School of Society and Culture

BA (Hons) History with Foundation

Six centuries, six continents: war, sex, faith, beauty, the human experience. It’s all there to discover. But, for some reason, you’ve not submitted your application. You wonder if you’re the type of person who goes to university. Perhaps you don’t have 32-48 UCAS points or other qualifications. Our four-year BA may be perfect for you.

In your first year, you’ll be equipped with an enabling inter-disciplinary knowledge of the humanities. You’ll acquire a toolkit of skills in a supportive environment, and the confidence to know how to use it. Upon successful completion of your first year, you’ll join the rest of the undergraduate BA (Hons) History community for three lively years of discipline-specific study and inter-disciplinary enquiry that gives you the chance to explore the past and discover your future.

2020 NSS results for University of Plymouth's History courses

  • 94.72% overall student satisfaction rating.
  • Ranked 2 out of 90 universities for students feeling part of a community of historians.
  • 98% of students say that their history course enabled them to explore ideas in depth (ranked 4 out of 90 universities).  
  • Ranked 5 out of 90 universities for quality of teaching, academic support, assessment and feedback.
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Careers with this subject

The importance of employability is reflected in our pedagogy which offers you access to all the employability initiatives open to students on our BA programmes: skills training; a wide range of internships and placements including paid and volunteer opportunities in sectors including schools (primary/secondary); archives and libraries; heritage sector including museums, NT properties; opportunities to contribute to INK (the English and Creative Writing magazine) and other university publications; work experience opportunities. 

Your personal tutor and University careers advisers will help you reflect on your career aspirations and encourage you to make full use of the extra-curricular opportunities offered by the department, the University and the city of Plymouth, as well as offering guidance on practical skills such as the writing of CVs and interview techniques.

Our students progress to a wide range of careers in, for example, government, public administration, law, accountancy and finance, teaching, marketing, PR and media, museums and the heritage industry, arts management, archival and library posts, graduate management training schemes, and postgraduate study.

Key features

This four-year course is designed to give you the grounding necessary to progress through your undergraduate studies in History, and through the many opportunities we give you,

find the best possible direction to grow your love of learning. 

Your first year will: 

  • welcome you to an exciting and eclectic curriculum which will develop your knowledge of the disciplines of history, English literature, and creative writing while also engaging with lively interdisciplinary enquiry across a wide range of historical periods and literary forms.
  • provide training in all the skills required for a successful passage through your undergraduate study: research, use of digital resources, essay-writing, academic argument, presentations, independent study.
  • introduce you to supportive and accessible academic staff in a welcoming community.
  • immerse you in an academic environment offering a wide range of field trips, access to free cultural events through The Arts Institute, student-led magazines, internships and extra-curricular work experiences.
  • give you access to state-of-the-art facilities, library and learning resources on our city-centre campus.
  • Enable you to find a route for you, whether you are returning to education after a break or if you come with qualifications other than A levels.
  • Be required to attend classes only on Mondays and Tuesdays, and Wednesday mornings.

When you join the BA (Hons) History with Foundation, you’ll: 

  • 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.
  • Have the opportunity to join our international exchange programme which 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 of online lectures and resources.
  • We’re very proud of our National Student Survey (NSS) 2020 return showing 95% expressed overall satisfaction with the course. 97% agreed the course is intellectually stimulating and 98% said staff are good at explaining things. 97% expressed that they have been able to contact staff when they needed to.

This course is an integrated part of the BA (Hons) History degree at the University of Plymouth. Successful completion of your foundation year (Year 0) will not lead to a separate award or qualification its own right but provides progression onto Year 1 of one of the following humanities degree programmes:

BA (Hons) History
BA (Hons) English
BA (Hons) English and Creative Writing
BA (Hons) Creative Writing (from 2022)
BA (Hons) Art History
BA (Hons) Anthropology

Course details
  • Year 0

  • Knowledge, skills, confidence

    In your first year, you’ll you acquire the knowledge and skills you’ll need to progress through your studies and become a confident, independent learner. You’ll take four modules focusing on the interplay of history, literature, and culture in the past and the present, examining the historical and literary stories that have shaped our world. 

    The autumn semester contains two discipline-specific 30 credit modules, one in history and one in English and creative writing. The spring semester comprises an interdisciplinary module that broadens out the meaning of the humanities and an independent study project module. All modules will have a strong focus on study skills related to the progression to higher education.

    Entering full-time study can require many adjustments. To help you make the transition, all your classes will take place on Mondays and Tuesdays, and Wednesday mornings.

    Core modules

    • Stories that Changed the World (HUM001)

      This module explores the key texts and voices that have changed the ways in which we think and write the Humanities. From the formation myths of the ancient world and the poets of the Renaissance to Imperialism, Marxism and Feminism in the modern world, we will investigate how thinkers, poets and writers have shaped our contemporary world, and the ways in which we study it. The module will have a distinct strand of study skills to assist students in acquiring the tools needed for progression to Higher Education. This module will contain a particular focus on reading, note-taking and essay writing.

    • Imagining the Past: Voyages into Time, Space, and Experience (HUM002)

      This module will introduce three concepts central to historical study in the Humanities: Time; Space; and Experience. Students will work with a range of sources to understand how historians engage with the past. With a distinct emphasis on study skills, students will develop the tools needed for progression to Higher Education, with a particular focus on analysing textual materials and essay-writing.

    • Writing the Now: Literature, History and Visual Culture (HUM003)

      This module examines the role of the Humanities in the contemporary world exploring the ways in which literature, art, film, media, memory and heritage impact on history and writing today. Students will examine a range of contemporary literary texts as well as visual and media sources and consider the role of technologies in the Humanities. The module will be constructed around the exploration of key themes, for example gender and sexuality, faith, war, and race and ethnicity, using interdisciplinary approaches to identify how they have shaped the Humanities of the 21st century. The module will have a distinct strand of study skills to assist students in acquiring the tools needed for progression to Higher Education. This module will contain a particular focus on collaborative work, presentation skills and the Digital Humanities

    • Independent Project (HUM004)

      Students will undertake, with supervision, an individual project. A choice of topics, based upon the specialisms of HPA staff will be provided. It can be an extended critical essay in English or History, or a creative writing project supported by a substantial critical reflection. The module includes a core of taught research skills sessions with an additional focus on work planning and time management.

  • Year 1

  • Broad sweeps of time

    In your second of four years, you'll progress your knowledge of 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

    • What is History? (HIST401)

      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.

    • America from settlement to Empire (HIST406)

      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.

    • World History since 1850 (HIST407)

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

    • Fractured Isles: Britain and Ireland 1640-1990 (HIST409)

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

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

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

    • History and Heritage (HIST412)

      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

  • Begin to specialise

    During your third 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

    • Preparing for Dissertation Research (HIST502)

      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.

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

      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

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

      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.

    • America Since 1900 (HIST509)

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

    • Heritage and Public History (HIST511)

      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.

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

      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.

    • Other Voices - Marginalisation in Early Modern Europe (HIST515)

      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.

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

      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.

    • Tudor and Stuart Britain (HIST519)

      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.

    • Global Cold War: Politics, Culture and Society (HIST520)

      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.

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

      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.

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

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

  • Final Year

  • Becoming a historian

    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

    • History Dissertation (HIST601)

      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

    • Piracy and Privateering, c 1560 - 1816 (HIST604)

      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.

    • The Civil Rights Movement (HIST606)

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

    • The French Wars of Religion 1558 - 1598 (HIST609)

      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.

    • The Irish Revolution 1912-37 (HIST610)

      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.

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

      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.

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

      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

    • Inter-War Britain 1919-40 (HIST621)

      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.

    • Modern Japan: Transforming Empire and Identity at the Edge (HIST624)

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

    • Anglo-American Relations in Maritime Perspective (HIST625)

      This module introduces students to the major themes of the history of British and American maritime strategy, naval competition, and international co-operation between 1775 and 1991. It challenges students to rethink the so-called ‘special relationship’ through a maritime lens, while providing an exploration of naval history and international relations since the beginning of the American Revolution.

    • Filth and the Victorians (HIST626)

      In this module students study the Victorian era from the perspective of environment, public hygiene, cultural values of cleanliness and fear of physical, moral and other forms of contamination. Drawing on urban histories, histories of medicine and science, the module also uses a range of literary and artistic sources.

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 with Foundation Programme Specification_6435

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.

In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the changeable nature of the situation and any updates to government guidance, we may need to make further, last minute adjustments to how we deliver our teaching and learning on some or all of our programmes, at any time during the academic year. We want to reassure you that even if we do have to adjust the way in which we teach our programmes, we will be working to maintain the quality of the student learning experience and learning outcomes at all times.
Entry requirements

UCAS tariff

32 - 48

Don’t have 32-48 UCAS tariff points? We will consider ‘non-standard’ applications on a case-by-case basis.

A levels
: Typical offer 32 points from a minimum of two A levels.

18 Unit BTEC National Diploma/QCF Extended Diploma: PPP Refer to tutor, however BTEC are usually only considered with another qualification i.e. A level. 

International Baccalaureate: 24 overall 

All Access courses: Pass a named Access to HE Diploma (e.g. Preferably English, humanities or combined), including GCSE English and Mathematics grade C/4 or above or equivalent.

GCSE English: Grade C/4 or above, if your grade is lower then please refer to the institution for further advice.

We are looking for applicants with good potential including with non-standard qualifications and background, so will consider every application on a case by case basis.

Get in touch with our friendly admissions team on +44 (0)1752 585858 or email us at admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

English language requirements

We welcome applicants with international qualifications. To view other accepted qualifications please refer to our tariff glossary.

Fees, costs and funding

The UK is no longer part of the European Union. EU applicants should refer to our Brexit information to understand the implications.

New Student 2021 2022
Home £9,250 To be confirmed
International £14,200 To be confirmed
Part time (Home) £770 To be confirmed
Full time fees shown are per annum. Part time fees shown are per 10 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. For more information about fees and funding please visit www.plymouth.ac.uk/money.

Additional costs

This course is delivered by the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business and more details of any additional costs associated with the faculty's courses are listed on the following page: Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Business additional costs.

£500 Humanities Foundation Discount

We in the School of Humanities and Performing Arts like to reward those applicants who show a significant commitment to studying with us.

Therefore all applicants holding a valid offer for the BA (Hons) History with Foundation will be eligible to receive a discount of £500 in their foundation year, which will be automatically deducted from their tuition fees upon enrolment onto the course in September 2021.

How to apply

There are two ways to apply for the foundation course. 

Route 1: applications can be 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 through this route, please visit the UCAS website.

Route 2: non-standard applications. If you come with other qualifications and/or do not have 48 UCAS tariff points, please get in touch with our friendly admissions team on +44 (0)1752 585858 or email us at admissions@plymouth.ac.uk. 

We will consider all applications on a case-by-case basis. 

International students: 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.

Not quite got these qualifications, or you bring with you other relevant experience? We will consider ‘non-standard applications’.   

Get in touch with our friendly admissions team on +44 (0)1752 585858 or email us at admissions@plymouth.ac.uk.

Could BA (Hons) History with Foundation be for you?

"The course offered me a chance to work on techniques i didn't think I was too strong in, like referencing or wording an essay right."

Hear why our students think this course is a great way to start your time at Plymouth

£500 Humanities Foundation Bursary

We in the School of Humanities and Performing Arts like to reward those applicants who show a significant commitment to studying with us.

Therefore all applicants holding a valid offer for the BA (Hons) History with Foundation Year will be eligible to receive a bursary of £500 which will be automatically deducted from their tuition fees upon enrolment onto the course in September 2021.

Teaching 

The foundation runs over two semesters, each 15 weeks in length. It is delivered through a mixture of lectures, seminars and tutorials. Typically, lectures provide key information on a particular area and this is consolidated through seminars. Some modules will contain practical classes for IT skills. 

There will also be one to one tutorial support, both academic and pastoral, offered by your tutors and Foundation manager. Normally you will receive 8 to 12 contact hours per week but further consolidation takes place through independent study and/or voluntary workshops provided outside formal contact hours. Emphasis is placed on developing confidence and seminar classes will be small to ensure individual needs can be met.

Assessment

Assessment is by 100% coursework. 

Examples of the types of assessments include: critical essays; portfolios of critical and analytical writing; portfolios of creative writing; evaluation of group presentations; digital media writings such as blogs or wiki posts. 

There will be both individual and group assessment to enable students to practice and rehearse skills and knowledge individually and in teams.

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Learn from experts in their field

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