History / English Literature

BA History / English Literature Code QV31 Attend an Open Day Attend an Open Day

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Our joint honours degree in History and English Literature will bring together your interest in the past with the field of literary studies. During your course, you will study literary texts from the medieval through to the contemporary period, and learn about the historical and social contexts in which they were created. A broad range of themes are taught in both departments and you will discover new and interesting ways to analyse and understand the past and the ways in which we have written about it. You will develop similar skills through both parts of your degree and you will graduate with important skills such as research, analysis, fact checking and written and oral communication.

Course Overview

Why study History and English Literature at Aberystwyth University?

  • History has been taught in Aberystwyth since 1872, making our department the oldest in Wales and one of the foremost in Britain.
  • Teaching in the Department of History and Welsh History is innovative, research-based and designed to develop your transferable skills in areas such as analysis, interpretation and communication, which prepares you for a wide range of careers.
  • Studying in the Department of English and Creative Writing offer you the opportunity to engage with a wide variety of approaches to literature and cultural history.
  • You will have the opportunity to explore literary theory - philosophical and conceptual ideas that inform, challenge and problematise the ways we think about texts.
  • The Department of English and Creative Writing is home to New Welsh Review - Wales's foremost literary magazine. This could be an exciting opportunity for you to get involved.
  • You will be immersed in a supportive community of creative and critical thinkers, literary experts, and published scholars from both disciplines.
  • You will have full use of the National Library of Wales - one of the five Copyright Libraries of the UK and Wales's leading archive repository.
  • As part of your degree, you will have the opportunity to study abroad at a partner university, to undertake work placements and to plan for your future career. Find out more on our Global Opportunities pages.
Our Staff

Staff in the Department of History and Welsh History are active researchers and experts in their field of History. Most are qualified to PhD level and hold PGCHE. To find out more about our staff, please visit our departmental staff page.

All academic staff in the Department of English and Creative Writing are active scholars and experts in their fields. They are either qualified to PhD level or have commensurate experience. Our Lecturers either hold or are working towards a Higher Education teaching qualification and the majority of academic staff also hold the status of Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Modules September start - 2023

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Literary Theory: Debates and Dialogues EN20120 20
Making History HY20120 20


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
A Century in Crisis: 1790s to 1890s WL20720 20
Classical Drama and Myth CL20320 20
Contemporary Queer Fiction EN21620 20
Contemporary Writing and Climate Crisis EN21120 20
Demons, Degenerates and New Women (Fin de Siecle Fictions) EN23420 20
Effective Academic and Professional Communication 1 IC27720 20
In the Olde Days: Medieval Texts and Their World EN23120 20
Literary Geographies EN21020 20
Literary Modernisms EN20920 20
Literature and Climate in the Nineteenth Century EN21220 20
Literature since 1945 EN22920 20
Place and Self EN22120 20
Writing Women for the Public Stage, 1670-1780 EN28720 20
From Babylon Berlin to Hollywood: movies as sources for cultural history HY24920 20
Image Wars in Southeast Asia: Studying 20th Century Propaganda HY23720 20
Memory, Myth and History: Investigating Medieval Chronicles, c. 1000-1250 HY24120 20
Recounting Racism: Oral History and Modern American Race Relations. HY25020 20
Victorian Visions: Exploring Nineteenth-Century Exhibitions HY24620 20
African-American History, 1808 to the Present HY28320 20
Crime, Riot and Morality in Wales 1750-1850 WH23420 20
European Society and the Medieval Mind 1200-1500 HY25820 20
Globalising Post-War Germany(s) 1945-2015 HY29520 20
Media and Society in Twentieth Century Britain HY27520 20
Modern Japan: From Samurai to Salary Men HY29820 20
Science, Religion and Magic HY28620 20
The Atlantic World, 1492-1825 HY29720 20
The Making of Europe: Christendom and beyond, c. 1000-1300 HY25720 20
The Rise of Modern Medicine, c.1750-2000 HY27320 20
The Tudors: A European Dynasty? HY20920 20

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh


A degree in History with English Literature is the “gold standard” for any employment setting where communication is valued. All of our modules deliver key skills that enable you to build a comprehensive C.V. that evidences your diverse range of competencies.

Our graduates have been successful across the widest possible range of career destinations:

  • broadcasting
  • journalism
  • archivist
  • advertising
  • publishing
  • education
  • the Civil Service
  • business
  • finance
  • new media.

As a department we are very proud of our notable and esteem alumni;

  • Dr Tim Brain, former Chief Constable of Gloucestershire
  • Guto Bebb, Member of Parliament
  • Dr Joanne Cayford, BBC 
  • Berwyn Davies, Head of the Welsh Higher Education Office Brussels
  • Iwan Griffiths, Sports reporter for the S4C (Welsh language broadcast channel).

Heritage sector student placements

Our department has strong links with the heritage sector, and an established portfolio of student placements. In the past, students have spent up to three weeks at the National Library of Wales (including Welsh-medium opportunities), the Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historic Monuments of Wales, and the Society of Antiquaries of London. These placements provide the opportunity for ‘hands-on’ experience and insights into the heritage sector, and are very valuable additions to the CV!

Click here to find out about the various opportunities that our Aberystwyth University Careers team offer. 

Enhance your employability prospects with GO Wales and YES (Year in Employment Scheme) managed by our Careers department. 

International opportunities

Aberystwyth University offers you the opportunity of a lifetime to study, volunteer or work in another country, for an academic year, a single semester or a few weeks during your holidays. Explore other cultures, challenge yourself and gather experiences which will help with your career. Time spent exploring a new culture can sharpen your interpersonal skills, improve your language ability, and broaden your international mindset. Find out where you can go.

Alumni mentoring and graduate talks 

The Alumni Mentoring Scheme will enable you to make contact with past graduates in a range of careers in a safe and supportive environment.

Teaching & Learning

What will I learn?

The breakdown below will provide you with an illustration of what you may study during the three year degree scheme.

In your first year you may discover:

  • historical skills, new methods and periods
  • new techniques for approaching literary texts
  • key figures from literary history
  • skills in comparative analysis
  • new reading strategies.

In your second year you may explore:

  • historical method - which enables you to explore the meaning, methods and writing of history have changed over time
  • historian’s craft
  • theoretical approaches to the practice of literary criticism
  • core text from medieval period through to the twentieth century.

In your third year you may study:

  • Elizabethan drama
  • modern ghost stories
  • American Literature
  • Wales under the Tudors
  • Victorian culture and society
  • an independent research project.

How will I be taught?

Our degree is taught through a combination of lectures, seminars and one-to-one tutorials. We also encourage self-directed learning designed to stimulate your academic interest in English Literature and nurture your personal and intellectual development.

You will be assessed through essays, exams and oral presentation. You will also be required to complete additional, non-assessed, assignments and to work with others on particular tasks.

Further information

As you study, you will develop a range of skills which will benefit you in further study or any graduate workplace. You will learn to: employ multiple critical techniques when approaching texts; develop a reflective practice in reading and writing; articulate a detailed critical analysis of your subject; and respond to any task with creativity, flair and style.

You will be assigned a personal tutor who will help you with any problems or queries, whether these are academic-related or pastoral issues. Your personal tutor will also be responsible for delivering tutorials that will help you in the development of key skills. You will also have the opportunity to complete a Personal Development Plan (PDP) at Aberystwyth. This is a structured process of self-appraisal, reflection, and planning, which will enable you to chart your personal, academic and professional development throughout your time at university. By recording your academic performance, and highlighting the skills you already have and those you will need for future employability, the PDP portfolio will equip you with the necessary tools to plan effectively, develop successful approaches to study, and consider your future career options and aspirations.

Student Testimonials

What I love about studying History at Aberystwyth is everything! It is such a great degree scheme, with a wide range of modules to choose from in each year of study. The tutors are fantastic and always helpful and knowledgeable. Everyone within the department is friendly - staff and students alike - which creates a lovely working atmosphere. We have a fantastic resource just down the road, the National Library of Wales, which not only contains every book published in the UK after 1911 but is also a beautiful building to study in and commands the best view over the whole of Aberystwyth town. Studying History at Aberystwyth was the best decision I have ever made! Rachel Twomey

What I love about the English Literature course at Aberystwyth University is the diversity which is offered. From the beginning of the degree to nearly finishing I have studied such a wide range of literature, some of which I didn't even know existed. I feel this has broadened my mind and provided me with a wide understanding of the different types of literature which will benefit me in my further studies. Chloe Morgan

Typical Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff 120 - 104

A Levels BBB-BCC

GCSE requirements (minimum grade C/4):
English or Welsh

BTEC National Diploma:

International Baccalaureate:

European Baccalaureate:

English Language Requirements:
See our Undergraduate English Language Requirements for this course. Pre-sessional English Programmes are also available for students who do not meet our English Language Requirements.

Country Specific Entry Requirements:
International students whose qualification is not listed on this page, can check our Country Specific Entry Requirements for further information.

The University welcomes undergraduate applications from students studying the Access to Higher Education Diploma or T-level qualifications, provided that relevant subject content and learning outcomes are met. We are not able to accept Access to Higher Education Diplomas or T-levels as a general qualification for every undergraduate degree course.
Our inclusive admissions policy values breadth as well as depth of study. Applicants are selected on their own individual merits and offers can vary. If you would like to check the eligibility of your qualifications before submitting an application, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for advice and guidance.

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