History first year module descriptions

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may take study leave or leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.

Practising History (A & B)

Practising History (A): Skills in History (Autumn semester)
Practising History (B): Approaches to History (Spring semester)

The main aim of this module is to give students a firm grounding in the skills, methods and principles needed for the study of the historical discipline at degree level.

Semester one, Practising History A: Skills in History will offer students the chance to develop their own personal research skills portfolio by giving them supervised practice at note-taking, referencing, group-work, participation in class debate, research and production of a extensive bibliography for their seminar group’s research project. Much of this material will be accessed through a VLE, and the fact that the students will have to collaborate and make research decisions for themselves as a group makes this a valuable introduction to enquiry-based learning techniques they will meet elsewhere in their degree programmes.

Semester two, Practising History B: Approaches to History focuses more on the methodological side of the historical discipline, with lectures on the major schools of historical thought backed up by seminars in which students can see how these schools are represented in their group’s particular project.

Value: 2x 10 credits
Assessment: 2 x 2500 word essay (1 per semester) Plagiarism quiz in Autumn Semester
Contact: 1 hour per week (mainly small group)

Discovering the Middle Ages

This module aims to introduce students to a broad range of topics from the earlier part of the Middle Ages understood as part of global history, with a focus on staff areas of particular expertise in political, social-economic, religious, cultural history and material culture. The module will include introductions to topics taught as modules in Year 2 and 3, each framed as a question about some person or concept with which students may be familiar. Students will examine these topics through lectures and analysis of relevant primary and secondary source material, including material culture, online resources and accessible locations, to gain first-hand experience of some of the issues involved in the scholarly study of this period.

Value: 20 credits
Assessment: 
2500 word essay; 2 hr exam
Contact: 
3 hours per week (inc. one small group)

War and Society

This module provides a critical introduction to the historical study of warfare and its consequences. It considers a range of issues which cut across the pre-modern and modern worlds to explore significant issues for anyone interested in large-scale conflicts and their wider impacts. It typically considers ethics, varied forms of warfare and strategic thought, the economics of war, and the interactions of conflict with issues of race, religion and gender, as well as forms of opposition to conflict, and conflict resolution.

Value: 20 credits
Assessment: 2500 word essay; 2 hr exam
Contact: 3 hours per week (inc. one small group)

Reformation Rebellion and Revolution: the Making of the Modern World 1500-1800

This module aims to introduce students to all aspects of the early-modern world, including its social, economic, military, political, intellectual, religious and cultural history. The module will cover of the period from around 1500 with the discoveries of the new world and invention of printing, up to the late eighteenth century with the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. Though the focus will be primarily European (including the British Isles), the wider world will also be explored (eg interaction with the New World; American Revolution). Students will examine the above developments through analysis of a broad range of relevant primary and secondary sources; material such as contemporary letters, diaries, treatises, woodcuts, music and material culture will be given particular emphasis as a means of giving students first-hand experience of the key issues involved in the scholarly study of the early-modern period.

Value: 20 credits
Assessment: 2500 word essay; 2 hr exam
Contact: 3 hours per week (inc. one small group)

Living in the Middle Ages

This module aims to introduce students to a broad range of topics from the later part of the Middle Ages understood as part of global history, with a focus on staff areas of particular expertise in social-economic, religious, cultural history and material culture. The module will include introductions to topics taught as modules in Year 2 and 3, each framed as a question about some person or concept with which students may be familiar. Students will examine these topics through lectures and analysis of relevant primary and secondary source material, including material culture, online resources and accessible locations, to gain first-hand experience of some of the issues involved in the scholarly study of this period.

Value: 20 credits
Assessment: 2,500 word essay and one two-hour exam

The Making of the Contemporary World 1800-2000 

This module aims to introduce students to all aspects of the late-modern world, including its social, economic, military, political, intellectual, religious and cultural history. The module will cover of the period from around 1800 with the onset of industrialisation up to the turn of the twenty-first century with the end of the Cold War and increasing concern with ‘globalisation’.

Though the focus will be weighted somewhat towards Europe (including the British Isles), the wider world will also be explored (eg empire, decolonisation, modern nationalism). Students will examine the above developments through analysis of a broad range of relevant primary and secondary sources; material such as contemporary treatises, state documents, art and material culture will be given particular emphasis as a means of giving students first-hand experience of the key issues involved in the scholarly study of the late-modern period.

Value: 20 credits
Assessment: 2500 word essay and one two-hour exam

Themes and Areas

Students are offered the opportunity to study 20 credits outside their main discipline in the first year. We encourage you to use this opportunity to develop a language skill, or to broaden your access to modules within the University subject provision. The full list of modules available is too extensive to list here, but to give you a sense of the kinds of modules students take, below are some examples from the options which have been available in previous years.

  • Applied Psychology
  • Baroque and Classical Music: History and Analysis
  • Economy, Space and Policy
  • Ethics: How Should We Live?
  • European Economic Issues
  • Good Brain, Bad Brain (Pharmacology)
  • History of the Earth
  • Impact of Mathematics
  • Introduction to Film Studies
  • Introduction to Economics for non-specialists
  • Introduction to the European Union: History Politics and Institutions
  • Introduction to Social Policy
  • Introduction to Study of the Holocaust
  • Languages: e.g. French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Chinese, Spanish
  • Nineteenth century Russia
  • Problems of Philosophy
  • Roman Art and Archaeology
  • Russian Politics
  • Society, Space and Policy
  • The Age of Common Practice (music)
  • The Age of Extremes (music)
  • Thinking Anthropologically
  • The Emergence of Modern Germany: its History and Images
  • Weather, Climate and Human History