History BA (Hons)

Full-time undergraduate (3 years)


September 2017


Explore the world of history to get ahead in the world today. On our history course, you can choose to study a broad range of historical periods and subjects, including film, sexuality, the First World War, family and gender, the Russian Revolution, and Thatcher and the New Right. You'll also learn the critical and analytical skills needed for many different jobs.

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Full description


Our history degree will prepare you particularly well for roles in museums, archives, the Civil Service, publishing, the media or teaching, but will also help you learn key skills valued in many other jobs. Our course options will help you find the most suitable career path or even move on to a postgraduate degree.

You’ll get specific careers advice on our Level 5 core module History Today.

Modules & assessment

Year one, core modules

  • Re-uniting the Kingdoms: Early Modern Britain 1485-1715
    This module will give you an overview of the major political and religious changes that took place in the British Isles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. You'll look at the interconnected development of the monarchy and of parliament from Henry VII's reign through the Elizabethan period, the Civil Wars and Commonwealth through to the Restoration, the 'Revolution' of 1688 and the Hanoverian succession in 1714. You'll also examine the Stuart monarchy in Scotland and the union of the Scottish and English crowns under James VI and I and the Union of 1707, and be given the opportunity to engage with the major political and religious debates of the period, including arguments surrounding attitudes towards witchcraft. You'll have the opportunity to undertake fieldwork and work with a range of source material. Your assessment will take the form of two essays and a document-based exercise.
  • Western Civilisation 1: Antiquity to the Renaissance
    This module will give you a historical overview of key ideas and events that have shaped what we have come to think of as 'Western civilisation'. You'll explore influential philosophical, political, religious and scientific ideas, and map the social and political changes that make up Western identity, from the classical period to the Renaissance. Through the study of original sources and secondary readings, you'll be encouraged to adopt an integrated approach to historical context and the spread and change of ideas, and to think critically about the role of events and ideas in shaping our past, present and future.
  • War, Power and Culture: Europe 1660-1789
    On this module, you'll develop an understanding of the scale of the European continent by looking at northern, central and eastern Europe, as well as the more familiar western countries. You'll be introduced to the concept of political geography and relate it to Europe before the French Revolution. You'll also look at the theory and practice of 'absolute power' in a selection of case studies, and discover how religion and the arts helped project the power and values of ruling dynasties. Finally, you'll investigate why rulers went to war, how they raised the men and money to wage war, and how this affected the development of the state. In the concluding sessions you'll have the opportunity to practice comparative history by comparing the weaknesses and strengths of European dynasties and states.
  • Making of Modern Britain 1688-1832
    Between 1688 and 1832, Britain emerged from a period of chronic instability to become a global power and the world's first industrial nation. On this module, you'll examine some of these transformations, looking at both the political changes of the period and the impact of change on the everyday lives of the men, women and children who lived through it. You'll be introduced to debates over the nature of the 'Glorious Revolution'. You'll discuss what was recognisably modern about the 18th Century. You’ll have staff-accompanied and self-managed field trips including a town, a museum and a country house.
  • Citizens: The French Revolution and Modern Political Culture
    On this module you'll explore the on-going historical debate on the origins of the French Revolution, focusing on political developments and the nature of citizenship up to 1792. You'll consider the vocabulary of the French revolution in its historical context and how this still determines modern political vocabulary, particularly the transition from 'subject' to 'citizen'. You'll also be introduced to documentary sources and encouraged to use material on the internet in a critical way. This module will give you a valuable basis for the further study of the 20th Century European State.
  • Western Civilisation 2: Reformation to the Modern Age
    This module will give you a historical overview of key ideas and events that have shaped what we have come to think of as 'Western civilisation'. You'll explore influential philosophical, political, religious and scientific ideas, and map the social and political changes that make up Western identity, in the period from the Reformation to the early 20th Century. You'll focus on an integrated approach to historical context and the spread and change of ideas and, through a selection of original sources and secondary readings, will be introduced to, and encouraged to think critically about, these events and ideas and their role in shaping our past, present and future.

Year one, optional modules

  • Film and History
    On this module you'll learn how to use film as an historical source. With the increasing 'Hollywoodisation' of history, you need to differentiate between historical fact and historical-film fiction. You'll question why certain historical periods are more attractive to filmmakers and their intended audiences. You'll examine films from a range of periods, such as the silent era, the Second World War, the Cold War and the Thatcher era. You'll also look at history documentaries, both to analyse your strengths and weaknesses and to understand that these 'factual' films are as much the construct of the filmmaker as any other. Through such studies, you'll learn to analyse - from the viewpoint of academic history - the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of film types that depict the past.

Year two, core modules

  • Britain in the 19th century
    This course will introduce you to the development of Victorian Britain. You'll examine changes in politics and social structure, focusing in particular on the development of the party political system as well as class, gender, sexuality and the economy. You'll also examine key political and social figures such as Robert Peel, Florence Nightingale, Queen Victoria and William Gladstone. You'll focus in particular on the emergence of liberalism and on Victorian Britain as a liberal society. You'll be assessed through an essay and an exam.
  • Britain in the 20th Century
    This course will introduce you to the development of Britain in the 20th century. You'll examine changes in politics and social structure, focusing in particular on the development of the party political system as well as class, gender, sexuality and the economy. You'll examine key political and social figures (such as David Lloyd George, Winston Churchill, the Beatles and Margaret Thatcher), the impact of Total War on twentieth century society, as well as unemployment, consumerism and the changing roles of women. You'll also consider the way that the reform tradition came to embrace the welfare state. You'll find this module useful for understanding many current social and political controversies as it explores how today's Britain came into being. You'll be assessed through an essay and an exam.
  • 19th Century Europe
    On this module, you'll explore the development of nation-states in Europe from Napoleon to the outbreak of the First World War. Beginning with the impact of the Napoleonic rule on France and on Europe, you'll look at the ideas that lay behind European revolutionary movements and the ideologies of the regimes that tried to suppress them. You'll cover the 1848 revolutions and the impact of nationalism and liberalism on the Habsburg Empire, Italy, Germany, France and Russia, and consider the unification movements in Italy and Germany. You'll also study major themes, including the Eastern Question, the growth of communism and socialism and the impact of anti-semitism, and major cities, such as Vienna and Paris, in the context of the cultural changes in the European fin de siècle. You'll finish the module by looking at the international tensions that led up to the outbreak of war in 1914. Your assessment will be a 2,000 word essay and a 3-hour exam.
  • History Today: Methods and Approaches
    On this module you'll reflect on the methods of the discipline of History and, in the Personal Development Plan element, on your own progress as a student. You'll also be instructed in Research Methods, in preparation for writing your dissertation in the final year. You'll discuss how to analyse historical sources and consider the merits of varied historical traditions, as well as reflecting on the nature and problems inherent in the process of constructing history. Your assessment will take the form of a set of exercises in which you will reflect on the nature of the discipline of History, show competence in the research skills taught on the module, and reflect on your progress as a student.

Year two, optional modules

  • The Growth of the USA
    This is a survey module on the development of the USA, 1776-1900. You'll study in outline the major events, concepts and issues that shaped American culture in this period, encountering great leaders such as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln and examining debates over the meaning of the Constitution, the creation of the American political system, the significance of the frontier and westward expansion in American history, the roots of feminism, and the role of race and ethnicity (particularly the issue of slavery). Much of your time will be spent on the causes and consequences of the American Civil War. You'll consider how the United States was on the verge of superpower status by 1900. You'll be assessed by one essay and an exam.
  • The British Empire
    On this module, you'll look at the development of the British Empire from the end of the War of American Independence to the end of the Great War. You'll discover how Britain expanded its hold overseas and the developing nature of British Imperial rule, with a balance between looking at individual colonies (the British Caribbean, India, the Opium wars with China, the development of British rule in Canada, etc.) a consideration of general themes underpinning the imperial experience of the British and the peoples of their empire (conflicting theories about the Empire's economic benefits, and the development of imperial consciousness and culture in Britain and of nationalism in the colonies). You'll study the work of medical personnel, missionaries and engineers. You'll engage with different schools of thinking about imperial history, including both the more assertive apologia school and the 'Subaltern' postcolonialist school. Your assessment will consist of a commentary on document extracts provided for the course, and a seen written examination.
  • The United States in the 20th Century
    On this module, you'll study the development of the United States during the 20th century as it gained superpower status, investigating social and political change from the Progressive era through to Ronald Reagan's presidency. You'll consider such key figures as Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Al Capone, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and Richard Nixon, with topics including US foreign policy, imperialism, the New Deal, McCarthyism, the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War and Watergate. You'll evaluate themes such as the continuities and changes in foreign policy, the development of the reform tradition as well as the problems of race. You'll be assessed through an essay and exam respectively.
  • Europe in the Age of the First World War
    On this module, you'll examine the 15-year period that began with war and ended with capitalism entering a new crisis when Wall Street crashed. You'll assess the causes and consequences of the First World War in Europe before turning to the main issues on the Western and Eastern Fronts, including the Battle of the Somme and the Russian revolutions, and the end of other European empires. You'll cover post-war diplomacy, assessing the treaties that shaped international relations after 1918, then examine the reconstruction of Europe after the war. Your studies will conclude with a discussion of the crisis in Europe after the Wall Street Crash and the onset of the Great Depression. You will be assessed through two essays: one on the causes and course of the war, and one on the consequences of the conflict.
  • Family and Gender in England 1550-1750
    On this module, you'll take as a starting point Faramerz Dabhoiwala’s argument in The Origins of Sex (2012) that between 1660 and 1800 a revolution in sexual attitudes took place in England. After exploring the concept of gender, ow it has been discussed by historians and what was understood by family and household in England, you'll look at 18th century legal documents on why separation of married partners was sometimes allowed. You'll examine literature on ideal male and female behaviour, studying the social context of this proscriptive literature. The module will introduce you to interdisciplinary perspectives drawing on art and literature, developing your ability to manage information in a variety of media. You'll be assessed through two essays. In at least one of these essays, you must address a printed primary source, but in the second, you can report on a visit to a museum. This module will therefore especially prepare you to think about the public uses of history - particularly helpful if you're thinking of teaching or a career in the heritage industry.
  • Gender and Sexuality in Britain: 1880s-1980s
    This module will give you an overview of the history of gender and sexuality in modern Britain between 1880 and 1980, allowing you to appreciate how sexuality needs to be understood as socially constructed and regulated, as well as always historically specific. You'll come to appreciate the shifts in the ways in which men and women have conceived of their appropriate 'roles', paying attention to differences of class, race, ethnicity, geographical location, sexuality and age. From the late 19th century to the ‘Swinging Sixties”, you’ll look at feminist movements throughout the 20th century (from the women’s suffrage movement to the Women’s Liberation Movement) and consider changes in attitudes towards homosexuality. You’ll consider the effects of the two world wars on issues of gender and you'll analyse the effects of gender-differentiated (un)employment in the interwar period, as well as the development of birth control. You'll be assessed by an essay and a report based on a seminar presentation.

Year three, core modules

  • Major Project
    The individual Major Project will allow you to undertake a substantial piece of individual research, focused on a topic relevant to your specific course. Your topic will be assessed for suitability to ensure sufficient academic challenge and satisfactory supervision by an academic member of staff. The project will require you to identify/formulate problems and issues, conduct research, evaluate information, process data, and critically appraise and present your findings/creative work. You should arrange and attend regular meetings with your project supervisor, to ensure that your project is closely monitored and steered in the right direction.
  • History Special Subject
    This module will allow you to interrogate a specialist area of contemporary research in the subject area, particularly those with ongoing research being produced by staff members in the Department. For History, this topic might be either 'Radicalism, Feminism and Conservatism in 1790s England' or 'From Franco to a Democratic Spain'.

Year three, optional modules

  • Leisure and Popular Culture in Britain, 1800 to the Present
    From the music hall to Reality TV, from Victorian melodrama to the soap opera, this module will show you how popular culture has changed in Britain over a 200-year period, allowing you to understand the cultural forms you most enjoy in an historical context. You'll look at the growth of modern media and explore arguments about popular culture such as social control and the emergence of mass culture in Britain. You'll also uncover the extent to which a popular culture (created by the common people) exists or has existed. If you're hoping to enter media-related professions, or just have a general interest in popular culture, this module will give you plenty to think about. Your ability to develop solve complex historical problems in a critical and analytical way will be assessed through two 1500-word essays.
  • Russia: Revolution and Reaction
    On this module, you'll look at the huge changes that occurred in Russia from the turn of the century to the death of Josef Stalin in 1953, including the late tsarist period and the First World War. You'll consider the causes of the 1917 revolutions and the start of the Soviet period, assessing why the Bolsheviks were able to stay in power and the type of system that emerged under Lenin. You'll then examine why Stalin came to power and the origins and nature of Stalinism and how the USSR survived the Great Patriotic War. Your assessment will comprise two essays, one on the Leninist period and one on the Stalinist era.
  • Capitalism in Crisis: The Depression and War in Europe
    On this module, you'll examine the extraordinary 15-year period that began with the global financial crisis and the Great Depression and ended with the Second World War and a very different world. You'll explore the different types of political systems and ideologies that existed in 1930s Europe, assessing the crisis of liberal democracy and the prevalence of authoritarian forms of government, such as the Soviet Union, Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. You'll also examine international relations in this decade, focusing on some of the key crises such as the Nazis' invasion of the Rhineland and the Spanish Civil War. You'll assess the build up to the outbreak of the war in 1939, and question whether war could have been avoided. You'll then look at the war itself, examining the spread of Nazism across Europe, the relations between Winston Churchill and other world leaders, and the Holocaust, before considering the end of the war in Europe and the Allies' victory, assessing whether the war led to Europe being eclipsed as two new superpowers emerged. You'll be assessed through a class presentation/report and an essay.
  • Russia after Stalin
    On this module you'll concentrate on the changes and continuities in the Soviet Union after the death of Josef Stalin, beginning with an examination of the system at the end of Stalin's life, the legacy he left and the power struggle that left Nikita Khrushchev in charge. You'll then assess the changes and continuities in the post-Stalinist system, exploring the successes and failures of Khrushchev's de-Stalinisation process and the Brezhnev years of 'stagnation'. After that, you'll consider the spectacular changes in the USSR under Mikhail Gorbachev, ending with the collapse of the Soviet Union. You'll assess the subsequent 'rebuilding' of Russia, examining how it has come to terms with the collapse of the USSR and its transition to capitalism. You'll look at domestic politics and the question of democracy in the 'new Russia' and foreign politics, and Russia's relations with the West. Your assessment will consist of a presentation, report and essay.
  • End of Empires
    On this module, you'll look at the process by which European empires declined and collapsed through the course of the 20th century. You'll examine the expansion in European empires that occurred at the end of the First World War, and the impact of the Depression and the Second World War. You'll consider the role of nationalist movements in putting pressure on the colonial powers before and during the war, and how these movements took advantage of the changed international situation after 1945. You'll also examine the interest of the superpowers in decolonisation during the development of the Cold War. You'll consider why the end of Belgian and Portuguese rule in Africa was attended by so much conflict and the problems posed by white rule in Rhodesia and South Africa, as well as the establishment of the Commonwealth and the post-war impact on British society of large-scale immigration, leading up to the Falklands War of 1982 and the handover of Hong Kong in 1997. You'll be assessed through a document commentary and an end-of-module seen examination.
  • The Cold War: the world divided
    On this module you'll examine the Cold War, starting with the debates that surround the origins of hostilities between East and West, and ending by questioning whether anyone actually 'won' the Cold War. You'll assess international relations between the USSR and USA after 1945 and examine the consequences of these relations, including the founding of NATO and the Warsaw Pact, the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War. You'll also assess Britain's role in the onset of the Cold War. Other areas you'll focus on are the 1960s and the revolutionary challenges in the USA, France and Czechoslovakia, détente, and the Second Cold War. You'll consider the 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe and what the collapse of the USSR meant for the post-Cold War world. Your assessment will consist of two 1,500 word essays.
  • Thatcher and the New Right
    In this module you'll consider the origins, policies and long term effects of Margaret Thatcher and her break with the post-war consensus after she became Conservative leader in 1975. You'll study how Thatcher deviated away from One Nation Conservatism of the 1950s and 1960s, the diagnosis she made of how a society (and government) should function, and the reasons for her electoral triumph in 1979. You'll go on to consider her time in office and the effect of Thatcher's policies on class relations in the UK, the privatisation and reforms to the City of London, as well as Right to Buy, share ownership and moving the low paid out of paying income tax. You'll debate contemporary questions that take the story beyond Thatcher's Premiership itself, and you'll also discover the wider global story of the New Right through Ronald Reagan's Republicans in the US and the RPR under Jacques Chirac in France. A key focus of your discussions will be whether later politicians have challenged or accepted the parameters laid down between 1979 and 1990. You'll also have the opportunity to access the Margaret Thatcher Foundation online archive. You'll be assessed via an essay of 3,000 words.

Optional modules available all years

  • Anglia Language Programme
    The Anglia Language Programme allows you to study a foreign language as part of your course. You'll take one language module in the second semester of your first year in order to experience the learning of a new language. You must select a language you've never learnt before from the following: Chinese (Mandarin), French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish.


You’ll demonstrate what you have learned on the course through a combination of essays, examinations, case studies, field trip reports, document analyses, Internet search reports, book reviews and dissertation.

Where you'll study

Your department and faculty

The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences is an academic community of nearly 800 students and teaching staff. Our students are supported by leading practitioners, so you'll always have access to the latest theoretical and practical knowledge, as well as invaluable career advice. Subjects in the Humanities and Social Sciences lead to work in many roles you might not have considered, maybe as a politician, chief executive – or even an inventor.

We organise many activities to help our students prepare for their future, like work placements, study abroad opportunities, talks by acclaimed guest speakers, and research conferences.

We’re part of the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences, a hub of creative and cultural innovation whose groundbreaking research has real social impact.

Where can I study?

Lord Ashcroft Building on our Cambridge campus

Our campus is close to the centre of Cambridge, often described as the perfect student city.

Explore our Cambridge campus

Study abroad options

You’ll have the opportunity to spend a semester of study at Valparaiso University (USA) and University of New Brunswick (Canada), opening up a whole new perspective on the study of history.*

*Please note that places are limited and cannot be guaranteed.

Fees & funding

Course fees

UK & EU students, 2016/17 (per year)


International students, 2016/17 (per year)


UK & EU students, 2017/18 (per year)


International students, 2017/18 (per year)


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For more information about tuition fees, including the UK Government's commitment to EU students, please see our UK/EU funding pages

How do I pay my fees?

Tuition fee loan

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Most English undergraduates take out a tuition fee loan with Student Finance England. The fees are then paid directly to us. The amount you repay each month is linked to your salary and repayments start in April after you graduate.

How to apply for a tuition fee loan

Paying upfront

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If you choose not to take out a loan you can pay your fees directly to us. There are two ways to do this: either pay in full, or through a three- or six-month instalment plan starting at registration.

How to pay your fees directly

International students

You must pay your fees up-front, in full or in instalments. You will also be asked for a deposit or sponsorship letter for undergraduate courses. Details will be in your offer letter.

Paying your fees
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Funding for UK & EU students

We offer most new undergraduate students funding to support their studies and university life. There’s also finance available for specific groups of students.

Grants and scholarships are available for:

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Funding for international students

We've a number of scholarships, as well as some fee discounts for early payment.

Entry requirements

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Important additional notes

Our published entry requirements are a guide only and our decision will be based on your overall suitability for the course as well as whether you meet the minimum entry requirements. Other equivalent qualifications may be accepted for entry to this course, please email answers@anglia.ac.uk for further information.

We don't accept AS level qualifications on their own for entry to our undergraduate degree courses. However for some degree courses a small number of tariff points from AS levels are accepted as long as they're combined with tariff points from A levels or other equivalent level 3 qualifications in other subjects.

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International students

We welcome applications from international and EU students, and accept a range of international qualifications.

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English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you'll need to make sure you meet our English language requirements for undergraduate courses.

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Improving your English language skills

If you don't meet our English language requirements, we offer a range of courses which could help you achieve the level required for entry onto a degree course.

We also provide our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) in the UK and overseas. To find out if we are planning to hold an ELPT in your country, contact our country managers.

UCAS Tariff calculator - 2017 entry

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