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Course information

UCAS code

QV31

Entry requirements

A-level: BBB
BTEC: DDM
IB: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655

Length

3 years full-time or 4-6 years part-time

Course overview

This degree offers you the opportunity to explore the disciplines of history and English literature. You'll be introduced to the skills of the historian, and will analyse societies and their structures in a way that will inform and complement your literary studies.

Why study BA English & History at Goldsmiths?

  • You'll explore thematic and genre-based approaches to literature, verbal analysis and literary theory
  • You'll have the opportunity to gain precious industry-standard experience through our History at Work placement scheme
  • Our staff come from a variety of cultural backgrounds and, with their diverse research specialties, they’ll be able to help you develop your own interests 
  • Both departments are large enough to provide a wide range of modules, but small enough to let you get to know other students and staff
  • We host a programme of guest lectures that has included major names in literature, including Alan Bennett, Germaine Greer, and Nobel Laureates Seamus Heaney and Doris Lessing
  • Interdisciplinary modules draw together standard historical sources with literature, film, and the visual arts, and help you develop a wide range of skills that are attractive to employers 
  • Our graduates have a good employment record, and have gone on to work in publishing, journalism, PR, teaching, advertising, and the media

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact Dr John Price

What you'll study

Year 1 (credit level 4)

In your first year, you'll be introduced to essential concepts in literary study, encouraged to read a wide range of works covering the major literary genres, and become aware of changing views of the past, and theories of history. You'll choose between learning about cultural history, intellectual history, modern political history or religion, peace and conflict.

You take the following compulsory modules:

Year 1 compulsory modules Module title Credits
  Concepts and Methods in History 30 credits
  Literature of the Victorian Period 30 credits
  Approaches to Text 30 credits

And one other first year 30-credit History module.

Year 2 (credit level 5)

Year 2 consists of an interdisciplinary studies module or modules, plus a combination of English and history modules. For instance, (for English) you might want to: examine the literature and ideas of the 16th and 17th centuries; investigate how the concept of the American nation state was produced in 19th-century literature; make a literary and cultural analysis of Shakespeare’s or Chaucer’s work; and (for History): examine the medieval crusades or gender relations in the past; look into the cultural history of Buddhist Asia; or investigate the recent history of a range of European countries.

You take:

  • One English/History interdisciplinary 30 credit module
  • 30 credits of History modules
  • One English Period module worth 30 credits
  • The fourth module may be either 30 credits of History modules or a 30 credit English module, but there must be a balance of work in each discipline are levels 5 and 6 together.

Find out more about the History modules that may be available to you.

Year 3 (credit level 6)

Your interdisciplinary studies in Year 3 are directed towards a written project, and you continue to deepen your knowledge by balancing your selection of English and History modules with those you took in Year 5.

Options currently available include: taking a creative writing option; exploring the close relationship between literature and film in the 20th century; investigating gender and culture in medieval Europe; considering contemporary moral problems; or studying aspects of African or South Asian history.

The Departments also offer each year a small number of single-term ‘option’ modules which can be combined in pairs to form the equivalent of full-year modules. You can also apply to take a ‘related study’ – an approved module from another department which is relevant to your overall module profile.

You take:

  • The Interdisciplinary Project
  • 60 credits in History modules (if you only took 30 at level 5) and 30 credits of English modules
  • Or 60 credits in English modules (if you only took 30 at level 5) and 30 credits of English modules

Find out more about the History modules that may be available to you.

Teaching style

This programme is mainly taught through scheduled learning - a mixture of lectures, seminars and workshops. You’ll also be expected to undertake a significant amount of independent study. This includes carrying out required and additional reading, preparing topics for discussion, and producing essays or project work.

The following information gives an indication of the typical proportions of learning and teaching for each year of this programme*:

  • Year 1 - 15% scheduled learning, 85% independent learning
  • Year 2 - 13% scheduled learning, 87% independent learning
  • Year 3 - 10% scheduled learning, 90% independent learning

How you’ll be assessed

You’ll be assessed by a variety of methods, depending on your module choices. These include coursework portfolios, long essays, examinations (various timescales and formats) and an interdisciplinary project. The interdisciplinary project must be passed for the degree to be awarded.

The following information gives an indication of how you can typically expect to be assessed on each year of this programme*:

  • Year 1 - 81% coursework, 19% written exam
  • Year 2 - 60% coursework, 40% written exam
  • Year 3 - 87% coursework, 13% written exam

*Please note that these are averages are based on enrolments for 2016/17. Each student’s time in teaching, learning and assessment activities will differ based on individual module choices.

Credits and levels of learning

An undergraduate honours degree is made up of 360 credits – 120 at Level 4, 120 at Level 5 and 120 at Level 6. If you are a full-time student, you will usually take Level 4 modules in the first year, Level 5 in the second, and Level 6 modules in your final year. A standard module is worth 30 credits. Some programmes also contain 15-credit half modules or can be made up of higher-value parts, such as a dissertation or a Major Project.

Download the programme specification, for the 2018-19 intake. If you would like an earlier version of the programme specification, please contact the Quality Office.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.

Entry requirements

We accept the following qualifications:

A-level: BBB
BTEC: DDM
International Baccalaureate: 33 points overall with Three HL subjects at 655
Access: Pass with 45 Level 3 credits including 30 Distinctions and a number of merits/passes in subject-specific modules
Scottish qualifications: BBBBC (Higher) or BBC (Advanced Higher)
European Baccalaureate: 75%, preferably including English
Irish Leaving Certificate: H2 H2 H2 H2

We also accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for degree-level study.

Additional Requirements

Grade B in A-level English Literature (or Language and Literature) is required; A-level General Studies is not accepted. 

Above all, we're looking for potential students who can demonstrate the range of skills, talents and interests necessary for this degree, either through traditional A-levels or otherwise. We actively encourage applications from students with a wide range of relevant qualifications, especially the access diploma.

 

Fees & funding

Careers

Our degrees open up a wide range of careers by developing critical and analytical skills, proficiency in assessing evidence, the clear expression of ideas, and the ability to bring together insights from a range of subjects – all of which are attractive to a variety of employers. You learn to solve problems, to think critically and creatively, and to communicate with clarity.

Our graduates have a good employment record: professions include publishing, journalism, PR, teaching, advertising, civil service, business and industry, European Union private sector management and personnel work, and the media.

History at Work

History at Work is an exciting and innovative new initiative which offers some second and third year students taking History single and joint honours programmes the chance to apply their academic skills within the workplace.

Students spend one day a week over one term undertaking a project within a museum, archive or library: places which collect, process and present the 'raw material' of history. These organisations include the Wellcome Library, Royal Pharmaceutical SocietyLondon Transport Museum and the V&A Museum of Childhood.

The project might involve archiving, conservation, building an exhibition, or developing a public engagement project. Students will be invited to apply for places on the programme each February. It should give students a great chance to test out their career ideas, develop skills and increase their employability.

Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths. You can also explore potential career options on our English and History careers pages.

What our students say

Simone

"I wanted to learn something different."

"This is my second year of studying English and History. I am really enjoying what I have chosen this year. I am originally from Jamaica and I have always had an interest in both these subjects. Literature was my favourite subject at school, while History was in a lot of ways harder for me to take in but fascinating anyway. Historical studies in Jamaica tend to involve mostly the study of slavery and the slave trade. I wanted to learn something different, so this year I chose the Crusades, literature of the middle ages and I am really enjoying my studies. I like looking at how the world appeared during that period and people’s perceptions of the events taking place. I did my access course at Morley College and that is where I learnt about Goldsmiths. One of my tutors there recommended that I investigate the university; he was previously employed in the and could not recommend it more. While it is in no way easy I feel like I am on the right track and that I made the best decision when I made my choice."

Victoria Appleby

Former BA English & History student Victoria was recently recognised for her success in the advertising industry at the IPA’s inaugural ‘Women of Tomorrow Awards’. 

Created to recognise successful women in middle levels of management and identify potential future industry leaders, 10 award winners were selected from across a range of media agencies, clients and creative agencies

Victoria, who is a Business Director at agency MediaCom, was praised for her straight talking and team focussed, collaborative and ambitious attitude, as well as her desire to champion the role of women in the workplace. Next year Victoria will be running MediaCom’s graduate scheme and has also taken responsibility for her company’s apprentice who she is teaching about the world of work. Outside of work she has authored a novel, Secret Stone, featuring a strong female lead, and is aiming for board directorship in order to be a role model for her young daughter.

She said: “I am delighted to receive the Women of Tomorrow Award.  I have extremely fond memories of my time at Goldsmiths and my degree and experiences there have had a huge impact on my career."

Tom King

"Take every single opportunity that’s offered to you."

"The best thing for me about being at Goldsmiths, personally, was just the experience, being with creative, likeminded people. When I started at Goldsmiths I wasn't interested in having a career in music whatsoever, I wanted to be a writer or an academic. The idea of music only came to me in my second or third year when I realised that much of my social and recreational activities were leaning towards that in some degree. I met the people I founded the label with social events at university and around the area.

The best part of my job is the creative side and working with all of these incredibly talented people. The worst part is having to deal with so many different things all the time!

My advice for current students would be that 'yes' is always a far better answer than 'no' – just take every single opportunity that’s offered to you and apply for things and do things, whether it’s sports, meeting up with your friends... anything that can inspire you. Keep your options open, experience things rather than plan any kind of career path. Be positive and try and engage as much as you can with everything."