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English Literature and History

English Literature and History at St Mary’s offers you the chance to explore both literature and the past in depth, on our beautiful historic campus, in a friendly department where we value above all the ambitions and needs of the individual student.

Why study English Literature and History?

English Literature and History is a classic and well regarded subject combination. The study of literature and of the past complement each other well, offering you new perspectives on the contexts of different writers’ work and different ways of thinking about writing as a tool to understand society.

The degree offers you the chance to follow your own interests. History at St Mary’s ranges from the medieval period to the present day, and covers the History of Britain, Europe, America, the Middle East, North Africa and Australia.

In English you can study a variety of subjects, from the Renaissance to the literature and culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and spanning the English speaking world. This means that you can undertake, for example, an in-depth study of Shakespeare alongside modules Early Modern History, or combine an examination of American history with readings of American literature.

Why St Mary’s?

As an English Literature and History student at St Mary’s you will be part of a friendly and supportive community, and you will work closely with the leading academics that teach here. We feel that this allows us to offer a really high quality student experience, and students at St Mary’s are the most satisfied with their course of any University in London.

As part of the Department of the Humanities, you will benefit from the vibrant community of students and staff. All of our lecturers are experts in their field, and students can also benefit from the range of talks and events held at the Twickenham Exchange arts centre. 

Career opportunities

A diverse range of career opportunities exist for English Literature and History graduates. The employment skills that you will have acquired should allow you to develop a career in: the media, communications, market research, the heritage sector and public services. These skills also allow many you move into graduate and specialist management positions.

The degree also provides a sound basis from which to undertake further postgraduate and specialist training.

The Careers Service has more information on careers and postgraduate study options available to Film and Screen Media and History students who have started their studies at St Mary’s.

You can also undertake a work placement as part of your degree. 


Key facts

  • St Mary’s students have the highest levels of satisfaction with their courses of any University in London (Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019)
  • Combine your interest in two well regarded and academically rigorous subjects
  • Choose your own pathway through the degree, tailoring it to your interests
  • Taught on our historic Strawberry Hill campus, just a half hour train journey from Central London
  • Study overseas at one of our partner institutions in the US or Europe
Teaching methods

The course is predominantly taught through seminars and workshops, where you will work collaboratively with other students to analyse a range of historical and literary works.

The programme includes a number of field trips to relevant historical sites in London and nearby. The cost of entry and reimbursement for travel is included in the tuition fees.

Some teaching is also done through lectures and tutorials. Tutorials are a great opportunity for you to discuss your work with us in detail.

Assessment methods

At St Mary’s you will undertake a wide variety of different assessments.

Our assessment models are different for each module, allowing you to develop a range of demonstrable skills during your degree programme.

You will write essays, critical commentaries about primary sources, or review books and articles. In some modules, you may give presentations, curate exhibition pieces, or participate in mini-conferences or where you will present your work to your peers in a supportive and encouraging environment.

Most of our modules are assessed by coursework, although there are a small number of exams.

You will receive written feedback on all assignments and are encouraged to meet regularly with tutors to discuss your work individually.