Military History

Military History - BA (Hons)

Discover how conflict has shaped states, societies and economies across history. Explore what drives people to go to war, understand how technology and propaganda has changed warfare, and discover Kent’s role as ‘Britain’s frontline’.

Overview

Study war and its effects in the inspiring location of historic Canterbury, with Roman forts and Cold War nuclear bunkers on your doorstep, as well as the battlefields of the First and Second World Wars.

Explore hundreds of years of history, or focus on particular themes that fascinate you. Military History is so much more than just battle tactics; you'll take a journey through time from the fifth century to present day, and develop an understanding of the wider social, ethical and political contexts of warfare.

Why study Military History at Kent?

  • History at Kent is ranked 1st for research intensity in The Complete University Guide 2023.
  • Learn from world-leading academics and become a historian: work alongside academics recognised as experts in their fields.
  • Study in historic Canterbury: our campus overlooks the medieval city, home to UNESCO heritage sites of Canterbury Cathedral, St Augustine’s Abbey and St Martins Church
  • Tailor your degree to your own interests: few core modules means you’re free to choose from our wide range of options
  • Access rare items at Canterbury Cathedral Library and Archives: our own Special Collections archive contains over 150 items, as well as Canterbury Cathedral’s dedicated Library and Archives with materials dating to the 8th century
  • Get career-ready with a course that opens doors to a wide range of opportunities. Meet our graduates and find out more

What our students say

“It’s quite a small group compared to some other courses – there are only about 50 of us – which is one of the reasons I chose it; I love history and knew classes would be smaller doing this subject so you’d get more one-to-one teaching.”

Jenny Kent, BA Military History

What you'll study

A wide range of choice and few compulsory modules means you'll tailor your degree to your interests.

In your first year, you’ll be introduced to historiography, equipping you with the skills you need to study the subject at a higher level. You’ll also explore the British army since its formation.

A range of modules allows you to explore worldwide history from the fifth century to present day, from American civil war to the Wars of the Roses, the Cold War to the Norman Conquest. In your second and third years you can delve into more specialist areas from Communism to how the British media reports on war.

You might also study abroad; discovering a new culture, and showing future employers you can adapt to a new environment. Or you might do a placement year in industry.

In your final year, you'll complete a dissertation or extended essay in a subject of your choice, supported by a supervisor. Alternatively you can consider a special subject modules.

See the modules you'll study

Flexible tariff

Make Kent your firm choice – The Kent Guarantee

We understand that applying for university can be stressful, especially when you are also studying for exams. Choose Kent as your firm choice on UCAS and we will guarantee you a place, even if you narrowly miss your offer (for example, by 1 A Level grade)*.

*exceptions apply. Please note that we are unable to offer The Kent Guarantee to those who have already been given a reduced or contextual offer.

Entry requirements

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. All applications are assessed on an individual basis but some of our typical requirements are listed below. Students offering qualifications not listed are welcome to contact our Admissions Team for further advice. Please also see our general entry requirements.

  • medal-empty

    A level

    BBB including a Humanities based essay writing subject including a humanities based essay writing subject which includes History, English, Philosophy, Religious Studies or Classical Civilisation.

  • medal-empty Access to HE Diploma

    The University welcomes applications from Access to Higher Education Diploma candidates for consideration. A typical offer may require you to obtain a proportion of Level 3 credits in relevant subjects at merit grade or above.

  • medal-empty BTEC Nationals

    The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances. A typical offer would be to achieve DMM plus A-level in History or a related humanities based essay writing subject at grade B, which includes English, Philosophy, Religious Studies or Classical Civilisation. Students applying without History will need to make a case in their personal statement.

  • medal-empty International Baccalaureate

    30 points overall or 15 points at HL including History 5 at HL or 6 at SL

  • medal-empty International Foundation Programme

    Pass all components of the University of Kent International Foundation Programme with a 60% overall average including 60% in the History module.

  • medal-empty T level

    The University will consider applicants holding T level qualifications in subjects closely aligned to the course.

If you are an international student, visit our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country, including details of the International Foundation Programmes. Please note that international fee-paying students who require a Student visa cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

Please note that meeting the typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee that you will receive an offer.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you do not meet our English language requirements, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme.

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Course structure

Duration: 3 years full-time (4 with a year abroad/placement year), 6 years part-time (7 with a year abroad/placement year)

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘elective’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Compulsory modules currently include

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.

Find out more about HIST4270

This module builds on Introduction to Military History Pt. 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.

Find out more about HIST4420

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.

Find out more about HIST4430

Optional modules may include

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.

Find out more about HIST3460

The module introduces students to a broad range of material and themes relevant to the history of medicine, highlighting changes and continuities in medical practice and theory as well as in medical institutions and professional conduct. The section on ancient medicine addresses the role of Greek writers such as Hippocrates. The section on medieval medicine focuses on major epidemics, the origins of medical institutions, and the role of medical care and cure in the context of social and demographic changes. In particular, this section addresses the role of the Black Death and subsequent plagues, as well as the history of hospitals. The section on early modern and modern medicine explores the development of psychiatry and the asylum system in the 18th century, the rise of public health and the welfare state, and the role of social Darwinism and eugenics in the 19th and early 20th centuries. For the late 19th and 20th centuries, the course will look at the role of gender and sexuality, medicine and modern warfare, health and disability, and modern medicine and medical ethics.

Find out more about HIST3850

The module will focus primarily on the period from the 18th century onwards but will begin with an outline treatment of the British colonies in North America from initial European settlement. Interactions between Native American, African, African-American and European populations will be emphasised in the colonial period. Thereafter the module examines the first anti-colonial revolution in modern history and the creation of a new nation and concludes with the reconstitution of the nation after a bloody civil war and on the eve of large-scale industrialisation.

Themes include the causes and consequences of the Revolution, the new political system, the development of mass democracy, economic development and territorial expansion into the West, reform movements, sectional conflict between North and South, slavery, the Civil War and the re-establishment of a national order during Reconstruction.

Find out more about HIST3900

The module is an introduction to the major themes, events and debates in U.S. history from 1880 until the present day. It will consider this period of domestic and international upheaval and trace key themes and ideas, including the connections between domestic and international developments, the evolution of the U.S. presidency, industrialization and reform, U.S. imperialism and isolationism, the growth of the national security state in the Cold War, post-war conformity versus 1960s radicalism as well as conservative politics in the 1970s and 1980s.

Find out more about HIST3910

What happened when the Roman Empire collapsed? When did countries like England, France and Germany come into being? How violent were the Vikings? What was the Norman Conquest all about? Were the 'Dark Ages' really as grim as they are often made out to be? This module provides an introduction to the history of early medieval Europe (c.400–c.1100), examining the major political events and social changes that took place across this period. Along the way, we shall consider key aspects of warfare, religious life and intellectual culture. Students will obtain a clear understanding of the outlines of early medieval history between the end of the Roman Empire and the sweeping transformations of the late eleventh century, as well as a sense of what daily life was like for most people and of the types of evidence historians can use to understand this period. The weekly lectures guide students through the module, and seminars provide opportunities to explore key debates and historical problems in more detail through the analysis of primary sources.

Find out more about HIST4100

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.

Find out more about HIST4110

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.

Find out more about HIST4160

Europe's age of Revolutions 1700-1850 created our modern political and social system. It was time when the ancien régime was compromised and a completely new system of government, administration and law was put in place. This module will focus on the impact of Enlightened absolutism, and revolutionary reforms, on Europe during this vital turning point. Topics covered will include: Enlightened absolutism; Russia, Prussia; the Habsburg Monarchy; Poland-Lithuania; the French revolution; the Napoleonic Empire; Spain; Congress of Vienna; France 1830 & 1848; the revolutions of 1848.

Find out more about HIST4250

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.

Find out more about HIST4280

This module will provide a survey of the major events, themes and historiographical debates in early modern history from the Renaissance, through the Reformation to the Enlightenment. This period in European history witnessed the cultural and social upheaval of religious wars, 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. We situate Europe within a wider global context, examining how the experience of Europeans compared to that of people around the world.

Find out more about HIST4320

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.

Find out more about HIST4350

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.

Find out more about HIST4360

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.

Find out more about HIST4370

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Stage 2

Optional modules may include

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.

Find out more about HIST5075

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.

Find out more about HIST5092

Between the founding of the republic and the middle decades of the nineteenth century, the United States came of age. The nation's population increased tenfold; its territory more than doubled. Driven by the high-minded ideals out of which the country had been founded, and the restless energy that saw a nation of thirteen colonies grow into a territorial republic of immense size, the United States became a symbol of a tumultuous century. In time, however, the republic would become a casualty of its own success. As the 1850s wore on, a battle over slavery and its place in a rapidly changing nation unraveled into sectional conflict, secession, civil war and a decade's long struggle after the war ended. The result was the largest forced emancipation of slaves in world history, and a conflict of barely calculable carnage. For better and for worse, the Civil War and its aftermath would become the great crucible into which a modern United States was born.

This module surveys the origins, conflicts and outcomes of the Civil War by not only understanding how the war altered the United States but understanding the Civil War and its aftermath in a broader context. Students will examine the causes and consequences of the conflict, by looking backwards to the roots of sectionalism and secession, and forwards into the postwar period, known as Reconstruction. The purpose of this module is to understand how all of these historical forces sowed the seeds of the republic's demise, while at the same time examining what kind of new nation Americans created in the ashes of the old one. Out of the war would come not only a new nation, but a fundamentally different United States. The violent collapse of slavery and the destruction of the plantation system brought profound change and innumerable conflicts, long after the South capitulated and two national armies laid down their weapons. In the wake of the war, Americans would attempt to construct a new republic, born as Abraham Lincoln urged in 1864, out of a 'new birth of freedom.’ The problems with that birth, and the contradictions that would endure, would mark the country right up to the present-day.

Find out more about HIST5102

Often described as the 'Jewel in the Crown', British India played a key role (economic, strategic, military) in the expansion and consolidation of British Empire. In the 18th century India had been a territory held by the English East India Company; by the mid-19th century India became a crown colony and an integral part of the British Empire for reasons that included both resources and a role in enhancing imperial prestige.

Focussing mainly on the nineteenth century, this module explores the processes through which India became a colony and its broader impact on the British Empire. More specifically, the purpose of the module is to impart in students a critical understanding of the relationship between India and the British Empire, especially the ways in which India influenced imperial policies (social, economic) in both metropolitan Britain and in the wider British dominions and colonies. In short, this module offers a survey of the complex, long and historically consequential relation between India and the British Empire.

Find out more about HIST5103

The course explores the rise and decline of the "imperial presidency" in the United States' conduct of foreign policy. During the Second World War and ensuing Cold War, successive Presidents were given considerable leeway to forge a foreign policy in their own image. A cooperative Congress and broad consensus about the United States’ place in the world facilitated an activist foreign policy. As this permissive domestic context began to erode in the late 1960s, the constitutional constraints on the President’s powers became more pronounced. The course will chart the evolution of U.S. foreign policy from Roosevelt to Obama: it will consider the substance of each incumbent’s foreign policy and their ability to work with existing constitutional constraints.

Find out more about HIST5106

This module explores the three extreme ideologies which took hold of parts of Europe during the interwar period – communism (especially in Russia; later, the Soviet Union), fascism (especially in Italy, and later in Spain), and Nazism (in Germany). These ideologies will be assessed in three ways. Firstly, they will be examined individually, encompassing their emergence, rise to power and assumption of total control; here, the emphasis will be on the power of ideological thinking, the extent of popular support attained by the movements, and the country-specific reasons for their success. Secondly, the ideologies will be considered in comparison with one another, including the leadership styles of Lenin, Stalin, Mussolini, Hitler and Franco, the roles played by propaganda in their rise and rule, and the ways in which they utilised, or otherwise engaged in, violence to further their aims. And thirdly, the connections between them will be discussed, especially the notion that in the countries mentioned above, and later across Europe, the struggle between extreme ideologies of left and right became the defining issue of the period.

Find out more about HIST5109

The purpose of this module is to give an overview of Russian history from the Napoleonic invasion of Russia to the collapse of tsarism in 1917. The reigns of all the tsars in this period will be examined, as will the regime's tendency to alternate between periods of reform and times of conservative reaction. Tsarism's failure to establish a functional state-society dialogue during the period 1812-1917 will be explored, and the corresponding emergence of liberal, nationalist and revolutionary visions for Russia's future. Topics covered will include the Decembrist revolt, the rise of the Russian intelligentsia, the 'Great Reforms' of the 1860s, the appeal of revolutionary populism and Marxism, industrialisation, and the growing radicalism of workers and peasants. The later part of the module will explore the 1905 revolution, the tenure of Stolypin as Prime Minister, the Russian origins of the First World War, and the collapse of tsarism in 1917. The impact of war (including the Crimean War and the Russo-Japanese War) on Russia in this period will be examined, as will problems connected to the multi-ethnic make-up of the Russian empire. Students will also be introduced to Russian literature of the period where it is relevant to national, political or social questions, as well as aspects of religion and spirituality. The module will ultimately require students to evaluate why Russian tsarism failed to adapt to the challenge of modernity, and paid the price.

Find out more about HIST5110

This course explores Southern Africa in a period when it was one of the most dynamic and turbulent regions on earth. Early encounters and conflicts between European settlers and African societies focused on land and labour and were shaped by rapid changes in local and global economies and societies. The discovery of gold and diamonds transformed the local economy and radically transformed the region's relations with the major imperial powers: Germany, Great Britain and Portugal. The Berlin conference of 1884-85 initiated a scramble for formal control of the region, its peoples and its riches, which culminated in the South African war of 1899-1902. Diverse African societies responded to interactions and conflicts with European encroachment and annexation in a range of ways. Processes of African and European empire building and expansion will be examined as will be the economic and political dynamics of European imperialism, both on the international and the local stage, demonstrating both their metropolitan and local causes. This module will look at the societies of both the colonisers and the colonised, also paying attention to African responses and resistance.

Find out more about HIST5201

This module will address the causes, developments and legacy of the longest war in the Middle Ages, known as Hundred Years' War between England and France (1337-1453). The first two sessions will set up the context for the outbreak of the war, looking at the establishment of the Angevin Empire in northern France from the mid-twelfth century and the origins of the Hundred Years’ War, the causes of which have been debated at length by historians. Following the chronological development of the war in its four phases, the module will look at the European dimension of the war, which developed due to international alliances and attempts at pacifying the parties, mostly undertaken under the supervision of the papacy and the Empire. Alongside the political perspective, the module will pay attention to the defensive structures and military strategies employed during the war as well as the cultural milieu within which the war was fought that ultimately led to the growth of lay chivalric values.

Find out more about HIST5890

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, in providing it with sustained exposure to warfare and in enabling it to develop and refine its professionalism as an institution. This module will examine various aspects of the British army's imperial experience in the period 1750-1920. 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. Although the time period will run from the eighteenth to the twentieth century, the focus of the module will be on the Victorian and Edwardian periods, reflecting the current historiography on the topic. The extended date parameters will, however, allow for thematic studies of central issues such as army reform and civil-military relations to be placed in their wider chronological context.

Find out more about HIST6002

The French Revolution was one of the great turning points of European history. Indeed the deputies of the National Assembly claimed that the year 1789 marked the beginning of a new modernity. They consciously rejected the past by dismissing it as an 'ancien régime' or old order. This module will seek to understand and question this claim. It will examine critically the last decades of the Bourbon monarchy and ask if the term 'crisis' is an adequate description of this period. It will then turn to the revolutionaries’ ambitious programme of reform which sought to remould not only the institutional and governmental landscape of France but the very underpinnings of daily life. The Revolution deployed rapidly a new armoury of political concepts such as: national sovereignty, secular state and rights of man. Such innovations threw political legitimacy, deference towards social elites and the relationship between church & state into a dangerous state of flux. The module will examine the process by which an initially liberal agenda of freedom, tolerance and pluralism succumbed quickly to factional expediency, international warfare and political terror. It will also introduce students to some of the historiographic battlegrounds and stakes which have divided scholars of the French Revolution during the past two centuries.

Find out more about HIST6011

This module covers fundamental transformations taking place in European society between c. 1450 and 1750. It focuses specifically on the everyday experiences of early modern Europeans, and how these changed as a result of, amongst others, global expansion, encounters with 'others', religious change, urbanisation and a innovation proliferation of new goods. Through looking at how these transformations affected the micro-level of men and women in their daily lives, 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 include ethnic and religious diversity, gender, the individual, witchcraft and material culture.

Find out more about HIST6025

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.

Find out more about HIST6056

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.

Find out more about HIST6064

Over the last two centuries, surgery has been radically transformed from a barbaric craft to a precision based science. Aided by new technologies, surgeons pioneered exploration into the body in ways never achieved before and became heroes of the hospital operating theatre and beyond. Historians have called this a surgical revolution. But how revolutionary was it? Did surgeons always get it right? Did new ideas, procedures and technologies immediately replace those that came before them? Is the history of surgery simply a story of continual progress? This module will examine major aspects of surgery from 1750 in order to evaluate the extent to which a 'surgical revolution' took place. Topics to be addressed include the rise of pathological anatomy; dissection and body snatching; anaesthesia; antisepsis and asepsis; vivisection; war; organ transplantation; and keyhole surgery. Adopting a social and cultural approach, the module will examine these topics in line with several key themes: the surgical profession, masculinity and heroism; patients, ethics and the body; technologies and techniques; and the sciences of pathology and physiology. The module will also explore the dissemination of surgical history today to public audiences through analyses of museum exhibits.

Find out more about HIST6076

Early medieval Britain has often been mythologized in popular culture as a murky time of origins, heroes and legends: King Arthur and his round table; Beowulf and his dragon; and the earliest foundations of England. The historic reality is, however, far more fascinating and complex. The end of Roman imperial rule in Britain in the fifth century gave way to a period of seismic social, political and cultural change. Pagan religious practices became prevalent, while a Germanic language, Old English, became the dominant spoken tongue of communities in large swathes of southern Britain. At the same time, a fractured political landscape emerged, with new polities forming, including Kent, Mercia and Wessex, each with their own rulers, many of whom heralded themselves as kings. These transformations are often attributed to new waves of migration, and indeed, the events and developments of the period can only be understood fully in their broader European context. This module offers an introduction to these developments from the fifth to ninth centuries, tracing the formation of new kingdoms, assessing the changing, gendered structures of society, and exploring the cultural influences and practices of the period. We will meet a diverse series of individuals, including the notorious Bishop Wilfrid, the influential abbess Hild of Whitby, and Hadrian, the African leader of Canterbury's St Augustine’s abbey. In doing so, we will take the opportunity to explore the unique early medieval material and textual remains in Canterbury itself, and throughout the course a key question will be: how can we characterize such a large period of history with substance and integrity?

Find out more about HIST6115

This module considers politics, religion, culture and society in Britain under the Stuart kings, and analyses the nature and causes of conflict arising from tensions between, and within these overlapping areas. The seventeenth century was a period of fluctuating fortunes in church and state. The growth of religious polarisation, heightened fears of popish conspiracy, and the emergence of increasing religious dissent and toleration, went hand-in-hand with the collapse of monarchical authority, an experiment with republican government, and eventually, after the restoration of royal power, permanent constitutional change. In the hands of the Stuarts, the seventeenth century was often a turbulent time for England, Scotland and Ireland, as the dynasty grappled with the practicalities of governing three separate kingdoms, whose interests only periodically combined and occasionally collided. The complexity of the period is reflected in its historiography, which covers a broad range of themes, and about which debates continue to flourish.

Find out more about HIST6130

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. It will take a broad approach to military history, studying the political, economic and cultural realities behind the force.

Find out more about HIST7670

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.

Find out more about HIST7950

You have the opportunity to select elective 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

Compulsory modules currently include

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 (9,000 words +/-10%) based on research undertaken into primary sources, and an extended reading of secondary sources. The module is designed to allow students to engage in their own historical research into any chosen topic (under the guidance of a supervisory team in the first instance, and later an individual supervisor), and to present their research in a cogent and accessible format.

Find out more about HIST6150

Optional modules may include

This source-based class challenges participants to consider the background, causes, and content of the American Revolution from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean from the Stamp Act debates to the establishing of the Federal Constitution. Students will be asked to digest primary documents from political speeches in the British Parliament, to American political pamphlets. Students will consider the character and place of the American Revolution within European and American economic, political, and cultural development. The course will examine the conditions under which American Revolution emerged; the part played by empire, and the distinctive combination of ideological and theological strands that produced a compelling challenge to British Parliamentary authority for the first time.

Find out more about HIST5072

The French Revolution was one of the great turning points of European history. Indeed the deputies of the National Assembly claimed that the year 1789 marked the beginning of a new modernity. They consciously rejected the past by dismissing it as an 'ancien régime' or old order. This module will seek to understand and question this claim. It will examine critically the last decades of the Bourbon monarchy and ask if the term 'crisis' is an adequate description of this period. It will then turn to the revolutionaries’ ambitious programme of reform which sought to remould not only the institutional and governmental landscape of France but the very underpinnings of daily life. The Revolution deployed rapidly a new armoury of political concepts such as: national sovereignty, secular state and rights of man. Such innovations threw political legitimacy, deference towards social elites and the relationship between church & state into a dangerous state of flux. The module will examine the process by which an initially liberal agenda of freedom, tolerance and pluralism succumbed quickly to factional expediency, international warfare and political terror. It will also introduce students to some of the historiographic battlegrounds and stakes which have divided scholars of the French Revolution during the past two centuries.

Find out more about HIST6012

This special subject will introduce students to the pros and cons of the historiographical debate surrounding Napoleonic and Revolutionary French history. It will give final year students an alternative means of engaging with the familiar historical category of 'Empire.' The focus on French expansion abroad, in the early nineteenth century, challenges one to move away from understanding the Napoleonic Empire in national terms; this course in essence, by its very nature, is European in both scope and content. To do this it will explore processes of acculturation and international competition on a thematic basis. It will examine, in broad multi-national manner, the complex interaction between centre and periphery or what Italians, more prosaically, describe as conflict between 'stato reale' and ‘stato civile.’

This special subject will investigate the Napoleonic Empire in its many facets. Students will be urged actively to pursue their individual interests in either war and society, Empire, political culture and/or gender.

Find out more about HIST6024

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.

Find out more about HIST6035

This modules address 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.

Find out more about HIST6060

This special subject explores California history from Native American times to modern day. It charts the rise to power of the US Pacific Coast and the many complexities that come with mass immigration, technological innovation and cultural frontierism. The special subject does not provide a simple narrative of state history, but instead employs a series of case studies to illuminate key periods of California's past and present, auto-stops, if you will, to navigate the Golden State as both a place, an idea and, most significantly, an image. The case studies also facilitate an interdisciplinary approach to the topic, for example, the Great Depression in California is considered by a session on the life of the hobo, his music, migration, work and community in the period. Sources here include Nels Anderson’s classic sociological text 'On Hobos and Homelessness’ and collections of Okie/hobo music of the period. A number of movie showings will relate both the rise of Hollywood as a state industry as well as Hollywood’s own social commentary on the California experience. The California dream and the notion of California exceptionalism will be critiqued across the module. Students will be expected to immerse themselves in the culture industry of the state and truly explore what (if anything) makes California so special or Golden.

Find out more about HIST6063

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.

Find out more about HIST6081

This course examines the changing nature of medical spaces from 1750. From eighteenth century London specialist hospitals for conditions such as fistula, to rural rehabilitation centres in the 1940s, this course explores the role of the medical profession, the state, religion and patients in the creation and maintenance of health. Medical spaces changed significantly in this period, moving from private to public, from long term rest cures to outpatient care, and from religious institutions to secular ones. The expansion of civic buildings in the nineteenth century, and the establishment of the NHS in 1948 are two important examples that demonstrate how medical spaces were interwoven in the wider medical, political, economic and socio-cultural sphere.

Find out more about HIST6103

This module covers a wide time period, but within this there will be a number of case-studies which will make this more manageable for students. Ultimately the module will revolve around the study of a number of military traditions within Ireland. The Protestant / Loyalist volunteering tradition, witnessed through those who defended Derry and Enniskillen in 1689, the Irish Volunteer movement of 1778-1792, the Yeomanry of 1796-1834, the Ulster Volunteer Force of 1913-1920, the Ulster Special Constabulary 1920-1970, Ulster Defence Regiment 1970-1992 and the various Loyalist paramilitary groups – Ulster Volunteer Force, Ulster Defence Association, Loyalist Volunteer Force, etc. which emerged from 1966. The Republican military tradition seen with the United Irishmen of 1792-1803, the Young Irelanders of 1848, the Fenian movement of 1858-1916, the Irish Volunteers of 1913-16 and the Irish Republican Army in the many forms it has existed since 1916. The 'Wild Geese' tradition of Irishmen serving in foreign armies was most noticeable with the Irish Brigades formed in the French and Spanish armies in the 1690s, but was also witnessed in the American Civil War and, indeed, South American Wars of Liberation. The tradition of Irish service within the British army as both regular and amateur soldiers will be considered in detail, with particularly a focus on the role of the Irish soldier in the British Empire.

Case-studies will also consider the First World War, when approximately 200,000 Irishmen and 10,000 Irish women served in the British forces and the Second World War when the contribution of Northern Ireland can be compared to the experience of Eire, the latter often described as an 'unneutral neutral' given the numbers of Irish citizens who served in the British forces during that conflict.

This module will end with a consideration of the recent Northern Ireland troubles of 1966-1998.

Find out more about HIST6108

The overthrow of white settler minority rule and apartheid by the peoples of South Africa and Zimbabwe marked a key period in the history of the twentieth century. This module traces the trajectory of these linked liberation struggles both by examining contemporary written and visual sources and by engaging with current debates. Themes to be discussed include the dynamics of anti-colonial nationalism, the tactics and strategy of armed insurrection, the influence of the Cold War, the use of propaganda and the ambiguities of independence.

Find out more about HIST6114

Through a number of chronologically- and geographically-diverse case studies, this Special Subject will trace the evolving notion of 'mercenaryism' from its role in establishing the fiscal military state in the Early-Modern period through to its more modern connotation with ‘freedom fighters’ acting beyond – and often against – the defined nation state. It will cover events in Europe, North America, South America, the Indian sub-continent, Africa, the Middle-East, and Asia. In doing so, students are invited to consider the impact of ‘transnational soldiering’ on the development of modern warfare in a global context. The continued presence of these ‘foreign soldiers’ around the world poses interesting questions concerning identity, military cultures, global networks and encounters, as well as the transfer of ideas across borders. It ties together the experience of national and colonial soldiery, international volunteerism, and statelessness within a broader context of the 19th & 20th Centuries’ nationalist and internationalist movements. In a broader cultural sense, students will reflect on the importance behind the semantics of ‘mercenaryism’ and how the term has been perceived, evoked, and moulded by society over time. ‘Mercenary’, ‘guerrilla’, and ‘franc-tireur’ are often pejorative terms used to describe combatants acting outside the established laws and customs of war. Yet, these are not far removed from the more sympathetic terms of ‘people’s army’, ‘foreign/political exile’, and ‘freedom fighter’. Understanding how and why these terms converge forms the primary learning objective.

Find out more about HIST6116

Charlemagne (r. 768–814) is often called 'the father of Europe', and it was under the rule of his dynasty, the Carolingians, that European political institutions and culture were consolidated – so much so that one can speak of a ‘Carolingian order’. This special subject looks at how the Carolingians tried to bring order to every aspect of society, including government, religious observance, the economy, the law, education and learning, and even individual behaviour. One feature of this drive for ‘correction’ (as it was known) was an unprecedented volume of written documentation, which allows the historian both to perceive a coherent plan of reform and to test the claims of the reformers. Seen from another angle, however, Charlemagne and his family were merely brutal warlords, whose collection of a mountain of plunder gave them the means to produce propaganda that portrayed their regime as ordered, reforming and divinely sanctioned. Can the two views be reconciled? What exactly did the Carolingians accomplish? Was the reform ever anything more than empty rhetoric? Could the Carolingians survive without constant military triumphs? These are the key questions the sources allow us to address.

Find out more about HIST7001

The course explores the causes, conduct and consequences of the French and American wars in Vietnam. The course begins in the aftermath of the Second World War with the French Indochina War and charts the United States' growing concern with the region, the Americanisation of the war in Vietnam under President Johnson and eventual disengagement under President Nixon. In addition to placing the conflicts in their regional and international contexts, the course will consider the military strategies implemented in the field and the domestic challenges inherent to fighting a "limited war". The second part of the course focuses on the domestic aspects of the American war including the role of the media, the evolution of the anti-war movement and civil-military tensions. In addition to acquiring substantive knowledge, students will practice core skills, including accessing and critically assessing primary sources, communicating effectively orally and in their written work as well as working in groups.

Find out more about HIST7002

The module will chart the evolution of contemporary British foreign policy. It begins firmly in the era of pre-First World War diplomacy, and examines the legacy of Britain's role in nineteenth century international relations, including the role of empire. The module will explore the nature of the old and new diplomacy as well as issues relating to foreign policy formation. It will include an evaluation of the role of diplomats and the work and operation of the Foreign Office. It will also include a discussion of the main themes and issues of Britain’s relations with all of the major European powers from 1904-1973, including the origins of the two world wars, the connection between foreign policy and political ideology. The module will also examine Britain’s relations with the United States during this period and with the Far East, especially with Japan. This module does not significantly overlap with HI 6034/5 Anglo-French Relations because only one session of the module will be devoted to Anglo-French relations in this period. Likewise, there will be no significant overlap with HI6045 Origins of the Second World War because that module examines the origins of that conflict from a global perspective. It makes some reference to the Anglo-French dimension, but it is not central to the module.

Find out more about HIST7006

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 as well as a chronological one, but will rely primarily on Anglo-American case studies, the colonial struggles of the 19th century, the retreat from empire, the two world wars and the recent actions in the Gulf. As well as providing historical lessons, students will be challenged to solve universal command problems still applicable to modern warfare, and thus provides a transferable skill in both a specific sense - useful for anyone contemplating a career in the armed forces - and in a generic sense it will stimulate the skills needed to deconstruct and solve problems logically while taking account of a variety of factors and perspectives.

Find out more about HIST7870

You have the opportunity to select elective modules in this stage.

Fees

The 2022/23 annual tuition fees for this course are:

  • Home full-time £9250
  • EU full-time £13000
  • International full-time £17400
  • Home part-time £4625
  • EU part-time £6500
  • International part-time £8700

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

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

Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.

Fees for Year Abroad

Fees for Home undergraduates are £1,385.

Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status.

Additional costs

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. 

The scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of A*AA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages.

We have a range of subject-specific awards and scholarships for academic, sporting and musical achievement.

Search scholarships

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.

Contact hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

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.

Independent rankings

History at Kent was ranked 1st for research intensity in The Complete University Guide 2023.

Of final-year History students who completed the National Student Survey 2021, 90% were satisfied with the quality of teaching on their course. 

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.

Apply for this course

If you are from the UK or Ireland, you must apply for this course through UCAS. If you are not from the UK or Ireland, you can choose to apply through UCAS or directly on our website.

Find out more about how to apply

All applicants

Apply through UCAS

International applicants

Apply now to Kent

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