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Portsmouth is the perfect place to study literature and history. Charles Dickens was born here, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle called these streets home, and Rudyard Kipling’s work was inspired by his early years here. Plus, it's a city that's played a major role in British and world history – you'll find influences of the past throughout, from Portsea Castle to the Historic Dockyard.
On this BA (Hons) English Literature with History degree, you’ll examine literature from classics to the contemporary, and discover how history has shaped – and been shaped – by written works. You'll become an expert in reading, analysing and discussing literature, and explore British and global history.
You’ll emerge with a skill set that’s sought after for careers in the arts, publishing, media and as a historian. The critical thinking, reading and analytical abilities you'll develop will also set you up for postgraduate study or roles in areas like teaching and politics.
To do this degree, you need to apply for the BA (Hons) English Literature course. This is because it's a 'pathway' degree.
You’ll study English Literature in depth and add History as a complementary subject in years 2 and 3. You’ll graduate with a BA (Hons) English Literature with History degree when you finish the course.
These are the entry requirements for the BA (Hons) English Literature course.
BA (Hons) English Literature entry requirements
- A levels - BBC-BCC
- UCAS points - 104-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent, to include a relevant subject (calculate your UCAS points)
- BTECs (Extended Diplomas) - DMM
- International Baccalaureate - 25
You may need to have studied specific subjects – find full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept
English language requirements
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.
We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.
If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
We look at more than just your grades
While we consider your grades when making an offer, we also carefully look at your circumstances and other factors to assess your potential. These include whether you live and work in the region and your personal and family circumstances which we assess using established data.
What you'll experience
On this English Literature with History degree course you’ll:
- Build your knowledge of literature, from Shakespeare to the present day, and across genres from crime writing to magical realism
- Learn from staff who are undertaking historical and literary research, ensuring you keep abreast of the latest theories and findings
- Have access to primary and secondary historical sources through local organisations and archive subscriptions
- Grapple with current issues in literature and engage in lively critical debates
- Tailor your studies to the areas of literature and history that excite you the most, choosing modules that match your interests
- Enhance your studies by taking advantage of our close links with the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth Records Service and the D-Day Museum
- Develop analytical reading, presentation and teamwork skills that’ll serve you in your future career
You can also:
- Undertake work or research placements, volunteer roles and internships while you study
- Develop personal and professional contacts locally and further afield through our work-related modules
- Study abroad at one of our partner universities, such as Ghent University, University of Gdańsk, Kiel University, University of Luxembourg and the University of Malaga
- Meet high-profile figures in the literary world and attend a reception at our annual Literary Prizes and Public Acclaim event
Careers and opportunities
A degree in English literature is a great foundation for a career in the arts. Graduate employers also value the sophisticated analytical and presentational skills you'll develop on this course.
What can you do with an English Literature degree?
After the course, you could work in areas such as:
- arts and media
- public relations
- museum curation
- the heritage sector
You could also study at postgraduate level.
Our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job or course that puts your skills to work. After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years as you advance in your career.
What jobs can you get with an English literature degree?
After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry.
Previous students have completed work placements with organisations such as museums and local schools.
We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
Work experience and career planning
To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.
We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and freelancing opportunities that will complement your studies and build your portfolio.
This course allows you to take the Learning From Experience (LiFE) option. This means you can earn credits towards your degree for work, volunteer and research placements that you do alongside your study.
Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 modules worth 20 credits and 1 module worth 40 credits.
What you'll study
Core modules in this year include:
- Body Politics – 40 credits
- Global Identities – 20 credits
- Popular Culture – 20 credits
- Unpacking Texts: Introducing Critical Theory – 20 credits
- The Short Story: Murder, Madness and Experimentation – 20 credits
There are no optional modules in this year.
Core modules in this year include:
- Literary Prizes and Public Acclaim – 20 credits
- Research in Practice – 20 credits
Optional modules in this year include:
- Bloody Shakespeare: the Politics and Poetics of Violence – 20 credits
- Crime Writing – 20 credits
- Dystopian and Apocalyptic Environments: Ecocrisis in the Literary Imagination – 20 credits
- Empire and its Afterlives in Britain, Europe, and Africa – 20 credits
- Envisioning Ourselves: Media and the Making of Modern Britain - 20 credits
- Modern Foreign Language (Institution-wide Language Programme) – 20 credits
- Professional Experience L5 - 20 credits
- Puritans to Postmodernists: American Literature – 20 credits
- Space, Place and Being – 20 credits
- The Hidden Lives of Things: Material Culture in the Early Modern World - 20 credits
- Underworlds: Crime. Deviance and Punishment in Britain, 1500-1900 - 20 credits
- Women's Writing in the Americas – 20 credits
Core modules in this year include:
- Dissertation / Major Project – 40 credits
Optional modules in this year include:
- Consuming Fictions: Food and Appetite in Victorian Culture – 20 credits
- Holocaust Literatures – 20 credits
- Magical Realism – 20 credits
- Professional Development: Recruiters and Candidates – 20 credits
- Professional Experience L6 - 20 credits
- Specialist Option: Empires and Identities - 20 credits
- Specialist Option: Everyday Life, Extraordinary Lives and Challenging Inequality - 20 credits
- Specialist Option: Popular Cultures - 20 credits
- Specialist Option: Societies in Revolution - 20 credits
- Time, Temporality, Contemporary Fiction – 20 credits
- US Masculinities – 20 credits
On this course, you can do an optional work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years to get valuable experience working in industry.
We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
Changes to course content
We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.
Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.
How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed through:
- textual analysis
- a dissertation
- real-world projects
- creative assignments
You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.
You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future. The way you’re assessed will depend on the modules you select throughout your course. Here's an example from a previous year of how students on this course were typically assessed:
- Year 1 students: 17% by written exams, 17% by practical exams and 66% by coursework
- Year 2 students: 8% by written exams, 8% by practical exams and 84% by coursework
- Year 3 students: 100% by coursework
Teaching methods on this course include:
You can access all teaching resources on Moodle, our virtual learning environment, from anywhere with a Web connection.
For more about the teaching activities for specific modules, see the module list above.
How you'll spend your time
One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.
We use a blended learning approach to teaching, which means you’ll take part in both face-to-face and online activities during your studies. As well as attending your timetabled classes you'll study independently in your free time, supported by staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle.
The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:
Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.
As well as regularly scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next scheduled meeting.
Learning development tutors
You'll have help from a team of faculty learning development tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study.
They can help with:
- Improving your academic writing (for example, essays, reports, dissertations)
- Delivering presentations (including observing and filming presentations)
- Understanding and using assignment feedback
- Managing your time and workload
- Revision and exam techniques
Academic skills support
As well as support from faculty staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).
ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:
- academic writing
- note taking
- time management
- critical thinking
- presentation skills
- working in groups
- revision, memory and exam techniques
If you have a disability or need extra support, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) will give you help, support and advice.
Library staff are available in person or by email, phone or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.
The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.
Support with English
If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.
Course costs and funding
- UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
- EU students – £9,250 a year, including our Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £18,100 a year (subject to annual increase)
You won't pay any extra tuition fees to another university for taking part in a study/work abroad activity if you choose to do it for the whole academic year. During a year abroad you'll only have to pay a reduced fee to the University of Portsmouth.
Funding your studies
Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
Our accommodation section show your accommodation options and highlight how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
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.
You’ll need to cover additional costs, such as travel costs, if you take an optional placement or placement abroad.
These costs will vary depending on the location and duration of the placement, and can range from £50–£1000.
During your placement year or study abroad year, you’ll be eligible for a discounted rate on your tuition fees. Currently, this discount amounts to 90% of the year’s fees.
Tuition fees for that year are:
- UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £925 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
- EU students – £925 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £1,800 a year (subject to annual increase)
The costs associated with your specific destination will be discussed during your second year, as well as possible sources of additional funding.
You need to choose BA (Hons) English Literature when you apply for this course, because this is a ‘pathway’ course. This is where you study English Literature in depth and add History as a complementary subject in years 2 and 3. You’ll then graduate with a BA (Hons) English Literature with History degree when you complete the course.
If you change your mind after you apply, you can choose not to study History in years 2 and 3. You’ll then graduate with a BA (Hons) English Literature degree when you complete the course.
How to apply
To start this course in 2024, apply through UCAS. You'll need:
- the UCAS course code – Q301
- our institution code – P80
If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form.
You can also sign up to an Open Day to:
- Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
- Speak with lecturers and chat with our students
- Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join
If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.
Applying from outside the UK
As an international student you'll apply using the same process as UK students, but you’ll need to consider a few extra things.
You can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.
Find out what additional information you need in our international students section.
If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
Admissions terms and conditions
When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.