History and Sociology (Including Year Abroad)

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Academic Year of Entry: 2023/24 - 2024/25
Course overview
(BA) Bachelor of Arts
History and Sociology (Including Year Abroad)
University of Essex
University of Essex
Philosophical, Historical and Interdisciplinary Studies (School of)
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree


Professional accreditation


Admission criteria

A-levels: BBB

BTEC: DDM, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

IB: 30 points or three Higher Level certificates with 555
We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programme Courses (formerly certificates) at both Higher and Standard Level. Exact offer levels will vary depending on the range of subjects being taken at higher and standard level, and the course applied for.
We can also consider combinations with BTECs or other qualifications in the Career-related programme – the acceptability of BTECs and other qualifications depends on the subject studied, advice on acceptability can be provided. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Access to HE Diploma: 6 level 3 credits at Distinction and 39 level 3 credits at Merit, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

T-levels: Distinction, depending on subject studied - advice on acceptability can be provided.

What if I don’t achieve the grades I hoped?
If your final grades are not as high as you had hoped, the good news is you may still be able to secure a place with us on a course which includes a foundation year. Visit our undergraduate application information page for more details.

What if I have a non-traditional academic background?
Don’t worry. To gain a deeper knowledge of your course suitability, we will look at your educational and employment history, together with your personal statement and reference.

You may be considered for entry into Year 1 of your chosen course. Alternatively, some UK and EU applicants may be considered for Essex Pathways, an additional year of study (known as a foundation year/year 0) helping students gain the necessary skills and knowledge in order to succeed on their chosen course. You can find a list of Essex Pathways courses and entry requirements here

If you are a mature student, further information is here

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) code

English language requirements for applicants whose first language is not English: IELTS 6.0 overall. Different requirements apply for second year entry, and specified component grades are also required for applicants who require a visa to study in the UK.

Other English language qualifications may be acceptable so please contact us for further details. If we accept the English component of an international qualification then it will be included in the information given about the academic levels listed above. Please note that date restrictions may apply to some English language qualifications

If you are an international student requiring a visa to study in the UK please see our immigration webpages for the latest Home Office guidance on English language qualifications.

If you do not meet our IELTS requirements then you may be able to complete a pre-sessional English pathway that enables you to start your course without retaking IELTS.

Additional Notes

If you’re an international student, but do not meet the English language or academic requirements for direct admission to this degree, you could prepare and gain entry through a pathway course. Find out more about opportunities available to you at the University of Essex International College here.

Course qualifiers

A course qualifier is a bracketed addition to your course title to denote a specialisation or pathway that you have achieved via the completion of specific modules during your course. The specific module requirements for each qualifier title are noted below. Eligibility for any selected qualifier will be determined by the department and confirmed by the final year Board of Examiners. If the required modules are not successfully completed, your course title will remain as described above without any bracketed addition. Selection of a course qualifier is optional and student can register preferences or opt-out via Online Module Enrolment (eNROL).


Rules of assessment

Rules of assessment are the rules, principles and frameworks which the University uses to calculate your course progression and final results.

Additional notes


External examiners

Staff photo
Dr Mark Williams

Senior Lecturer in Early Modern History

Cardiff University

Dr Ingeborg Dornan

Reader in History

Brunel University London

External Examiners provide an independent overview of our courses, offering their expertise and help towards our continual improvement of course content, teaching, learning, and assessment. External Examiners are normally academics from other higher education institutions, but may be from the industry, business or the profession as appropriate for the course. They comment on how well courses align with national standards, and on how well the teaching, learning and assessment methods allow students to develop and demonstrate the relevant knowledge and skills needed to achieve their awards. External Examiners who are responsible for awards are key members of Boards of Examiners. These boards make decisions about student progression within their course and about whether students can receive their final award.

eNROL, the module enrolment system, is now open until Monday 21 October 2024 8:59AM, for students wishing to make changes to their module options.


Core You must take this module.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Core with Options You can choose which module to study.
You must pass this module. No failure can be permitted.
Compulsory You must take this module.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Compulsory with Options You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.
Optional You can choose which module to study.
There may be limited opportunities to continue on the course/be eligible for the degree if you fail.

Year 1 - 2023/24

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  SC111-4-FY-CO  The Sociological Imagination  Core  30  30 
02  HR173-4-FY-CO  Rebellious Pasts: Challenging and Creating Histories  Core  30  30 
03  SC101-4-FY-CO  Researching Social Life I  Compulsory  30  30 
04    History option(s)  Optional  30  30 
05  HR510-4-FY-CO  History Works: Career Portfolio  Compulsory 

Year 2 - 2024/25

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  SC201-5-FY-CO  Power and Agency in a Global World  Compulsory  30  30 
02  HR242-5-FY-CO  Exploring History: Research Workshop  Compulsory  30  30 
03    SC202-5-AU and/or SC203-5-AU and/or SC207-5-AU and/or Sociology option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
04    History option(s) from list  Optional  30  30 
05  CS207-5-AU-CO  Beyond the BA: Building Career and Employability Readiness   Compulsory 

Year Abroad/Placement - 2025/26

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  AW121-6-FY-CO  Abroad Module 120 Credits  Compulsory  120  120 

Year 3 - 2026/27

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Min Credits Max Credits
01  SC301-6-FY-CO  Rethinking Modernity  Compulsory  30  30 
02    HR831-6-FY or SC831-6-FY  Compulsory with Options  30  30 
03    History option(s)  Optional  30  30 
04    History or Sociology option(s)  Optional  30  30 
05  CS307-6-AU-CO  Beyond the BA: Preparing for Life as a Graduate  Compulsory 

Exit awards

A module is given one of the following statuses: 'core' – meaning it must be taken and passed; 'compulsory' – meaning it must be taken; or 'optional' – meaning that students can choose the module from a designated list. The rules of assessment may allow for limited condonement of fails in 'compulsory' or 'optional' modules, but 'core' modules cannot be failed. The status of the module may be different in any exit awards which are available for the course. Exam Boards will consider students' eligibility for an exit award if they fail the main award or do not complete their studies.

Programme aims

  • Enable students to study a range of historical topics, providing both an outline of the principal developments and a focused study on a range of specific themes.

  • Enable students to examine historical events and changes in cross-national, thematic, and comparative perspective, with an understanding of social, cultural, political and economic contexts.

  • Enable students to understand the distinctive character of sociological thinking.

  • Familiarise students with models of historical analysis and the main theoretical traditions of sociology.

  • Develop students' understandings of the relationship between the past and the present.

  • Enable students to design and conduct an independent study on a specialist topic of their choice in the field of history and/or sociology.

  • Develop skills of critical enquiry, independent learning, research, analysis and argument that are valuable for a wide range of future careers, further study, and lifetime learning.

  • Learning outcomes and learning, teaching and assessment methods

    On successful completion of the programme a graduate should demonstrate knowledge and skills as follows:

    A: Knowledge and understanding

    A1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of European history c 1500-1750

    A2: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of thematic historical topic and/or of key sociological concepts and theories

    A3: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of specialised historical topics in greater depth

    A4: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of fundamental principles of historical and/or sociological analysis, such as concepts of continuity, change and comparative analysis and of social diversity and culture

    A5: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of sources available for historical research and/or the epistemological, ethical and political dimensions of sociological research

    A6: Demonstrate a knowledge of the intellectual foundations of sociology

    A7: Demonstrate a knowledge of key sociological concepts and theories

    A8: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of aspects of HE in another culture

    Learning methods

    The structure of the degree is based on progression from foundational work in the first year (A1, A6) to more specialised courses (A2 and A3) in the second and third year.

    In sociology there is a strong emphasis on developing students' theoretical understanding of sociological work through the progressive structuring of material in the first, second and third year compulsory core courses (A6-A7).

    Knowledge of A1-A4, A6-A7 is acquired through lectures, seminars, independent reading and coursework.

    A4 is developed in particular in the second-year compulsory module.

    A5 is the focus of the third-year independent dissertation.

    Assessment methods

    Knowledge and understanding of A1-A4, A6-A7 is continuously assessed through coursework and examination.

    Essays are the principal form of coursework assessment for history and sociology, supplemented by a range of other assessments which may include document analyses, reviews, and other shorter assignments; assessed presentations/seminar participation and oral contributions, and in-class tests and self-reflexive journals.

    The independent dissertation tests knowledge of A5 in particular.

    Sociology examinations are principally unseen, essay based, and open book.

    B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

    B1: Assemble, analyse and synthesise primary and secondary data

    B2: Formulate and answer historical and/or sociological questions, with use of historical evidence and sociological tools

    B3: Evaluate and compare competing historical and/or and sociological theories and interpretations

    B4: Explain historical events, contexts and change with reference to social, political, economic and cultural forces and factors

    B5: Reconstruct the mentalities of past societies

    B6: Formulate and present reasoned and effective historical and/or sociological arguments

    B7: Understand, summarise and critically assess sociological and/or historical work

    Learning methods

    Skills 1-7 are introduced and developed through seminar discussions, essays, and other written and oral assignments.

    The teaching environment of seminars and classes, which emphasises student-focused discussion, enables students to develop all eight skills through discussion and practice, and to receive feedback from peers and tutors.

    Assessment methods

    All skills are assessed through the usual means of coursework and examination: a variety of types of coursework across the history and sociology curricular assess skills specifically.

    C: Practical skills

    C1: Retrieve relevant sociological and historical evidence using bibliographies and web searches

    C2: Critically read and evaluate secondary and/or primary historical sources

    C3: Summarise, report and evaluate sociological arguments, sociological texts and sociological findings

    C4: Work in groups to consider a question or clarify a topic

    C5: Students will be able to apply the necessary organisational and cultural skills for living and working abroad

    Learning methods

    Participation in seminar discussion, focusing on prepared readings or set questions; preparation of written and oral presentations in history and sociology courses develop skills C1-C3.

    Methods develop the ability to abstract and synthesize relevant information from a range of primary and secondary sources, using printed, electronic and, where appropriate, archival sources; the methods produce the ability to write or present an analysis assimilating complex arguments and significant level of data and to express oneself clearly and with cogency.

    The final-year dissertation enables students to take skills C1-C3 to a higher level, demonstrating an ability to frame a research proposal and to identify and apply appropriate research methods.

    Students are strongly encouraged to discuss their dissertations with members of academic staff but are required to conduct their own bibliographic research and formulate their own lines of investigation.

    Assessment methods

    All skills Coursework consists of essays, self-reflective journals and textual analysis, all of which are graded, and students are provided with written and oral feedback.

    D: Key skills

    D1: Communicate ideas effectively using oral and written means including essays, other written work, oral presentations or contributions, and discussion.

    D2: Use of relevant information technology to research and present work

    D3: Analyse and explain historical and/or sociological data, understand and produce answers to essay questions, and manage work timetables

    D4: Participate effectively as a member of a group to the benefit of oneself and others

    D5: Use feedback from tutors to improve written and oral work and reflect on progress

    Learning methods

    The use of electronic library catalogues and other relevant electronic bibliographic resources and the use and interpretation of relevant material via the internet is introduced in the first year.

    Students build on these skills in subsequent years.

    Where relevant, students are encouraged to use, present or evaluate information provided in numerical or statistical form.

    Problem-solving, communication, working with others and improving own learning and performance are implicit throughout the degree.

    Assessment methods

    Key skills are assessed through continuous coursework, including evaluation of seminar performance and/or presentations, the Research Project and unseen written examinations.

    Management of work timetables is assessed by the requirement that students meet coursework deadlines and deadlines in the preparation and submission of their final-year dissertation.

    Outcomes are reinforced through the processes of planning, researching and writing a substantial independent study in the dissertation.


    The University makes every effort to ensure that this information on its programme specification is accurate and up-to-date. Exceptionally it can be necessary to make changes, for example to courses, facilities or fees. Examples of such reasons might include a change of law or regulatory requirements, industrial action, lack of demand, departure of key personnel, change in government policy, or withdrawal/reduction of funding. Changes to courses may for example consist of variations to the content and method of delivery of programmes, courses and other services, to discontinue programmes, courses and other services and to merge or combine programmes or courses. The University will endeavour to keep such changes to a minimum, and will also keep students informed appropriately by updating our programme specifications.

    The full Procedures, Rules and Regulations of the University governing how it operates are set out in the Charter, Statutes and Ordinances and in the University Regulations, Policy and Procedures.


    If you are thinking of studying at Essex and have questions about the course, please contact Undergraduate Admissions by emailing admit@essex.ac.uk, or Postgraduate Admissions by emailing pgadmit@essex.ac.uk.

    If you're a current student and have questions about your course or specific modules, please contact your department.

    If you think there might be an error on this page, please contact the Course Records Team by emailing crt@essex.ac.uk.