Military History

Military History - BA (Hons)

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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.

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.


1st
History at Kent was ranked 1st for research intensity in The Complete University Guide 2021.

Entry requirements

You are more than your grades

At Kent we look at your circumstances as a whole before deciding whether to make you an offer to study here. Find out more about how we offer flexibility and support before and during your degree.

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. 

Please note that meeting this typical offer/minimum requirement does not guarantee an offer being made. Please also see our general entry requirements.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

  • Certificate

    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.

  • Certificate

    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.

  • Certificate

    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. 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.

  • Certificate

    International Baccalaureate

    34 points overall or 15 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. 

However, please note that international fee-paying students cannot undertake a part-time programme due to visa restrictions.

If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

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. 

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

Jenny Kent - Military History BA

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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 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 HI442

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 HI443

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 HI427

Optional modules may include

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 HI428

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.

Find out more about HI430

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.

Find out more about HI432

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.

Find out more about HI433

Over the past 500 years, inventions such as telescopes, robots and fridges have revolutionised our relationships with one another and with the natural world. This module engages with some well-known inventions since the so-called 'scientific revolution' (c. 1600), alongside some unexpected and surprising ones. It examines their making and their use, and explores how they have contributed to the distinctively modern European perspective that has come to be known as ‘science’. This module approaches its topics from the perspectives of cultural and social history.

Find out more about HI434

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 HI435

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 HI436

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 HI437

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 HI385

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 HI390

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.

Find out more about HI391

Why did the Roman Empire collapse? How did Christianity and Islam become so influential? How violent were the Vikings? When did countries like England, France and Germany come into being? This survey module provides an introduction to the history of Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, examining the major political events and social changes that transformed the Roman world and the Near East between c.300 and c.1000. Along the way, we shall consider such topics as identity, warfare, gender, religious life, rulership and law. Students will obtain a clear understanding of the outlines of early medieval history between the later Roman Empire and the sweeping changes of the tenth century, as well as a sense of what daily life was like for most people and of the types of evidence historians can use to understand this period. The weekly lectures guide students through the module and their readings, while seminars provide opportunities to explore key historical problems and debates in more detail through the analysis of primary sources.

Find out more about HI410

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.

Find out more about HI411

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 HI416

The first section of the module will focus on the impact of the Enlightenment, and revolutionary approaches to social change, in France and Russia. In the final seminars, the wider impact of revolutionary ideas, including the concept of nationalism, will be explored in a wider European context. Topics covered will include: the Enlightenment; the French revolution; Jacobinism; the Napoleonic Empire; Russia under Peter the Great and Catherine the Great; the Decembrist revolt in Russia; nationalism in Europe; the revolutions of 1848

Find out more about HI425

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

Stage 2

Optional modules may include

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 HI6064

Seventeenth-century Britain experienced considerable division and tension, most obviously in the Civil Wars in mid-century between the countries which comprised the multiple kingdom of Britain. The aim is to examine the reasons for, and the attempted resolution of, major political and religious problems, with a clear sense of the European context in which these events were played out. Topics to be studied will include the ideological clashes between crown and parliament in England; the political and cultural divisions of `court' and `country'; religious disunity across the three kingdoms; the expansion of a `public sphere' of politics and religion; the failure of republican government in the 1650s; the instability of Restoration politics and the coming of the Glorious Revolution; and Britain's changing role in Europe across the century.

Find out more about HI613

The history of the Great War is a subject of perennial fascination, for this war left its imprint on British/European society to an extent almost unparalleled in modern history. No previous war matched it in scale and brutality. The military history and the course of events have been told many times. This course, by contrast, focuses on the social and cultural upheavals of the Great War. The aim is to move beyond narrow military history and examine the war's socio-cultural impact on British and European societies. Furthermore, it hopes to overcome historians' fixation with national histories. The First World War was, by definition, a transnational event and this course will fully explore the comparative method.

Find out more about HI761

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.

Find out more about HI767

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.

Find out more about HI5055

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 HI5092

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 HI5102

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 HI5109

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

Find out more about HI5201

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

Find out more about HI6002

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 HI6034

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.

Find out more about HI6088

This course examines the reporting of war in the British media from the Crimean War (1853-1856) to the end of the Second World War in 1945. Against an overview of the causes and consequences of a series of conflicts around the world, the course will present a series of case studies to provide an analysis of the development of the media such as the growth of newspapers, commercial advertising, film and broadcasting. The developing role of war correspondents will be contextualised with the role of government in influencing the flow of information to the public in parallel to the development of the national newspaper press, through early cinema and radio, to enhance students' understanding of the historical developments in the reporting of conflict and the growth of the modern media prior to the dawn of Britain’s television service.

Find out more about HI6098

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 (maximum length 9,000 words) based on research undertaken into primary sources, and an extended reading of secondary sources. It is designed to allow students to engage in their own historical research into any chosen topic (the only stipulation being that there must be a member of staff available within the School of History who is able to supervise the topic), and to present their research in a cogent and accessible format.

Find out more about HI605

Optional modules may include

Saints were a central feature of the Christian religion in medieval Europe, and they also had a profound influence on culture and society. This module explores the development of the cult of saints from Late Antiquity to the eve of the Reformation. Some of the main topics that will be considered include relics, miracle stories, pilgrimage, and artistic production. In addition to these topics, the module will consider the impact that saints and relics had on the building of churches and the feast days in the calendar. We will look at a wide variety of sources including illuminated manuscripts, sculpture, stained glass, church buildings, and saints’ lives. All texts will be read in translation.

Find out more about HI6058

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.

Find out more about HI6060

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 HI6035

The term 'guerrilla' tends to evoke twentieth-century connotations. ‘People’s war’, Mao and Che Guevara all conjure up notions of revolutionary warfare, of ‘new’ warfare far removed from the supposedly state-centric armies and strategies of the nineteenth century. But irregular warfare also featured strongly in the nineteenth century. This module studies this type of warfare across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as a whole, mixing well-known theatres and campaigns with less well-known ones. It explores the links between insurgencies and nationalism, revolution and counter-revolution, and studies the extent to which we can identify evolving patterns between reactive and progressive insurgency, along with learning curves and emulation in counter-insurgency. British and French experiences will be studied, along with American Spanish, Latin American, Chinese and African.

Find out more about HI6101

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 HI6102

The ninth to eleventh centuries are frequently described as the 'making of England' – the time when England became a political entity for the first time and when ‘English’ identity begins to emerge clearly in the historic record – only for it all to come crashing down, so some claim, in 1066 with the Norman Conquest. As such, these years and their kings are today invoked in powerful yet often highly problematic discourses of national ‘origins’. While it is certainly the case that the polity of ‘England’ first existed in this period, the historic reality is far more complex and fascinating than such modern representations. For example, the Norman Conquest was not the first conquest of England in the eleventh century. This special subject therefore explores the rich political, cultural and social histories of England from the ninth to eleventh centuries, starting with the first wave of Viking invasions and the rise of the kingdom of Wessex in the ninth century, and ending with the Anglo-Norman historians of the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries, who reflected on their own identities and the transformations and traumas of the preceding decades. How productive is it to understand the developments of this period in terms of ‘English’ identity? How great an impact did conquest and political violence have on day-to-day life? And how can we account for the international and multilingual cultures that were fostered in Britain at this time? It is these questions that we will address over the course of the module.

Find out more about HI6107

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 HI6108

War is both a gendered and a gendering activity, polarising combatant men and non-combatant women. These idealised roles have shaped public understandings of the volunteer soldier and the woman ensuring her 'Best boy' was wearing khaki in the First World War and of the Spitfire Ace and the home front worker in the Second. Yet in both wars there were large numbers of men of conscription age who remained in civilian occupations who have been entirely erased from popular memory. Moreover many women joined the services and donned martial uniform and some even undertook combatant roles. This module examines the roles, experiences, representations and legacies military, paramilitary and civilian men and women between 1914 and 1945 using Britain as a case study. However, throughout the course examples from other countries will be drawn upon and students can choose to focus on any country in their assessment.

Find out more about HI6109

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.

Find out more about HI6012

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 HI6024

The aim of this course will be to show how far the Great War has infiltrated into modern culture and to test the validity of Paul Fussell's thesis that the Great War created Britain's modern cultural atmosphere. Fussell contends that modern society is marked by a love of irony, paradox and contradiction formed by the experience of the Western Front. Against this theory we will set the ideas of Samuel Hynes and Martin Stephen, as argued in their works, A War Imagined and The Price of Pity. This course will explore how the Great War has influenced our lives and why we have certain images of it. Why, for example, do most people associate the Great War with words such as 'waste', 'futility' and 'disillusion'? Why does the morality of the Great War seem so tarnished, while the Second World War is conceived as a just war? The course will be based upon literature (high and popular), poetry, art, architecture and film. We will therefore be 'reading' a 'primary text' each week. The course will serve to highlight many of themes of the 19th and 20th century British survey courses and will further contextualise the course on Britain and the Home Front in the Second World War.

Find out more about HI6029

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 HI5072

See entry for HI767

Find out more about HI768

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.

Find out more about HI787

This module explores the place of death within medieval European culture, focusing especially on the visual and material evidence of relics, tombs, architecture, wall paintings, and illuminated manuscripts. It will begin by examining how ideas about death and the dead were expressed in works of art from Late Antiquity until the arrival of the Black Death in 1348. Our primary sources will be set within the context of literary, visual, documentary and liturgical evidence. Together, we will examine these sources from different disciplinary perspectives in attempt to determine how the study of medieval death and contemporary anxieties about the afterlife can inform us about how people lived in the Middle Ages.

Find out more about HI790

The history of the Great War is a subject of perennial fascination, for this war left its imprint on British/European society to an extent almost unparalleled in modern history. No previous war matched it in scale and brutality. The military history and the course of events have been told many times. This course, by contrast, focuses on the social and cultural upheavals of the Great War. The aim is to move beyond narrow military history and examine the war's socio-cultural impact on British and European societies. Furthermore, it hopes to overcome historians' fixation with national histories. The First World War was, by definition, a transnational event and this course will fully explore the comparative method.

Find out more about HI762

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 HI6065

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

Fees

The 2021/22 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

  • Home full-time £9250
  • EU full-time £12600
  • International full-time £16800
  • Home part-time £4625
  • EU part-time £6300
  • International part-time £8400

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.

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.

Teaching Excellence Framework

All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

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Independent rankings

History at Kent was ranked 19th in The Times Good University Guide 2020 and 1st for research intensity in The Complete University Guide 2021.

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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T: +44 (0)1227 823254
E: internationalstudent@kent.ac.uk

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