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BA Social and Cultural History - in Clearing

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  • 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 options2016-17

UCAS code: V320
Duration: 3 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: History
Fee (Home/EU): £9,000
Fee (International): £12,950

UCAS code: V324
Duration: 4 years
Start month: October
Location: Colchester Campus
Based in: History
Fee (Home/EU): £9,000
Fee (International): £12,950

Clearing enquiries

Telephone 01206 873666
Email clearing@essex.ac.uk

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About the course

Our BA Social and Cultural History teaches you to approach history through considering the way that people lived. Using records and narrative descriptions of a community’s customs, arts, and beliefs to interpret historical experience, you explore the importance of gender, race, class, modernity and mentalities in shaping human history.

At Essex, social and cultural history re-examines historical events and changes through the eyes of people. For us, history is about people, and is created by people.

On our course, you explore the transition from the medieval to the modern world, an era of emerging consumerism, elite culture, and religious radicalism. You investigate the patterns of continuity and change which shaped this period and how this has affected the Europe we live in today.

Study topics including:

  • The formation of the early modern state
  • Magic and witchcraft
  • Women and gender
  • Crime and disorder
  • Warfare

You also benefit from access to our Centre for Cultural and Social History, a joint research venture between the Department of History and the Department of Sociology which provides you with access to expert knowledge of social and cultural history from within two different disciplines. Recent talks organised by the centre have focused on topics including sibling relationships in the British middle classes, the role of food in the Great War, and the impact of globalisation.

More broadly, our Department of History has developed a strong research and teaching profile, with the majority 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.

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

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 Ltd
  • 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 organisations which our students have recently gained work experience with include the Essex Police Museum, the Rothschild Archive, the Marks Hall Trust, and local schools.

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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

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.

View 'From Disunity to Unity? An Introduction to the History of Europe in the 20th Century (optional)' on our Module Directory

Gain a deep insight into the origins of today’s world. This module presents a chronological overview of the key events in western history from the last 200 years. Look at how ideas, cultures, and economies of different peoples intersected, and changed, through the conflicts brought on by capitalism, imperialism, war, and revolution. You develop a solid foundation to study modern history.

View 'The Making of the Modern World 1776-1989 (optional)' on our Module Directory

How do you study culture? We analyse the history, methods, and theories of social anthropology, using a range of ethnographic and case studies (from witchcraft to the aesthetics of nomadic people). Develop a critical awareness of how your own culture, and that of others, can be studied.

View 'Introduction to Social Anthropology (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

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 (optional)' on our Module Directory

You explore the relationship between cinema and society in Britain from the interwar depression, through the Second World War and the onset of affluence and mass-consumerism in the 1950s and 60s, to the rise of Thatcherism and the collapse of the 'post-war settlement'. You examine classes and cultures in relation to the lived history of the period, in order to track what they both reveal and conceal about the historical processes which transformed Britain during the 20th century.

View 'Sex, Class and War at the Movies: Britain, 1930-2000 (optional)' 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 (optional)' on our Module Directory

You will study European medicine from the decline of Galenism to the brink of germ theory, and explore the major changes in medical thinking during this period. Gain an understanding of the differences and similarities between Britain and France, especially when considering the "birth of the clinic" around 1800. You also investigate the changing character of doctor-patient relations, the rise of the man-midwife and the politics of medical professionalisation.

View 'Medicine and Society in Britain and France 1700-1860 (optional)' on our Module Directory

What were local communities like in the 19th century? How was life structured? What changes were they undergoing? This module focuses on the study of communities, both urban and rural, in England and Wales. You’ll examine aspects of community life through selected sources, including census material, digital databases, parish registers, trade directories, enclosure awards, tithe apportionments, Poor Law and charity records, newspapers, and housing records.

View 'Reconstructing Family, Residence, Work and Communal Life in Victorian England (optional)' 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

Early modern households were busy places, with servants, lodgers and extended family coming and going. Households were also centres of production. Looking at a variety of primary sources - from diaries to advice literature and medical treatises – we’ll consider the political, social, economic and cultural significance of the household in early modern Europe. In particular, we’ll transcribe and analyse a recipe book: what does such a text reveal about the ideals and practices of the early modern household?

View 'The Digital Recipes Project (Special Subject) (optional)' 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 (optional)' on our Module Directory

In this module you study the history of English criminal justice, and to a lesser extent that of France and Germany as well. Gain an insight into the evolution of prosecuting, the function of criminal courts, the differences social status and gender made, and the changing practices in policing, prosecuting, trying, pardoning and punishing. Throughout the module you will be concerned with questions of historical causation, and with the political and ideological contexts of criminal justice.

View 'Crime and Punishment: England in Comparative Perspective 1650-1900 (optional)' 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

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.

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Visit us

Campus tours

We offer individual tours of our Colchester and Southend Campuses. You’ll be shown around the campus, facilities and accommodation.

Can't get to Campus?

Don’t worry – our interactive virtual tours and videos allow you to explore our campuses, accommodation and facilities in Colchester and Southend. You can even take a look at our Colchester Campus using Google Streetview.

Applying

How to apply during Clearing

Once you’ve checked that we have the right course for you, applying couldn’t be simpler. Fill in our quick and easy Clearing application form with as much detail as you can. We’ll then take a look and get back to you with a decision. There’s no need to call us to apply; just do it all online.

Interviews

We don’t interview all applicants during Clearing, however, we will only make offers for the following course after a successful interview:

  • BA Multimedia Journalism

The interview allows our academics to find out more about you, and in turn you’ll be able to ask us any questions you might have.

Further details will be emailed to you if you are shortlisted for interview.

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