BA Art History and English Literature / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course description

BA Art History and English Literature brings together expertise from two subject areas to give you a greater breadth of study. 

The emphasis is on flexibility and choice within this joint degree, which also offers opportunities for field trips and museum and gallery visits. 

Art History provides grounding in European and North American art and architecture, covering topics to the present day, as well as subjects in global art history. 

We offer a broad choice of subject areas, paired with in-depth study and research. 

Strengths are in Medieval, Renaissance, Post-Renaissance, Modern, Contemporary and Global Art History. 

You will also discover a range of English literature from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present day, and will be able to study American, Irish and post-colonial literatures, as well as cultural theory, creative writing and film. 

You can attend lectures and exhibitions at the internationally renowned Manchester Centre for Anglo Saxon Studies, while the English Research Seminar and CriticalMASS, the American Studies research seminar, also offer a series of interesting talks. 

The Centre for New Writing hosts a regular public event series, Literature Live, which brings contemporary novelists and poets to the University to read and engage in conversation. 

Manchester Literature Festival also takes place at venues at the University and across the city each autumn.

Special features

Placement year option

Apply your subject-specific knowledge in a real-world context through a placement year in your third year of study, enabling you to enhance your employment prospects, clarify your career goals and build your external networks.

Overseas opportunities

We offer two unique summer internships at the world-famous Venice Peggy Guggenheim Collection. In your second year you'll go on a five-day field trip to a European city*. The trip combines guided tours and talks with independent research and culminates in an extended essay on your return to the UK.

You may also apply to spend one semester studying abroad during the second year of your degree. Exchange partners are offered in Europe, through the Erasmus Exchange scheme, or via the Worldwide Exchange scheme, in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong or Singapore.

* If overseas travel is affected by restrictions due to public health concerns related to the pandemic, suitable alternative arrangements may be provided. 

Extracurricular opportunities

Join student societies including the Manchester Art Group, or the Whitworth Young Contemporaries Student Society , which brings together students who have an interest in the arts, culture and creativity.

Teaching and learning

Teaching takes place in a variety of formats, including lectures, small seminar groups, workshops, gallery visits, and one-to-one tutorials.

Seminars are normally very interactive - you may be given reading in advance that will form the basis of a class discussion and you will be expected to contribute occasional oral presentations, building your skills and confidence in presentation techniques.

Some course units feature group projects culminating in online content development or a physical exhibition/display.

Classroom time is frequently supplemented by new media, such as the virtual learning environment, Blackboard.

You will also have access to other digital resources to support your learning.

Many of our courses include fieldwork visits to galleries or special exhibitions throughout the UK.

This means regular classes in Manchester at places like HOME, the City Art Gallery and the University's own Whitworth Art Gallery.

You can also experience credited placement opportunities as part of your learning.

We offer several travel bursaries through the Lady Chorley Fund to assist final-year students with their dissertation research.

You will spend approximately 12 hours a week in formal study sessions.

For every hour spent at university, you will be expected to complete a further two to three hours of independent study.

You will also need to study during the holiday periods.

The individual study component could be spent reading, producing written work, or revising for examinations. he individual study component could be spent reading, producing written work, or revising for examinations.

Coursework and assessment

You will be assessed in various ways, including:

  • written and oral examinations;
  • coursework essays;
  • research reports;
  • practical tests;
  • learning logs;
  • web contributions;
  • seminar presentations and participation.

Many course units are assessed through a mixture of techniques.

In your final year, you can write a dissertation.

Written feedback is provided in the form of essay and exam cover sheets and, in the case of orally delivered seminar papers, a verbal report from the tutor. We provide feedback on both the content of your writing and the construction and clarity of the argument posed.

As a student here you'll gain both academic writing skills and insight into the development of arts-specific composition, such as catalogue entries, gallery interpretation, exhibition reviews and journalistic articles.

Course tutors are available without appointment in their office hours twice a week outside scheduled teaching hours, allowing you to gain advice and feedback on your work.

Course content for year 1

This is a foundation year that introduces key art historical concepts and methods of analysis and interpretation as well as skills in academic writing.

It includes a substantial amount of gallery-based teaching.

Joint honours students take Art History courses from this menu:

The lecture/seminar courses 'Art Works in History' (1 and 2) and 'Art Spaces', which are designed to familiarise you with a range of materials from the ancient world to the present from around the world.

'Art History Tutorial' seminar courses, which run in both semesters. These courses offer interactive, personalised learning in small groups on a range of topics designed to refine critical and writing skills, and to introduce current issues in Art History.

Cognate course units are available from English Studies.

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Reading Literature ENGL10021 20 Mandatory
Ice Age to Baroque: Artworks in History SALC10041 20 Mandatory
Rococo to Now: Artworks in History SALC10042 20 Mandatory
Art Spaces AHCP10051 20 Optional
Art History Tutorial 1 AHCP10381 20 Optional
Art History Tutorial 2 AHCP10382 20 Optional
Mapping the Medieval ENGL10051 20 Optional
Theory and Text ENGL10062 20 Optional
Literature and History ENGL10072 20 Optional

Course content for year 2

In the second year, you take a mix of core and optional course units from Art History and English studies.

The objective is to provide you with a deeper understanding of theories and approaches in the study of both disciplines, and a broad-based knowledge of both pre-modern and cultures.

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Art in Theory AHCP20432 20 Mandatory
European Art History Fieldtrip AHCP20701 20 Mandatory
Art in Britain AHCP20221 20 Optional
Art in South Asia AHCP20802 20 Optional
Renaissance and Baroque Architecture 1450-1750 AHCP22121 20 Optional
Art in Vienna 1880-1938 AHCP24102 20 Optional
Digital Ways of Seeing: Theory and Practice AHCP24232 20 Optional
American Literature and Social Criticism, 1900-Present AMER20481 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Fiction ENGL20002 20 Optional
Chaucer: Texts, Contexts, Conflicts ENGL20231 20 Optional
Gender, Sexuality and the Body: Theories and Histories ENGL20482 20 Optional
Writing, Identity and Nation ENGL20492 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Poetry ENGL20901 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Poetry ENGL20902 20 Optional
Renaissance Literature ENGL21151 20 Optional
Old English: Writing the Unreadable Past ENGL21161 20 Optional
Satire and the Novel: English Literature of the Long Eighteenth Century ENGL21182 20 Optional
Modernism ENGL21191 20 Optional
Romanticism (1776 - 1832) ENGL21521 20 Optional
Core Themes in Animated Film and Visual Culture of Postwar Japan JAPA20131 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 20 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

In the third year you take seminar courses each semester, allowing you in-depth contact with a wide range of subjects (many of which are the specialist areas of the members of teaching staff).

These 'Option' courses are focused on an area of study defined by genre, artistic identity, medium or approach.

They are taught in small groups and encourage participation and active learning.

Finally, you will write a dissertation of 10,000-12,000 words on a topic of your own choosing.

The dissertation, supervised by a member of staff, gives you the chance to research a subject in depth and helps you to refine your research and study skills.

It also gives you the skills necessary to organise a coherent argument over a long piece of writing.

Your option course units will be chosen from a wide array of choices.

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
History of Art Dissertation AHCP30000 40 Optional
Art and Ecologies AHCP30052 20 Optional
The Global Renaissance AHCP30551 20 Optional
Art After Modernism: Approaching Contemporary Art AHCP30561 20 Optional
Picasso AHCP33132 20 Optional
The Art of Medieval Manuscripts AHCP33612 20 Optional
Producing Digital Projects AHCP33922 20 Optional
Occupy Everything AMER30422 20 Optional
Beat Writing AMER30791 20 Optional
Long Essay ENGL30002 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Fiction ENGL30121 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Fiction ENGL30122 20 Optional
Narrative Theory and Victorian Fiction ENGL30171 20 Optional
Culture and Conflict: Neoliberalism and Cultural Production ENGL30261 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Poetry ENGL30901 20 Optional
Irish Fiction Since 1990 ENGL30941 20 Optional
Writing India in English, 1880 - 1964 ENGL31112 20 Optional
Radical Turns: Culture and Politics in the 1930s ENGL31141 20 Optional
Things that Talk: Nonhuman Voices in Anglo-Saxon Literature and Culture ENGL31622 20 Optional
Introduction to Screenwriting ENGL31951 20 Optional
Gendered Experiments: Women's Innovative Writing in the Twentieth Century ENGL33061 20 Optional
Sex, Disease and the Body: 1660-1800 ENGL33081 20 Optional
Creative Writing: Creative Non-Fiction ENGL34052 20 Optional
Romantic Venice ENGL34072 20 Optional
Vital Matters: Medieval Ecologies ENGL34111 20 Optional
Humans and other Animals in Contemporary Literature ENGL34122 20 Optional
Writing Revolutions:Radicalism, Activism, Citizenship 1640-80 ENGL34131 20 Optional
Literary and Sexual Experimentalism Between the Wars ENGL34141 20 Optional
Contemporary South Asian Literatures ENGL34151 20 Optional
Literary Landscapes ENGL34162 20 Optional
World Literature and Climate Crisis ENGL34212 20 Optional
Travellers' Tales: Italy in the British Imagination ITAL30582 20 Optional
Displaying 10 of 32 course units for year 3

Facilities

The rich cultural heritage and attractions of Manchester and the North-West are within easy reach.

The Manchester Museum and the Whitworth Art Gallery offer unique access to the environment of the working museum and art gallery, as well as to important works of art.

The Whitworth is a major resource, and its outstanding collections of paintings, prints, textiles and wallpapers are used extensively in our teaching.

You can also explore original art in the city's famous galleries, such as the Lowry, Manchester Art Gallery and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art.

The main library provision is the University Library, one of the UK's top university libraries with arguably the best access to electronic resources of any library in Europe. This is one of the largest academic libraries in Britain and houses a Special Collections Department (the John Rylands Library) on Deansgate which contains an internationally important and diverse collection of manuscripts, illustrated books and other material relevant to Art History.

Art History students also enjoy a discipline-specific library in the same building as our department providing a pleasant and quiet working environment for students.

Learn more on the Facilities page.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk