Durham University

History Durham University Degree level: Undergraduate


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Course summary

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Year 1
The first year of the History degree offers you the opportunity to study a range of periods and approaches to history. Many of the modules cover quite large topics or long periods; these are intended to introduce you to subjects which may be unfamiliar and which pose new questions and new problems, showing you how wide the study of history really is.

You will take ‘Making History’ which will enable you to develop more advanced study skills through working in a small, intensive seminar. These require extensive reading, discussion, and writing about problems of historical interpretation in a defined area, and will focus on both primary and secondary sources. The module is divided into different strands from which you will make your choice.

In addition, you will choose five further modules from a list of approximately 12. You must choose at least one Medieval, one Early Modern, and one Late Modern Module. Typically, you will have one weekly lecture and a small-group seminar every two or three weeks. For the seminar, you will be given reading to do in advance, and on the basis of this you and the other students in your group will discuss particular issues. Students are expected to lead the discussion in seminars. Most modules are assessed by coursework essays and by a two-hour examination in May/June, in which you write answers to two essay-style questions.

The modules on offer change each year, as they reflect the research interests of staff; we cannot guarantee in advance that a particular module will be running in any particular year. This is a list of some of the modules available in 2018/19, to give you an idea of the range of different themes we cover in the first year:

Modern Times: a Cultural History of Europe, c. 1860-1960
Reformation Europe
The Rise and Fall of American Slavery, 1607-1865
The Birth of Western Society, 300-1050 AD
The Making of Modern Africa: Change and Adaptation in sub-Saharan Africa.

Year 2
In the second year, you will study five modules. One of these, ‘Conversations with History’, is a double-module which is taught through student-led seminars. It develops your understanding of issues of historiography, provides an introduction to the writing of more extended historical argument, and prepares you for the final year Dissertation. This is an important feature of our course, and so all Single Honours students will take it. It is divided into different strands covering different topics from which you will make your choice.

Alongside ‘Conversations’, students take four further modules. These are taught intensively over half of the academic year (two in the Michaelmas term and two more in Epiphany and Easter terms).

Year 3
The third year allows you to specialise, with a triple-module Special Subject, taught entirely through seminars, which involves close study of primary sources. For this, you will work in a small group with a specialist in the field – with a three-hour seminar every week. In the final year, you will also undertake supervised independent research leading to the writing of a double-module Dissertation. Given this emphasis on focused study and independence, there is no requirement for you to study a range of periods in this year.

As well as the Special Subject and the Dissertation, you will also take a single module in the third year: these are all strongly reflexive in character, encouraging students to think about the ways in which historical knowledge is produced.

You will choose your own Dissertation topic, through consultation with a supervisor. There are some limits, set by the availability of primary material and the expertise of supervisors, but the potential range of topics is very wide indeed: in recent years topics have varied from representation of bandits in twentieth-century Hollywood films to ceremonial in medieval France.

Study Abroad / Placement Year: For more information on this course, please see our website.

Course details


For more information on the content of this course, including module details, please see our website.

How to apply

This course has limited vacancies, and is no longer accepting applications from some students. See the list below for where you normally live, to check if you’re eligible to apply.




Northern Ireland



Application deadlines

If your application is completed by the following date, it’s guaranteed to be considered:

15 January

*If you apply after this deadline, universities or colleges don’t have to consider your application if they’ve filled their spaces, so the sooner you apply, the better!

Application codes

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Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

Qualification Offer Further information
UCAS Tariff Not accepted
A level A*AA Specific subjects/grades required for entry:
History at grade A.

Specific subjects excluded for entry:
General Studies and Critical Thinking.

Applicants taking Science A-levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This refers only to English A Levels.
Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (first teaching from September 2016) D*DD Additionally an A Level in History at grade A
BTEC Extended diploma DDD, and an A Level in History at grade A*
Where A Levels are unavailable we also accept IB Higher Levels and Cambridge Pre-U’s as an alternative. Please contact us if you have a different Level 3 qualification you wish to use.
Access to HE Diploma D: 30 credits
M: 15 credits
We require 60 credits with a minimum of 45 credits at level 3 (or equivalent). At least 12 credits must be taken in History at Level 3 and passed with distinction.
Scottish Higher AAAAA Departments will normally make offers based on Advanced Highers. In the absence of 3 Advanced Highers, where these are not offered by the applicant’s school, offers comprising of Advanced Highers and Highers or a number of Highers may be made on a case by case basis.
Cambridge International Pre-U Certificate - Principal D2, D3, D3 To include History.

Specific subjects excluded for entry:
Global and Independent Research Pre-U.
Extended Project Not accepted
International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme 38 points General information on subjects/grades required for entry:
to include 6, 6, 6 from Higher Level subjects including Higher Level History.
Leaving Certificate - Higher Level (Ireland) (first awarded in 2017) H1, H2, H2, H2, H2 To include History
Scottish Advanced Higher AAA History is required at grade A.
Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (first teaching September 2015) Not accepted

We welcome enquiries regarding applications for deferred entry which may be considered in special circumstances. Please contact us using www.durham.ac.uk/study/askus/

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

EU £9,250 Year 1
International £20,500 Year 1
England £9,250 Year 1
Northern Ireland £9,250 Year 1
Scotland £9,250 Year 1
Wales £9,250 Year 1

Additional fee information

No additional fees or cost information has been supplied for this course, please contact the provider directly.

Provider information

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Durham University
The Palatine Centre
Stockton Road

Course contact details

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Recruitment and Admissions Office

0191 334 1000