History

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149 place StudyQA ranking:10139 Duration:36 months

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About

The BA History programme is directed towards acquisition of a high standard of skills in research, analysis and expression, both written and oral. As a student on the programme, you will receive an average of 6.5 hours of timetabled contact per week over the course of the programme. This will include a combination of lectures, seminars, and tutorials. The balance between these activities will change over the course of the programme as you develop your knowledge and abilities as an independent learner.

Timetabled contact is only the beginning of your learning. It provides a starting-point for your development as an independent, self-motivated learner. In the first year, you will spend around 75% of your term-time working hours in independent research; by the final year, this will rise to around 90%. As the QAA History Subject Benchmark statement makes clear (sec 6.6): ‘Most of a history student’s time is spent working independently, reading, thinking and writing’

In the first year, you will receive 8.5 hours of timetabled contact each week. A choice of six modules provides an induction into the discipline of advanced historical study. The modules offer engagement with different periods and approaches to the study of the past, and experience of the way in which History, as a community of practice, encompasses the diversity of the human experience. Lectures introduce broad historical questions and offer contextualisation and critical commentary; seminars provide an opportunity for students to develop their critical skills through discussion for which they have prepared in advance. A resource package for each module, provided through the on-line learning environment and as a physical handbook, will guide your independent research. You will also attend sessions on study skills, tailored to the discipline, covering library resources, note-taking, seminar work and essay writing.

In the second year, there is an increased emphasis on the development of critical and analytical skills. The curriculum continues to require you to engage with a range of periods and styles of historical study, with modules introducing new problems in a more specific framework. One compulsory module develops the induction into the community of practice through progression to a research-led seminar-based learning style. In view of the increased role of smaller-group work, which requires more independent preparation by students, the average timetabled contact time at Level 2 is 7.5 hours per week.

In the third year you will be expected to take further responsibility for managing your own time. The curriculum, while continuing to offer support and guidance, will require you to use the skills in independent study and time management which you have developed in the two preceding years. The dissertation, in particular, requires you to establish your own research agenda and identify primary historical sources and extended reading lists, giving you the opportunity to engage, at an advanced level, with creative cutting-edge research at the forefront of the discipline. In your Special Subject you will be involved in a seminar group which meets each week to discuss the interpretation of chosen primary sources and to interrogate the secondary literature. You will be expected to spend at least 35 hours each week in independent research, and for this reason timetabled contact is limited to an average of 4.5 hours each week.

Throughout the programme you will also benefit from the ready accessibility of staff, who will respond to emails within two working days, and each of whom sets aside two hours each week in which students may drop in to see them. This un-timetabled one-to-one contact usually focuses on a specific issue of analysis or argument and gives students a strong sense of personal engagement with learning. You will be encouraged to attend the department’s extensive programme of research-related activities, including its research seminar series, and public lectures from high-profile guest speakers and other events organised by the student-run History Society. In addition to this, you will be invited to attend regular events organised jointly by the department and the Careers, Employability, and Enterprise Centre.

Content

Year 1

The first year of the History degree offers you the opportunity to study a range of periods and approaches to history. Many of the modules cover quite large topics or long periods; these are intended to introduce you to subjects which may be unfamiliar and which pose new questions and new problems, showing you how wide the study of history really is.

You will choose six modules from a list of approximately 12; you must choose at least one Medieval, one Early Modern and two Late Modern modules.

Most first-year History modules largely follow a common pattern. You will have one weekly lecture and a small-group seminar every two or three weeks. For the seminar, you will be given reading to do in advance, and on the basis of this you and the other students in your group will discuss particular issues. Students are expected to lead the discussion in seminars. Most modules are assessed by coursework essays and by a two-hour examination in May/June, in which you write answers to two essay-style questions.

The modules on offer change each year, as they reflect the research interests of staff; we cannot guarantee in advance that a particular module will be running in any particular year. This is a list of some of the modules available in 2014/15, to give you an idea of the range of different themes we cover in the first year:

  • Modern Times: a Cultural History of Europe, c. 1860-1960
  • The Century of Revolution 
  • New Heaven, New Earth: Latin Christendom and the World, 1000-1300
  • The Birth of Western Society, 300-1050 AD
  • The Making of Modern Africa: Change and Adaptation in sub-Saharan Africa.

Year 2

In the second year, you will study five modules. One of these, ‘Conversations with History’, is a student-led seminar-taught double module which develops your understanding of issues of historiography; it provides an introduction to the writing of more extended historical argument, and prepares students for the final year Dissertation. This is an important feature of our course, and so all Single Honours students will take it. It is divided into different strands covering different themes, and you can choose between these different themes.

Alongside ‘Conversations’, students take four further modules. These are taught intensively over half of the academic year (two in the Michaelmas term and two more in Epiphany and Easter terms).

There are many other departments in the University, of course, and you may take modules from other departments as well – but you may not take more than a total of two such modules in the second and third years. As in the first year, our focus on research-led teaching means that the modules on offer will vary year by year.

This list gives you an idea of some of the modules running in 2014/15:

  • Conversations Strands: Slavery in Africa
  • Islam and the West
  • The Built Environment
  • History and Guilt
  • Sport and Modern History
  • Inventing the Middle Ages.

Year 3

The third year allows you to specialise, with a triple-module Special Subject, taught entirely through seminars, which involves close study of primary sources. For this, you will work in a small group with a specialist in the field – with a three-hour seminar every week. In the final year you will also undertake supervised independent research leading to the writing of a double-module dissertation. Given this emphasis on focused study and independence, there is no requirement for you to study a range of periods in this year.

As well as the Special Subject and the dissertation, you will also take a single module in the third year: third-year History single modules are all strongly reflexive in character, encouraging students to think about the ways in which historical knowledge is produced.

You will choose your own Dissertation topic, through consultation with a supervisor. There are some limits, set by the availability of primary material and the expertise of supervisors, but the potential range of topics is very wide indeed: in recent years topics have varied from representation of bandits in twentieth century Hollywood films to ceremonial in medieval France.

As with modules at other levels, the precise choice of Special Subject and third-year single modules changes from year to year. Our Special Subjects cover a wide range of different periods and historical approaches. This list gives you an idea of some of this range. There are many other special subjects available and the list changes from year to year, allowing us to be completely flexible in the opportunities we provide to students with different historical interests:

Special subjects in 2014/15 include

  • A World Turned Upside Down: Radicalism in the English Revolution
  • The Black Death
  • 1688: Monarchy and Revolution in Britain
  • From War to Cold War: US Foreign Policy, c. 1944-1948.

Single modules

  • History and its Audiences
  • The History of American Capitalism
  • China, Asia and the World
  • The Making of Modern Europe.

Study Abroad

The Department participates in the University- wide overseas exchanges with:

  • Boston College (USA),
  • the University of British Columbia (Canada),
  • the University of Hong Kong (China) 
  • the National University of Singapore (Singapore).

Students can apply to spend the second year of their degree overseas. If you study on the four-year Joint Honours Modern European Languages and History degree, you will spend your third year abroad at a European university or a work placement as part of the University’s ERASMUS exchanges.

 

Subject requirements, level and grade

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study.
  • Our current entry requirements for History BA (V100) are:
  • A-Level - A*AA including History
  • Cambridge Pre-U - D2D3D3 including History
  • IB is 38 overall with 666 at Higher Level including History
  • Scottish Advanced Highers – A1, A, A in Advanced Highers including History and A, A, A, A, A in Highers.
  • Welsh Baccalaureate - Grade C with A* and A at A-level (or equivalent), with at least an 'A' in A-level History.
  • Please note ‘Ancient History’ is not accepted in lieu of ‘History’.
  • We do not accept General Studies or Critical Thinking A-Level, Global and Independent Research Cambridge Pre-U and Extended Project Qualification as part of our offer.

Preferred Tests:

a. IELTS: 6.5 (no component under 6.0)

b. TOEFL iBT (internet based test): 92 (no component under 23)

c. Cambridge Proficiency (CPE): Grade C

d. Cambridge Advanced (CAE): Grade A

e. Cambridge IGCSE First Language English at Grade C or above [not normally acceptable for students who require a Tier 4 student visa]

f. Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language at Grade B or above [not normally acceptable for students who require a Tier 4 student visa]

g. GCSE English Language at grade C or above

h. Pearson Test of English (overall score 62 (with no score less than 56 in each component))

Alternative accepted tests when those listed in a.-h. above are unavailable to the applicant (if the applicant requires a Tier 4 visa to study, advice on the suitability of these alternatives must be sought from the Student Recruitment and Admissions Office):

i. Certificate of Attainment (Edexcel)

j. GCE A-levels (AQA, CIE, Edexcel, CCEA, OCR, WJEC) at grade C or above in an essay based, humanities or social science subject from the following list: History, Philosophy, Government and Politics, English Language, English Literature, Geography, Religious Studies, Economics, Business Studies, Law and Sociology. Modern or Classical Languages are not acceptable in meeting this requirement.

k. International Baccalaureate with a minimum of grade 5 in Standard Level English or a minimum of grade 5 if taken at Higher Level.

l. NEAB (JMB) Test in English (Overseas)

m. Singapore Integrated Programme (SIPCAL) at grade C or above in an essay based, humanities or social science subject from the following list: History, Philosophy, Government and Politics, English Language, English Literature, Geography, Religious Studies, Economics, Business Studies, Law and Sociology. Modern or Classical Languages are not acceptable in meeting this requirement.

n. Singapore Polytechnic Diploma and Advanced Diplomas at GPA 3.0 or above

o. WAEC and NECO Grade B3 or above from Nigeria and Ghana

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