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Undergraduate course

War Studies and History BA (Hons)

6 students sit around a table reading war studies books.

Combine war studies and history with our joint honours course. You will examine how wars have been fought through the ages and think about its broader social, cultural and political implications. You will gain insight into the social consequences and resolution of armed conflict. Our joint honours programme allows you to take specialist War Studies modules and a selection of history modules. It allows you the flexibility to choose modules that interest you and lets you to choose your specialism.

  • Subject to final approval

91% of History students think that lecturers have made the subject interesting (NSS 2019)

York campus

  • UCAS Code – L2K4
  • 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 2020-21 £9,250 per year

    International 2020-21 £12,750 per year

The York St John Experience

Course overview

York has played a central part in many of our country’s stories. It has been a seat of royal power and a site of rebellion. York has been both an administrative centre and a strategic target. This makes it a unique place to study War and History. You will have a range of resources on your doorstep, connecting you with the past of both York and the wider region. 

You will have the opportunity to explore the marks left on North Yorkshire by conflicts of the past. From the site of Britain's bloodiest battle to the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, our historic location enriches your learning. 

On this course, you will investigate the process of war. Explore how they develop and how they're resolved. Discuss the wider social consequences of past conflict and consider their effect on the present day. Our History modules allow you to develop your specialism further. Choose to research periods, themes or locations that you are passionate about.

We also offer War Studies combined with other subjects. Explore more:

Course structure

Year 1

Our academic year is split into 2 semesters. In each semester you will take 3 modules. 

On the first year of this course, you will: 

  • Take 2 compulsory modules and 1 optional module in your first semester 
  • Take 1 compulsory module and 2 optional modules in your second semester. 

If you are studying part time, your first year modules will be split over two years. 

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Programme Specifications for this course. 

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. Not all modules may run every year and all modules are subject to change. 

Modules include:

Credits: 20

Compulsory Module

This module explores the fundamental question - what is war? We will introduce your to some of the ways you can analyse war, techniques you will use throughout your degree. You will become familiar with a variety of approaches to studying conflict. 

Credits: 20

Compulsory Module

On this module you will investigate why wars begin, or why they do not.  You will do this by examining a series of case studies that look at the immediate and long-term causes of wars. We will encourage to think about how the road to war has been effected by factors such as nationalism, imperialism, personal ambition, the media and public opinion. 

Credits: 20

Compulsory Module

This module will develop your skills in comparative analysis by examining different types of wars from different periods. You will explore contemporary historical debates about the relationship between war and society and examine case studies. On this module you will investigate key themes such as:

  • The causes of war
  • What determines victory or defeat
  • The effects of war on participant societies and historical developments 
  • The development of conflict technology. 

Credits: 20

Optional Module

On this module you will explore the relationship between war and the media on two levels. Firstly in terms of the role the media plays in representing and reporting on war. Secondly, you will look at how you can use media resources and techniques for researching and understanding war. 

Credits: 20

Compulsory 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 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

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.

Year 2 

Our academic year is split into 2 semesters. In each semester you will take 3 modules.

On the second year of this course, you will:

  • Take 2 compulsory modules and 1 optional module in your first semester
  • Take 1 compulsory module and 2 optional modules in your second semester.

If you are studying part time, your second year modules will be split over two years. 

You can find out which modules are available in each semester on the Programme Specifications for this course. 

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. Not all modules may run every year and all modules are subject to change.

Modules include:

Credits: 20

Compulsory Module

Engage in operational military history on this module by exploring the military campaigns for Western Europe from 1940-1945. You will study topics such as: 

  • The German 'blitzkrieg' offensive in 1940
  • 'Setting Europe ablaze': British offensive strategy prior to the Normandy invasion 
  • The amphibious landings in Normandy in June 1944
  • The German Ardennes offensive in 1944.  

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

This module is compulsory if you choose to study aboard. You will complete this module on your return. 

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

Examine the philosophical questions that arise from attempts to understand and depict battle. Your learning on this module is enhanced by a series of tours and walks that make use of the historical resources in the city of York. Case studies on this module may include:

  • The Battle of Towton in the Wars of the Roses
  • The siege of York in the English Civil War
  • The York air raid in Second World War
  • The air campaign launched from the airbases surrounding York, also in the Second World War.

Credits: 20

Optional Module

Discover war literature as you examine a range of texts written between 1914 and the early 21 century. Each text is a response to and a representation of war and conflict. You will explore narrative responses to: 

  • The First World War 
  • The Spanish Civil War 
  • The Second World War 
  • The Vietnam War 
  • The Troubles in Norther Ireland 
  • The War on Terror 

Credits: 20

Optional Module

This module highlights the importance of France in world affairs in the turbulent years of the early and mid 20 century. You will examine the distinct nature of French culture, embodied in her imperial mission civilisatrice. You will look at her conscious effort to offer an alternative French way in international affairs, contrasting sharply with the Anglo-American model and cold-war animosity.

Credits: 20

Optional Module

On this module you will examine the origins and evolution of a range of international peace organisations. You will explore how throughout modern history international peace organisations have been created to ameliorate the causes of wars, deter conflicts from erupting, prevent their escalation and bring them to a peaceful resolution.

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.

Credits: 20

Optional Module

Explore the causes, development, and outcomes of the American Civil War. Consider the Civil War's role as the transforming event in American history. Confront and evaluate the historical debates surrounding the American Civil War. Together with your tutors, you will examine the social and political forces which shaped its portrayal in pop culture.

Credits: 20

Optional Module

Study one of the most turbulent periods in American history. You will explore the domestic upheaval that convulsed America in the 60s and early 70s. America embarked on a period of domestic reform to create what President Lyndon Johnson called the ‘Great Society’. It became bogged down in the war in Vietnam. You will explore these topics and more on this module.

Year 3 

Our academic year is split into 2 semesters. In your final year, you will study: 

  • A dissertation module that you will work on across both semesters. 
  • Two special subject modules per semester. These modules are subject to availability and reflect staff interests. This means the specific topic may change from time to time, but examples are below.

If you are studying part time, your third year modules will be split over two years.

You can find out more about the structure of your final year on the Programme Specifications for this course.

Optional modules will run if they receive enough interest. Not all modules may run every year and all modules are subject to change.

Modules include:

Credits: 40

Compulsory module

This is your opportunity to conduct a detailed exploration of a subject that interests you in the field of War Studies. Throughout the module, you will use primary and relevant secondary sources. You will receive one to one support from tutor familiar with your subject choice. They will meet you throughout the year and advise you on how to develop your research and writing.

Credits: 20

Optional module 

Explore the influence of the Napoleonic Wars on French society. Consider how French populations responded to the changes caused by the conflicts. Take an interdisciplinary approach and consider the changes that France and the French colonies experienced. In doing so, you will find new perspectives on the social and cultural histories of France and its colonies. 

 

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.

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.

Teaching and assessment

We encourage both independent and collaborative working. You will work with your peers and teaching team to discuss ideas and debate contemporary issues. On this joint honours course, you will experience a range of teaching methods. These include:

  • Lectures
  • Interactive workshops and seminars with other students.
  • One-to-one tutorials with tutors.

War studies modules provide either 22 or 33 hours of class contact time in total. In class, you will examine arguments made by War Studies scholars. You will interrogate primary sources in print and in other media. You will learn how to advance your own argument and think critically about issues related to war and peace. We support your class contact time with open learning strategies. These range from interaction with the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) to independent and group study. Outside of class contact time, we expect you to engage in independent study. 

 

When you arrive, we will assign you an academic tutor. You can go to them throughout your studies for help and support. This system is part of wider academic and wellbeing support at the University. 

On this joint honours course, we use a wide range of assessment methods. These include:

  • Essays
  • Reviews
  • Exams
  • Coursework portfolios

During the final year of your degree, you will complete a research dissertation on a subject of your choice. This is your chance to deploy the key analytical skills gained over your degree so far.

Career outcomes

Choosing a degree in History and War Studies can help you achieve your career ambitions. Employers value the research, analytical and communication skills you will gain while studying with us.

With these skills, you could pursue a career in heritage and tourism, archiving, library work or teaching. You could continue to postgraduate level study and pursue a research career. Our International History MA could be the perfect choice for you. 

This degree can prepare you for a career as an:

  • Archivist
  • Heritage Manager
  • Historic Buildings inspector
  • Conservation Officer
  • Museum Education Officer
  • Museum Curator
  • Museum exhibitions Officer
  • Secondary School Teacher. 

Whatever your ambitions, we can help you get there.

Our careers service, LaunchPad, is a personal career path designed to give you an employability journey tailored to you. Through this service you can access:

  • Employer events
  • LinkedIn, CV and cover letter sessions
  • Workshops on application writing and interviews
  • Work experience and volunteer opportunities
  • Personalised career advice.

This support doesn't end when you graduate. You can access our expert career advice wherever you are on your career path.

We will help you gain experience and confidence to succeed. It's your career, your way, on your terms.

Entry Requirements

Qualifications

Minimum Entry Requirements

    96 UCAS Tariff points

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

The minimum entry requirements for this course are:

  • 96 UCAS Tariff points
  • 3 GCSEs at grade C/4 (or equivalent) including English Language.

International Students

If you're an international student, you will need to show that your qualifications are equivalent to those above.

Detailed qualification equivalence can be found in our 2020 International Prospectus (PDF18.08MB)

If your first language is not English you must show evidence of English Language competence at IELTS level 6.0 (with no skill below 5.5) or equivalent.

Foundation Year

This course is available with a foundation year. This option is ideal if you do not yet meet the minimum requirements for entry straight onto a degree course, or feel you are not quite ready for the transition to Higher Education. A foundation year prepares you for degree level study, giving you the confidence and skills needed to make the most of your course. Passing it guarantees you a place on this degree course the following academic year.

Foundation courses

Personal statements

Essential criteria

  • A strong standard of written English
  • Interest and enthusiasm for the subject. For example, this could be via studying related A Levels, or through relevant work experience or placements.

APEL policy

If you can't meet these minimum requirements it may be possible to take into account evidence of Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) as an alternative method of meeting the programme’s entry requirements. In such a case, appropriate references and records of employment might be presented to support the applicant’s case for admission.

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 and EU student or an international (non-EU) student. Tuition fees are charged for each year of your course.

UK and EU 2020 entry

The tuition fee for 2020 entry to our Foundation, BA and BSc, PGCE Primary and Secondary and undergraduate Health degrees is £9,250 per year for full time UK, EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students.

For UK, EU, Jersey, Guernsey and Isle of Man students studying part time, the tuition fee for 2020 entry to the above courses is £4,265 per year.

Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

Find out more about funding for Foundation or Placement Year by visiting the Funding Advice pages of our website.

Tuition Fees

    UK and EU 2020-21 £9,250 per year

    International 2020-21 £12,750 per year

International (non-EU) 2020 entry

The tuition fee for 2020 entry to our Foundation, BA and BSc, PGCE Primary and Secondary and undergraduate Health degrees is £12,750 per year for international (non-EU) students.

Due to immigration laws, international students on a Tier 4 visa must be studying full time. For more information about visa requirements and short-term study visas, please visit the International Visa and Immigration pages.

More information about funding your studies is available on our International Fees and Funding page.

Tuition fees may be subject to inflation in future years.

Additional costs and financial support

There may also be some additional costs to take into account throughout your studies, including the cost of accommodation.

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 pages.

ACCOMMODATION AND LIVING COSTS

View our accommodation pages 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.

Why choose YSJ?

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Get in touch

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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.

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