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Course overview

(BA) Bachelor of Arts
University of Essex
University of Essex
Colchester Campus
Honours Degree

A-levels: BBB

IB: 30 points. We are also happy to consider a combination of separate IB Diploma Programmes 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. Please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

Entry requirements for students studying BTEC qualifications are dependent on units studied. Advice can be provided on an individual basis. The standard required is generally at Distinction level.

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 Tier 4 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 Tier 4 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.

External Examiners

Dr Rachel Rich
Leeds Beckett University
Senior Lecturer

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 2019 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
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
Optional You can choose which module to study

Year 3 - 2019/20

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 History option(s) from list Optional 30
02 History half option from list Optional 15
03 History half option from list Optional 15

Year 4 - 2020/21

Component Number Module Code Module Title Status Credits
01 History option(s) Optional 30
02 History option(s) or outside option(s) Optional 30

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 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 political, social, economic and cultural contexts.

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

Familiarise students with models of historical analysis and varieties of primary sources.

Enable students to design and conduct an independent study on a specialist topic of their choice.

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

The outcomes listed below represent the minimum that might be expected of a graduate of the Department of History of the University of Essex; it is the intention of the Department that the vast majority of graduates will achieve significantly more.

These aims have been framed with due reference to the Quality Assurance Agency's benchmark for history.

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 topics
A3 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of specialised historical topics in greater depth
A4 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of fundamental principles of historical analysis, such as concepts of continuity, change, and comparative analysis
A5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the sources available for historical research
Learning Methods: The structure of the degree is based on progression from outline topics in the first year (A1) to more specialised courses (A2 and A3) in the second and third year.

Knowledge of A1-A5 are acquired through lectures, seminars, independent reading and coursework.

A4 is developed in particular in the second-year course Making Histories: concepts, themes and sources.

A5 is the focus of the third-year special subject and the third-year independent research project.
Assessment Methods: Knowledge and understanding of A1-5 is continuously assessed through coursework and examination.

Essays are the principal form of coursework assessment, supplemented by a range of other assessments which may include document analyses, reviews, and other shorter assignments; assessed presentations and oral contributions; and in-class tests.

The independent project tests knowledge of A5 in particular through a dissertation of up to 12,000 words.

The ability to produce, under set time conditions and without access to notes, cogent arguments demonstrating the interconnectedness of themes, concepts and issues covered in the course components is assessed by the first-year examination of the pre-requisite module for the course.

Examinations are principally unseen, essay based, of two or three hour duration.

B: Intellectual and cognitive skills

B1 Assemble, analyse and synthesise primary and secondary data
B2 Formulate and answer historical questions
B3 Evaluate and compare historical 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 ideas and arguments, using historical evidence
Learning Methods: All skills are introduced and developed through in-class discussions, essays, and other written and oral assignments.

The teaching environment of seminars, which emphasises student-focused discussion, enables students to develop all six 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 curriculum assess skills specifically.

The ability to understand questions and produce answers under set time conditions and without access to notes is assessed by the first-year examination of the History pre-requisite module for the course.

C: Practical skills

C1 Critically read and evaluate primary sources
C2 Critically read and evaluate secondary sources
C3 Work in groups to consider a question or clarify a topic
Learning Methods: Participation in seminar discussion, focusing on prepared readings or set questions, develops skill C3; preparation of written work and oral presentations develops skills C1 and C2, with the final-year Special Subject focusing particularly on C1.

The final year dissertation enables students to take skill C2 and in some cases skill C1 to a higher level.

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 are assessed through the usual means of coursework and examination.

In particular, C1 is assessed by document analysis, C2 by essays, C3 in HR111 and/or HR100 by an evaluation by seminar teachers of seminar participation, including working in groups.

The practical skill of working under pressure and without notes to produce cogent arguments in written work is assessed by the first-year examination in the History pre-requisite course for the scheme.

D: Key skills

D1 Communicate ideas effectively using oral and written means including essays, other written work, oral presentations or contributions, and discussion
D2 Make appropriate use of information technology to research and present materials
D4 Analyse and explain data, understand and produce answers to essay questions, and manage work timetables
D5 Participate effectively as a member of a group to the benefit of oneself and others
D6 Use feedback from tutors to improve written and oral work and reflect on progress
Learning Methods: Information technology is taught through independent learning supported by the university's online key skills package and the Computing Service.

Use of email and the internet is part of effective course participation and students are required to check their university email account at least once a week during term-time.

Students are strongly encouraged to produce coursework in word-processed form and it is a formal requirement that the final-year independent research dissertation is typed or word-processed.

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 the usual methods of coursework, including evaluation of seminar performance, and also for D1, D4 by examination.

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.

The coursework journal for HR211 requires students to reflect on their progress.


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.

Should you have any questions about programme specifications, please contact Course Records, Quality and Academic Development; email: