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 School of History at Kent is one of the leading History departments in the country, where you are taught by passionate academics, active researchers and recognised experts. You learn within an inspiring environment, studying on carefully crafted programmes that allow you to develop your own skills and interests.
Our degree programme
Our History programme allows you to tailor your degree to your own interests. These may be incredibly broad, or more focused within specific themes or historical periods.
There is a huge choice of modules on offer, which reflect the wide-ranging expertise of our academics. You can explore topics from the crusades to the Cold War; from the impact of science on 19th-century culture to the totalitarian regimes of Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Third Reich.
History student, Beccy Noble, talks about what it's like to study the subject at Kent.
Year in professional placement
It is possible to take this programme with a work placement between the second and third year of your degree – this can provide valuable work experience and the chance to gain new skills. You don’t have to make a decision before you enrol at Kent but certain conditions apply.
Year or term abroad
You have the chance to study abroad for a year, or for a term in your third year. Previous destinations include:
- California, USA
- Massachusetts, USA
- Ottawa, Canada.
- Poitiers, France
- Stellenbosch, South Africa
- Pokfulam, Hong Kong
- Tokyo, Japan.
Facilities to support your studies include:
- the British Cartoon Archive, whose 20th-century collection can illuminate many aspects of recent history
- a rare and complete set of British official histories of both world wars
- privileged access to rare books and priceless manuscripts at Canterbury Cathedral Library and Archives.
You can get involved with the student-run History Society, which in previous years has organised lectures, social events and trips across Europe.
The School of History also organises talks from visiting speakers that you are welcome to attend. In addition there are regular careers workshops and visits from successful alumni.
We have excellent links with the National Trust as well as local heritage organisations, including:
- Canterbury Cathedral Library and Archives
- The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge
- Canterbury Archaeological Trust
- Royal Engineers Museum.
The School of History has also established strong links with academic institutions across Europe and beyond.
History at Kent was ranked 19th in The Guardian University Guide 2017. In the National Student Survey 2016, 94% of our History students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.
History at Kent was ranked 14th for graduate prospects in The Times Good University Guide 2017. Of History students who graduated in 2015, 92% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).
Teaching Excellence Framework
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.
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 ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.
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HI426 - Making History: Theory and Practice
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. This will be achieved through four blocks of seminars and lectures.
These will cover:
The practice of history, introducing history at university level at both a practical and conceptual level.
Historical methodology. This will cover the development of university history in the nineteenth century and how this differed from the study and writing of history that had gone before. It will also consider the impact of the Social Sciences on the historical profession during the twentieth century.
The varieties of history. This will examine some of the major themes and approaches, such as Marxism or nationalism, in modern historical scholarship.
Beyond history. The final block will consider the linguistic turn and new ways of studying and writing history in the twenty-first century.
A fifth component, concentrated in the first three or four weeks of the module, will provide training in core, practical skills (library and bibliographic skills, IT skills and the use of MyFolio and PDP).Read more
HI385 - Introduction to the History of Medicine
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 and the Roman medical tradition as represented in the texts of Galen.
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 medicine and the natural world discusses the source of medical knowledge as derived from the natural world through diverse cultural, social and scientific practices.
The section on health and climate highlights the historical links between disease, climate and environment, for example the emergence of theories of miasma, putrefaction and the ideas of "unhealthy climates".
The section on medicine and empire introduces the historical links between medicine and imperialism from the eighteenth century onwards.
The section on early modern and modern medicine explores the development of psychiatry and the asylum system in the 18th century, the rise of the welfare state and new theories of biology and disease transmission in the 19th century. These will be linked to the development of medical ethics.Read more
HI410 - Early Medieval Europe
What happened when the Roman Empire collapsed? When did countries like England, France and Germany come into being? How violent were the Vikings? What actually happened at the Norman Conquest?
This module is designed to provide an introduction to early medieval European history. We will focus on the main political events and most significant changes that took place during this period. We will also look at aspects of society and culture. The aims are that students should have a clear understanding of the outlines of European history in this period, a sense of what life was like in particular communities, and of the types of evidence that survive for historians to use. The weekly lectures will help guide students through the module, and in the regular seminars there will be opportunities to explore key debates and sources in more detail.
There will be an optional fieldtrip to St Augustine's Abbey and St Martin's, Canterbury.Read more
HI411 - Later Medieval Europe
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.Read more
HI432 - 1450 - 1600: The Age of Reformation
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 Europes troubled engagement with the wider world. . As with the complementary module on later European history (c.1600-1750) the lectures and seminars will be arranged around six key areas: 1) religion 2) intellectual and scholarly life 3) economy 4) society 5) politics and war and 6) culture. These themes will be approached through the examination of national histories, specific events, and historiographical controversies. The topics covered will reflect the research and teaching interests of the School of Historys four permanent early modernists and prepare students for early modern modules taken at I and H level. Students will be encouraged to take this module along with a similar module in the Spring term which will cover the period from c.1600 to c.1750.Read more
HI433 - 1600-1750: The Age of Enlightenment
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. As with the complementary module on earlier European history (c.1450-1600) the lectures and seminars will be arranged around six key areas: 1) religion 2) intellectual and scholarly life 3) economy 4) society 5) politics and war and 6) culture. These themes will be approached through the examination of national histories, specific events, and historiographical controversies. The topics covered will reflect the research and teaching interests of the School of Historys early modernists and prepare students for early modern modules taken at I and H level. Students will be encouraged to take this module along with a similar module in the Autumn term which will cover the period from c.1450 to c.1600.Read more
HI434 - Ten Technologies That Made Us Modern
Science has arguably been the greatest force for cultural change in the last 500 years. Scientists have changed the way we see the world and the way we see ourselves. They have moved the earth from the centre of the universe, and have taught us that we are nothing more than jumped-up apes. This module visits some of the most important events and developments since the so-called 'scientific revolution' (c. 1700) and questions some myths about how science works.
Note that absolutely no technical knowledge of science is required for this module. This module is all about people, places and culture, not an examination of particular scientific theories.Read more
HI435 - A Global History of Empires: 1500-1850
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.
Although this module is independent of and distinct from the other module on the history of global empires, (1850-1960) which will run in the Spring term, for the deep interconnectedness of this history, which this module/s highlights, students will be encouraged to take both.
Topics will cover:
1. The Iberian Empires in the Atlantic, c. 15001700
2. Vasco Da Gama and the Portuguese Empire in the Indian Ocean
3. The expansion of European colonies in the Americas
4. Competition for the World: European Rivalries for World Domination, 16001700
5. Trade and Dominion: the East India Companies and the Making of Asian Empires (1700-1850)
6. Global empires in the 18th century
7. Imperial Crisis? 1760 1830
8. Imperialism and the Global Economy: Free trade, Industrialization and the Balance of Payment (will also cover: Informal Empires in Latin America)
9. Africa and the Global Economy in the 19th century
10. Empire and Rebellion: the Revolt of 1857Read more
HI436 - A Global History of Empires: 1850-1960
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.
Although this module is distinct from the other module on the history of global empires, (1600-1850) which will run in the Autumn term, for the deep interconnectedness of this history, which this module/s highlights, students will be encouraged to take both.
Topics will cover:
1. The Victorian Empire: Law, Education and Modernity
2. Empire on the Move: Missionaries, Indentured labour and Convicts
3. The 'Scramble for Africa'
4. The Nature of the British African Empire: from the civilising mission to Indirect Rule)
5. French, Belgian and Portuguese Colonialisms
6. Empire and Race: Ideas of Difference and Degeneration
7. Freedom from Empire: Nationalist and anti-imperialist movements in South Asia, North Africa
8. WWII and the 'Second Colonial Occupation'
9. Decolonization in Africa
10. Neo-imperial Adventures? The USSR and China in Africa
11. The Legacy of Empire: the Commonwealth, Immigration and MulticulturalismRead more
HI437 - War and Diplomacy in Europe c1850-2000
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.Read more
HI430 - Modern British History (Part Two)
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 Peoples 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.Read more
HI416 - Victorian Britain: Politics, Society and Culture
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 worlds greatest empires, the transformation of Britain from a rural society into the worlds first and leading industrial nation, and the development of a modern state and new forms of democratic participation.Read more
HI425 - Revolutionary Europe 1700-1850
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; Russia under Peter the Great and Catherine the Great; Frederick the Great; Joseph II and the Habsburg Monarchy; the French revolution; the Napoleonic Empire; Spain: Reform, Reaction and Revolution; the Congress of Vienna; nationalism in Europe; the revolutions of 1848.Read more
HI390 - The Emergence of America:From European Settlement to 1880
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 is pursued via 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.Read more
HI391 - The Rise of the United States Since 1880
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.Read more
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HI5023 - The American Civil War Era 1848-1877
This course will examine this key era of US history by examining the key political and social events, developments in the history of ideas and historiographical controversies from the victory over Mexico to the final withdrawal of US troops from the South. It will focus on the changes that occurred and the changing interpretations of them. Students will be able to see the interplay of forces and ideas that led to a conflict that few, if any, wanted and lasted for longer than anyone expected. Historical and fictional depictions in art and film will be evaluated for the ways they shape perspectives. The key historical topics include the rise of slavery as a public issue in the late 1840s, the attempts to find compromise within the Constitutional framework, the activities of the extremists, the changing nature and goals of the war, the effects the war had on both sides, the plans for the post-war period, the changing elite and popular attitudes, the nature of the final, pragmatic arrangements that the country accepted. Students will be able to pursue topics of their choice alongside and as part of these themes.Read more
HI5028 - The Crusades
This module introduces students to the circumstances behind and motives for the crusading movement, to the key events of early crusades, and to the rise and fall of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. Extensive use is made of primary sources in translation. Topics to be covered include: The background of the crusades; The historiography of the crusades: What were the crusades?; The First Crusade; The Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem; The second Crusade; The fall of Jerusalem in 1187; The Third Crusade; The Fourth Crusade; Crusading within Europe; The capture of Damietta; The crusade of Louis IXRead more
HI5031 - African History since 1800
This module is meant to introduce students to the key processes and dynamics of sub-Saharan African history during the past two centuries. The course covers three chronological periods: the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial eras. In their study of the pre-colonial period students, will especially familiarize themselves with the changing nature of African slavery and the nineteenth-century reconstruction of political authority in the face of economic, environmental and military challenges. The colonial period forms the second section of the course. Here, students will gain an understanding of the modalities of the colonial conquest, the creation and operation of colonial economies and the socio-cultural engineering brought about by European rule. The study of the colonial period will end with an analysis of African nationalisms and decolonisation. In the final part of the course, students will develop an understanding of the challenges faced by independent African nations. The nature of the post-colonial African state will be explored alongside such topical issues as the Rwandan Genocide and the African AIDS epidemic.Read more
HI5055 - Russia, 1881-1945:Nationalism, Revolution andWar
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.Read more
HI5065 - British History c. 1480-1620
In 1500 England and Scotland were both Catholic, and entirely separate countries. In 1603 they were united under one ruler, the Scottish King James VI who inherited the throne of England on the death of Elizabeth I. This module will introduce students to the political history of the period, meeting famous characters such as Henry VIII and Mary, Queen of Scots, but it will also get beyond headline-grabbing monarchs to explore complex political realities. Alongside the contested process of religious change and the secret scheming between England and Scotland, we shall consider the impact of propaganda on the people of different parts of the British Isles. Students will encounter a wide variety of sources, ranging from political pictures and tracts to acts of Parliament and diplomatic correspondence.Read more
HI5075 - Marvels, Monsters and Freaks 1780-1920
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.Read more
HI5092 - Armies at War 1914-1918
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.Read more
HI5096 - Modern German History, 1918-1990
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 Germanys 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.Read more
HI6002 - The British Army and Empire c1750-1920
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 armys 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 ZuluRead more
HI6009 - Europe and the Islamic World, c 1450-1750
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)Read more
HI6011 - From Crisis to Revolution: France 1774-1799
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.Read more
HI6025 - Everyday Life in Early Modern Europe
This module covers fundamental transformations taking place in European society between c. 1500 and 1800. It focuses specifically on the everyday experiences of early modern Europeans, and how these changed as a result of, amongst others, global expansion, religious change, urbanisation and economic innovation. Through looking at how these transformations at a macro-level affected the micro-level of European households, this module aims to give insight into the ever-changing lives of Europeans before the onset of 'modernisation' in the 19th century. Themes that will be addressed in the lectures and seminars vary from migration, crime, and poverty, to witchcraft, sexuality and material culture.Read more
HI6042 - The British Empire: Sunrise to Sunset
'We seem, as it were, to have conquered and peopled half the world in a fit of absence of mind.'
Sir John Seeley, The Expansion of England (1883)
Despite Seeley's assertion of accidental conquest, at its zenith the British empire decidedly controlled over ¼ of the world's global real estate, and 1/5 of the world's population. The economic, cultural and global impact of British colonialism is still very much apparent today - from contested borders and inter-state disputes, through languages and cultures, to the inequities in wealth and trade that exist between the prosperous 'North' and the underdeveloped 'South'. Why, then, was imperial expansion so vehemently defended by its protagonists in the 19th and 20th Centuries? And what made colonial conquest, colonisation, and economic exploitation of non-European spaces feasible on such a global scale and for so long? These are the 'big questions' that underlie this module. Using documentary sources and specialist texts and articles, we shall investigate various aspects of British colonial rule from the perspective of its practitioners and from that of their colonial 'subjects'. The intention is to try and understand European imperialism on its own terms, to interrogate the cultural and conceptual discourses that underpinned its existence, and to reflect upon the many ways in which the history of European empire has shaped the modern world in which we live today.
Please note that the title of this module is changing. It will run in 2016/2017 as 'A Cultural History of the British Empire.'Read more
HI6034 - Anglo-French Relations 1904 - 1945
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.Read more
HI6056 - The British Atlantic World c.1580-1763
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.Read more
HI6064 - Armies at War, 1792-1815
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 Napoleons methods of warfare and how these were successfully countered by his enemies.Read more
HI6069 - Science and Religion
Science and religion are often presented as in antithesis; worldviews that will inevitably clash. Popular accounts of science often present religion and religious institutions as a restraining force on the advance of science, and find it difficult to deal with the many scientific figures whose work was either underpinned or unaffected by their faith. This module will look critically at these narratives, re-examining famous episodes such as Galileo's clash with the Catholic Church, and debates over Darwins theory of evolution, from the Huxley-Wilberforce debate of 1860 to the Scopes Trial in Tennessee in 1925. We will explore the late 19th-century roots of the "clash narrative" and the developing idea of inevitable Warfare between science and religion, noting the other ways in which the relationship has been understood. This includes the long-lasting natural theological framing of scientific knowledge, which saw evidence of Gods existence and attributes in the natural world, and historians accounts of the role of religion in motivating individuals and groups to undertake scientific work.Read more
HI6078 - Restoration, Revolution and Reform: British Politics 1678 - 1763
Spanning the period from the Exclusion Crisis of the late 1670s until the end of the Seven Years' War in 1763, this module will explore a crucial period in the history of Britain through an examination of politics, religion and diplomacy. Emerging from the upheaval of revolution in the 1640s and 1650s, the British monarchy had to adapt to new circumstances in the ensuing 100 years and one of the aims of the module will be to consider the changing nature of kingship and queenship in this age. Dynasticism remained important - after all, two unions were brought about during this period - with the Dutch (1689-1702) and the Hanoverian electorate (1714-1837). Necessarily, therefore, the European dimension will be central to the module, while the focus will be on Britain, not merely England. Parliament assumed an enhanced role in the politics of this period - with annual parliaments from 1689 and parliamentary union with Scotland in 1707 - and the module will pay close attention to the fortunes of ministers, the growth of parties and the increasingly active electorate in an age of frequent general elections. The module will also assess how extra-parliamentary opinion, the press and popular protest affected the political landscape. Religious conflict remained an issue, with continuing tension between the established church and 'dissenters', as well as between Catholic and Protestant (the attempt to exclude James, Duke of York from the succession signifying the continued interdependence of religion and politics). Finally, the module will examine the impact on Britain of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48) and the Seven Years' War (1756-63), and the growth of the British colonial empire.Read more
HI761 - The Cultural History Of The Great War: Britain, France and Germany In C
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.Read more
HI763 - How the West was Won (or lost): The American West in the Nineteenth Cen
This module will explore the American West, looking at the social and economic dynamics underlying Western history, together with processes of environmental transformation. The unit spans a chronological period from 1803 the Louisiana Purchase - to 1893 the date of the Chicago Exposition and Turners famed Frontier thesis. Commencing with a look at constructions of the West in history, literature and film, the module will move on to critically analyse key issues and moments in Western History including the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Gold Rush, and the Indian Wars. Outline themes include the construction of regional identities, protracted conflicts for resources, environmental changes, and the continuing importance of the West as a symbolic landscape. A key aim of the course lies in facilitating critical discussion on the process of nineteenth-century westward expansion, addressing issues of colonial conquest, environmental despoliation, economic change, and social cohesion. Through lectures and seminars, we will explore the major themes of Western history in this period and examine relevant historiographical debates. Portrayals of the West in art, literature, and film will be used extensively to illustrate the diversity of Western culture and situate the importance of myth in shaping popular and historical discourse.Read more
HI767 - Churchill's Army: the British Army in the Second World War
WAR STUDIES STUDENTS WILL HAVE PRIORITY ON THIS MODULE.
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.Read more
HI783 - Anglo-Saxon England
This module is designed to introduce students to the political, social, and cultural history of England in the dramatic centuries between the departure of the Roman legions and the arrival of the Normans. During this period the country was transformed from a province of the Roman Empire into several independent kingdoms; redefined by christianity, invaded by vikings, it was eventually unified into a single state, one that was rich, sophisticated and ripe for conquest. A wide range of sources will be used including archaeology and poetry, letters and lawcodes. There will be an optional field trip to the British Museum.Read more
HI789 - The Art of Death
This module explores the place of death within late medieval English culture, focusing especially on the visual evidence of tombs, architecture, and illuminated manuscripts. It will begin by examining how ideas about death and the dead were expressed in works of art before the arrival of the Black Death to England in 1348. We will then explore the ways in which funerary sculpture, architecture and painting changed after, and perhaps because of, the devastation of the plague. These sources will be set within the context of literary, documentary and liturgical evidence. Further, it will explore how historians approach the history of death from different disciplinary perspectives, and consider the place of visual evidence within a range of sources and methods.Read more
HI795 - Inviting Doomsday: US Environmental
Condemned by the international community for refusing to sign the Kyoto Accords, rendered powerless by electricity blackouts, and stricken by the Hurricane Katrina disaster, the United States of America is today embroiled in a narrative of environmental controversy and catastrophe. This module explores to what extent the USA has been inviting doomsday throughout the modern (twentieth-century) period. Commencing with an introductory session on writing and researching American environmental history, the module is then split into four sections: Science and Recreation, Doomsday Scenarios, Environmental Protest, and Consuming Nature. Over the twelve weeks we will consider a range of environmental issues that include wildlife management in national parks, pesticide spraying on prairie farms, nuclear testing in Nevada, and Mickey Mouse rides in Disneyland. By the end of the module, we will have constructed a comprehensive map of the United States based around themes of ecological transformation, assimilation and decay.Read more
HI6083 - Rifles, Railways and Factories
Week 1: introduction
Weeks 2-6 (including Study Week) German Wars of Unification, 1864-1870
Weeks 7-12 American Civil War
Both sets of conflicts will be examined through a series of themes: political management of war in the second half of the nineteenth century; the nature of generalship and command; the issues of logistics, communications and military medicine; the experiences of front-line troops; the management and attitudes of home frontsRead more
Year in industry
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.
|Modules may include||Credits|
HI605 - Undergraduate Dissertation
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.Read more
HI6040 - The Discovery of the World c.1450 - 1800
A century after the discovery of the Americas, in a treatise published in 1580, the radical Reformer Jacob Paleologus argued that it was most unlikely that the ancestors of the American natives could have crossed the Ocean and he concluded hence that all humans cannot descend from one single individual, Adam. So the discovery of America not only challenged traditional geographical knowledge, but also questioned fundamental religious, anthropological and historical assumptions. This module will explore early modern encounters with new worlds and with non-European cultures and it will ask about the impressions, which these encounters made and the manifold changes of European life they brought about. Based on the weekly reading of one primary source, we will follow travellers, merchants, scholars and missionaries on their expeditions to the inner parts of Africa, to the court of the Shah of Persia, to China and to the Americas. We will watch them drawing maps of uncharted lands and compose dictionaries of unheard languages. And we will not only listen to European voices, but will also try to reconstruct the experiences and impressions of non-European actors and visitors. The central aim of this module is to discuss the religious, intellectual, political and economical contexts of these discoveries and cultural encounters. We will ask how the various actors organized and methodized their expeditions and how they interpreted their discoveries. The module will also address the consequences, which these discoveries entailed. How did they affect the traditional European ideas about mankind, religion, the world and their position in it? How did they influence European life style, fashion, art and literature? How did they affect the lives, social structures and cultures of the discovered people?Read more
HI6044 - British Politics 1625-1642
When Charles I became king of England in March 1625, he also inherited the thrones of Scotland and Ireland. This module will consider politics, religion and culture in Caroline Britain from Charles Is assumption of the triple crown, until he declared war on the English Parliament in August 1642. During this fascinating period, the king pursued controversial policies and eventually faced armed resistance in all three kingdoms the struggle against the Scottish covenanters (1639-40); the Irish rebellion (1641); and finally, civil war in England (1642).
Students will have the opportunity to analyse a wide variety of primary source material, including royal letters, private correspondence, paintings, journals, newsletters, religious documents and state papers. Through these rich sources, students will explore the many factors which shaped the character of Charless government and will be encouraged to draw their own conclusions about the nature and success of the kings approach. Was this a period of relative harmony until the late 1630s or were all three kingdoms on a trajectory towards conflict from the outset of the reign? By the end of the module, students will be able to answer these, and other historiographical questions, including perhaps the most crucial question of all - what were the causes of the British Civil Wars?Read more
HI6045 - Origins of the Second World War
Aims and Outcomes
1. Analyse in depth the diplomacy and politics of Britain, the major European powers, the United States and Japan in the period 1919-1939 and explain how they contributed to the outbreak of the Second World War.
2. Analyse and deconstruct the various historiographical debates among historians relating to the origins of the Second World War through seminar discussion, course work and unseen examination.
3. Analyse and discuss a variety of primary sources relating to the origins of the Second World War through seminar discussion and through course work.
Subjects and themes
This module will provide you with an opportunity to discuss the international diplomacy and politics of the period, 1919-1939; that is, between the two world wars. This was an era of unprecedented historical complexity.
Themes and issues covered include the fulfilment of the peace-making objectives of the victorious powers at the end of the First World War; the tensions between the European and imperial agendas of Britain and France; the idea of the 1920s as a large-scale experiment in democratisation; the impact of the extreme ideologies of the right and left on international affairs; the impact of cultural nationalism on international diplomacy; the work and role of the League of Nations; the disarmament/rearmament debate; the quest to ban war; the individual diplomatic strategies of Britain, the major continental European powers, the United States and Japan between 1919-1939 and how they changed; the major treaties of the period, including the Treaty of Versailles and the other peace treaties signed in Paris in 1919; the Treaty of Locarno (1925); the Kellogg-Briand Pact (1928); the Four Power Pact (1933)l the Anglo-German Naval Agreement (1935); the Rhineland Crisis (1936); the diplomatic tensions caused by the fascist dictators, including an in-depth analysis of the Spanish Civil War; the statecraft of international diplomacy in the interwar period and the quest for appeasement.Read more
HI6024 - Napoleon and Europe, 1799 - 1815
A decade ago John Dunne, in a review article, described Napoleonic history as a poor relation of the French Revolution that seemed on the verge of making good. These prophetic words described well the growing interest among scholars in Bonapartes ambitious Imperial mission extending beyond Frances natural frontiers. The work of historians Stuart Woolf and Michael Broers has postulated that the Napoleonic mission to 'integrate Europe under a single system of governance' could be viewed as a form of 'cultural imperialism in a European setting.' This special subject will introduce students to the pros and cons of this historiographical debate. It will give final year students an alternative means of engaging with the familiar historical category of Empire. There is no shortage of source material translated into English relating to this period. Indeed the memorial de Saint Helene has been available to the Anglophone world since 1824. Consequently a critical and in-depth engagement with primary material will be one of the priorities of this special subject. 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. Napoleon was his own best advocate when it came to forging his posthumous legacy. Students will be encouraged to appraise critically his memoirs and understand that behind claims of progress lay a brutal struggle for the fiscal military resources of Europe. Yet, even more important will be to consider that while the military and political effects of the grand Empire were ephemeral, it created a judicial and administrative edifice which survived well beyond 1815 and continues to shape European civilisation to this day. Of course, laws do not merely structure the powers of governmental action but have a complex impact on notions of citizenship, the economy and culture (especially family life). 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.Read more
HI6086 - Loyalists: The Wrong Side of American Independence
This special subject addresses the loyalists during the American Revolutionary era, who for a host of reasons remained wedded to king and empire, and sought to resist the tide of movement towards US independence using any means at their disposal ideological, economic, spiritual, physical, and emotional. The loyalists, identified with the interests of the British Crown, were among the great losers during the Revolutionary War and at independence. Estimates of between 60,000-80,000 departed the U.S. at the end of the war, repatriating in clusters throughout the British Empire. Celebrated and long-studied in Canada, the American loyalists, have been vulnerable to "the condescension of posterity": for many decades vilified in nationalistic American narratives of the Founding Era, and absentmindedly overlooked in British imperial histories that looked to the Second Empire. They were a diverse lot, mobilised by diverse interests including within their number thousands of Indians and slaves as well as wealthy whites, Anglicans, women, soldiers, ethnic minorities, and others who had benefited from royal patronage or who disparaged the Patriot movement. The subject's topicality resonates far beyond the academy, as shown by recent developments (e.g. Scottish and Quebecois referenda, Brexit and changing sentiments on Europe, and globally prominent issues of migration and refugee integration). We treat the culture of royalism and loyalty on the eve of the Revolution, the experiences and arguments of loyalists during the Revolution (including their military history and the battles for hearts and minds), the diasporic communities of loyalists who moved to the British Isles, Sierra Leone, Nova Scotia and elsewhere, and try also to contextualise perhaps as many as half a million loyalists who remained in or returned to the U.S. after the American Revolution, who faced the prospect of an awkward reintegration.
Besides working chronologically through these themes and issues, students taking this special subject will also develop skills, work in, and be assessed in palaeography and primary source analysis (consulting the Loyalist Claims), and digital humanities (pursuing the digital mapping of loyalists).Read more
HI6081 - Elizabethan Court and Realm, 1558-1603
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.Read more
HI6082 - The Tale of Two Kings:Edward II,Robert the Bruce and Political Crisis i
In 1307, Edward I in England, the most powerful ruler of northern Europe died, leaving the crown to his son, Edward II. A year before, after years of bitter anarchy and political chaos, Robert I Bruce, the arch-nemesis of the two Edwards, had been inaugurated as the King of the Scots. Edward II received a powerful and centralised state with a comparatively mighty economy, while Robert got a comparatively weak and decentralised kingdom, greatly impoverished by some a decade of fighting. In theory, at least, Robert should have subjugated himself to the over-lordship of Edward. In reality, however, the Fortune was on Robert's side. Remarkably, not only that Robert overcame Edward militarily and politically, but he also made Scotland, towards the end of his reign, a relatively united and powerful monarchy, that started playing a leading role in international European affairs. The authority of Edward, conversely, was challenged not only by Robert, but also by his own nobles and churchmen. After a series of socio-economic, political, military and familial failures, Edward II was deposed in 1327. In 1329, Robert died in dignity, leaving his country united. A year later, Edward was executed, leaving a divided country. The seminar will survey and analyse various aspects of Edwards and Roberts rules, with a particular attention to their individual upbringing and relationships with their family members and close kinsmen, struggle with their political opponents, military strategy and campaigns, relationships with Church, coping with the Great Famine of 1315-7, the struggle for Ireland and the question of inheritance.Read more
HI6071 - The United Nations in the Twentieth Century
The United Nations was established by the victorious states of the Second World War in 1945. The preamble to the Charter of the United Nations declared that the organisation's aim is to 'save succeeding generations from the scourge of war; promote fundamental human rights and the rights of nations large and small; maintain international law and promote social progress. This module will explore how successfully the organisation has met its founding ideals. In doing so, it will consider major issues that faced the United Nations during the first fifty years of its existence. It will examine how policy was formulated in the committee rooms of the General Assembly and the Security Council. It will then explore how effective such policy proved in the context of the Cold War and the changing post-colonial environment of the late twentieth century.Read more
HI6075 - Sex, Health and Deviance in Britain since 1800
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.Read more
HI6066 - The East India Company, 1600-1857
The English East India Company (founded 1600) is the most famous corporation in world history. Its remarkable geographical expanse as a business connecting the British Isles with the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans makes it a protagonist in histories of globalisation. But the company's impressive longevity from the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I to the reign of Queen Victoria make the Company a common institutional thread whose changing character in each period can illuminate the broader story of English history as well as the separate histories of the territories the Company engaged with. Historians have debated what the Company represented. The Company did so much to stimulate global trade, but was it a private business in the modern sense? It ruled British territory on behalf of the British state, but was it a state in its own right? This course encourages participants to engage with these (and other) large and important questions and will digest the high quality literature that the company has rightly attracted. But the core of this class will be the challenge and joy of digesting the remarkable corpus of documents and writings that the Company issued or provoked including all of the most important political economists from the early seventeenth century to the late nineteenth: from Thomas Mun through Edmund Burke to James and John Stuart Mill. Participants will read and reflect upon a wide variety of materials from translated Persian documents trying to make sense of the Company's operations, from the correspondence of Company factors in Japan, to the company's charters, board room minutes, pamphlets, and histories as well as its art and architecture in the cities it did so much to develop. Participants will therefore receive a broad understanding of seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth century British, Indian, and global history; they will also develop expertise in the following sub-fields: cultural, art, political, parliamentary, global, economic, constitutional, and business history.Read more
HI6060 - After Stalin: The Decline and Fall of the Soviet Union
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, Brezhnevs 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 Yeltsins 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.Read more
HI6061 - Human Experiments & Human Rights during the Cold War
This Special Subject examines the history of human rights in human experimentation during the Cold War, and traces the development of biological and chemical warfare research from the Second World War through to Allied military research in the 1950s and 1960s. It charts continuity and change in the development of medical ethics standards in modern military research on humans, and assesses the extent to which research subjects were informed of the risks involved in the research.
The module explores Allied war-time research and the international response to news of Nazi medical atrocities. The Nuremberg Medical Trial and the Nuremberg Code are important milestones in the history of informed consent and modern medical ethics. The module looks at the nuclear testing programme that was conducted by the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1950s, and investigates in detail the evolving chemical warfare programme at Porton Down in the United Kingdom where one of the servicemen, Ronald Maddison, died from exposure to the nerve agent sarin in 1953.
The history of research into incapacitants and biological warfare agents is located into a wider context of an evolving system of medical ethics in which non-therapeutic experiments without consent were increasingly seen as unethical and unlawful. Finally, the attempts by veteran groups for recognition and compensation will be examined as part of a wider political history of the Cold War which has shaped our understanding and memory of the more recent past.Read more
Teaching and assessment
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.
The programme aims to:
- provide students with a firm understanding of the tradition and discipline of history as a means of understanding cultures different from their own and changes in society over time
- develop students' intellectual curiosity and initiative
- encourage independent critical thinking and judgement
- develop new areas of teaching and incorporate the research expertise of teachers into the programme
- provide stimulating learning opportunities based on well-planned teaching strategies and offer effective support for students from a variety of backgrounds
- prepare students for a range of careers and roles in a modern complex society or for further study
- develop a critical understanding of the past
- provide a flexible degree through which students can adopt a structure for their various interests.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding of:
- the complexities of human existence in the past, while recognising that history does not consist of 'a specific body of required knowledge'
- texts and other source materials, while addressing questions of genre, content, perspective and purpose
- the problems inherent in the historical record itself and the limits within which interpretation is possible
- the value of neighbouring disciplines, recognised through the interdisciplinary nature of history itself
- more than one country, period (medieval, early modern, modern) and analytical approach (social, political, economic, cultural history, history of science).
You gain intellectual skills in:
- conceptualisation: the ability to relate concept to empirical evidence, and the ability to recognise the relative and contested character of concepts themselves
- critical thought and independence of mind: the ability to challenge received conclusions and evaluate the work of others
- the ability to synthesise material from a variety of sources to gain a coherent understanding of issues
- reflexivity – an understanding of the nature of the discipline and our own involvement with it
- recognising and distinguishing between the different sources of historical knowledge (epistemological awareness)
- recognition and employment of what is required to solve particular problems.
You gain subject-specific skills in how to:
- apply a range of historical methods and analytical approaches with awareness of the relevance of other disciplines
- access a range of sources of information, including textual and non-textual material
- present the results of historical work to a critical audience or readership using standard notes, reference systems and bibliography
- marshal an argument: summarise, analyse and defend a particular interpretation or analysis of historical events.
You gain transferable skills in:
- communication – how to organise information clearly; respond to written sources; present information orally; adapt style for different audiences; use of images as a communication tool
- numeracy – how to make sense of statistical materials; integrate numerical and non-numerical information; understand the limits and potentialities of arguments based on quantitative information
- information technology – how to produce written documents; undertake online research; communicate using email; process information using databases
- working with others – how to define and review the work of others; work co-operatively on group tasks; understand how groups function
- improving own learning – how to explore personal strengths and weaknesses; time management; review your working environment; develop specialist learning skills (such as foreign languages); develop autonomy in learning
- problem solving – how to identify and define problems; explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them.
Our graduates are prepared for a wide range of career options in areas including:
- journalism and the media
- management and administration
- civil service and local government
- museum and heritage management
- law, commerce and banking
- teaching and research
- library work
- armed services and defence analysis.
Examples of the positions some of our graduates have moved into include:
- Stonehenge Custodian
- producer at the BBC
- Warden at Windsor Castle
- CEO of EasyJet.
Help finding a job
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:
- apply for jobs
- write a good CV
- perform well in interviews.
You graduate with an excellent grounding in historical knowledge and become adept at:
- analysing large quantities of information from often conflicting sources
- assessing complex arguments.
To help you appeal to employers, you learn key transferable skills that are essential for all graduates. These include the ability to:
- think critically
- communicate your ideas and opinions
- manage your time effectively
- work independently or as part of a team.
You can also gain extra skills by signing up for one of our Kent Extra activities, such as learning a language or volunteering.
History at Kent was ranked 16th for graduate prospects in The Guardian University Guide 2017 and 17th for graduate prospects in The Complete University Guide 2017. Of History students who graduated in 2015, 92% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).
The average starting salary for graduates of this degree is £19,000, according to Which? University (2017).
Kent’s facilities are extensive and easy to access. The Templeman Library is full of great resources for History students.Charlie Hall History BA
Everyone is very welcoming, there's a great social aspect to life here and you get to work closely with your academics.Amy Harrison History BA
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.
It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.
New GCSE grades
If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.
|Qualification||Typical offer/minimum requirement|
ABB including Classics-Ancient History, Classics-Classical Civilisation or History grade B, excluding Critical Thinking and General Studies
|Access to HE Diploma||
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.
|BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)||
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.
34 points overall or 16 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.
If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.
Meet our staff in your country
For more advice about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.
English Language Requirements
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.
General entry requirements
Please also see our general entry requirements.
The 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this programme are:
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.*
Your fee status
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 Year in Industry
For 2018/19 entrants, the standard year in industry fee for home, EU and international students is £1,385.
Fees for Year Abroad
UK, EU and international students on an approved year abroad for the full 2018/19 academic year pay £1,385 for that year.
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:
- Compulsory textbooks. Costs will depend on your module selection but we will advertise the RRP of core texts before you choose your modules.
- Optional books you may wish to purchase - although there is an excellent selection in the library.
- Optional field trips. We are committed to subsidising these costs where possible.
- Travel costs for research trips (eg to an archive) required for your dissertation (compulsory).
- Printing costs – we ensure your course is as ‘paper-free’ as possible. Most coursework is submitted online and we make use of online journals. Therefore, printing costs will depend on personal preference (for example, if you wish to print online materials).
- Printing and binding two copies of your dissertation.
General additional costs
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.
The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence
At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence.
For 2018/19 entry, the scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.
The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.