Any study of history engages a natural human curiosity about the past. It’s an exciting and diverse subject, which is reflected in the flexibility and breadth of the History degree programme offered at Kent.
The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice.
Please note that meeting this typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee an offer being made. Please also see our general entry requirements.
If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.
BBB including a Humanities based essay writing subject including a humanities based essay writing subject which includes History, English, Philosophy, Religious Studies or Classical Civilisation.
The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis.
If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.
The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances. A typical offer would be to achieve DMM plus A-level in History or a related humanities based essay writing subject at grade B, which includes English, Philosophy, Religious Studies or Classical Civilisation. Students applying without History will need to make a case in their personal statement.
34 points overall or 15 points at HL including History 5 at HL or 6 at SL
The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.
However, please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.
If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.
For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.
Please see our English language entry requirements web page.
Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.
Duration: 3 years full-time (4 with a year abroad), 6 years part-time (7 with a year abroad)
The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.
On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘elective’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.
This module has two aims: 1) to contribute towards equipping the students with the necessary practical and intellectual skills for them to think and write as historians at an undergraduate level; 2) to encourage them to think reflectively and critically about the nature of the historical discipline, its epistemological claims, and why we, as historians, do what we do in the way we do it.
It will focus on the process of 'getting used to' undergraduate history; the difference between university life from school/college. These sessions are reinforced with in-house study skills sessions. This will be reinforced through the seminar teaching in the remainder of the module.
The module identifies and explores three main areas of history, asking: what is medieval history; what is early modern history; what is modern history? Students will also explore different central historical themes and approaches in historical scholarship, such as Marxism or nationalism, thereby introducing them to history at university level at both a practical and conceptual level. This will cover the development of university history in the broad sweep of history from approximately the twelfth century to the late twentieth century. It will also consider the impact of the Social Sciences on the historical profession during the twentieth century.
The seminars will reinforce these sessions through discussion of selected readings on relevant topics. Students will also study how to use and analyse a primary source and a variety of historical methodologies.
Why did the Roman Empire collapse? How did Christianity and Islam become so influential? How violent were the Vikings? When did countries like England, France and Germany come into being? This survey module provides an introduction to the history of Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, examining the major political events and social changes that transformed the Roman world and the Near East between c.300 and c.1000. Along the way, we shall consider such topics as identity, warfare, gender, religious life, rulership and law. Students will obtain a clear understanding of the outlines of early medieval history between the later Roman Empire and the sweeping changes of the tenth century, as well as a sense of what daily life was like for most people and of the types of evidence historians can use to understand this period. The weekly lectures guide students through the module and their readings, while seminars provide opportunities to explore key historical problems and debates in more detail through the analysis of primary sources.
This module is a survey of medieval Europe from c.1000 to c.1450. It includes elements of political, institutional, religious, social and cultural history.
The module is intended to provide students with a foundation that will allow them to make the most of other courses in European history, particularly those focusing on the Middle Ages and Early Modern period, by equipping them with a grounding in geography and chronology, as well as in a variety of approaches to the study of history.
Lectures will provide an overview of some of the period's defining features including the feudal system; kingship; the crusades, warfare and chivalry; popes (and anti-popes); monasticism and the coming of the friars; heresy; visual culture; women and the family; and towns and trade.
This module will provide a survey of the major events, themes and historiographical debates in early modern history from the Renaissance to religious wars of the early seventeenth century. This period in European history witnessed the cultural and social upheaval of the Reformation, the advent of print and the intellectual changes associated with Humanism, the formation of recognisably 'modern' nation states, and the beginnings of Europe's troubled engagement with the wider world.
This module will provide a survey of the major events, themes and historiographical debates in early modern history from the religious wars of the first half of the seventeenth century to the dawn of modernity in the second half of the eighteenth century. This period in European history witnessed the development of a system of nation states in Europe, the rise of Absolutism, the development of new European powers in Eastern and Central Europe, an expansion of European influence in the Americas and Asia (leading to a greater commercialisation of European society), as well as the fundamental shifts in European intellectual culture associated with the Scientific Revolution, overseas expansion and the Enlightenment.
This course explores the history of empires on a global scale. It challenges students to grasp the history of empires by examining their structures, instruments and consequences. The course will cover the history of empire from the sixteenth to the middle of the nineteenth century. Themes will include the expansion of European empires (Spanish, Portuguese, British, French, Dutch and Belgian) in the Americas, Asia, the global rivalry for empires among European nations in the eighteenth century, the commercial expansion of the East India Companies in the Indian Ocean,, the expansion British colonies in India, slavery and the Abolition movement and the Revolt of 1857. It will provide students with a critical historical knowledge of imperialism and globalisation.
This course explores the history of empires on a global scale. It challenges students to grasp the history of empires by examining their structures, instruments and consequences. The course will cover the expansion of European empires from the end of the nineteenth to the middle of the twentieth century, in the age of decolonization. Topics include the conquest of Africa in the age of the so-called 'New Imperialism', the French and British Civilizing missions in Africa and Asia, the emergence of modern ideas of race, immigration, freedom struggles in Asia and Africa, and postcolonial cultural and political developments across the world. It will provide students with a critical historical knowledge of imperialism and globalisation and enable them to form a deep understanding of the postcolonial world.
Subjects to be covered will include: The Crimean War; The Franco-Prussian War and German unification; the origins of the First World War; the Treaty of Versailles; the League of Nations; the origins of the Second World War; the Cold War in Europe; the origins of the European Union; from détente in Europe to the fall of Communism.
Over the past 500 years, inventions such as telescopes, robots and fridges have revolutionised our relationships with one another and with the natural world. This module engages with some well-known inventions since the so-called 'scientific revolution' (c. 1600), alongside some unexpected and surprising ones. It examines their making and their use, and explores how they have contributed to the distinctively modern European perspective that has come to be known as ‘science’. This module approaches its topics from the perspectives of cultural and social history.
This module examines the principal themes of the political, social and cultural history of Britain during the Victorian era (c. 1830 –1900). This period saw the building of one of the world’s greatest empires, the transformation of Britain from a rural society into the world’s first and leading industrial nation, and the development of a modern state and new forms of democratic participation.
The first section of the module will focus on the impact of the Enlightenment, and revolutionary approaches to social change, in France and Russia. In the final seminars, the wider impact of revolutionary ideas, including the concept of nationalism, will be explored in a wider European context. Topics covered will include: the Enlightenment; the French revolution; Jacobinism; the Napoleonic Empire; Russia under Peter the Great and Catherine the Great; the Decembrist revolt in Russia; nationalism in Europe; the revolutions of 1848
This module will offer a comparative study of wars in Europe from the French Revolutionary Wars to the Cold War. The module will adopt the 'war and society' approach to this topic and so will focus on the social composition and combat effectiveness of the armies concerned, as well as the causes of the wars, civil-military relations and the various peace treaties. There will also be discussion of these wars at the strategic and operational level. This module will consider the French Revolutionary Wars, Napoleonic Wars, Crimean War, Wars of Italian and German Unification (including the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian Wars), Balkan Wars, First World War, Spanish Civil War, Second World War and Cold War. Students will thus gain an overview of the wars which shaped modern Europe and will also gain some insights into political and economic change in this period.
The course will provide a survey of the major events, themes and historiographical debates in modern British history from the early twentieth century to the 1990s. It will examine the roles of total war, imperialism and decolonisation, social welfare legislation, the advent of mass culture in shaping the nation. Subjects to be covered will include: crisis and reform in Edwardian Britain; politics and society in the Great War; stagnation and recovery in the interwar years; appeasement; the People’s War, 1939-45; the welfare state; decolonisation; the affluent society and the politics of consensus; the end of consensus 1970-79; nationalism and devolution; Thatcher and the rolling back of the state; New Labour.
The module introduces students to a broad range of material and themes relevant to the history of medicine, highlighting changes and continuities in medical practice and theory as well as in medical institutions and professional conduct. The section on ancient medicine addresses the role of Greek writers such as Hippocrates. The section on medieval medicine focuses on major epidemics, the origins of medical institutions, and the role of medical care and cure in the context of social and demographic changes. In particular, this section addresses the role of the Black Death and subsequent plagues, as well as the history of hospitals. The section on early modern and modern medicine explores the development of psychiatry and the asylum system in the 18th century, the rise of public health and the welfare state, and the role of social Darwinism and eugenics in the 19th and early 20th centuries. For the late 19th and 20th centuries, the course will look at the role of gender and sexuality, medicine and modern warfare, health and disability, and modern medicine and medical ethics.
The module will focus primarily on the period from the 18th century onwards but will begin with an outline treatment of the British colonies in North America from initial European settlement. Interactions between Native American, African, African-American and European populations will be emphasised in the colonial period. Thereafter the module examines the first anti-colonial revolution in modern history and the creation of a new nation and concludes with the reconstitution of the nation after a bloody civil war and on the eve of large-scale industrialisation.
Themes include the causes and consequences of the Revolution, the new political system, the development of mass democracy, economic development and territorial expansion into the West, reform movements, sectional conflict between North and South, slavery, the Civil War and the re-establishment of a national order during Reconstruction.
The module will introduce the students to the history of the U.S during its dramatic rise to industrial and international power. Beginning with the transformation of the U.S into an urban industrial civilisation at the end of the 19th Century, it ends with a review of the American position at the beginning of the 21st century.
Themes include early 20th century reform, the rise to world power by 1918, prosperity and the Depression, the New Deal, war and Cold War, race relations, Vietnam, supposed decline and resurgence from Nixon to Reagan, the end of the Cold War, and the Clinton Administration.
You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.
Seventeenth-century Britain experienced considerable division and tension, most obviously in the Civil Wars in mid-century between the countries which comprised the multiple kingdom of Britain. The aim is to examine the reasons for, and the attempted resolution of, major political and religious problems, with a clear sense of the European context in which these events were played out. Topics to be studied will include the ideological clashes between crown and parliament in England; the political and cultural divisions of `court' and `country'; religious disunity across the three kingdoms; the expansion of a `public sphere' of politics and religion; the failure of republican government in the 1650s; the instability of Restoration politics and the coming of the Glorious Revolution; and Britain's changing role in Europe across the century.
The history of the Great War is a subject of perennial fascination, for this war left its imprint on British/European society to an extent almost unparalleled in modern history. No previous war matched it in scale and brutality. The military history and the course of events have been told many times. This course, by contrast, focuses on the social and cultural upheavals of the Great War. The aim is to move beyond narrow military history and examine the war's socio-cultural impact on British and European societies. Furthermore, it hopes to overcome historians' fixation with national histories. The First World War was, by definition, a transnational event and this course will fully explore the comparative method.
The module will explore the nature of the British Army in the Second World War. How it reacted to the crushing defeats of 1940 in France and 1942 in the Far East before transforming itself into a war-winning force. The course will begin with the inter-war army examining its lack of doctrine and the confused role it had in British and imperial defence plans. From there it will move on to examine the transformation of the army from a pre-war small professional outfit to a vast conscript army, before concluding on the situation in 1945, the retention of peacetime conscription and adaptation to the Cold War world. It will take a broad approach to military history, studying the political, economic and cultural realities behind the force.
This module explores the place of death within medieval European culture, focusing especially on the visual and material evidence of relics, tombs, architecture, wall paintings, and illuminated manuscripts. It will begin by examining how ideas about death and the dead were expressed in works of art from Late Antiquity until the arrival of the Black Death in 1348. Our primary sources will be set within the context of literary, visual, documentary and liturgical evidence. Together, we will examine these sources from different disciplinary perspectives in attempt to determine how the study of medieval death and contemporary anxieties about the afterlife can inform us about how people lived in the Middle Ages.
The curriculum works systematically through the exploration and settlement of different regions, with weekly material covering particular migratory pathways, including Chesapeake planters, New England puritans, pirates and settlers in the Caribbean, and other seminal cultural zones including attention to the Middle Colonies and the Lower South. Introductory coverage will explore the "prehistory" of British colonialism through an examination of the plantation of Ulster, and other aspects of migration and imperialism will be treated through engagement with the Scottish experiment at Darien and English attempts to gain footholds in West Africa. The curriculum will concentrate on particular themes to help sustain integrity across this diffuse oceanic domain: encounters with indigenous peoples, Atlantic imperialism, settlement demographics, and cultural folkways. The final weeks of the course will treat points of convergence and integration, including the growth of cities, religious movements, political commonalities, and the eighteenth-century wars for empire in the Atlantic, culminating in the Peace of Paris of 1763.
This module examines the European experience of war during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. The lectures will consider the major national armies (French, Prussian, Austrian, Russian, British and Spanish) and how they were expanded and reformed in the wake of the French Revolution. Seminars will consider key themes, such as the nature of the officer corps, recruitment and conscription, the nature of 'People's War’, interactions between soldiers and civilians, developments in tactics, logistics and discipline and morale. The approach taken, will largely be that of ‘war and society’, focusing on the social history of the armies but there will also be some consideration of operational history and cultural history approaches to this topic. While this approach moves significantly away from ‘old military history’ with its focus on generals and battles, there will be some consideration of Napoleon’s methods of warfare and how these were successfully countered by his enemies.
The module will chart the evolution of contemporary British foreign policy. It begins firmly in the era of pre-First World War diplomacy, and examines the legacy of Britain's role in nineteenth century international relations, including the role of empire. The module will explore the nature of the old and new diplomacy as well as issues relating to foreign policy formation. It will include an evaluation of the role of diplomats and the work and operation of the Foreign Office. It will also include a discussion of the main themes and issues of Britain's relations with all of the major European powers from 1904-1973, including the origins of the two world wars, the connection between foreign policy and political ideology. The module will also examine Britain's relations with the United States during this period and with the Far East, especially with Japan.
This course examines the reporting of war in the British media from the Crimean War (1853-1856) to the end of the Second World War in 1945. Against an overview of the causes and consequences of a series of conflicts around the world, the course will present a series of case studies to provide an analysis of the development of the media such as the growth of newspapers, commercial advertising, film and broadcasting. The developing role of war correspondents will be contextualised with the role of government in influencing the flow of information to the public in parallel to the development of the national newspaper press, through early cinema and radio, to enhance students' understanding of the historical developments in the reporting of conflict and the growth of the modern media prior to the dawn of Britain’s television service.
Over the last two centuries, surgery has been radically transformed from a barbaric craft to a precision based science. Aided by new technologies, surgeons pioneered exploration into the body in ways never achieved before and became heroes of the hospital operating theatre and beyond. Historians have called this a surgical revolution. But how revolutionary was it? Did surgeons always get it right? Did new ideas, procedures and technologies immediately replace those that came before them? Is the history of surgery simply a story of continual progress? This module will examine major aspects of surgery from 1750 in order to evaluate the extent to which a 'surgical revolution' took place. Topics to be addressed include the rise of pathological anatomy; dissection and body snatching; anaesthesia; antisepsis and asepsis; vivisection; war; organ transplantation; and keyhole surgery. Adopting a social and cultural approach, the module will examine these topics in line with several key themes: the surgical profession, masculinity and heroism; patients, ethics and the body; technologies and techniques; and the sciences of pathology and physiology. The module will also explore the dissemination of surgical history today to public audiences through analyses of museum exhibits.
The Crusades were a central phenomenon of the High Middle Ages. The product of an aristocratic society suffused by a martial culture and a militant religion, reveal aspects of social relations, popular spirituality, techniques of waging war and attitudes to violence, which retain interest for a modern world to which Holy War and ideological justification of violence are no strangers. The aim of the module is twofold: (i) a full exploration of the events of the campaigns in the Near East, covering the experience as well as the motivations of crusaders and settlers in the Crusader Kingdoms; and (ii) investigation of the interaction over a period of two centuries between western Christians and the indigenous populations, both Christian and Islamic, in and around the states and settlements established in the East. In recent years the Crusades have attracted a wealth of new research and debate, much of it conducted in English. These provide students with rich and accessible secondary material against which to pit their own views. The texts, translated from Arabic and Greek as well as Latin and medieval French, are kept to a manageable size and provide opportunities for critical comparison of different viewpoints on the same events or issues.
This module introduces students to Russian history from the end of the Crimean War to the Soviet victory in the Second World War. It will equip students to understand the continuities and differences between tsarism and Soviet communism. Themes covered will include: the reforms of Alexander II; the late tsarist autocracy; populism and Marxism; the 1905 revolution; the First World War; the February and October revolutions; the intelligentsia and revolution; revolutionary ideology; the building of socialism, c. 1917-1928; the Stalin revolution, c. 1928-1941; the Second World War.
Society has always been fascinated by those deemed different and over time, unusual people have been viewed and constructed in a myriad of ways. The course explores the continuities and changes surrounding those classed as different. Broadly, the course will investigate the changing nature of difference from the 1780s to the 1920s. It will examine the body and mind as contested sites; spaces occupied by those considered different; the establishment of normality versus deviance; the changing conceptions of difference over time; relationships between unusual people and the wider society. Using a broad range of sources, from novels to film, the course will trace the shifting cultural constructions of difference.
This module will offer a comparative study of the armies of the Great Powers during the First World War. The module will adopt the ‘war and society’ approach to this topic and so will focus on the social composition and combat effectiveness of the armies concerned, along with civil-military relations and the higher strategic direction of the war. This module will therefore seek to answer some of the key questions of the Great War: how did the Great Powers manage to raise and sustain such large armies, why did soldiers continue to fight, given the appalling casualty rates; how politicised were the armies of the Great War, why were politicians allowed to embark on foolhardy military adventures, how crucial were the Americans in securing Entente victory and how effectively were economies adapted to meet the demands of the armies? Comparative topics for discussion in seminars will include; planning for war, recruitment and conscription, the officer corps, generals and politicians, discipline and morale; and attitudes to technological advances.
Focusing on the history of modern Germany in the Twentieth Century, the module examines major changes and continuities in the development of a highly advanced, industrialised but also militarised European nation state which played a central role in shaping the modern European geographical and political landscape. The module explores the end of the Imperial Monarchy after the end of the First World War in 1918, the role of the Allied reparation demands, hyper-inflation and political instability of the Weimar Republic, and the rise of National Socialism and the Third Reich during the 1930s. The course will chart the influence of anti-Semitism, racial eugenics and geopolitics in Germany's quest for world domination during the Second World War and assess the legacy of the Holocaust in defining post-war German identity and society. By examining the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) and the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the module will take a critical look at the politics, ideology and day-to-day history (Alltagsgeschichte) of East and West German society during the Cold War, and explore the underlying factors which led to the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 and subsequent German reunification.
Between the founding of the republic and the middle decades of the nineteenth century, the United States came of age. The nation's population increased tenfold; its territory more than doubled. Driven by the high-minded ideals out of which the country had been founded, and the restless energy that saw a nation of thirteen colonies grow into a territorial republic of immense size, the United States became a symbol of a tumultuous century. In time, however, the republic would become a casualty of its own success. As the 1850s wore on, a battle over slavery and its place in a rapidly changing nation unraveled into sectional conflict, secession, civil war and a decade's long struggle after the war ended. The result was the largest forced emancipation of slaves in world history, and a conflict of barely calculable carnage. For better and for worse, the Civil War and its aftermath would become the great crucible into which a modern United States was born.
This module surveys the origins, conflicts and outcomes of the Civil War by not only understanding how the war altered the United States but understanding the Civil War and its aftermath in a broader context. Students will examine the causes and consequences of the conflict, by looking backwards to the roots of sectionalism and secession, and forwards into the postwar period, known as Reconstruction. The purpose of this module is to understand how all of these historical forces sowed the seeds of the republic's demise, while at the same time examining what kind of new nation Americans created in the ashes of the old one. Out of the war would come not only a new nation, but a fundamentally different United States. The violent collapse of slavery and the destruction of the plantation system brought profound change and innumerable conflicts, long after the South capitulated and two national armies laid down their weapons. In the wake of the war, Americans would attempt to construct a new republic, born as Abraham Lincoln urged in 1864, out of a 'new birth of freedom.' The problems with that birth, and the contradictions that would endure, would mark the country right up to the present-day.
Often described as the 'Jewel in the Crown', British India played a key role (economic, strategic, military) in the expansion and consolidation of British Empire. In the 18th century India had been a territory held by the English East India Company; by the mid-19th century India became a crown colony and an integral part of the British Empire for reasons that included both resources and a role in enhancing imperial prestige.
Focusing mainly on the nineteenth century, this module explores the processes through which India became a colony and its broader impact on the British Empire. More specifically, the purpose of the module is to impart in students a critical understanding of the relationship between India and the British Empire, especially the ways in which India influenced imperial policies (social, economic) in both metropolitan Britain and in the wider British dominions and colonies. In short, this module offers a survey of the complex, long and historically consequential relation between India and the British Empire.
This module explores the history of play in the United States of America across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The module pays keen attention to the interface of technology with the emergence of mass consumption, modern media, increased leisure time and shifts in family life in a US setting. It encourages students to reflect on the deeper meanings behind the practice of play by engaging with significant theoretical discussions (such as Huizinga's magic circle, or Chapman’s (hi)story-play-space). Play is explored through its relationship with matters of class (1890’s Coney Island and segregated amusements), race (African-American Jackie Robinson as the first Major League baseball player in the 1940s), and gender (the 1950’s Barbie Doll).
The module also explores how 'play’ and ‘games’ can be seen to shape popular views of history and the past. Through the lens of modern video games, sessions tackle how the frontier West, the Cold War, and the War on Terror have all been ‘gamified.’ Through project work, it encourages students to dissect the presentation of America and American history in specific game products, and tackle some of the myriad problems with ‘playing the past’.
The interdisciplinary module draws on literature from (Historical) Game Studies, Media Studies, Cultural Studies and Cultural History.
How common was trial by combat in medieval society? Why did individuals sometimes voluntarily enter slavery? What could a woman do if she wished to divorce her husband? These are the kinds of questions students will consider in this module on law and order in early medieval Europe. Legal texts are among the most voluminous sources to have survived from the early Middle Ages, providing fascinating perspectives on government and the reach of the state, dispute settlement, courts and trials, social relations, literacy, the influence of the Church and more. While the bulk of our material comes from Merovingian and Carolingian Francia, we shall also consider evidence from other regions, including the Byzantine world, Anglo-Saxon England and Visigothic Spain. Different types of legal records will be studied in order to learn how early medieval societies were regulated and how rulers attempted to govern their realms. By examining law, custom and justice in theory and in practice, students will gain an appreciation for the ideals of early medieval law and government, as well as the thornier realities of its operation in society at large.
In this course, students will study the rich history of the Early Modern Islamic World, stretching from the Ottoman Empire in the West, to India and Central Asia in the East. The course will focus on the three so-called 'Gunpowder Empires', the Ottomans, Safavids and Mughals. It will cover their rise from tribal, religious groupings on the borders and peripheries of the Islamic World, to true world powers. Students will be introduced to the ancient concepts of Iranian Kingship and how these were revitalised by all three empires to serve political aims, while maintaining a strict adherence to the tenets of Islam. Students will also explore the conflicting nature of these empires and their neighbours; whether the ongoing struggles between the Ottomans and Safavids in the Caucasus, or the uneasy relationship between the Mughals and the Hindu population of the Indian Subcontinent.
This module explores the three extreme ideologies which took hold of parts of Europe during the interwar period – communism (especially in Russia; later, the Soviet Union), fascism (especially in Italy, and later in Spain), and Nazism (in Germany). These ideologies will be assessed in three ways. Firstly, they will be examined individually, encompassing their emergence, rise to power and assumption of total control; here, the emphasis will be on the power of ideological thinking, the extent of popular support attained by the movements, and the country-specific reasons for their success. Secondly, the ideologies will be considered in comparison with one another, including the leadership styles of Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler and Franco, the roles played by propaganda in their rise and rule, and the ways in which they utilised, or otherwise engaged in, violence to further their aims. And thirdly, the connections between them will be discussed, especially the notion that in the countries mentioned above, and later across Europe, the struggle between extreme ideologies of left and right became the defining issue of the period.
This course explores Southern Africa in a period when it was one of the most dynamic and turbulent regions on earth. Early encounters and conflicts between European settlers and African societies focused on land and labour and were shaped by rapid changes in local and global economies and societies. The discovery of gold and diamonds transformed the local economy and radically transformed the region's relations with the major imperial powers: Germany, Great Britain and Portugal. The Berlin conference of 1884-85 initiated a scramble for formal control of the region, its peoples and its riches, which culminated in the South African war of 1899-1902. Diverse African societies responded to interactions and conflicts with European encroachment and annexation in a range of ways. Cecil Rhodes’ takeover of Rhodesia and the colonisation of Namibia by Germany will also be examined, as will African resistance to both events. Processes of African and European empire building and expansion will be examined as will be the economic and political dynamics of European imperialism, both on the international and the local stage, demonstrating both their metropolitan and local causes. This module will look at the societies of both the colonisers and the colonised, also paying attention to African responses and resistance.
Between 1815 and 1914 Britain engaged in only one European war. The Empire was, therefore, the most consistent and most continuous influence in shaping the army as an institution and moulding public opinion of the army. This module will examine various aspects of the British army’s imperial experience between 1750 and 1920 (although the focus will fall, for the most part on the small wars of the Victorian period). The central focus will be on the campaigning in Africa and India, exploring how a relatively small number of British soldiers managed to gain and retain control of such vast territories and populations. Through an examination of a wide range of literary and visual primary sources, the module will also explore how the imperial soldier specifically and imperial campaigning generally were presented to and reconfigured by a domestic audience.
Topics covered will include:
The everyday life of the imperial soldier
Representing the imperial hero: Henry Havelock and Charles Gordon
The portrayal of imperial campaigning in contemporary popular culture
The legacy of the Boer War: commemoration, doctrine and reform
The modern memory of colonial warfare: from Lives of a Bengal Lancer to Zulu
Cultures never develop and grow in isolation. They are built on the values of past generations, and they are shaped and challenged in interaction with other cultures. The main objective of this module is to explore and present the powerful interaction between Europe and the Islamic world in early modern times, c. 1450-1750.
The course will firstly provide an overview of the rise and fall of three major Islamic states and empires (the Abbasid Caliphate, the Safavid Empire, the Ottoman Empire). It will then assess the early modern European encounter with the Islamic world 1) by discussing the scholarly, religious, political and economic incentives for this encounter; 2) by documenting the exchange of knowledge, ideas, values and material objects this encounter stimulated in the early modern period; 3) by exploring the enormous impact, which this encounter had on European civilization. The course will focus on the following topics and areas of life:
1) Transmission of scientific, technical and medical knowledge.
2) Collecting manuscripts and studying the languages of the Islamic world
3) Trade and economic exchange
4) Conflict and cooperation
5) Understanding Islam, translating the Koran
6) European discovery of Arabic literature, art and architecture
7) Arabs in the West (diplomats, travellers, scholars and prisoners)
8) Europeans in the East (diplomats, travellers, scholars and prisoners)
The French Revolution continues rightly to be regarded as one the great turning points of modern European History. This course will introduce students to the political, social and economic context of France from the accession of Louis XVI to the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. It will explore and assess the divergent interpretations for the origins of the revolutionary conflagration of 1789. There will also be an attempt to understand how a revolution based on the triad 'liberty, equally and fraternity,' lost of sight of its humanitarian aspirations and quickly descended into fratricidal political terror and warfare on a trans-European scale. Students will also be encouraged to cast a critical eye on the vexed question of the French Revolution's contribution to modern political culture.
The diplomatic relationship between Britain and France in the first half of the twentieth century can be seen as a marriage of convenience. Not natural historical allies, the British and French governments were forced increasingly to work together to combat the tensions in Europe that led to the outbreak of the First and Second World Wars.
This module explores the love-hate relationship between the two countries in tracing the origins of the Entente Cordiale, and by addressing some of the major historiographical debates in twentieth century international history. Lectures will provide students with an overview of these debates and the topics listed below, and seminars will encourage students to consider their understanding of these areas and critically engage with them through discussion.
Themes explored will typically include, imperialism, political reform and its impact on foreign policy formation, democratisation, the rise of nationalism, peacemaking at the end of the two world wars; the Ruhr Crisis, the Treaty of Locarno, the League of Nations; the Kellogg Briand Pact; the Briand Plan; the Geneva disarmament conferences of the late 1920s/early 1930s; Eastern Europe and Russia; different strategies to deal with the rise of Hitler; the fall of France, the rise of Vichy; the secret war; the outbreak of the Cold War.
You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.
You have the opportunity to spend a year on professional placement between Stages 2 and 3 as part of this programme.
Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally. You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability.
You spend your year abroad at one of our partner universities. Places and destination are subject to availability, language and degree programme. To find out more, please see Go Abroad.
This module is designed to give final-year Single or Joint Honours History students an opportunity to independently research a historical topic, under the supervision of an expert in the field. Students are required to submit a dissertation (maximum length 9,000 words) based on research undertaken into primary sources, and an extended reading of secondary sources. It is designed to allow students to engage in their own historical research into any chosen topic (the only stipulation being that there must be a member of staff available within the School of History who is able to supervise the topic), and to present their research in a cogent and accessible format.
The aim of this course will be to show how far the Great War has infiltrated into modern culture and to test the validity of Paul Fussell's thesis that the Great War created Britain's modern cultural atmosphere. Fussell contends that modern society is marked by a love of irony, paradox and contradiction formed by the experience of the Western Front. Against this theory we will set the ideas of Samuel Hynes and Martin Stephen, as argued in their works, A War Imagined and The Price of Pity. This course will explore how the Great War has influenced our lives and why we have certain images of it. Why, for example, do most people associate the Great War with words such as 'waste', 'futility' and 'disillusion'? Why does the morality of the Great War seem so tarnished, while the Second World War is conceived as a just war? The course will be based upon literature (high and popular), poetry, art, architecture and film. We will therefore be 'reading' a 'primary text' each week. The course will serve to highlight many of themes of the 19th and 20th century British survey courses and will further contextualise the course on Britain and the Home Front in the Second World War.
This special subject will introduce students to the pros and cons of the historiographical debate surrounding Napoleonic and Revolutionary French history. It will give final year students an alternative means of engaging with the familiar historical category of 'Empire.' The focus on French expansion abroad, in the early nineteenth century, challenges one to move away from understanding the Napoleonic Empire in national terms; this course in essence, by its very nature, is European in both scope and content. To do this it will explore processes of acculturation and international competition on a thematic basis. It will examine, in broad multi-national manner, the complex interaction between centre and periphery or what Italians, more prosaically, describe as conflict between 'stato reale' and 'stato civile.'
This special subject will investigate the Napoleonic Empire in its many facets. Students will be urged actively to pursue their individual interests in either war and society, Empire, political culture and/or gender.
This module aims to study the Court of Queen Elizabeth I as the fulcrum of power and politics in the realm and as a cultural centre. Students will be introduced to the historiography and current interpretations of the political and cultural history of England and Wales in the Elizabethan period. They will analyse a wide range of original primary sources on the workings of the royal household, and on the processes of policy-making by the Queen and the privy council in relation to the government of the kingdom, and be invited to examine critically the evidence for the reputation of the Elizabethan Court as the centre of patronage in the 'English Renaissance' of literature and drama. There will be regular opportunities to discuss research in progress on these subjects.
The 'Renaissance': a time of artistic and cultural productivity; a time, also, of ruthless politics and repeated destruction. The contradictions of the concept are part of its allure - and there is little chance of ignoring it, from cinema references to Machiavelli to the setting of Assassin’s Creed II. What, though, is the historical basis for the construction of the ‘Renaissance’ that has developed since the mid-nineteenth century? And what does that construction tell us about historians’ perceptions of ‘progress’?
This Special Subject allows you to investigate the culture of the Renaissance through engagement with primary sources, textual, visual and material. It begins the Italian peninsula, often considered ‘the cradle’ of innovation in arts, intellectual life and warfare, looking back to the heritage from earlier centuries but with particular focus stretching from the beginning of the fifteenth century — when the papacy was divided and the city-states at each other’s throats — to the aftermath of the Sack of Rome in 1527, when German troops in the pay of the Holy Roman Emperor pillaged the ‘Eternal City’.
We will, however, continually be placing Italian creativity in context, considering its debts to other cultures, both Christian and Muslim, and investigating its interaction with the cultural and commercial life of other parts of Europe, from Spain to the British Isles.
The ninth to eleventh centuries are frequently described as the 'making of England' – the time when England became a political entity for the first time and when ‘English’ identity begins to emerge clearly in the historic record – only for it all to come crashing down, so some claim, in 1066 with the Norman Conquest. As such, these years and their kings are today invoked in powerful yet often highly problematic discourses of national ‘origins’. While it is certainly the case that the polity of ‘England’ first existed in this period, the historic reality is far more complex and fascinating than such modern representations. For example, the Norman Conquest was not the first conquest of England in the eleventh century. This special subject therefore explores the rich political, cultural and social histories of England from the ninth to eleventh centuries, starting with the first wave of Viking invasions and the rise of the kingdom of Wessex in the ninth century, and ending with the Anglo-Norman historians of the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries, who reflected on their own identities and the transformations and traumas of the preceding decades. How productive is it to understand the developments of this period in terms of ‘English’ identity? How great an impact did conquest and political violence have on day-to-day life? And how can we account for the international and multilingual cultures that were fostered in Britain at this time? It is these questions that we will address over the course of the module.
This module covers a wide time period, but within this there will be a number of case-studies which will make this more manageable for students. Ultimately the module will revolve around the study of a number of military traditions within Ireland. The Protestant / Loyalist volunteering tradition, witnessed through those who defended Derry and Enniskillen in 1689, the Irish Volunteer movement of 1778-1792, the Yeomanry of 1796-1834, the Ulster Volunteer Force of 1913-1920, the Ulster Special Constabulary 1920-1970, Ulster Defence Regiment 1970-1992 and the various Loyalist paramilitary groups – Ulster Volunteer Force, Ulster Defence Association, Loyalist Volunteer Force, etc. which emerged from 1966. The Republican military tradition seen with the United Irishmen of 1792-1803, the Young Irelanders of 1848, the Fenian movement of 1858-1916, the Irish Volunteers of 1913-16 and the Irish Republican Army in the many forms it has existed since 1916. The 'Wild Geese' tradition of Irishmen serving in foreign armies was most noticeable with the Irish Brigades formed in the French and Spanish armies in the 1690s, but was also witnessed in the American Civil War and, indeed, South American Wars of Liberation. The tradition of Irish service within the British army as both regular and amateur soldiers will be considered in detail, with particularly a focus on the role of the Irish soldier in the British Empire.
Case-studies will also consider the First World War, when approximately 200,000 Irishmen and 10,000 Irish women served in the British forces and the Second World War when the contribution of Northern Ireland can be compared to the experience of Eire, the latter often described as an ‘unneutral neutral’ given the numbers of Irish citizens who served in the British forces during that conflict.
This module will end with a consideration of the recent Northern Ireland troubles of 1966-1998.
This module will address the dynamic interactions between the British Empire and arguably its most significant colony India by examining the political life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, popularly known as the Mahatma (the great soul).
The focus on Gandhi, often considered as the person who successfully commanded the nationalist movement against the British Raj will allow an exploration the history of the politics of anti-colonial movement in the British Empire, especially around issues of colonial control; role of violence; citizenship; subject hood and sovereignty. More specifically, as M.K. Gandhi spent a significant amount of time in London – the metropole as well as in South Africa – a white settler colony; an investigation of his political life will provide productive ways to engage with the British Empire beyond South Asia. A comparative framework including the metropole and different kinds of colonies also has the vantage of underlining the ways in which imperial/anti-imperial politics was shaped by forces (intellectual, socio-cultural) more complex and nuanced than perhaps hitherto assumed.
In the first term the module will introduce students to British Imperial history, with a focus on colonisation of South Asia and Southern Africa. Themes discussed in the seminars will include, but not limited to: East India Companies and settlement of India and Southern Africa; imperial networks (people; commodities, ideas. administrators) between India, Southern Africa and Britain; M.K. Gandhi in London and his life and experiences in South Africa; Boer Wars and the beginnings of anti-colonial movement in India.
In the second term, the module will look at how M.K. Gandhi developed his political strategies, especially ideas of non-violent civil disobedience and Satyagraha; major Gandhi lead anti-colonial mass movements in India; Gandhi's engagement with imperial politics in terms of Round Table Conferences and visits to UK and India’s independence and partition. These themes will also explore the ways in which the politics of M.K. Gandhi was imbricated with his personality and its consequent dissonances which continue to reverberate even today.
By the middle decades of the nineteenth century, the collapse of slavery in many parts of the Atlantic World heralded, for some, the coming of a new, modern age. Revolution decades before in America, France and most powerfully in Haiti, had pushed new ideas to the forefront about who ought to govern themselves, and who those governments ought to serve. In fits and starts, an emerging capitalist system cut a broad path through the international economy, disrupting older systems of trade and upending older ideas about labour and work. For more than two centuries, slavery, we are told, was part of that older world which had become imperilled by mid-century. The institution had been everywhere in the Atlantic by the end of the eighteenth century. By 1840, however, only slaveholders in the United States, Cuba, Brazil and Puerto Rico would continue to hold onto their human chattel. Change seemed everywhere. Modernity was on the march.
This is the traditional story historians tell about the Atlantic World in the nineteenth century: a triumphalist tale that we will challenge in this module. Focused on the period between the 1790s and the 1890s, the module surveys Atlantic history in the nineteenth century and follows lines of connection between ideas about race, slavery, freedom and labour, to see this period in new light. We will take up the social, cultural, intellectual, economic and political battles between abolitionists and proslavery advocates, slaves and slaveholders, freedpeople and landowners, labourers and factory owners, whose struggles for power would turn the nineteenth century into one of the most chaotic periods of modern history. Traversing the history of the United States, Caribbean and Latin America, the module invites students to think in new ways about slavery, labour, capitalism, emancipation and the foundations of the modern world we live in.
From early nineteenth century concerns over declining birth rates to the profound impact of the AIDS epidemic in the late twentieth century, this module will examine key political, economic, social and medical issues and events that shaped discourse, attitudes and behaviours surrounding sex and health in Britain since 1800. A central concern of this module will be to untangle the complicated relationship between public discourse and private behaviour. Indeed, while vocal social commentators, scientific and medical communities, the State and the Church increasingly sought to regulate sexual attitudes and behaviours, deviant and tabooed practices such as prostitution, masturbation and sex outside marriage were (and still are) prevalent. In untangling public discourse and private behaviour, the module will consider: the extent to which the regulation of sex and health has been successful; the ways in which attitudes and behaviours changed across the period and varied according to geography, social class, sexual preference, gender and ethnicity; and how they affect our attitudes towards sex and health today. Themes addressed in this module include: Britain's role in the global commercialisation of contraceptive technologies; venereal disease; abortion and infanticide; eugenics; same-sex relationships; and sex crimes.
Saints were a central feature of the Christian religion in medieval Europe, and they also had a profound influence on culture and society. This module explores the development of the cult of saints from Late Antiquity to the eve of the Reformation. Some of the main topics that will be considered include relics, miracle stories, pilgrimage, and artistic production. In addition to these topics, the module will consider the impact that saints and relics had on the building of churches and the feast days in the calendar. We will look at a wide variety of sources including illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, stained glass, church buildings, and saints’ lives. All texts will be read in translation.
This module addresses the politics, ideology and culture of the USSR in the post-war era. It starts with an exploration of late Stalinism, before covering Khrushchev's reforms, Brezhnev’s neo-Stalinism and Gorbachev's perestroika. Along with these themes, time will be devoted to: the intelligentsia; labour camps and the release of detainees in the 1950s; Soviet science; religion and spirituality; emerging nationalism; the Human Rights Movement; ‘village’ prose; the Soviet economy; foreign policy and policy in the ‘near abroad’; the collapse of the USSR; and Yeltsin’s reformism and the new Russian state. The approach is interdisciplinary, and this will be reflected in the wide range of primary sources used; and throughout the module students will be introduced to the relevant historiography.
You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.
The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.
For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.*
The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.
Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.
Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.
Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status.
The following course-related costs are not included in your tuition fees:
Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details.
You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.
Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.
At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence.
The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of A*AA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.
Teaching is by a combination of lectures, providing a broad overview, and seminars, which focus on discussing particular issues and are led by student presentations. Lectures and seminars use a variety of materials, including original documents, films and documentaries, illuminated manuscripts, and slide and PowerPoint demonstrations.
The School of History uses a mixture of assessment patterns. The standard formats are 100% coursework or 60% examination and 40% coursework.
The School also has excellent student support arrangements. Alongside our Student Support Officer, each student is assigned an academic tutor. All module convenors keep regular office hours, and the School has a policy of returning at least one essay on each module in a one-to-one personal meeting, allowing for additional verbal feedback and discussion.
For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours. The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules. Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.
Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules. Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.
The programme aims to:
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
You gain intellectual skills in:
You gain subject-specific skills in how to:
You gain transferable skills in:
All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.
Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.
Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.
History at Kent was ranked 1st for research intensity in The Complete University Guide 2021.
Over 92% of final-year History students were satisfied with the quality of teaching on their course in The Guardian University Guide 2021.
Our graduates are prepared for a wide range of career options in areas including:
Examples of the positions some of our graduates have moved into include:
The School of History runs employability sessions to help you hone your job-hunting skills, and these include input from highly successful alumni.
The University also has a friendly Careers and Employability Service, which can give you advice on how to:
You graduate with an excellent grounding in historical knowledge and become adept at:
To help you appeal to employers, you learn key transferable skills that are essential for all graduates. These include the ability to:
You can also gain extra skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.
Full-time applicants (including international applicants) should apply through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) system. If you need help or advice on your application, you should speak with your careers adviser or contact UCAS Customer Contact Centre.
The institution code number for the University of Kent is K24, and the code name is KENT.
See the UCAS website for an outline of the UCAS process and application deadlines.
If you are applying for courses based at Medway, you should add the campus code K in Section 3(d).
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