BA History and English Literature
Our joint honours BA History and English Literature course allows you to explore the richness of English literature alongside the rich history and variety of human experience.
Discover a thousand years of history whilst experiencing all the specialist areas on offer at the University of Reading. The History Department's expertise covers a wide range of regions, from Europe and Africa to America, South Asia and the Middle East. Module choices cover diverse periods and topics, from the Crusades to Cold War Berlin and from Medieval Magic to the Rwanda Crisis.
In your first year, your core History modules will explore people, politics, and revolution – finding out how people struggled for power in past societies – and the culture and concepts those societies developed. We will teach you the skills you need to study and research history through an individual project of your choice. In 2022, we achieved a 94% satisfaction score for BA History (National Student Survey 2022).
In your English literature modules, you will read more of authors and genres that you may already know (from tragedy to Gothic, from Shakespeare and Dickens to Plath and Beckett). But you will also encounter aspects of literary studies that may be less familiar to you, from children’s literature to publishing studies and the history of the book. Our academics have published research on everything from medieval poetry to contemporary American fiction.
As you progress through your degree, your module choices become more diverse and specialised: you can do archive work on Studying Manuscripts, or look at the politics of literature in Writing Global Justice. Everyone in the Department of English Literature, from new lecturers to professors, teaches at every level of the degree: this gives you the benefit of our expertise and makes you part of the conversation about our research and its impact outside the classroom. We place a strong emphasis on small-group learning within a friendly and supportive environment. In your first and second years, you will have a mix of lectures and seminars.
You can study abroad for a term in your second year at one of the University's partner institutions, including those in Europe, the USA, and Australia. The University also offers all students the chance to learn a modern language alongside their core subjects.
This course is flexible and enables you to shape your study to match your interests. Taught in small interactive seminar groups, you will regularly be able to discuss and debate topics with teaching staff and fellow students.
Placements are a prominent feature of our degree courses and highly encouraged. Placements are a good way to show you how you can use the skills acquired through studying history in the real world. In History we ensure that placements are incorporated into your core learning. In the second year, we offer opportunities for short group placements in museums and heritage and media organisations, and encourage students to reflect on what they have learned from previous employment or voluntary work experience. For third years, two optional modules offer placements of 10 working days in local archives and secondary schools.
Through our links with the Careers Centre, you can source potential employers and help with CVs and letters of application. Staff in the department also have close links with the university’s Institute of Education, Museum of English Rural Life (MERL) and Special Collections (archives), and with external organisations such as the Berkshire Record Office.
In English literature, you can take a placement module on languages and literature in heritage, in education, and in the media. Students on our Literature, Languages and Education module also undertake a short placement to explore the ways in which the skills and knowledge gained in their studies have direct application to the workplace.
You also have the option to study abroad for a semester in the second year. Some of the universities we have links with include University of Ottawa, Canada; University of Maastricht, Netherlands; University of Georgia, USA; and Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
For more information, please visit the Department of History website.