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BA History

Why we're great

  • We have consistently high levels of student satisfaction and our research is renowned.
  • You can choose from a unique and diverse range of topics, periods and countries.
  • We offer financial assistance for voluntary work at local museums, archives and heritage sites.

Course options2017-18

BA History Full-time

UCAS code: V100
Duration: 3 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: History
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £13,350
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

UCAS code: V101
Duration: 4 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: History
Fee (Home/EU): £9,250
Fee (International): £13,350
Fees will increase for each academic year of study.
Home and EU fee information
International fee information

Course enquiries

Telephone 01206 873666
Email admit@essex.ac.uk

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About the course

From African-American slavery to Stalin’s Russia; from households in Essex to witchcraft in Germany; from the history of disease to revolutions in China. Our specialism in the early modern and modern periods allows you to explore some fascinating areas of history.

On our BA History you explore challenging questions concerning the impact of political, social and cultural change on individuals, social groups, and regions. 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.

You have the flexibility to choose from a wide range of optional modules, including:

  • Family and communal life in Victorian England
  • The history of European medicine
  • Colonialism and the British Empire
  • Urban life in Germany
  • Renaissance Italy

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). We provide you with opportunities to explore local history, and have strong links with the Essex Record Office, one of the best county record offices in the UK.

You can also explore more international topics; our corridors are truly cosmopolitan, with an international research team and a high proportion of international students.

Study abroad

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.

Placement year

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.

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.

Specialist facilities

  • 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
  • Access the UK Data Archive, a national service provider digital resources for historians, which is particularly strong in nineteenth and twentieth-century economic and social history
  • Attend an exciting programme of events
  • 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 significance

Your future

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 BA History graduates have found employment as a warden for the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle, a planning support officer for a local council, a senior underwriting assistant at CNA Insurance Company Limited, a researcher at the House of Commons, a graduate trainee for the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and as a library assistant for the University of Cambridge.

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 courses for those interested in further study.

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Example structure

Studying at Essex is about discovering yourself, so your course combines compulsory and optional modules to make sure you gain key knowledge in the discipline, while having as much freedom as possible to explore your own interests. Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore to ensure your course is as relevant and up-to-date as possible your core module structure may be subject to change.

For many of our courses you’ll have a wide range of optional modules to choose from – those listed in this example structure are just a selection of those available. The opportunity to take optional modules will depend on the number of core modules within any year of the course. In many instances, the flexibility to take optional modules increases as you progress through the course.

Our Programme Specification gives more detail about the structure available to our current first-year students, including details of all optional modules.

Year 1

This is the early modern period, a span of around 250 years often regarded by historians as a time of change and a watershed between the medieval and modern worlds. Gain an understanding of this important time by looking at Europe in economic, social, cultural and political contexts. Study the patterns of continuity and change which shaped this period, and reflect on the extent to which the Europe we live in today has been conditioned by these 250 years.

View 'Society, Culture and Politics in Europe 1500-1750' on our Module Directory

Gain the necessary tools with which to study history at university level. You will be introduced to history as an academic discipline and will develop the skills employed by professional historians, as well as gaining key transferable skills. This module has no single geographical focus, but uses examples from a range of different historical themes, time periods and countries.

View 'Becoming a Historian' on our Module Directory

Gain an understanding of Latin American history from the Conquest to the beginning of the 20th century. Conquest, colonisation, and the development of a colonial economy and society are important themes, and you study colonial unrest and the civil wars that resulted in the independence of most of South America by 1824. You are also introduced to the post-war politics, the emergence and functioning of the new nation-states, and how elites implemented programmes of modernisation.

View 'Introduction to Latin American History: From 16th Century Conquest to 19th Century Modernization (optional)' on our Module Directory

You are introduced to the global history of empires, states, societies and cultures and the transnational experience of individuals, whilst retaining a grounding in the development of specific nation states and communities in the modern period. You consider how the inter-connectedness of humanity, the nature of flows between people, and the varying character of the societies of which they are a part can be highlighted through a focus on world-spanning phenomena.

View 'Themes in Global History (optional)' on our Module Directory

Study the factors that divided Europe throughout the 20th century. You will then look at the attempts to overcome these divisions and the obstacles that need to be removed to achieve change. The main focus of this module is on the history of Western Europe. It enables you to understand the political and economic factors that shaped European integration.

Gain a firm grasp of US history by studying key historical events as well as important social movements. Topics covered range from the early settlements in Plimoth and Jamestown, through the American Revolution and expansion, Industrial Revolution, slavery and Civil War, up to the 1950s and 60s civil rights, women's and youth movements. Engage with novel and exciting debate about the history of the United States.

View 'Introduction to US History (optional)' on our Module Directory

Year 2

This module will illuminate everything you study in history. It encourages you to think about the many and diverse ways in which historians approach the writing of history. You’ll be introduced to important historical concepts that have shaped recent historical writing, such as microhistory, class, gender and race, or to an important historical theme, such as consumption, literary history and global history.

View 'Making Histories: Concepts, Themes and Sources' on our Module Directory

Discover how historians communicate their work and what skills they use. This module focuses on the labour market. Explore how your abilities can be presented as convincingly as possible, and learn how your skills fit different careers. You’ll also look at the range of opportunities available and the choices our former history students have made. There will be visits from former students and other experts who talk about the professions they decided to go into.

View 'History Works: Beyond Your BA' on our Module Directory

Between 1700 and 1900 England underwent extraordinary economic and social transformation, which has long been associated with 'the rise of the novel'. You’ll discover debates about the historical use of the novel by investigating a variety of sources that test our understanding of literary production, circulation and reception, and the nature of social representation. You’ll be introduced to debates about 'industrial revolution', 'a consumer society', 'the long eighteenth-century', 'luxury', 'the standard of living' and a broad consideration of the 'condition of England'.

View 'Literature and the Condition of England' on our Module Directory

Explore the encounters of Chinese with 'the world' both at home and abroad through the tumultuous 19th century. Learn about how and why China opened up to foreign influence, and about the possibilities and upheavals that this generated. You will develop an appreciation of China's present day engagement with the rest of the world and its contemporary transformation into an economic giant.

View 'Revolutionary Encounters: China and the World, 1780-1930' on our Module Directory

This is a unique module that enables you understand the history, location, and architecture of Bourne Mill in Colchester in relation to the town’s history and the textile and grain trades. Consider how history is 'done' in various other, non-university settings, such as museums, historic buildings, and community history groups. Examine how histories are researched, written, archived and presented to public audiences.

View 'Public History Project Module: Bourne Mill, Colchester (From the 16th to the 21st Century)' on our Module Directory

You will look at the roles of women and men in early modern England between 1550 and 1750. In this period men were to rule and women were to be obedient to them. But the reality was often very different to this. The practical realities of economic life and the disruptions of Civil War and Reformation meant relations between women and men varied and adapted in a period of great cultural, political, economic, social, and religious change.

View 'Gender in Early Modern England' on our Module Directory

Where there was slavery, there was resistance. In most cases, the resistance was covert, but instances of open rebellion were surprisingly common. In this module you’ll examine the phenomenon of slave resistance in the Atlantic World from ca. 1522 (the first recorded rebellion by enslaved Africans in the Americas) to 1888, when slavery was finally abolished in Brazil.

View 'Resistance and Rebellion in the World of Atlantic Slavery' on our Module Directory

The early modern British Isles were home to four, or even five, nations, six languages, and peoples with vastly differing cultures. You examine the clashes between these different cultures and their hostile perceptions of each other, the different languages and why some survived whilst others disappeared, the conceptions of honour and status, the different ways of maintaining law and order, and the basic social unit of the early modern British Isles: the family.

View 'Life in the Three Kingdoms: Societies and cultures in early modern Britain and Ireland' on our Module Directory

Final year

History is actively constructed and not simply rediscovered in the records of the past. Historical research involves a process of selection and interpretation, and there is an active exchange between theory and empirical data. The Independent Research Project gives you a unique opportunity to explore the making of history. You undertake a piece of detailed, critical and/or possibly original historical research. Meetings and workshops provide practical guidance on formulating a topic, researching, writing and presentation.

View 'Independent Research Project' on our Module Directory

In this module you’ll examine the process of dying, the ideas of 'good' and 'bad' deaths, the treatment of the dead, expressions of grief, the location of burial, the reasons why corpses might be exhumed, the uses of funerary commemoration, as well as with people's expectations of the afterlife in early modern society and their ideas about death omens and the returning dead - ghosts, revenants, and even vampires.

View 'Death and the Undead in Britain and Ireland, 1450-1750 (Special Subject)' on our Module Directory

In this module you’ll focus on witchcraft beliefs and witch-hunts (the legal prosecutions of individuals for the crime of witchcraft) in Europe and New England between the 15th and 18th centuries. You examine beliefs about witches, witchcraft, and the powers of the Devil at both elite and popular levels, set in the wider context of the religious/magical world-view of the period.

View 'Witch-Trials in Early Modern Europe and New England' on our Module Directory

Our visions of the world, our very sensibilities, have been fashioned to some degree by the imperial world, and yet we are often unaware of this. By considering five works of fiction, you’ll explore key aspects of the imperial experience. You’ll study colonial attitudes and policies, and investigate the experience of colonisers and colonised, mainly in the British Empire. You’ll develop a sense of the complexity of imperialism and its cultural legacy.

View 'Fictions of Empire' on our Module Directory

Britain underwent profound transformations between 1830 and 1950. It became the first indisputably modern, industrial capitalist society in the world. Not only was the environment turned upside down, but the lives and identities of the British people were altered fundamentally. You’ll explore this process in a thematic as well as a chronological manner, and study labour, class, gender, the state, democracy, imperialism, culture, and poverty.

View 'The Common People: British Social History 1830-1950' on our Module Directory

Film shapes the views of more people regarding the past than any other medium. This is particularly true for early modern England, which has been a popular subject area for filmmakers. You’ll examine and analyse popular films dealing with England from the reigns of Henry VIII to Charles II, which were made from 1933 until the present. This module seeks to study the films as representations of the past, in the same way that historical novels, dramas and paintings are representations of the past.

View 'The Tudors and Stuarts on Film' on our Module Directory

Year abroad

On your year abroad, you have the opportunity 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. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

Teaching

  • Taught by a weekly lecture followed by a 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
  • One-to-one tuition for your final-year project

Assessment

  • Assessment methods include essays, coursework journals, oral presentations, book and film reviews, source analysis, and the dissertation
  • Your first-year marks do not count towards your final degree class

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Qualifications

UK entry requirements

A-levels: BBB

IB: 30 points. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Entry requirements for students studying BTEC qualifications are dependent on units studied. Advice can be provided on an individual basis. The standard required is generally at Distinction level.

International and EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Email admit@essex.ac.uk for further details about the qualifications we accept. Include information in your email about the high school qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

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.

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Visit us

Open days

Our Colchester Campus events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. In 2017 we have three undergraduate Open Days (in June, September and October). These events enable you to discover what our Colchester Campus has to offer. You have the chance to:

  • tour our campus and accommodation
  • find out answers to your questions about our courses, student finance, graduate employability, student support and more
  • meet our students and staff

Check out our Visit Us pages to find out more information about booking onto one of our events. And if the dates aren’t suitable for you, feel free to get in touch by emailing tours@essex.ac.uk and we’ll arrange an individual campus tour for you.

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tour allows you to explore the Colchester Campus from the comfort of your home. Check out our accommodation options, facilities and social spaces.

Exhibitions

Our staff travel the world to speak to people about the courses on offer at Essex. Take a look at our list of exhibition dates to see if we’ll be near you in the future.

Applying

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.

Visit days and interviews

Resident in the UK? If your application is successful, we will invite you to attend one of our visit days. These run from January to April and give you the chance to explore the campus, meet our students and really get a feel for life as an Essex student.

Some of our courses also hold interviews and if you’re invited to one, this will take place during your visit day. Don’t panic, they’re nothing to worry about and it’s a great way for us to find out more about you and for you to find out more about the course. Some of our interviews are one-to-one with an academic, others are group activities, but we’ll send you all the information you need beforehand.

If you’re outside the UK and are planning a trip, feel free to email visit@essex.ac.uk so we can help you plan a visit to the University.

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Although great care is taken in compiling our course details, they are intended for the general guidance of prospective students only. The University reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University.

The full procedures, rules and regulations of the University are set out in the Charter, Statues and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.