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Our Joint Honours course in English Literature and American Studies allows you to combine the study of literary texts across a broad geographical and chronological range with a specific focus on the literature, culture, history, and politics of North America. 

Through inspired teaching and intellectual debate, we will nurture your passion by developing your creative and critical thinking. You will learn how to communicate effectively and solve complex problems as you develop an awareness of how past cultures, societies and texts shape our present and future.

How does Literature & American Studies course help with employability?

Studying Literature and American Studies at Northumbria lets you bring together your passion for human stories while making practical steps into your future career.
You will have opportunities to engage with the heritage industry through department field trips, guest lecturers, and academic partnerships. And we introduce you to the world of publishing and book-making, potentially leading to our unique MA in Publishing with partners Hachette and New Writing North. Meanwhile, for those looking to inspire the next generation of literature lovers, you can opt to begin your teaching experience with a module focused on learning how to be a tutor of students in schools or colleges.

Northumbria's English Literature learning experience

Your voice is vital in our seminar groups and small discussions. We bring students together to read and talk about texts and stories from day one. We introduce you to themes of huge relevance today, such as gender and equality, or the power of poetry to capture a cultural moment or a new social obsession. All your work leads up to your major creative writing project or dissertation, where you make your own mark in the world of literary studies and showcase your creativity.
Students will also have the option to extend their studies, either taking a placement year in industry or opting to study abroad in the likes of mainland Europe or North America.

Why choose Northumbria to study English Literature and American Studies?

The uniqueness of our Literature degree lies in how it brings together the study of stories and how we tell them across hundreds of years, with a contemporary focus on your career, helping you take your cultural understanding into the twenty-first century world of work.

English at Northumbria is ranked 21st for research power in the UK, out of 92 institutions (REF, 2021). This is a rise of 5 places since 2014.

American Studies at Northumbria ranked top 5 in the UK across all student survey categories, including 1st for 'Teaching On My Course', 'Academic Support', and  ‘Learning Resources’ (NSS, 2023).

Our Joint Honours course in English Literature and American Studies allows you to combine the study of literary texts across a broad geographical and chronological range with a specific focus on the literature, culture, history, and politics of North America. 

Through inspired teaching and intellectual debate, we will nurture your passion by developing your creative and critical thinking. You will learn how to communicate effectively and solve complex problems as you develop an awareness of how past cultures, societies and texts shape our present and future.

How does Literature & American Studies course help with employability?

Studying Literature and American Studies at Northumbria lets you bring together your passion for human stories while making practical steps into your future career.
You will have opportunities to engage with the heritage industry through department field trips, guest lecturers, and academic partnerships. And we introduce you to the world of publishing and book-making, potentially leading to our unique MA in Publishing with partners Hachette and New Writing North. Meanwhile, for those looking to inspire the next generation of literature lovers, you can opt to begin your teaching experience with a module focused on learning how to be a tutor of students in schools or colleges.

Northumbria's English Literature learning experience

Your voice is vital in our seminar groups and small discussions. We bring students together to read and talk about texts and stories from day one. We introduce you to themes of huge relevance today, such as gender and equality, or the power of poetry to capture a cultural moment or a new social obsession. All your work leads up to your major creative writing project or dissertation, where you make your own mark in the world of literary studies and showcase your creativity.
Students will also have the option to extend their studies, either taking a placement year in industry or opting to study abroad in the likes of mainland Europe or North America.

Why choose Northumbria to study English Literature and American Studies?

The uniqueness of our Literature degree lies in how it brings together the study of stories and how we tell them across hundreds of years, with a contemporary focus on your career, helping you take your cultural understanding into the twenty-first century world of work.

English at Northumbria is ranked 21st for research power in the UK, out of 92 institutions (REF, 2021). This is a rise of 5 places since 2014.

American Studies at Northumbria ranked top 5 in the UK across all student survey categories, including 1st for 'Teaching On My Course', 'Academic Support', and  ‘Learning Resources’ (NSS, 2023).

Course Information

UCAS Code
T710

Level of Study
Undergraduate

Mode of Study
3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department
Humanities

Location
City Campus, Northumbria University

City
Newcastle

Start
September 2024 or September 2025

Fees
Fee Information

Modules
Module Information

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English at Northumbria University

Discover more about what you will learn on the course, more about our academics research interests, and hear from current students by watching our videos.

News & Events / Humanities

Find out what our Humanities students and staff are taking part in and achieving.

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Department / Humanities

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

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Department

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Study

Book an Open Day / Experience English Literature and American Studies BA (Hons)

Visit an Open Day to get an insight into what it's like to study Humanities Foundation Year. Speak to staff and students from the course and get a tour of the facilities.

Entry Requirements 2024/25

Standard Entry

112 UCAS Tariff points

From a combination of acceptable Level 3 qualifications which may include: A-level, T Level, BTEC Diplomas/Extended Diplomas, Scottish and Irish Highers, Access to HE Diplomas, or the International Baccalaureate.

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth by using the UCAS Tariff calculator: www.ucas.com/ucas/tariff-calculator

Northumbria University is committed to supporting all individuals to achieve their ambitions. We have a range of schemes and alternative offers to make sure as many individuals as possible are given an opportunity to study at our University regardless of personal circumstances or background. To find out more, review our Northumbria Entry Requirement Essential Information page for further details www.northumbria.ac.uk/entryrequirementsinfo

Subject Requirements:

There are no specific subject requirements for this course.

GCSE Requirements:

Applicants will need Maths and English Language at minimum grade 4/C, or an equivalent.

Additional Requirements:

There are no additional requirements for this course.

International Qualifications:

We welcome applicants with a range of qualifications which may not match those shown above.

If you have qualifications from outside the UK, find out what you need by visiting www.northumbria.ac.uk/yourcountry

English Language Requirements:

International applicants should have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.0 with 5.5 in each component (or an approved equivalent*).

*The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades in our English Language section: www.northumbria.ac.uk/englishqualifications

Entry Requirements 2025/26

Standard Entry

112 UCAS Tariff points

From a combination of acceptable Level 3 qualifications which may include: A-level, T Level, BTEC Diplomas/Extended Diplomas, Scottish and Irish Highers, Access to HE Diplomas, or the International Baccalaureate.

Find out how many points your qualifications are worth by using the UCAS Tariff calculator: www.ucas.com/ucas/tariff-calculator

Northumbria University is committed to supporting all individuals to achieve their ambitions. We have a range of schemes and alternative offers to make sure as many individuals as possible are given an opportunity to study at our University regardless of personal circumstances or background. To find out more, review our Northumbria Entry Requirement Essential Information page for further details www.northumbria.ac.uk/entryrequirementsinfo

Subject Requirements:

There are no specific subject requirements for this course.

GCSE Requirements:

Applicants will need Maths and English Language at minimum grade 4/C, or an equivalent.

Additional Requirements:

There are no additional requirements for this course.

International Qualifications:

We welcome applicants with a range of qualifications which may not match those shown above.

If you have qualifications from outside the UK, find out what you need by visiting www.northumbria.ac.uk/yourcountry

English Language Requirements:

International applicants should have a minimum overall IELTS (Academic) score of 6.0 with 5.5 in each component (or an approved equivalent*).

*The university accepts a large number of UK and International Qualifications in place of IELTS. You can find details of acceptable tests and the required grades in our English Language section: www.northumbria.ac.uk/englishqualifications

Fees and Funding 2024/25 Entry

UK Fee in Year 1: £9,250

* The maximum tuition fee that we are permitted to charge for UK students is set by government. Tuition fees may increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, these are subject to government regulations and in line with inflation.


EU Fee in Year 1: £18,250

International Fee in Year 1: £18,250


Please see the main Funding Pages for 24/25 scholarship information.

 


ADDITIONAL COSTS

There are no Additional Costs

Fees and Funding 2025/26 Entry

UK Fee in Year 1*: TBC

* The maximum tuition fee that we are permitted to charge for UK students is set by government. Tuition fees may increase in each subsequent academic year of your course, these are subject to government regulations and in line with inflation.



EU Fee in Year 1: **TBC


International Fee in Year 1: TBC

ADDITIONAL COSTS

TBC

If you’d like to receive the latest updates from Northumbria about our courses, events, finance & funding then enter your details below.

* At Northumbria we are strongly committed to protecting the privacy of personal data. To view the University’s Privacy Notice please click here

Modules

Module information is indicative and is reviewed annually therefore may be subject to change. Applicants will be informed if there are any changes.

AM4001 -

Introduction to American Studies (Core,20 Credits)

This module offers a practical and historical introduction to American Studies as a distinct, multifaceted, and evolving discipline, while also allowing you to acquire and practice key learning, research, and communication skills which will be of use throughout your university career and beyond. The module is content driven, with readings and themes drawn from across the entire range of American history, literature, politics, and popular culture, but particular emphasis will be placed on helping you to understand and master the basic tools and protocols of academic scholarship, thereby helping you to make the transition from school to university level work.
The skills which this module will help you to develop will include finding, reading and evaluating various kinds of primary and secondary sources; understanding the ways in which scholarship advances through constructive criticism and debate; correct referencing; finding an effective academic writing style; making oral presentations; and designing, researching and writing an independent research project.

More information

EL4001 -

Introduction to Literary Studies (Core,20 Credits)

You will be given the opportunity to familiarise yourself with conceptual issues such as canonicity, the unconscious, the tragic, the nature of the author, gender and postmodernity. Lectures will introduce you to these concepts and modes of applying these to literary texts as well as introducing you to new material in the texts themselves. Seminars will follow the lectures, where you will discuss and explore with your tutor and with your fellow students both the texts and their historical and theoretical contexts.

More information

EL4003 -

Representing the US: From Slavery to Terrorism (Core,20 Credits)

This module focusses on US literature, film and television and it asks you to think about US culture at large; it will introduce you to a range of significant US texts from the nineteenth century to the present. You will make connections between diverse texts ranging from writings of slaves in the nineteenth century to fiction that responds to the trauma of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. You will enjoy US literature, film and television across a range of periods – work from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries will be covered – and you will examine fiction, poetry, drama, film, and television in relation to the idea of a national literary canon and in the context of social and political change, from the Civil War to the War on Terror. As a survey module, it encourages you to examine how key works engage with questions of identity, slavery, the American Dream, trauma, freedom, and national security.

More information

EL4006 -

Concepts in Criticism and Culture (Core,20 Credits)

This module introduces you to literary studies at university, past and present. You will learn how the formation of (English) Literature as a degree subject played into approaches to the study of literature from the early twentieth century, and still influence popular understandings of what it is we (lecturers and students) really do when we ‘study literature’. Early discussions will include case studies to help explain some of the debates about the nature of literary studies. We will then work with a text that has been labelled as ‘canonical’ (e.g. Shakespeare’s Hamlet) to critique the concept of canonicity and ask what it is we do when we go ‘beyond the basics’ of textual engagement. That text will then become the central point of reference across the rest of the module, as we investigate different theoretical and critical approaches.

During the module you will be asked to read a range of critical essays, discussing them in individually and in relation to each other. The module aims to foster your skills in close textual analysis, informed by key theoretical perspectives and independent reflective practice.

More information

EL4016 -

Talking Texts (Core,20 Credits)

This module offers students a forum to develop academic skills in close reading and analysis. A range of texts are examined within a reading-focussed workshop, including: the novel, short stories, poetry, plays, journalism, academic essays and online media such as blogs and flash fiction. Students are exposed to a range of writing in order to consider and develop their own reading practices. The discursive workshops develop speaking, listening, and critical skills through participation in classroom activities. The module prepares students for work at degree level, encouraging them to become independent learners in a supportive environment.

More information

EL4017 -

Gothic Stories: Nineteenth Century to the Present (Core,20 Credits)

In this module you will be given the opportunity to study a range of gothic texts from the nineteenth century to the contemporary period. This will provide you with the opportunity to explore the conventions of the genre as well as some of the ways in which gothic writing reflects and/or questions assumptions about race, gender, social class and sexuality. You will learn about the cultural significance of many familiar gothic motifs and figures such as ghosts, uncanny doubles, haunted houses and vampires.

More information

YC5001 -

Academic Language Skills for Humanities and Social Sciences (Core – for International and EU students only,0 Credits)

Academic skills when studying away from your home country can differ due to cultural and language differences in teaching and assessment practices. This module is designed to support your transition in the use and practice of technical language and subject specific skills around assessments and teaching provision in your chosen subject. The overall aim of this module is to develop your abilities to read and study effectively for academic purposes; to develop your skills in analysing and using source material in seminars and academic writing and to develop your use and application of language and communications skills to a higher level.

The topics you will cover on the module include:

• Understanding assignment briefs and exam questions.
• Developing academic writing skills, including citation, paraphrasing, and summarising.
• Practising ‘critical reading’ and ‘critical writing’
• Planning and structuring academic assignments (e.g. essays, reports and presentations).
• Avoiding academic misconduct and gaining credit by using academic sources and referencing effectively.
• Listening skills for lectures.
• Speaking in seminar presentations.
• Presenting your ideas
• Giving discipline-related academic presentations, experiencing peer observation, and receiving formative feedback.
• Speed reading techniques.
• Developing self-reflection skills.

More information

AD5012 -

Humanities Study Abroad (40 credit) (Optional,40 Credits)

The Study Abroad module is a semester based 40 credit module which is available on degree courses which facilitate study abroad within the programme. You will undertake a semester of study abroadat an approved partner University elsewhere. This gives you access to modules from your discipline taught in a different learning culture and so broadens your overall experience of learning. The course of study abroad will be constructed to meet the learning outcomes for the programme for the semester in question, dependent on suitable modules from the partner and will be recorded for an individual student on the learning agreement signed by the host University, the student, and the home University (Northumbria). The module will be assessed by conversion of graded marks from the host University.

Learning outcomes on the year-long modules on which the student is unable to attend the home institution must be met at the host institution, and marks from the host are incorporated into the modules as part of the overall assessment.

More information

AM5002 -

American Studies Extended Essay (Core,20 Credits)

The American Studies Extended Essay is designed as an opportunity for you to apply and build on the skills you have acquired in Level Four core modules and prepare yourself for the demands of the American Studies Dissertation in Level Six. It is an exercise in independent research and is intended to be a piece of work that utilises an interdisciplinary approach to a selection of primary and secondary sources. Extended Essay topics will be developed in conjunction with an appropriate subject specialist.

More information

EL5003 -

Early Modern Cultures (Core,20 Credits)

On this module you will learn to read texts written in the period 1500-1700 historically. Lectures and seminars will encourage you to learn about the early modern period, and to situate texts by authors such as William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Thomas More, and Philip Sidney. You will learn about poetry, prose, and drama – situating literary genres from the period in relation to themes that include: class, race, sexuality, politics, authority, gender, and ideas of literary production itself. Lectures will trace the afterlives of some of the most influential texts ever written, and will encourage you to read these textual traditions in light of a range of western literary ideologies.

Building upon work completed at Level 4 on early modern authors like Shakespeare and Donne, this module offers students a more comprehensive survey of the early modern period. Encouraging students to read literature historically, Early Modern Cultures fosters key skills in tutor-led and independent reading and research that will complement a range of studies at level 6.

More information

EL5004 -

Modernism and Modernity (Core,20 Credits)

Through this module you will gain an understanding of the relation between literary modernism and modernity in the early part of the twentieth century. The module provides you with conceptual and historical frameworks for understanding the relation between art and social life. It gives you an opportunity to engage with the ways in which different literary genres prompted modernist experiments in form and with the various debates taking place between literary critics, writers, philosophers and cultural historians in early-twentieth-century Britain and the USA.

More information

EL5026 -

Literary Revolutions, Eighteenth Century to Romanticism (Core,20 Credits)

In this module you will study a range of texts from the eighteenth century to the Romantic period. The module considers a period in which literature and culture witnessed a succession of revolutionary changes. The novel emerged as a new form; female writers and readers took on a new prominence; the print market expanded enormously; and writers responded to the seismic changes in society caused by a period of war, imperial expansion, and political and social revolution. You will study a diverse and unusual range of texts that emerged from this period, and learn how to link the texts to the period’s context.

More information

HI5005 -

America in the 1960s (Core,20 Credits)

This module offers you the opportunity to study the domestic social, cultural, political, and economic history of the United States during the “long 1960s” (roughly 1956-1974). Interdisciplinary in approach the module allows you to examine a range of secondary and primary sources – including television, literature, music, film and visual culture – that illuminate the history and culture of the US during this period. The module also encourages you to consider the perils and advantages of dealing with the 1960s as a discrete historical period, involves you in some of the most important scholarly debates in the field, and asks you to consider how the decade has been remembered and misremembered in popular consciousness by exploring later cultural representations and political uses of the 1960s. Key topics include the Cold War and Vietnam; consumerism; the civil rights and black power movements; national and local politics; science, technology and the environment; youth culture; gender and sexuality; identity politics; regionalism; the New Left and the Counterculture; conservatism and the New Right; mass media and popular music.

More information

HI5034 -

Setting America Right: Conservatism in the United States, 1933 - 2016 (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will explore the history of conservatism in the United States of America from the 1930s to the present day. Beginning with opposition to Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, this module will trace the evolution of American conservatism through the era of Republican presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and all the way up to the emergence of Donald Trump and the ‘alt-right’. At the heart of this module is a simple question: did the U.S. ‘turn right’ during the twentieth century? In answering that question, you will grapple with the fundamental issue of what it means to be a ‘conservative’ in America and how that label has been used and fought over in different eras and contexts.

You will learn about developments in high politics and at the grassroots, and gain an understanding of conservative movements both within and without the Republican Party. As well as learning about crucial events in recent U.S. political history (such as Barry Goldwater’s transformational 1964 presidential campaign), you will learn about the ways that conservatives revolutionised the nation’s political culture, pioneering innovative electoral techniques such as direct mail and constructing formidable conservative media outlets like Fox News. The module is organised in a broadly chronological way, but you will also explore key themes and movements that span decades, such as the religious right, anti-feminism, and ‘colour-blind’ conservatism.

More information

IR5010 -

Foreign Policy Analysis (Optional,20 Credits)

You will learn about the most significant issues and challenges of our times in the domain of foreign policy. While grounded in IR theory, you will be introduced to foreign policy analysis (FPA)-specific frameworks and levels of analysis such as to systems of governance, decision making structures and models, leadership analysis, the role of the media, public opinion and special interest groups. Empirically, you will learn about the foreign policy of key actors in the international system towards a region or set of issues such as, for example, US and China foreign policy.

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MP5022 -

Cultural Identities on Screen (Optional,20 Credits)

The module will focus on the televisual representation and articulation of cultural identities in Britain and the US. We will look at how gender, ethnicity, national and regional identities are constructed through an examination of different genres and areas of screen media, such as drama, comedy and current affairs. We will explore issues such as class, gender and racial stereotypes, visibility of minority groups and integration. Throughout the course we will also consider the function of television, considering what its role might be in the construction of cultural identities.

More information

YC5001 -

Academic Language Skills for Humanities and Social Sciences (Core – for International and EU students only,0 Credits)

Academic skills when studying away from your home country can differ due to cultural and language differences in teaching and assessment practices. This module is designed to support your transition in the use and practice of technical language and subject specific skills around assessments and teaching provision in your chosen subject. The overall aim of this module is to develop your abilities to read and study effectively for academic purposes; to develop your skills in analysing and using source material in seminars and academic writing and to develop your use and application of language and communications skills to a higher level.

The topics you will cover on the module include:

• Understanding assignment briefs and exam questions.
• Developing academic writing skills, including citation, paraphrasing, and summarising.
• Practising ‘critical reading’ and ‘critical writing’
• Planning and structuring academic assignments (e.g. essays, reports and presentations).
• Avoiding academic misconduct and gaining credit by using academic sources and referencing effectively.
• Listening skills for lectures.
• Speaking in seminar presentations.
• Presenting your ideas
• Giving discipline-related academic presentations, experiencing peer observation, and receiving formative feedback.
• Speed reading techniques.
• Developing self-reflection skills.

More information

AD5009 -

Humanities Work Placement Year (Optional,120 Credits)

The Work Placement Year module is a 120 credit year-long module available on degree courses which include a work placement year, taken as an additional year of study at level 5 and before level 6 (the length of the placement(s) will be determined by your programme but it can be no less than 30 weeks. You will undertake a guided work placement at a host organisation. This is a Pass/Fail module and so does not contribute to classification. When taken and passed, however, the Placement Year is recognised in your transcript as a 120 credit Work Placement Module and on your degree certificate in the format – “Degree title (with Work Placement Year)”. The learning and teaching on your placement will be recorded in the work placement agreement signed by the placement provider, the student, and the University.

Note: Subject to placement clearance; this is a competitive process and a place on the module cannot be guaranteed.

More information

AD5010 -

Humanities Study Abroad Year (Optional,120 Credits)

The Study Abroad Year module is a full year 120 credit module which is available on degree courses which include a study abroad year which is taken as an additional year of study at level 5 and before level 6. You will undertake a year abroad at a partner university equivalent to 120 UK credits. This gives you access to modules from your discipline taught in a different learning culture and so broadens your overall experience of learning. The course of study abroad will be dependent on the partner and will be recorded for an individual student on the learning agreement signed by the host University, the student, and the home University (Northumbria). Your study abroad year will be assessed on a pass/fail basis. It will not count towards your final degree classification but, if you pass, it is recognised in your transcript as a 120 credit Study Abroad Module and on your degree certificate in the format – “Degree title (with Study Abroad Year)”.

Note: Subject to placement clearance; this is a competitive process and a place on the module cannot be guaranteed.

More information

AM6005 -

Red, White and Green: The American Environment Through Time (Core,20 Credits)

The US is a paradox when it comes to nature: it is both the country that invented the national park concept and the biggest carbon dioxide emitter historically; it was the first country to celebrate Earth Day in 1970, but it is also where the hyper consumerist lifestyle first emerged; it is the birthplace of some of the oldest and most important environmental NGOs and of climate denial. How can we make sense of the US and its relationship to nature? Are Americans doomed to destroy the natural wonders of their nation? Can we envision a red, white and green nation that would put science and technology at the service of sustainability and environmental justice?

The module will answer these questions by examining the US’ complicated relationship to nature chronologically. In doing so, we will re-examine and challenge conventional narratives of US history by integrating the role of nature as a historical actor in its own right. Examples of themes covered include: nature and conquest; Native American environments; nature and technology; the wilderness myth; animals in US history; environmental disasters; urban nature; the rise of environmentalism; environmental justice and environmental racism; waste and pollution; toxicities, etc.

The module will approach these themes using the tools of the environmental humanities. Combining historical, visual and literary analysis with insights from ecology and other ‘hard’ sciences, we will achieve a thorough understanding of environmental phenomena in their full complexity.

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EL6004 -

Vamps and Virgins: Gothic Sexualities (Optional,20 Credits)

From Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Christabel (1816) to Alan Ball’s True Blood (2008-), this module invites you to explore the dark, shadowy world of the Gothic in relation to a diverse range of literary texts and modern media. Combining the study of familiar canonical fictions with new and challenging material, we will train our focus on the enigmatic figure of the vampire, examining its various transitions and developments through the lens of critical and cultural theory.

Through an analysis of the Gothic, the module aims to develop your critical thinking, as well as your existing knowledge of literature, film, and television dating from 1816 to the present day. In doing so, it will encourage you to reflect on and interrogate the complex ways in which Gothic texts engage with, and intervene in, broader cultural debates about gender and sexuality.

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EL6018 -

The Black Atlantic: Literature, Slavery and Race (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will introduce you to a range of texts which have been created out of, or about, the experience of African peoples in the diaspora from the seventeenth century to the present. It will encourage you to relate your understanding of the texts to the cultural and historical background from which they developed. Following on from level four core modules this module will develop your understanding of the concept of the ‘Atlantic World’ and theories of local, national and global cultures as well as theories of race and postcolonial theory. You will be encouraged to recognise the activity of the slave trade as the beginning point of the Atlantic World as an imagined space that challenges national and chronological boundaries and speaks of the powerful and enduring legacies of slavery.

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EL6020 -

Boxing with Byron: Romanticism and Popular Culture (Optional,20 Credits)

The Romantic period (1789-1832) was a time of revolutionary change in literature, yet the literature of the period is typically represented by a narrow list of elite poets. On this module you will learn about a much more diverse range of writing: by men and women, by the poor and the rich, and taking in styles from satirical poetry, to advertising, to magazine fiction, to essays about opium addiction. Is there a distinction between ‘high’ and ‘popular’ culture, and who gets to decide the answer? This was a question the Romantics asked, and it is one you will learn to answer. You will also learn to investigate the diverse range of literature produced in the period yourself by using e-resources to find texts from the period that you think are valuable. You will develop an enhanced knowledge of the literature and culture of the period and as a result you will learn to question the way that literary critics tell stories about who and what should count in literary history.

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EL6021 -

Shaking up Shakespeare (Optional,20 Credits)

This module develops your awareness and understanding of post-Renaissance adaptations and appropriations of Shakespeare’s work, from the seventeenth century to the present day. It engages with Shakespearean adaptations belonging to different literary genres (in particular, drama and prose fiction) and different media (written texts, films). It examines the ways in which selected Shakespearean texts are transformed in subsequent adaptations, and the issues underpinning these transformations, especially those concerning race, gender, and class. It also engages with theoretical debates surrounding authorship, literary value, canonicity, and popular/high culture.

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EL6042 -

Postwar US Writing (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will enhance your understanding of postwar American literary culture in its broader social, political, and
economic contexts. Mid-century America was a time of profound contradictions: while US citizens lived under the shadow the bomb, many experienced unprecedented economic prosperity and access to new material comforts. We will explore how national paranoia
about the spread of communism and the nuclear arms race sat alongside – and fed into – the postwar image of the American ‘good life’, an image of suburban conformity underpinned by the growth of advertising and consumer culture. We will consider how postwar fiction and poetry challenges this demand for conformity in both content and form: through its complex representations of the American cold war experience and its innovative narrative and poetic strategies. The texts on this module offer insights into postwar attitudes towards a diverse range of topics, including national and international politics, work, leisure, and domesticity, gender and sexuality, and race and ethnicity.

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EL6045 -

Political Theatre in Early Modern Britain (Optional,20 Credits)

People thought and wrote about politics a lot in the early modern period. Just like today, lives and livelihoods hinged upon the attitudes, loyalties and alliances of those in power – and the theatre was a convenient and accessible place to think about (and sometimes to poke fun at) political figureheads and their ideologies. Also, because men like William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson were, effectively, on the payroll of some of England’s wealthiest and most powerful men and women, their dramatic writings often carried distinct political agendas. Monarchs like Queen Elizabeth I and James VI/I were passionate about literature, and London’s best playwrights and acting companies were employed during their lavish coronation processions – and invited to perform at court during annual festivities. Drama from this period was not only influenced by politics, moreover, it had influential political clout, in and of itself. The theatre explored, explained, critiqued, and shaped political attitudes and ideas – at every level of society.

Building on your reading of early modern authors at levels 4 and 5 in early modern literature, this module will challenge you to read a range of Tudor and Jacobean plays in relation to political change, scandal, and satire. You will develop a specialised understanding of the relationship between literature and politics, and a detailed knowledge of the early modern period’s tumultuous social and religious contexts.

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EL6047 -

Twenty First Century Literature: Writing in the Present (Optional,20 Credits)

From Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) and its popular television adaptation (2017) to Yorgos Lanthimos’ film The Lobster (2015), this module invites you to explore a wide and diverse range of novels, short stories and other media in order to promote and analyse the study of contemporary theoretical debates on gender, love, the body and sexuality.

Through the theoretical lens of feminism, psychoanalysis, queer theory and postmodernism, the module aims to develop your critical thinking and your existing knowledge of literature, film and television, from 1985 to the present day. It will encourage you to explore the complex issues raised by diverse critical theory and close analysis of a range of late twentieth and twenty-first century literature, film and television adaptation. By doing so, you will reflect on the ways that twenty-first literature and other media engages with, interrogates and often offers alternative narratives on present debates about gender, love, the body and sexuality.

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EL6053 -

Writing Women: Aphra Behn in Focus (Optional,20 Credits)

This module explores the writings of the first professional woman writer in England, Aphra Behn (d. 1689). Biographically, Behn remains something of an enigma. We know little about her personal life, and some of our earliest records of her relate to her work as a Continental spy for Charles II. Yet Behn is one of the most important writers of the late seventeenth century. She contributed to many genres of literature (poetry, drama, translation and prose), she was the second most prolific dramatist of her age, and she authored the first English novel. Behn was a transformative and innovative author, deeply engaged with questions of gender and self-aware, in her writings, of her status as a female author in a male profession.
On this module we will read a selection of Behn’s writings, exploring their relationship to her contemporary writers, Behn’s historical moment and the broader development of literature. We will also explore the complex reception history of Behn’s work, thinking about why she disappeared from the literary canon within decades of her death, only to be rediscovered by feminist and postcolonial scholars from the 1970s and 80s. In studying Behn’s changing status as a literary author, and by reading her work, students will learn about a key moment (the 1670s-80s) in the development of the literary marketplace, whilst developing an appreciation of the ways in which gender concerns have affected access to Behn’s literature, as well as shaped (and, at times, limited) our understanding of its wider importance.
Today, Behn is much-studied and there are numerous scholarly editions of her writings. Yet there is still much we have yet to properly understand about her writings, and Behn studies are as vibrant and diverse as ever. Recent years have seen a renewed energy in Behn scholarship that seeks to understand her writings beyond their significance to gender studies, with scholars showing how Behn’s writings engage with the burning issues of the day: marital law; monarchy; philosophy; politics; science; sexuality; slavery.

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EL6055 -

Writing and Environment (Optional,20 Credits)

You will study a selection of texts, written from the eighteenth century to the present day, that engage with the natural environment in various ways. These include natural histories and popular science, pastoral and environmental poems, environmental protest literature, apocalyptic novels, and the ‘new nature writing’. You will learn how literary writers describe the world around them and how they use the natural world to articulate their own personal needs, feelings, and desires. You will study texts that draw attention both to natural beauty and to environmental catastrophe. You will learn how writers as diverse as Gilbert White, William Wordsworth, Charles Darwin, Rachel Carson, and Robert Macfarlane have changed the ways in which readers engage with the world around them. As part of your studies, you will learn to produce your own literary engagement with the natural world in a ‘creative field journal’, inspired by the writings of Charles Darwin, Robert Macfarlane, Amy Liptrott, and others. By the end of the module, you will have gained a sophisticated understanding not only of the ways that writers can change the world, but also how they can save it.

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EL6057 -

Thieves, Harlots, Pirates, Murderers: Criminal Lives in the Long Eighteenth Century (Optional,20 Credits)

The eighteenth century is often considered the ‘age of politeness’, a new enlightened age of material wealth, refinement, global trade and luxury, urban order and civility, and polished manners. However, the major changes that brought such refinement and wealth to British society also brought with them disruption, poverty, violence, and crime and a period of adjustment to modern commercial realities and pressures. This module will introduce students to eighteenth-century Britain’s underbelly of crime, through the lives of criminals who, reviled and celebrated in news, popular culture, and literature, were always the focus of public fasincation.

On this module, we will use a variety of media, including criminal biographies, novels, plays, poems, newspaper reports, pamphlets, legal records, art and visual culture, and film/TV adaptations, in order to explore the social, political, and cultural meanings encoded in the lives of criminals in eighteenth-century Britain and the countries to which its global trade reached. We will consider the ways in which criminal figures were represented and continue to be represented today, as well as the implications of these representations in terms of ideas about crime, social class, gender, regional and national identity, race, and culture.

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HI6004 -

The African American Freedom Struggle Since 1945 (Optional,20 Credits)

In this seminar-based module you will study the roots, trajectory, and legacies of the African American Freedom Struggle since 1945. Although the primary focus will be on the movement for racial justice in the US South between roughly 1954 and 1968, that history will be placed in longer chronological and broader national and international contexts. More specifically you will study the grass-roots activities of African Americans engaged in various forms of resistance and protest alongside the histories of the major civil rights groups – the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). You will interrogate their tactics, examine their often fraught relationships with each other, and assess their achievements and failures in the face of widespread resistance to racial change. You will examine the contributions of the extraordinary ordinary people at the heart of the struggle, as well as those of nationally prominent leaders such as Martin Luther King. In this module you will also analyse the relationship between the civil rights movement and the federal government, address the role of the media and popular culture in shaping both the history and popular understandings of the post-war Freedom Struggle, and examine the international coordinates and impact of the struggles.

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HI6007 -

Civil War and Reconstruction (Optional,20 Credits)

You will learn about the causes, events, and results of the U.S. Civil War, a war which took over 620,000 lives; the bloodiest in American history. The Civil War and its aftermath are considered the dividing line between early and modern US history. The War ended the South’s dominance of American politics. It also led to three major constitutional amendments which ended slavery, defined American citizenship, and provided for African American votes respectively which still have implications in American life in the 21st century. The course begins in 1850 by looking at American sectionalism and how and why that caused the founding of the Republican party and the eventual secession of eleven southern states. It then examines the military aspects of the war and explores its social, political, economic, and diplomatic effects. The end of the term will be spent on the political and social aspects of the post-War period known as ‘Reconstruction.’ It will explain how American national identity became redefined during this tumultuous time, especially in popular memory around public commemorations, art, literature and film. You will also analyse the controversial historiography of this period throughout the semester.

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HI6022 -

Joint Honours Dissertation (Optional,40 Credits)

The dissertation gives you the opportunity to work on a sustained piece of research of your own (guided) choice and to present that research in an organised and coherent form in a major piece of writing. The module will teach you how to function as an independent researcher, learner and writer. The dissertation represents the culmination of your studies as a Joint Honours student. You will apply the skills developed in your earlier studies to a discrete body of primary sources, working upon a clearly defined topic. In designing and implementing your research project, you will draw on insights and approaches from both of the disciplines that from part of your degree. The dissertation will develop your research skills and allow you to work independently, drawing on the advice and guidance of a designated supervisor.

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HI6047 -

Dissertation with Public History (Optional,40 Credits)

In this module, you will be provided with the skills to complete a written dissertation and a public-facing output on a topic that you will agree with your supervisors. The dissertation with public history represents an opportunity to apply the skills you have acquired at earlier levels, as well as a chance to develop new skills, both theoretical and practical, associated with public history. In Semester One you will produce the written piece of work. This written piece, which can take the form of a ‘short dissertation’ or ‘extended essay’, may be an analysis of a discrete body of primary sources, a discussion of historiographical controversy, or an intervention in a current debate about the public understanding of the past. In Semester Two you will work with your supervisors to produce a public output (the ‘knowledge exchange’ component), such as a digital exhibition or public history podcast, based on your research for the short dissertation/extended essay. The knowledge exchange aspect may include work with an external partner. The ‘Dissertation with public history’ is an exercise in research and public engagement and is intended to develop your research and communication skills, as well as your ability to work independently. Topics will be supervised by two appropriate tutors, one with subject-specific knowledge, the second with knowledge exchange experience.

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HI6048 -

From the Campus to the Streets: Student Activism and Youth Movements since 1900 (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module, we will consider how young people have responded to, and in some cases shaped, major episodes and developments in modern and contemporary history. In examining youth action, we will cover a variety of movements and campaigns. For example, we will discuss the role of communist and fascist youth organisations in the 1920s and 1930s as well as the involvement of students in anti-colonial and anti-racist struggles. Moreover, we will investigate youth politics in the Cold War, the impact of student protests in the 1960s as well as young people’s efforts to address issues such as gender equality or the fate of the environment.

The scope of the module is international, with examples that cover cases from Europe (France, Germany, Russia), Africa (Ghana, South Africa), Asia (China, Japan) and the Americas (Brazil, Mexico, the United States). We will pay particular attention to global aspirations and connections, as we will trace how young activists sought to build ties across national borders. Such efforts will also allow us to consider how various movements imagined and pursued the quest for a different world and a better future.

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IR6005 -

Media Power and Propaganda (Optional,20 Credits)

Most people find out about politics, and what is going on in the wider world, through the media. It is therefore critical to understand how the media functions in contemporary society. This module focuses upon the debate about the role of the media in liberal democracies: is it an independent check on the exercise of power or an instrument by which the powerful manipulate the masses? What is the impact of the media upon individuals: does it inform us or brainwash us? How are the Internet and other new technologies affecting individual’s ability to access alternative sources of information to the established media? What implications do these new media have for states that seek to direct, if not control, the public’s access to information? What role, if any, should propaganda play in a liberal democracy? Using concepts, such as power, and theories of media effects, media performance and interpersonal communication, students will be encouraged to engage with these fundamental questions.

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MI6005 -

Popular Music on Film and Television (Optional,20 Credits)

This module is concerned with popular music culture and its relationship to film, an area much neglected in academic film studies, television studies and popular music studies. As such, it seeks to address this absence by looking at a number of key junctures where popular music culture, the cinema and television inter-relate, exploring debates about gender representation, authorship, genre and music in performance, as well as how the films studied relate to context of their production and reception. The module, therefore, covers topics such as the following in a largely chronological fashion. An indicative syllabus is as follows:
1. Early moments: The significance of the early Elvis Films: King Creole
2. Punk rock on film: The Great Rock n’ Roll Swindle
3. The revisionist musical: Von Trier, Lhurmann et al
4. Popular Music and national identity: The Commitments
5. Popular Music and ‘Race’ representation: 8 Mile
6. Gender play: Velvet Goldmine, In Bed with Madonna
7. The popular music / rock documentary
8. Dance and the male body: Saturday Night Fever
9. The concert film" from Wadleigh's Woodstock to Godard's One plus One.
10. Critical approaches to music video: Corbijn, Cunningham et al.
11. Nostalgia and the popular musical biopic: Control

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MI6007 -

Cult Film and Television (Optional,20 Credits)

You will learn to understand how the term ‘cult’ has been applied to film and television programmes in different ways, and how the concept has developed across history. The module will enable you to critically examine the ways that cult has been theorised both in relation to films and television programmes, and some of the key differences between cult television and cult film. You will understand how cult can be applied to both films, the reception of films, as well as how it has increasingly infiltrated marketing discourses. Case studies on the module include midnight movies, authorship and cult, fandom, telefantasy, censorship and controversy, exploitation cinema and global cult cinema.

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MP6029 -

Cinema and Society (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module, you will critically examine the relationship between US filmic institutions (films and industrial bodies – hereafter “cinema”) and different social contexts, including, for example: changes to the Hollywood Studio System (and the birthing of the “New Hollywood”), cinema’s responses to war and global trauma, and cinema’s engagement with issues surrounding race, gender and sexuality. Taught through lectures, demonstrations (film screenings) and student-led seminars, the course explores many of the ways cinema has engaged with key societal concerns.

You will be required to read and reflect on specific theoretical and empirical academic work by leading scholars and commentators and, using your analytical and interpretive skills, relate this work to the issues raised in class and by the accompanying film screenings. The module is assessed by a written essay or equivalent video essay, which is designed to test your knowledge of film history and industry (one of the world's major mass communications industries), to evidence a sophisticated understanding of the issues under scrutiny, and your ability to work to a deadline. Ultimately, the module asks you to consider: What is the significance of studying cinema as a mass communications industry, an outlet for personal expression, and as a political tool? What can cinema tells us about history? What can cinema tell us about ourselves?

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YC6001 -

Academic Language Skills for Humanities & Social Sciences (Core – for International and EU students only,0 Credits)

Academic skills when studying away from your home country can differ due to cultural and language differences in teaching and assessment practices. This module is designed to support your transition in the use and practice of technical language and subject specific skills around assessments and teaching provision in your chosen subject. The overall aim of this module is to develop your abilities to read and study effectively for academic purposes; to develop your skills in analysing and using source material in seminars and academic writing and to develop your use and application of language and communications skills to a higher level.

The topics you will cover on the module include:

• Understanding assignment briefs and exam questions.
• Developing academic writing skills, including citation, paraphrasing, and summarising.
• Practising ‘critical reading’ and ‘critical writing’
• Planning and structuring academic assignments (e.g. essays, reports and presentations).
• Dissertation writing requirements
• Research Skills
• Ethical considerations
• Understanding research limitations
• Avoiding academic misconduct and gaining credit by using academic sources and referencing effectively.
• Listening skills for lectures.
• Speaking in seminar presentations.
• Presenting your ideas
• Giving discipline-related academic presentations, experiencing peer observation, and receiving formative feedback.
• Speed reading techniques.
• Developing self-reflection skills.

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Modules

Module information is indicative and is reviewed annually therefore may be subject to change. Applicants will be informed if there are any changes.

AM4001 -

Introduction to American Studies (Core,20 Credits)

This module offers a practical and historical introduction to American Studies as a distinct, multifaceted, and evolving discipline, while also allowing you to acquire and practice key learning, research, and communication skills which will be of use throughout your university career and beyond. The module is content driven, with readings and themes drawn from across the entire range of American history, literature, politics, and popular culture, but particular emphasis will be placed on helping you to understand and master the basic tools and protocols of academic scholarship, thereby helping you to make the transition from school to university level work.
The skills which this module will help you to develop will include finding, reading and evaluating various kinds of primary and secondary sources; understanding the ways in which scholarship advances through constructive criticism and debate; correct referencing; finding an effective academic writing style; making oral presentations; and designing, researching and writing an independent research project.

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EL4001 -

Introduction to Literary Studies (Core,20 Credits)

You will be given the opportunity to familiarise yourself with conceptual issues such as canonicity, the unconscious, the tragic, the nature of the author, gender and postmodernity. Lectures will introduce you to these concepts and modes of applying these to literary texts as well as introducing you to new material in the texts themselves. Seminars will follow the lectures, where you will discuss and explore with your tutor and with your fellow students both the texts and their historical and theoretical contexts.

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EL4003 -

Representing the US: From Slavery to Terrorism (Core,20 Credits)

This module focusses on US literature, film and television and it asks you to think about US culture at large; it will introduce you to a range of significant US texts from the nineteenth century to the present. You will make connections between diverse texts ranging from writings of slaves in the nineteenth century to fiction that responds to the trauma of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. You will enjoy US literature, film and television across a range of periods – work from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries will be covered – and you will examine fiction, poetry, drama, film, and television in relation to the idea of a national literary canon and in the context of social and political change, from the Civil War to the War on Terror. As a survey module, it encourages you to examine how key works engage with questions of identity, slavery, the American Dream, trauma, freedom, and national security.

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EL4006 -

Concepts in Criticism and Culture (Core,20 Credits)

This module introduces you to literary studies at university, past and present. You will learn how the formation of (English) Literature as a degree subject played into approaches to the study of literature from the early twentieth century, and still influence popular understandings of what it is we (lecturers and students) really do when we ‘study literature’. Early discussions will include case studies to help explain some of the debates about the nature of literary studies. We will then work with a text that has been labelled as ‘canonical’ (e.g. Shakespeare’s Hamlet) to critique the concept of canonicity and ask what it is we do when we go ‘beyond the basics’ of textual engagement. That text will then become the central point of reference across the rest of the module, as we investigate different theoretical and critical approaches.

During the module you will be asked to read a range of critical essays, discussing them in individually and in relation to each other. The module aims to foster your skills in close textual analysis, informed by key theoretical perspectives and independent reflective practice.

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EL4016 -

Talking Texts (Core,20 Credits)

This module offers students a forum to develop academic skills in close reading and analysis. A range of texts are examined within a reading-focussed workshop, including: the novel, short stories, poetry, plays, journalism, academic essays and online media such as blogs and flash fiction. Students are exposed to a range of writing in order to consider and develop their own reading practices. The discursive workshops develop speaking, listening, and critical skills through participation in classroom activities. The module prepares students for work at degree level, encouraging them to become independent learners in a supportive environment.

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EL4017 -

Gothic Stories: Nineteenth Century to the Present (Core,20 Credits)

In this module you will be given the opportunity to study a range of gothic texts from the nineteenth century to the contemporary period. This will provide you with the opportunity to explore the conventions of the genre as well as some of the ways in which gothic writing reflects and/or questions assumptions about race, gender, social class and sexuality. You will learn about the cultural significance of many familiar gothic motifs and figures such as ghosts, uncanny doubles, haunted houses and vampires.

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YC5001 -

Academic Language Skills for Humanities and Social Sciences (Core – for International and EU students only,0 Credits)

Academic skills when studying away from your home country can differ due to cultural and language differences in teaching and assessment practices. This module is designed to support your transition in the use and practice of technical language and subject specific skills around assessments and teaching provision in your chosen subject. The overall aim of this module is to develop your abilities to read and study effectively for academic purposes; to develop your skills in analysing and using source material in seminars and academic writing and to develop your use and application of language and communications skills to a higher level.

The topics you will cover on the module include:

• Understanding assignment briefs and exam questions.
• Developing academic writing skills, including citation, paraphrasing, and summarising.
• Practising ‘critical reading’ and ‘critical writing’
• Planning and structuring academic assignments (e.g. essays, reports and presentations).
• Avoiding academic misconduct and gaining credit by using academic sources and referencing effectively.
• Listening skills for lectures.
• Speaking in seminar presentations.
• Presenting your ideas
• Giving discipline-related academic presentations, experiencing peer observation, and receiving formative feedback.
• Speed reading techniques.
• Developing self-reflection skills.

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AD5012 -

Humanities Study Abroad (40 credit) (Optional,40 Credits)

The Study Abroad module is a semester based 40 credit module which is available on degree courses which facilitate study abroad within the programme. You will undertake a semester of study abroadat an approved partner University elsewhere. This gives you access to modules from your discipline taught in a different learning culture and so broadens your overall experience of learning. The course of study abroad will be constructed to meet the learning outcomes for the programme for the semester in question, dependent on suitable modules from the partner and will be recorded for an individual student on the learning agreement signed by the host University, the student, and the home University (Northumbria). The module will be assessed by conversion of graded marks from the host University.

Learning outcomes on the year-long modules on which the student is unable to attend the home institution must be met at the host institution, and marks from the host are incorporated into the modules as part of the overall assessment.

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AM5002 -

American Studies Extended Essay (Core,20 Credits)

The American Studies Extended Essay is designed as an opportunity for you to apply and build on the skills you have acquired in Level Four core modules and prepare yourself for the demands of the American Studies Dissertation in Level Six. It is an exercise in independent research and is intended to be a piece of work that utilises an interdisciplinary approach to a selection of primary and secondary sources. Extended Essay topics will be developed in conjunction with an appropriate subject specialist.

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EL5003 -

Early Modern Cultures (Core,20 Credits)

On this module you will learn to read texts written in the period 1500-1700 historically. Lectures and seminars will encourage you to learn about the early modern period, and to situate texts by authors such as William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Thomas More, and Philip Sidney. You will learn about poetry, prose, and drama – situating literary genres from the period in relation to themes that include: class, race, sexuality, politics, authority, gender, and ideas of literary production itself. Lectures will trace the afterlives of some of the most influential texts ever written, and will encourage you to read these textual traditions in light of a range of western literary ideologies.

Building upon work completed at Level 4 on early modern authors like Shakespeare and Donne, this module offers students a more comprehensive survey of the early modern period. Encouraging students to read literature historically, Early Modern Cultures fosters key skills in tutor-led and independent reading and research that will complement a range of studies at level 6.

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EL5004 -

Modernism and Modernity (Core,20 Credits)

Through this module you will gain an understanding of the relation between literary modernism and modernity in the early part of the twentieth century. The module provides you with conceptual and historical frameworks for understanding the relation between art and social life. It gives you an opportunity to engage with the ways in which different literary genres prompted modernist experiments in form and with the various debates taking place between literary critics, writers, philosophers and cultural historians in early-twentieth-century Britain and the USA.

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EL5026 -

Literary Revolutions, Eighteenth Century to Romanticism (Core,20 Credits)

In this module you will study a range of texts from the eighteenth century to the Romantic period. The module considers a period in which literature and culture witnessed a succession of revolutionary changes. The novel emerged as a new form; female writers and readers took on a new prominence; the print market expanded enormously; and writers responded to the seismic changes in society caused by a period of war, imperial expansion, and political and social revolution. You will study a diverse and unusual range of texts that emerged from this period, and learn how to link the texts to the period’s context.

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HI5005 -

America in the 1960s (Core,20 Credits)

This module offers you the opportunity to study the domestic social, cultural, political, and economic history of the United States during the “long 1960s” (roughly 1956-1974). Interdisciplinary in approach the module allows you to examine a range of secondary and primary sources – including television, literature, music, film and visual culture – that illuminate the history and culture of the US during this period. The module also encourages you to consider the perils and advantages of dealing with the 1960s as a discrete historical period, involves you in some of the most important scholarly debates in the field, and asks you to consider how the decade has been remembered and misremembered in popular consciousness by exploring later cultural representations and political uses of the 1960s. Key topics include the Cold War and Vietnam; consumerism; the civil rights and black power movements; national and local politics; science, technology and the environment; youth culture; gender and sexuality; identity politics; regionalism; the New Left and the Counterculture; conservatism and the New Right; mass media and popular music.

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HI5034 -

Setting America Right: Conservatism in the United States, 1933 - 2016 (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will explore the history of conservatism in the United States of America from the 1930s to the present day. Beginning with opposition to Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, this module will trace the evolution of American conservatism through the era of Republican presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and all the way up to the emergence of Donald Trump and the ‘alt-right’. At the heart of this module is a simple question: did the U.S. ‘turn right’ during the twentieth century? In answering that question, you will grapple with the fundamental issue of what it means to be a ‘conservative’ in America and how that label has been used and fought over in different eras and contexts.

You will learn about developments in high politics and at the grassroots, and gain an understanding of conservative movements both within and without the Republican Party. As well as learning about crucial events in recent U.S. political history (such as Barry Goldwater’s transformational 1964 presidential campaign), you will learn about the ways that conservatives revolutionised the nation’s political culture, pioneering innovative electoral techniques such as direct mail and constructing formidable conservative media outlets like Fox News. The module is organised in a broadly chronological way, but you will also explore key themes and movements that span decades, such as the religious right, anti-feminism, and ‘colour-blind’ conservatism.

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IR5010 -

Foreign Policy Analysis (Optional,20 Credits)

You will learn about the most significant issues and challenges of our times in the domain of foreign policy. While grounded in IR theory, you will be introduced to foreign policy analysis (FPA)-specific frameworks and levels of analysis such as to systems of governance, decision making structures and models, leadership analysis, the role of the media, public opinion and special interest groups. Empirically, you will learn about the foreign policy of key actors in the international system towards a region or set of issues such as, for example, US and China foreign policy.

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MP5022 -

Cultural Identities on Screen (Optional,20 Credits)

The module will focus on the televisual representation and articulation of cultural identities in Britain and the US. We will look at how gender, ethnicity, national and regional identities are constructed through an examination of different genres and areas of screen media, such as drama, comedy and current affairs. We will explore issues such as class, gender and racial stereotypes, visibility of minority groups and integration. Throughout the course we will also consider the function of television, considering what its role might be in the construction of cultural identities.

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YC5001 -

Academic Language Skills for Humanities and Social Sciences (Core – for International and EU students only,0 Credits)

Academic skills when studying away from your home country can differ due to cultural and language differences in teaching and assessment practices. This module is designed to support your transition in the use and practice of technical language and subject specific skills around assessments and teaching provision in your chosen subject. The overall aim of this module is to develop your abilities to read and study effectively for academic purposes; to develop your skills in analysing and using source material in seminars and academic writing and to develop your use and application of language and communications skills to a higher level.

The topics you will cover on the module include:

• Understanding assignment briefs and exam questions.
• Developing academic writing skills, including citation, paraphrasing, and summarising.
• Practising ‘critical reading’ and ‘critical writing’
• Planning and structuring academic assignments (e.g. essays, reports and presentations).
• Avoiding academic misconduct and gaining credit by using academic sources and referencing effectively.
• Listening skills for lectures.
• Speaking in seminar presentations.
• Presenting your ideas
• Giving discipline-related academic presentations, experiencing peer observation, and receiving formative feedback.
• Speed reading techniques.
• Developing self-reflection skills.

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AD5009 -

Humanities Work Placement Year (Optional,120 Credits)

The Work Placement Year module is a 120 credit year-long module available on degree courses which include a work placement year, taken as an additional year of study at level 5 and before level 6 (the length of the placement(s) will be determined by your programme but it can be no less than 30 weeks. You will undertake a guided work placement at a host organisation. This is a Pass/Fail module and so does not contribute to classification. When taken and passed, however, the Placement Year is recognised in your transcript as a 120 credit Work Placement Module and on your degree certificate in the format – “Degree title (with Work Placement Year)”. The learning and teaching on your placement will be recorded in the work placement agreement signed by the placement provider, the student, and the University.

Note: Subject to placement clearance; this is a competitive process and a place on the module cannot be guaranteed.

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AD5010 -

Humanities Study Abroad Year (Optional,120 Credits)

The Study Abroad Year module is a full year 120 credit module which is available on degree courses which include a study abroad year which is taken as an additional year of study at level 5 and before level 6. You will undertake a year abroad at a partner university equivalent to 120 UK credits. This gives you access to modules from your discipline taught in a different learning culture and so broadens your overall experience of learning. The course of study abroad will be dependent on the partner and will be recorded for an individual student on the learning agreement signed by the host University, the student, and the home University (Northumbria). Your study abroad year will be assessed on a pass/fail basis. It will not count towards your final degree classification but, if you pass, it is recognised in your transcript as a 120 credit Study Abroad Module and on your degree certificate in the format – “Degree title (with Study Abroad Year)”.

Note: Subject to placement clearance; this is a competitive process and a place on the module cannot be guaranteed.

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AM6005 -

Red, White and Green: The American Environment Through Time (Core,20 Credits)

The US is a paradox when it comes to nature: it is both the country that invented the national park concept and the biggest carbon dioxide emitter historically; it was the first country to celebrate Earth Day in 1970, but it is also where the hyper consumerist lifestyle first emerged; it is the birthplace of some of the oldest and most important environmental NGOs and of climate denial. How can we make sense of the US and its relationship to nature? Are Americans doomed to destroy the natural wonders of their nation? Can we envision a red, white and green nation that would put science and technology at the service of sustainability and environmental justice?

The module will answer these questions by examining the US’ complicated relationship to nature chronologically. In doing so, we will re-examine and challenge conventional narratives of US history by integrating the role of nature as a historical actor in its own right. Examples of themes covered include: nature and conquest; Native American environments; nature and technology; the wilderness myth; animals in US history; environmental disasters; urban nature; the rise of environmentalism; environmental justice and environmental racism; waste and pollution; toxicities, etc.

The module will approach these themes using the tools of the environmental humanities. Combining historical, visual and literary analysis with insights from ecology and other ‘hard’ sciences, we will achieve a thorough understanding of environmental phenomena in their full complexity.

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EL6004 -

Vamps and Virgins: Gothic Sexualities (Optional,20 Credits)

From Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Christabel (1816) to Alan Ball’s True Blood (2008-), this module invites you to explore the dark, shadowy world of the Gothic in relation to a diverse range of literary texts and modern media. Combining the study of familiar canonical fictions with new and challenging material, we will train our focus on the enigmatic figure of the vampire, examining its various transitions and developments through the lens of critical and cultural theory.

Through an analysis of the Gothic, the module aims to develop your critical thinking, as well as your existing knowledge of literature, film, and television dating from 1816 to the present day. In doing so, it will encourage you to reflect on and interrogate the complex ways in which Gothic texts engage with, and intervene in, broader cultural debates about gender and sexuality.

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EL6018 -

The Black Atlantic: Literature, Slavery and Race (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will introduce you to a range of texts which have been created out of, or about, the experience of African peoples in the diaspora from the seventeenth century to the present. It will encourage you to relate your understanding of the texts to the cultural and historical background from which they developed. Following on from level four core modules this module will develop your understanding of the concept of the ‘Atlantic World’ and theories of local, national and global cultures as well as theories of race and postcolonial theory. You will be encouraged to recognise the activity of the slave trade as the beginning point of the Atlantic World as an imagined space that challenges national and chronological boundaries and speaks of the powerful and enduring legacies of slavery.

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EL6020 -

Boxing with Byron: Romanticism and Popular Culture (Optional,20 Credits)

The Romantic period (1789-1832) was a time of revolutionary change in literature, yet the literature of the period is typically represented by a narrow list of elite poets. On this module you will learn about a much more diverse range of writing: by men and women, by the poor and the rich, and taking in styles from satirical poetry, to advertising, to magazine fiction, to essays about opium addiction. Is there a distinction between ‘high’ and ‘popular’ culture, and who gets to decide the answer? This was a question the Romantics asked, and it is one you will learn to answer. You will also learn to investigate the diverse range of literature produced in the period yourself by using e-resources to find texts from the period that you think are valuable. You will develop an enhanced knowledge of the literature and culture of the period and as a result you will learn to question the way that literary critics tell stories about who and what should count in literary history.

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EL6021 -

Shaking up Shakespeare (Optional,20 Credits)

This module develops your awareness and understanding of post-Renaissance adaptations and appropriations of Shakespeare’s work, from the seventeenth century to the present day. It engages with Shakespearean adaptations belonging to different literary genres (in particular, drama and prose fiction) and different media (written texts, films). It examines the ways in which selected Shakespearean texts are transformed in subsequent adaptations, and the issues underpinning these transformations, especially those concerning race, gender, and class. It also engages with theoretical debates surrounding authorship, literary value, canonicity, and popular/high culture.

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EL6042 -

Postwar US Writing (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will enhance your understanding of postwar American literary culture in its broader social, political, and
economic contexts. Mid-century America was a time of profound contradictions: while US citizens lived under the shadow the bomb, many experienced unprecedented economic prosperity and access to new material comforts. We will explore how national paranoia
about the spread of communism and the nuclear arms race sat alongside – and fed into – the postwar image of the American ‘good life’, an image of suburban conformity underpinned by the growth of advertising and consumer culture. We will consider how postwar fiction and poetry challenges this demand for conformity in both content and form: through its complex representations of the American cold war experience and its innovative narrative and poetic strategies. The texts on this module offer insights into postwar attitudes towards a diverse range of topics, including national and international politics, work, leisure, and domesticity, gender and sexuality, and race and ethnicity.

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EL6045 -

Political Theatre in Early Modern Britain (Optional,20 Credits)

People thought and wrote about politics a lot in the early modern period. Just like today, lives and livelihoods hinged upon the attitudes, loyalties and alliances of those in power – and the theatre was a convenient and accessible place to think about (and sometimes to poke fun at) political figureheads and their ideologies. Also, because men like William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson were, effectively, on the payroll of some of England’s wealthiest and most powerful men and women, their dramatic writings often carried distinct political agendas. Monarchs like Queen Elizabeth I and James VI/I were passionate about literature, and London’s best playwrights and acting companies were employed during their lavish coronation processions – and invited to perform at court during annual festivities. Drama from this period was not only influenced by politics, moreover, it had influential political clout, in and of itself. The theatre explored, explained, critiqued, and shaped political attitudes and ideas – at every level of society.

Building on your reading of early modern authors at levels 4 and 5 in early modern literature, this module will challenge you to read a range of Tudor and Jacobean plays in relation to political change, scandal, and satire. You will develop a specialised understanding of the relationship between literature and politics, and a detailed knowledge of the early modern period’s tumultuous social and religious contexts.

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EL6047 -

Twenty First Century Literature: Writing in the Present (Optional,20 Credits)

From Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) and its popular television adaptation (2017) to Yorgos Lanthimos’ film The Lobster (2015), this module invites you to explore a wide and diverse range of novels, short stories and other media in order to promote and analyse the study of contemporary theoretical debates on gender, love, the body and sexuality.

Through the theoretical lens of feminism, psychoanalysis, queer theory and postmodernism, the module aims to develop your critical thinking and your existing knowledge of literature, film and television, from 1985 to the present day. It will encourage you to explore the complex issues raised by diverse critical theory and close analysis of a range of late twentieth and twenty-first century literature, film and television adaptation. By doing so, you will reflect on the ways that twenty-first literature and other media engages with, interrogates and often offers alternative narratives on present debates about gender, love, the body and sexuality.

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EL6053 -

Writing Women: Aphra Behn in Focus (Optional,20 Credits)

This module explores the writings of the first professional woman writer in England, Aphra Behn (d. 1689). Biographically, Behn remains something of an enigma. We know little about her personal life, and some of our earliest records of her relate to her work as a Continental spy for Charles II. Yet Behn is one of the most important writers of the late seventeenth century. She contributed to many genres of literature (poetry, drama, translation and prose), she was the second most prolific dramatist of her age, and she authored the first English novel. Behn was a transformative and innovative author, deeply engaged with questions of gender and self-aware, in her writings, of her status as a female author in a male profession.
On this module we will read a selection of Behn’s writings, exploring their relationship to her contemporary writers, Behn’s historical moment and the broader development of literature. We will also explore the complex reception history of Behn’s work, thinking about why she disappeared from the literary canon within decades of her death, only to be rediscovered by feminist and postcolonial scholars from the 1970s and 80s. In studying Behn’s changing status as a literary author, and by reading her work, students will learn about a key moment (the 1670s-80s) in the development of the literary marketplace, whilst developing an appreciation of the ways in which gender concerns have affected access to Behn’s literature, as well as shaped (and, at times, limited) our understanding of its wider importance.
Today, Behn is much-studied and there are numerous scholarly editions of her writings. Yet there is still much we have yet to properly understand about her writings, and Behn studies are as vibrant and diverse as ever. Recent years have seen a renewed energy in Behn scholarship that seeks to understand her writings beyond their significance to gender studies, with scholars showing how Behn’s writings engage with the burning issues of the day: marital law; monarchy; philosophy; politics; science; sexuality; slavery.

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EL6055 -

Writing and Environment (Optional,20 Credits)

You will study a selection of texts, written from the eighteenth century to the present day, that engage with the natural environment in various ways. These include natural histories and popular science, pastoral and environmental poems, environmental protest literature, apocalyptic novels, and the ‘new nature writing’. You will learn how literary writers describe the world around them and how they use the natural world to articulate their own personal needs, feelings, and desires. You will study texts that draw attention both to natural beauty and to environmental catastrophe. You will learn how writers as diverse as Gilbert White, William Wordsworth, Charles Darwin, Rachel Carson, and Robert Macfarlane have changed the ways in which readers engage with the world around them. As part of your studies, you will learn to produce your own literary engagement with the natural world in a ‘creative field journal’, inspired by the writings of Charles Darwin, Robert Macfarlane, Amy Liptrott, and others. By the end of the module, you will have gained a sophisticated understanding not only of the ways that writers can change the world, but also how they can save it.

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EL6057 -

Thieves, Harlots, Pirates, Murderers: Criminal Lives in the Long Eighteenth Century (Optional,20 Credits)

The eighteenth century is often considered the ‘age of politeness’, a new enlightened age of material wealth, refinement, global trade and luxury, urban order and civility, and polished manners. However, the major changes that brought such refinement and wealth to British society also brought with them disruption, poverty, violence, and crime and a period of adjustment to modern commercial realities and pressures. This module will introduce students to eighteenth-century Britain’s underbelly of crime, through the lives of criminals who, reviled and celebrated in news, popular culture, and literature, were always the focus of public fasincation.

On this module, we will use a variety of media, including criminal biographies, novels, plays, poems, newspaper reports, pamphlets, legal records, art and visual culture, and film/TV adaptations, in order to explore the social, political, and cultural meanings encoded in the lives of criminals in eighteenth-century Britain and the countries to which its global trade reached. We will consider the ways in which criminal figures were represented and continue to be represented today, as well as the implications of these representations in terms of ideas about crime, social class, gender, regional and national identity, race, and culture.

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HI6004 -

The African American Freedom Struggle Since 1945 (Optional,20 Credits)

In this seminar-based module you will study the roots, trajectory, and legacies of the African American Freedom Struggle since 1945. Although the primary focus will be on the movement for racial justice in the US South between roughly 1954 and 1968, that history will be placed in longer chronological and broader national and international contexts. More specifically you will study the grass-roots activities of African Americans engaged in various forms of resistance and protest alongside the histories of the major civil rights groups – the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). You will interrogate their tactics, examine their often fraught relationships with each other, and assess their achievements and failures in the face of widespread resistance to racial change. You will examine the contributions of the extraordinary ordinary people at the heart of the struggle, as well as those of nationally prominent leaders such as Martin Luther King. In this module you will also analyse the relationship between the civil rights movement and the federal government, address the role of the media and popular culture in shaping both the history and popular understandings of the post-war Freedom Struggle, and examine the international coordinates and impact of the struggles.

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HI6007 -

Civil War and Reconstruction (Optional,20 Credits)

You will learn about the causes, events, and results of the U.S. Civil War, a war which took over 620,000 lives; the bloodiest in American history. The Civil War and its aftermath are considered the dividing line between early and modern US history. The War ended the South’s dominance of American politics. It also led to three major constitutional amendments which ended slavery, defined American citizenship, and provided for African American votes respectively which still have implications in American life in the 21st century. The course begins in 1850 by looking at American sectionalism and how and why that caused the founding of the Republican party and the eventual secession of eleven southern states. It then examines the military aspects of the war and explores its social, political, economic, and diplomatic effects. The end of the term will be spent on the political and social aspects of the post-War period known as ‘Reconstruction.’ It will explain how American national identity became redefined during this tumultuous time, especially in popular memory around public commemorations, art, literature and film. You will also analyse the controversial historiography of this period throughout the semester.

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HI6022 -

Joint Honours Dissertation (Optional,40 Credits)

The dissertation gives you the opportunity to work on a sustained piece of research of your own (guided) choice and to present that research in an organised and coherent form in a major piece of writing. The module will teach you how to function as an independent researcher, learner and writer. The dissertation represents the culmination of your studies as a Joint Honours student. You will apply the skills developed in your earlier studies to a discrete body of primary sources, working upon a clearly defined topic. In designing and implementing your research project, you will draw on insights and approaches from both of the disciplines that from part of your degree. The dissertation will develop your research skills and allow you to work independently, drawing on the advice and guidance of a designated supervisor.

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HI6047 -

Dissertation with Public History (Optional,40 Credits)

In this module, you will be provided with the skills to complete a written dissertation and a public-facing output on a topic that you will agree with your supervisors. The dissertation with public history represents an opportunity to apply the skills you have acquired at earlier levels, as well as a chance to develop new skills, both theoretical and practical, associated with public history. In Semester One you will produce the written piece of work. This written piece, which can take the form of a ‘short dissertation’ or ‘extended essay’, may be an analysis of a discrete body of primary sources, a discussion of historiographical controversy, or an intervention in a current debate about the public understanding of the past. In Semester Two you will work with your supervisors to produce a public output (the ‘knowledge exchange’ component), such as a digital exhibition or public history podcast, based on your research for the short dissertation/extended essay. The knowledge exchange aspect may include work with an external partner. The ‘Dissertation with public history’ is an exercise in research and public engagement and is intended to develop your research and communication skills, as well as your ability to work independently. Topics will be supervised by two appropriate tutors, one with subject-specific knowledge, the second with knowledge exchange experience.

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HI6048 -

From the Campus to the Streets: Student Activism and Youth Movements since 1900 (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module, we will consider how young people have responded to, and in some cases shaped, major episodes and developments in modern and contemporary history. In examining youth action, we will cover a variety of movements and campaigns. For example, we will discuss the role of communist and fascist youth organisations in the 1920s and 1930s as well as the involvement of students in anti-colonial and anti-racist struggles. Moreover, we will investigate youth politics in the Cold War, the impact of student protests in the 1960s as well as young people’s efforts to address issues such as gender equality or the fate of the environment.

The scope of the module is international, with examples that cover cases from Europe (France, Germany, Russia), Africa (Ghana, South Africa), Asia (China, Japan) and the Americas (Brazil, Mexico, the United States). We will pay particular attention to global aspirations and connections, as we will trace how young activists sought to build ties across national borders. Such efforts will also allow us to consider how various movements imagined and pursued the quest for a different world and a better future.

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IR6005 -

Media Power and Propaganda (Optional,20 Credits)

Most people find out about politics, and what is going on in the wider world, through the media. It is therefore critical to understand how the media functions in contemporary society. This module focuses upon the debate about the role of the media in liberal democracies: is it an independent check on the exercise of power or an instrument by which the powerful manipulate the masses? What is the impact of the media upon individuals: does it inform us or brainwash us? How are the Internet and other new technologies affecting individual’s ability to access alternative sources of information to the established media? What implications do these new media have for states that seek to direct, if not control, the public’s access to information? What role, if any, should propaganda play in a liberal democracy? Using concepts, such as power, and theories of media effects, media performance and interpersonal communication, students will be encouraged to engage with these fundamental questions.

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MI6005 -

Popular Music on Film and Television (Optional,20 Credits)

This module is concerned with popular music culture and its relationship to film, an area much neglected in academic film studies, television studies and popular music studies. As such, it seeks to address this absence by looking at a number of key junctures where popular music culture, the cinema and television inter-relate, exploring debates about gender representation, authorship, genre and music in performance, as well as how the films studied relate to context of their production and reception. The module, therefore, covers topics such as the following in a largely chronological fashion. An indicative syllabus is as follows:
1. Early moments: The significance of the early Elvis Films: King Creole
2. Punk rock on film: The Great Rock n’ Roll Swindle
3. The revisionist musical: Von Trier, Lhurmann et al
4. Popular Music and national identity: The Commitments
5. Popular Music and ‘Race’ representation: 8 Mile
6. Gender play: Velvet Goldmine, In Bed with Madonna
7. The popular music / rock documentary
8. Dance and the male body: Saturday Night Fever
9. The concert film" from Wadleigh's Woodstock to Godard's One plus One.
10. Critical approaches to music video: Corbijn, Cunningham et al.
11. Nostalgia and the popular musical biopic: Control

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MI6007 -

Cult Film and Television (Optional,20 Credits)

You will learn to understand how the term ‘cult’ has been applied to film and television programmes in different ways, and how the concept has developed across history. The module will enable you to critically examine the ways that cult has been theorised both in relation to films and television programmes, and some of the key differences between cult television and cult film. You will understand how cult can be applied to both films, the reception of films, as well as how it has increasingly infiltrated marketing discourses. Case studies on the module include midnight movies, authorship and cult, fandom, telefantasy, censorship and controversy, exploitation cinema and global cult cinema.

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MP6029 -

Cinema and Society (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module, you will critically examine the relationship between US filmic institutions (films and industrial bodies – hereafter “cinema”) and different social contexts, including, for example: changes to the Hollywood Studio System (and the birthing of the “New Hollywood”), cinema’s responses to war and global trauma, and cinema’s engagement with issues surrounding race, gender and sexuality. Taught through lectures, demonstrations (film screenings) and student-led seminars, the course explores many of the ways cinema has engaged with key societal concerns.

You will be required to read and reflect on specific theoretical and empirical academic work by leading scholars and commentators and, using your analytical and interpretive skills, relate this work to the issues raised in class and by the accompanying film screenings. The module is assessed by a written essay or equivalent video essay, which is designed to test your knowledge of film history and industry (one of the world's major mass communications industries), to evidence a sophisticated understanding of the issues under scrutiny, and your ability to work to a deadline. Ultimately, the module asks you to consider: What is the significance of studying cinema as a mass communications industry, an outlet for personal expression, and as a political tool? What can cinema tells us about history? What can cinema tell us about ourselves?

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YC6001 -

Academic Language Skills for Humanities & Social Sciences (Core – for International and EU students only,0 Credits)

Academic skills when studying away from your home country can differ due to cultural and language differences in teaching and assessment practices. This module is designed to support your transition in the use and practice of technical language and subject specific skills around assessments and teaching provision in your chosen subject. The overall aim of this module is to develop your abilities to read and study effectively for academic purposes; to develop your skills in analysing and using source material in seminars and academic writing and to develop your use and application of language and communications skills to a higher level.

The topics you will cover on the module include:

• Understanding assignment briefs and exam questions.
• Developing academic writing skills, including citation, paraphrasing, and summarising.
• Practising ‘critical reading’ and ‘critical writing’
• Planning and structuring academic assignments (e.g. essays, reports and presentations).
• Dissertation writing requirements
• Research Skills
• Ethical considerations
• Understanding research limitations
• Avoiding academic misconduct and gaining credit by using academic sources and referencing effectively.
• Listening skills for lectures.
• Speaking in seminar presentations.
• Presenting your ideas
• Giving discipline-related academic presentations, experiencing peer observation, and receiving formative feedback.
• Speed reading techniques.
• Developing self-reflection skills.

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To start your application, simply select the month you would like to start your course.

English Literature and American Studies BA (Hons)

Home or EU applicants please apply through UCAS

International applicants please apply using the links below

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