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

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

With over 65 members of academic staff we have real breadth in our teaching and research, from the Civil Rights movement in America to the French Revolution and from the environmental history of North-East England to the creation of new novels and poetry; from the study of how people from other cultures learn English to the study of neo-gothic literature in the twenty-first century and from Elizabethan music and politics to music performance.

While our programmes deliver classic courses on major themes in literature, linguistics, history and music, from Shakespeare to the Russian Revolution, they are also driven by new themes that bring us together across our disciplines: the environmental humanities, the medical humanities, gender and popular culture, activism, heritage, mobility and diaspora, or the great, burning questions posed by modern American culture.

This richness and breadth is underpinned by a strong research culture. In both History and English, our books and articles were ranked in the top 20 for their subject groups in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. This research culture is embedded in all our teaching, with full-time academics teaching students from day one.

Our courses are outward-facing: we produce graduates that are independent, curious and well-equipped to deal with the challenges of contemporary society. History offers a module that combines work experience with practical careers workshops. Our English courses include opportunities to gain teaching experience through placements in schools and our English Language TESOL modules.

This is an exciting time for the Humanities Department as we launch a degree and foundation year in Music, which will combine the study of music history with performance and modules in instrumental/vocal teaching, and essential skills for the freelance musician.

We have a commitment to the wider cultural life of our region and this inflects much of our teaching too: we regularly collaborate with external partners, including the Co-operative College, the Environment Agency, the LIVE Theatre, New Writing North, the National Museum of Scotland, the National Union of Students, Newcastle Cathedral, Tyneside Cinema, embassies and local authorities.

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

We are ranked 15th in the UK for English & Creative Writing in The Guardian University Guide 2020.


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Courses within Humanities

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

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Northumbria Research Link

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

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Undergraduate Open Day Events

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

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Rural Entrepreneurship Conference & ESRS Satellite Event
Reading Dissent and Dissenting Readers in the Reformation World, 1500-1800

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