Undergraduate Course

BA Modern History

(Including Foundation Year)

BA Modern History

Overview

The details
Modern History (Including Foundation Year)
V144
October 2023
Full-time
4 years
Colchester Campus
Essex Pathways

On our four-year BA Modern History (including foundation year), we work with you to develop your subject-specific knowledge, and to improve your academic skills. This four-year course includes a foundation year (Year Zero), followed by a further three years of study. During your foundation year, you study three academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory academic skills module, with additional English language for non-English speakers.

You are an Essex student from day one, a member of our global community based at the most internationally diverse campus university in the UK.

Our BA Modern History allows you to study the history of Britain, Europe and the wider world from the 18th century to the present day. This exciting period has marked an age of discovery and globalisation—a time of rapid change, brutal wars, and belief in the possibility of societal and scientific progress.

From the history of slavery in the Atlantic world to the spread of communist-inspired revolutions in China, Russia, and Latin America—from the impacts and legacies of imperialism in India and Africa to the origins and consequences of the Cold War—you investigate the intersection of ideas, cultures and economics of different people over the last 250 years in order to better understand how the contemporary world was made.

You have the flexibility to choose from a wide range of optional modules about subjects close to home and further afield, on such topics and themes as colonialism, inequality, culture, identity, citizenship, multiculuralism and human rights.

You are taught by award-winning academics from all over the world: our corridors are truly cosmopolitan. We also provide you with opportunities to explore local history and have close ties with the Essex Record Office, one of the best county record offices in the UK.

Our students love us too – 92% of our history students expressed overall satisfaction with their course (NSS 2020).

Why we're great.
  • Top 30 for overall student satisfaction for History in the National Student Survey 2021.
  • Guarantee a place on your chosen course upon successful completion of your foundation year.
  • Small class sizes allow you to work closely with your teachers and classmates.

Study abroad

Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement 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.

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 the placements team. If you complete a placement year you'll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.

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

By studying within our Essex Pathways Department for your foundation year, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our department to support you:

  • We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials
  • Our new Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student
  • Our social space is stocked with magazines and newspapers, and provides an informal setting to meet with your lecturers, tutors and friends

Our Department of History also offers excellent on-campus 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
  • 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 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 have gone on to have careers in a wide variety of fields including:

  • teaching
  • librarianship
  • museum and archive services
  • the Civil Service
  • local government
  • law enforcement
  • charity administration

Others have proceeded to work in banking, industrial and retail management, media research, electronic publishing, marketing, IT, health service administration, counselling and social work, while others still have chosen to enhance their career opportunities by studying for MA or PhD degrees.

Some of our recent 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
  • a library assistant for the University of Cambridge

We also work with the university's Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.

Entry requirements

UK entry requirements

UK and EU applicants:

All applications for degree courses with a foundation year (Year Zero) will be considered individually, whether you

  • think you might not have the grades to enter the first year of a degree course;
  • have non-traditional qualifications or experience (e.g. you haven’t studied A-levels or a BTEC);
  • are returning to university after some time away from education; or
  • are looking for more support during the transition into university study.

Standard offer:

Our standard offer is 72 UCAS tariff points from at least two full A-levels, or equivalent.

Examples of the above tariff may include:

  • A-levels: DDD
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma: MMP
  • T-levels: Pass with E in core

If you are unsure whether you meet the entry criteria, please get in touch for advice.

Mature applicants and non-traditional academic backgrounds:

We welcome applications from mature students (over 21) and students with non-traditional academic backgrounds (might not have gone on from school to take level 3 qualifications). We will consider your educational and employment history, along with your personal statement and reference, to gain a rounded view of your suitability for the course.

International applicants:

Essex Pathways Department is unable to accept applications from international students. Foundation pathways for international students are available at the University of Essex International College and are delivered and awarded by Kaplan, in partnership with the University of Essex. Successful completion will enable you to progress to the relevant degree course at the University of Essex.

International & EU entry requirements

We accept a wide range of qualifications from applicants studying in the EU and other countries. Get in touch with any questions you may have about the qualifications we accept. Remember to tell us about the qualifications you have already completed or are currently taking.

Sorry, the entry requirements for the country that you have selected are not available here. Please select your country page where you'll find this information.

English language requirements

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 5.5 overall. Specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Student visa to study in the UK.

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

If you are an international student requiring a Student visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

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.

Additional Notes

Our Year 0 courses are only open to UK and EU applicants. If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to your chosen degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College.

Structure

Course structure

We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.

Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field, therefore all modules listed are subject to change. Your course structure could differ based on the modules you choose. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.

We understand that deciding where and what to study is a very important decision for you. We’ll make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the courses, services and facilities as described on our website. However, if we need to make material changes, for example due to significant disruption, or in response to COVID-19, we’ll let our applicants and students know as soon as possible.

Components and modules explained

Components

Components are the blocks of study that make up your course. A component may have a set module which you must study, or a number of modules from which you can choose.

Each component has a status and carries a certain number of credits towards your qualification.

Status What this means
Core
You must take the set module for this component and you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component but you must pass. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory
You must take the set module for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Compulsory with Options
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.
Optional
You can choose which module to study from the available options for this component. There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the qualification if you fail.

The modules that are available for you to choose for each component will depend on several factors, including which modules you have chosen for other components, which modules you have completed in previous years of your course, and which term the module is taught in.

Modules

Modules are the individual units of study for your course. Each module has its own set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria and also carries a certain number of credits.

In most cases you will study one module per component, but in some cases you may need to study more than one module. For example, a 30-credit component may comprise of either one 30-credit module, or two 15-credit modules, depending on the options available.

Modules may be taught at different times of the year and by a different department or school to the one your course is primarily based in. You can find this information from the module code. For example, the module code HR100-4-FY means:

HR 100  4  FY

The department or school the module will be taught by.

In this example, the module would be taught by the Department of History.

The module number. 

The UK academic level of the module.

A standard undergraduate course will comprise of level 4, 5 and 6 modules - increasing as you progress through the course.

A standard postgraduate taught course will comprise of level 7 modules.

A postgraduate research degree is a level 8 qualification.

The term the module will be taught in.

  • AU: Autumn term
  • SP: Spring term
  • SU: Summer term
  • FY: Full year 
  • AP: Autumn and Spring terms
  • PS: Spring and Summer terms
  • AS: Autumn and Summer terms

COMPONENT 01: CORE

1939 – 2019: Eighty Years in the Life of the United Kingdom
(30 CREDITS)

Britain has experienced unprecedented changes in the last 100 years. What has brought about these changes and how have they affected the Britain of today? This course will outline political, economic, social and cultural change in the UK during the Twentieth Century and beyond and offer an insight into Britain’s place in the modern world.

View 1939 – 2019: Eighty Years in the Life of the United Kingdom on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: CORE

Research and Academic Development Skills
(30 CREDITS)

This blended-learning module is designed to support students in their academic subject disciplines and to strengthen their confidence in key skills areas such as: academic writing, research, academic integrity, collaborative and reflective practices. The students are supported through the use of subject-specific materials tailored to their chosen degrees with alignment of assessments between academic subject modules and the skills module.

View Research and Academic Development Skills on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 03: CORE WITH OPTIONS

IA118-3-FY or IA111-3-FY or IA158-3-FY or IA101-3-FY
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 04: CORE WITH OPTIONS

IA118-3-FY or IA111-3-FY or IA158-3-FY or IA101-3-FY
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 01: CORE

Rebellious Pasts: Challenging and Creating Histories
(30 CREDITS)

The past is never dead. It’s not even past’. In a world of conspiracy theories, toppling statues, and ‘culture wars’, the novelist William Faulkner’s most famous line resonates more than ever. Across the globe, History is co-opted to multiple causes and used to justify contradictory positions. Such uses of History often rely on myths, stereotypes, and misunderstandings. How can we separate political belief, personal opinion, and false information about the past from historical knowledge and understanding? Rebellious Pasts looks at the creation, consolidation, and operation of historical myths and stereotypes – and at how we, as historians, can use the tools of our trade to identify and challenge misleading representations of the past, replacing them with richer forms of understanding. The module helps you to develop the critical mindset needed to analyse historical arguments wherever you find them, but also the constructive skills essential to researching and writing your own histories. It combines lectures and seminars exploring how history “works” in different contexts with archive visits and library workshops that expose you to the raw materials of History. On Rebellious Pasts, you will undertake self-directed research drawing upon digitized collections, archives, and heritage sector institutions, and translate your findings into accessible public history artefacts. At its heart, History is the refusal to accept easy assumptions and the insistence on negotiating with evidence, no matter how tricky that is. By the end of the module, you will understand why History is a rebellious discipline – and how to harness its unruly powers.

View Rebellious Pasts: Challenging and Creating Histories on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: COMPULSORY WITH OPTIONS

HR176-4-AU or HR172-4-AU
(15 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

History option(s)
(45 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

Option(s) from list
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

History Works: Career Portfolio
(0 CREDITS)

This module runs across three years of your degree and is designed to help you reflect upon, and develop, your plans and skills for your career in the long term. The module is compulsory for all History undergraduate students, but is designed not to be onerous, and to be as flexible as possible. You can use it to either prepare yourself for your dream career, or to explore the options open to you. You will meet former Essex History students to talk about the professions they decided to go into with their history degrees. While some of these professions are closely linked to the subject of history, others are not obviously so – but historians are nonetheless well-equipped for them. We hope that hearing from History graduates, finding out about the range of career options open to History students, and gaining insights into and confidence with recruitment and the labour market, will help students to feel confident about their life after History at Essex.

View History Works: Career Portfolio on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Exploring History: Research Workshop
(30 CREDITS)

History is never neutral. It is always a response to the questions historians choose to ask of the past. Historians decide what questions to ask for all kinds of reasons – out of interest, to aid understanding of specific aspects of the world around them, because certain types of evidence are available, or because the work of other historians has prompted them to think anew. These questions shape the evidence that historians look at, and therefore the kinds of answers they are likely to find. History is always a trialogue between the historian, the questions, and the evidence – and it is therefore a product of the present as well as the past. Exploring History focuses on the relationship between questions and evidence in forming historical knowledge. Consolidating and extending the skills and abilities introduced in the Year 1 module Rebellious Pasts, it charts the development of the historical discipline, examines specific examples of historical debate (or what is known as “historiography”), and introduces you to different types of historical evidence and ways of analysing this evidence. Through exploring historical debates you will gain new insight into how history is researched, written, and contested. Through in-depth examinations of different kinds of primary sources you will develop new skills in historical research. Finally, you will bring these abilities together to research and write an extended essay on a topic of your choice, developing and practising the skills you will employ in your final year History Research Project.

View Exploring History: Research Workshop on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: OPTIONAL

History option(s)
(60 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

History option(s) and/or outside option(s)
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 04: COMPULSORY

History Works: Career Portfolio
(0 CREDITS)

This module runs across three years of your degree and is designed to help you reflect upon, and develop, your plans and skills for your career in the long term. The module is compulsory for all History undergraduate students, but is designed not to be onerous, and to be as flexible as possible. You can use it to either prepare yourself for your dream career, or to explore the options open to you. You will meet former Essex History students to talk about the professions they decided to go into with their history degrees. While some of these professions are closely linked to the subject of history, others are not obviously so – but historians are nonetheless well-equipped for them. We hope that hearing from History graduates, finding out about the range of career options open to History students, and gaining insights into and confidence with recruitment and the labour market, will help students to feel confident about their life after History at Essex.

View History Works: Career Portfolio on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 01: COMPULSORY

Research Project
(30 CREDITS)

You’ve spent years studying History – now is the opportunity to off your skills as a historian. The History Research Project is the culmination of the degree scheme. Building on and extending the skills developed in the earlier parts of the degree, you will contribute to historical knowledge and understanding through conducting independent research on a topic of your choice. You also have the opportunity to choose how you want to present your research. You can choose to submit an 8,000-word dissertation or a 5,000-word research report plus a public history output such as a podcast, web resources, or film script that showcases historical research for a non-academic audience. Whichever route you choose, you will be supported by the expert guidance of an academic supervisor who will help you to identify and analyse primary sources, place these in the context of secondary sources, and understand your topic in relation to wider themes and debates.

View Research Project on our Module Directory

COMPONENT 02: OPTIONAL

History option(s)
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

History option(s)
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

History option(s)
(30 CREDITS)

COMPONENT 05: COMPULSORY

History Works: Career Portfolio
(0 CREDITS)

This module runs across three years of your degree and is designed to help you reflect upon, and develop, your plans and skills for your career in the long term. The module is compulsory for all History undergraduate students, but is designed not to be onerous, and to be as flexible as possible. You can use it to either prepare yourself for your dream career, or to explore the options open to you. You will meet former Essex History students to talk about the professions they decided to go into with their history degrees. While some of these professions are closely linked to the subject of history, others are not obviously so – but historians are nonetheless well-equipped for them. We hope that hearing from History graduates, finding out about the range of career options open to History students, and gaining insights into and confidence with recruitment and the labour market, will help students to feel confident about their life after History at Essex.

View History Works: Career Portfolio on our Module Directory

Teaching

  • 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
  • Our classes are run in small groups, so you receive a lot of individual attention

Assessment

  • Your assessed coursework will generally consist of essays, reports, in-class tests, book reviews, individual or group oral presentations, and small scale research projects

Fees and funding

Home/UK fee

£9,250

International fee

£18,585

Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

Home/UK fees and funding information

International fees and funding information

What's next

Open Days

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 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. Independent applicants in the UK or EU 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.

You can find further information on how to apply, including information on transferring from another university, applying if you are not currently at a school or college, and applying for readmission on our How to apply and entry requirements page.

Please note that this course is not open to international applicants

Applicant Days and interviews

If you are an undergraduate student who has received an offer from us to study with us from October 2021, you will be invited to attend a Virtual Applicant Day so that you can get to know us from the comfort of your own home. Our Virtual Applicant Days will run until June 2021 and give you the chance meet academics online from the department you’ve applied to, and attend live talks and Q&A’s on our Virtual Applicant Day platform.

Some of our courses also require a compulsory interview. If you have applied to one of these courses you will receive an invite to a Zoom interview via email, along with further details about the interview process.

Colchester Campus

Visit Colchester Campus

Home to 15,000 students from more than 130 countries, our Colchester Campus is the largest of our three sites, making us one of the most internationally diverse campuses on the planet - we like to think of ourselves as the world in one place.

Set within the 200-acre award-winning beautiful parkland - Wivenhoe Park and located two miles from the historic city centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded development. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.

Whether you are planning to visit us at one of our Open Days, or coming to an Applicant day. Our campus conveniently located and easy to reach by car, train or bus.

View from Square 2 outside the Rab Butler Building looking towards Square 3

Virtual tours

If you live too far away to come to Essex (or have a busy lifestyle), no problem. Our 360 degree virtual tours allows you to explore our University from the comfort of your home. Check out our Colchester virtual tour and Southend virtual tour to see 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.

Open Days

Our events are a great way to find out more about studying at Essex. We run a number of Open Days throughout the year which enable you to discover what our 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 book a campus tour here.

At Essex we pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive student community. We offer a wide range of support to individuals and groups of student members who may have specific requirements, interests or responsibilities.

Find out more

The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include, but are not limited to: strikes, other industrial action, staff illness, severe weather, fire, civil commotion, riot, invasion, terrorist attack or threat of terrorist attack (whether declared or not), natural disaster, restrictions imposed by government or public authorities, epidemic or pandemic disease, failure of public utilities or transport systems or the withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of 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. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications. The University would inform and engage with you if your course was to be discontinued, and would provide you with options, where appropriate, in line with our Compensation and Refund Policy.

The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.

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