BA (Hons) English Literature and History

Critically analyse literature, events, and contexts from across history

Critically analyse literature, events, and contexts from across history

3 years full-time
Bishop Otter Campus
  • Critically engage with literature from around the world
  • Engage with historical debates from a variety of contexts
  • Learn from expert staff and expert researchers
  • Smaller class sizes for better learning
Student working on laptop


Critically engage with literature, events, and contexts from throughout history

Explore your passion for both English Literature and History as you discover new literary worlds and engage in critical debate as you analyse texts from a variety of contexts, time periods, and authors.

You will have the opportunity to critically engage with literary texts and historical contexts from the Medieval and Early Modern periods, through the Renaissance and Victorian periods, and into the present day.

Your studies will take you around the world, as you explore wars, revolutions, and the social, religious and gender issues that shape our very identities.

You will learn from experienced tutors and experts who use the latest research to underlie their teaching. This ensures that you have access to the latest debates within the study of literature, as you learn the vital communication and critical thinking skills necessary for the workplace.

On this course you will

  • Study some of the most well-known names in literature such as Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde and the Brontës.
  • Critically engage with historical contexts from the Renaissance period through the Present Day.
  • Gain an insight into a variety of genres and styles, including contemporary women’s writing and beyond realist literature.
  • Learn from our expert team of published writers and leading academics.
  • Engage with contemporary issues such as climate change, race and sexuality.
  • Build your degree around your interests.

The Course

Critically engage with literary texts and their historical backgrounds

Year One

In your first year, you will explore Victorian literature from the Brontës through to Oscar Wilde, as well as examine the exciting space of Modernist experimentation in the twentieth century.

You will also develop your knowledge of British, European and international history.

Year Two

In year two, you will delve into past cultures, experiencing the rich literature of the Renaissance and study some of the wars, revolutions, social, religious and gender issues that shape our very identities.

You will choose to deepen your knowledge of fantasy, fairy tales or the gothic as you continue to explore the globe through world literature.

Year Three

In your third year, you will select from numerous specialisms and design your own research project on a topic of your choice.

This list is indicative and subject to change. You can choose to undertake your final dissertation project in either English Literature or History.

Select a year

Critical Writing: An Introduction

This module is built around the key research, reading and writing skills that are fundamental to the study of English Literature at degree level. You will start with the basic close reading techniques that you will use throughout your degree. The module then moves on to a consideration of research and library skills. You will also learn how to engage critically with secondary sources. Finally, you will learn how to plan, write, reference and proofread written work.

Literature Now: Reading and Writing the Present Moment

This module introduces you to the contemporary cultural landscape by exploring recent literary texts and transformations of the literary (film, graphic novels, digital texts, gamification, etc.). Tracing multiple forms of ‘writing’ and ‘reading’, you will gain the capacity to engage creatively with the present and to develop your own critical responses.

Conflicts and Controversies in Victorian Literature: Charlotte Brontë to Charles Dickens

This module will familiarise you with a series of key texts from the early and mid-Victorian period, covering the 1830s through to the 1860s. You will focus on some of the major conflicts and controversies associated with this time of significant change, and will consider the different ways in which a range of writers responded to these concerns.

Make it New: Modernist Experimentation from T. S. Eliot to Graham Greene

This module explores the first half of the twentieth century, focusing in particular on the radical developments and experimentation associated with modernist literature. You will engage with the forms developed by modernist writers in order to write about the period of rapid change, conflict and controversy in which they lived.

Investigating Interpretation: Ideas in literature from Marx to Barthes

The course traces the origin of ideas in literature through three key thinkers: Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and the linguist Ferdinand de Saussure. These thinkers will introduce you to the notion that our language is crucial to the way the world is constituted.

Decadence and Desire: Late Nineteenth-Century Literature

This module will familiarise you with a series of key texts from the late Victorian period, covering the 1880s through to the turn of the century. It will focus on some of the major conflicts and controversies associated with this time of significant economic, political and social change as you consider the different ways in which a range of writers responded to these concerns.

Contemporary Fiction: War, Women, and the World – Elizabeth Bowen to Alison MacLeod

This module considers the historical period since the second world war, focusing in particular on the social, cultural and personal changes in relation to fiction. You will consider literary texts in relation to key contextual and historical information, looking at the new forms developed by contemporary writers in order to write about a period of social change, conflicts and controversies.

Subverting the Subject: Ideas in Literature from Barthes to Butler

This module explores the ideas of a key set of thinkers who have sought to subvert traditional conceptions of ‘the subject’. Using literary fiction as a foundation, you will consider all the ways in which the concept of the subject might be determined by outside forces, rather than solely through the individual.

Experiments in Fiction: Magic, Detection, Sci-Fi and Beyond

This module aims to provide you with an understanding of, and ability to recognise, a range of genres in prose fiction. You will gain an understanding of genre as a means of classification and understand that the way a text employs genre shapes its meaning.

Agents of Change: Women’s Writing in the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries

This module explores the challenges made by women’s writing, both critical and creative, to established authority over the past two centuries.

Renaissance to Restoration

This module explores the evolution of poetry and prose throughout the Renaissance era and into the Restoration period of the 17th century, as result of major political and religious turbulence. You will consider the works of Spencer, Marlowe and Shakespeare who begin to explore gender and history in their work, before moving onto the satirical poetry of Donne, Marvell, Milton, and Rochester.

Poetry: 1300 to the Present

The module aims to develop your understanding of rhythm, rhyme, free verse, diction, particular verbal effects, timbre, tone, and voice. It will encourage awareness of the centrality of genre to a wide range of poetic practice from the Renaissance to the present day.

World Literature: Roots & Routes from Conrad to Afrofuturism

This module explores the role of literature in making the modern world. Using texts from around the world, you will consider a new sense of the globe, colonial relations, and the new post-colonial world. You will consider our sense of having roots in the world, especially national roots. Charting a path through texts from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first century, the module does not aim to ‘represent’ the totality of world literature. Instead, you will study a selection of texts that engage with crucial issues. Within these, you encounter a variety of themes: from the violent imposition of imperial power, to the ecological challenge of global climate change.

Romantics, Rebels, Reactionaries

The module will also assess how far second-generation Romantic poets developed the key Romantic theme of reform, as you consider the influence of the French Revolution on the work of British writers during the 18th century. You will study the work of renowned and revered Romantic poets including Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Wollstonecraft, alongside the work of Mary Shelley and Jane Austin.

From ‘Angry Young Men’ To Cool Britannia?: A Historical Analysis Of British Cultural Activity After 1945

This module provides you with an opportunity to analyse examples of British cultural activity after 1945 within their artistic, political, and historical contexts. The module discusses a series of key movements of cultural production, for example, ‘the Angry Young Men’; ‘Cold War fictions’; or ‘Thatcherism/responses to Thatcherism’.

Women And Gender, 1000-1600

This module explores the term ‘gender’ and its usefulness as a category of historical analysis. It will then explore major areas of research on gender and sexuality by medieval and early modern historians, examining women across all social strata, from queens and regents to prophets and peasants.

Approaches To Research

This module will build on your earlier explorations of research techniques, with a focus on the development of time and project management skills as you begin to prepare for your dissertation. Questions concerning how one starts on a research project and establishes viability of subject to a range of different approaches/theoretical perspectives will be discussed in detail, in relation to how you will choose their own dissertation topic.

Enlightenment Europe, 1688-1789

The ideas of the Enlightenment provided new ways of thinking about science, religion, education, politics and society and the place of ‘mankind’ in the world, but to what extent did the ‘philosophers’ transform society and how enlightened were they? You will explore these ideas as you engage with the works of Locke, Voltaire, Montesquieu, Diederot, Rousseau, Beccaria and Wollstonecraft.

Dissertation in English Literature

The Dissertation enables you to build on your research and writing skills developed during the first two years of the degree. It gives you the opportunity to work independently on a research project of your own choosing (with supervision), to pursue specialist interests and to strengthen and enhance your knowledge of a chosen subject.

Dissertation in History

The dissertation represents the culmination of your History studies as you complete an individual research project on a topic of your choosing. The 10,500-word thesis will include explicit methodological and historiographical dimensions and where appropriate, theoretical discussions integrated into the text.

European Literary Legacies: Writing the City

This module will deal with connections between the reader, author and cityscape. Using Venice as an example, as well as key psychogeographic works by Benjamin, de Certeau, Debord, Sinclair and others, you will examine key works created and inspired by Venice over the past four hundred years. By doing so, you will consider how cityscapes are created and affect conceptualisations of settings outside the boundaries of their original texts.

Unconscious Desires: Psychoanalysis and Culture from Freud to Žižek

This module explores the notion of unconscious desire and the expression of these desires in literature and culture. You will trace the emergence of the ideas of psychoanalysis in the work of Freud and how various psychoanalytic thinkers have transformed the notion of unconscious desire and used it to grasp literary and cultural forms.

Gothic, Romanticism and Women’s Writing: From Mary Wollstonecraft to Jane Austin

The aim of this module is to introduce you to the exciting range of women’s prose writing in the late 18th century, as you consider the relationship between such writing and the political debates of the period. You will discover how this writing, while often underrated, was of importance to Romantic aesthetics, often primarily understood and defined in terms of poetry written by men.

Fairy Tales: Early Modern to Postmodern

Gain an informed historical and critical perspective on a powerful literary and cultural tradition beginning with the fairy tales written in early modern Italy, continuing through Perrault, D’Aulnoy, Grimm, Andersen to the work of more contemporary authors such as Angela Carter and Margaret Atwood. It also asks where we can turn to for modern fairy tales, through a focus on the use of fairy tale tropes in the work of J.K Rowling and Philip Pullman.

Unforgettable Corpses: Literature, Cultural Memory and the First World War

This module will examine literary products of the First World War, the methods by which the authors reproduced, described and fictionalised their experiences. The second half of the module will also consider the use of First World War tropes in literature produced in the latter half of the 20th century, compare the application of those narrative devices, and critically assess the later use of those devices.

The Cultural History of Death

This module explores how literary representations of the historical and social treatment of the dead presents a vivid insight into the cultural behaviour, ideology and social order of different cultural and historical contexts. You will explore the beliefs and attitudes towards the dead within literature from the Middles Ages through to more contemporary examples and debates.

British Cultural Wars

This module explores conflict within British culture from the start of the 19th century to the turn of the new millennium. You will consider the reaction to obscene publications and other literary controversies and moral panics of Victorian Britain, through to the as the liberal reforms in the 1960s and the self-censorship and the baleful influence of Hollywood on British cinema.

Writing, Environment and Ecocriticism

This module will offer you the opportunity to explore the ways in which contemporary writers and critics engage with images, issues and concepts of the environment in novels, poetry and non-fiction. You will choose whether you wish to engage with the themes of the module as a critic or a creative writer.

History in the Graphic Novel

This module allows you to critically analyse the representations of history that are found in graphic novels. You will analyse how artist-writers have depicted post-war USA, with special attention given to the important newsprint work of Schulz and Doonesbury, as well as to influential graphic novelists Will Eisner and Art Spiegelman.


Find facilities and research centres that support your learning

Teaching and Assessment

Feel the support of expert staff and researchers


Our team of experienced tutors and experts use the latest research to underlie their teaching. This ensures that you have access to the latest debates within the study of both English literature and history.

Much of our teaching takes place in small groups. Our commitment to smaller class sizes allows you to feel more confident to discuss your ideas in a supportive environment.

It also allows your tutors get to know you and how best to aid your development.


Our BA (Hons) English Literature and History course uses a range of assessments methods, including:

  • Essays
  • Textual analysis
  • Commentary
  • Collaborative project work
  • Portfolio
  • Examinations
  • Dissertation
  • Manuscript work.

Modules are assessed at every stage of the course, allowing you to clearly see your academic progress throughout your degree.

Guest Speakers

Hear from visiting writers with regular guest events

The University boasts a blossoming writing culture and community, with regular book launches and conferences.

Some renowned authors to have visited the University in recent years include:

  • Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy
  • Matthew Sweeney
  • Helen Dunmore
  • Jo Shapcott
  • Sarah Hall
  • Bernardine Evaristo
  • Vicki Feaver
  • Sarah Hall
  • Kate Mosse
  • Alison MacLeod
  • John McCullough.

Work Placements

Gain vital experience within the workplace

We encourage our students to get culturally involved and gain experience. You could pursue experience as a student blogger, with student societies, with local heritage projects or with our own vibrant research culture.

In your second year, you will have the option to take a work placement module. This allows you to work as, for example, a journalist or within a publishing environment, then to reflect critically upon the experience.

Alternatively, you could pursue opportunities linked to your history modules and will have the option to work with sector-leading museums, galleries or heritage sites.

Our prestigious partners include Arundel Castle, Emsworth Museum, the West Sussex Record Office, and the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum – the setting for the BBC One show The Repair Show.

Our prestigious local partners include:

  • Arundel Castle
  • Bignor Roman Villa
  • Butser Ancient Farm
  • Chichester Cathedral
  • Chichester District Museum
  • D-Day Museum, Southsea
  • Emsworth Museum
  • Fishbourne Roman Palace
  • Mary Rose Museum
  • Pallant House Gallery
  • Petworth House
  • Portsmouth City Museum
  • Royal Marines Museum
  • Tangmere Aviation Museum
  • University of Chichester Archive Collections
  • Weald and Downland Open Air Museum
  • West Sussex Record Office
  • Worthing Library

Study Abroad

Explore the opportunity to study part of your course abroad

As a student at the University of Chichester, you can explore opportunities to study abroad during your studies as you enrich and broaden your educational experiences.

Students who have undertaken this in the past have found it to be an amazing experience to broaden their horizons, a great opportunity to meet new people, undertake further travelling and to immerse themselves within a new culture.

You will be fully supported throughout the process to help find the right destination institution for you and your course. We can take you through everything that you will need to consider, from visas to financial support, to help ensure that you can get the best out of your time studying abroad.


Open up your future career options

Our English Literature and History graduates are highly-valued by employers for their strong problem solving and communication skills and often continue into a wide range of careers.

Career paths include:

  • Publishing
  • Teaching
  • Marketing
  • Journalism
  • Communications and PR
  • Local and national government
  • Copywriting

Postgraduate pathways

  • MA Creative Writing
  • MA English Literature
  • MA Cultural History
  • MRes The History of Africa and the African Diaspora
  • PGCEs
  • Postgraduate Research (MPhil/PhD)

Course Costs

Course fees 2022/23

UK fee
International fee

For further details about fees, please see our Tuition Fees page.

For further details about international scholarships, please see our Scholarships page.

To find out about any additional costs on this course, please see our Additional Costs page.

Entry Requirements

Typical Offer (individual offers may vary)

104 - 120
tariff points.
A Levels
Access to HE Diploma
with 12 level 3 credits worth of English units at Merit.
28 points
with English Higher at 4.
6.0 overall
with no element lower than 5.5.


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