About the course
On our BA History and Sociology, you are taught jointly with our Department of Sociology, you develop expertise in the fields of history and sociology, and are encouraged to explore the ways in which the two disciplines influence and inform one another. You take our Sociology and the Modern World module alongside your history modules in your first year, and continue to combine modules in history and sociology in your second and third years. There is a range of relevant options to choose from in both departments and you choose the focus of your final-year dissertation.
Why study BA History and Sociology at Essex?
Our Department of History has developed a strong research and teaching profile, coming joint second in the UK in the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (RAE, December 2008) and a 95 per cent satisfaction rating in the 2010 National Student Survey. Our staff are amongst world leaders in their fields and we have strong links with the Essex Record Office, which is one of the best county record offices in the UK.
Our teaching and research concentrates on the period from 1500 to the present and covers a wide geographical area that includes British and European history, as well as Latin America, the USA, China, Russia and Africa.
Why study this subject?
Apart from being extremely enjoyable and enabling you to learn about the past and come to a better understanding of the present, a course in history provides you with important skills that will be of value after leaving university. In learning to absorb, analyse and assess a wide variety of information and viewpoints, in learning to express your arguments in oral and written form, and in learning to think and work both independently and in co-operation with others, history students acquire skills which employers in all fields value.
Our history students have access to all learning facilities at our Colchester Campus. This includes our Albert Sloman Library, which has excellent collections in British and European modern history, and its holdings in the areas of Latin America, Russia and the US are of national importance. Its Special Collection has a number of collections of interest to historical research, including the libraries of the Essex Society for Archaeology and History and of the Royal Historical Society. The History Data Service is based in the UK Data Archive at Essex. This national service provider for the acquisition, dissemination and preservation of digital resources for historians is particularly strong in nineteenth and twentieth-century economic and social history.
Study abroad/placement opportunities
Within our Department of History, we offer an international exchange variant for this course. This enables you to broaden your understanding of the subject by studying at a partner institution in the EU, or in the rest of the world, as the third year of this four-year course. Apart from your year abroad, our international exchange variant of this course is identical to our corresponding three-year course. You can change to the four-year course at any time during your first year. Alternatively, it is also possible to spend one term abroad during your third year of our three-year course.
Hear what our students have to say
Edward Taylor, BA History ’11, United Kingdom
“When I came for my interview, I knew the University of Essex was for me. It was so well organised and everyone made me feel welcome – I did not feel like just another number applying, I felt like a valued member of the community already. Academically and socially, settling into student life was straightforward, especially as lecturers are available via e-mail and during their office hours, which makes it easy to express any concerns you may have.
“My Department of History is very strong, with many lecturers being internationally known for their work. This makes research accessible, understandable and exciting. I have stayed at the University to do my MA History, and am currently working on a project which deals with organising census data from censuses as far back as 1911. This will be really useful, as my ideal career path would be helping people trace their family histories, meaning the skills gained will help me into this line of work.
“My fondest memory so far at Essex was meeting all my friends. We’ve had some great times and I truly believe I have made some friends for life!”
The special characteristics of our courses are flexibility and choice. In your first year, you usually take four or five modules that include pre-requisite(s) for your course but, in many cases, mean you can try subjects you have not come across before. If you are taking a humanities or social science, then you have the greatest choice, as most of our first-year modules do not assume any specialist knowledge.
With a small number of exceptions, if you successfully complete the first year of your BA, then you are qualified to enter the second year of that course and a range of other courses: for example, if you take economics, politics, philosophy and sociology, then you have a choice of at least nine possible single or joint honours courses at the end of your first year. This means you can change your course, providing you have taken the appropriate pre-requisites and places are available. We offer a range of optional modules in your second- and final-years and most courses allow you to undertake a final-year project, an individual piece of research on a topic that interests you.
We operate a credit framework for our awards, which is based on principles widely used across the UK university sector. Each module has a credit rating attached and our standard three-year course consists of 360 credits (120 credits in your first year, and 240 credits across your second and final years).
Please note that module information on our course finder provides a guide to course content and may be subject to review on an annual basis.
Year 1 core and optional modules
Society, Culture and Politics in Europe 1500-1750 or The Making of the Modern World 1766-1989;
Sociology and the Modern World: Sociological Analysis I; and
Year 2 core and optional modules
Making Histories: Concepts, Themes and Sources;
Continuity and Controversy in Sociology: Sociological Analysis II;
one history or sociology option;
one history option; and
one history or sociology half-option
Year 3 core and optional modules
Independent research project;
Current Disputes in Sociology: Sociological Analysis III;
one history or sociology option; and
one history option
We offer you a wide range of interesting modules to choose from throughout your time at Essex. Teaching on all our modules draws on the most up-to-date and exciting research. (Please note that modules with a 4 in the middle of their module code are for first-year undergraduates, those with a 5 are for second-year undergraduates and those with a 6 are for third-year undergraduates. Modules with a 7 in the middle of their module code are for postgraduate taught students.)
As a new undergraduate, you may find university-level learning, assessment and studying differs to school or college. Here at Essex, we understand and recognise this by having support in place, particularly during your first year when you may notice the change more.
If you are studying a non-science subject, then your teaching mainly takes the form of lectures and classes, the latter involving about 20 students. A typical timetable includes a one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each of your four modules every week. Any language classes involve language laboratory sessions.
First-year assessment is a combination of written coursework, end-of-term tests, practical and laboratory work (where appropriate) and end-of-year exams.
Teaching methods and styles
Within our Department of History, most of your modules are taught by a weekly lecture followed by a weekly seminar, where groups of about 15 students meet with their tutor to discuss their reading, to work together with primary sources, or to make presentations to the rest of the group. You have one-to-one tuition for your dissertation.
Methods of assessment
Within our Department of History, your assessment methods include essays, coursework journals, oral presentations, book and film reviews, source analysis, and the dissertation. Your degree is awarded on the basis of coursework completed throughout your second and third years, and examinations taken at the end of each of these years. If you are spending part or all of your third year abroad, you will be assessed by your host institution.
Our courses help you develop the graduate capabilities that employers value. You gain skills in information finding and gathering; critical analysis; interpreting and evaluating large amounts of conflicting data; constructing and communicating ideas and arguments; time management; project management; and group work.
You improve your ability to understand foreign cultures and new ideas; to empathise imaginatively with others’ points of view; to grasp new systems quickly; and to write and speak cogently and persuasively. All of these skills are highly transferable to the world of work.
You have the chance to take advantage of a variety of paid and volunteer opportunities that provide work experience and develop your employability; destinations have included the Essex Police Museum, the Rothschild Archive, the Marks Hall Trust, and local schools. You could also develop skills at the University by becoming a student ambassador, a student representative or a History Society events organiser. All such jobs include training and supervision.
A history degree prepares you for a wide range of careers. For example, some of our graduates from BA History and Sociology have found employment as a chartered accountant, as a policy analyst, as an operations manager and in roles involving policy and planning work.
Other graduates of our Department are currently employed in teaching, librarianship, museum and archive services, the Civil Service, local government, law enforcement, charity administration, banking, law, industrial and retail management, media research, electronic publishing, marketing, IT, health service administration, counselling, social work, and many other fields, including work with Sage Publications, the Royal College of Physicians Library and UK Anti-Doping (the national body for drug prevention in sport).
We also offer MA and PhD programmes for those interested in the further study of history.
Your employability and Essex
At Essex we take your employability seriously, helping you become a rounded individual with the ability to succeed, whatever your plans. You’ll find your department works with our Employability and Careers Centre to inform you about options to study or work overseas, your Faculty Employability Coordinator finds degree-related work placements, and our Students’ Unions ensures that, annually, over 700 students volunteer and more than 4,000 get involved in sports, clubs and societies.
At Essex you can gain new skills that look good on your CV, like paid placements through our frontrunners scheme, graduate-level paid internships, and opportunities to develop discipline-specific skills as part of your studies.
We help you understand your skills, and how to demonstrate these to an employer. You can get our extra-curricular employability award – the Big Essex Award – recorded on your transcript, receive one-to-one advice on careers, use our Essex CV guides on applying for work, learn from famous entrepreneurs and take part in workshops, and meet employers through on-campus events.
We develop your employability through fantastic opportunities, and give you the tools to explore the meaning of your unique experiences, so you are ready for your future.
Here at Essex, our students can undertake period of study or work abroad specifically tailored to his/her academic interests and future career plans. You are taught and assessed by your host university, so assessment may be in the form of written papers, oral or written exams, lab or project work, research, or work-based learning. All successfully completed pre-approved modules will be credited towards your Essex degree.
Study abroad is an excellent opportunity for personal development. It affords you the chance to become immersed in another culture over a sustained period, coming to know a country and its people in a way that you could not hope to as a tourist. It is also an opportunity to experience a different educational system and develop different skills. You learn to view the world (and your academic discipline) from another perspective, becoming more independent and confident.
Study abroad also enhances your employability. It helps your CV stand out from other candidates and signals to an employer that you have maturity, adaptability and organisational skills. As the world of business is becoming increasingly international, the experience of living abroad is, in itself, attractive to many employers. Depending upon your study abroad destination, you may also gain fluency in another language, which is a highly attractive skill to have as you enter the employment market.
If you are interested in learning another language then our Languages for All programme enables you to study a language, alongside your course, at no extra cost. You can take one of 50 taught language modules on a part-time day-time basis, or undertake flexible web-based learning, or opt for a language module taught in the evening. As employers can struggle to find graduates able to speak more than one language, Languages for All places Essex graduates in a very advantageous position.
Within our Department of History, we offer taught Masters courses and research supervision for PhD, MPhil and MA by dissertation. Our MA courses provide a thorough and up-to-date training in the theory, methods and latest advances in the historical disciplines, while our range of modules allows you to specialise in the fields of your choice. Each of our taught courses has a set of core components that can be combined with optional modules to enable you to gain either in-depth specialisation or a breadth of understanding across several topics.
Our pattern of appointments has deliberately brought together scholars with a wide range of approaches and fields in early-modern, modern and contemporary history. Themes of particular research interest include: class, race and gender formation; nationalism; wars and revolutions; international relations and oil diplomacy; the history of medicine; the history of crime; popular culture and consumption; slave societies; the history of ideas and print culture; the history of the Roma and Sinti in Europe; and historical censuses and surveys.
GCSE English: C
IB: 32-30 points (we consider IB certificates at the Higher Level on a case-by-case basis)
Achievement of the Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 6 level three credits at distinction and the remainder at merit (or above).
We welcome applications from students whose A-levels do not include History.
English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall with minimum 5.5 in each component (or equivalent). Different requirements apply for second year entry.
We accept a wide range of other qualifications from applicants studying in the UK, EU and other countries. For further details about the qualifications that we accept, please e-mail us with information about the high school qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.
We welcome applications from mature students, students interested in direct entry to the second year and students wishing to defer entry.
Applications for our full-time undergraduate courses should be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications are online at: www.ucas.com. Full details on this process can be obtained from the UCAS website in the how to apply section.
Our UK students, and some of our EU and international students, who are still at school or college, can apply through their school. Your school will be able to check and then submit your completed application to UCAS. Our other international applicants (EU or worldwide) or independent applicants in the UK can also apply online through UCAS Apply.
The UCAS code for our University of Essex is ESSEX E70. The individual campus codes for our Loughton and Southend Campuses are ‘L’ and ‘S’ respectively.