Skip to main content

English Literature and History (BA)

Why study this course

location

Tailored to you

With primarily optional modules you have freedom to choose a personalised degree.

building

Industry experience

Gain skills, confidence and connections through a variety of literary and cultural internships.

book

Learn from experts

Benefit from the teaching and support  of research-active staff.

location

Study with passion

Explore interests with subjects ranging from slavery in America to Soviet and Japanese history.

star

Dissertation with a difference

Explore a topic that sparks your curiosity; enhance multiple skills with a presentation and written element.

On our degree, you will be able to explore the span of English literature, from the Anglo-Saxon period to the 21st century, and take history modules that develop your knowledge and critical understanding of the political, social, economic, and cultural structures of past societies. Our historical expertise reaches an extraordinary breadth of periods, societies, and places, spanning the British Isles, Europe (east and west), Africa, Asia, and the Americas. You will not be restricted to the printed word – we are intrigued by the connections between literature and film, art, music, history, language and popular culture, and our teaching reflects these interests. The focus is on becoming a careful, attentive, and informed reader and writer, sensitive to the nuances of language and style, and able to articulate responses to texts in writing which is precise, stylish and effective.

Criss-crossing this wide range of time spans and perspectives, our highly respected programme will cultivate intellectual skills such as the ability to assess literary and historical 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. Our modules give you the opportunity to study both well-established areas, such as political, social, cultural and gender history, or explore areas that might be new to you, such as environmental history or digital history. On our joint degree, you will develop the skills so advantageous in our digital age: creativity, empathy, critical thinking, persuasive communication skills and the ability to challenge and question. 

Our friendly academic staff will be on hand to guide you and provide full and constructive feedback throughout your studies. Bringing a wealth of expertise across theme, period and geography, your lecturers will share latest thinking in the classroom, including their own cutting-edge research.

Subject area: English language and literature

Subject area: History and ancient history

Entry requirements

We accept a combination of A-levels and other qualifications, as well as equivalent international qualifications subject to entry requirements. Typical offers are as follows:

A level

ABB-BBB. Must include Creative Writing, English Language and Literature, or English Literature.

Extended/International Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ/IPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.


We carefully consider your contextual data (the circumstances in which you've been studying) upon application. Where a grade range is advertised this reflects our typical standard and contextual offers. Eligible students will be given an offer at the lower end of the advertised grade range. Where there is no grade range advertised you will usually receive additional points in the selection process. Learn about eligible courses and how contextual data is applied.

International Baccalaureate

32-31 overall or 665 in 3 HL subjects. Must include grade 6 in HL English Language and Literature, English Literature, or English Literature and Performance.

Baccalaureate Wales

From September 2023, there will be a new qualification called the Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales (level 3). This qualification will replace the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (Welsh Baccalaureate). The qualification will continue to be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

Other qualifications from inside the UK

BTEC

DD-DM in a BTEC Diploma in Humanities and Social Science subjects, and grade B in A-level Creative Writing, English Language and Literature, or English Literature.

T level

Acceptance of T Levels for this programme will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Academic School. Consideration will be given to the T Level grade/subject and grades/subjects achieved at GCSE/Level 2.

Qualifications from outside the UK

See our qualification equivalences guide

Additional entry requirements

GCSE

Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each subskill.

TOEFL iBT

At least 90 overall with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

At least 62 overall with a minimum of 59 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

You must have or be working towards:
- English language or Welsh language at GCSE grade C/4 or an equivalent (such as A-levels). If you require a Student visa, you must ensure your language qualification complies with UKVI requirements.

We do not accept Critical Thinking, General Studies, Citizenship Studies, or other similar equivalent subjects.
We will accept a combination of BTEC subjects, A-levels, and other qualifications, subject to the course specific grade and subject requirements.

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Please see our admissions policies for more information about the application process.

Tuition fees for 2023 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £9,000 None
Year two £9,000 None
Year three £9,000 None

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national, your tuition fees for 2023/24 be in line with the overseas fees for international students, unless you qualify for home fee status. UKCISA have provided information about Brexit and tuition fees.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the undergraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

Year Tuition fee Deposit
Year one £20,450 None
Year two £20,450 None
Year three £20,450 None

Learn more about our tuition fees

Financial support

Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.

Additional costs

You should be prepared to invest in some key texts and to cover the costs of basic printing and photocopying for you own use. You may also want to buy copies of other books, either because they are particularly important for your modules or because you find them particularly interesting. The University Bookshop often provides significantly discounted ‘bundles’ that cover all the essential reading for your English Literature modules, alongside the course-specific readers.

Course specific equipment

You will not need any specific equipment.

Accommodation

We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Living costs

We're based in one of the UK's most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.

Course structure

The BA English Literature and History is structured in such a way that you will acquire over successive years high-level skills to become an independent and critical thinker, equipped for professional employment.

Through a blend of core and optional modules, you will study 120 credits in each year of study – 60 in English Literature and 60 in History.

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2023/2024 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2023.

Year one

Year 1 offers a foundation for study, designed to equip you with the skills for advanced study and to give you an overview of your subjects.

In English literature, you take a compulsory module that enhances your skills in critical reading and critical writing, by examining a range of literary genres and interpretative approaches. This module lays the foundations for your academic development in literary studies in your second and final years. Optional modules focus on advanced theoretical approaches to literary texts, on word/image relations, on drama across the ages and on desire and identity in various periods.

History modules are designed to equip you with the skills for advanced study and introduce you to historical themes and areas of study that you may not have encountered at A-level. Our 2 core modules introduce you to the different frameworks which underpin historical study and the different ways of writing history, while also allowing you to explore how we understand ‘global’ connections and historical change to challenge how we think beyond set time periods and regional or national borders. Optional modules allow you to extend your historical knowledge and skills through a variety of periods and regions to lay the foundation for study in years 2 and 3.

By the end of the year, you will understand the complex relationship between historical periods and their cultural artefacts.

Year two

In English kiterature, you choose from thematic, genre, period and geographical modules, free from compulsory modules. You read a variety of texts in their historical and cultural contexts, while continuing to develop your critical methodologies and knowledge of the subject. You build on first-year foundations by selecting survey modules that approach entire periods or genres and more focused modules that explore individual authors, movements or literary phenomena.

In history, you take a core module which introduces you to the key theoretical approaches and methods that have influenced historical writing. Our optional modules allow you to explore themes across a narrower time range while encouraging a more comparative approach to history. In your second year, the emphasis shifts towards different approaches to history and different ways of using evidence. You also have the option in your second year to take modules which give you a deeper understanding of the kinds of evidence historians use, the ways of using that evidence, and the historian’s role in sharing research beyond the boundaries of academia and the voices they privilege or silence.

Module titleModule codeCredits
Reading HistoryHS620120 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Past, Present and FutureHS020120 credits
Making History: Historians, Evidence, AudiencesHS620220 credits
Debating HistoryHS620320 credits
A History of the SupernaturalHS621120 credits
History of Human RightsHS621220 credits
Accessible PastsHS621320 credits
The British Civil WarsHS621420 credits
European Enlightenment(s): The View from the MarginsHS621520 credits
America: From Revolution to ReconstructionHS621620 credits
Modern FranceHS621720 credits
Europe's Dark CenturyHS621820 credits
Stalinism: State, Society, and EnvironmentHS621920 credits
Close Neighbours, Dangerous Foes: China, Japan and Modern East AsiaHS622020 credits
Politics and the People in Modern Britain: Protest, citizenship and the stateHS622120 credits
Environmental HistoriesHS622220 credits
Anti-Colonial ResistanceHS622320 credits
Language Skills for HistoriansHS622420 credits
Chwyldro, Diwylliant a Radicaliaeth, 1789–1914HS622520 credits
Style and GenreSE141620 credits
Medieval Arthurian LiteratureSE229520 credits
Modernist FictionsSE244520 credits
Children's Literature: Form and FunctionSE244720 credits
Introduction to Romantic PoetrySE245020 credits
African-American LiteratureSE245120 credits
Imaginary Journeys: More to HuxleySE245720 credits
Modernism and the CitySE246320 credits
Gothic Fiction: The Romantic AgeSE246820 credits
Object Women in Literature and FilmSE249420 credits
Renaissance Poetry, Prose and Drama: The Principal Genres, Issues and AuthorsSE249720 credits
Second-generation Romantic PoetsSE258220 credits
Gothic Fiction: The VictoriansSE258920 credits
Scandal and Outrage: Controversial Literature of the Twentieth and Twenty-First CenturiesSE261320 credits
Contemporary British FictionsSE261920 credits
Philosophy and LiteratureSE262320 credits
Shakespeare's WorldsSE263220 credits
Victorian Worlds: Revolution, Disease, DevianceSE263620 credits

Year three

By your final year you will have gained experience of a variety of literary periods, topics, genres and approaches, developing your critical faculties and your skills in analysing texts and contexts. You choose between a range of more specialised modules that engage with current issues in research and scholarship in relation to authors and literary texts, and historical topics and areas both well-known and possibly less familiar to you.

You also have the opportunity to undertake a sustained independent research project on a topic of your choice in either discipline, enabling you to focus on a particular area or period or to examine the interface between literature and history at greater depth.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

Research is central to the student experience at Cardiff and all our teaching is informed by the latest findings.

We offer a supportive learning environment, where you are enabled to acquire a range of skills and a wealth of specialist knowledge. You will learn through a wide range of teaching methods from interactive lectures, lively discussion-based seminars and workshops, to group work and tutorials. These on-campus activities will be blended with a range of online environments that will enhance your learning experience and enable you to extend your studies beyond the classroom. Seminars and workshops offer a rewarding experience to engage critically with the key ideas and reading on a topic. They provide a valuable opportunity to explore ideas and work closely with your lecturers and to learn from other students. In the second part of your degree, you have the opportunity to undertake independent projects with the support of an expert in the field and one-to-one tuition (year 2/3 in History and year 3 in English Literature).

Our teaching methods 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 in a supportive environment.

Welsh language teaching

History provides opportunities for learning and teaching through the medium of Welsh. Subject to staff availability, seminar teaching in Welsh is available on some or all of the core modules. Welsh language supervision is also available in Year Two and Year Three for longer projects and for dissertations. You may elect to write all or some of your assessed work and examinations in Welsh.

How will I be supported?

You will be supported by a number of different staff, some focusing on academic performance in a particular area and some looking at learning and progress more holistically.

You will be allocated personal tutors in both English Literature and History, who will guide you for the duration of your studies. You will meet with your personal tutors regularly in groups and individually to reflect on your progress and development across your studies. Your personal tutors can also guide you towards appropriate support if you experience difficulties or require specific information about your time at Cardiff University.

Additional module-specific support is provided by seminar tutors, lecturers and/or module convenors; support for independent research projects is provided by an academic advisor who will meet with you regularly.

You will have access through the University virtual learning environment to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion boards.

Our undergraduate Education Support Teams provides academic and student support and are there to provide information and guidance in response to any queries you may have.

The University offers a range of services including Student Futures to help you with your career planning, support services and events to help you manage your emotional, mental and physical health, support with financial issues and support for students with disabilities.

How will I be assessed?

Assessments include source criticisms, close literary readings, research projects, reviews, presentations, creative-critical portfolios and blog posts, alongside more traditional forms of assessment such as essays and tests/exams. Some of our assessments allow you to work collaboratively on a project, while others include writing and creating for different audiences; for example, you might be asked to design a museum exhibition or create a guide for using sources; and you may have the opportunity to create podcasts and digital texts for social media. Long essays in History allow you to address fundamental historical questions or explore an historical issue or debate in more depth, while the dissertation in either subject enables you to examine a single topic in a sustained and detailed way.

In all cases, our assessments are designed to support you in developing your ideas, skills and competencies. They help equip you with skills to link your knowledge to local, national and global issues, and encourage you to be innovative and creative; to find new ways to address problems or ask questions; to collaborate in solving problems and presenting findings; and to present evidence-based arguments. The skills developed and assessed throughout the programme prepare you for entry into a range of graduate careers. Individual and group feedback on assessments and other learning provides you with the opportunity to reflect on your current or recent level of attainment.

What skills will I practise and develop?

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme describe what you will be able to do as a result of your study at Cardiff University. They will help you to understand what is expected of you. 

The Learning Outcomes for this Programme can be found below:

Knowledge & Understanding:   

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

KU1: demonstrate a systematic awareness of different literary periods, movements and genres and of the variety of English Literature

KU2: sustain a critical argument that is responsive to the workings of language and literary styles

KU3: engage critically and conceptually with the changing assumptions and methods that historians use to explain the past

KU4: demonstrate systematic knowledge and understanding of the complexity and diversity of the past in a single country or in relation to particular themes or texts

KU5: demonstrate a critical awareness of the limits of disciplinary knowledge and the evolving nature of that knowledge and understanding

Intellectual Skills:           

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

IS1: apply high-level critical skills of close analysis to literary texts

IS2: demonstrate an imaginative appreciation of different views and options and analyse these critically

IS3: utilise knowledge and appropriate skills and methods to identify and critically evaluate historical and cultural change

IS4: formulate and justify arguments about a range of historical issues, problems and debates using historiographical and/or literary ideas and methods

IS5: identify appropriate primary sources, reflect upon their nature and analyse them critically to address questions and solve problems

Professional Practical Skills:      

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

PS1: critically analyse and interpret material drawn from a diversity of literary periods

PS2: demonstrate critical thinking, reasoning and the ability to assimilate and summarise complex information and ideas though the independent selection and critical analysis of an appropriate range of evidence

PS3: ask cogent and focused questions and pursue answers to these questions through structured enquiry, selecting and interrogating an appropriate range of evidence

PS4: summarise and critically appraise the relative merits and demerits of alternative views and interpretations and evaluate their significance

Transferable/Key Skills:

On successful completion of the Programme you will be able to:

TS1: present complex findings and arguments clearly, concisely and persuasively in a variety of formats

TS2: show enterprise skills to solve problems and analyse diverse, partial or ambiguous evidence using critical thinking, initiative and creativity

TS3: propose imaginative solutions of your own that are rooted in evidence

TS4: effectively communicate complex information and arguments, either individually or collaboratively as part of a team

Other information

Teaching methods include a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops, individual work and group tasks, one-to-one tutorials and self-directed learning. You can also undertake independent study and research, with guidance from academic tutors. These teaching methods enable you to develop communication and analytical skills, and to develop critical thinking in a supportive environment. The teaching covers all the key competencies, and is enhanced by the inclusion of digital learning resources.

The focus of assessment is on supporting you to develop your ideas, skills and competencies. We use a wide range of assessment methods, including coursework essays, source criticisms, critical reviews, examinations, online tests, posters, oral presentations, blogs and group presentations. Progression is built into assessment, in that you will do smaller guided tasks in year one, as well as formative work in years two and three. As part of your skills training in year one, you will be supported in understanding how the assessments work, what is expected of you, how you will be marked and how to make the most of your feedback.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

We encourage our students to think about life beyond university from day one, offering modules and support to give you a competitive advantage on graduating no matter what path they follow.

Our degree equips you with a lively and critical understanding of the past, its enduring legacies, and how it connects to the present, and important skills which employers’ value from collaborative working and communicating with a wide range of audiences to critical thinking and finding new ways to address problems. We provide you with opportunities to attain and develop enterprise skills as you progress from pitching your ideas on global history on first year modules and working collaboratively on a project in year 2 to credit-bearing placements in year 2 and your final year. A range of optional modules extend these opportunities and support you to develop these skills further.

Training and careers events are delivered in and out of the curriculum with a focus on developing skills while in university and articulating those skills successfully in future applications. We work closely with Student Futures who not only deliver training and workshops on our core modules, but also offer a wealth of opportunities. Beyond your formal studies we run programmes that provide you with opportunities to engage with local schools and communities or work with local heritage organisations to develop your own skills and profile whilst allowing you to make a difference.

Placements

We ensure that placements can be incorporated into your learning.

Opportunities for diverse, bespoke placements are offered in Year Two on a module which focuses on translating the skills you gain through your degree into the workplace. In your final year, we offer the opportunity to take a module through which you can develop your enterprise skills, and which equips you with the skills to communicate and collaborate with external organisations. Staff also have close links with a range of local heritage and other organisations, which offer placement opportunities both in and outside semesters.

Next steps

icon-academic

Open Day visits

Sign up to receive our latest news.

icon-international

International

Learn more about our truly global university.

icon-contact

Get in touch

Contact us for help with any questions you have

icon-pen

How to apply

Find out how to apply for this course


HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.