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English Literature or History degree?

I am currently in the middle of my UCAS application (due to be sent off very soon!) & since day one of my Access course at college (I'm a mature student), I have had my heart set on studying a combined degree of English Literature & History at university. Trouble is, all of a sudden, I am not sure which degree I would like to do the most now... I have always said that I have wanted to be a secondary school English teacher but I have a deep passion for History (specifically medieval and early modern history). I'm stuck! Anybody who studies either or (or even a combined degree in these subjects) of these, I would love to receive some advice, guidance & opinions to help me with my decision. When I went to university previously, I did not have this much choice and this much of a dilemma haha. Thank you in advance! :smile:
Original post by emlouimawx
I am currently in the middle of my UCAS application (due to be sent off very soon!) & since day one of my Access course at college (I'm a mature student), I have had my heart set on studying a combined degree of English Literature & History at university. Trouble is, all of a sudden, I am not sure which degree I would like to do the most now... I have always said that I have wanted to be a secondary school English teacher but I have a deep passion for History (specifically medieval and early modern history). I'm stuck! Anybody who studies either or (or even a combined degree in these subjects) of these, I would love to receive some advice, guidance & opinions to help me with my decision. When I went to university previously, I did not have this much choice and this much of a dilemma haha. Thank you in advance! :smile:

Hi there!

I'm glad to hear that you are about to send off your application. It can be exciting and scary at the time time!

I have recently finished my English Literature degree and I was in a similar situation a few years ago when I was submitting my own application, as I enjoyed History as well! I think in the end I enjoyed Literature too much to not study it as a single honours!

Firstly, I would say that English and History go hand-in-hand as a combined honours degree. It varies by university, but part of my English Lit degree consisted of studying 'Medieval to Early Modern Literature' and then I went on to write my dissertation in third year about an early modern poet. Part of English is looking at the context and other works in the time frame in which a book was set. so you are essentially looking at history and the past! A lot of texts you read have been influenced by contemporary events at the time in the author's life, so they complement each other nicely!

If you are struggling with future prospects, then I would say it's not a bad thing to stick with the combination. If you are looking to become a secondary school teacher and undergo a PGCE, then you will be able to study either of them. It is definitely worth having a look at 'Get Into Teaching' to explore teaching in that regard!

I hope this is somewhat useful. Good luck! :smile:

Estelle
Graduate Advocate
Original post by emlouimawx
I am currently in the middle of my UCAS application (due to be sent off very soon!) & since day one of my Access course at college (I'm a mature student), I have had my heart set on studying a combined degree of English Literature & History at university. Trouble is, all of a sudden, I am not sure which degree I would like to do the most now... I have always said that I have wanted to be a secondary school English teacher but I have a deep passion for History (specifically medieval and early modern history). I'm stuck! Anybody who studies either or (or even a combined degree in these subjects) of these, I would love to receive some advice, guidance & opinions to help me with my decision. When I went to university previously, I did not have this much choice and this much of a dilemma haha. Thank you in advance! :smile:

If you like both subjects then why not take a joint degree? As long as it's 50-50 you can still be a teacher in either subject.
Original post by emlouimawx
I am currently in the middle of my UCAS application (due to be sent off very soon!) & since day one of my Access course at college (I'm a mature student), I have had my heart set on studying a combined degree of English Literature & History at university. Trouble is, all of a sudden, I am not sure which degree I would like to do the most now... I have always said that I have wanted to be a secondary school English teacher but I have a deep passion for History (specifically medieval and early modern history). I'm stuck! Anybody who studies either or (or even a combined degree in these subjects) of these, I would love to receive some advice, guidance & opinions to help me with my decision. When I went to university previously, I did not have this much choice and this much of a dilemma haha. Thank you in advance! :smile:

As above, no reason not to look at just doing a joint course.

You can become a medievalist (i.e. doing a masters and PhD in medieval studies/similar) with a background in English literature though, especially (or ideally) if the course includes Old/Middle English (and/or medieval Latin - you'd probably need to do Latin eventually although maybe not necessarily until the postgrad level). Medieval studies is fairly interdisciplinary anyway in that sense and so the divisions between "literature" and "history" are less concrete than other periods as I understand it.

For early modern stuff though I don't know that much about it though.

You might also want to look at more specific courses that combine elements of both e.g. ASNAC at Cambridge, Viking and Old Norse Studies at UCL etc, as suits your interests best.
(edited 2 months ago)
Original post by emlouimawx
I am currently in the middle of my UCAS application (due to be sent off very soon!) & since day one of my Access course at college (I'm a mature student), I have had my heart set on studying a combined degree of English Literature & History at university. Trouble is, all of a sudden, I am not sure which degree I would like to do the most now... I have always said that I have wanted to be a secondary school English teacher but I have a deep passion for History (specifically medieval and early modern history). I'm stuck! Anybody who studies either or (or even a combined degree in these subjects) of these, I would love to receive some advice, guidance & opinions to help me with my decision. When I went to university previously, I did not have this much choice and this much of a dilemma haha. Thank you in advance! :smile:

Hi!

I’ve just completed my English Literature degree at LJMU, and I loved it! I took history and English at A-level and loved them both equally, and I similarly struggled between choosing to do pure English Lit or History at university. In the end I spent time researching the course material, examination styles and student satisfaction. Though I wanted to take a joint honours degree, I personally decided that I would have struggled with this and so in the end chose English Lit as I loved LJMU’s course content!
Though I knew many people who studied both, and they were all very content with their degree. I never met anyone who said they did not love studying history!
My advice is to go with what you want to do, that’s all there is to it! If you love both history and English and you have found a university that suits you and offers the course- go for it. Doing both English and History opens the door for more career prospects, you could chose between either subject to teach!
I would look into the company ‘The Tutor Trust’, this was presented to us in our third year studies and it helped me to understand secondary teaching through tutoring, it was a great insight into the career and I earned money whilst doing it!
Good luck to you, I’m sure you’ll love whatever you decide to chose 😊

Ria
LJMU English graduate

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