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BA (Honours) History: Broad-based history pathway

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This degree is made up of 360 credits.

What you will study

There are two ways to start a qualification. You can begin your studies at Stage 1, or, if you haven’t studied for a long time, you can get started by studying an Access module as an additional preparatory stage of your chosen qualification. We know from experience that students who have completed an Access module do better in their subsequent modules, so it could be the vital first step you take to help you succeed in your future studies.

To find out the recommended Access module for this pathway, choose your country in the Fees section below.

Stage 1

You’ll begin your studies with the compulsory 60-credit module The arts past and present (AA100)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q01-1,module,AA100,,1, an absorbing and broad-based grounding in the arts and humanities, including:

  • history
  • philosophy
  • music
  • literature
  • art history
  • classical studies
  • religious studies.

You’ll develop essential study skills while engaging with a wide range of topics, periods and approaches and enhancing your enjoyment and understanding of fascinating and diverse aspects of human culture.

We recommend that you build on this with two 30-credit Level 1 modules designed to hone your critical and analytical skills and prepare you for study at Level 2. In the first, Voices and texts (A150), you’ll explore language, particularly English, in a wide range of contexts and from the perspective of different academic subjects, including history. In the second, Making sense of things: an introduction to material culture (A151)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q01-1,module,A151,,1, you’ll be introduced to the study of objects, in both the past and present. From October 2014, these 30-credit modules are being merged into one 60-credit module Voices, texts and material culture (A105)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q01-1,module,A105,,1.

Alternatively, you could choose from other options which include languages, social sciences and design.

Stage 2

You’ll begin Stage 2 with the compulsory 60-credit module Exploring history: medieval to modern 1400-1900 (A200)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q01-1,module,A200,,1, a varied and wide-ranging introduction to historical study and to the techniques of professional historians. You’ll explore the Hundred Years’ War; the Protestant Reformation; the civil wars of the British Isles in the seventeenth century; slavery in the Atlantic world in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; the development of nation states in western Europe following the French Revolution; and European imperialism in Africa.

You’ll then choose one from a range of 60-credit modules. You can develop your interest in the classical world with Exploring the classical world (A219)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q01-1,module,A219,,1; or you can explore the history of medicine in Europe from the Renaissance to the early twentieth century in Medicine and society in Europe 1500-1930 (A218)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q01-1,module,A218,,1; or you can study heritage – what it is, how it is created and how it’s used at local, regional, national and global levels with Understanding global heritage (AD281)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q01-1,module,AD281,,1; or you could decide to complete Stage 2 by continuing your study of interdisciplinary humanities with From Enlightenment to Romanticism c.1780-1830 (A207)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q01-1,module,A207,,1, a fascinating study of this formative period in modern European history.

There are two modules in English local history which are offered in collaboration with Oxford University Department of Continuing Education.  For further information about these modules, including how to apply, see our Collaborative schemes website. (If you live in England and intend to apply for a student loan, please note that as these two modules are offered in collaboration with another university they are not eligible for student loan funding via the OU.)

Throughout this stage, you’ll continue to develop your critical thinking, writing and analysis skills. You’ll also begin to work and think more independently in relation to a range of problems and questions posed by your course of study.

Stage 3

You’ll start Stage 3 with one of two 60-credit modules. In Empire: 1492-1975 (A326)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q01-1,module,A326,,1 you can explore the astonishing impact that the rise and fall of empires has had on the development of the modern world over the last five centuries; or you can study the impact of conflict in twentieth century Europe in Europe 1914-1989: war, peace, modernity (A327)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q01-1,module,A327,,1. You can also study both modules – thereby completing your degree.

Alternatively, you could choose your final module from a list of Level 3 options which give you an opportunity to explore a range of topics and periods, in line with your own interests, and to continue to apply and develop your skills as a historian. 

Two of these Level 3 options – Modern Scottish history: 1707 to the present (CDDR300) and Medieval and early modern Scotland 1100-1707 (CDDR320) – are produced in collaboration with the University of Dundee and Local history via the internet (COXR305) is produced in collaboration with Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. For information about how to apply for these collaborative modules, see our Collaborative schemes website.

(If you live in England and intend to apply for a student loan, please note that as these two modules are offered in collaboration with other universities they are not eligible for student loan funding via the OU.)

At Level 3, you’ll work more independently than you did at Levels 1 and 2, and will devote some of your study time to exploring topics and issues in greater detail.

Modules quoted in qualification descriptions are those that are currently available for study. As the structure of our qualifications is reviewed on a regular basis, the University is unable to guarantee that the same selection of modules will continue to be available in future years.

How long it takes

Typically it takes six years part-time study to complete this qualification, but you can take anything from three to 16 years.

We recommend spreading Stage 1 over two years, giving you time to get used to distance learning as well as a solid foundation of knowledge and skills for future study. You could then continue at this pace or speed up to complete in four or five years.

If you are considering taking just three years, the equivalent to full-time study, we strongly recommend that you first speak to an adviser.


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