English and History of Art BA

Year of entry

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UCAS code
Start date
September 2024
Delivery type
On campus
3 years full time
Work placement
Study abroad
Typical A-level offer
AAB (specific subject requirements)
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBB including English (Language, Literature or Language and Literature) at A Level and pass Access to Leeds
Full entry requirements

Course overview


This engaging course provides you with an opportunity to develop an understanding of literature in English from the medieval period to the present day, as well as an awareness of the ways that art is produced and perceived and how this has changed over time.

You will be introduced to the key skills and knowledge needed to critically analyse texts and art, and the historical contexts of the production and reception of art. Our wide range of optional modules allow you to specialise in areas that are of interest to you, from medieval literature to contemporary fiction, Shakespeare to world theatre, aesthetics to museum studies and Buddhist monuments to the dynamics of gender and the body that are operative in art history and visual culture.

With so many galleries and museums located in the region, such as the Leeds Art Gallery, the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, as well as a vibrant cultural scene, it’s a fantastic place to discover these two complementary disciplines.


Leeds has plenty of excellent resources for studying English and the history of art. The world-class Brotherton Library boasts unique manuscript, archive and early printed material in its Special Collections – valuable assets for your independent research. Our additional library resources are also excellent, and the University Library offers a comprehensive training programme to help you make the most of them.

Brotherton Library Reading Room

Take a look around our libraries:

Brotherton Library
Laidlaw Library
Edward Boyle Library

Course details

A joint honours degree allows you to study the same core topics as students on each single honours course, but you’ll take fewer optional and discovery modules so you can fit in both subjects.

In your first year, you’ll take introductory modules covering the key concepts and approaches in the History of Art, as well as choosing to explore poetry, drama or prose. This allows you to build a good knowledge base on which you can build in the following two years.

You’ll choose from modules covering the full range of English literature we teach, from medieval Icelandic right through to contemporary fiction, as well as optional modules on everything from children’s literature to post-Apartheid narratives and the politics of language. At the same time, you’ll select from a range of modules in History of Art, from the Renaissance to 20th century Modernisms and the New York School.

Throughout your studies you’ll develop analytical and research skills that allow you to form your own conclusions from the information you find. In your final year, you’ll get the chance to apply them to an independently researched dissertation in either subject.

Year 1

Year 1 compulsory modules:

  • Reading Between the Lines (20 credits) - This module equips students with a critical vocabulary for sophisticated literary study, introducing the creative, argumentative and exciting discipline of ‘English Studies’. Through close analysis of specific texts across a range of periods and forms, students will encounter some of the varied theories that have shaped and continue to underpin the discipline. Students will find out how an English degree might change the way we read and see the world, while developing their academic skills through guided critical reading, collaboration with peers in group presentations and seminar discussions, and a variety of assignments designed to introduce them to the different formats of assessment required throughout the degree.
  • Writing Matters (20 credits) - Writing and communication skills are vital to most professional careers, but they are especially valuable in the field of English studies. This module explores debates around a canonical literary text, examining theoretical approaches and rhetorical strategies used to write about literature. Students will hone their own writing skills by engaging ethically with the text and the ideas of others, developing structured arguments, expressing ideas clearly and concisely, working with feedback, and practising writing as a process. As a result, students will cultivate a deeper understanding of how writing works, learn how to share insights with greater efficacy and sophistication, and practice how to transfer this knowledge to future workplace contexts.
  • Art History Now (20 credits) - Taking art-historical research as a dynamic and inclusive set of practices grounded in questions that matter now, this module draws on the varied expertise of teaching staff to introduce you to the combined and converging challenges of a deep understanding of past cultures, engagement with current issues in the field and methods for developing independent research. This module presents a wide array of art-historical topics, with a global perspective and covering a broad chronology, placing emphasis on the question of what it means to be an art historian now.
  • From Art History’s Myths to Critical Art History (20 credits) - This module sets out a broad range of art-historical topics and questions, with a focus on modernity and the contemporary, together with a direct, critical engagement with some of the prevailing myths of the discipline. You’ll be equipped with an understanding of key moments in the history of art in texts, practices and institutions and with an ability to reflect on how the history of art both illuminates and shadows our work as art historians today. While gaining in-depth knowledge of art movements and practices up to the present, we will explore how the interpretation of art has been coloured by notions of nationhood and claims to universality, by the very notion of ‘modernity’ and by myths of origins and authenticity.

Year 1 optional modules:

  • Elements of Visual Culture 1 (20 credits)
  • Elements of Visual Culture 2 (20 credits)
  • Critical Approaches to Display, Institutions, and Engagement (20 credits)
  • Where We are Now (20 credits)
  • Cultural History (20 credits)
  • Modern Fictions in English (20 credits)
  • Race, Writing, Decolonization (20 credits)
  • Drama: Text and Performance (20 credits)
  • Poetry: Reading & Interpretation (20 credits)

Year 2

At Year 2, you are required to take 120 credits. Over levels 2 and 3 combined, you must take:

  • English: a minimum of 80 credits (at least 40 credits must be at Level 3)
  • History of Art: a minimum of 80 credits (at least 40 credits must be at Level 3)

Year 2 compulsory modules:

  • Writing Environments: Literature, Nature, Culture (20 credits) - This module examines what it means to live as human beings on a more-than-human planet. We’ll investigate how literary texts from different times and places have understood the relationship between nature and culture. We’ll address human impacts on the environment in relation to historical phenomena such as colonialism. And we’ll explore the insights that literature can offer at a time of concern about climate change and other environmental issues.
  • Body Language: Literature and Embodiment (20 credits) - This module explores the relationship between embodiment, language and representation across a range of literary forms, genres, and periods, addressing questions such as: what does it mean to be ‘human’? Can technology change who we are? How do we navigate the relationship between the body and the mind? It examines how critical theorists and creative writers and life writers have treated and imagined this relationship between material bodies and literary representation, in order to better understand both the possibilities and limitations of literary expression.
  • Methods in Practice: Art-Historical Research (20 credits) - This module builds core skills through a focused critical engagement with methods in art-historical research. Combining detailed reflection on the concerns and approaches of key art historians with work-in-progress explorations of the development of live research, this module equips you to build your own projects with a strong sense of the resources and choices open to us, and of the discipline of Art History as an inclusive, dynamic space to be developed though the questions that matter now.
  • Origins, Structures, and Critique: Framing the Discipline of Art History (20 credits) - This module interrogates the history and legacies of the discipline of Art History, with a view to a critical reflection on what art history can do in the world we face today. We explore the distinct formation of Art History as a discipline rooted both in historical or antiquarian studies and in philosophical aesthetics, while also reflecting on its complex entanglements with discourses of nationalism and racial hierarchies and other more or less hidden structures of power. This module equips you to deal critically and reflexively with complex and often difficult legacies and to understand transformative potential of the discipline.

Level 2 optional modules:

  • The New York School (20 credits)
  • Seeing in Asia (20 credits)
  • Cinema and Culture (20 credits)
  • Variant Modernism (20 credits)
  • The Grand Tour: travels, excavations, collections (20 credits)
  • The Art Market: Moments, Methodologies, Meanings (20 credits)
  • Bodies of Difference: Gender, Power and the Visual Arts (20 credits)
  • Renaissance / Anti-Renaissance: Critical Approaches to Early Modern Art in Europe (20 credits)
  • Bodies of Difference: Gender, Power and the Visual Arts (20 credits)

You may select one option from each basket:

Basket 1:

  • Medieval and Tudor Literature (20 credits)
  • Renaissance Literature (20 credits)

Basket 2:

  • Modern Literature (20 credits)
  • Postcolonial Literature (20 credits)

Basket 3:

  • The World Before Us: Literature 1660-1830 (20 credits)
  • Other Voices: Rethinking Nineteenth-Century Literature (20 credits)

Basket 4:

  • American Words, American Worlds (20 credits)
  • Contemporary Literature (20 credits)

Year 3

Year 3 compulsory modules:

  • Final Year Project (40 credits) - This module encourages independent, self-directed learning, providing a culmination to the research strand emphasised in other modules. It fosters a wide variety of responses to the challenges it offers students, since any final year project might take one of a number of forms. Most importantly, it promotes academic creativity and the exploration of individual intellectual interests.

Learning and teaching

Our tutors are all experts in their fields, and we help you benefit from their knowledge and experience by using different teaching and learning methods. They’ll include lectures, seminars and tutorials, and workshops may occasionally form part of some modules. However, we also put a lot of emphasis on independent study, which allows you to build your research and analytical skills.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.


We also use different types of assessment. Usually we use a mixture of exams and essays, but you may also be assessed on oral presentations or group work in some modules. Support will be on hand throughout your time at Leeds – for example, you’ll be able to attend extra classes on exam technique, structuring an essay and public speaking if you need them.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB including A in English (Language, Literature or Language and Literature)

Other course specific tests:

Where an applicant is taking the EPQ in a relevant subject this might be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A Levels, this would be ABB at A Level including A in English (Language, Literature, or Language and Literature) and grade A in the EPQ.

We welcome applications from mature students with Access qualifications, and from students with a wide range of qualifications.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. The Access course must follow a Humanities pathway and include English modules. An interview and a piece of written work may be required.


We will consider the level 3 QCF BTEC at Subsidiary Diploma level and above in combination with other qualifications. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

Cambridge Pre-U

D3, M1, M2 including D3 in English

International Baccalaureate

35 points overall with 16 at Higher Level including 6 in English at Higher Level

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3 including H2 in English

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AB in Advanced Highers (including A in English) and AABBB in Highers, or A in English Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers

Welsh Baccalaureate

The Welsh Baccalaureate is not typically included in the academic conditions of an offer made to you for this course. If you choose to undertake the Welsh Baccalaureate we would strongly encourage you to draw upon these experiences within your personal statement, as your qualification will then be taken into account both when your application is initially considered by the selection panel and again when reviewed by the admissions tutor at the time your A-level results are passed to us.

Other Qualifications

European Baccalaureate: 80% with 8.5 in English.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.

Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year

This course is designed for students whose backgrounds mean they are less likely to attend university (also known as widening participation backgrounds) and who do not currently meet admissions criteria for direct entry to a degree.

The course will give you the opportunity to be taught by academic staff and provides intensive support to enable your development of academic skills and knowledge. On successful completion of your foundation year, you will progress to your chosen degree course. Find out more about the Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year


We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. For more information contact the School of English admissions team.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.


UK: £9,250 (per year)

International: £24,500 (per year)

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 and 2024/25 are available on individual course pages.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.


Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2024

This course is taught by

School of English
School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies

Contact us

School of English Undergraduate Admissions

Email: undergrad-english@leeds.ac.uk

Career opportunities

This degree will equip you with a range of valuable transferable skills that are attractive to employers.

You will have analytical and critical skills that allow you to form your own conclusions, and you’ll be a strong communicator who can present and defend your views effectively. You’ll be able to work independently and in a team – and you’ll have the organisational skills and self-reliance that come with managing two different subjects.

Graduates have achieved success in a variety of careers such as curating, publishing, law, journalism, advertising and marketing, the civil service and education. Others have gone onto postgraduate study or further training.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.