Undergraduate course

History BA (Hons)

Understand how life as we know it came to be in one of the UK's most historically rich cities.

Students stood in castle ruins

Are you curious about the past and how our world has developed? If you want to know how ideas spread, how states rise and fall and how ordinary people have influenced those with power, then our History degree is for you.

100% of History students say they have been able to contact staff when they need to - NSS 2017

  • UCAS Code – V100
  • Location – York campus
  • Duration – 3 years full-time | 6 years part-time
  • Start date – September 2020
  • School – Humanities, Religion & Philosophy

Minimum Entry Requirements

    96 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2019-20 £9,250 per year

    International 2019-20 £12,750 per year

The York St John Experience

Course overview

Explore the answers to historical questions great and small in the heart of one of the UK’s most historic cities. York has played a central part in many of our country’s stories. It's been a seat of royal power and a site of rebellion. York has been home to the magnificent York Minster and industrial slums. It's been both an administrative centre and a strategic target. York offers plenty of inspiration to support your studies. With a rich selection of original sources including museums, libraries and historical sites. 

Study a broad range of periods, places and peoples, from antiquity to the twenty-first century. Develop your specialism and research periods, themes or locations you're passionate about. The unique structure of our programme allows you to build your own degree. You'll choose which modules you study based on the areas of history that excite you the most.

Our History, Community and Culture module provides experience in history-related careers. We integrate a placement or work-related project into this module. This gives you the skills you need to achieve your ambitions. We have partnerships with heritage sites, archives and businesses across the city. Our connections include York Museums Trust, York Explore and Yorkshire Film Archive. These connections provide unique work experience opportunities. Explore archived treasures, create historical exhibitions and build professional networks.

Course structure

Level 1

We want to inspire a life-long love of History. Level 1 will introduce you to the study of History at university. It prepares you with the skills to work on and research a variety of periods and themes. In each semester, students will take three modules. Modules in semester one are compulsory. In semester 2, you will be given the opportunity to choose the modules you study.

Modules

Credits: 20

Compulsory Module

On this module, you will introduce the key skills involved in being a historian at university. You'll learn how to analyse primary sources and interpret the arguments of historians. We want you to appreciate the approaches historians take to the past and develop key writing and reading skills. We will enable you to become a confident historian through the research and approaches of the historians in the department.

Credits: 20

Compulsory Module

This module examines the history of York. Explore social and cultural developments alongside broader changes in national and global history. The city acts as a window into the wider world. Use the resources and evolution of York to evaluate local, national and international forces for change from different perspectives.

Credits: 20

Compulsory Module

This module will use case studies to examine two key aspects of the human condition: war and society. you'll look at key themes such as:

  • The causes of war
  • Determinants of victory or defeat
  • The effects of war on participant societies and historical developments
  • the development of technology
  • the role of citizens
  • the importance of the state.

Credits: 20

Optional Module

Study historic buildings and explore them as sources for the history of England. We'll focus on how the built environment conveys history. You'll use the buildings and spaces around York to analyse the relationship between sites and heritage.

Credits: 20

Optional Module

Explore how human societies and the natural world have interacted and reshaped each other through time. You'll consider environmental history, social history and cultural history in unison. Analyse how nature has influenced people's understanding of their place in the world. Explore the impact that social developments have had on environmental issues.

Credits: 20

Optional Module

This module offers you an introduction to the experience of imperialism. You'll compare empires from diverse geographical and chronological contexts. Familiarise yourself with the different conceptions of the terms ‘Empire’, ‘imperialism’ and ‘colonialism’. Discover the important role played by empires throughout history. To achieve this, you will examine the emergence, decline and fall of several empires. These include the Roman, Byzantine, Spanish, Russian, British and Japanese empires.

Credits: 20

Optional Module

Examine episodes of significant political and social upheaval across different periods and places. You'll investigate the causes, course and consequences of revolutionary events. Including both successful revolutions and those which failed in their goals. You'll look at revolutions from seventeenth-century England to late-twentieth-century Europe.

Credits: 20

Optional Module

This module is an introduction to the international history of the post-1900 world. You'll analyse the case studies of major crises and become familiar with main themes in the international history of the period. You will explore:

  • imperialism
  • decolonisation
  • democracy and dictatorship
  • state and non-state terrorism.

Credits: 20

Optional Module

Familiarise yourself with the history of the United States. You'll examine the development of America from both a domestic and international perspective. You'll also explore its gradual emergence as a leading international power. We've designed the module to provide a foundation for further study in American history.

Level 2

Level 2 includes two compulsory modules. The first is a work-based learning module called History Community and Culture. In the second, Making History, you'll complete a research project. You will then choose four optional modules.

Modules

Credits: 20

Compulsory Module

This is a public history and experiential learning module. It places emphasis on your employability how you can achieve graduate-level employment. We'll encourage you to think about the wider applications of a history degree to the world around you and your careers. 

Credits: 20

Compulsory Module

Carry out an independent research project on this module. Creating a piece of independent research will help you appreciate the importance of primary sources. An academic member of staff will supervise and support your project. We'll help you to develop an understanding of historiography and historical research methods.

Credits: 20

Optional Module

This module provides a study of the Roman Empire in the first century. It focuses on its politics, culture and society. This is a period famous for the actions and behaviour of the imperial household. You'll look at figures famous for their depravity and violence such as Tiberius, Caligula, Nero and Domitian. You'll also look at emperors regarded with favour, such as Vespasian. We must think about what it meant to be Roman in this world, and what it was like to live in the Roman Empire.

Credits: 20

Optional Module

This module will assess developments during the calamitous long 14th century in England. The period is famous for the Black Death, the devastation of famine and ravages of the Hundred Years War. Yet it's also a period known for its artistic and literary achievement. English and French relations were not always savage and kingship was not always in crisis.

Credits: 20

Optional Module

Examine early modern English society from the beginning of the Reformation in the 1540s to the Restoration in the 1660s. Throughout this period English society was polarised. Fears of division, difference, and dissent produced challenges to order and hierarchy. You'll use source materials including state papers, court records and documents relating to parish life.

Credits: 20

Optional Module

In this module, you will explore the lives, experiences and agency of women in the turbulent Tudor period. Examine writing, artwork and other sources created and utilised by the women themselves. You'll gain a cultural and social understanding of women from queens and nuns to mothers and businesswomen. 

Credits: 20

Optional Module

Examine the social and political history of Britain from the Union of Scotland and England in 1707 to the accession of Queen Victoria. This was a period of enormous political, social and economic change. It saw Britain assuming a leading position amongst the world’s major powers. These evolutions (or revolutions?), and their impact on the people of Britain will be at the core of this module. 

Credits: 20

Optional Module

This module explores how food and eating have been shaped by key developments in the nineteenth century. These developments include colonialism, industrialisation and medical advancements in both Britain and France. Investigate how we produced food, consumed it, marketed it and understood it. You'll draw on primary materials to analyse:

  • specific commodities
  • practices such as vegetarianism and adulteration
  • debates about access to food in prisons, workhouses and episodes of famine.

Credits: 20

Optional Module

This module highlights the role of France in world affairs as a political, military, imperial and cultural force. It focuses on the turbulent years of the early and mid-twentieth century. You'll consider the impact of international forces on France and her reciprocal influence on the course of world history.

Credits: 20

Optional Module

Examine the traumatic history of China throughout the lifetime of Mao Zedong. You'll study the nation's transition from the world’s oldest imperial power to a revolutionary Communist state. Consider the forces that shaped these events, paying specific attention to the central role played by Mao. Given that China is now such a significant global player, you will benefit from understanding the history of Modern China.

Credits: 20

Optional Module

Study the history of the Soviet Union, from the October Revolution in 1917 to the collapse of the Soviet experiment in 1991. You will examine the ‘rise’ and ‘fall’ of the Soviet state and explore its impact on the wider world. Subjects include:

  • The Russian Revolution
  • Stalinism
  • The Great Patriotic War
  • De-Stalinisation
  • The collapse of the USSR.

Level 3

In level 3 you will do a dissertation and choose two special subjects in each semester. The semester that each special subject is available in depends on staff availability. The special subject reflect staff interests and you will work with them on cutting-edge research. So, the specific topic of each special subject may change from time to time, but examples are below.

Modules

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

You will complete a research dissertation on a subject of your choice. This is the culminating point of the degree, where you will deploy the key historical skills acquired over the previous two years.

Credits: 20

Optional module 

A member of staff will teach this module while conducting research on the Roman Republic. By studying the fall of the Roman republic, you will do an in-depth study of the late Roman Republic. The writings of Cicero and Caesar, amongst others, give a first-hand view into the death throes of this mighty olitical system. This was a world tearing itself apart, where changing morality, imperial rule and exceptional wealth exposed the deep divisions within society. 

 

Credits: 20

Optional module

Explore one of the most politically volatile periods of English history. This encompasses deposition, regicide, civil war and enduring controversy. We'll introduce you to the key events of the period, current debates and specified primary sources. The module examines the multifaceted causes of the conflict, its impact and legacy. Challenge yourself to think about why there was a civil war in fifteenth-century England and the repercussions.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Work with a member of staff researching early modern British history. Currently, the topic of this module is the English Revolution. It encompasses civil wars and the execution of a monarch, Charles I, alongside the events that took place during the chaotic 1640s and 1650s. You'll learn about the institutions of the early modern English state, including the church and parliament.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Examine the cultural and social history of Europe in the Early Modern period. Staff research explores the societal, political and religious upheaval of the Early Modern world. It examines how this forced and enabled people to leave their homes or places of work for a variety of different and competing reasons. This topic will examine the impact and experience of exile for different people through an in-depth study of the period. 

Credits: 20

Optional module

This option offers you the opportunity to do an in-depth study in European History in the period 1750-1850. The Napoleonic Wars saw Britain and France engage in years of often brutal warfare. It tested the endurance and resources of each state and nation. This module examines Britain's role in the conflict. You'll assess the impact that the wars had on Britain's state, society, economy, and status as a world power.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Conduct a study in social and cultural history through a case study aligned with staff research interests and current trends. Case studies are subject to staff availability and research. The topic of Prisons and Prisoners, 1800-1850 will focus on prisons during the period. Join debates about crime and punishment. Explore records on the lives and writings of various captives. These include debtors, criminal inmates, war prisoners, and convicts transported to Australia.

Credits: 20

Optional module

This option offers you the opportunity to do an in-depth case study about a major event of the Cold War. For instance, the Korean War continues to capture the attention of scholars. This is due to the recent tensions on the Korean peninsula and the interactions between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. The Korean War proved to be a pivotal moment during the Cold War. It was the first ‘hot’ conflict of the era and involved all the major Western and Communist states. So, despite lasting only three years, the Korean War reshaped the Cold War for the next four decades. 

Credits: 20

Optional module

This option allows students to study a period in the history of the Soviet Union. Examine the years around the Russian Revolution (1905-1921), an event that changed the twentieth century. Study events that have shaped work history, from the role of Vladimir Lenin to the popular forces underpinning 1917.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Conduct a concentrated study of a specialised topic in post-1945 international history. The topics we offer align with staff research interests. The current topic is the Vietnam War. Forty years after its conclusion, the Vietnam War remains one of the most controversial conflicts in modern times. Explore the rich historical debates surrounding the Vietnam War. Takes a holistic look at the war from American and Southeast Asian perspectives. Engage in some political, military, colonial and East Asian history.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Examine the key actors in American history: the U.S. president. You'll consider why the United States underwent a political, economic and social transformation under the presidency of Ronald Reagan. Examine the origins, progression, and impact of Reaganism through an in-depth study of the period. Assess events from the emergence of Reaganism and Reaganomics to its legacy.

Credits: 20

Optional module

Study American culture from an interdisciplinary perspective. Your studies will relate to staff interests in American culture. The topic of American Crime Story explores a range of cultural, political and historical issues in the twentieth century. It uses the uniquely American genre of hard-boiled crime fiction in literature and film as a framework.

Credits: 20

Optional module

The Special Subject will explore major issues in the study of war, including the origins of conflict and the securing of peace. The topics will be dependent on staff research interests. Currently, we offer the topic of the International Origins of the Second War. This explores the interconnected global causes of the coming of war.

Teaching and assessment

Delivery and contact time

On the History programme, you will experience a wide range of teaching methods and techniques. From lectures and interactive workshops to seminars with other students, we encourage both independent and collaborative learning. As well as working with others, you will have opportunities for one-to-one meetings with tutors to provide additional support during your degree. There are also opportunities to go on field trips within the historic city of York and beyond, to uncover the past in our fantastic archives and the built environment all around us.

History modules provide 33 hours of class contact time per 20 credit module, together with tutorial support. Class contact time is supported by open learning strategies, ranging from interaction with the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to independent and group study.

Assessment

A wide range of assessment methods are used throughout the History degree. Some modules are assessed by writing essays and taking exams. Other modules have one single point of assessment, such as a coursework portfolio.

During the final year of your degree, you will complete a research dissertation on a subject of your choice. This is the culminating point of the degree, where you will deploy the key historical skills acquired over the previous two years.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

Minimum Entry Requirements

    96 UCAS Tariff points

    3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language

Terms and conditions

Our terms and conditions, policies and procedures contain important information about studying at York St John University. These can be accessed through our Admissions webpages.

Fees and funding

To study for an undergraduate degree with us, you will need to pay tuition fees for your course. How much you pay will depend on whether you're a UK & EU student or an international (non-EU) student. Tuition fees are charged for each year of your course.

Find out more about funding for Foundation Year and/or Placement Year by visiting the pages of our website. York St John offers special reductions to students graduating from York St John University Undergraduate degrees in 2019 and continuing directly onto Postgraduate study. Find out more about discounts and scholarships. There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2019-20 £9,250 per year

    International 2019-20 £12,750 per year

Additional costs and financial support

COURSE-RELATED COSTS

Whilst studying for your degree, there may be additional costs related to your course. This may include purchasing personal equipment and stationery, books and optional field trips.

STUDY ABROAD

For more information on tuition fee reductions and additional costs for studying abroad, please visit our study abroad webpages.

ACCOMMODATION AND LIVING COSTS

View our accommodation webpages for detailed information on accommodation and living costs.

FINANCIAL HELP AND SUPPORT

Help and advice on funding your studies at York St John is available through our Money Advice service.

Female student wearing glasses smiling at camera

Penny Hodgson

History BA (Hons)

The History Department at York St John University is a close and supportive community, the lecturers are all approachable and understanding. They do everything they can to offer advice and encouragement to their students. I love living in York too, everything is very accessible and you’re surrounded by history at every turn, from Roman to Medieval and Modern.

Three reasons to study History at York St John

More to explore

Get in touch

Cookie Settings