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

The student satisfaction rate for this course is 92% (National Student Survey, 2020)

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

 

94% of students said the course has provided them with opportunities to explore ideas or concepts in depth (NSS 2020)

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

The student satisfaction rate for this course is 92% (National Student Survey, 2020)

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

 

94% of students said the course has provided them with opportunities to explore ideas or concepts in depth (NSS 2020)

Course Information

UCAS Code
T710

Level of Study
Undergraduate

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

Department
Humanities

Location
City Campus, Northumbria University

City
Newcastle

Start
September 2022 or September 2023

Fee Information

Module Information

Join our English students and staff on their social media below.
 

English at Northumbria University

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

Department / Humanities

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

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

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

Entry Requirements 2022/23

Standard Entry

120 UCAS Tariff points

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

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

Subject Requirements:

There are no specific subject requirements for this course.

GCSE Requirements:

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

Additional Requirements:

There are no additional requirements for this course.

International Qualifications:

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

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

English Language Requirements:

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

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

Entry Requirements 2023/24

Standard Entry

120 UCAS Tariff points

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

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

Subject Requirements:

There are no specific subject requirements for this course.

GCSE Requirements:

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

Additional Requirements:

There are no additional requirements for this course.

International Qualifications:

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

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

English Language Requirements:

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

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

Fees and Funding 2022/23 Entry

UK Fee in Year 1: TBC

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


EU Fee in Year 1: TBC

International Fee in Year 1: TBC

 

Click here for UK, EU and International scholarship, fees, and funding information.

ADDITIONAL COSTS

There are no Additional Costs

Fees and Funding 2023/24 Entry

UK Fee in Year 1*: TBC

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

The above fee is indicative for 23/24 entry.


EU Fee in Year 1: **TBC

** 23/24 EU and International fees have not yet been announced and will be updated once confirmed.



International Fee in Year 1: TBC

23/24 EU and International fees have not yet been announced and will be updated once confirmed.




Scholarships for 23/24 have not yet been announced.  For information on scholarships awarded in 22/23, please see the main Funding Pages.


ADDITIONAL COSTS

TBC

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Modules

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

AM4001 -

Introduction to American Studies (Core,20 Credits)

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

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AM4002 -

Contemporary America (Core,20 Credits)

This module will introduce you to key aspects of contemporary US culture, history, and politics. Chronologically the course focuses on the period from 1992 to the present; in disciplinary terms it embraces economics, film, history, international relations, literature, music, performance, politics, sexuality, and visual culture; thematically, the module emphasizes the importance of racial, ethnic, gender, class and religious identities, consumerism and globalization, domestic and international configurations of US political, social, economic, and cultural power, and the politics of cultural representation in the media and popular culture. Adopting a variegated, multi- and interdisciplinary approach, the module enable you to combine an enhanced empirical knowledge of the contemporary US to useful interpretive frameworks such as postmodernism, queer theory, and globalization theory. The module is organized around a mixture of broad thematic surveys (e.g. Major Trends in Contemporary US Literature) and narrower case studies (e.g. The Challenges of Post-9/11 Literature).

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EL4001 -

Introduction to Literary Studies (Core,20 Credits)

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

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EL4003 -

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

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

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EL4006 -

Concepts in Criticism and Culture (Core,20 Credits)

This module introduces you to key critical concepts in literary studies and asks how those concepts may be applied to the study of less canonical forms of writing and other media.

You will be introduced to theoretical and critical material, addressing key issues about literature and culture such as:
• how is the literary canon is constructed
• how might our gender, race or class background affect how we value and understand literature and popular culture

During the module you will be encouraged to evaluate the significance of debates about authorship, identity and literary value. You will be asked to read a range of key academic essays, discussing them in relation to a range of examples from popular culture as well as literature. You will be asked to think about the values attached to these different forms of cultural production. The module aims to foster your skills in close textual analysis, informed by key theoretical perspectives and independent reflective practice.

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EL4016 -

Talking Texts (Core,20 Credits)

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

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AD5012 -

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

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

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

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AM5002 -

American Studies Extended Essay (Core,20 Credits)

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

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AM5003 -

The American West (Core,20 Credits)

Ever watched a Western film? Heard about the American frontier? Wondered how westward expansion helped redefine the United States? This is the module for you. It focuses on the American West in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, inviting you to consider its culture, history, politics, and society. Key themes include race, the Western movie genre, western literature, the frontier’s impact on the West and America in a wider sense, and the environment, all of which will be examined through different theoretical and methodological approaches.

Learning about the different ways in which we can see, understand and explain the West will provide you with a better range of tools to form your own understanding and explanation of what we can observe in the world today. For example, considering Western movies will encourage you to think afresh about American violence, civilization, and gender. Analysis of the frontier will develop your understanding of American progress, masculinity, and racism. Thinking about the western environment will prompt you to reassess the relationship between our natural environment and society.

At a theoretical level, this team-taught module will introduce you to the concept of ‘place’ within a framework informed by the multi- and inter-disciplinary approaches of American Studies. In this, it should challenge you to consider the way that History interacts with, for example, Film or Literature, and surprise you by encouraging you to rethink your prior assumptions about the American Experience. You’ll never think about America in the same way again, we promise.

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EL5003 -

Early Modern Cultures (Optional,20 Credits)

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

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

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EL5004 -

Modernism and Modernity (Core,20 Credits)

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

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EL5005 -

Geneses of English Literature (Optional,20 Credits)

What are the mythological frameworks of western culture, and how have they influenced and informed literary texts? This module will introduce you to poems, plays, and novels which adapt classical and biblical narratives – including mythologies of ‘genesis’ (Eden, Troy), ‘metamorphosis’ (Actaeon, Christ), and ‘underworlds’ (Orpheus and Eurydice, Satan) – unpacking and analysing some of the most central narratives of British and American literature. Using cultural theory relevant to appropriation studies, you will learn how to locate and analyse classical and biblical narratives in literary texts in meaningful ways. Reading beyond literature, you will also learn about how these narratives are employed in popular music, film, television, advertising, and wider popular cultures.

Building upon work completed at Level 4 in narrative and appropriation studies on modules such as EL4006 ‘Concepts in Criticism and Culture’, this module offers you a more focused and in depth opportunity to read core narrative and mythology ‘types’ in a range of twentieth and twenty-first century texts. The module fosters key skills in textual analysis, and your tutor-led and independent reading and research tasks will supplement and support learning at Level 6.

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EL5006 -

Poetry: Tradition and Experiment (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module you will focus on key moments in the development of poetic theory and practice, from the early modern period to the present day. In this module you will examine poems as sites at which tradition and experiment collide and intertwine. Through the close analysis of a small number of individual poems by ground-breaking poets, you will develop your understanding of the dynamic relationship between poetic form and content. In doing so, you will reflect upon and interrogate the complex ways in which poetic texts engage with, and intervene in, broader cultural debates about nation, class, race, and gender. You will consider how the evolution of poetry and poetics coalesces with questions of aesthetics and ideology.

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EL5008 -

Tragedy (Optional,20 Credits)

What was or is tragedy? When and why did tragic drama begin to be written and performed? How have later writers of tragedy built on or surpassed early forms of tragedy? What did or does tragedy tell us about the world we live in? This module addresses these questions, with a survey of tragic drama from the classical past, through the early modern period, to the twentieth century. You will learn to contextualise each tragedy in relation to the conflicts and strains of the period in which it was made and consumed, while also thinking about the relations between writing, gender, religion, and politics, issues of literary influence, and the function of art in times of crisis, past and present.

Building on your work correlating Shakespearean tragedy and modern drama at Level 4 (Titus Andronicus and Blasted), and prefiguring your extended writing work for the dissertation and on drama-based modules such as Marlowe in Context at Level 6, this module will develop your understanding of the dramatic genre of tragedy. This will involve looking at tragedy’s earliest forms, the early modern revival and revision of such forms, and modern reworkings of the genre and its concerns.

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EL5009 -

Literature and Adaptation (Optional,20 Credits)

This module explores adaptations of literary texts in modern culture. It focuses on the ways in which classic texts are retold and appropriated in a variety of popular genres, media, and formats. The module thus builds on the knowledge and skills developed at Level 4, particularly those concerning the notion of canonicity and the relations between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture.

The module introduces you to the current theories of adaptation and teaches you the knowledge and skills necessary for critical analysis of adaptations. It also provides you with the terminology and skills needed for the study of film and other media, as well as non-canonical (popular) literary genres.

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EL5026 -

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

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

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HI5004 -

Affluence and Anxiety: The US from 1920 to 1960 (Optional,20 Credits)

Historians and other researchers have often used the terms of ‘affluence’ and ‘anxiety’ to describe US history and culture from 1920 to 1960. According to a traditional narrative, Americans enjoyed unprecedented ‘affluence’ in the 1920s and in the postwar period, while experiencing great ‘anxiety’ in the context of the Cold War. While useful, these narratives do not fully account for the complexity of this period. In this module, we will ask questions such as: Who took advantage of affluence (pre- and post-WW2)? Who was excluded from it and how? How did American conceptions of affluence fundamentally shape our current climate crisis? Beyond Cold War anxieties, what were Americans, in their diversity, worried about? How did foreign policy anxieties reveal themselves at home? And how did racial and gender anxieties shape US politics and culture?

With these questions in mind, we will assess and analyse major developments and events of the period, including, but not limited to: the roaring 1920s, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, the New Deal, World War II, the Cold War, the postwar “economic miracle,” the suburban boom, and the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement. By narrowing our focus on four crucial decades of the 20th century, we will be able to look at these events from various angles. In accordance with recent developments in the field, we will pay particular attention to historiographical interpretations that emphasize race, gender, sexuality, and class, as well as the environment. This will mean, for instance, that you will not only learn about the anti-communist ‘Red Scare’ of the 1950s, but also about the lesser known ‘Lavender Scare’ that targeted gay men and women working for the US government. Similarly, we will study Rosa Parks’ efforts to desegregate the buses in 1950s Birmingham, but we will also pay attention to ordinary actors of the Civil Rights Movement, such as the African-American youths who desegregated swimming pools and amusement parks.

Primary and secondary source readings, along with classroom activities, will help you to critically engage this key era of American development and develop the interpretive skills of a historian.

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HI5051 -

British Empires: The First Two Hundred Years (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module you will learn to think comparatively about processes of historical change, using Britain’s earliest imperial ventures in the Atlantic World, as well as subsequent endeavours in Australasia, as the testing ground. You will develop your knowledge and understanding of how Britain came to attain an Empire in North America, exploring early migration and settlement patterns, but also how the British interacted with indigenous peoples. You will further learn about how Britain, despite defeat in the American Revolution (1776-1783), was able to retain a presence in the Americas, examining, for example, the movement of Loyalists to what became Canada. You will then consider these North American developments in broader global context, exploring how Britain first came to acquire India, the “jewel in the crown”, before extending its reach even further to Australia by establishing it as a penal colony. Finally, the module will equip you to think critically and develop your own view about academic literature, primary sources, and comparative historical interpretation.

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HI5052 -

History/Film: Using Popular Film as Historical Evidence (Optional,20 Credits)

We know you like films, and we know that you like using them as historical evidence. But are you aware that you need a very particular skill set in order to analyse and write about films properly? If you weren’t but are interested in finding out more, and particularly if you are thinking of using film in your final-year dissertation, then this is the module for you.

This team-taught module invites you to consider a variety of popular film genres, with a specific view towards considering their value to the historian, both as sources about the past AND sources from the past. Key genres that we’ll examine include documentaries, historical dramas, biopics, science fiction, and more. The module tutors will provide you with leading-edge theoretical and methodological approaches through which you will learn how to analyse cinema as a historian.

Learning about the ways in which we might dissect a film will provide you with a range of tools that you can bring to bear on the world around you. For example, you will be able to demonstrate how popular film reflects and attempts to shape popular opinion about key political issues of the time, and how the semiotics of film enable us to move beyond simply responding to film’s plot or its cast.

As this suggests, the module requires you to develop additional analytic skills to those that you would wield when analysing textual documents. It will enable you to move beyond issues pertaining to a film’s factual accuracy (or lack thereof) to consider its emotional truths, its ideological standpoints, the ways in which the filmmakers attempt to convey and disguise political messages, and the way in which audiences are able to absorb, reject, or transform these messages as they see fit. Naturally, it will encourage you to consider the complicated relationship between the past, film, history, Film Studies, and the discipline of History itself. It might even do more…

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IR5010 -

Foreign Policy Analysis (Optional,20 Credits)

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

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MP5022 -

Cultural Identities on Screen (Optional,20 Credits)

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

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AD5009 -

Humanities Work Placement Year (Optional,120 Credits)

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

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

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AD5010 -

Humanities Study Abroad Year (Optional,120 Credits)

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

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

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AT5007 -

Year in International Multidisciplinary Innovation (4 modules studied in Amsterdam (Semester 1) & Newcastle (Semester 2) (Optional,120 Credits)

What will I learn on this module?

This overarching module descriptor covers the Year in International Multidisciplinary Innovation which is made up of 4 modules that the students will study in Amsterdam (semester 1) and Newcastle (semester 2).

This additional year of studies has been designed to develop students’ creative thinking and practical problem-solving skills in the context of design thinking approaches, all of which will significantly development academic and research skills and so strengthen employability on graduation. This year of study enhances your employability by unlocking and developing your creative problem-solving skills, knowledge, and expertise to make you more employment and industry-ready when you graduate through in multidisciplinary teams throughout your year of study in Amsterdam and Newcastle to creatively tackle and solve real-world challenges.
Semester 1 in Amsterdam comprises of two 20-credit modules aimed at students new to design thinking which also equips them for a semester in Newcastle, working in creative teams on a series of real-world projects that enhance creative thinking skills and attributes and multidisciplinary working practices. The modules studied in Semester 1, Innovative Design Practices and Tools and Multidisciplinary Exploration and Value Creation provide students with analytical design-inspired tools that enable students to examine real-world case studies that require multidisciplinary professional team-based responses and solution formation and implementation. In Semester 2, students will move to Newcastle to study two modules at Northumbria University. The first module, Design-Inspired Research Methods enables students to critically investigate key social, cultural, and technological challenges that modern urban spaces, cities, and professions. The final module, Creative Cities, enables students to engage in the creative comparative research of problems, challenges and potential innovative developments between Amsterdam and Newcastle (in terms of mobility, sustainable practices, energy provision, smart and digital technologies, urban design, or the role of cultural and humanities-oriented institutions).

The modules are outlined below:

Semester 1
AT5005 Innovative Design Practices and Tools (20 credits)
AT5006 Multidisciplinary Exploration and Value Creation (40 credits)

Semester 2
DE5012 Design-Inspired Research Methods (20 credits)
DE5013 Creative Cities (40 credits)

In semester 1, students will learn in a creative environment in the Amsterdam campus dedicated to full time programmes. A mixture of large group and small group sessions will take place in sessions and workshops that bring together AUAS and Northumbria students and staff. The focus of the teaching and learning is on creative interdisciplinary team activities that develop creative thinking and address real-world issues and problems. In semester 2, students engage in comparative city-based research to identify differing challenges facing Amsterdam and Newcastle. Students will approach a range of real-world issues from the perspective of their academic discipline and work with students from other perspectives to see how differing knowledges and skillsets can combine to address challenges in innovative and creative ways. These can include cultural institutions, design, technology, IT, and engineering, architecture, history, and the social sciences. Therefore, the programme is relevant for students from a range academic disciplines who will work together to stress how differing disciplines combine to provide solutions to challenges. Assessment has been developed in accordance with Northumbria’s Assessment for Learning principles including a broad mix of assessment appropriate to the learning outcomes being assessed and with opportunities for formative feedback.

A student who passes all modules will, on successful completion of their undergraduate programme of study, have the title “(Year in International Multidisciplinary Innovation UK and Amsterdam)” added to their degree award title. Students who do not pass 120 credits will have those modules that have been completed recorded on their transcript.

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AM6004 -

States of Nature: Environments and Peoples in the Americas (Core,20 Credits)

Focusing on North and South America, this module examines the interaction between humans and the environment throughout history. We will discuss the ways in which various peoples experienced their environment: how they attempted to change it, how they were limited by it, and how they thought about nature. In doing so, we will consider historical change at several levels:

1. Material and ecological: the physical changes that humans in the American have wrought over the past 10,000 years.

2. Social and political: the connection between peoples’ use of the environment and the way in which American societies developed.

3. Intellectual and ideological: how individuals and societies have understood nature at various points throughout history and how this understanding has shaped their actions.

You will find out about the relationship between humans and nature in the period before European expansion in the Americas and, following on from this, you will consider the ecological impact of European colonialism. The module content covers human activities such as farming and mining, but also the impact of floods, hurricanes and climate change. You will consider the spread of cities, the role of their hinterlands and the creation of national parks. In the final sections of the module, you will examine the manifold impacts of consumer culture (including waste and pollution) as well as the rise of environmentalist movements that were critical of humans’ ecological footprint.

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EL6004 -

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

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

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

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EL6007 -

Sin, Sex, and Violence: Marlowe in Context (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will enhance your awareness and appreciation of one of the most controversial and stimulating authors of the early modern period (and beyond!), Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593). Marlowe wrote plays and poems that expose our darkest hearts, showing characters lusting for power, and each other. Building on your brief contact with Marlowe at Level 5, this module will offer a chronological survey of his short but staggering career, situating each of his works in relation to the tumultuous contexts of their production and reception, including later appropriations. This will involve looking at Marlowe in relation to discussions of early modern politics, religious conflict, sexuality, urbanisation, imperialism, science and magic, ethnicity, geography, and historiography. The module therefore offers a unique opportunity to see how one writer’s remarkable career developed.

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EL6018 -

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

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

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EL6042 -

Postwar US Writing (Optional,20 Credits)

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

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EL6047 -

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

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

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

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EL6049 -

From Jane Austen to Austenland: Representing the Regency in Literature and Film (Optional,20 Credits)

The Regency (1810-1820) is condensed and complex period of contrasts; whilst precipitating significant and lasting changes in literature, art, theatre, fashion, and architecture, it was also a period that was beset by war, ruthless suppression of popular protest, sexual scandal, and the Regent himself was an object of contempt and ridicule. However, the Regency has come to be represented in popular culture as the lost and last age of romance and elegance, partly the result of enhanced connections being made between Austen and the heritage industries in modern adaptations. This module examines representations of the Regency in literature and film, beginning with the works of Jane Austen, all of which were published during this period.

We will begin with an introduction to the social, cultural and political issues of the period, and we will consider Austen as a writer of the Regency. We will move on to consider the significance of twentieth-century adaptations, imitations and appropriations of Austen and representations of the Regency in the works of historical novelists such as Georgette Heyer and Barbara Cartland, and more contemporary works such as Shannon Hale’s ‘Austenland’. We will also consider the proliferation of Austen and the Regency-based texts in the American market in relation to thinking about both as a form of heritage tourism and escapism. Overall, we will be exploring the impact of Austen upon popular culture, how popular culture fosters a reconsideration of Austen and how we engage with both in relation how we envision our cultural past.

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EL6050 -

Making Books (Optional,20 Credits)

The eighteenth-century was a profoundly innovative moment in terms of the invention and development of the novel and the rapid expansion of the early book trade. But so often we read eighteenth-century fiction in modern, digitally-produced editions. How were eighteenth-century books first made? How are they made today? On this module, you will study individual literary texts alongside printing practices which have shaped and continue to contribute to the book trade. By studying literature through practical demonstrations and history of book production, you will build on previous knowledge gained in second and third year core modules in understanding how the book trade of today builds on the print cultures of the past. You will learn how to interpret as well as how to present and edit eighteenth-century literature, through being introduced to bibliographical and digital research methods. This module will enhance your knowledge and appreciation of eighteenth-century literature and build on your awareness of the print cultural contexts of book production in this period, including form, format, typography and editorial apparatus.

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EL6053 -

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

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

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EL6055 -

Writing and Environment (Optional,20 Credits)

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

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EL6057 -

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

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

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

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HI6022 -

Joint Honours Dissertation (Core,40 Credits)

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

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HI6030 -

Law and Order USA: Police, Prisons, and Protest in Modern America (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will explore the history of ‘law and order’ politics (broadly defined) in the United States since 1900. You will learn about the creation of the law enforcement and judicial state at the federal, state, and local level (including, for instance, the establishment of the FBI and the rise of the carceral state), and the social movements that resisted and challenged that state. The module will cover such diverse topics as Prohibition, the Stonewall riot and the early LGBTQ movement, the prison reform and prisoners’ rights movements, the War on Drugs, anti-death penalty activism, and Black Lives Matter. This module will deal with fundamental questions of order and justice, how they have been contested in American society, and how they have intersected with issues of race, class, and gender.

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MI6005 -

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

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

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MI6007 -

Cult Film and Television (Optional,20 Credits)

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

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Modules

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

AM4001 -

Introduction to American Studies (Core,20 Credits)

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

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AM4002 -

Contemporary America (Core,20 Credits)

This module will introduce you to key aspects of contemporary US culture, history, and politics. Chronologically the course focuses on the period from 1992 to the present; in disciplinary terms it embraces economics, film, history, international relations, literature, music, performance, politics, sexuality, and visual culture; thematically, the module emphasizes the importance of racial, ethnic, gender, class and religious identities, consumerism and globalization, domestic and international configurations of US political, social, economic, and cultural power, and the politics of cultural representation in the media and popular culture. Adopting a variegated, multi- and interdisciplinary approach, the module enable you to combine an enhanced empirical knowledge of the contemporary US to useful interpretive frameworks such as postmodernism, queer theory, and globalization theory. The module is organized around a mixture of broad thematic surveys (e.g. Major Trends in Contemporary US Literature) and narrower case studies (e.g. The Challenges of Post-9/11 Literature).

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EL4001 -

Introduction to Literary Studies (Core,20 Credits)

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

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EL4003 -

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

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

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EL4006 -

Concepts in Criticism and Culture (Core,20 Credits)

This module introduces you to key critical concepts in literary studies and asks how those concepts may be applied to the study of less canonical forms of writing and other media.

You will be introduced to theoretical and critical material, addressing key issues about literature and culture such as:
• how is the literary canon is constructed
• how might our gender, race or class background affect how we value and understand literature and popular culture

During the module you will be encouraged to evaluate the significance of debates about authorship, identity and literary value. You will be asked to read a range of key academic essays, discussing them in relation to a range of examples from popular culture as well as literature. You will be asked to think about the values attached to these different forms of cultural production. The module aims to foster your skills in close textual analysis, informed by key theoretical perspectives and independent reflective practice.

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EL4016 -

Talking Texts (Core,20 Credits)

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

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AD5012 -

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

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

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

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AM5002 -

American Studies Extended Essay (Core,20 Credits)

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

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AM5003 -

The American West (Core,20 Credits)

Ever watched a Western film? Heard about the American frontier? Wondered how westward expansion helped redefine the United States? This is the module for you. It focuses on the American West in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, inviting you to consider its culture, history, politics, and society. Key themes include race, the Western movie genre, western literature, the frontier’s impact on the West and America in a wider sense, and the environment, all of which will be examined through different theoretical and methodological approaches.

Learning about the different ways in which we can see, understand and explain the West will provide you with a better range of tools to form your own understanding and explanation of what we can observe in the world today. For example, considering Western movies will encourage you to think afresh about American violence, civilization, and gender. Analysis of the frontier will develop your understanding of American progress, masculinity, and racism. Thinking about the western environment will prompt you to reassess the relationship between our natural environment and society.

At a theoretical level, this team-taught module will introduce you to the concept of ‘place’ within a framework informed by the multi- and inter-disciplinary approaches of American Studies. In this, it should challenge you to consider the way that History interacts with, for example, Film or Literature, and surprise you by encouraging you to rethink your prior assumptions about the American Experience. You’ll never think about America in the same way again, we promise.

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EL5003 -

Early Modern Cultures (Optional,20 Credits)

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

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

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EL5004 -

Modernism and Modernity (Core,20 Credits)

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

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EL5005 -

Geneses of English Literature (Optional,20 Credits)

What are the mythological frameworks of western culture, and how have they influenced and informed literary texts? This module will introduce you to poems, plays, and novels which adapt classical and biblical narratives – including mythologies of ‘genesis’ (Eden, Troy), ‘metamorphosis’ (Actaeon, Christ), and ‘underworlds’ (Orpheus and Eurydice, Satan) – unpacking and analysing some of the most central narratives of British and American literature. Using cultural theory relevant to appropriation studies, you will learn how to locate and analyse classical and biblical narratives in literary texts in meaningful ways. Reading beyond literature, you will also learn about how these narratives are employed in popular music, film, television, advertising, and wider popular cultures.

Building upon work completed at Level 4 in narrative and appropriation studies on modules such as EL4006 ‘Concepts in Criticism and Culture’, this module offers you a more focused and in depth opportunity to read core narrative and mythology ‘types’ in a range of twentieth and twenty-first century texts. The module fosters key skills in textual analysis, and your tutor-led and independent reading and research tasks will supplement and support learning at Level 6.

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EL5006 -

Poetry: Tradition and Experiment (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module you will focus on key moments in the development of poetic theory and practice, from the early modern period to the present day. In this module you will examine poems as sites at which tradition and experiment collide and intertwine. Through the close analysis of a small number of individual poems by ground-breaking poets, you will develop your understanding of the dynamic relationship between poetic form and content. In doing so, you will reflect upon and interrogate the complex ways in which poetic texts engage with, and intervene in, broader cultural debates about nation, class, race, and gender. You will consider how the evolution of poetry and poetics coalesces with questions of aesthetics and ideology.

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EL5008 -

Tragedy (Optional,20 Credits)

What was or is tragedy? When and why did tragic drama begin to be written and performed? How have later writers of tragedy built on or surpassed early forms of tragedy? What did or does tragedy tell us about the world we live in? This module addresses these questions, with a survey of tragic drama from the classical past, through the early modern period, to the twentieth century. You will learn to contextualise each tragedy in relation to the conflicts and strains of the period in which it was made and consumed, while also thinking about the relations between writing, gender, religion, and politics, issues of literary influence, and the function of art in times of crisis, past and present.

Building on your work correlating Shakespearean tragedy and modern drama at Level 4 (Titus Andronicus and Blasted), and prefiguring your extended writing work for the dissertation and on drama-based modules such as Marlowe in Context at Level 6, this module will develop your understanding of the dramatic genre of tragedy. This will involve looking at tragedy’s earliest forms, the early modern revival and revision of such forms, and modern reworkings of the genre and its concerns.

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EL5009 -

Literature and Adaptation (Optional,20 Credits)

This module explores adaptations of literary texts in modern culture. It focuses on the ways in which classic texts are retold and appropriated in a variety of popular genres, media, and formats. The module thus builds on the knowledge and skills developed at Level 4, particularly those concerning the notion of canonicity and the relations between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture.

The module introduces you to the current theories of adaptation and teaches you the knowledge and skills necessary for critical analysis of adaptations. It also provides you with the terminology and skills needed for the study of film and other media, as well as non-canonical (popular) literary genres.

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EL5026 -

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

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

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HI5004 -

Affluence and Anxiety: The US from 1920 to 1960 (Optional,20 Credits)

Historians and other researchers have often used the terms of ‘affluence’ and ‘anxiety’ to describe US history and culture from 1920 to 1960. According to a traditional narrative, Americans enjoyed unprecedented ‘affluence’ in the 1920s and in the postwar period, while experiencing great ‘anxiety’ in the context of the Cold War. While useful, these narratives do not fully account for the complexity of this period. In this module, we will ask questions such as: Who took advantage of affluence (pre- and post-WW2)? Who was excluded from it and how? How did American conceptions of affluence fundamentally shape our current climate crisis? Beyond Cold War anxieties, what were Americans, in their diversity, worried about? How did foreign policy anxieties reveal themselves at home? And how did racial and gender anxieties shape US politics and culture?

With these questions in mind, we will assess and analyse major developments and events of the period, including, but not limited to: the roaring 1920s, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, the New Deal, World War II, the Cold War, the postwar “economic miracle,” the suburban boom, and the beginnings of the Civil Rights Movement. By narrowing our focus on four crucial decades of the 20th century, we will be able to look at these events from various angles. In accordance with recent developments in the field, we will pay particular attention to historiographical interpretations that emphasize race, gender, sexuality, and class, as well as the environment. This will mean, for instance, that you will not only learn about the anti-communist ‘Red Scare’ of the 1950s, but also about the lesser known ‘Lavender Scare’ that targeted gay men and women working for the US government. Similarly, we will study Rosa Parks’ efforts to desegregate the buses in 1950s Birmingham, but we will also pay attention to ordinary actors of the Civil Rights Movement, such as the African-American youths who desegregated swimming pools and amusement parks.

Primary and secondary source readings, along with classroom activities, will help you to critically engage this key era of American development and develop the interpretive skills of a historian.

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HI5051 -

British Empires: The First Two Hundred Years (Optional,20 Credits)

In this module you will learn to think comparatively about processes of historical change, using Britain’s earliest imperial ventures in the Atlantic World, as well as subsequent endeavours in Australasia, as the testing ground. You will develop your knowledge and understanding of how Britain came to attain an Empire in North America, exploring early migration and settlement patterns, but also how the British interacted with indigenous peoples. You will further learn about how Britain, despite defeat in the American Revolution (1776-1783), was able to retain a presence in the Americas, examining, for example, the movement of Loyalists to what became Canada. You will then consider these North American developments in broader global context, exploring how Britain first came to acquire India, the “jewel in the crown”, before extending its reach even further to Australia by establishing it as a penal colony. Finally, the module will equip you to think critically and develop your own view about academic literature, primary sources, and comparative historical interpretation.

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HI5052 -

History/Film: Using Popular Film as Historical Evidence (Optional,20 Credits)

We know you like films, and we know that you like using them as historical evidence. But are you aware that you need a very particular skill set in order to analyse and write about films properly? If you weren’t but are interested in finding out more, and particularly if you are thinking of using film in your final-year dissertation, then this is the module for you.

This team-taught module invites you to consider a variety of popular film genres, with a specific view towards considering their value to the historian, both as sources about the past AND sources from the past. Key genres that we’ll examine include documentaries, historical dramas, biopics, science fiction, and more. The module tutors will provide you with leading-edge theoretical and methodological approaches through which you will learn how to analyse cinema as a historian.

Learning about the ways in which we might dissect a film will provide you with a range of tools that you can bring to bear on the world around you. For example, you will be able to demonstrate how popular film reflects and attempts to shape popular opinion about key political issues of the time, and how the semiotics of film enable us to move beyond simply responding to film’s plot or its cast.

As this suggests, the module requires you to develop additional analytic skills to those that you would wield when analysing textual documents. It will enable you to move beyond issues pertaining to a film’s factual accuracy (or lack thereof) to consider its emotional truths, its ideological standpoints, the ways in which the filmmakers attempt to convey and disguise political messages, and the way in which audiences are able to absorb, reject, or transform these messages as they see fit. Naturally, it will encourage you to consider the complicated relationship between the past, film, history, Film Studies, and the discipline of History itself. It might even do more…

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IR5010 -

Foreign Policy Analysis (Optional,20 Credits)

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

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MP5022 -

Cultural Identities on Screen (Optional,20 Credits)

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

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AD5009 -

Humanities Work Placement Year (Optional,120 Credits)

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

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

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AD5010 -

Humanities Study Abroad Year (Optional,120 Credits)

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

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

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AT5007 -

Year in International Multidisciplinary Innovation (4 modules studied in Amsterdam (Semester 1) & Newcastle (Semester 2) (Optional,120 Credits)

What will I learn on this module?

This overarching module descriptor covers the Year in International Multidisciplinary Innovation which is made up of 4 modules that the students will study in Amsterdam (semester 1) and Newcastle (semester 2).

This additional year of studies has been designed to develop students’ creative thinking and practical problem-solving skills in the context of design thinking approaches, all of which will significantly development academic and research skills and so strengthen employability on graduation. This year of study enhances your employability by unlocking and developing your creative problem-solving skills, knowledge, and expertise to make you more employment and industry-ready when you graduate through in multidisciplinary teams throughout your year of study in Amsterdam and Newcastle to creatively tackle and solve real-world challenges.
Semester 1 in Amsterdam comprises of two 20-credit modules aimed at students new to design thinking which also equips them for a semester in Newcastle, working in creative teams on a series of real-world projects that enhance creative thinking skills and attributes and multidisciplinary working practices. The modules studied in Semester 1, Innovative Design Practices and Tools and Multidisciplinary Exploration and Value Creation provide students with analytical design-inspired tools that enable students to examine real-world case studies that require multidisciplinary professional team-based responses and solution formation and implementation. In Semester 2, students will move to Newcastle to study two modules at Northumbria University. The first module, Design-Inspired Research Methods enables students to critically investigate key social, cultural, and technological challenges that modern urban spaces, cities, and professions. The final module, Creative Cities, enables students to engage in the creative comparative research of problems, challenges and potential innovative developments between Amsterdam and Newcastle (in terms of mobility, sustainable practices, energy provision, smart and digital technologies, urban design, or the role of cultural and humanities-oriented institutions).

The modules are outlined below:

Semester 1
AT5005 Innovative Design Practices and Tools (20 credits)
AT5006 Multidisciplinary Exploration and Value Creation (40 credits)

Semester 2
DE5012 Design-Inspired Research Methods (20 credits)
DE5013 Creative Cities (40 credits)

In semester 1, students will learn in a creative environment in the Amsterdam campus dedicated to full time programmes. A mixture of large group and small group sessions will take place in sessions and workshops that bring together AUAS and Northumbria students and staff. The focus of the teaching and learning is on creative interdisciplinary team activities that develop creative thinking and address real-world issues and problems. In semester 2, students engage in comparative city-based research to identify differing challenges facing Amsterdam and Newcastle. Students will approach a range of real-world issues from the perspective of their academic discipline and work with students from other perspectives to see how differing knowledges and skillsets can combine to address challenges in innovative and creative ways. These can include cultural institutions, design, technology, IT, and engineering, architecture, history, and the social sciences. Therefore, the programme is relevant for students from a range academic disciplines who will work together to stress how differing disciplines combine to provide solutions to challenges. Assessment has been developed in accordance with Northumbria’s Assessment for Learning principles including a broad mix of assessment appropriate to the learning outcomes being assessed and with opportunities for formative feedback.

A student who passes all modules will, on successful completion of their undergraduate programme of study, have the title “(Year in International Multidisciplinary Innovation UK and Amsterdam)” added to their degree award title. Students who do not pass 120 credits will have those modules that have been completed recorded on their transcript.

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AM6004 -

States of Nature: Environments and Peoples in the Americas (Core,20 Credits)

Focusing on North and South America, this module examines the interaction between humans and the environment throughout history. We will discuss the ways in which various peoples experienced their environment: how they attempted to change it, how they were limited by it, and how they thought about nature. In doing so, we will consider historical change at several levels:

1. Material and ecological: the physical changes that humans in the American have wrought over the past 10,000 years.

2. Social and political: the connection between peoples’ use of the environment and the way in which American societies developed.

3. Intellectual and ideological: how individuals and societies have understood nature at various points throughout history and how this understanding has shaped their actions.

You will find out about the relationship between humans and nature in the period before European expansion in the Americas and, following on from this, you will consider the ecological impact of European colonialism. The module content covers human activities such as farming and mining, but also the impact of floods, hurricanes and climate change. You will consider the spread of cities, the role of their hinterlands and the creation of national parks. In the final sections of the module, you will examine the manifold impacts of consumer culture (including waste and pollution) as well as the rise of environmentalist movements that were critical of humans’ ecological footprint.

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EL6004 -

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

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

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

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EL6007 -

Sin, Sex, and Violence: Marlowe in Context (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will enhance your awareness and appreciation of one of the most controversial and stimulating authors of the early modern period (and beyond!), Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593). Marlowe wrote plays and poems that expose our darkest hearts, showing characters lusting for power, and each other. Building on your brief contact with Marlowe at Level 5, this module will offer a chronological survey of his short but staggering career, situating each of his works in relation to the tumultuous contexts of their production and reception, including later appropriations. This will involve looking at Marlowe in relation to discussions of early modern politics, religious conflict, sexuality, urbanisation, imperialism, science and magic, ethnicity, geography, and historiography. The module therefore offers a unique opportunity to see how one writer’s remarkable career developed.

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EL6018 -

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

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

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EL6042 -

Postwar US Writing (Optional,20 Credits)

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

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EL6047 -

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

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

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

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EL6049 -

From Jane Austen to Austenland: Representing the Regency in Literature and Film (Optional,20 Credits)

The Regency (1810-1820) is condensed and complex period of contrasts; whilst precipitating significant and lasting changes in literature, art, theatre, fashion, and architecture, it was also a period that was beset by war, ruthless suppression of popular protest, sexual scandal, and the Regent himself was an object of contempt and ridicule. However, the Regency has come to be represented in popular culture as the lost and last age of romance and elegance, partly the result of enhanced connections being made between Austen and the heritage industries in modern adaptations. This module examines representations of the Regency in literature and film, beginning with the works of Jane Austen, all of which were published during this period.

We will begin with an introduction to the social, cultural and political issues of the period, and we will consider Austen as a writer of the Regency. We will move on to consider the significance of twentieth-century adaptations, imitations and appropriations of Austen and representations of the Regency in the works of historical novelists such as Georgette Heyer and Barbara Cartland, and more contemporary works such as Shannon Hale’s ‘Austenland’. We will also consider the proliferation of Austen and the Regency-based texts in the American market in relation to thinking about both as a form of heritage tourism and escapism. Overall, we will be exploring the impact of Austen upon popular culture, how popular culture fosters a reconsideration of Austen and how we engage with both in relation how we envision our cultural past.

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EL6050 -

Making Books (Optional,20 Credits)

The eighteenth-century was a profoundly innovative moment in terms of the invention and development of the novel and the rapid expansion of the early book trade. But so often we read eighteenth-century fiction in modern, digitally-produced editions. How were eighteenth-century books first made? How are they made today? On this module, you will study individual literary texts alongside printing practices which have shaped and continue to contribute to the book trade. By studying literature through practical demonstrations and history of book production, you will build on previous knowledge gained in second and third year core modules in understanding how the book trade of today builds on the print cultures of the past. You will learn how to interpret as well as how to present and edit eighteenth-century literature, through being introduced to bibliographical and digital research methods. This module will enhance your knowledge and appreciation of eighteenth-century literature and build on your awareness of the print cultural contexts of book production in this period, including form, format, typography and editorial apparatus.

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EL6053 -

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

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

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EL6055 -

Writing and Environment (Optional,20 Credits)

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

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EL6057 -

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

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

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

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HI6022 -

Joint Honours Dissertation (Core,40 Credits)

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

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HI6030 -

Law and Order USA: Police, Prisons, and Protest in Modern America (Optional,20 Credits)

This module will explore the history of ‘law and order’ politics (broadly defined) in the United States since 1900. You will learn about the creation of the law enforcement and judicial state at the federal, state, and local level (including, for instance, the establishment of the FBI and the rise of the carceral state), and the social movements that resisted and challenged that state. The module will cover such diverse topics as Prohibition, the Stonewall riot and the early LGBTQ movement, the prison reform and prisoners’ rights movements, the War on Drugs, anti-death penalty activism, and Black Lives Matter. This module will deal with fundamental questions of order and justice, how they have been contested in American society, and how they have intersected with issues of race, class, and gender.

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MI6005 -

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

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

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MI6007 -

Cult Film and Television (Optional,20 Credits)

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

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English Literature and American Studies BA (Hons)

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All information on this course page is accurate at the time of viewing.

Our Campus based courses starting in 2022 and 2023 will be delivered on-campus with supporting online learning content. We continue to monitor government and local authority guidance in relation to Covid-19 and we are ready and able to adjust the delivery of our education accordingly to ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.

On-campus contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with any additional restrictions, which may be imposed by the Government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors. This could potentially mean increased or fully online delivery, should such restrictions on in-person contact time be required.

 

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