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BA (Hons)

English and History

Explore historical and literary phenomena

VQ13UCAS code 3yrsfull time 1yrplacement option

Star Course Overview

Why take this course?

You will explore a range of historical and literary phenomena, developing and applying a range of theoretical perspectives to evaluate and analyse evidence and texts. You will be able to focus on areas that particularly interest you in contemporary theory and practice.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Engage with and evaluate current critical debates
  • Undertake work or research placements, volunteer roles and internships alongside your study
  • Have the option of some foreign language study

What opportunities might it lead to?

You will be well positioned to find employment in a variety of fields including teaching, publishing, journalism and media. While studying English literature is a great foundation for a career in the arts, the sophisticated analytical and presentational skills you will gain are also highly valued by a range of non degree-specific graduate employers.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • television script writing
  • journalism
  • public relations
  • web design
  • editing
  • further academic study
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The main thing I enjoyed was the primary research – actually going to look at documents that potentially nobody had looked at before or that had actually been authored by the person I was researching. There is a lot of history here – especially with Maritime Naval History – it’s all around you wherever you go.

Scott Daly, BA (Hons) English and History student 2016

Want to start this course in 2017?

Apply through UCAS Clearing

Our entry requirements may be different during Clearing

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Key Facts

UCAS Course Code:
3 years full time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
The UCAS tariff for 2017 entry has changed. See how this affects your tariff score A LEVELS
96-120 points from 3 A levels or equivalent, to include 32 points from A level English and 32 points from A level History. See full entry requirements

We accept UCAS points from other qualifications. See full details and English Language qualifications

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2017/18 entry: full time: £9,250 p/a*

International students
2017/18 entry: full time: £12,600 p/a**

*Tuition fee may be subject to annual increase.
**Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.

View tuition fee terms and conditions
View additional course costs

+44 (0)23 9284 5566
School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies
Programme specification


English and Journalism

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • Getting the chance to develop practical skills alongside learning the theory
  • The high-quality teaching and flexibility of options that enables you to tailor your course to your own interests
  • The passion and knowledge of the lecturers that makes studying so enjoyable

Browse all courses in English and Journalism

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Light bulb Structure & Teaching

Year one

  • Historical Methods
  • Society and Culture in Twentieth Century Europe
  • Literary Powers: Renaissance to Romanticism
  • Critical Thinking
  • History Skills Foundation
  • Poetry and Poetics

Year two

  • Masses and Modernity, 1750-1914  
  • Styles And Subversions: Nineteenth Century To The Present Day
  • Literary Prizes And Public Acclaim

Options may include:

  • Revolutions! Literature And Change, 1700-1830 
  • Paragons And Profligates: Early Modern Drama
  • Puritans To Postmodernists: American Literature
  • Nation and Travel
  • Victorian Literature and Visual Culture
  • Empires and Identities 1750 - 1914
  • Introduction to Historical Research
  • Crime, Sin and Punishment in Britain, 1500-1850
  • Europe’s Maritime Empire 1600-1800
  • In Darkest England: Culture And Conflict In The City 1790 - 1860
  • Race, Slavery And Emancipation In The Americas
  • Learning From Experience
  • Languages (University Wide Option)
  • Learning from Experience (Faculty Wide Option)

Year three

  • Dissertation: an independent research project, in either English or History
  • History Special Subjects I and II:

These units allow you to conduct in-depth study on specific topics, using both primary and secondary sources.

Options may include:

  • Mortals And Immortals: Man, God And The Devil In Early Modern Literature
  • Enlightenment: Literature, Culture & Modernity
  • Magical Realism
  • Margaret Atwood
  • Postmodern Historical Fiction
  • Tracing Borders: Women & Writing 1890-1940
  • Twentieth Century Avant-Garde Fiction
  • Love, War and Friendship in Renaissance Poetry: John Donne to Katherine Philips
  • Charles Dickens
  • European Literary Decadence
  • Consuming Fictions: Food & Appetite in Victorian Culture
  • Holocaust Literatures
  • Renaissance Poetry: Ben Jonson to Katherine Phillips
  • US Masculinities
  • (Re) writing Revenge on the Early Modern Stage
  • Learning from Experience
  • Ecocritical Perspectives: Environment And Literature, 1820-1939 
  • Dwelling: Memory, Being, Place and the Modern


Our teaching approach involves lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops. A personal tutor will guide you through study skills, research management and dissertation work during your studies, and you will participate in group discussions and projects.

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 22% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 78% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 14% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 86% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year three students: 10% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 90% studying independently and 0% on work placement


We use a range of assessment methods including essays, close textual analysis, presentations and a dissertation. There is a clear emphasis on working with your peers to discuss ideas, and to work collaboratively to produce group presentations.

The final classification of your degree award is determined by your overall performance in the second and third year.

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 17% by written exams, 22% by practical exams and 61% by coursework
  • Year two students: 8% by written exams, 17% by practical exams and 75% by coursework
  • Year three students: 7% by written exams, 13% by practical exams and 80% by coursework

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Monitor Facilities & Features

The Study Centre

A suite of rooms with a comfy seating area, desks where you can work, printers, Mac workstations and access to the wireless network so you can log in using your own laptop. There are also several study rooms where you can work on group projects, alongside access to the University 3rd Space.

Research-active Staff

You will be taught by specialist staff who are actively undertaking research in this field, ensuring your learning keeps you abreast of the latest developments. Staff are members of the Centre for Literary Studies (CSL) and the Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR).

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Jennifer Ley, BA (Hons) English and History student

There is so much to do here and the atmosphere has been inviting and welcoming from the start. The facilities are modern, easily accessible and extremely useful.

Jennifer Ley, English and History student

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider

There may be travel costs for placements undertaken during your course. This will be in the region of £500.

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Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Where next?
Where next?

The analytical and communicative skills gained by graduates in history and English are valued by a wide range of employers. You will leave with the ability to manage large quantities of information, communicate effectively, research in groups or independently and write in a concise and informative fashion. All highly employable assets.

You’ll also possess a firm foundation to study at Master’s or PhD level should you want to continue with your research. Portsmouth offers MAs in Literature, Culture and Identity, and in the History of War, Culture and Society.

Roles our graduates have taken on include:

  • archivist
  • recruitment consultant
  • museum curator
  • public relations officer
  • information analyst

Work experience

Employment boosting opportunities
Employment boosting opportunities

This course allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option, which means you can earn credits towards your degree for work, volunteer and research placements that you’re involved in alongside your study.

The School of Social Historical and Literary Studies can offer you a number of work experience opportunities in a range of local organizations during your degree course. Currently these include projects at the National Museum of the Royal Navy and the New Theatre Royal, with local government departments and political groups, and a number of our students have worked on small research projects for the local community.

Career planning

Career planning
Career planning
6.04 minutes

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

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