History Second and Third/Final Year module summaries

Second year

Research Methods

  • 10+10 credits

This module is designed to support students as they develop a topic on which to write their dissertation in their final year. It not only marks a crucial stage in their degree as a whole, but is also an important module in its own right. The Research Methods module will give students firsthand experience of the work of a historian as they learn to identify and frame a valid, intellectually coherent research question; identify, find and consider what primary sources they will use and how they will use them. 

History in Theory and Practice

  • 10+10 credits

This module addresses questions to do with the nature of history and historical knowledge. Topics covered include issues in the philosophy of history (explanation, causality, objectivity etc.); the characteristics of different kinds of history and major trends in historiography. This is not a standard history module with a definite period/place focus, but a broader reflective module designed to aid independent thinking and reflection by students.

Group Research

  • 20 credits

This module provides students with an exciting opportunity to work in groups to design and execute a collaborative research project. The aim is for students to gain experience in the process of historical inquiry and develop their research skills in a supportive environment in advance of individual work for dissertations. Students also benefit greatly from the opportunity to work in teams and coordinate their own projects effectively.  Students enthusiastically pursue a range of presentational methods and styles to convey their ideas and research. In many cases students choose to learn and utilise IT presentational packages to support their work. There is also a requirement for each student to submit an individual essay on their research. By the end of the module all students will have enhanced their presentational skills, their skills as historians, developed their interest in a particular field of history, and be able to demonstrate to future employers that they have experience of working collaboratively and making professionally acceptable oral presentations.

Students are permitted to choose a project from a wide range of choices - see below. They work in teams of approximately 4-6 students under the supervision of a member of academic staff. The tutor helps the students to embark on the project by providing initial ideas and reading, but the students are then free to design their own projects according to the enthusiasms and capacities of the group. All groups make extensive use of primary source evidence as well as reviewing the secondary literature on their topic.  

Group Research example modules:

  • The First Crusade as seen by Contemporaries  
  • Sex and the City: Women’s lives in Heian-era Japan
  • Rachel Carson and the Making of Environmentalism
  • A Carthaginian Peace?: The Treaty of Versailles and its Aftermath
  • Conversion and Mission in Early Medieval Europe
  • Lost in the Arctic: the English Search for a Northwest Passage
  • Failed Colonies 
  • Race, Nation, Economy: French Empire from 1789 to Decolonisation
  • Kings and Propaganda: Power in the Islamic World
  • Medievalism in Politics and Popular Culture
  • History as a Game?
  • Domestic Servants at Work in Georgian England  
  • The American Occupation of Germany, 1944-1949 
  • European Encounters with Islam in the Early Modern Period
  • Home Sweet Home? Housing, Squatting and Rent Strikes in 20th Century Britain

Optional modules:

Public History

  • 20 credits 

This module provides students with the opportunity to reflect on what it has meant (and still means) to do history in public, from the medieval world to the present day. It explores how the process of turning the past into history has been shaped by the competing demands of politics and profit, education and entertainment, nation-building and self-fashioning. Ranging across periods and places, it moves beyond chronicles and academic histories to consider the many ways in which history has been made in public. Films, folk tales, and family trees, music, museum exhibitions, and personal memories, rituals and performance, pedagogy and printing will analysed to this end.

Language module at an appropriate level

  • 20 credits

*Professional Skills Module

* Please note: places are limited on this module

  • 20 credits

This is a work placement module involving a minimum of 20 days in a work environment in the type of organisation or business sector to which history students might apply after graduation. It would provide an opportunity for a student to develop transferable skills such as team work, problem solving, and presentational skills and give them an opportunity to develop skills of self-reflection.

History Option A example modules

  • 20 credits each
  • Rulers and Rebels of Early Islam
  • Nationalism in Modern Europe, 1815-1914
  • John Bull against Napoleon: Fighting the French, 1793-1815
  • US Political and Social History 1890-1980
  • The Sixties: “Years of Hope, Days of Rage”
  • “From Slavery to Freedom”: The African American Experience to 1945
  • Military Revolution and the Conduct of War, c.1300-1650 
  • Finding a Role: Britain and the Global Economy since 1870
  • From Division to Unification: A History of (West) Germany 1945-2000
  • Feeling Politics in Twentieth Century Britain
  • America in Conflict: From the Civil War to the War on Terror
  • Childhood and Adolescence in Medieval Europe
  • France from the Popular Front to the Liberation
  • Crusading and Crusader Kingdoms
  • ‘There is Black in the Union Jack’: An Introduction to Black and South Asian British History
  • Crime and Public Order in Late Medieval Europe
  • The Silk Roads
  • The British Empire: An Introduction
  • The Stuff of History: Cotton, Oil, Gold – Towards a Resource History of Global Modernity
  • Reformation and Rebellion in Tudor England, c.1500-1558
  • Before Globalization?: Afro-Eurasian World History 500-1800
  • In Search of Wealth and Power: China from the Opium War to the Present Day

History Option B example modules 

  • 20 credits each
  • The US in the World, 1890 to 1980 
  • Society in the Viking World c.800-c.1100
  • ‘Beyond Black and White’: The African American Experience since 1945 
  • Mass Culture and the Modern United States, 1877-1939 
  • Social Activism in Modern Britain
  • The Good War? A Cultural and Military History of Britain and the Second World War
  • A Medical Revolution? Society, Warfare, and Disease from the Crimea to Afghanistan
  • Feeding the World? International Development from Colonial Empire to Neoliberalism
  • Gender and the Making of the Modern World: Britain, 1650-1832
  • Kings, Conspirators, and Revolutionaries: Political Thought and Action in Early Modern Europe, 1500-1700
  • Nationalism and Conflict in the Balkans and the Middle East
  • Towns and Urban Life in the Middle Ages
  • Making of Modern India, c.1885-1964
  • Blood and Steel: Indigenous Peoples and the Spanish Conquest of the new World
  • Sex, Money and Fighting: Women and Men in Imperial China 
  • The British Empire: An Introduction
  • Before Brexit: Histories of European Integration, 1945-2016 
  • Auschwitz in History and Memory

Third/Final year

History Dissertation 

  • 40 credits

Students complete research and focus their energies on preparing drafts of chapters for their dissertations. Students undertake a wide range of research activities enabling them to engage directly with contemporary debates in history and examine and interpret diverse sources such as letters, diaries, newspapers, government, business, church and parish records, statistical sources and media representations of varying kinds etc...

Students studying this module are required to prepare a 12,000 word dissertation within the broad field of History and students choose to study diverse regions and periods. Some students elect to research an area to which they have already been introduced via a taught module, others develop themes initiated in Group Research Projects, and some students seize the opportunity to pursue a research interest that they have been unable to develop elsewhere in the curriculum.

Some examples of topics recently researched by students on this programme include:

  • The Kushan military relationship with Han China: A First Analysis
  • Representations of gender and sexuality in the trial of Joan of Arc
  • The Portrayal of Richard III in historical and fictional works, plus his modern perception in popular culture
  • Urban Encounters: economic and social aspects of daily life in York and London in early medieval England
  • Disunity of Islam: the impact of the Assassins on the Crusader States, c. 1090 to c.1190
  • The impact of the First World War on the working lives of Birmingham’s female working-class munitions workers
  • Downton Abbey - Fact, Fiction or Fantasy? An investigation of servant-master relationships in the early 20th century
  • How did British business interests shape imperial maritime policy in the Middle East: 1900-1918?
  • Thoroughly Modern Witches: The Transmutations of Enchantment 1870-1930
  • A journey of division: An analysis into the changing portrayal of the Berlin Wall in the British press
  • The Black Legend of Borgia: Creation of a Myth
  • The Gin Craze and Crime in Eighteenth Century London
  • Change and Continuity: developing discourse on the plague in seventeenth century England
  • The Tudor Sisters: The Role of Religion in the Relationship between Mary and Elizabeth
  • Appropriating Camelot in nineteenth century culture

Optional Modules

  • 80 credits

Examples of optional modules can include:

  • Cities of Paradise and Empire: Palaces, Shrines and Bandits in the Pre-Modern Islamic World 
  • Game without Thrones: Saga Age Iceland c. 900-c.1250
  • ‘Beyond Black and White’: The African American Experience since 1945
  • Mass Culture and the Modern United States, 1877-1939 
  • Social Activism in Modern Britain
  • The English Civil War
  • Land, Law, and Violence in the American West
  • Britain, the Slave Trade and Anti-slavery in the Late-Eighteenth and Early-Nineteenth Centuries  
  • Britain and the First World War: A Social, Cultural and Military History 
  • The History of Grand Strategy
  • Where There Is Discord: Making Thatcher’s Britain
  • After Hitler: Politics and Society in (West) Germany during the Adenauer Era, 1945-1965
  • Terrorising History: Terrorist Motivations, Methods, and Mayhem
  • People of the Aftermath.  British Culture in the 1920s and 1930s 
  • Money, Morality, and Culture: Early Modern Cities in Comparative Perspective
  • The Revolting Right: Conservative Activism in Post-war Britain
  • Facing the Führer, the Duce and the Emperor: British Foreign and Defence Policies 1931-1942 
  • Village Life in Later Medieval England
  • Bearers of the Cross: Devotion and Violence in the Crusading World
  • English Law and Society between the Norman Conquest and the Black Death
  • Immigrant Nation: Racism, Multiculturalism, and Immigration in Twentieth-Century Britain
  • Empire-wallahs: India in the British Imagination
  • Stray Dogs: Confronting Loss in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Britain 
  • The World’s Largest Empire: The Mongols and China
  • Treasure in Anglo-Saxon England, 400-1000
  • British Women and Internationalism since 1850
  • Protestants, Papists and Puritans: Religion and Religious Change in England during the Reigns of Elizabeth I and James I 
  • 1066: Epic Tales of Saints, Swordsman and Scribes
  • The Lure of the Modern: China between Tradition and Modernity (1839 to the Present Day)
  • Latin American History through Film
  • Britain's Imperial Century: The British Empire, 1815-1914
  • Reason and Romance: The Cultural History of Nineteenth-Century Britain
  • From the OSS to Snowden: A History of American Intelligence Agencies since 1945
  • Mediterranean Crossings: Hope, Fear and Ambition between Europe and Africa
  • Gross Indecency to Gay Marriage? Gender and Sexual Minorities 1885 to the Present
  • The Black Death in Medieval Europe. Disaster, Change and Recovery 
  • ‘A Holiday from Reality’: A History of Drugs and Drug Use in the Modern Era
  • Of Great Powers and Failed States. Conceptions of the State in the Modern World
  • Monasteries and Religious Orders in the Middle Ages
  • From Empire to Colony: Indian Society, Politics and Economy, c.1757-1885
  • South Africa in the 20th Century
  • Capital Lives: Experiencing the City in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Britain
  • The United States South: From Plantations to NASCAR
  • Jewish Religious Responses to the Holocaust
  • George Orwell, England and the Modern World
  • Visions of Utopia: Socialism, 1800-1980
  • Warfare at Sea from the Armada to D-Day 
  • Gender and Sexuality in the 20th Century United States 
  • Give me Liberty! The Meaning of Freedom in American History, 1776-1900 
  • After the Mongols: Political Authority in Islamic Lands, 1000-1600 
  • The Black Death in Medieval Europe. Disaster, Change and Recovery 
  • 'A Holiday from Reality': A History of Drugs and Drug Use in the Modern Era 
  • Heresy, Crusade and Genocide in Thirteenth-Century France
  • Genocide: An Interdisciplinary Perspective 
  • Monasteries and Religious Orders in the Middle Ages
  • Piracy, Plunder, Peoples and Exploitation: English Exploration in the Tudor Period 
  • Servant Stories: Domestic Service in Britain and the Wider World, c.1800-1939 
  • The British Army, 1660-1960 
  • Before Globalization?: Afro-Eurasian World History 500-1800 
  • China in Revolution: China under Mao (1949-1976)