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BA (Hons) English/History

Combine the expertise of two of the UK’s finest departments

Year of entry: 2020

UCAS code


Institution code



3 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2020/21)

International fees

£17,890 per year (2020/21)

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Join us on campus or online and find out what studying at York is really like.

Find out more

A combined English and History course offers one of the most wide-ranging and adventurous of university degrees, tackling key aspects of human culture. 

You can discover more about the Department of English and Related Literature’s exciting degree programmes by watching our video.

Incredible chronological breadth and thematic scope – find out what it’s like to study History at York.

Both departments are part of our Faculty of Arts and Humanities, which is ranked 42nd in the 2018 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

The Department of English and Related Literature is ranked 2nd in the UK and the Department of History is ranked 7th in the UK in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020.

Top 10 departments

2nd in the UK for English
Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020)
6th in the UK for History
Complete University Guide 2020

Interdisciplinary teaching

You'll benefit from our interdisciplinary research and teaching with critical thinking and transferable skills.

World-class research

The Department of English had the highest proportion of world-leading (4*) research of all UK English departments in the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014). In the Times Higher Education's ranking of the REF, the Department of History was second overall for research performance.

It is fantastic to be a part of two amazing departments and explore both subjects in exciting ways. I have been completely supported by both departments and the chance to write an interdisciplinary dissertation with two supervisors is a real highlight of my joint studies.
Alex, BA English/History

Course content

Our pioneering curriculum offers an international outlook. Our modules span the globe, encompassing over two millennia of history and literature.

All combined course students take 120 credits each year, adding up to 360 credits across the course of your degree. You’ll split your time equally between English and History. In third year, your choice of Advanced Option Modules (English), Special Subject (History) and bridge dissertation topic let you tailor the degree to your own interests and needs.

Study abroad

There are opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:

Year 1

In the first year of your degree, we’ll introduce you to the undergraduate study of English and History. Our modules will give you the skills you need to start undertaking literary and historical research, and advice on how to combine the two disciplines.


Core modules

You'll take the following three modules in English (20 credits each). These modules are designed to lay the foundation of literary study for your whole degree.

Get a feel for the shape of literary history by studying works from the medieval, early modern, eighteenth-century and Romantic, and modern periods. 

A year-long foundation module that provides you with important critical and methodological contexts for the study of literature. In addition, you will be introduced to strategies for developing essay-writing skills, engaging with criticism and critical theory, and revising work to improve its fluency and persuasiveness, as part of the English Department's innovative Writing at York provision. 


You'll study three modules in History totalling 60 credits.

Core modules
  • Thinking Through History (20 credits)
  • Group Research Project (20 credits)
Option modules

Choose one from:

  • Political Communities in World History (20 credits)
  • Societies in World History (20 credits)
  • Knowledge and Beliefs in World History (20 credits)

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

In the second year of your degree, you’ll choose from a range of intermediate modules across the English and History departments.


You'll take 60 credits in English in Year 2. You will choose from the same English options as our single subject students. 

These include Critical Practice (20 credits) and our Intermediate Option Modules:

These also include our World Literature offerings (30 credits each) and our Topic Modules (10 credits each).

In addition, all English/History students take Texts and Histories (20 credits split between the two departments), designed specifically for their degree pathway and taught by a member of staff from each department. This module is the cornerstone of your combined course programme; it will provide you with a range of critical and analytical skills that are applicable across periods, and that will highlight the possibilities offered by studying two disciplines.


Core module
Option modules

You'll choose one Histories and Contexts module (20 credits). You'll typically be able to choose from around eight options.

Finally, you'll also choose one Explorations module (30 credits). We usually offer around 18 options for you to choose from.

Year 3

In your third year you will concentrate on your dissertation and take three option modules.


One of the distinctive features of the English/History degree at York, you will undertake a research project that brings the study of English and History together, and is supervised by a member of staff in each department. This year-long advanced module offers you the chance to use all the research and writing skills you will have developed at York.

Option modules

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Learning by design

Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Display broad and deep understandings of the history and literature of a wide range of periods, and engage creatively and critically with a variety of conceptual, theoretical, and methodological frameworks,
  • Read diverse texts closely and critically, interpreting them with reference to the period and tradition in which they were produced, and synthesize information from secondary sources. Be able to evaluate the arguments of others and assess the value and significance of different forms of evidence. 
  • Write clearly, accurately, and persuasively, articulating ideas and presenting arguments, to a deadline and to a professional standard. They will demonstrate advanced skills in oral communication, presentation, and collaboration. 
  • Make comparisons and connections between different periods, places, and societies, and understand a situation from a range of perspectives. Be able to analyse the emotional power, and the cultural and political impact, of language and narrative. Use this awareness, along with an advanced understanding of historical precursors, to better understand the world and influence others. 
  • Use your highly developed research skills to identify useful material, understand sources in context, and construct meaningful research questions. Be skilled at engaging with a variety of different forms of information including digital resources, material culture, visual imagery, texts, databases, and statistical information, and in identifying and utilising the most appropriate resources to achieve a desired result. 
  • Initiate and complete projects of their own which contribute to pressing contemporary debates. 
  • Exercise independent thought and judgement, and be skilled in interrogating their own assumptions. 
  • Have the ability to work in collaboration with others, and have the qualities to lead a project and execute a programme of work in a timely and professional manner.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK/EU International
£9,250 £17,890

Additional costs

You'll need copies of the texts set for each module. Where possible, the Department works to arrange digital copies via the University Library. Where this is not practical, you'll be instructed in advance of the start of each term about the texts and editions you'll need to purchase (whether new or second-hand).

UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK, EU or international student.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK/EU: further increases within the government fee cap will apply in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International: fees for international students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at 2% per annum.

More information

For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.


We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2020/21 throughout the year.

Department funding

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching Excellence Framework Gold Award

“Students from all backgrounds achieve consistently outstanding outcomes”

The TEF Panel, Office for Students, June 2018

Our Gold Teaching Excellence Framework award demonstrates our commitment to the delivery of consistently outstanding teaching and learning for our students.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.

Teaching format

In both English and History, you’ll learn through a programme of seminars, lectures, workshops, and one-to-one consultations. We emphasize small-group teaching, which means you’ll mainly be taught in seminars.

York’s English and History degree is renowned for its flexible and innovative approach.

  • You can typically expect eight contact hours per week – and sometimes more. There are also numerous opportunities for informal contact.
  • Our friendly, approachable, and accessible staff are world-leading experts in their fields. They are each available to meet individually with you during two weekly open office hours.
  • We organize many guest lectures and readings by well-known writers and historians.

Overall workload

In your first year, you can expect:

Lectures4 hours per week
Seminars2-3 hours per week
Workshops0-4 hours per week
Film Screening0-2 hours per week

These figures are based on an average student in an average week. Your contact hours will vary throughout the year due to your module choices, non-compulsory classes, exam periods and changes to scheduled activities.

The rest of your time on the course will be spent on independent study. This may include preparation for classes, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.

Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours will vary from person to person. In UK higher education the expectation is that full-time students will spend 1,200 hours a year learning.

Teaching location

You will be based in the Department of English and Related Literature and the Department of History, which are on Campus West.

Your contact hours will be divided between Derwent College, Vanbrugh College, the Spring Lane Building, and other locations nearby on Campus West.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

The Department of English and Related Literature employs a variety of assessment methods, including group presentations and closed exams, but with a strong emphasis on essay writing. Your main mode of assessment will be essays, which will range from short exploratory exercises to more detailed discussions on a topic of your choice, to the 8,000-10,000-word bridge dissertation in your final year.

The Department of History also uses a variety of assessment methods. These include assessed essays from 2,000-4,000 words, closed exams, and open exams. You will complete a 3,000-word group project in your second year and an 8,000-10,000-word bridge dissertation in your third year.

Both departments offer high levels of feedback and ample opportunities for you to meet with staff to discuss your written work.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Written exams38%17%17%
Practical exams0%8%0%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

When looking at different universities, York offered me the best flexibility to study English and History together. I love the way the different modules intertwine.
Emily, BA English/History

Careers and skills

Studying English and History at York will provide you with numerous career possibilities. You’ll learn presentation, language, and critical thinking skills during your combined degree, and gain expertise in complex analysis and research. These skills suit a wide range of careers, from law and teaching to national and local government and the creative industries.

Our English alumni

Career opportunities

  • Advertising, Marketing, and Public Relations
  • Arts Administration
  • Civil and Diplomatic Services
  • Film, Radio, Social Media, Television, and Theatre
  • Journalism and Broadcasting
  • Law
  • Librarianship
  • Member of Parliament
  • Postgraduate study
  • Publishing
  • Teaching

Transferable skills

  • Ability to analyse and compare complex texts
  • Capacity to write clearly and fluently for a variety of audiences
  • Communication and teamwork skills
  • Critical and analytical thinking
  • Data interpretation
  • Experience of researching and debating challenging topics
  • Independent study skills
  • Logic and rhetoric
  • Proficiency in presenting findings cogently and persuasively using information technology
While at York I learned to read fast while absorbing key details and to express myself clearly. I learned to listen and to be generous when sharing ideas. I gained confidence and developed a more independent way of thinking.
Sarah Ward-Lilley, BA English
Head of International Bureaux, BBC News

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
A levels

AAA, including English and History (English Language and Literature is also acceptable)

Access to Higher Education Diploma 39 credits at Distinction, including at least 6 credits in Literature-related units and 6 credits in History-related units, and 6 credits at Merit or higher
Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, D3 including English and History
European Baccalaureate 85 overall, with 85 in English and 85 inHistory
International Baccalaureate 36 points, with 6 in all Higher Level subjects, including History and English

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Qualification Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component
PTE Academic 61, with a minimum of 51 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 176, with a minimum of 162 each component
TOEFL 87 overall, with a minimum of 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading, 20 in Speaking, 17 in Writing
Trinity ISE III Merit in all components

For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current IELTS scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

We look for intellectual and literary curiosity, open-mindedness, and analytical ability.

We encourage mature students to email the Admissions Tutor for consultation and advice.

At the University of York, we are committed to providing the support our students need to achieve their full potential and have an exceptional, transformational experience. The York Access Scheme offers help to those faced with social, personal or educational challenges which have affected their performance in education. We also offer support for care leavers.

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Department of English and Related Literature, Department of History

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