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History BA

Please note that information shown below may be subject to change.

UCAS code
Year of entry
View 2019 entry »
Course length
3 years full time
History »

Studying History is exciting and rewarding; it encourages you to appreciate the human experience in other places and at other times. Exploring what people have felt, thought and done in the past expands our self-awareness. It will help to satisfy your curiosity about the past, acquire understanding of specific periods and problems, and make discoveries. As well as an in-depth knowledge, History students also develop essential skills of analysis, argument and communication - all highly valued in today’s competitive employment market.

Our internationally renowned academics are developing the very latest thinking on historical problems; this cutting edge knowledge informs the curriculum and will enhance your learning experience. By studying at one of the largest and most influential departments in the country you will be able to choose from an exceptionally broad range of subjects, enabling you to spread your studies across the medieval and modern worlds, from Ancient Rome through to modern China, from Saladin through to Margaret Thatcher, exploring topics as diverse as the Byzantine Empire, English family life in the sixteenth century, and international terrorism in the twentieth century.

You will receive individual attention and learn in small teaching groups, whilst having access to some of the richest facilities for historical research anywhere in the world; in addition to the College’s substantial library collections, in London there are the National Archives, British Library and other libraries of the University of London.

  • 96% say that our teaching makes the subject interesting and 94% find the course intellectually stimulating (National Student Survey 2016).
  • World-leading and internationally excellent research which is ranked joint first for its impact on greater society (Research Excellence Framework 2014, 4* and 3* research).
  • Global opportunities. You can apply for the chance to study abroad during your third year, before returning to Royal Holloway for a fourth and final year.
  • Maximum flexibility to pursue your own interests, helping you to construct a coherent degree programme that provides a sense of development of societies and institutions over time.
  • Unique access to the College's world-learding Research Centres, including the Bedford Centre for the History of Women and Gender; the Holocaust Research Centre; and the Centre for South Asian Studies.

Core modules

Year 1

History and Meanings

This module examines the development of historical writing and debates around the meaning of history. Overall, the framework is chronological, taking you on a journey from Herodotus and other historians of the ancient world, through to the development of history as a professional discipline in the nineteenth century, and finally on to more recent debates about ‘postmodernism’. Both western and non-western history-writing traditions are discussed for comparative purposes. On the way, in both lectures and in small tutorial groups, you will need to think about the nature of historical ‘truth’ and objectivity, and will be asked to reflect upon your own status and practice as historians.

Public History

History has never been so popular. This course explores the development in recent years of ‘public history’, or the ways in which the past is used and written about by academic and popular historians, the heritage industry, journalists, the state, and the wider public. The module examines the nature of ‘public history’ through a series of case-studies, including topics such as how history is presented on the television and in film; history in museums and heritage sites; community and oral history; the memory of the Holocaust; debates in European societies about ‘making amends’ for slavery and the colonial past; and the uses of history in contemporary South Asia. You will be given the opportunity to make your own contribution to the field through your own ‘public history’ project.

Doing History 1

Where and how do historians ‘do’ history? In dusty and damp archives, for sure, but in reality, history is everywhere, in everything, in the very fabric of our everyday lives. There is nothing in human culture that does not have a history. One of the roles of the historian is to take not just documents but also artefacts, landscapes and the remnants of private lives (clothes, diaries, bones) and make these ‘talk’ to later generations. Using lectures and seminars, these courses aims to give you an insight into the practices and processes by which ‘sources’ are turned into ‘history’. You will be introduced to a range of primary source material – written, material, oral, and visual – and encouraged to reflect upon its potential for historical study by examining how historians today use and think about evidence.

Doing History 2

Building on Doing History 1, you’ll further develop your skills at reading and extracting the historical arguments from social, cultural, political, diplomatic, military, feminist, Marxist, revisionist, local and economic perspectives. By the end of this module you’ll be confident in using apt and appropriate evidence, such as citations from diaries, examples of trial records, statistics of consumption or wage earning, to support the arguments you make when writing essays and your dissertation. 

Year 2

Independent Essay

This module allows yous to undertake a small research project of your own. You will sign up for one of approximately twenty-five advertised thematic ‘workshops’ run by academics within the department, and through a series of seminars will explore key themes and debates that allow you to identify a project of your own choosing. The course also includes training in research and writing skills, and is excellent preparation for your final-year dissertation.

Research Skills

This module will ensure that you have a cogent, practicable and interesting research topic to write your independent essay, and that you are equipped with the appropriate skills and a timetable for undertaking and producing research and writing in a timely manner. You will be encouraged to consult with the module leader and your supervisors to develop your research topic.

Year 3


This module explores the key theories, debates and developments that have emerged within the writing and practice of History, in particular over the last 50 years, and which today collectively inform and invigorate its study. The course is delivered through a series of lectures that cover broad topics such as nationalist historiography; Marxist historiography; subaltern studies; the history of women and gender; the history of emotion; space and place in History. The lecture series is supported by seminar discussions that focus on the work of particular historians, allowing you to pursue your own interests. The module allows you to bring together the knowledge and skills that you have acquired over the three years of your undergraduate degree programme. 


You will write a 10,000 word dissertation on a topic of your own choosing, with an academic supervisor who will provide regular consultation.

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

Gods, Men and Power - An Introduction to the Ancient World, from Homer to Mohammed

Republics, Kings and People - The Foundations of European Political Thought from Plato to Rousseau

The Age of Discovery - Expanision, Invention and Globalisation in the Early Modern World

Conflict and Identity in Modern Europe, 1770 to 2000

Mao to Mandela - Twentieth-Century Leaders of the non-Western World

Rome to Renaissance: An Introduction to the Middle Ages

Politics and International Relations - Introduction to Politics and Government

Year 2

History of the British Empire, 1763 to 1900

History of the British Empire, 1899 to 1963

The Rise and Fall of the Roman Republic

Rome and its Empire from Augustus to Commodus

Globalising Capital - Britain and the World, 1846 to 1913

The Pursuit of Power - Europe 1000 to 1250

Religion, Culture and Society in Europe, 1000 to 1250

Politics, Pestilence and War in Late Medieval Europe, 1300 to 1500

The Sacred and Profane - Cultural Life in Renaissance Europe

The European Crucible, 1914 to 1945

The Politics of Postwar Europe, 1945 to 2000

Twentieth-Century World History - The Asian Resurgence

New Worlds, Lost Worlds - The Tudor Monarchy, 1485 to 1603

Killing the King - England in an Age of Revolutions, 1603 to 1714

The Georgians - Society, Culture and Crime, 1714 to 1830

Nineteenth-Century Europe - Society and Culture, 1789 to 1905

Twentieth-Century World History - The Middle East, Africa and Latin America

Medicine from Antiquity to the Medieval Near East

The Western Powers and East Asia, 1839 to 1945

Daily Life in Renaissance and Baroque Italian Cities - Social and Domestic Life

The Silk Road I - Genghis Khan and the Mongol Legacy, 1200 to 1500

The Silk Road II - The Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires, 1500 to 1700

International Economic Relations, 1917 to 1991

The Victorians, 1837 to 1901

Modern British History, 1914 to 1973

History of the USA, 1787 to 1877

The United States in the Twentieth-Century

Spain, 1898 to 1939

Spain from Dictatorship to Democracy, 1939 to 1989

Awakening China - From the Opium Wars to the Present Day

The Holy Man

Science in Greek and Roman Antiquity

Mutiny to Modi - the Indian Subcontinent from the 19th Century to the Present

Byzantine Twilight, 1200 to 1460

The Greek World from the Fall of Byzantium to the Rise of Nationalism, 1453 to 1910

Italy from the Unification to the Present

The History of Cyprus from the Ottoman Conquest to the Present Day

From Venizelos to Varoufakis - the History of Greece from 1910 to the Present Day

Introductory Latin for Historians

Further Latin for Historians

Year 3

The Later Roman Empire

Byzantium and its Neighbours, 641 to 1071

London Urban Society, 1400 to 1600

Tudor Queenship - Mary I and Elizabeth I, 1553 to 1603

The Crusades and the Eastern Mediterranean, 1095 to 1291

Medicine and Society in Medieval Europe

Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement, 1955 to 1968

Modern Girls - Women in Britain, 1914 to 1990

From Blood and Guts to the Worried Well - Medicine in Britain, 1750 to 1990

From Rakes to Respectability - Society and Culture in Britain, 1815 to 1851

The Russian Empire in the Age of Reform and Revolution, 1856 to 1917

Spain in Conflict, 1930 to 1953

Nationalism, Democracy and Minorities in Central Europe, 1918 to 1939

Modern Political Ideas

"The Devil's Decade" - Britain, America and the Great Slump, 1929 to 1941

The Islamic Revival - from 18th Century Reform to 20th Century Political Action


A History of Terrorism

"Dragon Ladies?" Society, Politics and Gender in Modern China

Modernizing Despots and Angry Mullahs - Development and Popular Resista

Waging Armageddon - The First World War in British Experience and Memor

The Vietnam War and the Cold War in Southeast Asia

Children of the Revolution? France from 1789 to the Great War

Women and the Politics of Gender in Modern Muslim Societies

Art, Architecture and Power in the Roman World

From Constantinople to Alexandria - Eastern Mediterranean Cities, 1798-

The Age of Thatcher - Politics and Culture in Britain, 1970 to 1997

Sex, Society and Identity in Britain, 1660 to 1815

Explorers and Inventors in Classical and Late Antiquity

The Kingdom of Darkness Destroyed - Reason and Religion 1651 to 1718

Faith and Fire - Religious Culture in England, 1375 to 1525

The Origins and Impact of the Second Crusade, 1145 to 1149

The Causes and Consequences of the Fall of Constantinople, 1453

Heresy, Crusade and Inquisition in Southern France, 1140 to 1300

The Empire in Victorian Britain, 1830 to 1870

Modernity and the Victorians - The Intellectual Response

Berlin - A European Metropolis in the Twentieth Century

The History and Historiography of the Holocaust

The Clash of Powers and Cultures - Sino-American Relations during the Cold War

Stalinism, 1917 to 1953

Christians and Pagans from Constantine to Augustine, 306 to 430

Representing Authority from Henry VII to Charles II

Victorian Babylon - Life, Work and People in London, 1840 to 1890

Comparing Religious Fundamentalisms in the 19th and 20th Centuries

Migration, Identity and Citizenship in Modern Britain

The Age of Terror - Terrorism from 1945 to Present

Genghis Khan and His Empire, 1150 to 1300

Photography, Film and British Society, 1850 to 1965

China and the World - Migrations and Frontiers, 1800 to 1950

Malcolm X and African American Islam

Modern Delhi - from Mughals to Megacity

The Bomb, A History - Atomic Weaponry and Society in the 20th Century

Talking Cures and Troubles - The Oral History of Health and Medicine in Britain, 1948 to 2000

Drawing the Line - Independence, Partition, and the Making of India and Pakistan

Progress and its Discontents - European Culture, 1890 to 1914

Villa, Domus and Palace - Domestic Space and Social Identity in the Roman World

Union and Emancipation - The American Civil War

The Death of God - From the Enlightenment to Psychoanalysis

Visions of Europe - Political and Intellectual Readings of European Integration from the Inerwar Years to the Present

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, large and small seminar groups and occasionally in one-to-one tutorials. Outside classes you will undertake group projects and wide-ranging but guided independent study. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every course, and you will have access to many online resources and the University’s comprehensive e-learning facility, Moodle, which provides a wide range of supporting materials. A Personal Tutor will guide and support throughout your degree and you will be supervised individually by a member of staff when preparing your second-year independent research essay and your final-year dissertation.

Some course units are assessed solely by coursework, others by a combination of examinations, coursework, online quizzes and presentations. In your second year, you will write a 5,000-word independent research essay, and in your final year you will research and write a 10,000-word dissertation based on primary sources.

You will take a study skills course during your first year, designed to equip you with and enhance the writing skills you will need to be successful in your degree. This course does not count towards your final degree award but you are required to pass it to progress to your second year.

Study time

Proportions of study time will vary depending on modules taken, but typically:

Year 1

You will spend 14% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 86% in guided independent study.

Year 2

You will spend 15% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 85% in guided independent study.

Year 3

You will spend 14% of your study time in scheduled learning and teaching activities, and 86% in guided independent study.


Proportions of assessment types will vary depending on modules taken, but typically:

Year 1

Written exams account for 39% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 61% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 2

Written exams account for 54% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 46% will be assessed through coursework.

Year 3

Written exams account for 57% of the total assessment for this year of study, and 43% will be assessed through coursework.

Typical offers

Typical offers

How we assess your application:  predicted grades lower than our typical offers are considered.  Read more about what we look for here.

  • Where an applicant is taking the EPQ alongside A-levels, the EPQ will be taken into consideration and result in lower A-level grades being required.
  • Socio-economic factors which may have impacted an applicant’s education will be taken into consideration and alternative offers may be made to these applicants.
Required/preferred subjects

Required: At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C or 9 - 4 including English and Mathematics.

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate

6,5,5 at Higher Level with a minimum of 32 points overall.

BTEC National Extended Diploma Distinction*, Distinction, Distinction in a related subject.
Distinction, Distinction in a related subject plus an A-level grade A
BTEC National Extended Certificate Distinction plus A-levels grade A,B.
Welsh Baccalaureate

Requirements are as for A-levels where one non-subject-specified A-level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate.

Scottish Advanced Highers AAB-ABB
Scottish Highers AAABB
Irish Leaving Certificate H2, H2, H3, H3, H3 at Higher Level.
Access to Higher Education Diploma

Pass with at least 30 level 3 credits at Distinction and the remaining level 3 credits at Merit. Please note that the Access to Higher Education Diploma will only be acceptable if the applicant has had a considerable break from education.

Other UK qualifications

Please select your UK qualification from the drop-down list below

Please select a qualification

Please select a qualification

International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

English language

IELTS 6.5 overall with 7.0 in writing and a minimum of 5.5 in each remaining subscore. For equivalencies please see here.

For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.

A History degree gained at Royal Holloway provides valuable training for many professions as well as a basis for further study. It is highly regarded by employers because of the skills and qualities students develop. It demonstrates that you enjoy being challenged, are able to understand complex issues and have an understanding of other values and cultures, all of which equip you to operate successfully in a fast-changing and increasingly globalised and multi-cultural environment.  

On graduation you will be informed and independent - armed with key skills, such as: problem-solving, organisation and planning, as well as research and analysis.

  • Recent graduates have very successfully entered a wide range of careers including working as curators (Imperial War Museum, Museum of London), in information management (British Museum), teaching, finance, law (a barrister in the Lord Chancellor's office), broadcasting (Director of the BBC), marketing/PR ,national defence (Royal Navy), or the performing arts. 
  • Our careers service offers a range of tailor-made careers events, one-to-one careers advice sessions and skills workshops specifically for history students.

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2018/19*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year 2018/19**: £16,500

Other essential costs***: There are no single associated costs greater than £50 per item on this course

How do I pay for it? Find out more about funding options, including loans, grants, scholarships and bursaries.

*The tuition fee for UK and EU undergraduates is controlled by Government regulations, and for students starting a degree in the academic year 2018/19 will be £9,250 for that year. The UK Government has confirmed that EU students starting an undergraduate degree in 2018/19 will pay the same level of fee as a UK student for the duration of their degree.

**Fees for international students may increase year-on-year in line with the rate of inflation. The policy at Royal Holloway is that any increases in fees will not exceed 5% for continuing students. For further information see fees and funding and our terms and conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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