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- The opportunity to study a broad range of themes – political, social and cultural – from around 400AD to the present day
- Teaching by eminent and accessible scholars with wide-ranging and internationally recognised expertise
- An exciting and challenging programme offering a balance between deepening historical knowledge and developing transferable skills and groupwork
- An opportunity to study abroad in the second year and carry out work- or school-based research placements
- Assessment not just by traditional exams and coursework essays but also a personal project in the second year and the opportunity to undertake an independently researched final-year dissertation
- The opportunity to develop intellectual skills, such as effective reading, note taking and the interpretation and comparison of information from a broad range of sources and the ability to construct an historical argument and to present this coherently and elegantly with the appropriate supporting evidence
There is nothing dead about history. It is not just about understanding the past, but about looking beneath the surface of our world and coming to understand the forces which shape it, from economic and social evolution to the interaction of individuals and cultures. Keele’s historians have a world-class expertise in a wide range of fields, from Anglo-Saxon Britain to 20th-Century Africa, from religion to women's politics. They share a genuine passion for their subject and the continual mission of exploration and explanation it involves.
The narrow specialisms of A-level are challenged in a course which covers Europe and the wider world from 400AD to the present day, and which explores how past processes shape the present. In the Autumn Semester you will take Historical Research and Writing, a ground-breaking module that provides integrated training in the historical skills needed for the second and third years of study. Alongside that you choose further History modules from our wide offering, ranging from Anglo-Saxon England to Modern History. We offer further modules in medieval and early modern European history, local history, and US history, providing a comprehensive foundation to the key events and debates of English, European and global history from the 11th century. In addition, Single Honours students take the module Histories of the Extraordinary and the Everyday which concentrates on the different approaches taken by historians when challenged by the vastness of extraordinary events and the minutiae and banality of the everyday. These modules typically involve 10 lectures, 10 small-group seminars and one-to-one feedback meetings.
We also encourage you to look at relevant options offered by companion programmes, such as International Relations or American Studies.
Second year courses provide a more detailed understanding of specific periods or particular themes, while developing both the critical and the practical skills that historians need for research. You will take the core module Sources and Debates involves writing an extended essay on a key problem or controversy in historical studies which you will have chosen from a wide range of topics such as early modern witchcraft, the Indian Emergency of the 1970s, and eighteenth-century Britain. Other modules are chosen from a wide range of modules drawn from periods in history from the middle ages to the present day, and across the world from Britain to Europe, North America and Africa. Typical modules may include Saints and Society ion Medieval Europe, State and Empire in Britain c.1530-c.1720, Discovering America: from Empires to Revolutions, Victorian Society, Race and the Body in Colonial Africa, and the Holocaust.
These modules typically consist of a series of 10 lectures, 7 seminars and a one-to-one essay meetings.
You will also have an opportunity to choose a limited number of approved modules offered by other subject areas, such as Criminology, Politics and American Studies.
Many historians choose to spend one semester of their second year studying at one of our partner universities in the USA, Canada, South Africa, Asia, Europe or Australia.
You sharpen your focus and deepen your knowledge as you apply the skills developed in the past two years in original historical research. While you can choose just how in-depth you want to make your commitment to History, Single Honours students will take at least four History modules and Dual Honours students at least two. Most History teaching in the third year is organised in special subjects - a detailed study, based on original sources, of a sharply defined period or topic. A typical range of special subjects may include: The Making of Contemporary Africa, Spirituality and Social Change in the Eleventh Century, The English Civil Wars, The Kingship of Edward II, Health, Illness and Medicine in England, 1628-1858, German Occupation Policy 1938-1945, and The Partition of India.
In addition you can choose individual semester-long modules such as: The Art of Dying in Medieval and Early Modern Europe and The Struggle for Civil Rights in America.
Linked to this is an extended piece of original historical research undertaken with your tutor’s supervision. For many, the dissertation is the highlight of the degree course, and several are inspired to carry on to postgraduate research. Some dissertations have been so good that they have later been published.
Codes and Combinations
Students are candidates for the degree of Bachelor of Arts (with Honours) (BA Hons) if their two Principal courses are in humanities and/or social science subjects.
All students who study a science subject are candidates for the degree of Bachelor of Science (with Honours) (BSc Hons).
Dual Honours Course can be combined with:
|American Studies:||TV71||Human Geography:||VL17|
|Applied Environmental Science:||FV71||Human Resource Management:||NV61|
|Computer Science:||GV41||Media, Communications and Culture:||PV31|
|Creative Computing:||GV4C||Medicinal Chemistry:||FVD1|
|Forensic Science:||FV41||Smart Systems:||GV71|
* Restrictions on choice of electives
|Single Honours History||V101|
Please indicate your choice of second subject (chosen from those listed above) in the 'further information' section of your UCAS form.
|History with Humanities Foundation Year:
This four-year degree course is designed for students who wish to
study History but lack the necessary background qualifications.
Teaching and Assessment
First- and second-year teaching is based on a mixture of lectures designed to introduce you to the broad themes of a module and group teaching in seminars of about 15 students in which you will deepen your knowledge and understanding through discussions led by a staff tutor. One-to-one consultations and feedback sessions are also part of the programme to help you develop coursework and revision skills. Third-year teaching consists almost exclusively of seminars, as well as individual supervision and workshops for dissertations. Assessment is by a combination of written examinations, both seen and unseen, and continuous assessment, including coursework essays, portfolios of shorter assignments, class participation and the dissertation. We have an innovative assessment pattern that ranges from traditional essays and exams to diverse forms of assessment including presentations and take-home exams and which may also include creative writing assessments. We also make extensive use of web-based tools to support personal learning.
Skills and Careers
Most historians do not use their historical knowledge directly in their future careers, but are often surprised by just how well trained and employable they have become. Our graduates have a very good employment rate precisely because, in addition to the deeper understanding of the past and present they have gained, the skills of a good historian are applicable in a very wide range of future careers. Students will have spent three years analysing complex situations, evaluating evidence that is often biased or partial, and constructing, presenting and defending their own arguments both orally and in writing, individually and as part of a team. Many employers recognise the value of these transferable skills. Within six months of leaving, 91% of Keele University History graduates are in full time employment or further study - well above the national average. They may have begun Master’s or teaching courses, embarked on careers in local and central government, industry, graduate-level management positions or the service sector. Others, of course, stayed with the subject, becoming teachers, going into postgraduate research (some of our staff originally studied here) or otherwise becoming professional historians.
Viewed over the longer term, the evidence shows that studying history opens a surprising number of doors. Amongst our History alumni we have the founder of Eye Independent Films, chairman of the Association of Preservation Trusts, an Assistant Director of the British Council, a Permanent Secretary in the Civil Service, Chairman of a brewery, many barristers, Secretary General of a Trade Union, a Director of Education, Head of the Press Office at ITN, merchant bankers, a Prison Governor, accountants, publishers, journalists, industrialists, playwrights, a minister in the government of Gibraltar, head of a Cambridge College and the first Scottish female Vice-Chancellor.
The evidence is that Keele historians are well adapted to meet the changing challenges of the employment market and this almost certainly reflects the advantages of having read dual honours at a well-reputed institution of higher education.
History destinations for graduates who completed their undergraduate course in 2012:
Of those who responded:
|Working and studying||11.4%|
|Assumed to be unemployed||6.7%|
Want to work in?
Many students are excited by careers that utilise the academic knowledge and skills developed on their degree:
- History Teacher
- Heritage Manager
- Information Officer
- Academic Librarian
- Museum Conservator
- Records Manager
For those who do not wish to pursue a career directly related to their degree, here are some career ideas to open up options:
- Civil Service Administrator
- Politician's Assistant
- Education Administrator
Information will be available shortly.
Single Honours students may choose to study only History modules across their three years of study, picking topics from the wide range of specialisms we offer, or concentrating many of their choices within a narrower field such as pre-1750 history of the history of conflict. Single Honours students may, however, choose around a quarter of their modules from other disciplines such as Politics, or by taking a foreign language alongside their study of history.
Many combinations of History and another discipline can be studied at Dual Honours, from very diverse combinations such as History and Mathematics to combinations with a cognate discipline such as History and English.
History and English
It is possible to construct a programme of closely related modules in these two subjects, studying Byron and Dickens in English alongside history courses on Victorian Britain, or combining study of Milton and Bunyan with the Reformation or the English Civil War. Knowledge of the historical context enriches your understanding of literature while a critical appreciation of the literature or film of a period adds another dimension to historical analysis. You could take courses dealing with similar themes – revolution, religion, the experience of women – and explore the contrasting approaches of literary scholars and historians. Members of staff in English and History co-operate in graduate teaching in areas such as Victorian Studies, and in seminars and research projects in early modern English History. English and History is a very useful pairing for intending teachers. The critical and analytical skills, breadth of knowledge, and the insights into a variety of human experience fostered in both disciplines fit you for a variety of careers in the expanding cultural and heritage sectors.
For Dual Honours courses, other combinations are available