History and English

BSc (Hons)

Are you ready to critically explore the past and build a better future for all through the power of history and English?

Location: Aston University, Birmingham

Course type
Full-time
Entry requirements

BBC (standard offer)

BCC (contextual offer)

Duration

4 years with integrated placement year (international students may opt out of the placement year)

UCAS code(s)

VQ13

Start date

Course overview

The BSc (Hons) History and English programme offers a well-rounded combination of historical exploration and language mastery, with practical experiences like field trips to historical sites and hands-on research in local archives.

The programme delves into topics such as nationalism, state-building, war and peace, religious conflicts, and globalisation's historical context. Within the English segment, you will master effective communication, analysing various texts from poetry and plays to social media. You will explore how language functions in society and gain practical skills for the workforce.

With the help of the integrated placement year, studying history and English together fosters critical thinking, independence, and advanced analytical skills, preparing you for a successful career in a range of industries.

Chloe Bailey History and English student

“I have enjoyed looking at history and studying with a new perspective not gained from A Level study. I have greatly enjoyed leaning about different approaches to studying and learning history, with a key focus on the digital space.”

Chloe Bailey
BSc (Hons) History and English
Completed study abroad placement at the University of Paderborn, Germany.

Why History and English at Aston University?

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Gold standard teaching
Aston University was awarded Gold - the highest possible rating for the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF, 2023)
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Opportunity to grow
100% of students felt positive about the learning opportunities available to them (History programmes; National Student Survey, 2023)
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Excellent prospects
Aston University was named runner-up in the University of the Year for Graduate Employment Award (Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide, 2024)
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Earn more
Our graduates are among the highest paid in the country, earning on average £36,100 five years after graduating (Longitudinal Education Outcomes, 2023)
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Investing in you
English at Aston University was ranked 5th in the UK for ‘spend per student’ (Guardian, 2023)
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Our academics are clear
100% of students felt that teaching staff were good or very good at explaining things (History and English programmes; National Student Survey, 2023)

Course description

BSc (Hons) History and English

Our BSc (Hons) History and English degree will equip you with an in-depth understanding of modern history alongside the skills and knowledge required to become an expert communicator in the 21st century.

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What we will provide
First-class teaching in the UK’s second-largest city, delivered by a diverse array of staff who will inspire and excite you. You will benefit from applied learning, research-informed teaching and authentic assessment. As a student on this programme, you will be one of the first to know about advancements in topical research by staff across the department, even before it is published.

We are also an Adobe Creative Campus meaning you will have access to top-notch software licenses, including Adobe and Solidworks, commonly used in industry.

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What you will provide
It is important you learn how to adapt a growth mindset to your studies – understanding that intelligence and success come from applying yourself, a willingness to learn and an ambition and drive to excel. 

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What skills we teach
We will help you refine your historical insight whilst building crucial research, communication, analytical and critical thinking skills. Our graduates are articulate, creative and versatile communicators equipped with an appreciation for the written and spoken word, empowering their personal and professional growth.

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Placement year
We all know that taking a placement year will boost your employability – it’s what makes Aston University graduates some of the most employable in the country. It’s for this reason that we encourage every student to take one. The placement year gives you the chance to put theory into practice, gain relevant work experience, and develop professional and transferable skills.

The placement year is compulsory for BSc (Hons) History and English students. International students can request permission to opt out of the placement year, but we strongly recommend that it is completed where possible.

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Career prospects
As an Aston University History and English graduate, you will be equipped for a range of different career options. Our recent graduates have gone on to work across the public, private and third sectors for organisations including: Birmingham City Council, Civil Service, IBM, West Midlands Police, Lidl.

How you will learn

At Aston University, you will learn history and English through immersive experiences, not just textbooks. You will engage in lively discussions, analyse primary sources and explore diverse viewpoints. Study trips, digital tools and hands-on projects will bring these subjects to life. Our interactive approach fosters deep understanding and critical thinking, making learning an exciting journey.

You will be involved in lectures, tutorials, seminars, e-seminars, small group work, project work and independent study. Many of your modules will be in a workshop format, alternating theoretical input with practical analysis and allowing you to test out your understanding in discussion with other students and your tutor. There are also opportunities for group and collaborative work.

Applied modules and the integrated placement year will provide hands-on experience and enable you to explore everyday issues, preparing you to tackle the complexities of a rapidly changing world. At the start of your course, you will be allocated a personal tutor who can offer individual study advice and guidance. You will also benefit from access to the University Library's extensive collection of over 25,000 books and electronic journals.

What you will learn

Driven by the needs of industry and individuals, our course provides you with a comprehensive understanding of key historical, linguistic and literary concepts and an ability to critically analyse these, alongside the opportunity to specialise in areas of history and English that interest you.

First year

In your first year, you will grasp the foundational principles and concepts associated with history and English, including literary and linguistic genres. You will handle historical materials and engage with diverse historiographical approaches. You will develop your communication skills through constructing and conveying well-structured arguments, collaborating effectively and dissecting modern historical dynamics.

Second year

In second year, you will refine your communication and teamwork skills, delve into global histories and develop an ability to gather and critically assess evidence from a variety of sources. You will master historical methods, navigate digital technologies and explore links between literary study, linguistics, creative writing and genre-based theories.

Placement year

The Aston University placement year forms an integral part of your educational journey and gives you the chance to put theory into practice, gain relevant work experience, and develop professional and transferable skills. Our award-winning careers and placements team are on hand to support you through every step of your placement journey.

Final year

In your final year, you will complete a research dissertation on a historical, linguistic or literary topic of your choice, showcasing your ability to conduct independent research with a clear consideration of ethics, theory and methods. You will specialise in topics you enjoy most by choosing from a range of optional modules.

Bart Stawera history and international relations student

My placement year at City Year UK

Bart Stawera spoke to us and reflected on his placement experience and his journey after graduating.

Course objectives

  1. Provides a syllabus with historical range, developing your knowledge and understanding of English language and literature through time.
  2. Develops your skills in close reading and text analysis, literary analysis and interpretation.
  3. Situates analysis and interpretation in historical, comparative, cultural and social contexts.
  4. Takes account of the impact of new technologies on change in linguistics theory and literary form.
  5. Develops awareness, understanding and critical command of continuity and change over extended time periods, accessed through a range of primary data and secondary perspectives, enabling you to express the same in written or spoken forms.
  6. Achieves in-depth knowledge of contemporary and modern history since 1800 with special emphasis on British and world history and a thematic diet encompassing global and transnational connections, nationalism, internationalism, and other topics in social, political, and cultural history.
  7. Provides a grounding in a range of methods of data analysis, processing and interpretation, notably the approaches of digital history.

Modules

Modules and learning outcomes

Year 1 modules

In your first year you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
The Novel Through Time15
Stylistics15
Introduction to Language Study30
Global History in Perspective15
Making Histories I: Methods, Theories, Controversies30
Contemporary Britain: from the Boer War to Brexit15
Total120

Year 1 outcomes

On successful completion of the first year, you will be able to:

  • Understand concepts, terminology and principles for the study of texts.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the ways in which contexts of production and reception influence writing and reading.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the ways in which writers and readers make connections across and between texts.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with literary and linguistic genres and how these have been adapted across time.
  • Understand a substantial body of historical knowledge.
  • Understand the varieties of approaches to interpreting the past; and of concepts and theories derived from the humanities and social science.
  • Understand continuity and change over extended time spans.
  • Develop and sustain arguments in a variety of forms, formulating appropriate questions and analysis.
  • Interrogate, read, analyse and reflect critically and contextually upon primary and secondary sources.
  • Work collaboratively and participate in group work.
  • Access a variety of audio-visual, paper and electronic resources, and use information and communication technologies (ICTs) appropriately for the retrieval and presentation of information.

Year 2 modules

In your second year you will study the following core modules:

Module TitleCredits
Case Studies in Global History15
Making Histories II15
Reading and Society30
Written Text Analysis15
Total75

You will choose two of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
Language and Style15
Post-apocalyptic Fiction15
Sociolinguistics15
Professional Communication15
Introduction to Corpus Linguistics15
Intercultural Communication15
The Language of the Law15
Literature in Film15
English Language Teaching15
Language at Work15
Spoken Discourse Analysis15
Language in the News Media15
Crime Fiction15

You will choose one of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
Humanitarian Action and Foreign Intervention, 1915 – today15
The Atlantic World: Slavery and Emancipation15
The History of Internationalism: From Karl Marx to Greta Thunberg15

*Availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules.

Year 2 outcomes

On successful completion of the second year, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate enhanced communication and team working skills.
  • Plan and carry out empirical work on the reception of texts and present your findings.
  • Gather, organise, and deploy wider reading from a range of sources and integrate these into your work.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the links between literary study and the study of linguistics, creative writing, or genre-based theories.
  • Understand the complexity of reconstructing the past, and the problematic and varied nature of historical evidence.
  • Understand the varieties of approaches to interpreting the past; and of concepts and theories derived from the humanities and social science.
  • Understand comparative and intercultural perspectives, including the ability to compare the histories of different countries, societies, or cultures.
  • Understand theories, methods and ethical standards used for the empirical analysis of modern societies.
  • Develop and sustain arguments in a variety of forms, formulating appropriate questions and analysis.
  • Interrogate, read, analyse and reflect critically and contextually upon a variety of primary and secondary sources to apply them in new contexts.

Placement year modules

You will spend your third year on placement. You will be fully supported throughout the process by our award-winning Careers and Placements team.

Placement year

Module TitleCredits
Integrated Placement Year120

Placement year outcomes

On successful completion of the placement year, you will be able to:

  • Apply your key skills and competencies within a professional context.
  • Demonstrate fluency and effective communication through written correspondence.
  • Reflect on your placement journey.
  • Demonstrate experience in making informed decisions in matters related to your placement.
  • Demonstrate increasing personal and professional development through a placement and articulate your application and potential transfer through applied reflection.

Final year modules

In your final year you will study the following core module:

Module TitleCredits
History Workshop30

You will choose at least one of the following dissertation modules:

Module TitleCredits
Dissertation (History)30
Dissertation (English)30

If you choose English as your dissertation subject, you will choose two of the following optional modules. If you choose history as your dissertation subject, you will choose four of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
Cognition and Style15
Marriage and Literature: Class, Race, Gender and Money 15
Language and Literature in Education15
Ghouls, Goths and Vampires15
Leadership and Management Communication15
Advanced Leadership and Management Communication15
Language Contact and Globalisation15
Advanced Corpus Linguistics15
Reading and Wellbeing15
Learning English15
Creative Writing15
Language as Evidence15
Child Language Development15

If you choose English as your dissertation subject, you will choose two of the following optional modules:*

Module TitleCredits
Twin Periods? The Interwar Years and post-1989 History15
Bullets, Bombs and Bitcoin: History and Technology since 1900 15
Emotions, International Politics and Culture from the 19th to the 21st Century15
Teaching History in the 21st Century15

*Availability of any optional modules will be subject to staff availability and a minimum number of students who express an interest in studying the optional modules.

Final year outcomes

On successful completion of the final year, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of text genres, periods and concepts through advanced interdisciplinary study connecting the study of English to other fields of research.
  • Work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management, and pursuing continuous learning self-critically.
  • Plan, carry out and present investigations, culminating in an extended individual research study.
  • Understand a substantial body of historical knowledge.
  • Engage in analytical and evaluative thinking.
  • Engage with and critically interpret layers of meaning within texts and other cultural products.
  • Design, research, and present a sustained and independently conceived piece of writing within the framework of a structured research project.

We regularly review our modules to provide the best possible teaching and learning experience, incorporating academic developments, student feedback and employer feedback.

There may be some change to some of the modules on this course for 2025/26 entry.

We’ll make sure to let you know of any changes to modules at the earliest opportunity by updating our course webpages. 
 
We’ll do our best to provide as much optional choice as we can, but timetabling constraints may mean it isn’t possible to take some module combinations. The structure of some courses means that the order of modules or the streams you choose may determine whether modules are core or optional. This means that your core modules or options may differ from what’s shown here.


 

Entry requirements

  • A Levels

    BBC (standard offer)
    BCC (with EPQ or Core Maths minimum grade B)
    BCC (contextual offer)

  • Contextual offers

    Aston Ready is our contextual offer scheme that could reduce your undergraduate offer by one or two grades. Assessed at the point of application, there are no additional forms to fill in.

Contextual offer criteria

BTEC Extended Diploma – DDM (standard offer)

The University also accepts the BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate/BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma and BTEC Level 3 National Diploma/BTEC Level 3 Diploma for entry onto degree programmes, provided that they are studied in combination with other qualifications that are equivalent to three full A2 Levels.

29 points overall in the IB diploma with grades 5,5,4 in 3 higher level subjects.

You must also have Standard Level grade 4 in Mathematics and grade 5 in English Language.

We accept the QAA-recognised Access Diploma which must consist of 45 credits at Level 3.

You must obtain a minimum of 30 distinction and the rest must be at merit or distinction.

Please note that we do not accept the English and Maths components within the Access qualification and you must meet the GCSE entry requirement.

 

The following T Levels are accepted qualifications for this course:

  • Design, Surveying and Planning for Construction - grade D
  • Digital Production, Design and Production - grade D
  • Education and Childcare - grade D
  • Onsite Construction - grade D
  • Building Services Engineering for Construction - grade D
  • Digital Business Services - grade D
  • Digital Support Services - grade D
  • Health - grade D
  • Healthcare Science - grade D
  • Science - grade D
  • Accounting - grade D
  • Finance - grade D
  • Management and administration - grade D
  • Design and development for engineering and manufacturing - grade D 
  • Maintenance, installation and repair for engineering and manufacturing - grade D
  • Legal Services - grade D 

GCSE Maths – grade C/4

GCSE English Language or English Literature – grade C/4

Year 1 entry: We may consider applicants for year 1 entry who are undertaking a first year degree elsewhere. You must meet the GCSEs and A Level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.
Year 2 entry: Please note that second year transfers are not part of the standard admissions process and is up to the discretion of the admissions team and tutor. Applications are only considered if there is space on that year of the programme. Typically, applicants for second year entry must meet the GCSEs and A Level (or equivalent) requirements as listed. Alongside this you must have successfully passed (or be expected to pass) your first year with 120 credits on an equivalent programme at another recognised university with very similar module content. The equivalency of the programme is reviewed by the Admissions Tutor and you will be required to provide an official copy of the programme specification of this. In order to be considered you will need to submit a UCAS application as we do not accept direct applications and this must include an academic reference.
Year 3 entry onwards: We will not be able to consider any application for Year 3 or final year. 

International students

Aston University is a diverse, close community and welcomes international students on many of our undergraduate programmes. Students from over 120 countries choose to study with us every year. Based in the centre of Birmingham, Aston is not only a great place to study, it’s also a great place to live.

Qualifications in your country

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of an English language qualification.

English language requirements

International students can enter at Year 2 of this course having completed an undergraduate year one programme at the required academic level with approved teaching partners ONCAMPUS Aston or NCUK.

Aston University provides a range of opportunities for international students to join our community and study on our campus. A key part of our strategy is our relationships with teaching partners, providing multiple pathways to Aston.

Aston’s professional work placements can improve your chance of securing a graduate job. Placements give you experience, confidence and opportunities and, as an Aston student, you’ll be better prepared for your future career. One of the great things about Aston is our focus on employability. Our close links with businesses, industries and professions make this possible.

Find out more about applying

Post-study work visa

Aston University welcomed the creation of a new Graduate Immigration Route which enables international students to remain in the UK for two years after you complete your studies to find work. This new post-study work visa applies to international students completing full-time undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Graduate Immigration Route

Fees and scholarships

Course fees

UK students
(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£9,250
During placement year:£1,250

International students
(2024/25)

Annual tuition fees:£18,250
During placement year:£2,500

Fees listed are for 2024 entry. For Sandwich courses the placement fee is £1250 for Home/UK students and £2,500 for International students. For Home students: Tuition fees for UK/Home students may change in line with government policy. When undertaking a placement year, a placement year fee applies. For International students: The International students fee is a fixed annual fee for the duration of the Programme, except whilst on placement when a placement year fee applies.

More information on fees

For Home students: Tuition fees for UK/Home students may change in line with government policy.

For International students: The International students fee is a fixed annual fee for the duration of the Programme, except whilst on placement when a placement year fee applies.

Scholarships

At Aston University we are committed to supporting the most talented and hardworking students to achieve their potential by providing a range of scholarships to help lower tuition and living costs.

Explore our scholarships 

Assessment

You will be assessed through a combination of written and oral examinations, class tests, individual and group coursework, projects, presentations and practical assessments. Special emphasis will be placed on authentic assessment.

Career prospects

Our BSc (Hons) History and English programme will prepare you for a range of careers across the public, private and third sectors. Our graduates are among the highest paid in the country, according to the 2023 Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO). This data shows that five years after graduation, employed Aston University graduates have the 15th highest median salary among all UK Higher Education Institutions, with a median salary of £36,100.

The transferable skills that our history and English programmes provide mean that our graduates are successful in finding employment in a wide range of roles such as:

  • Area manager
  • English language tutor
  • Tax specialist
  • Journal editor
  • Marketing executive
  • Media researcher
  • Social media executive
  • Education consultant
  • Copywriter
  • Operations support manager
  • Merchandising assistant

Our graduates have gone on to work at companies such as the BBC, Lloyds Banking Group, West Midlands Railway, West Midlands Police, Ministry of Justice, NHS and Airbus.

Parisa cover image

Making headlines around the world

English Language graduate Parisa Qurban shares how her experience at Aston University helped prepare her for her career within the BBC.

Our students achieve some amazing things during their time with us and after they graduate - whether it's setting up their own businesses, landing competitive graduate schemes, or making real differences within their communities.

Hear from our graduates

Alumni

Be part of our community

Once you have joined us at Aston University, you’ll always be part of our community, even beyond graduation.
 

Frequently asked questions

Why study history?

Why study history? Isn’t it a bit narrow? Dr Brian Sudlow, a history lecturer at Aston University, explains the benefits of studying history.

Read more

Is Aston University a good place to study English?

Yes. If you're serious about studying a subject you enjoy but want the additional benefit of excellent career prospects and a quality student experience, Aston University is a great place to study English.

From journalism and writing to teaching and marketing, our students are all here for a reason. Discover how you can become an expert communicator with an English degree at Aston University.

How will a placement year benefit me?

Whether you choose to study abroad or do a work placement, Aston University’s links with employers and universities around the world mean you will have a wide range of options to boost your employability and explore the world of work.

Our work placements give you the opportunity to apply what you have learnt on your course while gaining valuable professional and paid experience. It can enhance your graduate employment prospects and help you to make more informed career decisions. Around one in five of our placement students are offered graduate jobs by their placement employer.

Find out more

Is Birmingham a good place to study?

Our campus is based in the centre of Birmingham, the youngest major city in Europe and a great place to live, work and study.

  • Great music and entertainment with a vibrant nightlife. Bars, clubs, pubs, live music, festivals, concerts. Whatever your tastes, there's something here for everyone.
  • Fantastic food. Birmingham's diverse community means you can try anything from the famous Balti triangle, the Chinese Quarter, high street chains, halal and vegan food, and Michelin-star dining.
  • World-class shopping. The Bullring and Grand Central is a shopper's paradise. From the world's biggest Primark to luxury brands at the Mailbox.
  • Arts and culture. Museums, galleries, theatres, concerts and Birmingham's art collection is as wide as it is impressive - not to be missed.
  • Green, open spaces. One of the greenest cities in Europe, Birmingham has hundreds of publicly accessible parks and green spaces across the city.
  • Sporting action. Birmingham has some of the most exciting venues for watching or participating in sport in the UK.

Discover Birmingham

 

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