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Contemporary Britain modules

Contemporary Britain modules

Our Contemporary Britain modules are specifically designed for international students.

They aim to:

  • give you an understanding of culture and society in the UK during the post-war period
  • help you understand how arts and humanities subjects are studied at first year undergraduate level in a British university.

Each course is a half course unit.

How are the courses structured?

  • Each module will cover two or three themes.
  • You’ll have a weekly lecture and seminar and will also be expected to study for at least ten hours a week on your own.
  • We’ll expect you to make a significant contribution to the weekly seminar, so helping both your own and your fellow students’ learning.
  • Texts will range from novels, poems and films to textbooks,documentaries, government papers and news articles.

How will I be assessed?

We will assess you on:

  • A written essay (60%)
  • A short presentation/seminar discussion (30%)
  • Weekly online study tasks (10%).

What Contemporary Britain courses are available?

Here are brief descriptions of the Contemporary Britain modules currently available:

CE1701 – Government & Citizenship (autumn term)

This module examines political parties in the UK, the relations between the four constituent countries (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), and the issues relating to Scotland's devolution and independence. It also looks at the legacy of Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair, and the complexities of UK's sovereignty, including relations with the EU and the possible consequences of Brexit.

CE1751 - Class, Power & Social Change in the Arts (autumn term)

This module looks at the significant changes experienced in British culture since the Second World War, in particular those which led to a more individualistic culture, and which altered the traditional power relations between the social classes. Students can expect to study, amongst other things, the poetry of Philip Larkin and the depiction of social class and power relations in British film in the post-war era.

CE1702 – Society & Institutions (spring term)

In this module we look at how identity might be linked to equality, or a lack of, in Britain today. We examine key institutions such as the National Health Service and the state education system and finally look at the conflicts and challenges that British society has to face today, such as changing family structures and criminality.

CE1752 – Feminism & Multiculturalism (spring term)

The module focuses on two key themes, feminism and multiculturalism, and traces the way these discourses have shaped fresh understandings of what it means to be 'British'. Students will examine the work of key contemporary writers such as Caryl Churchill and Hanif Kureishi and will be encouraged to make connections between these works and contemporary theory on feminism, cultural studies and multiculturalism.

Further notes

  • If English is your first language, please consult with the Programme Leader, Dr Jan Kosecki, before you enrol.
  • If you have a disability which you feel we need to be aware of or require special access arrangements, please email us at:

Need to improve your English?

Our Pre-sessional English language programmes can bring your English up to the level you need to join us at Royal Holloway.

Contact us

Need guidance choosing your modules? Contact us at We’re here to help you.

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