Military History

Military History - BA (Hons)

UCAS code V391

2018

What makes countries, ethnic groups or individuals go to war? How has new technology changed warfare? How has propaganda been used? Addressing such questions, you assess the influence of war on the development of human societies and discover if we can learn anything from history.

2018

Overview

In Kent’s School of History, you are taught by top academic staff who value your opinions and encourage you to study widely. Military history forms the main thrust of the programme, an area often sidelined by similar courses, with modules reflecting our research interests, which range from war and culture to the evolution of tank warfare.

The University of Kent is in a unique geographic position to study war and its effects. Canterbury and Kent have been ‘Frontline Britain’ in British military history and contain significant military sites, ranging from Roman forts to Cold War nuclear bunkers. We have easy access to the continent, particularly the battlefields of the First and Second World Wars.

Our degree programme

In addition to Military History modules, you can select modules from our diverse pool of History modules.

In your first year, you take introductory modules on military history. You choose further options from a wide selection which includes modules on medieval Europe, Vikings, the history of empires, and the ‘Home Front’ in the Second World War.

In your second and final years, there are no compulsory modules, which means you can focus on areas of particular interest to you. Modules available cover topics from the Crusades to the decline and fall of the Soviet Union, and include options on Napoleon and Europe, the British army and empire, and the origins of the Second World War. It is also possible to apply for a work placement at the Royal Engineers Museum in Chatham.

In your final year, you complete a dissertation within the field of military history on a subject of your choice. This gives you the opportunity to independently design a project and conduct research under the supervision of a member of academic staff.

Year on professional placement

It is possible to take this programme with a work placement between the second and final 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. See Course structure.

Study resources

The University library has a vast collection of relevant material, including:

  • a rare, complete set of British official histories of both world wars
  • a complete run of Second World War Ministry of Information pamphlets on the armed services
  • a comprehensive collection of Nazi, Soviet, American and British propaganda films.

Extra activities

You can get involved with the student-run Military History and History societies, which in previous years have 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.

Professional partnerships

Over the years, the School has forged close relationships with historians at several institutions, including:

  • Joint Services Command and Staff College, Shrivenham
  • Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
  • Centre for First World War Studies, Birmingham

We also have close links with the National Army Museum and the Royal Engineers Museum Library and Archive.

Military History video

Hear from one of our students what it’s like to study Military History at Kent.


Independent rankings

In The Guardian University Guide 2018, over 93% of History students were satisfied with the teaching on their course.

For graduate prospects, History at Kent was ranked 12th in The Times Good University Guide 2018 and 13th in The Guardian University Guide 2018. Of History students who graduated in 2016, 96% 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.

TEF Gold logo

Course structure

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.

Stage 1

Modules may include Credits

This module opens with a study of the historiography of military history in order to determine the factors which have shaped the modern nature of military history as an academic discipline. From this point, the module goes on to look at the macro/strategic factors that have shaped the military experience and the waging of war including the impact of technology and the economic demands of war. The final part of the module is a series of case studies looking at the relationship between armed forces, politicians and their parent societies in order to determine the extent to which armed forces are reflections of their parent nations. The module is a vital pathway to Introduction to Military 2. Although the two are designed to be taken together, it is possible to study one alone.

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This module builds on Introduction to Military 1 and examines the separate natures of armies, navies and air forces. In addition, it looks at the factors which have shaped the experience of combat for the different branches of the armed forces and questions whether there is a timeless experience of combat. The module also looks at the great military thinkers of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries to establish their influence on the conduct of warfare including Clausewitz, Jomini through to twentieth century figures such as J.F.C. Fuller and Basil Liddell Hart.

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This module considers the relationship between the English crown and aristocracy from the mid-fifteenth- to the mid-seventeenth centuries. During this turbulent period, England experienced considerable unrest as a result of the often vexed nature of monarcho-aristocratic relations – the Wars of the Roses, the mid-Tudor rebellions and civil war in the 1640s being the most obvious instances of tension and conflict – but there were also decades of relative calm and stability.

The module will, therefore, consider not only the clashes between 'over mighty subjects' and 'under mighty kings', but will also explore art, culture, architecture and religion, as symbols of both royal and noble power, authority and influence.

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This module is especially concerned with the end of Empire in Africa. After exploring the origins and nature of European empires in Africa, the course examines the impact of World War II on the British Empire and the end of British imperial influence in Kenya and Egypt. The course compares the British approach to decolonisation with those of the French, Belgians and Portuguese, raising the cases of French Algeria, the Belgian Congo, and Portuguese Angola and Mozambique. American attitudes to empire are also considered. Finally, the module covers the history of Italian and Soviet involvement in the Horn of Africa.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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This module will examine various aspects of the British army since its formation in 1660. The term ‘Army and Society’ has been used in the title of the module to emphasise that the central focus of this module will be a ‘new military history’ of the British army in this period. Thus the focus will be on how the army was recruited, the composition of the officer corps (pre and post purchase), the political interventions made by the army and the role of the army in shaping the British state. The module will include thematic studies of central issues such as the composition of the officer corps, the politics of the army and the survival of the regimental system which need to be placed in a long chronological pattern.

Topics which students will study in detail include; the political control of the army, the recruitment of officers and men, the role of the army in promoting concepts of Britishness, the roles of the amateur military forces (militia, yeomanry, rifle volunteers, Special Reserve, Territorial Army and Home Guard), the mass expansion of the British army in the Two World Wars, the British experience of conscription, discipline and morale in peace and war and the British regimental system. There will also be some consideration given to the role of the British army in the British Empire and portrayals of the British army in popular culture.

This module will then provide students with a solid basis from which to study various modules at I and H level, including, ‘Churchill’s Army’, ‘The British Army and Empire’, ‘Armies at War, 1914-18’ and ‘Insurgencies and Counter-Insurgencies: the British and French experience since 1900’.

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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.

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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.

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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. . 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 History’s 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.

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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 History’s 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.

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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.

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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. 1500–1700

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, 1600–1700

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 1857

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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 Multiculturalism

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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.

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Vikings, in the popular imagination, are commonly perceived as horn-helmeted, blood-thirsty pirates who killed and pillaged their way across Europe in the Middle Ages with their blood-stained axes. In reality, Vikings did much more than that. They changed the existing early-medieval political order for good; they contributed a great deal to the international trade, economy and urbanisation of different parts of Europe; and they explored and settled the uncharted territories of the North Atlantic, specifically the Scottish Isles, Iceland, Greenland, and as far as 'Vinland' (parts of Newfoundland), becoming the first Europeans to reach and temporarily settle in the North American continent; and they were perhaps the most engaging story-tellers of their time. By the time the Norse settled down and ceased raiding in the second half of the eleventh century, they had fundamentally altered the political, religious, economic and military history of much of the known world. This course will attempt to separate fact from fiction by critically reading and analysing primary source documents alongside archaeological, linguistic and place-name evidence, and thereby uncover the real history that lies behind the well-known stories of the Viking World. In addition, the students will be introduced to the major historiographical debates related to the Viking Age.

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This module explores the emergence of contemporary forms of sport through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The shifting forms and functions of sport will be studied and these will be related to changes to broader social and cultural transformations in British society. The tension that existed for much of this period between the amateur and the professional will be investigated as will the growing commercialisation of the sports industry. Students will learn about the diversity of sporting traditions across British history and examine how they were shaped by wider forces such as work, class and gender. To this end, the focus will fall not only on what are perceived to be the national winter and summer games of football and cricket but also on a range of other sports, such as rugby, netball, boxing, tennis, rowing and athletics.

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The module is designed to be a wide-ranging introduction to 19th century Russia. The political history of Russia will be covered through a focus on individual tsars, with an emphasis on their approach to reform. Seminars will be devoted to Alexander I, Nicholas I and Alexander II in particular. Russia's involvement in war, and its impact on domestic life, will be another area of focus, with the Napoleonic War and the Crimean War receiving particular coverage. A seminar will be devoted to the birth of the Russian intelligentsia and the early growth of the revolutionary movement. Cultural traditions will be explored through examination of Russia's literary tradition. Social history will be explored through a focus on the changing status of the peasantry, with particular reference to the Emancipation of the Serfs in 1861. In addition, students will be introduced to the multi-ethnic reality of Russian life. Another theme will be Russian religion and spirituality. This broad approach to Russia will be helpful to students who wish to pursue Russian history at stages 2 and 3, but will also be of comparative interest to students who do not continue with Russian history.

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Stage 2

Modules may include Credits

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 fronts

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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.

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Year in industry

The Placement Year gives you the opportunity to spend a year in the workplace as part of your degree. It takes place between your second and final years of study, giving you work experience and the chance to acquire new skills and develop your confidence.

Year abroad

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.

To be eligible for the year abroad, you need to adhere to any progression requirements in Stage 1 and Stage 2. The year abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and does not count towards your final degree classification.

Stage 3

Modules may include Credits

The module is intended to provide students with the ability to work on a dissertation subject suitable to the discipline of War Studies with a strong element of primary source research and deconstruction. Teaching will be by seminar class in twelve fortnightly two-hour sessions. During these sessions student progress will be monitored constantly. The classes will be used to deal with every aspect of the production of a major piece of researched written work. The classes will therefore begin with research methodologies and archive sources and will develop during the course of the year to support the planning and writing-up stages. Students will be gathered into thematic/chronological groups and will be asked to make regular oral reports in class on issues relating to the research progress of their particular group. Each student will submit a full plan by at the end of Autumn term.

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The course will provide students with a historical understanding of command at a variety of levels by looking at various types of battle scenarios, both strategic and tactical. The course will take an international perspective and explore the changing nature of command across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Seminars will focus on case-studies of a range of conflicts and commanders. Conflicts covered will include the two World Wars, Malaya, Korea and Kosovo; in addition there will be in-depth investigation of the command styles of Haig, Montgomery and Patton.

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This module will be based around study of the German Wars of Unification (1864-1870) and the 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; and the management and attitudes of home fronts.

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This module studies the most important event in interwar European history, the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39. Beginning with three weeks dedicated to the background to this conflict (with particular emphasis on the advent of the Spanish Second Republic in 1931, this module combines chronological with thematic studies. It covers the army rebellion of July 1936 which unleashed civil war, the subsequent revolution and terror in the government zone of control, militarisation and terror in the rebel areas of control, the Battle of Madrid, the war and the armies, the war in the air, the war at sea, the nature and impact of foreign intervention, regionalism and centralisation, the Battles of Euzkadi, Teruel and the Ebro, and the final defeat of the Spanish government in 1939. In addition to an understanding of the 'bird's eye’ view of strategy and battles, students will also explore aspects of conscription, desertion, discipline, civil-military relations and morale. Students will also explore the ‘home fronts’ and the polarisation of politics associated with anarchism, socialism, communism, fascism, Carlism, monarchism and Catholicism. Students will gain an in-depth understanding of a conflict which continues to be of relevance nowadays.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The curriculum is deliberately flexible and is built around student interests and how they can be merged with the REMLAs holdings with the overall intention of deepening the students’ knowledge of both the historical role of the Royal Engineers and provide work experience through basic museological and curatorial skills.

For example, a student with a particular interest in the First World War will be assigned to relevant materials in the REMLA collection. This material will then form the basis of the assessments. The student will also be asked to looked at the relevant section of the Museum and reflect on how this particular aspect has been presented. See 16 below for further details.

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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 Bonaparte’s ambitious Imperial mission extending beyond France’s ‘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.

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Themes covered will include: Nursing and hygiene in the Crimea; the impact of disease in the South African War; military hospitals; the impact of war on mental health; inspecting and measuring the military body; venereal disease in the First and Second World Wars; technology; ethics and experimentation; malingering, agency and resistance in the two World Wars; disability and the long term impact of war.

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage

Teaching and assessment

Teaching is through a combination of lectures and seminars. Lectures are often used to provide the broad overview, while seminars focus on 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. Lectures usually last one hour and seminars are one or two hours, depending on the module.

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.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • place the study of war, in its historical and political contexts, at the centre of student learning and analysis
  • ensure that students understand modes of theory and analysis used in history and politics/IR and are aware of the differing and contested aspects of these disciplines
  • develop students' capacities to think critically about war in all its forms and interpretations
  • encourage students to relate the academic study of war to questions of public debate and concern
  • provide a curriculum supported by scholarship and research that promotes the breadth and depth of intellectual enquiry and debate
  • assist students to develop cognitive and transferable skills relevant to their vocational and personal development.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • how people have reacted to and conceived of war in differing contexts, past and present
  • the origins and development of warfare in human societies, the justifications for war and its outcomes
  • the structure, nature and operation of institutions and states in differing contexts, through the medium of warfare
  • the contestable nature of many interpretations of war, both from original sources and from contemporary academics and commentators
  • questions of genre, content, perspective and purpose within a range of historical and contemporary texts and materials
  • the problems inherent in the historical and contemporary record; awareness of a range of viewpoints, the limitations of knowledge, and the dangers of simplistic explanations
  • war from different perspectives within the disciplines of history and politics/IR
  • the social, political, cultural and military aspects of warfare
  • the power structures and impulses to use war as a form of human interaction.

Intellectual skills

You gain intellectual skills in the following areas:

  • how to gather, organise and deploy evidence, data and information from a variety of primary and secondary sources
  • the ability to identify, investigate and analyse primary and secondary information
  • how to develop reasoned arguments based on reflection, study and critical judgement
  • how to differentiate between arguments
  • the ability to reflect on and manage your own learning and make use of constructive feedback from peers and staff to enhance your own performance.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in the following:

  • the understanding of the nature of war and its significance as a global and historical human activity
  • the application of methods, concepts and theories used in the studies of history and politics/IR
  • the evaluation of different interpretations and sources
  • the ability to marshal an argument, and to summarise and defend a particular interpretation or analysis of events.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in the following:

  • communication – the ability to organise information clearly; respond to written sources; present information orally; adapt style for different audiences; use images as a communications tool
  • numeracy – the ability to read graphs and tables; integrate numerical and non-numerical information; understand the limits and potentialities of arguments based on quantitative information
  • information technology – the ability to produce written documents; undertake online research; process information using databases and spreadsheets (where necessary)
  • independence of mind and initiative
  • self-discipline and self-motivation
  • the ability to work with others and have respect for others' reasoned views.

Careers

Graduate destinations

Graduates have a wide range of career options, including:

  • journalism and the media
  • management and administration
  • the civil service and local government
  • museum and heritage management
  • law, commerce and banking
  • teaching and research
  • the armed services and defence analysis.

Many of our graduates choose to go on to further study at Master’s and PhD level.

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.

Career-enhancing skills

You graduate with an excellent grounding in historical knowledge and become adept at:

  • research
  • 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.

Independent rankings 

For graduate prospects, History at Kent was ranked 12th in The Times Good University Guide 2018 and 13th in The Guardian University Guide 2018.

Of History students who graduated in 2016, 96% were in work or further study within six months (DLHE).

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

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
A level

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.

International Baccalaureate

34 points overall or 16 at HL including History 5 at HL or 6 at SL

International students

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.

Fees

The 2018/19 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas
Full-time £9250 £15200
Part-time £4625 £7600

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. 

General additional costs

Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

Funding

University funding

Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

Government funding

You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.

Scholarships

General scholarships

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.

It’s a great place to be, so if you’re thinking of coming, do it! 

Full-time

Part-time

The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact information@kent.ac.uk.