged academically by regularly attending lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials.
A 20 credit module will normally comprise a minimum of 200 study hours and a 10 credit module will normally comprise of a minimum 100 study hours. This will include contact hours with staff (lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials) making up approximately 30 hours per 20 credit module, with the remainder of the time spent on self-directed learning for that module (reading, preparation for seminars, research, reflection, formative writing, assessment work and exam revision). Examinations and assessed work are marked on the assumption that you have fulfilled these requirements. There are also additional seminars and workshops that students are able to attend.
Attendance at lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials is compulsory. It is extremely important that you attend all of your classes for the following reasons:
- It is in the lectures that you find out what the key topics in your subject are, which can help you structure your additional reading.
- Your seminars are the place for you to discuss issues raised in the course and from your reading, and to enhance and develop your understanding.
- Both your lectures and seminars will help you prepare your essays and revise for your exams.
- Your presence can also help others to learn (as well as you), whilst student absence disrupts the learning process for the whole group.
If you are unable to attend, you must notify your tutor or departmental administrator in advance by telephone, by email or in writing in order to explain your absence. Further information on illness, reporting extenuating circumstances, and leave of absences can be found in student handbooks and the Academic Regulations Handbook.
The Department expects that Students will:
- attend all classes, punctually, and to explain any absence (in advance where possible)
- prepare adequately for and contribute to seminars and tutorials
- avoid plagiarism (plagiarism being work which uses the words or ideas of others without acknowledging them as such)
- take responsibility for their own learning, with appropriate guidance monitor their own progress and take account of the feedback given
- show respect for their fellow students, tutors and the learning environment
- manage their time effectively so that they are adequately prepared for all classes and assignments
- complete their assessments on time and in compliance with the instructions given
- take responsibility for advising themselves of the regulations governing assessments
- ensure that they are registered for the requisite number of modules and that the academic registry are aware of which modules they are taking
- read all handbooks carefully and take appropriate action
- regularly access their University e-mail account
- ask members of staff before using their names as referee
Full expectations for students are outlined in the University’s Student Charter.
Students are expected to adhere to the Cardiff University policy on Dignity at Work and Study, which can be found here: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/govrn/cocom/equalityanddiversity/dignityatwork/index.html
How is this Programme Structured?
BA English Literature and History is a three-year degree programme. Students progress from more general modules in the first year to more specialised modules in the second and third years.
- 40 credits of History modules;
- 40 credits of English Literature modules;
- 40 credits in History, English Literature or another Humanities subject.
Year Two students study:
- 60 credits of modules in History;
- 60 credits of modules in English Literature.
Year Three students study:
- 60 credits of modules in History;
- 60 credits of modules in English Literature.
Students may opt to write a dissertation on a topic of their choice.
Students must pass each academic year before being allowed to proceed.
Will I need any specific equipment to study this Programme?
No specific equipment is required.
What skills will I practise and develop?
Many of the learning outcomes listed above involve practising skills that are transferable to numerous areas of employment. In addition, students who engage with the programme will practise and develop the ability to:
- Communicate effectively with others.
- Think analytically about problems.
- Use electronic and other sources of information as appropriate to the project chosen.
- Take responsibility for their own learning programme and professional development.
The acquisition of skills and of intellectual understanding generally is progressive. As you progress through your degree we will raise our expectations of the depth and breadth of your studies. In broad terms:
Year One introduces you to a variety and range of approaches.
Year Two provides you with specific training in the critical analysis of concepts, theories and methods.
Final Year provides you with the opportunity to develop your skills through a systematic engagement with, and interrogation of primary sources in your modules and in the production of a Dissertation based on original research.
You are encouraged to take increasing responsibility for your own learning and for the presentation of your findings. We cannot learn for you, but it is our responsibility to help you learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials, and to help you become independent learners.
How will I be taught?
Teaching is by a combination of lectures and seminars, with all modules including seminar or small-group teaching. Each module presents the student with a set of intellectual challenges which have in common a concern with the question of how to read the literary (or other cultural) text and how to write about its significance and meanings. Teaching stresses the importance of the way texts interact with their contexts, and each module is designed to encourage you to focus on a number of specific texts and to prepare carefully a considered answer to specific topics dealt with in the module.
The learning activities will vary from module to module as appropriate, but may include such activities as: interactive lectures, seminar discussions of prepared texts/topics, student presentations or group presentations, small-group work within seminars, translation classes, formative writing exercises, journal entries, and film showings. Students are expected to do the reading and other relevant preparation to enable them to take a full part in these activities and are encouraged to explore the resources of the library as appropriate.
Most modules are taught through a combination of lectures, private study, seminars and individual feedback. Lectures, usually one per week, provide guidance concerning the issues and problems to be followed up in your own reading and writing. For each seminar you will do six to eight hours of preparation, and in the session itself you will use the knowledge thus acquired to present and test your arguments. In the process, you will also receive feedback on them from lecturers and fellow students. In your essays you will combine a range of sources – sometimes contradictory – into a coherent argument of your own, backed by evidence. Again, you will receive individual feedback from lecturers, in writing and orally.
Core courses in Years One and Two usually comprise weekly lectures, supplemented by fortnightly seminars in small groups. In Year Two and especially Year Three, the emphasis shifts further towards seminar work, with individual supervision for extended essays and dissertations. In total, you would be expected to work 35-40 hours per week.
How will I be assessed?
All modules offer the opportunity to undertake formative work appropriate to the module. The form(s) of summative assessment for individual modules are set out in the relevant Module Description. Most modules are assessed by assessed essay and/or examination, but some include other forms of assessment such as journal entries, a portfolio, or presentations. The assessment strategy is structured to lead students from specimen question papers towards the production of an informed answer. Emphasis in assessment is placed on the writing of clear, persuasive and scholarly essays presented in a professional manner and submitted on time. Details of any academic or competence standards which may limit the availability of adjustments or alternative assessments for disabled students are noted in the Module Descriptions.
In the final year of the degree students have the option of choosing to write a dissertation on a topic of particular interest to them.
Written feedback is provided on both formative and summative assessment and students are encouraged to discuss their ideas with module tutors in seminars and, where appropriate, on a one-to-one basis in office hours.
You will be assessed largely by written examinations and coursework essays. You will also write longer essays, source criticisms, critical reviews of scholarly articles, and a dissertation, and you will give oral presentations in certain courses. The marking criteria for this work measure the extent to which you have achieved the learning outcomes for the Programme.
Progression is built into assessment, in that students do smaller guided tasks in Year one, as well as formative essays in Years Two and Four.
You will receive feedback through formative written work, seminar discussion, written feedback on essays, and essay tutorials.
How will I be supported?
Every student is assigned a personal tutor in both English Literature and in History with whom to discuss and reflect upon academic progress and discuss any problems or circumstances that adversely affect your studies. Students are expected to take responsibility for their own development. You will attend a compulsory Academic Progress Meeting with your English Literature personal tutor each semester, before which you will complete a form which is designed to help you reflect on the written feedback and the reasons for the marks you have received from the previous round of assessment. You will discuss this feedback and your reflections on it with your personal tutor.
In addition, all staff have weekly office hours during teaching weeks and students may make appointments to see their personal tutor or module leaders on a one-to-one basis. Staff may also be contacted by email. Details of the office hours and email addresses of staff are provided in the Module Guide for each module and/or posted on their office doors.
The majority of modules make use of Cardiff University’s Virtual Learning Environment, Learning Central, where students can access course materials and links to related reading and online resources.
What are the Learning Outcomes of this Programme?
Students should be able to demonstrate the following:
- Awareness of different literary periods, movements and genres and of the variety of English literature.
- Understanding of the importance of historical and cultural contexts.
- Knowledge of the critical issues and/or debates surrounding or raised by texts.
- Understanding of the shaping effects of historical and cultural circumstances on the production and meaning of texts.
- Ability to select and organise material purposefully and cogently.
- Ability to handle complex ideas with clarity.
- Ability to analyse and interpret material drawn from a diversity of literary periods.
- Ability to apply high level critical skills of close analysis to literary texts.
- Knowledge of appropriate critical vocabulary and terminology.
- Ability to sustain a critical argument that is responsive to the workings of language and literary styles.
- Critical understanding;
- Knowledge of the diversity of human society across a wide geographical and chronological range;
- Ability to identify patterns of change and to locate detailed examination of particular themes, episodes and events within them;
- Ability to develop a reasoned, coherent, argument about specific problems, deploying appropriate evidence, and demonstrating awareness of the limits of their knowledge;
- Ability to achieve the above objectives both independently and as part of a team.
- Awareness of the bibliographic conventions of the discipline and their role in communicating information.
Students will develop a range of discipline-specific skills that employers also value. Students learn to assess critically a body of knowledge, to develop hypotheses, test them against qualitative and quantitative evidence, and present conclusions both in writing and orally.
Dr Anthony Mandal, Admissions Tutor
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