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QV21 English Literature and History BA Undergraduate 2012


UCAS code QV21
Degree BA
Mode of study Full Time
Duration 3 years
Location Durham City
Typical offers A Level
International Baccalaureate (IB)
Related qualifications

Department(s) Website
Telephone +44 (0)191 334 2576

Course Content


In the first year, students will take 3 modules in English Literature and 3 modules in History. Over the course of the second and third years, students will take a total of 12 modules across the two subject areas (either 6 modules in each subject, or 5 modules in one and 7 in the other).

Teaching and assessment details

Teaching for all our degree programmes is delivered in a variety of different ways:

  • Lectures to audiences of 20 to 300: these are designed to set the foundations for study
  • Seminars in groups of up to 20, involving a mixture of formal teaching and more open discussion
  • Small tutorial groups, allowing students to ask questions and engage in debate.

Students also have the opportunity to present different types of coursework:

  • 'Formative' essays: marks for which do not contribute to the final degree-result; this gives students the opportunity to practise writing and get feedback on it, in a context that is relatively relaxed and informal
  • 'Summative' essays: marks for which do count towards the final degree-result; Special Topic and some lecture-modules involve some of this kind of coursework
  • A dissertation of around 8,000 words: students define and develop their own topics, but they receive guidance on formulating the dissertation's title and overall plan.

In addition, there is a lively extra-curricular programme of poetry readings and guest lectures each year.

Study Abroad

Department of English Studies

The Department is part of the ERASMUS programme which encourages students to study for part of their course in a university of another EU country. Currently, we are exchanging students with the University of Reykjavik (Iceland), Charles University (Prague, Czech Republic) and Jagiellonian University (Krakow, Poland) in their second year of study. The University of Reykjavik has special strengths in Old Norse and houses the world's most important collection of Old Norse manuscripts. Charles University and Jagiellonian University are the two oldest universities in Central Europe, and both have exceptionally beautiful settings in cities renowned for their artistic and cultural heritage.Teaching is in English at all three universities.

Department of History

The Department participates in the University-wide overseas exchanges with Boston College (USA), the University of British Columbia (Canada), the University of Hong Kong (China) and the National University of Singapore (Singapore). Students can apply to spend the second year of their degree overseas. If you study on the four year Joint Honours Modern European Languages and History degree, you will spend your third year abroad at a European university or a work placement as part of the University's ERASMUS exchanges.

Admissions Process

Subjects required, level and grade

In addition to satisfying the University's general entry requirements and the programme specific entry requirements below, please note:

We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study.

We welcome enquiries regarding applications for deferred entry which may be considered in special circumstances. Please contact our Admissions Secretary.

English Language requirements

IELTS 6.5 (no component under 6.0); TOEFL iBT 92 (no component under 23); Cambridge Proficiency (CPE) Grade C; or Cambridge Advanced (CAE) Grade A

Requirements and Admissions

Information relevant to your country

Fees and Funding

Fees have not been set for this academic year.

Scholarships and funding

Career Opportunities

Department of English Studies

Durham has an excellent graduate employment record. Surveys by the CVCP for the last twenty years have shown Durham consistently in the top five places of the employment league table. Our graduates have gone on to careers in the media, law, the Civil Service, teaching, higher education,research, management, publishing, and the arts. Partly because of its supportive collegiate structure and its strong departmental teaching, the Durham University is regularly among the country's top performers in graduate employment, and the Department of English Studies is very highly regarded by employers. Many of our students choose to continue their studies with our Taught MA in English Literary Studies.

Embarking on a career with the BBC after graduation I found that Durham University is held in very high esteem amongst employers. The University name provided me with an association of prestige which helped to give an edge in a competitive market.
Julia Wooton, BA (Hons) English Literature (2003) Grey College - BBC Producer

Of those students that left in 2012:

- 28.3% are in full time paid employment

Of those in employment:

- 80% are in graduate level employment
- Median salary £21,000

Of those in further study:

- 98% are in graduate level study

Employment development opportunities

The Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre works extremely closely with the English Department to ensure that current students receive information and vacancies relevant to their needs. Innovative talks take place by a Careers Adviser and external speakers to ensure that the students receive the most relevant and up to date advice about professions that English students are attracted too.

Durham is a target Univerity for KPMG because of the high calibre, high quality graduates. A degree in English from Durham is a great opportunity for students to develop their skill set to aid them in any recruitment process. To make an impact with colleagues and clients, you must be able to communicate clearly and confidently, both verbally and in writing.

Department of History

Open days and visits

Pre-application open day

Pre-application open days are the very best way to discover all you need to know about Durham University. With representatives from all relevant academic and support service departments and opportunities to explore college options they will provide a full experience of Durham University for any prospective undergraduates.

Pre-application open days in Durham City will take place on:

  • Monday 25 June 2012
  • Saturday 30 June 2012
  • Saturday 22 September 2012

Further details, and information on how to book.  

Campus tours

Overseas Visit Schedule

Department Information

Department of English Studies


From the Vikings to Shakespeare's Kings; from Beowulf to Virginia Woolf. You can read it all in Durham.

English Studies at Durham will appeal to people with a sensitivity to language, a love of reading and a sense of intellectual adventure. As Lawrence of Durham put it over 800 years ago, "Describing art in words itself takes art". Not only does the Department provide a thorough grounding in literary theory and the 'great tradition' of English literature - from Chaucer and Shakespeare through to plays, poems and novels written in the 20th and 21st Centuries - it also offers a wide range of imaginative and carefully designed options, some of which are only rarely available elsewhere. These give students the opportunity to study English-language literature in a variety of non-British contexts, including Ireland, Canada, Australia and the United States; and/or to study some of the languages used in medieval England, such as Old Norse, Old French and Old English. Durham's Department of English Studies is consistently placed at, or very near, the top of league tables due to its excellence in research, teaching, student satisfaction and graduate prospects: 3rd in the Complete University Guide 2010, 5th in the Good University Guide 2011, and 7th in The Guardian University Guide 2011; we also had a student satisfaction rating of 97% in the 2010 National Students Survey (third overall). English Studies at Durham is a very popular and highly regarded degree, and the linguistic, critical and analytical skills that it teaches are highly transferable. As a result, competition for entry is intense.

RAE results


The Department is housed in a Grade II listed building, Hallgarth House, and in Elvet Riverside. Both are close to the main University Library and the special collections in the Palace Green Library. The Department has strong links with the Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, the Centre for Seventeenth-Century Studies and the Centre for Poetry and Poetics, which oversees the archive of the distinguished Northumbrian modernist poet, Basil Bunting.

These internationally recognised institutions represent just some of the research interests and archive resources within the University. Durham students run their own English Society, which provides many opportunities for theatre visits, especially to the Royal Shakespeare Company season in Newcastle every year. There is also a strong tradition of student drama within the Department and the University as a whole.


Department of History


Durham - an excellent History Department in a unique historical location.

Durham has one of the most highly regarded history departments in the UK. In 2010, The Sunday Times put us top of their rankings, using a measure that combined student experience, employability and other factors. Other surveys, like the Complete University Guide, consistently rank us among the very best in the country. And our students love being here: in the 2010 National Student Survey we achieved a 98% student satisfaction rating.

This reputation is the product of the quality and commitment of our staff, and the breadth of our teaching, which reflects the research interests of a department with an international outlook. We offer a choice of modules that reach from the medieval period to the present, and circle the globe: Chinese, African and US history are all taught at Durham, alongside British and other European history. Our degree programmes reflect the rich variety of modern historical writing, including cultural, media and gender history as well as political, social and economic history. We are proud to attract so many bright and articulate students; our students achieve excellent results, and proceed to successful careers in both private and public sectors.

RAE results


Located in the historic heart of Durham City, the Department is close to the World Heritage Site of the Cathedral and Castle. We have excellent libraries, containing archives and book collections of international significance and providing access to a huge range of teaching and online resources, which make us a perfect choice for undergraduate study. Teaching takes place in lecture halls in various areas of the University site, and for smaller groups in staff offices and seminar rooms, many fitted with state-of-the-art IT equipment and mostly located in the Department premises at 43 North Bailey.


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