Special Subjects

School of History and Cultures

Special Subject: A (Sources)

Special Subject: B (Essays)

Special Subjects are designed to enable you to pursue a particular historical theme in great depth. The focus is on developing an advanced critical appreciation of relevant debates within the field as well as analysing contemporary documentary accounts. The analysis of primary source evidence provides further opportunities to enhance your critical skills as historians, but also helps you to see how historians deal with contested evidence and how these interpretations inform scholarly debate.                

The teaching for a special subject takes place within a seminar setting in which you take a lead role in generating discussion, guided by a tutor and a comprehensive bibliography and study support material. Work for this module comprises one third of your final year work.

Examples of special subjects offered in recent years include: 

  • Game Without Thrones: Saga age Iceland c.900-1250
  • Violence and devotion in the crusading world
  • Village Life in Later Medieval England, c.1100-1500
  • The World's Largest Empire: the Mongols and China
  • Law and Society in Medieval England
  • A History of the Tudors in 100 Objects
  • The Age of Discovery
  • Big City, Small Worlds: The Making of Early Modern Cities
  • Histories of Hate: fear and loathing in early modern Europe
  • The English Civil War and Local Society
  • Stray Dogs: confronting loss in eighteenth-and nineteenth century Britain
  • Protestants, Papists and Puritans: Religious Change under Elizabeth I and James I
  • Britain, the slave trade and anti-slavery in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries
  • The American Civil War
  • The Weary Titan: Britain and imperial strategy, 1897-1919
  • The British Army and the Western Front 1914-1918
  • The Russian Revolution, 1917
  • People of the Aftermath: British culture in the 1920s and 1930s
  • British women and internationalism since 1850
  • Facing the Fuhrer and the Duce: British Foreign and Defence Policies towards the European Dictators 1935-40
  • The Nazis at war
  • Of Rice and Men: NGOs and Humanitarianism since 1945
  • After Hitler: Politics and Society in West Germany during the Adenauer Era, 1945-1965
  • Concrete versus Countryside: the making of the modern city in Britain and the USA
  • The Revolting Right: conservative activism in post-war Britain
  • Where there is discord: Making Thatchers Britain
  • Modernity, masculinity and revolution in twentieth century Egypt


20 credits Special Subject A; 20 credits Special Subjects B

Contact time

You will have a total of three formal seminar-based contact hours per week, plus up to two weekly staff office hours for one-to-one consultation at your request.


History Special Subjects are assessed in the summer term by two equally-weighted examinations;  one will be essay-based (3 hour unseen) and the other primary-source based (take home examination). 

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