English Literature and History


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Undergraduate Digital Open Day
Saturday 14 November 2020

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  • An integrated programme that combines two aligned disciplines
  • Learn about history's place in literature, and literature's role in history
  • Roehampton is number six in London for History (The Times Good University Guide 2020)
  • Roehampton is number five in London for English (The Times Good University Guide 2020)
  • Opportunity to take a study trip abroad
  • Our vibrant and diverse curriculum covers traditional subjects such as Shakespeare and Charles Dickens, as well as contemporary ones such as gender, multiculturalism, environmentalism and digital technologies.
  • We're partners with a major literary festival and have numerous internship opportunities for students.


Benefit from how English Literature and History complement one another as disciplines providing you with an enhanced understanding of both. This degree has been designed with the two subjects in mind, creating an integrated and coherent programme that weaves the two areas of study together.

You'll expand your knowledge of both disciplines, and develop your understanding of the relationship between literature, politics, history and culture. You’ll take specialised modules, such as ‘Literature and History’ and ‘Writing the Nation’, focusing specifically on the important relationship between English Literature and History. You'll also choose modules from across both subjects, allowing you to tailor your degree to your interests.

You'll learn about critical and theoretical approaches to texts and explore different genres and literary periods, as well as different types of history including social and economic, political, cultural, local and women's history. You will delve into specific periods of history, including the medieval and English Renaissance, the Enlightenment and Victorian periods, modern British and European history, and 20th century American history. You will study a range of topics, including constructions of gender and sexuality, the history of childhood and children's literature, political tyranny and genocide, diaspora and multiculturalism.  

You'll be taught by world-class researchers and writers, and be able to meet renowned authors at extra lectures and masterclasses, which have previously included our Chancellor, Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Kazuo Ishiguro, Anthony Horowitz and Emma Donoghue.

Develop a range of skills you'll need in the workplace, including clarity of expression in written work and oral presentation, research skills, and in the use of archives and digital media. You will be supported to realise your potential through individual tutorials, small group work seminars and lectures.

First Year

You will develop your core reading and writing skills, and be introduced to a variety of theoretical approaches through the module, ‘Discovering Literature’, in which you will read major works of English literature as well as newer literary plays, poetry and narratives. In ‘The Historian’s Craft’, you will learn how to find primary and secondary source materials and to use them effectively to construct an argument about the past. You will also learn about key concepts and categories in historical study, such as class, gender, race, periodization, and space, and the types of evidence used to study them. London will be a major focus for study in this first year, from both a literary and historical perspective, with trips to London museums and sites of interest built into the modules. 

Second Year

In the second year, you will develop your core knowledge through the module ‘Historical Controversies’. This offers students an opportunity to engage critically with how historians actually ‘do’ history, and identifies and analyses some of the most important developments in historical research. You will take the module ‘Literature and History’ which explores in detail the kinds of tension that might arise between these two disciplines, with a particular focus on historical fiction. You will also be able to choose from a range of period-based and topic-based modules, and have the opportunity to take a module as a study trip (usually to Paris or Berlin).

Third Year

In the final year, you will be able to choose optional modules covering a range of literary and historical periods across the English Literature and History programmes. You will also take ‘Writing the Nation’, which explores the ways in which literature has served the construction of national identity. The year culminates with your Dissertation, which will be based primarily in English or History, and will showcase the writing, analytical and research skills you have gained from the course and will allow you to develop your own area of research interest.

Here are some of the varied range of modules we currently offer:

Year 1

Compulsory Modules
Discovering Literature
London in Literature
Constructing the Classics
The Historian's Craft
Modern British and European History
Community and Identity in Global Perspective, 1700s-2000s

Year 2

Compulsory Modules
Literature and History 1800 - Present
Historical Controversies
The Historian @ Work

Optional Modules
The Literary Renaissance
Romantic Literature

American Literature: 1865-1915
Writing Multicultural Britain
Genre in Context
Literature, Gender and Sexuality
Modernist and Post-war Literature
Children’s Literature in Context
Victorian Literature
Literature and Media
Continental Connections
African American Freedom Struggles since 1945
Cross-Cultural Encounters in the Early Modern World
Race and Empire
Genocide in Europe
London: History, Art, and Society
Sex, Lies and Cheap Print: Britain, 1660-1714
Gender and Sexuality in Europe, 1850-1920
British Society in War and Peace, 1880-1950
Study Trip to Berlin
Afterlives: Ancient Gods and Heroes in the Middle Ages and Renaissance
The Soviet Experiment, 1905-1945
Distant Mirrors: Conquerors and Bureaucrats in Britain and China, 960-1066
Cold War Internationalisms, 1945-1989
Deciding the War: Choices that Shaped the Second World War
The First World War: 100 Years On

Year 3

Compulsory Modules
Writing the Nation
English Literature and History Dissertation

Optional Modules
Early Modern Gender
Modern American Literature
Diaspora Voices
Literature and Cinema
Victorian Literature and Culture
Shakespeare: Stage and Page
Literature and the Culture of Print
Classical Civilisation Special Essay
Literature in Context: Popular Literature and Culture
Contemporary Literature: Dystopias
Perspectives on Children’s Literature

The Vietnam War
Henry VIII: Religion, Politics, and Tyranny
Living & Dying Under the Third Reich
Radicalism in the English Revolution, 1640- 1653
Histories of Childhood in Europe, 1850-1945
Medicine and the Politics of Health from Cholera to the NHS
Magic and Politics, 1550-1700
The Cold War at Home: Soviet Society after 1945
The American Century
Rebellion and Resistance in Modern African History
The Limitation Game: Intelligence in International Perspective, 1899-1941



Compulsory and Required modules
Compulsory and/or required modules may change when we review and update programmes. Above is a list of modules offered this academic year.

Optional modules
Optional modules, when offered as part of a programme, may vary from year to year and are subject to viability.

You will graduate equipped to succeed in a wide range of careers, including journalism, publishing, marketing, teaching, broadcasting, law, the charity sector, cultural heritage and arts management.

Our careers team is available to support you from the start of your studies until after you graduate. They will help you build your CV, prepare for interviews, and meet and learn from successful graduates working at the top of their careers. You’ll also have opportunities to work with our partners across London and beyond, and to attend a Roehampton jobs fair where you can find out about graduate opportunities and meet employers.

Life at Roehampton

At Roehampton, we can offer all new students the opportunity to live in accommodation on our beautiful parkland campus, including affordable and high-end options.

We offer scholarships, provide hardship funding and help you find advice on managing your finances while you study.

We provide plenty of opportunities for you to get involved, through volunteering, playing sport or music, or joining one of our many active student societies.