School of History

History - BA (Hons)

Canterbury

Any study of history engages a natural human curiosity about the past. It's an exciting and diverse subject, which is reflected in the flexibility and breadth of the History degree programme offered at Kent.

Overview

The School of History at Kent is one of the leading History departments in the country, where you are taught by passionate academics, active researchers and recognised experts. You learn within an inspiring environment, studying on carefully crafted programmes that allow you to develop your own skills and interests.

Our degree programme

Our History programme allows you to tailor your degree to your own interests. These may be incredibly broad, or more focused within specific themes or historical periods.

There is a huge choice of modules on offer, which reflect the wide-ranging expertise of our academics. You can explore topics from the crusades to the Cold War; from the impact of science on 19th-century culture to the totalitarian regimes of Stalin's Russia and Hitler's Third Reich.

History video

History student, Beccy Noble, talks about what it's like to study the subject at Kent. 


Year in professional placement

It is possible to take this programme with a work placement between the second and third year of your degree – this can provide valuable work experience and the chance to gain new skills. You don't have to make a decision before you enrol at Kent but certain conditions apply.

Year or term abroad

You have the chance to study abroad for a year, or for a term in your third year. Previous destinations include:

  • California, USA
  • Massachusetts, USA
  • Ottawa, Canada.
  • Poitiers, France
  • Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • Pokfulam, Hong Kong
  • Tokyo, Japan.

Study resources

Facilities to support your studies include:

  • the British Cartoon Archive, whose 20th-century collection can illuminate many aspects of recent history
  • a rare and complete set of British official histories of both world wars 
  • privileged access to rare books and priceless manuscripts at Canterbury Cathedral Library and Archives.

Extra activities

You can get involved with the student-run History Society, which in previous years has organised lectures, social events and trips across Europe.

The School of History also organises talks from visiting speakers that you are welcome to attend. In addition there are regular careers workshops and visits from successful alumni.

Professional network

We have excellent links with the National Trust as well as local heritage organisations, including:

  • Canterbury Cathedral Library and Archives
  • The Beaney House of Art and Knowledge
  • Canterbury Archaeological Trust
  • Royal Engineers Museum.

The School of History has also established strong links with academic institutions across Europe and beyond.

Independent rankings

History at Kent scored 92 out of 100 in The Complete University Guide 2019 and was ranked 20th in The Times Good University Guide 2019.

In the National Student Survey 2018, over 93% of final-year History students who completed the survey, were satisfied with the overall quality of their course.

 

Course structure

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

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

Stage 1

Possible modules may include:

HI426 - Making History: Theory and Practice (30 credits)

This module has two aims: 1) to contribute towards equipping the students with the necessary practical and intellectual skills for them to think and write as historians at an undergraduate level; 2) to encourage them to think reflectively and critically about the nature of the historical discipline, its epistemological claims, and why we, as historians, do what we do in the way we do it.



It will focus on the process of 'getting used to' undergraduate history; the difference between university life from school/college. These sessions are reinforced with in-house study skills sessions. This will be reinforced through the seminar teaching in the remainder of the module.



The module identifies and explores three main areas of history, asking: what is medieval history; what is early modern history; what is modern history? Students will also explore different central historical themes and approaches in historical scholarship, such as Marxism or nationalism, thereby introducing them to history at university level at both a practical and conceptual level. This will cover the development of university history in the broad sweep of history from approximately the twelfth century to the late twentieth century. It will also consider the impact of the Social Sciences on the historical profession during the twentieth century.



The seminars will reinforce these sessions through discussion of selected readings on relevant topics. Students will also study how to use and analyse a primary source and a variety of historical methodologies.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI385 - Introduction to the History of Medicine (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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HI410 - Early Medieval Europe (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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HI411 - Later Medieval Europe (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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HI432 - 1450 - 1600: The Age of Reformation (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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HI433 - 1600-1750: The Age of Enlightenment (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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HI434 - Ten Technologies That Made Us Modern (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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HI435 - A Global History of Empires: 1500-1850 (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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HI436 - A Global History of Empires: 1850-1960 (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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HI437 - War and Diplomacy in Europe c1850-2000 (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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HI416 - Victorian Britain: Politics, Society and Culture (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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HI425 - Revolutionary Europe 1700-1850 (15 credits)

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

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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HI390 - The Emergence of America:From European Settlement to 1880 (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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HI391 - The Rise of the United States Since 1880 (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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HI430 - Modern British History (Part Two) (15 credits)

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.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage


Stage 2

Possible modules may include:

HI613 - Conflict in Seventeenth Century Britain (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI761 - The Cultural History Of The Great War: Britain, France and Germany In C (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI763 - How the West was Won (or lost): The American West in the Nineteenth Cen (30 credits)

This module will explore the American West, looking at the social and economic dynamics underlying Western history, together with processes of environmental transformation. The unit spans a chronological period from 1803 – the Louisiana Purchase - to 1893 – the date of the Chicago Exposition and Turner's famed 'Frontier thesis'. Commencing with a look at constructions of the West in history, literature and film, the module will move on to critically analyse key issues and moments in Western History including the Lewis and Clark expedition, the Gold Rush, and the Indian Wars. Outline themes include the construction of regional identities, protracted conflicts for resources, environmental changes, and the continuing importance of the West as a symbolic landscape. A key aim of the course lies in facilitating critical discussion on the process of nineteenth-century westward expansion, addressing issues of colonial conquest, environmental despoliation, economic change, and social cohesion. Through lectures and seminars, we will explore the major themes of Western history in this period and examine relevant historiographical debates. Portrayals of the West in art, literature, and film will be used extensively to illustrate the diversity of Western culture and situate the importance of myth in shaping popular and historical discourse.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI767 - Churchill's Army: the British Army in the Second World War (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI769 - From Blitzkrieg to Baghdad: Armoured Warfare in Theory, Practise and Im (30 credits)

The module will explore the nature of the nature of armoured warfare. It will reveal how quickly advocates of these new machines developed theories of armoured warfare and how these were applied to the battlefield. It will show the supposed decline of the tank and heavy armour in the years since the collapse of the Communist Bloc, only to be given a new lease of life by the two Gulf Wars. The course will also look at the cultural ideas behind the tank, how it has seeped into the imagination as a symbol of modernity and change: for example, the crucial importance of tanks to images of the Hungarian uprising in 1956 and to the Beijing protests of 1989.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI789 - The Art of Death (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI795 - Inviting Doomsday: US Environmental (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI5013 - Popular Religion and Heresy, 1100-1300 (30 credits)

This module examines the rise and spread of popular religious movements in Western Europe from the eleventh to the early fourteenth century and considers how some of these movements became seen as heresy and were associated with political dissent, ideas of persecution and social and economic change. It also considers the leadership of the Medieval papacy and its contribution to the transformation and condemnation of religious and heretical movements. The module finally explores the reasons why popular religious movements provoked such strong reactions and compares and contrasts the treatment of these religious and heretical movements with that given to other social minorities (especially women, lepers and homosexuality).



The course will draw on narrative, hagiographical, documentary and visual sources. The course will require students to engage with primary sources, and to think critically about theoretical approaches toward the above mentioned themes.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI5031 - African History since 1800 (30 credits)

This module is meant to introduce students to the key processes and dynamics of sub-Saharan African history during the past two centuries. The course covers three chronological periods: the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial eras. In their study of the pre-colonial period students, will especially familiarize themselves with the changing nature of African slavery and the nineteenth-century reconstruction of political authority in the face of economic, environmental and military challenges. The colonial period forms the second section of the course. Here, students will gain an understanding of the modalities of the colonial conquest, the creation and operation of colonial economies and the socio-cultural engineering brought about by European rule. The study of the colonial period will end with an analysis of African nationalisms and decolonisation. In the final part of the course, students will develop an understanding of the challenges faced by independent African nations. The nature of the post-colonial African state will be explored alongside such topical issues as the Rwandan Genocide and the African AIDS epidemic.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI5055 - Russia, 1881-1945:Nationalism, Revolution andWar (30 credits)

This module introduces students to Russian history from the end of the Crimean War to the Soviet victory in the Second World War. It will equip students to understand the continuities and differences between tsarism and Soviet communism. Themes covered will include: the reforms of Alexander II; the late tsarist autocracy; populism and Marxism; the 1905 revolution; the First World War; the February and October revolutions; the intelligentsia and revolution; revolutionary ideology; the building of socialism, c. 1917-1928; the Stalin revolution, c. 1928-1941; the Second World War.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI5065 - British History c. 1480-1620 (30 credits)

In 1500 England and Scotland were both Catholic, and entirely separate countries. In 1603 they were united under one ruler, the Scottish King James VI who inherited the throne of England on the death of Elizabeth I. This module will introduce students to the political history of the period, meeting famous characters such as Henry VIII and Mary, Queen of Scots, but it will also get beyond headline-grabbing monarchs to explore complex political realities. Alongside the contested process of religious change and the secret scheming between England and Scotland, we shall consider the impact of propaganda on the people of different parts of the British Isles. Students will encounter a wide variety of sources, ranging from political pictures and tracts to acts of Parliament and diplomatic correspondence.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI5075 - Marvels, Monsters and Freaks 1780-1920 (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI5092 - Armies at War 1914-1918 (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI6002 - The British Army and Empire c1750-1920 (30 credits)

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

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI6009 - Europe and the Islamic World, c 1450-1750 (30 credits)

Cultures never develop and grow in isolation. They are built on the values of past generations, and they are shaped and challenged in interaction with other cultures. The main objective of this module is to explore and present the powerful interaction between Europe and the Islamic world in early modern times, c. 1450-1750.

The course will firstly provide an overview of the rise and fall of three major Islamic states and empires (the Abbasid Caliphate, the Safavid Empire, the Ottoman Empire). It will then assess the early modern European encounter with the Islamic world 1) by discussing the scholarly, religious, political and economic incentives for this encounter; 2) by documenting the exchange of knowledge, ideas, values and material objects this encounter stimulated in the early modern period; 3) by exploring the enormous impact, which this encounter had on European civilization. The course will focus on the following topics and areas of life:



1) Transmission of scientific, technical and medical knowledge.

2) Collecting manuscripts and studying the languages of the Islamic world

3) Trade and economic exchange

4) Conflict and cooperation

5) Understanding Islam, translating the Koran

6) European discovery of Arabic literature, art and architecture

7) Arabs in the West (diplomats, travellers, scholars and prisoners)

8) Europeans in the East (diplomats, travellers, scholars and prisoners)

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI6034 - Anglo-French Relations 1904 - 1945 (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI6042 - The British Empire: Sunrise to Sunset (30 credits)

'We seem, as it were, to have conquered and peopled half the world in a fit of absence of mind.'



Sir John Seeley, The Expansion of England (1883)



Despite Seeley's assertion of accidental conquest, at its zenith the British empire decidedly controlled over ¼ of the world's global real estate, and 1/5 of the world's population. The economic, cultural and global impact of British colonialism is still very much apparent today - from contested borders and inter-state disputes, through languages and cultures, to the inequities in wealth and trade that exist between the prosperous 'North' and the underdeveloped 'South'. Why, then, was imperial expansion so vehemently defended by its protagonists in the 19th and 20th Centuries? And what made colonial conquest, colonisation, and economic exploitation of non-European spaces feasible on such a global scale and for so long? These are the 'big questions' that underlie this module. Using documentary sources and specialist texts and articles, we shall investigate various aspects of British colonial rule from the perspective of its practitioners and from that of their colonial 'subjects'. The intention is to try and understand European imperialism on its own terms, to interrogate the cultural and conceptual discourses that underpinned its existence, and to reflect upon the many ways in which the history of European empire has shaped the modern world in which we live today.



Please note that the title of this module is changing. It will run in 2016/2017 as 'A Cultural History of the British Empire.'

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI6064 - Armies at War, 1792-1815 (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI6069 - Science and Religion (30 credits)

Science and religion are often presented as in antithesis; worldviews that will inevitably clash. Popular accounts of science often present religion and religious institutions as a restraining force on the advance of science, and find it difficult to deal with the many scientific figures whose work was either underpinned or unaffected by their faith. This module will look critically at these narratives, re-examining famous episodes such as Galileo's clash with the Catholic Church, and debates over Darwin's theory of evolution, from the Huxley-Wilberforce debate of 1860 to the Scopes Trial in Tennessee in 1925. We will explore the late 19th-century roots of the "clash narrative" and the developing idea of inevitable "Warfare" between science and religion, noting the other ways in which the relationship has been understood. This includes the long-lasting natural theological framing of scientific knowledge, which saw evidence of God's existence and attributes in the natural world, and historians' accounts of the role of religion in motivating individuals and groups to undertake scientific work.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI6056 - The British Atlantic World c.1580-1763 (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI6076 - Surgery, Science and Society since 1750 (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI6078 - Restoration, Revolution and Reform: British Politics 1678 - 1763 (30 credits)

Spanning the period from the Exclusion Crisis of the late 1670s until the end of the Seven Years' War in 1763, this module will explore a crucial period in the history of Britain through an examination of politics, religion and diplomacy. Emerging from the upheaval of revolution in the 1640s and 1650s, the British monarchy had to adapt to new circumstances in the ensuing 100 years and one of the aims of the module will be to consider the changing nature of kingship and queenship in this age. Dynasticism remained important - after all, two unions were brought about during this period - with the Dutch (1689-1702) and the Hanoverian electorate (1714-1837). Necessarily, therefore, the European dimension will be central to the module, while the focus will be on Britain, not merely England. Parliament assumed an enhanced role in the politics of this period - with annual parliaments from 1689 and parliamentary union with Scotland in 1707 - and the module will pay close attention to the fortunes of ministers, the growth of parties and the increasingly active electorate in an age of frequent general elections. The module will also assess how extra-parliamentary opinion, the press and popular protest affected the political landscape. Religious conflict remained an issue, with continuing tension between the established church and 'dissenters', as well as between Catholic and Protestant (the attempt to exclude James, Duke of York from the succession signifying the continued interdependence of religion and politics). Finally, the module will examine the impact on Britain of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-48) and the Seven Years' War (1756-63), and the growth of the British colonial empire.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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You have the opportunity to select wild modules in this stage


Year in industry

You have the opportunity to spend a year on professional placement between Stages 2 and 3 as part of this programme.


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.


Stage 3

Possible modules may include:

HI605 - Undergraduate Dissertation (30 credits)

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.

Credits: 30 credits (15 ECTS credits).

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HI6094 - The Legacy of the Second World War (60 credits)

Over seventy years after Nazi Germany's unconditional surrender, we are still living in the shadow of the Second World War. The end of the Cold War has seen an upsurge in commemorative activity ranging from new memorials to court cases. This special subject considers the impact of the Second World War on European societies (including Britain) between 1945 and the present day. This module will examine – and compare – the ways in which contemporaries and later generations have tried to make sense of the upheaval and horrors of the Second World War. The module will explore a host of commemorative practices and media (ranging from architecture and popular histories to film and war memorials) and their socio-cultural contexts. Methodologically, the module explores the cultural history of the legacy of war. Cultural history here means the study of languages, practices, artefacts and gestures through which events are encoded by those who live through them or in their aftermath.

Credits: 60 credits (30 ECTS credits).

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HI6063 - California: The Golden State (60 credits)

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.

Credits: 60 credits (30 ECTS credits).

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HI6071 - The United Nations in the Twentieth Century (60 credits)

The United Nations was established by the victorious states of the Second World War in 1945. The preamble to the Charter of the United Nations declared that the organisation's aim is to 'save succeeding generations from the scourge of war'; promote fundamental human rights and the rights of nations large and small; maintain international law and promote social progress. This module will explore how successfully the organisation has met its founding ideals. In doing so, it will consider major issues that faced the United Nations during the first fifty years of its existence. It will examine how policy was formulated in the committee rooms of the General Assembly and the Security Council. It will then explore how effective such policy proved in the context of the Cold War and the changing post-colonial environment of the late twentieth century.

Credits: 60 credits (30 ECTS credits).

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HI6075 - Sex, Health and Deviance in Britain since 1800 (60 credits)

From early nineteenth century concerns over declining birth rates to the profound impact of the AIDS epidemic in the late twentieth century, this module will examine key political, economic, social and medical issues and events that shaped discourse, attitudes and behaviours surrounding sex and health in Britain since 1800. A central concern of this module will be to untangle the complicated relationship between public discourse and private behaviour. Indeed, while vocal social commentators, scientific and medical communities, the State and the Church increasingly sought to regulate sexual attitudes and behaviours, deviant and tabooed practices such as prostitution, masturbation and sex outside marriage were (and still are) prevalent. In untangling public discourse and private behaviour, the module will consider: the extent to which the regulation of sex and health has been successful; the ways in which attitudes and behaviours changed across the period and varied according to geography, social class, sexual preference, gender and ethnicity; and how they affect our attitudes towards sex and health today. Themes addressed in this module include: Britain's role in the global commercialisation of contraceptive technologies; venereal disease; abortion and infanticide; eugenics; same-sex relationships; and sex crimes.

Credits: 60 credits (30 ECTS credits).

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HI6029 - The Great War: British Memory, History and Culture (60 credits)

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.

Credits: 60 credits (30 ECTS credits).

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Teaching & Assessment

Teaching is by a combination of lectures, providing a broad overview, and seminars, which focus on discussing particular issues and are led by student presentations. Lectures and seminars use a variety of materials, including original documents, films and documentaries, illuminated manuscripts, and slide and PowerPoint demonstrations.

The School of History uses a mixture of assessment patterns. The standard formats are 100% coursework or 60% examination and 40% coursework.

The School also has excellent student support arrangements. Alongside our Student Support Officer, each student is assigned an academic tutor. All module convenors keep regular office hours, and the School has a policy of returning at least one essay on each module in a one-to-one personal meeting, allowing for additional verbal feedback and discussion.

Programme aims

The programme aims to:

  • provide students with a firm understanding of the tradition and discipline of history as a means of understanding cultures different from their own and changes in society over time
  • develop students' intellectual curiosity and initiative
  • encourage independent critical thinking and judgement
  • develop new areas of teaching and incorporate the research expertise of teachers into the programme
  • provide stimulating learning opportunities based on well-planned teaching strategies and offer effective support for students from a variety of backgrounds
  • prepare students for a range of careers and roles in a modern complex society or for further study
  • develop a critical understanding of the past
  • provide a flexible degree through which students can adopt a structure for their various interests.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain knowledge and understanding of:

  • the complexities of human existence in the past, while recognising that history does not consist of 'a specific body of required knowledge'
  • texts and other source materials, while addressing questions of genre, content, perspective and purpose
  • the problems inherent in the historical record itself and the limits within which interpretation is possible
  • the value of neighbouring disciplines, recognised through the interdisciplinary nature of history itself
  • more than one country, period (medieval, early modern, modern) and analytical approach (social, political, economic, cultural history, history of science).

Intellectual skills

You gain intellectual skills in:

  • conceptualisation: the ability to relate concept to empirical evidence, and the ability to recognise the relative and contested character of concepts themselves
  • critical thought and independence of mind: the ability to challenge received conclusions and evaluate the work of others
  • the ability to synthesise material from a variety of sources to gain a coherent understanding of issues
  • reflexivity – an understanding of the nature of the discipline and our own involvement with it
  • recognising and distinguishing between the different sources of historical knowledge (epistemological awareness)
  • recognition and employment of what is required to solve particular problems.

Subject-specific skills

You gain subject-specific skills in how to:

  • apply a range of historical methods and analytical approaches with awareness of the relevance of other disciplines
  • access a range of sources of information, including textual and non-textual material
  • present the results of historical work to a critical audience or readership using standard notes, reference systems and bibliography
  • marshal an argument: summarise, analyse and defend a particular interpretation or analysis of historical events.

Transferable skills

You gain transferable skills in:

  • communication – how to organise information clearly; respond to written sources; present information orally; adapt style for different audiences; use of images as a communication tool
  • numeracy – how to make sense of statistical materials; integrate numerical and non-numerical information; understand the limits and potentialities of arguments based on quantitative information
  • information technology – how to produce written documents; undertake online research; communicate using email; process information using databases
  • working with others – how to define and review the work of others; work co-operatively on group tasks; understand how groups function
  • improving own learning – how to explore personal strengths and weaknesses; time management; review your working environment; develop specialist learning skills (such as foreign languages); develop autonomy in learning
  • problem solving – how to identify and define problems; explore alternative solutions and discriminate between them.

KIS Course data

UNISTATS / KIS

Key Information Sets

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

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

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

Entry requirements

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

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

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
A level

ABB including Classics-Ancient History,  Classics-Classical Civilisation or History grade B, excluding Critical Thinking and General Studies 

Access to HE Diploma

The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

The University will consider applicants holding BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF; OCR) on a case-by-case basis. Please contact us for further advice on your individual circumstances.

International Baccalaureate

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

International students

The University welcomes applications from international students programmes. 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.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.

Careers

Graduate destinations

Our graduates are prepared for a wide range of career options in areas including:

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

Examples of the positions some of our graduates have moved into include:

  • Stonehenge Custodian
  • producer at the BBC
  • Warden at Windsor Castle
  • CEO of EasyJet.

Help finding a job

The School of History runs employability sessions to help you hone your job-hunting skills, and these include input from highly successful alumni.

The University also has a friendly Careers and Employability Service, which can give you advice on how to:

  • apply for jobs
  • write a good CV
  • perform well in interviews.

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.

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 AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either mathematics or a modern foreign language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

Enquire or order a prospectus

Resources


Read our student profiles


Contacts

Related schools

Enquiries

T: +44 (0)1227 768896

Open days

Our general open days will give you a flavour of what it is like to be an undergraduate, postgraduate or part-time student at Kent. They include a programme of talks for undergraduate students, with subject lectures and demonstrations, plus self-guided walking tours of the campus and accommodation.

Please check which of our locations offers the courses you are interested in before choosing which event to attend.

The University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in its publicity materials is fair and accurate and to provide educational services as described. However, the courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Full details of our terms and conditions can be found at: www.kent.ac.uk/termsandconditions.

*Where fees are regulated (such as by the Department for Education or Research Council UK) permitted increases are normally inflationary and the University therefore reserves the right to increase tuition fees by inflation (RPI excluding mortgage interest payments) as permitted by law or Government policy in the second and subsequent years of your course. If we intend to exercise this right to increase tuition fees, we will let you know by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which we intend to exercise that right.

If, in the future, the increases to regulated fees permitted by law or government policy exceed the rate of inflation, we reserve the right to increase fees to the maximum permitted level. If we intend to exercise this extended right to increase tuition fees, we will let you know by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which we intend to exercise that right.

 

School of History, Rutherford College, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NX

T: +44 (0)1227 823710 or E: history@kent.ac.uk

Last Updated: 14/08/2016