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

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.

Pre-register for Clearing

If you are yet to make an enquiry to study with the University of Plymouth and are interested in securing a place for September 2020, you can pre-register for Clearing to receive priority treatment on results day.

Read our Clearing advice

Careers with this subject

Enhance your employability ...
A history degree at Plymouth won’t just set you up for a job as a historian after graduation. In fact, it’s great preparation for many careers, often prized more highly by employers than specialist programmes. Business people, lawyers, teachers and managers are often recruited from people studying history, so it’s a good choice if you want to keep your options open. 

Graduates from our history courses have forged a whole range of successful careers in areas as varied as:

  • law
  • marketing, PR and media jobs
  • government and public administration
  • museums, libraries and the arts
  • teaching and education.

Discover how a degree in History can enhance your career opportunities.

Key features

We’re very proud of our National Student Survey (NSS) 2019 return showing 87% expressed overall satisfaction with the course. 

92% agreed the course is intellectually stimulating and staff are good at explaining things.
98% expressed that they have been able to contact staff when they needed to.

  • 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.
  • Participate in local/day, national and international field trips which are free or subsidised for all students
  • 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

    • HIST412 History and Heritage

      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 or Canada for up to a year.

    Choose an option from our new group of modules on Future Societies and the Environment:
    • In your second year of study, you will be able to choose from modules across English and Creative Writing, History, and Art History, on our theme of ‘Future Societies and the Environment’. Aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the modules focus on the challenges for future societies, including sustainable communities and the environment, and the ways in which the Humanities can engage and make a difference.

    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
    • ARHI516 Imagery in Online and Offline Worlds

      This module provides Single Honours and Joint Honours Art History students with a comprehensive understanding of current approaches towards mass media and visual culture. Particular emphasis will be put on medium-specificity, content analysis and audience studies.

    • ENGL527 Literatures of Environmental Crisis

      his module explores the ways in which contemporary literature and literary studies are responding to our current era of ecological crisis. It introduces students to the debates, modes of reading and key ideas of ecocritical literary criticism.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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

    • HIST528 First World War at Sea

      This module examines World War I at Sea. It will investigate the changing role of maritime history and the history of the sea in this period. This module also investigates logistical, naval, cultural, political, technological changes and social history of World War I from a maritime perspective.

  • 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.

    • HIST606 The Civil Rights Movement

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

    • 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¿.

    • 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.

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

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

    • HIST625 Anglo-American Relations in Maritime Perspective

      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.

    • HIST626 Filth and the Victorians

      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 Programme Specification 2020 21 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

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

Fees, costs and funding

EU applicants should refer to our dedicated Brexit webpage for details of the implications of the UK’s plans to leave the European Union.

New Student 2020 2021
Home/EU £9,250 To be confirmed
International £13,800 To be confirmed
Part time (Home/EU) £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.

School of Humanities and Performing Arts Academic Excellence Bursary

This £1,000 bursary is awarded in recognition of outstanding academic achievement to all first year students enrolling in 2019 who achieve 144 UCAS tariff points or above. The bursary takes the form of a cash payment and will be paid in three instalments over the year.

Eligible students can only receive one bursary in any given academic year. Should you qualify for two or more, you will only be entitled to receive whichever has the highest value.

Find out more

Undergraduate scholarships for international students

To reward outstanding achievement the University of Plymouth offers scholarship schemes to help towards funding your studies.

Find out whether you are eligible and how you can apply

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.

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.

People

No more heroes anymore? 

‘Scott of the Antarctic’ is one of Plymouth’s most famous sons. Many view Scott as a hero and a true pioneer. While some have since viewed him as a man who was ill-organised and displayed faulty judgement. Effectively with historical revisionism, we have to accept both sides of this story are true.

"If we only focus on their good points, we are only telling half the story. When we focus on the negatives as well, achievements become so much greater."

Dr Harry Bennett talks about the two sides of Robert Scott and connecting Plymouth’s history to the history of the world.

 

Opportunities and experiences for history students

History field trips

History is about more than just sitting in the lecture theatre or seminar room. At Plymouth we believe students need to get out into the field to experience and engage with a wide variety of different types of historical sites ranging from museums to stately homes to battleships to Cornish mines. Every student will have the opportunity to take part in a range of local, national and international trips during their degree

Discover more about our London, local and international field trips

Book bundles and bursaries

At Plymouth we want every history student to succeed in their studies. To help you achieve this we will provide all of your core history module text books at no extra cost. When you join us in year one, you'll receive a ‘book bundle’ of 11 text books that will allow you to dive straight into your studies. You will also receive printed handbooks and others resources to complement your studies throughout your degree. 

Find out about our book bundles and bursaries.

Internship opportunities

What next with your history degree? To help you decide we run a range of paid internships each year for our students. These internships will give you the opportunity to gain some valuable work experience to build your CV. They also allow our students to try out some sectors such as teaching, archives, heritage industry and public history to see if you would like to pursue a career in these areas.

Discover more about our internships.

Student community

Being a history student at the University of Plymouth is about more than the lectures and seminars you will attend or the essays you will write. It’s about being part of a vibrant and active community of historians. It’s about taking part in a range of activities ranging from our student run History Society to events organised by your fellow classmates, such as a Japanese cultural evening or a film showing or an oral history masterclass. Being a history student at the University of Plymouth is also about engaging with the wider local community through events such as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Digital History Collection Day we held in 2019.

Discover more about our community.

Where will your journey lead you?

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. 


Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum? Exploring the truth behind the pirate stereotype

From wooden legs to walking the plank, Dr Elaine Murphy unpacks the myths which have influenced our representation of the classic pirate.

"If you were an adventurer, a place like Plymouth with its perceived streets glistering with gold, was a place to come down to and sign-up for a voyage. Perhaps to go out and attack the Spanish, or to the Caribbean, but with the ultimate end goal of coming back rich."

Read the full story

History research with the Arts Institute

Learn more about our internationally, nationally and locally recognised research. We have a vibrant research community with cross-disciplinary collaborations.
Visit the Arts Institute website

* 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.