School of Humanities and Performing Arts

BA (Hons) English with History

Enrich your study of English literature across six centuries by exploring the history behind it. Find out how writers are influenced by the times they live in, and how they affect history by shaping our cultural, political and moral values. Be empowered to read, think and write critically and creatively. You will have a wide choice of modules and the cross-disciplinary nature of the course will broaden your perspectives, preparing you for an interesting and fulfilling career path.

Enhance your learning through the history department's close relationship with Plymouth’s wider history community, giving you free access to lectures from world-renowned visiting historians. Boost your career prospects by working with a publishing house, literary agent, arts organisation or magazine on our work-based learning module or extra-curricular internships, and experience other cultures by studying or working abroad in either Europe or the US.

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Complete University Guide rankings

We are very pleased to announce that we are a top 40 department in the UK, according to the latest Complete University Guide.

We have also risen 29 places in The Guardian 2020 league table.

Applications for 2020 entry

As a result of COVID-19, the English and Creative Writing team want to assure all applicants that we will be commencing our teaching with the new academic year of September 2020. We’ll be heeding government advice, but please know our programmes will be running this autumn, be it as traditional in-class delivery, a blend of this with some online teaching, or, if need be, fully online options. Ensuring the delivery of a quality education and a rich student experience is paramount, and we look forward to welcoming you.

Pre-register for Clearing

If you are yet to make an enquiry to study with the University of Plymouth and are interested in securing a place for September 2020, you can pre-register for Clearing to receive priority treatment on results day.

Read our Clearing advice

Careers with this subject

Beyond Plymouth: Enhance your prospects while studying BA (Hons) English with history

Here at Plymouth, you won’t only study rigorous academic content—you’ll also have the chance to improve your skills and experience to enable you to secure the career you want long-term. We have a dedicated Internships and Placements Officer to help you secure relevant, graduate-level work experience. Our option module Working With Literature helps interested students to gain a formal placement and to practise key skills such as interviewing, CV writing, and more. And there are numerous fully funded, ad hoc opportunities to gain specific types of experience.

Key features

  • Choose from a wide variety of specialist modules, including period and cultural studies, and creative writing. You’ll be taking two thirds of your modules in English and one third in history. Your history modules will explore aspects of British, European and Global history, allowing you to make comparisons and connections with your English studies.
  • Receive free set texts for all core modules throughout the three years.
  • Benefit from assessment through coursework, with no written exams.
  • Boost your career prospects by working with a publishing house, literary agent, arts organisation or magazine on our work-based learning module or extra-curricular internships.
  • Make use of our open-door policy and talk to your lecturers in a friendly and supportive learning environment.
  • Learn from internationally recognised research-active staff, including published creative writers.
  • Experience other cultures by studying or working abroad in either Europe or the US.
  • Write and be published as part of INK, the English and Creative Writing student-run magazine.
  • Access resources at any time with the University library, open 24 hours 365 days a year, offering a vast range of electronic and print materials, including a rare books collection.
  • Enhance your learning through the history department's close relationship with Plymouth’s wider history community, giving you free access to lectures from world-renowned visiting historians.
  • Join the History Society and enjoy events and trips within a fun and supportive community, as well as getting experience in organising and coordinating events.
  • Make the most of a rich cultural life with The Arts Institute programme and the University’s links with local arts organisations, like the Theatre Royal Plymouth.

If you are interested in taking this normally full-time programme on a part-time basis please contact Rachel Christofides to discuss this possibility.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, you'll study historical, theoretical, and aesthetic approaches to literary analysis. You’ll read literature which investigates the making of the modern world; engage with exciting theories of reading such as eco-criticism, psychoanalysis and Marxism; and, if you choose, try your hand at creative writing. You will also learn key research and essay-writing skills. Your history modules in global and British history will inform and provide a context for your study of English.
    Core modules
    • ENGL402 Writing the Modern World, 1600-1700

      This module considers `modern¿ ways of writing, thinking, trading, seeing, and relating to others in the seventeenth century. The literature of this period first explores ideas central to our own time and place, and is crucial both to understanding literary history and to understanding ourselves. The course will be structured through four key narratives, traced through a chronological selection of texts:¿ authority ¿ modern ideas of gender ¿ global capitalism ¿ modern print culture.

    • ENGL404 Critical Theory

      This module will introduce some key critical theories relevant to the study of English literature. It will familiarise students with a range of theoretical perspectives and enable them to develop an understanding of different ways of reading literature, and its wider contexts.

    • ENGL406 Gods, Monsters and Heroes: Myths and Legends in Literature

      This immersive module provides an important grounding for new students studying English and Creative Writing. Based around some of the earliest written texts that underpin Western literature, the module engages with a number of issues to enable students to gain an understanding of the historical development of literature and the ways in which texts relate to each other over the centuries.

    • ENGL407 Rewritings: Contemporary literature and its Histories

      This module will examine how and why modern and contemporary authors have rewritten or reworked influential literary texts of the past. Students will engage with a range of different literary forms, including fiction, poetry, drama and, where appropriate, film. By investigating the impulses behind such intertextual acts, students will explore the ways in which literature engages with the cultural politics of its times, focusing particularly on issues of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, class and aesthetics.

    • HIST407 World History since 1850

      This module is an introduction to major themes in the political, social and cultural history of the modern world beyond Europe.

    • HIST409 Fractured Isles: Britain and Ireland 1640-1990

      The module is an introduction to the major themes in political, social nd cultural history of Britain in the period 1640-1900.

  • Year 2
  • In your second year, you’ll take core modules in Romantic and Victorian literature, studying these key periods from an interdisciplinary perspective, and engaging with debates in philosophy, science, psychology, politics, art, gender and race. Your history modules will focus on democracy, imperialism and colonialism, providing opportunities for comparisons with English. Select from a wide range of other specialist modules, including our work-based learning module (Working with Literature). Optional modules are available this year, but may be subject to change in subsequent years.
    Core modules
    • ENGL501 Romanticism

      In this module literary Romanticism, in its rich and problematic diversity, is introduced and explored through a consideration of imaginative conceptions of the individual in writing between 1790 and 1830. The study ranges through a selection of texts in verse ¿ lyric and narrative ¿ and prose - essayistic, theoretical and fictional.

    • ENGL506 Victorian Literature and Culture

      This module aims to introduce students to the Victorian period through an examination of literature read in conjunction with a range of other contemporary cultural documents including scientific, sociological, psychological, political economic and aesthetic texts.

    Optional modules
    • ENGL502 Gothic Fictions: Villains, Virgins, Vampires

      This module looks at eighteenth- and nineteenth-century novels to trace the variety and scope of literary contributions to the Gothic. It begins by discussing the origins of the Gothic novel, then moves to the heyday of the genre in the revolutionary 1790s, on to authors writing in the early and mid-nineteenth century, through to the decadence of the 1890s.

    • ENGL505 Rakes, Rascals and Rudeness in the Eighteenth Century

      Introduces historical & contemporary satirical theories; analyses satirical forms; enables critical engagement with the foundational associated modes: comedy, parody, irony and hyperbole.

    • ENGL511 Apocalypse and the Modern Novel

      This module explores how fiction from the late nineteenth century to the present day has represented end of world scenarios. It will engage with issues of genre and form, and with appropriate historical and cultural contexts including the environment, spirituality, technology, and globalisation. Criticism and secondary sources pertaining to these issues, as well as to individual authors, will be considered alongside the primary texts.

    • ENGL519 Working with Literature

      While remaining focused on English and English and Creative Writing projects, this module will provide students with the opportunity to apply their literary and creative skills in a 'work-facing' environment.

    • ENGL520 Creative Nonfiction

      This module introduces students to the key concepts and issues in contemporary works of creative nonfiction including autobiography, travel writing, essays and reportage. We will produce our own works of poetry, short story and nonfiction, and critically evaluate and contextualise them.

    • ENGL522 Dramatic Writing for Stage, Screen, and Beyond

      This course explores a wide range of dramatic writing and dramatic writing theory, integrating critical reading with creative writing projects. Class time will be spent discussing published authors/texts/productions, writing/reading theories, compositional processes, practical exercises, and student work.

    • ENGL526 ‘Hurt Minds’: Madness and Mental Illness in Literature

      This module considers changing attitudes towards, and a variety of theories of, the mind, examining how different cultures have understood ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ mental states. It will look at how the experience and treatment of mental illness has been represented in fiction. The mind is at its most fascinating when it behaves outside of expected social norms. By considering a variety of literary texts over several centuries, this module explores shifts in the definition, understanding, evaluation, and management of exceptional mental states.

    • HIST515 Other Voices - Marginalisation in Early Modern Europe

      This course explores the ways in which early modern society confronted difference, and constructed its norms and mores. We will consider the role of religion, race, class, and gender in early modern Europe through the study of those groups who found themselves on the outside.

    • HIST519 Tudor and Stuart Britain

      This module examines the political, social and cultural history of Britain from 1485 to 1660, a vibrant and exciting period that witnessed significant developments: the growth of the state; major religious and political upheavals; increased education and literacy; the advent of print and popular politics; exploration and new ways of understanding the world.

    • HIST520 Global Cold War: Politics, Culture and Society

      This module is an introduction to major themes in the political, social and cultural history of the modern world with special focus on the 20th century and the Cold War.

    • HIST526 Dunkirk to D-Day: The Second World War in Europe

      The module examines the Second World War in Europe and the Atlantic Ocean from 1940 to late 1944

  • Final year
  • In your final year, you’ll complete your period studies core modules with the ground-breaking literature of early 20th-century Modernism. You’ll also choose from specialist modules, with a focus on 20th-century and contemporary literature. Your further engagement with history will deepen your understanding of the contexts that produce literary texts. Finally, you'll produce a year-long dissertation on any topic of your choice, which you'll work on with the support of your personal supervisor. Optional modules are available this year, but may be subject to change in subsequent years.
    Core modules
    • ENGL603 Modernism

      This module will explore a number of themes through an examination of writing published in the approximate period 1910-1930. The themes will include structural and linguistic experimentation, historical and artistic influences, the First World War and literary networks.

    Optional modules
    • ENGL601 Project in Critical Writing

      The student will complete, under tutorial supervision, a project in critical writing in the form of a literary - critical dissertation based on an idea, theme, author/s, theoretical consideration etc: or a dissertation which arises from literary - critical interests connected to issues arising from the student's work in other English modules. Maximum length 12,000 words.

    • ENGL602 Project in Creative Writing

      The student will complete, under tutorial supervision, a project in creative writing such as a collection of poetry, short stories, a longer piece of prose fiction, autobiography, travel writing or other suitable modes which may draw upon issues encountered in other English modules and which includes relevant literary-critical material. Maximum length 12,000 words.

    • ENGL608 American Crime Writing

      This module considers the development of twentieth-century American crime fiction from hard-boiled detectives, to myths of the mafia, and postmodern reinventions of the genre. This module will explore the cultural contexts of American crime writing, prevailing conventions of the genre, as well as challenges to those conventions.

    • ENGL617 Advanced Poetry Workshop

      In this final year module we will examine a range of contemporary poetry and poetic theory as a way for students to advance their own composition of poems. Class time will be divided between seminar discussions of published poetry/theory, writing exercises, and workshops of student poetry.

    • ENGL618 Features Journalism Workshop

      This module offers students an in-depth experience of professional writing. We will explore technique in features and literary journalism; music reviews, opinion columns and longer immersion features as well as other contemporary works of non-fiction feature writing, both short- and long-form, from sub-genres including profiles and interviews, autobiography and columns, travel writing, and reportage. We will learn to research and produce our own works of professional nonfiction and critically evaluate them.

    • ENGL622 Brave New Worlds: Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Politics

      Science Fiction seems to be a field or mode that is particularly difficult to define, in part because it crosses over with many other forms. But it is also one of the most popular types of literature easily ranging from the highbrow to the low. This module will explore SF writing since 1960, with a particular focus on the hybridity of the field and the ways in which it intersects with fantasy writing, to explore a range of political issues in the contemporary world. SF is ‘a wide-ranging, multivalent and endlessly cross-fertilizing cultural idiom.’ (Roberts, 2006, 2) But is it really concerned with the future, or in fact, driven by nostalgia to engage with the ways in which the past has constructed the present? The module will be thematically structured and will concentrate on Anglophone writing.

    • HIST606 The Civil Rights Movement

      Examining the African American struggle for civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s.

    • HIST609 The French Wars of Religion 1558 - 1598

      The module will examine the causes, progress and termination of the French Wars of Religion after 1558. The main topics will be the relationships between Catholic and Protestant, the impact of war on royal authority, the experiences of confessional groups, towns, nobles and peasants, and the resolution of conflict under Henri IV.

    • HIST616 America, the United Nations and International Relations 1945 to the present

      This module provides a detailed examination of the relationship between the United States of America and the United Nations in the management of international relations from 1945 to the present.

    • HIST620 Elizabeth I: The Failure of a Dynasty?

      This module will allow students to explore how Elizabeth I and her regime dealt with the major religious, dynastic, social and international conflicts and challenges of her reign. Students will explore the limits of the Elizabethan regime¿s success, engaging directly with contemporary views, while also considering the subsequent history and mythology of the last Tudor monarch.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA Hons English Combinations programme specification 1526

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

104 - 112

A levels:
Typical offer will be 104 points from a minimum of 2 A levels including A level English Language, Literature or Creative Writing, or a related subject (e.g. History, Philosophy, Film Studies, Sociology), at Grade B, excluding General Studies.

International baccalaureate: 
26-28 points overall. Typical offer will be 26 points overall including three subjects at Higher Level and English at grade 5 at Higher Level. If overseas and not studying English within IB – you must have IELTS: 6.5 overall with 5.5 in all elements.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma
DMM. Please contact admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.  

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

GCSE: 
Mathematics and English language grade C / 4. If you do meet this criteria please seek further advice with the admission team on ug-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Equivalent qualifications may be considered.


We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

New Student 2020 2021
Home/EU £9,250 To be confirmed
International £13,800 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) £770 To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

Undergraduate scholarships for international students

To reward outstanding achievement the University of Plymouth offers scholarship schemes to help towards funding your studies.

Find out whether you are eligible and how you can apply

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business additional costs.

The following awards are associated with this course:

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). 

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code. 

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Explore all the featured modules

BA (Hons) English with History - Student voice, Samantha Dalton

By combining two subjects you will develop your knowledge, analysis and writing skills in different areas. I have found that the combination of English with history has made my experience of higher education really satisfying.

INK journal

Published by the University of Plymouth Press, and supported by English and creative writing staff, INK is entirely edited and produced by our students.

The process of producing INK is as important as the end product. It’s the chance for you to publish your creative work in a literary magazine.

Discover INK

Latest news:

English and Creative Writing research

Our teaching is driven by research which in 2014 was rated among the best in the UK by the nationwide Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment. Our staff have published extensively and internationally across a diverse range of fields in literary criticism and creative writing.

For example, Senior Lecturer Peter Hinds, author of The Horrid Popish Plot, teaches and publishes on early modern literature and Professor Anthony Caleshu, prize winning poet, leads the Contemporary Poetry module.

Meet the team