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History is a vast and mighty subject due to the amount of time that it spans over. The subject is concerned with the past, what events occurred, why these events happened and how they may have affected other circumstances within the history of the human race, and the Earth as a whole. As History features many areas over the course of the degree, students should expect to cross over other subjects during their studies.

Studying History requires analysis of specific and significant events, from politics, war, revolution and natural events which have shaped society over time. Historians tend to link events to society and culture and apply their findings to a group of areas, or to wider history as a whole.

What A Levels do I need?

The majority of universities will ask students to hold a history A-level as a prerequisite for the course. Other humanities subjects may help student’s application to university, although, there is an extensive range of entry requirements listed from 300 UCAS tariff points and a grade C in History to gain admission to university.

Students are advised to check with their chosen universities and desired courses to ensure they understand the university entry requirements listed, and what they need to obtain to get into university.

You can also see our History personal statement examples; these will help you to gain an insight into what you need for your personal statement.

What are my study options?

Students may wish to study a Bachelor’s of Arts (BA) History degree on its own or to combine it with another subject area. History fits nicely with other subject areas, and there are large options available to complete a joint honours degree. For example, students may wish to study: History, Philosophy and Politics, English Literature with History, History with Politics, French Studies and History – as well as German and Spanish Studies – History and Religious Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies and History and International Relations degree; all courses available as a BA degree.

Many degree courses offer a range of modules for students to choose and study, enabling candidates to tailor their degree to suit a particular area of interest, or to aid employment. The first year will most likely entail individuals studying broad areas of history to gain an overview and insight into the subject, and these core modules will put in place the foundations of the course.

History degrees tend to last three years, and although there are many other courses that you can take with a sandwich year (Where students spend a year working in the industry or through a placement) history as a subject, holds fewer opportunities to do this. However, if students study history alongside another subject, such as a foreign language, may have the option to spend a year abroad, although this depends on the course and university, which is why students should research and visit university open days to see what’s they have to offer!

Studying in this area features the ability to interpret information, understanding its impact and memorising facts, figures and information about events. Students should expect to attend lectures and seminars as well as taking part in discussions with peers and staff members. Candidate’s analytical skills will be assessed through the submission of coursework and written essays, and during the final year, will include a dissertation – (Learn more – University terms glossary).

History degree - The Colosseum

What should I expect from studying History?

History involves in-depth research and studying allowing individuals to come to their conclusions about events – even historical or famous historical events which already have established outcomes.

Students will have to interact with a range of sources, from old texts to paintings to unfold happenings that occurred hundreds or even thousands of years ago.

How will I be assessed?

Students will have a mixture of written coursework and examinations for assessment, as each module, degree and university varies. Individuals who find it easier to work with exams or coursework should research how their course is assessed beforehand to ensure that they are most comfortable throughout the course.

Certain modules may even weigh critical reports, short tests, literature reviews, presentations and group work as assessment.

What skills will I learn from studying History?

Studying this subject will improve candidate’s ability to think critically and argue knowledgeably as well as be able to fight both sides of the debate when it comes to what happened during a historical event.

Students who attend university will gain numerous sets of skills which are transferable throughout life and employment after graduation. Students will learn how to manage their time and organisational skills throughout their degree. Furthermore, student moving away to university will gain experience and social skills through group work and presentations.

Why study History?

Events from the past define society and our cultures, and having a thorough insight of these developments may provide understanding into events that are taking place presently, or within the near future.

Studying this subject allows individuals to step into a variety of cultures, eras and times as well as issuing a range of transferable skills. Students will be able to interpret and analyse information, how to provide and follow through with a solid argument and how to communicate effectively, both verbally and through written coursework.

History degree - Greek temple

What happens after I graduate?

History graduates may find themselves working within the marketing, PR, advertising, journalism and publishing industries, as well as business and finance.

For graduates who wish to stick to their degree direction may consider working in a museum, towards becoming a curator, or establishing themselves within research and academia, if they fancy obtaining a master’s degree classification and PhD.

Will it help me get a job?

Research and analysis skills will come in handy when looking for work, as well as writing, reasoning and debate skills that may land you that job. From working for a charity organisation to analysing polling data for the Labour Party – your skills can take you anywhere.

What types of jobs can I get from studying History?

Studying history equips candidates with skills highly sought-after by employers after graduation. Graduates may find employment in financial services, arts, media, marketing, teaching, government, retail, tourism, consultancy, manufacturing and engineering, libraries, archives, museums, IT and communications as well as arts and media.

What can I study after studying History?

For individuals who wish to continue their studies, may find they can achieve a Master’s of Arts (MA) or Master’s of Philosophy/PhD in History, or a graduate diploma in historical studies, or a postgraduate certificate (PCert) in Regional and local history.

Famous History studies alumni

Actor Ed Norton, known for his roles in Fight Club, American History X and the remake of The Italian Job studied a Bachelor’s in History from Yale University, and Sacha Baron Cohen, recognised for his work as Borat, Bruno, The Dictator and Grimsby gained a Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Cambridge.

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