History BA


Fact file - 2019 entry

BA Hons History
UCAS code
3 years full-time (available part-time)
A level offer
Required subjects
Including history, preferably at grade A
IB score
36 (including History at Higher level, usually at Level 6 or above)
Course location
University Park Campus 
Course places


Our single honours degree allows you to study periods, themes and events from 500 CE to the present, from countries and regions around the world.
Read full overview

It is carefully structured to develop progressively the skills to research, write and debate history. Throughout your degree, you will build on these skills as you analyse a body of material in areas of your choice, and, in year three, write a dissertation, and work with primary sources to produce a detailed study of a particular topic. . 

Year one 

The core history module in year one is Learning History, which concentrates on skills, methodologies and historiography. The emphasis is on thinking about the nature of history as a discipline and developing the skills required for the researching, writing and debating of history. You will also take survey modules on European history from early medieval to the present and subsidiary modules from other schools and departments, which can be history-related.

Year two 

Usually, the core module in year two is The Contemporary World since 1945. The focus of this course is not just on global developments (political and economic, social and cultural, environmental and demographic), but also on exploring key historical debates concerning the immediate origins of the world in which we now live. In addition, you will be able to choose from a wide menu of modules ranging from medieval, early modern, modern and contemporary history, dealing with particular countries or regions from around the world.

Year three 

You will take a Special Subject module, which focuses on a specialised area of history and tests your analysis of primary sources. These skills are further developed in a 10,000-word dissertation based on a research project of your own devising. To balance this intensive study, you will take two additional optional modules devoted to particular themes or periods to broaden your horizons.

More information 

Please visit the Department of History website.


Entry requirements

A levels: AAA/AAB, usually including an A in history at A level (general studies and critical thinking are not accepted for A level).

This course may also be accessed via a foundation year for which the entry requirements are BCC at A level.

English language requirements 

IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

Alternative qualifications 

We recognise that applicants have a wealth of different experiences and follow a variety of pathways into higher education. 

Consequently we treat all applicants with alternative qualifications (besides A-levels and the International Baccalaureate) on an individual basis, and we gladly accept students with a whole range of less conventional qualifications including:

  • Access to HE Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma
  • BTEC Extended Diploma

This list is not exhaustive. The entry requirements for alternative qualifications can be quite specific; for example you may need to take certain modules and achieve a specified grade in those modules. Please contact us to discuss the transferability of your qualification.

Please see the alternative qualifications page for more information.

Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, the University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.  


The following is a sample of the typical modules that we offer as at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Due to the passage of time between commencement of the course and subsequent years of the course, modules may change due to developments in the curriculum and the module information in this prospectus is provided for indicative purposes only.

Typical year one modules


Learning History

This module will provide you with the learning skills necessary to make the most of your studies in history.

You will be introduced to different approaches and perspectives in the study of history. The module also encourages you to reflect on the place, role and function of history within society.

The module aims to:

  • encourage more effective learning
  • bridge the transition from school or college to university
  • prepare you for more advanced work in the discipline
  • enhance the skills listed.

You will usually spend three hours in lectures and seminars each week.

Introduction to the Medieval World, 500–1500

This module provides an introduction to medieval European history in the period 500–1500.

It offers a fresh and stimulating approach to the major forces instrumental in the shaping of politics, society and culture in Europe. Through a series of thematically linked lectures and seminars, you will be introduced to key factors determining changes in the European experience over time, as well as important continuities linking the period as a whole.

Amongst the topics to be considered are:

  • political structures and organization
  • social and economic life
  • cultural developments.

You will usually spend two hours in lectures and seminars each week.

From Reformation to Revolution: an introduction to early modern history, 1500–1789

This module introduces you to major issues in the social, political and cultural history of Europe in the early modern period by analysing demographic, religious, social and cultural changes that took place between 1500 and 1789.

You will examine:

  • the tensions produced by warfare
  • religious conflict
  • the changing relationships between rulers, subjects and political elites
  • trends in socio-economic development
  • the discovery of the ‘New World’.

You will usually spend two hours in lectures and seminars each week.

Roads to Modernity: an introduction to modern history, 1789–1945

In the first semester, the module provides a chronology of modern history from c.1789–1945 which concentrates principally on key political developments in European and global history such as the French Revolution, the expansion of the European empires and the two World Wars.

The second semester will look more broadly at economic, social and cultural issues, such as industrialisation, urbanisation, changing artistic forms and ideological transformations.

You will usually spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars.



Problems in Global Politics

This module explores some of the major problems that exist in contemporary global politics. It introduces students to a wide range of challenges faced by states and non-state actors in the international system and engages with topics ranging from security concerns to economic issues.

The module draws on a wide range of ideas and examples from around the world to help students to better understand global politics.

You will usually spend two hours per week in lectures and seminars.

Approaches to Film and Television

This module provides you with fundamental concepts in the study of film and television. It introduces key terms and investigates principal work roles within the industry.

You will develop a critical approach to the analysis of film and television media, spending around five hours a week in workshops and seminars.

Great Discoveries in Archaeology

In this module the staff of the archaeology department will examine the sites and discoveries that have formed major benchmarks in the history of the discipline.

Taking a broadly chronological approach the course will touch upon discoveries relating to periods from the earliest phases of human evolution until the Middle Ages. Each lecture will focus on a major site scientific discovery or excavation that has fundamentally altered previously held interpretations of the past.

The course will also examine the personalities and ideologies that have shaped the discipline of archaeology, noting how changing perspectives on gender, ethnicity and class have in turn shaped ideas about the past and its material remains.

The module will be team taught and will encourage students to consider wider ethical issues relating to our approaches to the past.

You will usually spend two hours per week in lectures on this module.

Typical year two modules

Each module is devised by a leading academic and based on their latest research. You will study up-to-date thinking in that area and engage in current historical debates. 


The Contemporary World since 1945

The module surveys and analyses some of the main developments in world affairs since the end of the Second World War. This includes:

  • major international events - particularly the course and aftermath of the Cold War
  • national and regional histories - especially in Europe, East Asia and the Middle East
  • key political and social movements.

Attention is paid to political, economic and social forces.

Module convener: Dr Nick Thomas


Optional modules by region

Great Britain
Medieval Apocalyptic Thought

The module examines medieval concerns about the day of judgement, the Antichrist and the end of time.

These all had a significant impact upon many different individuals and societies, finding expression in literature, architecture and a wide variety of artistic media. In some cases, the need to infuse the present moment with apocalyptic meaning directly influenced the actions of kings, emperors, ecclesiastical leaders and religious communities.

Students will uncover the systems of belief about the Apocalypse and trace the impact of such traditions upon society in the medieval world. 

Module convener: Dr Peter Darby

Heroes and Villains in the Middle Ages 

The module compares and contrasts key historical, legendary and fictional figures to examine the development of western medieval values and ideologies such as monasticism, chivalry and kingship.

It explores how individuals shaped ideal types and how they themselves strove to match medieval archetypes. It engages with modern-day appropriations of these medieval heroes and villains in a range of representations and practices commonly known as ‘medievalism’. 

Heroes include: 

  • the knight - William Marshall
  • the saint - Bernard of Clairvaux
  • the anti-hero - Robin Hood

Villains include:

  • King John
  • Richard III 

Module convener: Dr Rob Lutton

Kingship in Crisis: Politics, People and Power in Late-Medieval England

This module covers a period between the mid-13th century until the late fifteenth century in which a series of political crises rocked the English monarchy.

The module investigates the nature of kingship, placing particular emphasis on the occasions when the king's authority was either challenged or, ultimately, overthrown by his subjects. It considers the limitations and weaknesses of the English monarchy in the period, but also the extent to which the monarchical system involved the participation of the broader political community.  

Module convener: Dr Gwilym Dodd

Plague, Famine and Flood: crisis and change in English society, 1250-1540

This module examines how medieval English society weathered significant challenges and the ways historians have sought to explain these changes.

Issues addressed include:

  • dynamic commercialisation in the 13th century
  • climate change, famine and plague and new economic opportunities for women in the fourteenth century
  • economic collapse and the decline of serfdom in the 15th century 

Translated medieval documents are a central element of the module. 

Module convener: Dr Richard Goddard

Communities, Crime and Punishment in England c.1500-1800

This module analyses how perceptions of law and order, and attitudes to crime and punishment changed in England during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, ostensibly in response to dramatic increase in criminal activity at that time.

Topics to be explored include:

  • policing early modern communities
  • rioting, disorder and the negotiation of authority
  • the myths and realities of Early Modern organised crime
  • criminality and religion
  • women, crime and the courts
  • changing attitudes to punishment in England.

Module convener: Dr David Appleby

A Protestant Nation?: Politics, Religion and Society in England, 1558-1640

This module explores the causes of political and religious instability in England in the century before the Civil War, with a particular focus on the problematic creation of a national identity.

Areas considered in the module include

  • the formation of English national identity
  • perceptions of, and challenges to, royal authority
  • popular beliefs and the spread of print culture
  • anti-Catholicism and the Gunpowder Plot
  • religion and the road to Civil War. 

Module convener: Dr Julia Merritt

Rethinking the Industrial Revolution: The Transformation of Britain, 1750-1914

Over the period 1750-1914, it has been argued that England passed through an ‘industrial revolution’. This module charts developments in England over this period through investigating changes in social and economic life at the time.

Key themes include:

  • the move of people and industry to towns
  • changes in the countryside
  • changes in living conditions
  • changing patterns of consumption
  • the changing structures of society.

The module evaluates whether these changes in fact represented a revolution, an evolution or a transformation.  

Module convener: Prof John Beckett

Cultural Histories of Urban Modernity, 1840-1900

The module introduces students to how urban modernity transformed everyday life in British and European cities in the period 1840-1900.

In particular, it focuses on a range of new spaces, objects, images and discursive representations through which people tried to come to terms with rapid processes of social change.

These included:

  • the experience of railway travel and new notions of space and time
  • the bourgeois home as a site of identity
  • the meanings of interior design
  • the department store as sites of consumer culture
  • photography as a means of both identity-creation and detection
  • museum culture, exhibitions and the ordering of imperial knowledge. 

Module convener: Dr Richard Hornsey

British Foreign Policy and the Origins of the World Wars, 1895-1939

This module provides a study of British foreign policy, from the last years of the Victorian Era to the German invasion of Poland in 1939.

It focuses in particular on the policy of British governments, giving an historical analysis of the main developments in their relationship with the wider world, such as the making of the ententes, entry into the two world wars, appeasement and relations with other great powers.

It also discusses the wider background factors which influenced British policy and touches on such diverse factors as Imperial defence, financial limitations and the influence of public opinion.  

Module convener: Prof John Young

The Second World War and Social Change in Britain, 1939-1951: Went The Day Well?

This module surveys and analyses social change in Britain during and after the Second World War.

It discusses:

  • changing gender roles and expectations
  • propaganda
  • the management of information
  • the experience and impact of rationing, bombing and conscription
  • reactions to the Holocaust, atomic weaponry and returning Prisoners of War
  • planning for a post-war world, including the creation of the National Health Service and the reform of the education system and post-war reconstruction. 

Module convener: Dr Nick Thomas

Socialism in an Age of Affluence: The Labour Party, 1945-83

This course examines the history of the post-war Labour Party.

It will devote particular attention to the party's political thought and its relationship with, and perceptions of, social change.

Key issues discussed include:

  • the nature of the Labour's party's political thought
  • the British left's response to post-war affluence
  • the relationship between cultural and political change
  • the relationship between social change and Britain's electoral politics. 

Module convener: Dr Dean Blackburn

The Crusaders

This module seeks to understand how crusaders between the late 11th century to the mid-13th century saw themselves and their enemies, their experiences and activity on crusade and as settlers, and how this horrifying yet enduringly fascinating process has been interpreted historically.

Studies will include examinations of the crusades to the 'Holy Land' and Egypt and crusades Spain, Greece, the Baltic and Southern France as well as a detailed thematic examination of the motives, involvement, interests and experience of women, the lay elite, the ordinary laity and the clergy involved in the crusades. 

Module convener: Dr Claire Taylor

The Venetian Republic, c. 1450-1575

This module explores the nature of the Venetian Republic in the later fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.

It examines the constitution, and administrative and judicial system, its imperial and military organisation, but will above all focus on the city and its inhabitants itself.

The module will examine:

  • the enormous cultural dynamism of the city (especially the visual arts from the Bellini to Tintoretto and Veronese)
  • changing urban fabric
  • the role of ritual and ceremony
  • the position of the Church
  • class and gender.

Module convener: Dr David Laven

Central European History: From Revolution to War, 1848-1914

This module focuses on the evolution of the Habsburg Monarchy from the 1848 revolutions to the beginning of World War I.

It examines the unpredictable evolution of politics and surveys the following key themes:

  • state-building
  • the growth of nationalism
  • tensions between local, regional and imperial institutions
  • the varied effects of modernization in the period.

The experience of the Hapsburg Monarchy is compared and contrasted with other continental European countries, in particular its neighbour, Germany. 

Module convener: Dr Jonathan Kwan

Germany in the Age of Extremes 1890s – 1990

The module analyses the formation of the modern German state during a period characterised by multiple tensions: nation building, industrialisation, class conflict, ethnic tensions and problems of the constitution.

The module examines how the First World War and the German revolution intensified these tensions and considers the crisis of the democratic state, the rise of National Socialism and its unleashing of war and genocide.

It examines denazification and division of the country after the Second World War, the politics of memory in the 1950s and 60s and the reconciliation between West Germany and Eastern Europe in the early 1970s. 

Module convener: Dr Christian Haase

European Fascisms, 1900-1945

The module examines the rise of fascist movements in Italy and Germany in the wake of the First World War. 

The module examines the:

  • social composition of fascist movements
  • nature of fascist ideology
  • relationship of fascism to the ‘inter-war crisis’. 

The practice of the Fascist and National Socialist governments in power is also analysed and compared with particular reference to class repression and attempts to build ‘consent’, policies on ‘race’, expansion through conquest and considers the Axis and genocide during the Second World War. 

Module convener: Professor Elizabeth Harvey

De-industrialisation: A Social and Cultural History c. 1970-1990

The module examines the social and cultural impact of economic change in three traditional industrial regions in the UK, Germany and the US in the 1970s and 1980s.

It explores topics such as:

  • change and decline in traditional industries such as coal, steel and shipbuilding
  • political responses to industrial change
  • the impact of de-industrialisation on manual workers and their ways of life
  • mass unemployment and its social and cultural consequences
  • cultural representations of de-industrialisation, with emphasis on popular music, fiction and feature films. 

Module convener: Dr Jörg Arnold

From the Tsar to the Emperor: Russia in the Early Modern Period 1547–1725

This module studies the emergence of Muscovite Russia as a major player on the European arena by the early 18th century.

It examines:

  • the rapid territorial and racial expansion from the 16th century and its consequences
  • Muscovy’s first civil war
  • the struggle of the Russian crown to curtail the power of its aristocracy
  • the ground-breaking reforms of Peter I
  • the beginnings of Russia’s slow progress towards Westernisation. 

Module convener: Dr Liudmyla Sharipova

Soviet State and Society, 1917-1991

This module examines political, social, cultural and economic transformations in the Soviet Union from the October Revolution of 1917 to the collapse of the state in 1991.

It pays particular attention to moments and sites of interaction between state and society, such as:

  • the development and role of the communist party and the nature and scope of its power
  • the evolving structure of the state and of centre-regional relations
  • the nature of state repression and the existence and extent of societal resistance
  • official perceptions and realities of the ‘problems of everyday life’
  • the official construction of norms of behaviour and identification. 

Module convener: Dr Nick Baron

The British Empire
From East India Company to West India Failure: The First British Empire

This module highlights key debates and themes in the history of the ‘first’ British Empire 1600-1807.

Topics include:

  • trade to the East and colonisation to the West

  • how the British government protected their empire and enforced a trading monopoly within it

  • the loss of the American colonies

  • the impact of abolition upon the valuable slave trade.

The module explores the key themes of ideology and identity; the concept of formal and informal empires and the causes and consequences of historical change.

Module convener: Dr Sheryllynne Haggerty

The British Empire from Emancipation to the Boer War

This module examines the history of the British Empire from the end of slavery in 1833-4 to the Second Anglo-Boer War in 1899-1902.

It discusses:

  • the British Caribbean, with a particular focus on the transition from slavery and the period of instability in the decades that followed

  • India and the changeover from East India Company rule to the direct administration by the British government in the wake of the Indian Mutiny

  • Britain’s participation in the ‘Scramble for Africa’ and Second Anglo-Boer War.

It will also discuss the metropolitan aspects of empire, examining London’s status as ‘the Imperial Metropolis.’

Module convener: Dr Sascha Auerbach

Liberating Africa: Decolonisation, Development and the Cold War 1919-1994

The purpose of this module is to examine current debates concerning the end of the European empires in Africa, such as Egypt, Algeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa, and the emergence of a new political system of these independent states.

The module will discuss:

  • the emergence of African nationalism

  • the uneven economic development in the last years of empire and the first years of independence

  • colonial wars, race and the question of European settlements

  • the impact of the Cold War on the politics of decolonisation.

Module convener: Dr Spencer Mawby

The Far East
The Tokugawa World, 1600-1868

This module covers two-and-a-half centuries in Japan during the early modern era when the land was governed by a dynasty of Tokugawa shogun rulers.

The module studies some of the historical forces that would combine to transform society and lay the foundations for Japan’s subsequent encounters with modernity. 

Key themes studied include:

  • Japan’s self-imposed policy of seclusion, class mobility and urbanization

  • the growth of popular culture and the emergence of ‘the Floating World’

  • attempts to address problems within Japanese society using Japanese, Chinese and European ideas

  • the ‘Opening of Japan’ as well as the collapse of the Tokugawa World.

Module convener: Dr Andrew Cobbing

The Rise of Modern China

This module covers the history of China from the 1840s, through to the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949. It looks at social, cultural, political and economic developments in this period from a variety of angles and approaches.

The module focuses on:

  • the ways in which Chinese society responded to the arrival of ‘modernity’ in the form of the Western powers and Japan throughout the period in question
  • how different groups in China tried to remould or redefine China as a ‘modern’ nation-state and society. 

Module convener: Dr Jeremy Taylor

Cities, Factories and Cultural Living: Interwar Japan

This module considers Japan’s encounter with modernity during the ‘interwar’ or 'Greater Taisho' period between 1905 and 1931.

This period witnessed increasing liberalisation with the rise of labour and Leftist movements and the beginnings of feminist consciousness as well as urbanisation, commercialisation, mass education and literacy.

However, in the 1930s democracy and liberalism gave way to rising ultra-nationalism and militarism which led ultimately to a devastating war with the Western powers.

Module convener: Dr Susan Townsend

The United States
Race, Rights and Propaganda: The Politics of Race and Identity in the Cold War Era, 1945-1990

This module examines how the United States and Soviet Union dealt with issues of race and identity during the Cold War years.

It looks at how they confronted racial questions, challenges and liberation movements from both within their own borders (and each other’s) and in several theatres of superpower conflict – including the Middle East, East Asia and post-colonial Africa. 

This module provides a new and deeper understanding of the relationship between the Cold War world and the politics of race, and an appreciation of the interconnectedness of the domestic and international in Cold War-era foreign relations.

Module convener: Dr Joe Merton

Environmental history
Environmental history: Nature and the Western World, 1800-2000

The module is an introduction to the environmental history of the Western World over the past two centuries.

It examines the history of environmental ideas and our changing attitudes to animals and nature, alongside the history of human impacts on the environment.

Topics studied include:

  • species history

  • the rise of popular movements concerned with the environment

  • the role of the state in environmental protection

  • the history of pollution and pesticide use

  • the rise of outdoor leisure and recreation

  • the role of wildlife television and natural history film-making in changing environmental attitudes.

Module convener: Dr Rob Lambert


Typical year three modules

Each module is devised by a leading academic and based on their latest research. You will study up-to-date thinking in that area and engage in current historical debates. 



This module involves the in-depth study of a historical subject from which you will create a 10,000 word dissertation. You will have regular meetings with your supervisor and a weekly one hour lecture to guide you through this task.


Optional modules by region

Great Britain

The War of the Roses

The mid-fifteenth century was a period of intense political turmoil, eventually leading to civil conflict.

This module examines the causes of this conflict, the failure of Henry VI’s kingship, and more widely the failure of the political community – in the absence of a functioning king – to establish consensus in government during the 1450s. 

The module considers the attempts at reconstruction under Edward IV in face of continuing political instability and challenges to royal authority.

Module convener: Dr Gwilym Dodd

The British Atlantic Slave Trade

Students will be introduced to the role of the British in the Atlantic slave trade in the early-modern period.

Themes considered will include:

  • the operation of the slave trade and its importance to the British economy
  • the slave trade in Africa
  • the ‘Middle Passage’
  • the ‘West India Interest’
  • the debate over the abolition of the British Atlantic slave trade in 1807.

Module convener: Dr Sheryllynne Haggerty

The Many Faces of Reform: British Politics, 1790-1850

This module explores key themes in the political history of Britain from the time of the French Revolution to the middle of the nineteenth century.

Topics for study include:

  • the 1832 Reform Act
  • the development of political parties
  • the role of parliament and the monarchy
  • electoral culture
  • the role of the press and pressure groups, such as Luddites and Chartists, in British political life.

Students investigate the contested nature of reform and explore the ways in which historians have sought to interpret and re-interpret the period.

Module convener: Dr Richard Gaunt

Britain on Film

This module analyses some of the key films made in Britain since 1945. The module uses films as historical documents, and discusses what they can tell us about the society which produced them.

Films studied include:

  • Brief Encounter
  • Passport to Pimlico
  • Dracula, Blow Up
  • The Great Rock N Roll Swindle
  • Room with a View

Module convener: Dr Harry Cocks


Dark Age Masculinities

This module re-evaluates the history of masculinity in Western culture.

Most existing analysis of masculinity in Western culture deals with modern cultures. Yet, many of the key characteristics of masculinity can plausibly be traced back to the Dark Ages. Students will study such issues as:

how to use gender as an analytical tool with which to investigate early medieval evidence

  • gender ideology
  • codes of male honour
  • men's life cycles and fatherhood
  • relations between men and women
  • violence
  • military and clerical ideals of masculinity.

Module convener: Dr Ross Balzaretti

‘Slaves of the Devil’ and Other Witches: A History of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe  

The module offers an overview of the history of witchcraft and covers a wide geographical area spreading from Scotland to the Italian peninsula and from Spain to Russia.

Such breadth of reference is of vital importance because, in contrast to the uniform theology-based approach to witch persecution in Western and Central Europe, the world of Eastern Orthdox Christianity represented a very different system of beliefs that challenged western perceptions of witchcraft as a gendered crime and lacked their preoccupation with the diabolical aspect of sorcery. 

Module conveners: Dr David Gehring and Dr Liudmyla Sharipova


Late Imperial Culture: The Fin-de-Siècle in Central Europe, 1890-1914

This module examines the great flowering of culture in Central Europe during the last years of the Habsburg Monarchy.

The module aims to encourage students to develop a detailed understanding of fin-de-siecle Central European culture, comprising such important figure as Freud, Mahler, Schoenberg, Klimt and Otto Wagner and many others.

Students will engage in particular the political, social and psychological causes of this late cultural flowering.

Module convener: Dr Jonathan Kwan

Cultures of Power and the Power of Culture in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany

In the two decades after the First World War, two modern western European countries, Italy and Germany, were transformed from liberal, parliamentary democracies into fascist dictatorships. This course explores how fascism transformed ordinary life, and how culture was employed to translate fascist ideas into lived experience.

Key themes include

  • the cultural history of fascism
  • consumerism
  • leisure
  • religion and belief
  • architecture and ritual.

The module draws upon the theories of ‘governmentality’ to analyse how a fascist outlook was inscribed into the infrastructures of daily life, thereby ‘normalising’ fascist political beliefs.

Module convener: Professor Maiken Umbach

Home Front and Fighting Front: Gender, Race and Conquest under Nazi Rule during the Second World War

The module adopts a perspective of gender history to explore the workings of the Nazi regime in wartime, from conquest and genocide to the final defeat and collapse of the regime.

It examines how the regime sought to prescribe particular norms of behaviour for German men and women in wartime and how the policing of sexuality and marital relationships became part of heightened wartime intrusions into private life.

It will explore:

  • conformity and resistance on the part of Germans during conditions of intense repression and terror
  • how the categories of gender and race shaped the treatment of foreign forced labourers in Germany
  • how far a perspective of gender can inform our understanding of the Holocaust. 

Module convener: Professor Elizabeth Harvey

France 1940-44 and beyond 

This module examines occupied Vichy France and the Resistance between 1940 and 1944. In so doing, the module aims to understand and explain why the period has remained so potent in France up to the present day.

The module examines:

  • the period in terms of collaboration
  • Vichy as a gendered regime
  • resistance
  • the impact of the occupation on Jews
  • trials of those accused of crimes against humanity
  • occupied France in the cinema
  • how occupied France has been remembered at different points since the end of the German occupation.

Module convener: Dr Karen Adler


Special subjects by region

Great Britain
Anglo-Saxon England in the Age of Bede

The discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard, the largest collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork ever found, forced historians to re-evaluate the early Anglo-Saxon period and ask new questions about this crucial formative stage of English history.

The history of this era of conversions, conflicts and cultural renaissances is documented primarily by Bede (c. 673-735), who wrote the first synthetic history of the English People.

Students will use a wide variety of textual and non-textual evidence to explore the kingdoms and cultures of the early Anglo-Saxon world. 

Module convener: Dr Peter Darby

Faith and Fire: Popular Religion in Late Medieval England

This module explores religious ‘faith’ in England from c. 1215 to the beginning of the Reformation in 1534.

The English church made great efforts in this period to consolidate Christianity amongst the masses through wide-reaching programmes of instruction, regulation and devotion. However, historians disagree as to how successful the church was in its efforts.

The module investigates the relationship between ‘official’ and ‘unofficial’ religion and examines how the church sought to maintain its authority in matters of faith. It asks how people responded and the degree to which they fashioned their own religious practices and beliefs. It also considers the violent repression by church and crown of those deemed ‘heretics’.

It looks at the condemned teachings of the Oxford academic John Wycliffe and the significance of those who followed his ideas, known as Lollards.

Module convener: Dr Rob Lutton

The Reign of Richard II

The module aims to provide students with a detailed understanding of the political dynamics of late medieval England and a broad knowledge of the events that shaped the reign of Richard II.

The module includes an in-depth chronological survey of the domestic history of England from the Good Parliament of 1376 to the deposition of Richard II in 1399. It investigates how the royal family and their friends - a colourful and sometimes scandalous group - struggled to rule the country with the aid of show trials, intimidation, murder and poll-taxes.

The module further considers England's relations with its neighbours and the impact of Lollardy on society and the Church in this period.

Module convener: Dr Gwilym Dodd

The Black Death

The mid-fourteenth-century catastrophe of the Black Death wiped out nearly half the population of Europe in little more than a year. The impact on the English economy and society was profound and lasted at least for a century and a half.

The module examines the lives of plague survivors. The module explores many aspects of later medieval society and how it changed as a result of the Black Death. In many ways it seemed to contemporaries that the world was being turned on its head. Historians have long debated the extent to which the plague was the principal cause of a fundamental societal shift between the medieval and modern periods.

Module convener: Dr Richard Goddard  

From Gunpowder Plot to Spanish Match: the Reign of James I (1603-1625)

The reign of James I was a decisive period in the history of Britain, marked by constitutional innovation, court scandals, religious and political tensions and conspiracies, a flourishing literary culture and the emergence of highly critical forms of popular political opinion.

This module studies the interaction of these varied phenomena while addressing the broader question of how successful a ruler James was, and how far he can be held responsible for the upheavals of the reign of his son, Charles I. 

Module convener: Dr Julia Merritt

The British Civil Wars c.1639-1652

This module surveys and analyses political, religious, social, cultural and military changes during the civil wars fought across the British Isles and the British Atlantic between 1639 and 1652.

Topics explored include:

  • the causes of the civil wars
  • the mobilisation of civilian communities
  • the impact of war on individuals and communities
  • the growth of religious and political radicalism
  • print culture and propaganda
  • the issues surrounding the public trial and execution of the king
  • the abolition of the British monarchy and the House of Lords.

Module convener: Dr David Appleby

Britain in the Age of the French Revolution: 1789-1803

This module is an in-depth study of the impact of the French Revolution upon British politics, society and culture between the fall of the Bastille in 1789 and the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars in 1803.

Students investigate:

  • the 'the revolution debate'
  • the development of popular radical and loyalist political organisations
  • the government's use of legal apparatus against radicals and publishers
  • the impact of scarcity and food crises in a time of war and economic dislocation
  • the Irish rebellion of 1798 and its antecedents
  • the ways in which loyalism, patriotism and nationalism were articulated during this period of European revolution.

Module convener: Dr Richard Gaunt

Alternatives to War: Articulating Peace since 1815

International history is dominated by wars. The intermittent periods of peace are rarely scrutinised. This module offers a corrective to this tendency, taking as its focus the multifarious efforts that have been made since 1815 to substitute peace for war. These include diplomatic efforts and those advanced by non-state actors, such as peace movements and anti-war protests.

Taking a broad definition of the term ‘peace’, and focusing predominantly on Britain, this module revisits some of the pivotal episodes of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, exposing and interrogating the often complex relationship between war and peace that emerged at that time, thereby arriving at an alternative history of the period.

Module convener: Dr Daniel Hucker 

Sex and Society in Britain Since 1900

This module is an examination of the links between sexuality, intimate life, identity, politics, society, power and the state in Britain since 1900. It also examines the theoretical approaches to the study of sexuality and analyse sexuality as a category of historical analysis.

Key themes include

  • free love and eugenics
  • sexology, psychoanalysis and the therapeutic revolution
  • birth control and sexual knowledge
  • marriage and society
  • male homosexuality
  • the permissive society and Counter Culture
  • the AIDs crisis.

Module convener: Dr Harry Cocks

British Culture in the Age of Mass Production, 1920-1960

The module explores the cultural transformations in Britain brought on by the shift to a Fordist economy in the period 1920-60, and the social and cultural contestations that resulted.

It takes chronological and thematic approaches, and topics include:

  • new experiences of factory work
  • new forms of advertising and commodity culture, and the anxieties and opportunities these produced
  • new forms of industrial urban leisure, for example, the cinema and dance hall, and their role in promoting social change
  • the perceived impact of Americanisation on national traditions,
  • the development of social science and the problems of knowing ‘the masses’
  • post-World War Two reconstruction and the early years of the Welfare State.

Module convener: Dr Richard Hornsey

The 1960s and the West, 1958-1974

This special subject module surveys and analyses social and cultural change in the West from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s.

It discusses:

  • the origins and nature of changes in norms of behaviour in the 1960s such as the sexual revolution, attitudes to authority, and the role of youth in society
  • the impact of wider historical developments such as post-war economic prosperity, the Vietnam War and the Cold War upon the experiences of ordinary people
  • the origins of a counterculture and protest movements - such as the civil rights, anti-Vietnam War campaign and the anti-nuclear movement - in the United States and Britain
  • protest campaigns toward the use of violence
  • the `second wave' of feminism from the late 1960s
  • the representation of the decade in popular culture.

Module convener: Dr Nick Thomas 

The Politics of Thatcherism, 1975-1992

The module will engage with the social and political changes that took place in 1980s Britain.

It will be concerned with the following themes:

  • the ideology of Thatcherism
  • the relationship between social change and political change
  • the political significance of Margaret Thatcher
  • Margaret Thatcher’s rhetoric
  • the political legacies of Thatcherism. 

Module convener: Dr Dean Blackburn

Crisis in Christendom, 1150-1250

On an unprecedented scale, from c.1150 into the thirteenth century, thousands of people stopped believing some of the religious narratives which had been handed down to them, and took up new ones which were radical and dangerous.

Often branded ‘heretical’, these new movements were ruthlessly persecuted by both church leaders and kings, but as often for political and territorial, rather than religious reasons.

This module explores:

  • the Albigensian crusades
  • murders of churchmen
  • medieval warfare
  • the signing of Magna Carta
  • the establishment of the medieval inquisition
  • the beliefs and activities of medieval heretics
  • surveillance, denunciation and psychological warfare
  • excommunication and trials
  • warfare and execution
  • the heretical underworld and organised resistance to persecution.

Module convener: Dr Claire Taylor

Overseas Exploration, European Diplomacy, and the Rise of Tudor England

This module evaluates the ways in which ideas during the Renaissance had an impact on both long-distance exploration and interstate relations. It situates Tudor England in a pan-European context, thereby helping students better understand the rise of this island nation to become a global superpower.

Topics covered include:

  • motivations for overseas exploration
  • beginnings of European imperialism
  • continuities and changes in diplomacy, religion and foreign policy
  • travel literature and cultural diplomacy
  • xenophobia and cosmopolitanism.

Module convener: Dr David Gehring

‘World wasting itself in blood’: Europe and the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648)

This module considers the:

  • political and religious balance of power in early modern Europe by the early seventeenth century
  • origins and subsequent course of the Thirty Years’ War
  • role of international politics, warfare and diplomacy
  • social and economic impact of the Thirty Years’ War
  • modes in which the conflict found reflection in artistic and literary creation. 

Module convener: Dr Liudmyla Sharipova

European Politics and Society, 1848-1914

This module investigates the development of politics and society in the crucial period leading up to WWI. The main focus will be the rise and fall of liberal politics across Europe in the period 1848-1914. A major theme will be the interaction between ideas and actions.

Particular attention will be devoted to the:

  • intellectual foundations of European liberalism
  • legacy of the 1848 revolutions
  • drafting of constitutions and bills of rights
  • difficulty in building a liberal nation-state
  • rising power of nationalism.

Module convener: Dr Jonathan Kwan

July Crisis: The Outbreak and Origins of the Great War

The module surveys and analyses the policies of the main countries involved in the outbreak of the First World War in July-August 1914. It focuses in particular on the reasons they took the diplomatic and military decisions they did, including both specific decisions and the background factors that helped shape their thinking.

Module convener: Professor John Young

The Collapse of the Weimar Republic

The module surveys and evaluates various historical explanations of the collapse of democracy in Germany in the Weimar years.

It examines:

  • the role of German political culture and traditions
  • constitutional problems
  • problems created by the Versailles Treaty
  • the role of economic factors
  • the socialist and communist movements and, in particular, the rise of Nazism.

Module convener: Dr Christian Haase 

Italy at War 1935-45

This module focuses on the Italian experience of war during the last decade of Fascist rule. It deals with the conquest of Abyssinia, the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War.

It discusses:

  • the legacy of the wars of unification, wars of colonial expansion, the Great War, and pacification of Libya
  • military planning, strategy and tactics
  • the experience of fighting and the experience of war and the home front, especially for women and children
  • Italians as perpetrators of atrocities
  • resistance and collaboration
  • the representation of war in film and literature.

Module convener: Dr David Laven

The History of a Relation: Jews in Modern Europe

This special subject surveys and analyses the place of Jews in modern European history.

Throughout the modern period, Jews lived in Europe as part of a minority. The module is concerned to analyse the enduring, productive and resilient relation between Jews and non-Jews. It is the contention of this module that the story of the relationship’s development and evolution can tell us a great deal of the history of Europe as a whole.

Students gain an understanding of how Jewish communities initiated, responded to and were affected by the rapid changes that were occurring during the modern period in Europe.

Module convener: Dr Adler 

After the Golden Age: The West in the 1970s and 1980s

The module will engage critically with the idea that the 1970s and 1980s were ‘crisis decades’ and ask about the contribution that Contemporary History can make to our understanding of the period. It focuses on the UK, the US, West Germany, France and Italy and will explore economic, social and cultural change as well as continuity. 

It will analyse topics including:

  • Détente and the second Cold War
  • the crisis of industrialism and structural economic change
  • social change and continuity
  • liberalisation
  • new social movements and cultural politics
  • domestic terrorism
  • the public and the state.

Module convener: Dr Jörg Arnold

Russia in Revolution 1905-21

This module surveys and analyses Russia’s development between the 1905 revolution and the end of the civil war in 1921.

The module focuses on key features of this period, including:

  • the causes for and impact of the 1905 revolution
  • Russia’s economic and industrial development
  • challenges to rural life
  • the development of civil society
  • the impact of World War One on Russian society.

Themes include:

  • the importance of social identity in revolution
  • the importance of symbolism and imagery in understanding revolution
  • the role of violence and the language of hatred
  • the roles of individuals and key political groups within the revolutionary process.

Module convener: Dr Sarah Badcock

Culture, Society and Politics in 20th Century Russia

This module explores twentieth-century Russian history through the analysis of:

  • film
  • literature
  • visual art
  • architecture
  • first-person testimonies (diaries, letters, memoirs, etc.)
  • political texts
  • scholarly commentaries.

Themes include:

  • the role of culture in late imperial, Soviet and post-Soviet Russia
  • the meanings and forms of ‘culture’ in the past
  • the significance of ideas and ideology in political and social change
  • the nature of power, authority and legitimacy, and of dissidence, opposition and resistance
  • the construction of social identities
  • the political and social roles of history and collective memory
  • the social structures of space and place.

Module convener: Dr Nick Baron

British Empire
Imperial Eyes: Race, Gender and Empire in Enlightenment Thought, c.1730-1830

This module explores the role of empire and ideas of race and gender in the eighteenth-century enlightenment.

The module explores topics such as:

  • what role colonial encounter played in Enlightenment theories of human development
  • how Enlightenment scholars imagined race and gender difference
  • the place of the slave trade in Enlightenment thought,
  • Enlightenment ideas of the body, sexuality and disability
  • colonized people’s responses to Enlightenment thinking.

Module convener: Dr Onni Gust

The Chimera: British Imperialism and Its Discontents, 1834-1919

By the mid-nineteenth century, Britain controlled one of the largest and most populous empires in history. This module examine some of the major events and dynamics that shaped the character of British imperialism, and the historical debates over them.

Particular attention is paid to the relationship between London, the ‘Imperial Metropolis,’ and India, South Africa, and the British colonies in the Caribbean.

The module interrogates the idea of ‘imperialism’ itself and focuses on post-colonial theory and ‘New Imperial History’ in order to critically re-appraise the operation of imperial systems and to apply an interdisciplinary perspective to their study.

Module convener: Dr Sascha Auerbach

Disease and Domination: The History of Medicine and the Colonial Encounter

This module introduces students to the key themes within the medical history of colonialism. In particular it examines the implications of the inequitable power relations inherent in any colonial project and how these have specifically contributed to the development of health care in these regions.

The module is concerned with the way western medical theories of disease and healing shaped ideas about colonial environments, populations, bodies, and racial differences in the imaginations of colonisers. Medicine is revealed, not only as a vital tool of colonial domination, but also as fundamentally limited as a successful mechanism for colonial social control.

Module convener: Dr Anna Greenwood

Suez and the End of Empire

The module examines the crisis itself, the impact of diplomacy, military and intelligence operations and domestic opinion and the war with Egypt and its aftermath.

The module investigates the:

  • background to the Suez crisis including British policy in the Middle East in the post-1945 period
  • controversies regarding surrounding the military base at Suez
  • free officers' revolution in Egypt which led to Nasser's assumption of leadership
  • growth of Arab nationalism
  • impact of American policy in the Middle East.

Module convener: Dr Spencer Mawby

Samurai Revolution: Reinventing Japan, 1853-1878

This module surveys the dramatic cultural encounter in the nineteenth century as the world of the samurai was confronted by Western expansion and the Age of Steam.

It explores the forces at work in Japan’s rapid transformation from an 'ancient regime' under the rule of the Shogun into a 'modern' imperial power.

Topics covered include:

  • how the arrival of Commodore Perry’s ‘Black Ships’ threatened to undermine the Tokugawa regime
  • violence as the authority of the shogunate unravelled
  • gunboat diplomacy
  • how the transfer of power to the new radical Meiji regime was presented as an imperial restoration
  • the vogue of ‘Japonisme’ in the West
  • opposition to Japanese modernisation.  

Module convener: Dr Andrew Cobbing

Japan and the Asia-Pacific War: Conflict, Aftermath and Memory

In 1940 Japan was a vibrant, modernising power in the world replete with possibilities embedded in its industrial technology, social organisation and global intellectual engagement.

Five years later, its cities were ruined, its economy wrecked, its population was exhausted, hungry and traumatised by the a-bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

This module examines the reasons for Japan’s slide into war and the on-going legacy of the war in Asia and Japan through a variety of media including:

  • secondary literature
  • documentary evidence
  • witness testimony
  • film and popular culture including animated film (anime).

Module convener: Dr Sue Townsend

United States
Life During Wartime: Crisis, Decline and Transformation in 1970s America

The module seeks to explore why the 1970s are now regarded as the decade ‘that brought us modern life – for better or worse’.

It introduces students to the narratives of crisis and decline that defined the 1970s and which helped make the decade such a transformative period in American life, recasting the United States and its society, politics and culture in significant and far-reaching political, socio-economic and cultural ways.

Themes explored include:

  • the growth of identity politics and the cult of the individual
  • debates over American foreign policy abroad and social policy at home
  • the rise of populist conservatism
  • the market and neo-liberalism
  • the environment and the political system.

Module convener: Dr Joe Merton



By the end of the course, you will acquire skills that are versatile, wide-ranging, and transferable. You will learn to interpret the complex and diverse character of human society as well as forces of change and continuity. You will learn to think critically, to analyse large amounts of data, to construct logical arguments, to communicate knowledge intelligibly, to work effectively in teams, to manage time and workloads, and to lead discussions and presentations. These skills will develop your capacity to learn and adapt and will therefore equip you with the tools you need to develop your future career. History therefore is a degree that will prepare you for a wide range of future professions.

Our students have an excellent track record of graduate employment. Many of our graduates go on to work in journalism, publishing, law, business and finance, government and non-governmental organisations, the armed forces, marketing and public relations, teaching, libraries and museums, the heritage industry, as well as research.

For more information on the career prospects of Nottingham history graduates, please visit our Careers page.

Average starting salary and career progression

In 2016, 93.2% of undergraduates in the School of Humanities who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £20,205 with the highest being £38,000.*

Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates 2015/16. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

Careers support and advice

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experience that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take. Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our Careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students. 


Fees and funding

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.


Key Information Sets (KIS)

KIS is an initiative that the government has introduced to allow you to compare different courses and universities.

Time in lectures, seminars and similar

Although this figure may appear low, you will undertake a module during your studies which involves over 90%  independent learning. This module is usually a dissertation which provides the opportunity to gain research and analytical skills as well as the ability to work independently. You will have a higher percentage of contact hours for other modules. 


This course includes one or more pieces of formative assessment.

How to use the data

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.


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