About the course
History is not only about understanding the past. It also teaches us about the present – about the memories, landscapes, social injustices, ideologies and revolutions which have created the present day.
Our BA American History allows you to begin unravelling the complexities of American culture, politics and society through exploring US history right from the early settlements, through the Civil War, up until the civil rights, women’s and youth movements of the 1950s and 60s; as well as Latin American history from the Conquest through civil wars, to post-war politics.
You study topics including:
- The origins and consequences of the Cold War
- Communist revolution in Latin America
- The conquest of Latin America
- The American Revolution
- Slavery and its demise
We are at the cutting edge of US and Latin American history, so you also benefit from the research being undertaken by our expert staff. We are currently investigating links between the Afro-Brazilian martial art Capoeira, and the combat games of South Angola – truly ground-breaking research, since fieldwork in Angola was difficult to conduct until the end of the civil war in 2003.
More broadly, our Department of History has developed a strong research and teaching profile, with most of our research rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014).
At Essex we’re about social conscience, wondering why, and understanding the bigger picture. We teach you to find your own critical voice, and to view history through the eyes of ordinary people, giving them the voice they often lacked at the time.
Your education extends beyond our University campus. We support you extending your education by offering you an additional year at no extra cost. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend your third year studying abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course.
Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised.
We have exchange partners in the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Latin America, the Middle East, Hong Kong and Japan.
When you arrive at Essex, you can decide whether you would like to combine your course with a placement year. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.
Our expert staff
Our staff are among world leaders in their field, and our enthusiasm for our subject is infectious. We welcome you into our scholarly community, and value your views.
Key teaching staff for this course include Dr Laila Haidarali, whose current research examines the construction of African American women’s gendered public identities in the pre-civil rights era, and Professor Matthias Röhrig Assunção, who specialises in the history of slavery and post-emancipation societies, the political history of Brazil, popular culture in Latin America, and combat games and martial arts in the ‘Black Atlantic’.
In the rest of the department, 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.
- We have several Special Collections in history, including the Essex Society for Archaeology and History Library, the Harsnett Collection, the Hervey Benham Oral History Sound Archive, the Bensusan Collection, and the Colchester Medical Society Library
- The UK Data Archive, a national service provider of digital resources for historians, is particularly strong in nineteenth and twentieth-century economic and social history
- Attend an exciting programme of events
- Our Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) is the largest of its kind in Europe
- Access a variety of textbooks and journals in our Albert Sloman Library which houses materials on Latin America, Russia and the US that are of national importance
In addition to the opportunity to learn about the past and come to a better understanding of the present, a course in history also provides you with important skills that will be of value after leaving university. You learn to absorb, analyse and assess a wide variety of information and viewpoints, to express your arguments in oral and written form, and to think and work both independently and in co-operation with others.
You therefore graduate prepared for a wide range of careers. Our graduates 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.
Our recent graduates have gone on to work for a wide range of organisations including:
- Sage Publications
- Royal College of Physicians Library
- UK Anti-Doping
We also work with our Employability and Careers Centre to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Some organisation which our students have recently gained work experience with include the Essex Police Museum, the Rothschild Archive, the Marks Hall Trust, and local schools.
If you already have your results and want to apply for 2016 entry through Clearing, complete our Clearing application form
and we’ll get back in touch with you or give us a ring
to discuss your grades.
IELTS entry requirements
English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. (Different requirements apply for second year entry.)
If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.
If you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.
Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels required. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications.