Undergraduate Course

BA History and Heritage

BA History and Heritage

Overview

The details
History and Heritage
V200
October 2022
Full-time
3 years
Colchester Campus
History

Why do some people want to pull down statues, while others call this vandalism? What’s the difference between finding new ways to look at the past, and rewriting history? Is it possible to tread a line between these opposing views on history and heritage? On our BA History and Heritage, you will learn about the social and political forces that shape encounters with history in everyday life and the history behind the heritage.

This innovative programme, incorporating history, art history, and museum studies, approaches the past from many different angles. You can choose to study the history of different times and places, from Tudor England to Nazi Germany, from Mao’s China to today’s multicultural Britain. Alongside history modules, you will learn about ethical and legal debates on heritage, how heritage is preserved, communicated, and displayed, and what heritage means to different communities. In your final year, you will have the opportunity to produce a form of history designed to communicate with wider publics – a great addition to your CV if you want to work in the heritage sector. With this BA in History and Heritage, you will look at the world through fresh eyes – and find out how to show that new world to other people.

You have the flexibility to choose from a wide range of optional modules about subjects close to home and further afield, including:

  • Global histories
  • Mass immigration to Britain throughout history
  • Curatorial studies
  • Art and media in the digital age
  • History and education

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.
  • Our History team specialises in public history and we have links with numerous local archives. Innovation of historical representation and engagement with communities will be at the forefront of your studies.
  • Our Colchester Campus is home to ESCALA, a collection of over 750 pieces of art from Latin America, while Art Exchange is an on-site gallery which has hosted many prestigious touring exhibitions and events.
  • We offer financial assistance for voluntary work at local museums, archives and heritage sites.

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 our Employability and Careers Centre. 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 history staff are among world leaders in their field, and our enthusiasm for our subject is infectious. Our flexible course is combined with a supportive structure which helps you to pursue the modules best-suited to your interests. We take the time to get to know you as an individual, 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.

Our Art History staff consists of a dynamic group of art historians, curators, and heritage specialists. While our research interests span a range of cultures and media, from the early modern to the present, core specialties include exhibition design, modern and contemporary art, digital heritage, public engagement and activism.

Specialist facilities

At Essex, you have the best of both worlds: on the one hand, you are part of a tight-knit, campus community with close ties to several small but excellent museums and heritage sites in the nearby town of Colchester (‘Britain’s First City’); on the other hand, you can travel from campus to London in an hour, which puts the world’s best museums, galleries, and heritage sites at your fingertips;

Our facilities enable you to gain curatorial experience, engage in object-based learning, and learn digital skills, a cornerstone of our approach to heritage and museums.

We have close links with many of cultural sites and institutions in Colchester, including the iconic Firstsite gallery, which support hands-on activities and your practical learning.

Our Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) is the most comprehensive Latin American art research resource in the UK and has a state-of-the-art teaching and research space. Many of our students gain work and research experience through our collection.

Our onsite gallery Art Exchange runs an ongoing programme of contemporary art exhibitions and talks by curators and artists, as well as exhibitions organised by our postgraduate curatorial students.

Colchester’s iconic Firstsite gallery features an exciting programme of contemporary art exhibitions, film screenings and talks, and exhibitions organised by our curatorial students.

Our Centre for Curatorial Studies is home to staff who specialise in the history of exhibition design and curate high profile exhibitions.

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

    A-levels: BBB

    BTEC: DDM, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

    IB: 30 points or three Higher Level certificates with 555
    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.

    Access to HE Diploma: 45 Level 3 credits at Merit or above

    T-levels: Distinction, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

    What if I don’t achieve the grades I hoped?
    If you select Essex as your firm choice, you will be able to take advantage of a flexible offer. This offer will specify alternative entry requirements to those published on our website.

    If your final grades are not as high as you had hoped, the good news is you may still be able to secure a place with us on a course which includes a foundation year. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.

    What if I have a non-traditional academic background?
    Don’t worry. To gain a deeper knowledge of your course suitability, we will look at your educational and employment history, together with your personal statement and reference.

    You may be considered for entry into Year 1 of your chosen course. Alternatively, some UK and EU applicants may be considered for Essex Pathways, an additional year of study (known as a foundation year/year 0) helping students gain the necessary skills and knowledge in order to succeed on their chosen course. You can find a list of Essex Pathways courses and entry requirements here

    If you are a mature student, further information is here

    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 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a Tier 4 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 listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

    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.

    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

    If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this 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 here.

    Structure

    Course structure

    Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The following modules are based on the current course structure and may change in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.

    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: COMPULSORY

    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

    Introduction to Heritage and Museum Studies
    (15 CREDITS)

    This module provides an introductory overview to the field of heritage and museum studies and explores some of the conceptual, political and ethical issues faced by those working within and researching in the area of heritage and museums. The module defines heritage, discusses how heritage is officially recognised, and presents the instruments that are used to interpret, protect, and communicate heritage, at local, national, and international levels. It also introduces the main aspects of museum studies, explains how the definitions of museums has changed through time and how this definition affects how we preserve and present heritage today. This module will introduce you to the history of heritage and museum management and will lay the foundation of some of the conceptual, political and ethical issues of the heritage and the museum field. It defines heritage as a process in which people makes sense of the past, in the present and for the future and how the aims of heritage and museum management changes according to the heritage process and its contexts.

    View Introduction to Heritage and Museum Studies on our Module Directory

    COMPONENT 03: COMPULSORY

    Collect, Curate, Display: A Short History of the Museum
    (15 CREDITS)

    This module offers an introduction to the history of museums and galleries. We will consider the basic human instinct to collect and the creation of the first museums. We will examine ideas about taxonomy, ordering the world and the first museum spaces of display, asking questions about privilege and power. How have museums and galleries shaped history and science? What ethical issues are there today around these spaces? Should tobacco, oil and arms companies sponsor museums? Can museums be tools of ‘urban regeneration’? Do online archives and 3D scanning make museums themselves obsolete institutions?

    View Collect, Curate, Display: A Short History of the Museum on our Module Directory

    COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

    Art History option(s) from list
    (30 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 05: OPTIONAL

    History option(s) from list
    (30 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 06: 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: COMPULSORY

    Digital Heritage and Museums
    (15 CREDITS)

    Digital technologies are re-defining contemporary heritage practices. Digital technologies and media are used for re-presenting, managing and disseminating information about cultural heritage as well as producing new cultural information on the web, which establishes digital heritage as a new field of study. This module will present digital heritage theories and explore how digital practices are changing the role of heritage institutions and museums as sites for the study, preservation and dissemination of cultural heritage.

    View Digital Heritage and Museums on our Module Directory

    COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

    Option(s) from list
    (45 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 04: OPTIONAL

    History 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

    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) from list
    (30 CREDITS)

    COMPONENT 03: OPTIONAL

    Option(s) from list
    (30 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

    Placement

    On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.

    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

  • 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
  • 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
  • Dissertation

  • In your final year, the History Project presents an opportunity to engage in independent research on a topic of your choice and to create a new piece of history. You can choose to write either a traditional 8,000-10,000 word dissertation, or design a public history output and 5,000 word report. This public history output could take the form of a series of museum exhibition boards, a podcast, web resources or a play or film script.
  • Fees and funding

    Home/UK fee

    £9,250

    International fee

    £17,700

    Fees will increase for each academic year of study.

    Home/UK fees and funding information

    International fees and funding information

    What's next

    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.

    The Campus is set within 200 acres of beautiful parkland, located two miles from the historic town centre of Colchester – England's oldest recorded town. Our Colchester Campus is also easily reached from London and Stansted Airport in under one hour.

     

    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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