Your feedback is important to us
Please take two minutes at the end of your visit to help us improve our information and services.
Skip to content The Open University
    Back to BA (Honours) Humanities

BA (Honours) Humanities: History pathway

On this page
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.Q03-8,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.Q03-8,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.Q03-8,module,A105,,1.

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

Stage 2

At this stage, you’ll begin your specialist study with Exploring history: medieval to modern 1400-1900 (A200)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q03-8,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 and serfdom 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 could decide to complete Stage 2 by continuing your study of interdisciplinary humanities. Alternatively, you can choose from a wide range of modules covering art history, classical studies, classical languages, creative writing, heritage studies, the history of medicine, literature, music, English language, philosophy, religious studies, French, German and Spanish. Before you decide, you should think ahead to Stage 3, because most modules recommend you should study a particular Level 2 module first.

These modules can be studied in any order and 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

Your specialist study continues with one of two 60-credit history modules. You can either study Empire: 1492-1975 (A326)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q03-8,module,A326,,1 which explores 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 Europe during the last century with Europe 1914-1989: war, peace, modernity (A327)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q03-8,module,A327,,1. You can also study both modules – thereby completing your degree.

Alternatively, you could choose from a wide range of modules covering art history, classical studies, creative writing, literature, music, English language, philosophy, religious studies, French, German and Spanish. You should bear in mind that most of these modules recommend that you have studied a particular Level 2 module first.

(If you live in England and intend to apply for a student loan, please note that some of the Level 3 history options are produced in collaboration with other universities and are therefore not eligible for student loan funding.)

These modules can be studied in any order and being at Level 3, you’ll work more independently than you did at levels 1 and 2, devoting 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.


Where will you be resident whilst you study?

If your country isn’t shown here, please visit our website for international students.

Fee: Choose country above to see fee.


Choose country above to register.

Learning outcomes

See Learning outcomes for more information on the educational aims, learning outcomes and teaching and assessment methods for this qualification.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.

Your questions

Try our frequently asked questions.

Come and meet us at an event near you.

Or contact an adviser by Email or call +44(0) 845 300 60 90 +44(0) 845 366 60 35

Employers' questions

Contact Corporate Enquiries
Visit our website for employers or Email us

Get a prospectus

Download or