Department

History

Equal rights protest

Uncovering our past, shaping our future

The world is developing at a rapidly increasing pace, as is the demand for experienced historians. With a degree in history, you can secure an integral role in our ever-changing society.

When you choose to study history at Essex, you have the opportunity to immerse yourself in a diverse variety of subjects. You can delve into the bewildering history of Britain, Europe and Asia, study areas south of the equator including Latin America and Brazil, or connect the past with the present by analysing contemporary issues in US history.

Whether your course throws you into the history of international relations, political powers, criminal justice and human rights, or the British Empire, American Revolution, and the origins of war, your knowledge of the past, ability to analyse patterns and trends spanning significant historical periods, and understanding of how the contemporary world was made will not only help people and industries around the globe understand the present, but it will give you the platform to advocate change amongst society.

From the moment you join us, you will become part of a close-knit and supportive community that refuses intellectual straitjackets. Our rigorous curriculum is taught by expert academics and is continuously shaped around the leading research our staff are actively involved in.

Are you ready? Then learn more about our undergraduate, masters and research degrees, or browse our courses. If you're looking for career inspiration, check out our handy careers guide and read our inspiring alumni stories.

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Explore our courses

Why
choose us?

88% of our history students are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2020)
92% of our students from the Department of History expressed overall satisfaction with their course (NSS 2020)
Learn from leading historians with expertise stretching around the globe
Flexible degrees with a range of modules covering 1450 to the present
Courses incorporating vital career and research skills from the outset
University of the Year (Times Higher Education Awards 2018)
Essex graduation ceremony
Two female history students looking through an old map resource
Researchers looking in hospital's past
History student looking at black and white photos of people
Student analyzing ancient text on a laptop
UoTY winners 2018

Our teaching and learning in light of COVID-19 pandemic

Will COVID-19 change the way my course is taught?

If for any reason you are unable to travel to campus to start the academic year, all teaching will be available virtually. This means that you can start, or continue, your programme off-campus, wherever you are, with full flexibility to transfer to on-campus learning as soon as you are able to. We will ensure that every student who wants and is able to, can get regular classroom-based teaching on at least one module throughout the academic year. This means that larger groups of students will be taught online, with these lessons being recorded so that people who are unable to attend can view them later.

What will this mean for my learning experience?

For the 2020 academic year, we are focusing on ensuring that we are able to deliver a quality education and that your teaching and learning can continue if there is further disruption. That’s why we’ve been working hard to ensure that our students are able to start with us in October – in whatever way possible. The changes we have made to support you and protect your health and wellbeing mean that, for most of our courses, this will include blended learning – with lectures, classes and other teaching taking place both online and face to face. Much of this teaching will be offered “live” (even if online/ virtual) but will also be available to access at times that suit you.

We know that your learning experience is about more than just attending classes, and our campuses can provide you with all you need to make the most of your studies. This includes private space to study, in your on-campus study bedrooms as well as in PC labs and other spaces on our three campuses for self-study. We can also offer you access to laptops on loan and access to our library services; as well as enhanced wifi provision across our campuses.

Your learning experience will also include:

  • Flexible learning

If you can’t live on or travel to campus, you will be able to study online, switching to campus-based study when you can.

  • Online discussion forums

All lectures will be complemented by an online discussion forum in which you can access the lecture, ask questions and prepare for the next session. This will be mixed with on-campus and online teaching in smaller groups. Smaller group teaching will be carefully organised with plenty of time to prepare and focused questions to allow you to participate fully.

  • No changes to module content with flexible learning

Module content will be the same as other years.

  • Live webinars, pre-recorded lectures and online discussions

Students studying online will have live webinars, bespoke pre-recorded lectures, live online seminars, and online discussions with lecturers available to answer your questions.

  • Academic support hours

Your tutors will hold weekly academic support hours online and (where possible) in-person, offering you one-to-one support and guidance.

  • Virtual drop in sessions

You will have the opportunity to access virtual ‘drop in sessions’ for every module we teach, to encourage you to ask questions and get any support you might need.

  • Reduced number of assessments

We have reduced the number of assessments and included more opportunities for you to practice the assignments for different modules before you submit them to be marked.

  • Carefully designed assessments

Your assessments have been carefully designed to ensure that they are clearly structured and organised to help you to succeed. You’ll be doing a whole range of different things, and we will guide and explain what you need to do so that you get the best out of them that you can.

  • Access to digital resources

You will have access to online digital resources, such as; reading lists; important core texts; and recorded lectures. We are well-placed to support you, whether you will be learning face-to-face or online. We are adapting all our resources to be available online, with new ways for you to contribute to discussions, and different means of engaging with fellow students and staff.

  • Weekly virtual ‘Open Door’ meetings with the Head of Department

The Head of Department will hold a regular virtual ‘Open Door’ meeting with students every week, so you can tell us about what you think is going well and any areas where you need more help. We also have a number of history students who act as representatives for their fellow students, should you wish to provide feedback through them.

What happens if the situations changes before I start or during my time at Essex?

We recognise that some students may have difficulty travelling to campus in time to start the academic year. If for any reason you are unable to travel to campus to start the academic year, all teaching will be available virtually. This means that you can start, or continue, your programme off-campus, wherever you are, with full flexibility to transfer to on-campus learning as soon as you are able to. All of our modules are designed to support you to continue learning and still be able to access one-to-one consultation and guidance that you would normally get from the lecturers on your course, if further outbreaks of infection occur during the year. This means you can join us in full confidence that you can continue and complete your programme of study.

There is lots of helpful information about starting at Essex in our guide for applicants should you have any questions, feel uncertain about something in particular, or, would like up to date information on specific topics if your situation changes. If you are an overseas student and you aren't able to join us on Campus in the autumn, then you will need to be aware of some immigration changes taking place in January 2021.

What will my broader student experience in the Department and on campus be like?

In the Department

We are planning to introduce more virtual departmental events, alongside campus events so that there is always a good mix. This will include events where we can get to know each other, welcome events, coffee mornings, quizzes and other socials.

As part of our studying and celebrating diverse histories, we will be organising and participating in a programme of activities in Black History Month in October. Individual lecturers will also have additional sessions related to their teaching, such as film showings and virtual ‘trips’ to museums.

There are a wealth of Societies for you to get involved in, one being our vibrant and exciting History Society, run by students and supported by the Department. Our History Society is currently in the process of organising some of its own events for next year. They’ll be advertising these when you arrive, so keep a look out for them on our events calendar and come and get involved. You might even decide to join the Society’s Executive Committee- it’s great fun and looks good on your CV.

On Campus

We have been working in partnership with our Students’ Union to ensure that you can enjoy our clubs, societies, activities and services. We have built in flexibility to enable you to access support and activities, and to shape your experience around your life.

To learn more about the range of events Essex will be hosting, please visit our events calendar. To stay up to date with the very latest guidance on how to visit your campus, view our coming onto campus guide.

How will the University support me during this time?

histoThe health and wellbeing of our students is our priority, and this has been one of the focuses to ensure students can start on campus – safely – in October.

This means we are constantly monitoring advice from the UK Government, Public Health England, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the World Health Organisation.

To protect our community on campus once the academic year starts again in October, we will be looking to introduce the following measures:

  • Enhanced cleaning and sterilising regimes
  • Social distancing in line with international guidance
  • Signage and floor markings in key locations to help you move around our campuses safely

We’re asking you to wear face coverings in all public campus areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain or in specifically designated locations. We’ll be supporting you by giving two washable face coverings to all students

There is a number of support systems available to you whilst you are at Essex, for whenever you need them and for however long you wish to use them.

These include:

  • Medical support and healthcare (and our online mental health programme SilverCloud)
  • Mental and emotional health support
  • Personalised advice and support from the Student Services Hub

The University also runs a variety of online events throughout the year including at-home yoga and mindfulness sessions.

To find out more about the network of support you will benefit from during your time at Essex, please visit the Student Directory.

Student in Square 4 circa 1972
Our research

The Department of History has a huge variety of research interests, ranging from social and cultural history to politics and international relations.  We are internationally recognised for the quality of our research across a broad range of areas from 1450 to the present and more than two-thirds of our research was rated 'world leading' or 'internationally excellent' in the REF 2014.

Find out more
Dr Andrew Priest, Department of History
"History is about understanding how the past informs the present; history at Essex is about doing so with the tools, skills and expert guidance that will take you into your future."
Dr Andrew Priest Head of Department
Latest news
Regional project to enhance access to Marconi archives
11 Nov 2020
Being Human festival: Humanities research in the spotlight
04 Nov 2020
Queen honours our Essex community
26 Oct 2020
Contact us
Contact us
Department of History University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park