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Our Department of Humanities includes the subject areas of History, English Literature, English Language and Linguistics, Creative Writing, American Studies and Music.

Human beings make sense of their place in the world by telling stories; but in our confused and uncertain times, understanding how these stories work is more important than ever. In the Humanities Department, we get inside these stories, seeking answers to the great questions: Who am I? How do I relate to you? What does it mean to be human?



With over 80 members of academic staff we have real breadth in our teaching and research. Our programmes are driven by new themes that are vital today: the environment, global connections, the medical humanities, gender and popular culture, activism, conflict and society, heritage, or the great questions posed by modern American culture.  They range in time from the Middle ages to the twenty-first century and explore global cultures from Africa to Russia as well as delivering new insights into classic themes from English literature from Shakespeare or Austen, to new work in writing, music and cultural studies.


This richness and breadth is underpinned by a strong research culture. In the Guardian League table 2024 we are ranking 51st in the UK for English and 47th in the UK for History, with outstanding successes reflecting our outward-facing work with communities and cultural partners. This research culture is embedded in all our teaching, where research-active academic staff teaching students from day one.


We offer internships, live brief learning and work experience across our degrees. Our English courses include opportunities to learn about language and marketing, literary culture in the heritage sector and we have just launched a unique MA in Publishing. Students also take up teaching experience through placements in schools and our English Language TESOL modules.

We have both a BA and foundation degree in Music, which combines the study of music history with performance and modules in instrumental/vocal teaching, and essential skills for the freelance musician.

We have a commitment to the wider cultural life of our region and this informs much of our teaching too: we regularly collaborate with external partners, such as the Environment Agency, New Writing North, the National Union of Students, Newcastle Cathedral, embassies and local authorities.

Underpinning everything is our belief in training people to speak with clarity, authenticity and empathy. We hope that our students will learn to tell new stories about the twenty-first century, with the sense of cultural context and critical insight that will help them shape their communities in the future.

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Courses within Humanities

The Department of Humanities offers a number of undergraduate and postgraduate courses. By studying at Northumbria you will become part of a passionate and creative community.

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Northumbria Research Link

Northumbria Research Link (NRL) is an open access repository of Northumbria University's research output.

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Undergraduate Open Day Events

Looking to study in with us in September? Our Undergraduate Open Day Events are the perfect opportunity for you to find out as much as you can about our wide range of courses and world-class facilities.

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