Department of History

Innovative study

We take a student-centred approach to your learning. This means that the way we support, teach, and assess you is designed to help you get the most from your studies. 

Find out more below.

Older man admiring the medal on a young soldiers uniform

'Learning History' first-year module

Your core first-year module is called 'Learning History'. This module has two main aims:

  • To help you make the transition from school to university
  • To help you think about history as a discipline (I.e. What is history? What is its purpose? How have historiographical methods changed over the centuries, and how do we do things now?)

You’ll learn new skills, becoming familiar with the theories that underpin the historian's craft, preparing you for the later years of your degree. 

"It’s very much a skills-based module. It was so useful. I had a long break from finishing sixth form in May, to starting uni in September – I thought 'how on Earth do I write an essay? What is this thing called referencing?!' The module took those worries away."

– Emily Oxbury, History and Politics BA

Read more from Emily


Student-led seminars

During your degree, we want to help you learn to cope with responsibilities and pressure, to think for yourself and question what you read.

In our student-led seminars, student teams plan and manage activities in their allotted seminar. 

You will develop skills including:

  • presentation
  • organisation
  • time-management
  • adaptability
  • teamwork and leadership  

The course provided different formats of learning and many opportunities for group discussion and work. I learnt how to solve problems with others; listening to different opinions and bouncing ideas off different people to come to a conclusion.


 Emma Pluck, History BA graduate

Read Emma's full profile


Early use of primary sources


Right from your first year, we encourage you to use primary sources to enhance your work.

As a result, several of our students have made exciting and original contributions to our knowledge of the past, and many have gone on to win prestigious national prizes for their work.

Apart from the opportunity to undertake research in national institutions such as the National Archives and the British Library, you will be able to work with world-class historical manuscript collections right here at University of Nottingham.

You can gain valuable experience in our Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections, helping to compile catalogues, and stage exhibitions.


Scheduled and unscheduled contact hours

What are 'scheduled' contact hours?

'Scheduled' contact hours simply means the time you spend in lectures, seminars, workshops, tutorials and supervisions.

You’ll have at least the following hours of timetabled contact a week:

  • Year one: minimum of 12 hours
  • Year two: minimum of 9 hours
  • Final year: minimum of 7 hours

We reduce your contact hours as you work your way through the course.

As you progress, we expect you to assume greater responsibility for your studies and work more independently.

Additional, 'unscheduled' support

Your tutors are available outside of timetabled hours to discuss issues and develop your understanding. 

In the latest National Student Survey (2020), 95% of students from the Department of History reported that they ‘were able to contact staff’ when they needed to.


Personal tutors

All students are allocated a personal tutor. The personal tutor’s role is to keep an eye on your academic progress, and to meet with you from time to time to discuss how things are going. 

Should you ever need help, you will always to able to turn to your personal tutor for advice or guidance.


Online resources


You will have access to a wealth of online resources to support your studies:

  • The University Libraries have a large and growing catalogue of eBooks, where you can download thousands of academic articles from a wide range of journals
  • Specialised online resources include: Patrologia Latina (if you are interested in Medieval history), Early English Books Online* and State Papers Online** (for early modern History modules), and Mass Observation Online (used by students interested in World War Two)

*Gain full access to more than 128,000 printed works published between 1473 and 1700

**Which contains almost three million documents!

Wide choice of modules

Your tutors have expertise in a wide range of genres, including:

  • social
  • political
  • economic
  • military
  • religious and cultural history

As your course progresses, you are increasingly able to specialise and follow your personal interests.

There is a huge choice of second- and third-year modules, ranging from the fifth century CE to the present, with tutors specialising in Asia, Europe, Africa and North America.

I really enjoyed the variety of history periods on offer. I studied Tudors, to 19th-century history, to 9/11 conspiracy theories. That also meant I got to meet and work with different people and working styles in the various module groups. 
 Emma Pluck, History BA graduate

Department of History

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Contact details