How will I be taught?
As a Birmingham student, you are joining the academic elite and have the privilege of learning from world-leading experts in their fields. Your learning with us will be your own voyage of discovery. This will be through small group projects in the first year, seminars in the second and third years and a dissertation in the third. In each year you’ll be guided by an expert in the subjects you’ve chosen, learning to research and analyse a variety of different source materials, to construct coherent arguments and to present the story orally or in writing. At first, you may find these new ways of working and learning a challenge, but we’ll help you to make the transition and you’ll soon be benefiting from some of the most highly regarded teaching in this subject in the country.
From the outset, you will be assigned your own Personal Tutor who will get to know you as you progress through your studies, providing academic and welfare advice, encouraging you and offering assistance in any areas you may feel you need extra support to make the most of your potential and your time here at Birmingham.
Student Mentor and Buddy Scheme
Our enthusiastic established students act as mentors to our new Ancient History students. This provides you with a friendly face to help you settle in.
Academic Writing Advisory Service
The Academic Writing Advisory Service (AWAS) will provide you with individual support from an academic writing advisor and postgraduate subject-specialist writing tutors. You’ll guidance on writing essays and dissertations at University-level which can be quite different from your previous experiences of writing. Support is given in a variety of ways, such as small-group workshops, online activities, feedback through email and tutorials.
Lectures?explore a particular topic, text or context, often involving brief factual descriptions and outlining major questions and interpretations. Their main purpose is to challenge and stimulate, encouraging you to come to your own conclusions based on further reading and seminar debates.
Small-group tutorials/personal tutorials run alongside the lecture course, addressing any individual problems you may have and allowing you to consolidate lecture material, engage in constructive debate and expand your understanding. Some options and all final-year special subjects are also taught in small seminar groups.
Discussion classes are designed to provide the background to your understanding of each subject area introduced in our lectures.
Supervised self study. In your final year you’ll undertake your dissertation, a substantial piece of independent research. We support you in this through a series of workshops, as well as one-on-one supervisions with a tutor who’ll be an academic expert in your chosen topic
Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) is an excellent tool for supporting our academic courses, allowing you to share thoughts on assignments with other students via the discussion group facilities, and even submit your work electronically.
Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) means that learning is driven by the shared enquiry of students and tutors. We will guide you in methods of research, give you feedback on each task, help you improve your style of writing and your use of referencing. We’ll show you how to examine the views of scholars critically as well the evidence they have used. Gradually, you’ll come to rely on the evidence you have found for yourself and the judgements you have formed about it more than the text books you started with. Soon it will be natural to question rather than accept, to argue your own theories and to be unafraid to disagree with us as well as your classmates.
Studying at degree-level is likely to be very different from your previous experience of learning and teaching; you’ll be expected to think, discuss and engage critically with the subject, and find things out for yourself. We’ll enable you to make the change to this new style of learning, and the way that you’re assessed during your studies will help you develop the essential skills you need to make a success of your time here at Birmingham.
During your first year you will part take in a formal ‘transition’ review with your personal tutor to see how you are getting on and whether there are particular areas where you need support.
Each module you take is assessed independently. At the beginning of each module you’ll be given information on how and when you’ll be assessed for that particular programme of study. Feedback is an essential part of learning and we use a wide range of methods, such as end-of-year exams, written assignments and oral presentations. You’ll receive feedback on each assessment within four weeks, highlighting the positives of your work as well as any areas that need more attention, so that you can learn from and build on what you’ve done. You’ll also be given feedback on any exams that you take; if you fail an exam we will ensure that you receive particularly detailed feedback to enable you to learn for the future.
In your final year you will have the opportunity to choose (with guidance) your own research topic which you will explore, supported by regular one-to-one supervisions with one of our expert staff, and present as a 12000-word dissertation – it may seem a daunting task but your first two years of study will have prepared you well for it. The marks for the dissertation account for one quarter of your final degree result.