School of Humanities and Performing Arts

BA (Hons) History

So, what comes next? It’s often said that the best way to see the future is to understand the past. History with the University of Plymouth helps you do just that, while gaining the professional skills you’ll need throughout your career. Exploring five centuries of human history, you’ll encounter political intrigue, cultural transformation, war, sex and revolution across the globe. You’ll graduate with the problem-solving and analytical abilities that will give you the edge in the world of work.

You will gain workplace experience with local public history and heritage sites so you can kick-start your career once you graduate. You could plot your own course as you take the lead in your research projects and choose areas of study from our flexible range of modules, creating a tailor-made degree. Our international exchange programme gives you the opportunity to travel and spend either a semester or an entire year exploring history with one of our partner institutions in the US or Europe

Careers with this subject

Advice from graduate Rory Blazeby:

"Summer or yearlong internship/placements in the industry are invaluable. Often, nowadays, these are the only ways to get your foot in the door with companies, to prove your worth. It will also give you work experience to put on your CV and show employers that you had initiative while a student. For employers, having some experience and, more importantly, having shown initiative, will give you a competitive advantage."

Read more from Rory in his case study.

Key features


  • We’re very proud of our National Student Survey (NSS) 2018 return showing 94% expressed overall satisfaction with the course. We are top-ten nationally for the quality of our teaching, assessment and feedback and academic support in the 2018 NSS.
  • 96% expressed satisfaction with the teaching on the course (5/92)
  • 93% expressed satisfaction with assessment and feedback on the course (2/92)
  • 93.5% expressed satisfaction with the academic support on the course (7/92)
  • Enhance your career options with a degree that helps you develop highly sought-after analytical and communication skills while you home in on your passion.
  • Gain workplace experience with local public history and heritage sites so you can kick-start your career as soon as you graduate.
  • Plot your own course through the centuries as you take the lead in your research projects and choose areas of study from our flexible range of modules, creating a tailor-made degree.
  • Our international exchange programme gives you the opportunity to travel and spend either a semester or an entire year exploring history with one of our partner institutions in the US or Europe 
  • Explore history with your friends and course mates by joining the History Society, a lively and supportive community hosting educational and social events.
  • Discover the most up-to-date ways of studying history through our online history resources including a vast eBook library, and array of online lectures and resources.

Course details

  • Year 1
  • In your first year, you’ll get to know the key concepts of history, studying six modules designed to give you a firm foundation in historical methodology while helping you develop practical skills. You’ll study the subject from a broad range of perspectives exploring developments in world, US, European and British history.
    Core modules
    • HIST401 What is History?

      What is History? ¿ provides an overview of how the discipline of history operates, and looks at some of the key skills associated with the subject.

    • HIST406 America from settlement to Empire

      This module is an introduction to major themes in the political, social and cultural evolution of the United States from 1492 to the end of the Nineteenth Century.

    • HIST407 World History since 1850

      This module is an introduction to major themes in the political, social and cultural history of the modern world beyond Europe.

    • HIST409 Fractured Isles: Britain and Ireland 1640-1990

      The module is an introduction to the major themes in political, social nd cultural history of Britain in the period 1640-1900.

    • HIST410 Fighting for Survival: Living and Dying in Early Modern Europe, 1450-1700

      This module introduces students to the political, social, cultural and religious history of Early Modern Europe, 1450-1700

    • HIST411 History Tomorrow

      This module introduces students to the field of heritage studies. It directs attention to how historians do heritage (and history) for an external audience.  It aims to explore the materials and methods used and how they apply to how we understand, interpret and shape how we live with the past today. Students will study a specific topic in history and heritage individually and/or in small groups through problem based learning with an assessment geared towards public engagement.

  • Year 2
  • During your second year, you’ll have the chance to choose from a range of modules as you develop your historical knowledge and skills. Experience visual, oral, material and archival research – undertaking interviews with living witnesses, examining visual sources and delving into original sources. You can also take the opportunity to study in the USA for up to a year.

    Optional modules are available this year, but may be subject to change in subsequent years.

    Core modules
    • HIST502 Preparing for Dissertation Research

      This module is designed to prepare students for Level 6 research in History by lectures and workshops that explore key approaches to sources, and practical and theoretical aspects to research in history, before carrying out a small project in independent research. Lectures in the period of the research project will entail an element of choice and also student-generated lectures, based on selection of topics at start of module: with subjects geared to doing research in archives / local studies/ digital resources.

    • HIST522 Talking History, Seeing History: Research Methods in Visual and Oral History

      This module investigates the use of oral, material & visual sources as a means of investigating the past. Also, the contextualisation of historical sources and questions in the wider historiographical literature.

    Optional modules
    • HIST505 Middle Kingdoms: Themes in Early Modern Asia (China, India, Japan, and/or Korea)

      This module introduces themes in early modern Asian history (c.16th-19th centuries). At one level, it explores key questions shaping the histories of the Mughal Empire, the Qing Empire, Tokugawa Japan, and/or the Joseon Kingdom. Building on these questions, it then develops a comparative analysis of selected topics from a trans-regional perspective, an example of early globalisation emanating from Asia's middle kingdoms.

    • HIST506 The European Reformations

      This module is an examination of causes, processes and results of the religious Reformations, Protestant and Catholic, in sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Europe, including the British Isles. Emphasis will be on the evaluation of primary sources and on historiographical debate.

    • HIST509 America Since 1900

      This module is an introduction to major themes in the political, social, economic, business and cultural history of the United States since 1900.

    • HIST511 Heritage and Public History

      The module content will examine the theory and practice of the presentation of the past to public audiences. In it, students will examine the creation, nature, use and understanding of heritage and public history, nationally and internationally. They will examine these issues in case studies of historical `sites¿ of different types, to gain a critical awareness and understanding of the theories and controversies surrounding heritage and public history. This is a work facing module, where students will consider the theory and practice of `using¿ `sites¿ of heritage and public history from the point of view of a range of stake holders.

    • HIST513 Royal Navy in the Age of Sail, 1545-1815

      This module examines the royal navy and the development of British naval power between 1545 and 1815. Beginning with the sinking of the Mary Rose in 1545 this module explores changing role of the navy and sea power in defence to the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815. This module also investigates the logistics, technological changes and social history of the navy in this period.

    • HIST515 Other Voices - Marginalisation in Early Modern Europe

      This course explores the ways in which early modern society confronted difference, and constructed its norms and mores. We will consider the role of religion, race, class, and gender in early modern Europe through the study of those groups who found themselves on the outside.

    • HIST517 The Longest War: Britain, Ireland & the Troubles 1949-2006

      This module looks at the complex relationship between Britain and Ireland in the later part of the twentieth century up to present day. It has a special focus on the conflict in Northern Ireland. Students will look the impact of the Troubles on both societies; and study in depth the peace process.

    • HIST519 Tudor and Stuart Britain

      This module examines the political, social and cultural history of Britain from 1485 to 1660, a vibrant and exciting period that witnessed significant developments: the growth of the state; major religious and political upheavals; increased education and literacy; the advent of print and popular politics; exploration and new ways of understanding the world.

    • HIST520 Global Cold War: Politics, Culture and Society

      This module is an introduction to major themes in the political, social and cultural history of the modern world with special focus on the 20th century and the Cold War.

    • HIST523 The Peculiar Institution: Enslavement in North America, 1619-1865

      This module will examine the ways in which Africans and their descendants responded to their enslavement in British North America and the United States. It will do this through analysing a variety of primary sources and examining key historiographical debates

    • HIST524 From Company Rule to Independence: Colonial India, 1757-1947

      This module explores the major themes that influenced culture, politics and society in colonial India between the middle of the eighteenth century and Partition in 1947. British perspectives on what India was 'really like' and how it should be reformed during this period were central to the development of a broad range of issues, including criminal justice, religion, and medicine.

    • HIST525 Culture and Society. Britain c.1760 -1914

      The module content will examine key selected themes in the culture and society of Britain c.1760 ¿ 1901. In it, students will examine primary sources such as pamphlets, books and visual material, to gain a critical awareness and understanding of aspects of British culture and society in this period which may include the duel, capital punishment, mourning cultures, gambling, popular science, culinary cultures, race.

    • HIST526 Dunkirk to D-Day: The Second World War in Europe

      The module examines the Second World War in Europe and the Atlantic Ocean from 1940 to late 1944

  • Final year
  • In your final year, you’ll continue to advance your skills working alongside our expert historians in their areas of specialism. With one-to-one support, you’ll benefit from your tutor’s experience and knowledge as you create a piece of independent research on a subject of your choice, based on original research and primary resources.

    Optional modules are available this year, but may be subject to change in subsequent years.
    Core modules
    • HIST601 History Dissertation

      In this module students prepare the ground and complete a Dissertation of 10-12,000 words on a subject of their own choosing, making extensive use wherever possible of primary historical sources. Lecturing staff provide tutorial support and assistance with research and writing.

    Optional modules
    • HIST604 Piracy and Privateering, c 1560 - 1816

      This module explores piracy and privateering activity in the seas around the British Isles and further afield from the reign of Queen Elizabeth to the end of the second Barbary War in 1816. This course focuses on the social history of piracy and privateering, the organisation of pirate society, and the economic impact of piracy and privateering.

    • HIST605 African-American Experience 1890-1954

      Examining the experience of African Americans from Emancipation at the end of the Civil War to the beginning of the Civil Rights movement at the end of WWII.

    • HIST606 The Civil Rights Movement

      Examining the African American struggle for civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s.

    • HIST607 Japanese History: from Tokugawa Japan to Hirohito

      This module is an introduction to the major themes of political, social and economic development in Japan in the nineteenth and twentieth century.

    • HIST609 The French Wars of Religion 1558 - 1598

      The module will examine the causes, progress and termination of the French Wars of Religion after 1558. The main topics will be the relationships between Catholic and Protestant, the impact of war on royal authority, the experiences of confessional groups, towns, nobles and peasants, and the resolution of conflict under Henri IV.

    • HIST610 The Irish Revolution 1912-37

      This module examines the political, social and cultural history of Ireland during the period 1890-1937 with particular focus on causes and effects of partition and the nature what is known as the `Irish revolution¿.

    • HIST612 Empire of Law. Ruling the British Empire 1760-1960

      The module introduces the methodology of using law as a window to political and social history. It will deal with legal governance in the British Empire, examining how laws were created, applied, resisted and recast; how law related to powerful ideas and how legal disputes can be used as windows to social changes. The empirical content will focus on the British empire in south and south-east Asia, with frequent comparisons made with Africa and Australia.

    • HIST614 Culture and Society in Britain c. 1760-1901

      The module content will examine key selected themes in the culture and society of Britain c.1760 ¿ 1901. In it, students will examine primary sources such as pamphlets, books and visual material, to gain a critical awareness and understanding of aspects of British culture and society in this period which may include the duel, capital punishment, mourning cultures, Sunday Schools, culinary cultures, race and xenophobia.

    • HIST616 America, the United Nations and International Relations 1945 to the present

      This module provides a detailed examination of the relationship between the United States of America and the United Nations in the management of international relations from 1945 to the present.

    • HIST619 From Unification to Reunification: Key Themes in Modern German History

      This module is an introduction to the major themes of political, social and economic development in Germany, especially in the nineteenth and twentieth century. Themes include nineteenth century revolution and unification, Imperialism and WW1, from the Weimar Republic to Dictatorship, WW2, the FRG and the GDR; and revolution and reunification

    • HIST620 Elizabeth I: The Failure of a Dynasty?

      This module will allow students to explore how Elizabeth I and her regime dealt with the major religious, dynastic, social and international conflicts and challenges of her reign. Students will explore the limits of the Elizabethan regime¿s success, engaging directly with contemporary views, while also considering the subsequent history and mythology of the last Tudor monarch.

    • HIST621 Inter-War Britain 1919-40

      The module examines Britain in the period 1919-40 with an emphasis on Government and politics. The social, economic and foreign challenges facing Britain are examined for their ability to impact on policy and politics.

Every undergraduate taught course has a detailed programme specification document describing the course aims, the course structure, the teaching and learning methods, the learning outcomes and the rules of assessment.

The following programme specification represents the latest course structure and may be subject to change:

BA Hons History Programme Specification 2018 9 1473

The modules shown for this course are those currently being studied by our students, or are proposed new modules. Please note that programme structures and individual modules are subject to amendment from time to time as part of the University’s curriculum enrichment programme and in line with changes in the University’s policies and requirements.

Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

104 - 112

A levels

A typical offer will be 104 points from a minimum of 2 A levels including a grade B in History, Art History, Ancient History, Classical Civilisation, Economics, Government & Politics or Law.    

International Baccalaureate

26-28 points overall. A typical offer will be 26 points overall including three subjects at Higher Level and grade 5 at Higher Level in a relevant subject such as History, Art History, Ancient History, Classical Civilisation, Economics, Government & Politics or Law or equivalent. If overseas and not studying English within IB – you must have IELTS: 6.5 overall with 5.5 in all elements.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma
DMM.  Please contact admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.  

BTEC National Diploma modules
If you hold a BTEC qualification it is vital that you provide our Admissions team with details of the exact modules you have studied as part of the BTEC. Without this information, we may be unable to process your application quickly and you could experience significant delays in the progress of your application to study with us. Please explicitly state the full list of modules within your qualification at the time of application.

All access courses
Pass a named Access to Higher Education Diploma (preferably History, Humanities or Combined), with at least 33 credits at merit and/or distinction to include 12 credits in History (or Art History, Ancient History, Classical Civilisation, Economics, Government & Politics or Law).

GCSE
Mathematics and English language grade C/4. If you do meet these criteria please seek further advice with the admission team on ug-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Equivalent qualifications may be considered.

English language requirements

For a full list of all acceptable qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

New Student 2018 2019
Home/EU £9,250 £9,250
International £13,000 £13,400
Part time (Home/EU) To be confirmed To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per a number of credits. Please note that fees are reviewed on an annual basis. Fees and the conditions that apply to them shown in the prospectus are correct at the time of going to print. Fees shown on the web are the most up to date but are still subject to change in exceptional circumstances.

How to apply

All applications for undergraduate courses are made through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

UCAS will ask for the information contained in the box at the top of this course page including the UCAS course code and the institution code.

To apply for this course and for more information about submitting an application including application deadline dates, please visit the UCAS website.

Intercalating students wishing to apply for the final year of this course should complete a direct entry form.

Support is also available to overseas students applying to the University from our International Office via our how to apply webpage or email international-admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Where will your journey lead you?

Japanese history

Interested in Japanese history? From Tokugawa Japan to Hirohito, explore some of the major themes of political, social and economic development in Japan in the nineteenth and twentieth century.

A passion for history


Danielle Dafter, a final year BA (Hons) History student loves to explore Plymouth's historical past. 

Watch her story and discover her passion for History.
Find out more about the History course...


The student experience

As part of your studies, we offer a variety of benefits that will enhance your student experience, and promote active engagement with history and heritage teaching and learning.

Learn more about our benefits

Study overseas

Uncover a whole world of history, discover your future.

Connect with an international network of study, research and summer school opportunities to expand your experience of history in context beyond the UK

Discover more about the resources available to you

People

*These are the latest results from the National Student Survey. Please note that the data published on Unistats is updated annually in September.

The results of the National Student Survey (NSS) and the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey (DLHE) are made available to prospective students and their advisors through the Unistats website.