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BA Joint Hons English & History

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Key facts

  • UCAS Code: QV31
  • Flexible degree structure: focus your studies in areas that interest you

  • Study abroad: options include Germany, France & North America

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Our BA (Hons) Humanities & Social Sciences degree, explained.

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Why this course?

We'll show you how exciting and wide-ranging our subject can be. Employers like the skills developed in an English degree: written and verbal communication, analysis and discussion of ideas, and broad, creative thinking.

Studying history – the story of humanity through the ages – develops your knowledge of the past and gives you a better understanding of the present.

Throughout your studies, you'll receive excellent training in areas such as problem-solving, communication, research methods and interpretation.

Our classes cover some of the most important and interesting historical periods at home and abroad, including Scotland’s ‘Highland Problem’ in the 16th century, Slavery in World History and Cold War Europe, 1945-1991.

Students walking through Rottenrow on campus

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

What you’ll study

English

Year 1

Shakespearean drama and modern, cutting-edge fiction.

Year 2

You'll study some of the most momentous events in literary history, with classes on Renaissance, Enlightenment and Romantic writing.

Year 3

Choose from options including children’s literature, America in the 1920s, the First World War and the Glasgow novel.

Year 4

In your final year, you’ll write a dissertation and choose from options including Victorian Gothic writing, literary snobbery, travel writing, oral narratives and fairy tales. Student numbers for optional classes may be limited in Years 3 and 4.

Dissertation

In Honours year, you'll write and research a 6,000-word dissertation with guidance from a personal supervisor. This is an opportunity to investigate a topic of your own choice. Previous dissertations have focussed on music and film as well as literary topics.

Postgraduate study

We offer these taught masters degrees:

Masters degrees can be the first step to a PhD or help with career and personal development. We welcome overseas students, including visiting students.

We also offer various research degrees, including an innovative MRes in Creative Writing.

Socrates exchange

You'll have the opportunity to take part in the Socrates exchange programme, in which you can spend your third year (two semesters) abroad and obtain credits that qualify you to enter the Honours year in one or both of your principal subjects on your return.

Socrates has partner institutions in Germany and France, as well as programmes in North America and elsewhere. While priority on Socrates is given to students who have proficiency in the relevant language, many classes (at least in the host English departments) are conducted in English and there is no language requirement for countries like the USA.

History

Year 1

You’ll look at the origins and shaping of our modern world by introducing themes including industrialisation, empire, political reform, war and social change.

Year 2

You’ll choose from a range of national history classes, most of which cover a period of a century or more.

Year 3

If you intend to study at Honours level you must take the class in Historiography and Research Methods. You also choose further classes from a list that includes: Theory & Practice of Oral History, Slavery in World History and Scotland & the Americas in the 17th century and many more.

Year 4

In your final year, you’ll write an Honours dissertation on a topic of your choice and choose from a range of classes. Student numbers for optional classes may be limited in Years 3 and 4.

Dissertation

All single Honours History students and many joint Honours students complete a 10,000-word dissertation, in which they demonstrate their research skills on a topic of their own choosing. The dissertation draws on scholarly literature and as much primary source material (documents, for example) as students can acquire. Honours students often say that this is the most satisfying part of their History degree.

Facilities

Our location in the Lord Hope building provides a social hub and access to student services such as the library, cafés, meeting areas and exhibition spaces.

The Andersonian Library, directly opposite in the Curran Building, has around a million print volumes as well as access to one million electronic books and over 105,000 e-journals. The library covers all subjects taught at Strathclyde and offers over 550 networked computers with access to the internet, email, a wide range of software and databases and extensive Wi-Fi zones for laptops/tablets.

Single & joint Honours information

English, English and Creative Writing, History, Politics and International Relations and Psychology may be studied to Single or Joint Honours level.

Education, French, Spanish, Law, Journalism, Media and Communication and Social Policy are available only as Joint Honours Programmes. Economics, Human Resource Management, Marketing, Mathematics and Tourism can also be studied alongside a Humanities and Social Sciences subject.

The available subject combinations may change each year. Once accepted on the programme you will be allocated an advisor of studies who will be able to let you know which subjects can be combined, in first year, and beyond.

Lea Evjen Strathclyde student
What makes this programme different from any Undergraduate programme in Norway is that you can explore a combination of subjects that complement each other.
Lea Evjen
BA English, Politics & International Relations
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Course content

English

English 1A & 1B

This first semester module offers an introduction to the study of English at university level. It offers a foundation for students who are interested in the historical and critical analysis of literary texts and for those who want to write creatively for themselves. It's the first module in the English degree and the English and Creative Writing degree.

In taking this module you'll have an opportunity to understand how particular historical and social contexts shape literature and to discuss ways in which historical literature continues to live and have relevance to the contemporary reader.  You'll also study in detail the ways in which literary texts are constructed. In understanding the mechanisms that make literary texts work – the choices made by an author about genre, form, and language – you'll become a subtler, more-attentive reader and a better-informed and better-equipped writer.  

Reading lists:

History

History 1A

This class focuses on the history of the British Isles from 1700 to 1914. It was a period of phenomenal change in terms of who ruled the country, the main economic activities, emerging cultural expression and attitudes and the growth of British power overseas on an unprecedented scale.

In the class we'll use the British Isles as a historical 'laboratory' to discuss key themes that have shaped the modern world.

We'll look at:

  • the formation of the British state
  • the ideas that were shaped by the Enlightenment, in which Scottish writers played an important part
  • why Britain industrialised and Ireland did not
  • the often dire social consequences of industrialisation
  • how and why Britain created the Empire
  • the growth of British overseas trade will be looked at
  • the impact of Britain on Asian, African and American societies
  • the ideological effects of the American War of Independence, the French Revolution and the 1798 rebellion in Ireland
  • the meaning of Victorian values in Scotland and the development of modern political parties and the growth of democracy
  • the roles of gender and class in shaping modern British and Irish society
This class will enable students to understand the origins of both modern British society and the beginnings of an increasingly integrated global community. In the tutorials, each meeting will involve the examination of a key document or two, as well as a discussion of that week's topic.
History 1B

This class follows on from History 1A and takes the story up to the end of the 20th century. We'll look at:

  • the effects of World War I on Scottish society and why Ireland broke away from the United Kingdom
  • the growth of the Labour Party and the rise of socialism will be traced
  • the effects of the Great Depression of the 1930s on British society
  • the reasons why the British government formulated a policy of appeasement, to show how foreign policy and domestic policy were inextricably linked
  • the impact of World War II on British society
  • the demands that led to the creation of the Welfare State will be explored
  • the new international realities facing Britain in 1945
  • the beginnings of the Cold War, to show how effectively Britain adapted to the loss of Great Power status
  • post-war society and the cultural revolution of the "Swinging Sixties". We'll ask whether a generation gap emerged
  • the long slow march of women's rights
  • the impact of immigration, to show the ways in which British society was changing fundamentally
  • the collapse of the traditional industrial economy in the 1980s and changes in Scottish family life, to show how social norms were being overturned
  • the advent and effects of devolution in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Just as in the first semester History class, we will use carefully selected documents in tutorials to help us analyse each topic.

English

Writing Through Time 1&2

These will situate texts in context, from genre to historical period and theory. The texts include poetry, drama, novels,  short stories, life writing, and screenplays and you'll have the chance to choose between critical and creative writing responses for one assessment on each class.

Elective

You then have a choice of one or two interdisciplinary electives, one in each semester:

The Construction of Scotland

This class looks at a range of literary texts and how they interpret and create the idea of ‘human’ at different points in history.

Making the Modern Human

This class explores how Scottish fiction and drama of the 20th and 21st centuries creates the idea of Scotland.

History

Choose three from this list
Scotland: Renaissance & Reformation

This course will focus on the period from the final establishment of the territorial boundaries of the Scottish kingdom in James III’s reign through to the Union of Crowns in 1603. In covering the era of the Renaissance and Reformation in Scotland, as well as the regnal union of 1603, it will focus on the reigns of successive Stewart monarchs and their subsequent accession to the English and Irish thrones, thereby creating a British imperial monarchy.

Scotland’s contact with Europe and its strained relations with England form core themes but political history will be studied in the light of the social, religious, economic and cultural developments that lend early-modern Scotland its distinct identity, thereby examining issues such as trade and economic development, the impact of the Renaissance in Scotland, literacy and the spread of reforming ideas, the arts, education and issues of identity.

Disease & Society

This class provides a broad introduction to the historical relationship between diseases and human societies in the early modern and modern periods.

It examines the core thesis that diseases and other health conditions have had dramatic impacts on history, shaping economic relations, political and social structures and cultural and religious beliefs.  However, it also explores the reverse of this, the thesis that human activities, ideas and behaviours have radically altered the diseases and conditions that afflict our societies over the last five hundred years.

The course is grouped around three themes:

  • infectious disease
  • chronic disease
  • society's responses to disease

Lectures in the first two sections focus on exploring the origins of key diseases/debilities, the ways in which social structures/behaviours have caused or abetted these conditions, and their impacts on society, economics, politics and culture.

In the final section, lectures focus more on the ways in which societies have sought to conceptualise, control and cure diseases. The key questions that students should be able to answer by the end is how have diseases and debilities shaped human societies, and how have human societies shaped diseases and debilities?

History of Scotland 1700-1832

This course will explore Scotland’s political, economic, religious, intellectual and social development in the aftermath of the Union of 1707 through to 1832.  The benefits, disadvantages and tensions that arose from the process of becoming part of the British state will be explored through such issues as:

  • causes and impact of union
  • the significance of Jacobitism
  • the nature and consequence of agricultural and industrial change
  • Empire
  • the role of the Scottish Enlightenment
Modern Europe

This class examines some of the principal developments in international history of twentieth century Europe. It pays particular attention to:

  • the causes of the First World War
  • the impact of the war upon the international system
  • the rise of new powers within the international community after 1919
  • the causes of the Second World War
  • the Cold War and the forces driving European integration since 1945
  • the role of the USA and USSR in recent European history
In terms of geographical coverage the class will seek to balance consideration of Europe-wide developments with finer-focus treatment of French, Italian and German history. The class will introduce students to some of the main debates in the academic literature and encourage them to look at a range of relevant primary sources.

English

You'll select from this range of Year 3 electives, and have the chance to take one English & Creative Writing class too.

The American Novel

This class aims to introduce you to some of the major forms and themes in the 20th century American novel with some more contemporary content. The module investigates how major social and historical issues have shaped some of the most important American novels and how the novel, as a form, has developed and adapted to describe new and different realities. Some of the historical and social issues covered in the class include:

  • the suburbs and the city
  • the legacy of slavery
  • queer life in the US
  • stories of migration and travel

This module is designed to equip students who wish to pursue studies in American literature or culture in more depth with an overview of the period. It's also designed to expand the knowledge of students with a general interest in the novel.

Victorian Literature

This class will study the literature of the Victorian period (1837-1901) and will focus on fiction, poetry, drama and non-fictional prose. It aims to situate this writing both in its contemporary political, social and cultural contexts and in the light of recent critical and theoretical debates. Themes to be covered will include:

  • the 'crisis of faith'
  • science and evolutionary theory
  • realism and the Victorian novel
  • medievalism and Victorianism
  • literature and the visual arts
  • key peotic genres, including elegy and dramatic monologue
  • popular fiction
  • the 'Woman Question'
  • Empire and travel writing
  • the new journalism and Victorian reading publics
  • representations of the city and technology
  • issues of canon and periodisation
Twentieth Century Literature

This class explores twentieth-century English literature with a focus on fiction, poetry, and drama. The survey examines major literary figures from the first half of the century, such as Woolf and Stein, along with their contemporaries and successors. Particular attention will be paid to the literary culture of Modernism before exploring the texts, culture and politics of the later 20th century through writers such as Spark, McGrath and Smith. Emphasis will be placed on understanding a diverse range of literature in historical, critical and theoretical contexts as a means of engaging with the rich literary heritage of the twentieth century, and what the twenty-first century might bring.

Sex, Revenge & Corruption in Renaissance Drama

This module will focus on drama, a key genre in the period from the 1580s to the closure of the playhouses in 1642. Reading work by major dramatists, we'll engage with a form that addressed a highly literate audience as well as a popular one, and is thus a particularly interesting place to trace ways of thinking in the period. The common thread that ties this selection of plays together is their interest in transgression: what happens when humans cross the limits set by tradition, religion and the state?

In the process of this theatrical interrogation, the plays pose questions about violence, identity, gender, desire, citizenship and the role of the theatre itself. We'll read tragedies and comedies; alongside these, you'll also be asked to think about the moral and theological debates that were taking place at the time these works were produced and consumed. Thus, for example, we'll read plays by Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson and Thomas Middleton alongside writing by Robert Burton, Sir Francis Bacon and Niccolo Machiavelli. This will enable us to explore how ideas about sex, revenge and corruption in the period are developed and contested between the stage and the work of some of the most influential thinkers at the time; it will also allow us to consider how some of these early modern limit cases still ask questions of us today.

Lectures will provide context for tutorials, which will be organised around worksheets that will be circulated in advance, and so will give you the chance to prepare for each class, and will allow everyone the chance to contribute to discussions.

Language in Business & Organisations

This class explores the ways in which language is used in businesses and other organisations. The class assumes no prior knowledge of linguistics, and teaches technical skills in discourse analysis, conversation analysis, and the analysis of other types of verbal interaction, in speech, writing and electronic communications. The analytical skills learned in this class, and the theoretical ideas, will be useful also in the analysis of literature or any other aspect of language in use. Seminars give you practice in the analytical skills. The class assumes that you have no prior knowledge or experience in discourse analysis, conversation analysis, pragmatics, etc.

The Body: Theories & Representations

What does it mean to ‘write the body’? How has the world of sensory experience been rendered in theory, literature, and film? What metaphors do we summon to understand physical experiences of joy, sickness, health, desire, exhaustion, and intoxication?

This class will approach these questions (and more) by studying literary, visual, and theoretical engagements with the body in late 20th and 21st -century culture. Over the course of the semester, you'll encounter some key debates about the body and its representation in literature and film. You'll engage with the fields of gender theory, queer theory, critical race theory, and disability theory. You'll also learn some strategies for analysing contemporary culture through the ‘lens’ of theory, developing skills you can take into other areas of your study.

English & Creative Writing Work Placement

This placement module offers you the opportunity to gain practical, work-based experience (minimum 60 hours) in an area that is professionally related to or relevant to your BA. For your degree this might be working with a publisher, or literary agency, or in an office environment where you are using your skills in reading, interpretation and writing. Or you might use this as an opportunity to look towards a future career: so, if you plan to go into teaching, for example, you could look to get a placement working in a subject-related environment with young people.

You can also take one of the following English & Creative Writing classes as part of your English degree in Year 3.

Writing Short Fiction & Poetry

Writing Short Fiction and Poetry is an 11-week module studying contemporary short stories and lyric poetry. Generally speaking, the aim of this class is to get you writing as soon as possible – each week is aimed at teaching some of the basics of Creative Writing alongside a case study of a writer and their particular approach to elements of the craft.

Dramatic Writing

We'll be reading screenplays, talking about them, and writing our own. What is the difference between writing for the page and writing for the screen? Screenplays are, in practice, a series of instructions: for actors, for crew members, for potential financiers. A screenplay is a dual-purpose document. It exists as proof of concept (i.e., proof of narrative); and it is there to communicate the spirit and tone of the finished film. More than anything, our first job as writers for the screen is to make the reader hear and see. Primarily it is to make the reader see. There are many ways in to a life in writing for the screen. But, as with any good work of fiction, it begins with engaging characters. Do they appear to us fully formed? Or does it take development? How can we get them onto the page? What are the decisions we make at the start of a project? What is visible and the invisible writing? This class encourages you to consider the shape of your story in order to point yourself—and your narrative—in the right direction.

History

Oral History: Theory & Practice

Please note that this is compulsory for students who wish to use oral history in their dissertation.

Oral history is a way of engaging with the past via the experiences and memories of those who were there. ‘Oral history’ is a multifaceted term that refers to the sources (interviews), the methodology (interviewing), theory (analysis), and products (of which there are many).

This new class aims to alert students to the possibilities of using oral history as a way of understanding the past. It will examine key concepts and methodologies in oral history and explore how oral history has helped to shape historical understanding.

This class also has an important practice-based focus – students taking the class will gain an opportunity to develop practical skills in oral history interviewing and analysis as well as to reflect critically on theory in relation to practice. They will also get an opportunity to explore the application and use of history in the public arena through engaging with work on oral history and public history.

Because of the practical nature of this class and the limited supply of equipment, numbers are capped at 25.

Religion Behind the Iron Curtain

This class will explore Church-State relations, together with the dilemmas faced by ordinary Christians and Communists, in a number of ‘satellite’ countries of East-Central Europe during half a century of Cold War.  Seminar topics will include:

  • the show trial of so-called ‘Vatican agents’ in Prague and Bratislava
  • a ‘miracle’ faked by the Secret Police
  • the case of a cardinal who took refuge in the US Embassy in Budapest
  • the election of a Polish Pope and the spirituality of the Polish Solidarity movement
You should take this class if you want to engage imaginatively with both Communist and Catholic perspectives of the post-war period, read independently from a wide variety of primary sources and participate fully in seminar discussion and debate.
Disability in Modern Britain

The aim of this class is for to gain an understanding of the key role that disability plays in the study of the historical past.

The class will explore the ways in which disability has been defined, treated and experienced. It will place developments in disability policy within wider social, cultural and political contexts. Students will engage with, and think critically about, primary sources ranging from official papers, newspaper articles, and oral testimonies, in addition to relevant secondary source material.

The use of oral testimonies in particular will help students to consider the lived experiences of disabled people and the ways in which society sought to define and treat disability. 

Medicine & Warfare

This class explores the role that health and medicine has played in the major wars of the twentieth century. In particular, it considers the vital contribution that medicine has made to manpower economy, discipline and morale.

Focusing predominantly on Britain, the USA and Europe, the class analyses the ways that different countries have responded to the medical issues posed by modern warfare in both military and civilian contexts. As such, it considers issues such as wartime disability, welfare provision, occupational health and psychiatry, and explores the role that military doctors, women and humanitarian organisations have played in shaping medical responses to war.

The key objective of this class is to place military-medical developments within their wider social, cultural and political contexts and to examine the impact of military health and medicine on the lived experience of war.

France at War

The class begins with the traumatic episodes of the Franco-Prussian War and the Communes of 1871. By analysing the often problematic political and cultural consolidation of the Third Republic, this class will explore the ‘culture wars’ and the internal divisions that culminated in the Dreyfus Affair. After the humiliation of losing its status as Europe’s dominant power, France sought greatness in colonial expansion in Africa and Indochina, while seeking to consolidate national identity by transforming ‘peasants into Frenchmen’.

You'll explore the experiences of the First World War, assessing the strength of French unity in the face of the German enemy. The interwar clashes between fascism and the Popular Front will then be examined and how the First World War impacted upon French foreign policy and attitudes towards future war.

You'll spend three weeks exploring the enduring controversies of the Second World War, focusing upon the collapse, resistance, collaboration, and French involvement in the persecution of the Jews, as France faced its ‘hereditary enemy’ once again.

The class concludes with an analysis of the French withdrawal from Indochina and Algeria and an assessment of France’s position in the post-war global order.

A variety of sources will be explored throughout the class, including paintings, monuments, films, literary sources, newspaper reports, memoirs and archival documents. 

Propaganda & War in the 20th Century

This class examines means by which states conduct informal activities to promote their domestic and foreign objectives during wartime. In particular, it analyses the role of propaganda throughout the twentieth century, focusing on the use of modern mass communication and technology by states involved in conflicts.

The class is structured around a number of historical themes, which help shed light on the emergence of propaganda as an important means of modern warfare. Key themes analysed throughout the course include:

  • the First World War as the first ‘total war’
  • the growth of international radio broadcasting
  • the creation of centralised propaganda machines in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union
  • home-front propaganda during the Second World War
  • propaganda, disinformation and the Cold War
  • the United States and the experience of Vietnam
  • information, media coverage and the Gulf War
  • 9/11 and the war on terrorism
During seminars, students will be exposed to relevant primary source material. Particular attention will be given to understanding the theory and practice of propaganda and analysing how technological developments have contributed to shaping modern information and mass persuasion.
Historiography

This class is compulsory for students who want to study history at Honours level.

This class will introduce students to the methods used by historians to reconstruct the past, exploring and analysing the techniques used by historians in doing primary research. The class is designed to demonstrate how students can use these techniques in their own work, particularly their 4th year/Honours dissertation.

Among the topics that will be covered are:

  • constructing bibliographies
  • using evidence
  • using academic conventions
  • constructing research plans
  • writing historical prose
The class will also introduce students to the subject of historiography – the history of history – and the ways in which our understanding and construction of history has evolved. The class is designed to promote independent learning and encourage students to reflect more deeply on the subject matter.
Communism in Practice: the Case of Czechoslovakia

Czechoslovakia, the last post-war European country to fall behind the Iron Curtain, was exceptional in allying itself to the Soviet Union voluntarily and in bringing its own Communists to power more or less democratically. Confident at first that it would be able to pursue its own path to socialism, the Czechoslovak Communist Party soon became one of the most rigidly Stalinist of all the Soviet satellites. The same Party which, in the 1950s, held some of the most notorious show-trials and put up the largest statue of Stalin to be found anywhere in the world, became, in the 1960s, the author of 'Socialism with a Human Face', a package of attempted economic and political reforms explosive enough to end in the country’s invasion by most of its Warsaw Pact allies.

This class will seek to move beyond the stereotypes and oversimplifications of Communism passed down by Cold War rhetoric to explore the shifting nature of Communist thought, power politics and international relations in this most perplexing of times in the history of Central Europe.

Genocide in the 20th Century

The objectives of this class include introducing students to recent examples of genocide and related mass atrocities, and writing and thinking about these cases in a critical and engaged manner through analysis of primary and secondary materials.

Students will be introduced to historical, sociological, anthropological, and legal perspectives related to the occurrence of genocide and related atrocity crimes. Using case studies from the 20th century, we'll discuss:

  • contemporary issues related to the labelling of cases
  • the evolution of international legal, diplomatic, economic and military measures to prevent, interdict and punish atrocity crimes
  • the phenomenon of genocide denial
  • the politics of commemoration
  • the lingering legacies of violence on individuals and communities in the post-genocide period

Case studies will include clear-cut (recognized in international humanitarian law) examples of genocide, including:

  • the Armenian genocide
  • the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Europe
  • the 1994 Rwandan genocide

Less clear-cut examples will also be looked at, such as:

  • Canada’s Residential School System
  • Stalinist crimes in Soviet Russia
  • Khmer Rouge atrocities in Cambodia
  • the scorched earth policies in Guatemala
  • ethnic cleansing surrounding the Bosnian War
Society & Politics in Colonial India: 1880s-1947

This class will cover the political developments and social groups from the late-nineteenth century till the decolonisation of South Asia in 1947.

This is a key period in the social and political history of modern South Asia as it witnessed the growth of a mass-based anti-colonial struggle.  Simultaneously, the involvement of different social groups in this process led to the emergence of community and caste based identity politics.  Under pressure from demands for independence, the colonial state initiated a process of phased devolution of power, and decolonisation after the Second World War.  The class will compare these developments to raise questions about the 'modernity' of colonial society and polity.  The class will analyse how different social groups - such as the peasantry, the working class and tribal groups - participated in and shaped political movements in South Asia.

Students will also be encouraged to use the regional perspective of South Asian history to understand the different expressions of class, gender and ethnicity in non-Western societies.

Scotland’s Highland Problem

Historiography had tended to isolate Highland history from Scottish political development during the late medieval and early modern periods.  This class will re-address this trend, emphasising the Highlands as an integral part of Scottish society, at the same time exploring the division within Scotland between the ‘barbaric’ Highlands and the ‘civil’ Lowlands.

Students will study the nature and structure of clan society and place Highland events within the wider context of national and British politics during the sixteenth century.  While relations between the Scottish crown and its Highland subjects is the key theme of this class, students will analyse the extent to which such relations changed through time, and why.

The class will also highlight divergent policies within clan society itself, a factor which warns against treating the Highlands as a homogenous whole, instead taking into consideration regional, local and personal biases.  

Scottish Society Since 1914

The class provides a broad survey of Scottish social history since 1914. The aim of this class is to explore the nature and development of Scottish society in the twentieth century by assessing the impact of industrialisation and the problems associated with de-industrialisation, as well as the development of an urban society.

By the end, the successful student should have expanded their knowledge of contemporary Scottish history and have a good idea of the diversity of issues, techniques and arguments which historians have deployed in the study of twentieth-century Scotland. Among the themes to be covered are:

  • the extent to which Scotland had a recognisable culture and identity
  • the myths and realities of 'Red Clydeside'
  • the notion that Scotland was a more intensely patriarchal society than the rest of Britain
  • the idea that Scotland was an anti-immigrant, racist and religiously intolerant society

English

Throughout your degree, analytical and writing skills are being developed, preparing you to tackle the final-year dissertation. The choice of subjects for your dissertation is wide open – we value and reward student initiative.

Year 4 is also your chance to take more electives as well as your dissertation in English – two electives for joint Honours and five for single Honours. Choose from:

Writing Gender in Contemporary Literature

This class examines how contemporary authors make sense of gendered experience. We'll investigate cultural practices of writing (and rewriting) gender in the twenty-first century, paying particular attention to the relationships between gender and literary genre, from transgender memoirs to autofictional masculinities, twenty-first-century romance novels, and the queer graphic novel. We'll also investigate the impact of feminist political activism on the publishing industry, from the indie press to the Women’s Prize for Fiction. The class will introduce you to key theories of gender and equip you with strategies for reading literature through the lens of feminist theory. Over the course of the semester, you'll encounter some of our most exciting contemporary writers and deepen your understanding of literary gender politics in the present day.

21st Century Science Fiction

This class introduces you to twenty-first-century science fiction from across the globe. Contemporary science fiction creates alternative technological bodies and worlds, allowing us to address questions around what it means to be human, what our relationship is to technology and how we might build worlds that are less destructive. With these major themes in mind, this class will focus on four key critical lenses:

  • race
  • colonialism
  • disability
  • sexuality and gender

Questions to be explored include:

  • how are worlds reconfigured through queer sexualities and genders
  • what futures are brought into being for previously marginalised peoples
  • what is science fiction’s relation to the past
  • how does contemporary science fiction challenge tropes of colonialism
  • what bodies emerge in these future worlds and why?

Each week you'll read, watch or listen to a contemporary, global science fiction text exploring how histories, worlds, bodies and relations are represented and reimagined.

Present Day Victorians

Neo-Victorian cultural products have been recognised as a crucial site for the critical rediscovery and reinterpretation of Victorian literature and culture (in particular the themes of class, race, gender and sexuality). Evoking the genres of crime and mystery fiction, themes of science, technology and alternative futures, the figure of the Victorian author and the voices of marginal characters from Mrs Rochester to the ghosts of the séance circle, neo-Victorian writing seeks to understand the continuing impact of the nineteenth century on the present day. This class will consider how and why these texts have problematised Victorian discourses (e.g. imperialism, madness, sexual deviance, technology, the cultural roles of reading and writing). We'll draw on a range of interpretative strategies from post-colonial, feminist, queer, adaptation, appropriation, heritage and film studies.

Songs: music & literature

This class looks at the relation between language and music in songs, treating songs as literature adapted to music. We'll look at the ways in which the forms and meanings of songs can be studied, in ways similar to the study of poetry, but also in ways specific to song. The class considers technical aspects, including technical aspects of music, but you're not expected to have prior knowledge of music. We look at ways in which songs relate to identity and how they produce emotion. We consider the ways in which songs tell stories, or relate to stories.

Victorian Gothic

This class traces the development of the Gothic across the nineteenth century, from its origins in the Romantic period to its heights in works like Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The class is organized around key concepts of the Gothic genre, including the sublime, the unseen, textual hybridity, un narrative unreliability.

We'll also look at subgenres like the Female Gothic and Eco-Gothic, examining how the Gothic allows authors to explore cultural anxieties including women’s rights, deviant sexualities, urbanisation, migration, and environmental devastation. Iconic monsters like Frankenstein’s monster, Mr Hyde, and Dracula will thus be situated within their specific cultural milieu, helping us to understand both their origins and their continued popularity.

Wild in the Renaissance

The concept of 'the wild' is one that emerges in many different ways in the writings of the Renaissance; in relation to self-cultivation (holding back the wildness within), the control of one's world (taming the ever-present wilderness); and in relations with fellow humans in a changing world (in savage domination). These ideas get played out in numerous ways in the period - from poetic use of the symbolic resonance of gardens and gardening; the religious underpinnings of the 'missionary endeavour' in the New World and what that says about the concept of human nature; to the anxious self-examination of humanity's inevitable sinfulness.

This class will thus introduce you to key canonical texts from the period – plays, poetry, and court masques – by writers including Shakespeare, Jonson, and Milton, and will also engage with a critical and theoretical debates about the relationships between humans and the natural world from the new fields of animal studies and ecocriticism.

History

Compulsory classes

The Scramble for the Middle East: Arab Nationalism, Zionism & European Colonial Powers, 1914-1939

The interwar years are central to any analysis of the decline of European colonial rule in the Middle East and the formation of nation states. It was in the 1920s and 1930s that British and French mandatory authorities faced the emergence of nationalist movements throughout the Arab world as well as the increasing competition and penetration of hostile forces.

Students will examine historical themes and events that are significant to the development of political and cultural identities in the Middle East. Through the analysis of primary sources, students will focus on:

  • the debate surrounding British and French colonial practices
  • the emergence of the Zionist movement and the creation of a Jewish home in Palestine
  • the radicalisation of Arab nationalism and its impact upon the relations between local political elites and European colonial powers
  • the increasing tension between Jewish and Arab communities in Palestine
  • the creation of the mandates in Palestine, Transjordan, Syria and Lebanon and the process that led to the independence of Egypt and Iraq
  • the challenge brought by German and Italian subversive activities to British and French strategic interests in the region
Twentieth-Century Czechoslovakia

The class will explore major themes in twentieth-century European history:

  • the post-World War I settlement
  • the rise of fascism
  • the origins and course of the Second World War, Soviet expansion, the Cold War, the social and political revolutions of the 1960s and the waning of the Soviet Union in the 1980s and 1990s -- from the perspective of a central European country which was created in 1918, dissolved in 1993, and whose opinions were seldom taken into account by the Great Powers

Students will obtain a solid grounding in the history of Czechoslovakia from its creation to its dissolution. The class should also offer a useful introduction to themes in twentieth-century European history more generally.

Independent reading will concentrate heavily on source material, enabling students to taste the excitement as well as the frustrations of historical research. By being encouraged to view European affairs from a Czech perspective while at the same time having special responsibility for one other European country, students will be led to consider the problems of historical bias and subjectivity, and should develop historical empathy as well as considerable sensitivity to the complexity of international affairs.

Rwanda: Peace, Conflict & the Politics

The purpose of this special subject is to introduce students to the study of peace and conflict, broadly defined, and to encourage them to write and think about these subjects in a critical and engaged manner informed first and foremost by history-based discourse, but also borrowing from political science, anthropology, and related disciplines.

The module will focus on the case study of Rwanda, with individual classes proceeding chronologically.

The first semester will cover the pre-colonial period to the start of the second Hutu Republic in 1973, while the second semester will cover 1973 to present.

Throughout, students will analyse relevant primary and secondary sources to explore the benefits of applying a historical lens to understanding a nation whose recent history includes both periods of peace and political stability, and several manifestations of state-sanctioned violence, including colonialism, small-scale ethnic, regional, and political conflicts, civil war, genocide, and authoritarianism.

Students seeking careers in human rights advocacy, international law, diplomacy, and journalism will also find this course particularly relevant.

Plantation in Ulster

This class will explore the plantations that took place in Ulster during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

Students will examine the emergence of the idea for plantation in Ireland, why Ulster was regarded as suitable for plantation, and the various endeavours by English and Scots to settle in the north of Ireland, whether by private enterprise or by the state. This will culminate in the official Plantation of Ulster, a 'British' project initiated by James VI and I in the early years of his reign as king of England, Ireland and Scotland.

Students will also look at a couple of cases studies of individuals who were involved in plantation, enabling a detailed study of the political, social, economic and confessional reasons why they chose to migrate to and settle in Ireland at this time.

Elective classes

France at War, 1870-1962

The class begins with the traumatic episodes of the Franco-Prussian War and the Communes of 1871. By analysing the often problematic political and cultural consolidation of the Third Republic, this class will explore the ‘culture wars’ and the internal divisions that culminated in the Dreyfus Affair. After the humiliation of losing its status as Europe’s dominant power, France sought greatness in colonial expansion in Africa and Indochina, while seeking to consolidate national identity by transforming ‘peasants into Frenchmen’.

You'll explore the experiences of the First World War, assessing the strength of French unity in the face of the German enemy. The interwar clashes between fascism and the Popular Front will then be examined and how the First World War impacted upon French foreign policy and attitudes towards future war.

You'll spend three weeks exploring the enduring controversies of the Second World War, focusing upon the collapse, resistance, collaboration, and French involvement in the persecution of the Jews, as France faced its ‘hereditary enemy’ once again.

The class concludes with an analysis of the French withdrawal from Indochina and Algeria and an assessment of France’s position in the post-war global order.

A variety of sources will be explored throughout the class, including paintings, monuments, films, literary sources, newspaper reports, memoirs and archival documents.

Medicine & Warfare in the Twentieth Century

This class explores the role that health and medicine has played in the major wars of the twentieth century. In particular, it considers the vital contribution that medicine has made to manpower economy, discipline and morale.

Focusing predominantly on Britain, the USA and Europe, the class analyses the ways that different countries have responded to the medical issues posed by modern warfare in both military and civilian contexts. As such, it considers issues such as wartime disability, welfare provision, occupational health and psychiatry, and explores the role that military doctors, women and humanitarian organisations have played in shaping medical responses to war.

The key objective of this class is to place military-medical developments within their wider social, cultural and political contexts and to examine the impact of military health and medicine on the lived experience of war.

Religion Behind the Iron Curtain

This class will explore Church-State relations, together with the dilemmas faced by ordinary Christians and Communists, in a number of ‘satellite’ countries of East-Central Europe during half a century of Cold War.  Seminar topics will include:

  • the show trial of so-called ‘Vatican agents’ in Prague and Bratislava
  • a ‘miracle’ faked by the Secret Police
  • the case of a cardinal who took refuge in the US Embassy in Budapest
  • the election of a Polish Pope and the spirituality of the Polish Solidarity movement
You should take this class if you want to engage imaginatively with both Communist and Catholic perspectives of the post-war period, read independently from a wide variety of primary sources and participate fully in seminar discussion and debate.
Scottish Society

The class provides a broad survey of Scottish social history since 1914.

The aim of this class is to explore the nature and development of Scottish society (and place it in a wider context) and to examine dominant narratives of Scotland and Scots in the twentieth century.

By the end, the successful student should have expanded their knowledge of contemporary Scottish history and have a good idea of the diversity of issues, methodologies and arguments which historians have deployed in the study of twentieth-century Scotland.  Among the themes to be covered are:

  • gender relations (for example, analysis of the Scottish ‘hard man’ narrative)
  • religion (including sectarianism and secularisation)
  • health and deprivation
  • the arts and culture (including festivals, theatre, cinema and television)
  • industry (and de-industrialisation and its impacts)
Overall, this class will explore the extent to which Scotland had a recognisable national culture and identity and assess and deconstruct narratives of Scottish society since 1914.
Scotland’s Highland Problem

Historiography had tended to isolate Highland history from Scottish political development during the late medieval and early modern periods.  This class will re-address this trend, emphasising the Highlands as an integral part of Scottish society, at the same time exploring the division within Scotland between the ‘barbaric’ Highlands and the ‘civil’ Lowlands.

Students will study the nature and structure of clan society and place Highland events within the wider context of national and British politics during the sixteenth century.  While relations between the Scottish crown and its Highland subjects is the key theme of this class, students will analyse the extent to which such relations changed through time, and why.

The class will also highlight divergent policies within clan society itself, a factor which warns against treating the Highlands as a homogenous whole, instead taking into consideration regional, local and personal biases.  

Communism in Practice: the Case of Czechoslovakia

Czechoslovakia, the last post-war European country to fall behind the Iron Curtain, was exceptional in allying itself to the Soviet Union voluntarily and in bringing its own Communists to power more or less democratically. Confident at first that it would be able to pursue its own path to socialism, the Czechoslovak Communist Party soon became one of the most rigidly Stalinist of all the Soviet satellites. The same Party which, in the 1950s, held some of the most notorious show-trials and put up the largest statue of Stalin to be found anywhere in the world, became, in the 1960s, the author of 'Socialism with a Human Face', a package of attempted economic and political reforms explosive enough to end in the country’s invasion by most of its Warsaw Pact allies.

This class will seek to move beyond the stereotypes and oversimplifications of Communism passed down by Cold War rhetoric to explore the shifting nature of Communist thought, power politics and international relations in this most perplexing of times in the history of Central Europe.

Genocide in the 20th Century

The objectives of this class include introducing students to recent examples of genocide and related mass atrocities, and writing and thinking about these cases in a critical and engaged manner through analysis of primary and secondary materials.

Students will be introduced to historical, sociological, anthropological, and legal perspectives related to the occurrence of genocide and related atrocity crimes. Using case studies from the 20th century, we'll discuss:

  • contemporary issues related to the labelling of cases
  • the evolution of international legal, diplomatic, economic and military measures to prevent, interdict and punish atrocity crimes
  • the phenomenon of genocide denial
  • the politics of commemoration
  • the lingering legacies of violence on individuals and communities in the post-genocide period

Case studies will include clear-cut (recognized in international humanitarian law) examples of genocide, including:

  • the Armenian genocide
  • the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied Europe
  • the 1994 Rwandan genocide

Less clear-cut examples will also be looked at, such as:

  • Canada’s Residential School System
  • Stalinist crimes in Soviet Russia
  • Khmer Rouge atrocities in Cambodia
  • the scorched earth policies in Guatemala
  • ethnic cleansing surrounding the Bosnian War
Society & Politics in Colonial India

This class will cover the political developments and social groups from the late-nineteenth century till the decolonisation of South Asia in 1947.

This is a key period in the social and political history of modern South Asia as it witnessed the growth of a mass-based anti-colonial struggle.  Simultaneously, the involvement of different social groups in this process led to the emergence of community and caste based identity politics.  Under pressure from demands for independence, the colonial state initiated a process of phased devolution of power, and decolonisation after the Second World War.  The class will compare these developments to raise questions about the 'modernity' of colonial society and polity.  The class will analyse how different social groups - such as the peasantry, the working class and tribal groups - participated in and shaped political movements in South Asia.

Students will also be encouraged to use the regional perspective of South Asian history to understand the different expressions of class, gender and ethnicity in non-Western societies.

The Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education 2019 and 2021.
The Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education 2019 and 2021.
The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.
The Times / The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021. University of the Year shortlisted.
The Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 - Scottish University of the Year.
The Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 - Scottish University of the Year.

Assessment

English

In addition to traditional exams, many classes are assessed partly or solely by essays. In later years, you have the opportunity to set the topics and titles of these essays themselves.

All our classes use Myplace, Strathclyde's virtual learning environment, which can be used for online quizzes and keeping a reading diary.

History

You'll be assessed through group work, projects, presentations, dissertations, document analysis, essays and exams.

Learning & teaching

English

You'll learn through lectures, seminars and workshops and take part in small group work, individual and group presentations, debates and writing exercises. Some classes also take place in computer labs and include analysis of texts using software tools.

Vertically Integrated Project

We offer a research task in which staff, undergraduates and postgraduates work together.

History

You'll be expected to attend lectures and seminars and take part in group projects. Bibliographic search sessions in the University Library will also be provided. We encourage the close, critical reading of texts and the evaluation of historical controversies to help self-directed learning and improve your analytical skills.

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Entry requirements

Required subjects are shown in brackets.

Highers

Standard entry requirements*:

  • 1st sitting: AAAA
  • 2nd sitting: AAAAB

(Higher English, Maths/ Applications of Mathematics National 5 B-C, or equivalent)

Minimum entry requirements**:

  • 1st sitting: AABB
  • 2nd sitting: AABBB

(Higher English B and Maths/ Applications of Mathematics National 5 C)

A Levels

ABB-BBB

(GCSE English Language 6/B or Literature 6/B, GCSE Maths 4/C)

International Baccalaureate

36

(Maths SL5)

HNC

Year 1 entry: Social Sciences: A in Graded Unit; Maths National 5 B, or equivalent

International students

View the entry requirements for your country.

Deferred entry

not normally accepted

Additional Information

Students are required to register with the Scottish Government’s Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme. Please note that Year 2 entry to this subject is not offered.

*Standard entry requirements

Offers are made in accordance with specified entry requirements although admission to undergraduate programmes is considered on a competitive basis and entry requirements stated are normally the minimum level required for entry.

Whilst offers are made primarily on the basis of an applicant meeting or exceeding the stated entry criteria, admission to the University is granted on the basis of merit, and the potential to succeed. As such, a range of information is considered in determining suitability.

In exceptional cases, where an applicant does not meet the competitive entry standard, evidence may be sought in the personal statement or reference to account for performance which was affected by exceptional circumstances, and which in the view of the judgement of the selector would give confidence that the applicant is capable of completing the programme of study successfully.

**Minimum entry requirements

Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.

Widening access

We want to increase opportunities for people from every background. Strathclyde selects our students based on merit, potential and the ability to benefit from the education we offer. We look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.

Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.

Degree preparation course for international students

We offer international students (non-EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation year programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.

Upon successful completion, you will be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

Map of the world.

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Fees & funding

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

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Scotland

£1,820

Fees for students who meet the relevant residence requirements in Scotland are subject to confirmation by the Scottish Funding Council. Scottish undergraduate students undertaking an exchange for a semester/year will continue to pay their normal tuition fees at Strathclyde and will not be charged fees by the overseas institution.

England, Wales & Northern Ireland

£9,250

*Assuming no change in RUK fees policy over the period, the total amount payable by undergraduate students will be capped. For students commencing study in 2022-23, this is capped at £27,750 (with the exception of the MPharm and integrated Masters programmes), MPharm students pay £9,250 for each of the four years. Students studying on integrated Masters degree programmes pay an additional £9,250 for the Masters year with the exception of those undertaking a full-year industrial placement where a separate placement fee will apply.

International

£16,400

University preparation programme fees

International students can find out more about the costs and payments of studying a university preparation programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.

Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Additional costs

International students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.

Please note: All fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my studies?

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Students from Scotland

Fees for students who meet the relevant residence requirements in Scotland, you may be able to apply to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Scottish students may also be eligible for a bursary and loan to help cover living costs while at University.

For more information on funding your studies have a look at our University Funding page.

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Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland

We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales:

You don’t need to make a separate application for these. When your place is confirmed at Strathclyde, we’ll assess your eligibility. Have a look at our scholarship search for any more funding opportunities.

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International Students

We have a number of scholarships available to international students. Take a look at our scholarship search to find out more.

Elspeth Jajdelska, English subject leader

Expertise in English at Strathclyde covers both the traditional literary curriculum and  exciting new developments in the field, from animal studies, to reclaiming working class literary experience, from cognitive accounts of literary experience to queer accounts of travel writing. In our teaching, we aim to be inclusive, respectful, caring, and ambitious, helping every student to achieve their potential.

Elspeth Jajdelska, subject leader for English

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Apply

Please note that you only need to apply once for our BA degree programme.

For instance, if you have applied for BA Honours English and are considering your options for a Joint Honours degree, e.g. a BA Joint Honours in English and French you only need to apply for one or the other on UCAS.

If accepted on to the BA programme, you can study one of the many available subject combinations.

Start date: Sep 2023

English & History (1 year entry)

full-time
Start date: Sep 2023

UCAS Applications

Apply through UCAS if you are a UK applicant. International applicants may apply through UCAS if they are applying to more than one UK University.

Apply now

Direct Applications

Our Direct applications service is for international applicants who wish to apply to Strathclyde University at this time.

Apply now

Chat to a student ambassador

If you want to know more about what it’s like to be a Humanities & Social Sciences student at the University of Strathclyde, a selection of our current students are here to help!

Our Unibuddy ambassadors can answer all the questions you might have about courses and studying at Strathclyde, along with offering insight into their experiences of life in Glasgow and Scotland.

Chat to a student ambassador
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Contact us

Find out more about the programme

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based right in the very heart of Glasgow. We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Life in Glasgow

Gallery of Modern Art, Royal Exchange Square.