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History (BA)


Entry year

Why study this course

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Study with passion

Explore interests with subjects ranging from slavery in America to Soviet and Japanese history.

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Dissertation with a difference

Explore a topic that sparks your curiosity; enhance multiple skills with a presentation and written element.

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Learn from experts

Benefit from the teaching and support  of research-active staff.

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Interactive careers workshops

Hone your career skills and gain valuable insights into roles and sectors fit for you.

Our courses cover the history of societies in diverse parts of the globe, including the United States, Germany, Russia, Eastern Europe, France, Britain, Wales, India, and China.

From Year One, we encourage you to 'do history' yourself, acquiring transferable skills so valued by employers.

You will learn to think independently, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of a body of historical evidence, and presenting your findings clearly. You will choose from a wide variety of modules reflecting the cutting edge of the discipline, taught by leading researchers in the discipline.

We have long enjoyed a reputation for our teaching, research, and the geographic and chronological depth and breadth of the History we cover. But more than this – we pride ourselves on nurturing a friendly, personalised and supportive environment.

Subject area: History and ancient history

Entry requirements

We accept a combination of A-levels and other qualifications, as well as equivalent international qualifications subject to entry requirements. Typical offers are as follows:

A level

ABB-BBB

Extended/International Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ/IPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.


This grade range reflects our typical standard and contextual offers. We carefully consider your contextual data (the circumstances in which you've been studying) upon application. Eligible students applying for this course will be given an offer at the lower end of the advertised grade range.

International Baccalaureate

32-31 overall or 665 in 3 HL subjects. 

Baccalaureate Wales

From September 2023, there will be a new qualification called the Advanced Skills Baccalaureate Wales (level 3). This qualification will replace the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (Welsh Baccalaureate). The qualification will continue to be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.

Other qualifications from inside the UK

BTEC

DDM in a BTEC Extended Diploma in Humanities and Social Science subjects. We will consider BTECs in alternative subjects alongside other academic qualifications and any relevant work or volunteer experience.

T level

Acceptance of T Levels for this programme will be considered on a case-by-case basis by the Academic School. Consideration will be given to the T Level grade/subject and grades/subjects achieved at GCSE/Level 2.

Qualifications from outside the UK

See our qualification equivalences guide

Additional entry requirements

GCSE

Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each subskill.

TOEFL iBT

At least 90 overall with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

At least 62 overall with a minimum of 59 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

You must have or be working towards:
- English language or Welsh language at GCSE grade C/4 or an equivalent (such as A-levels). If you require a Student visa, you must ensure your language qualification complies with UKVI requirements.

We do not accept Critical Thinking, General Studies, Citizenship Studies, or other similar equivalent subjects.
We will accept a combination of BTEC subjects, A-levels, and other qualifications, subject to the course specific grade and subject requirements.

You are not required to complete a DBS (Disclosure Barring Service) check or provide a Certificate of Good Conduct to study this course.

If you are currently subject to any licence condition or monitoring restriction that could affect your ability to successfully complete your studies, you will be required to disclose your criminal record. Conditions include, but are not limited to:

  • access to computers or devices that can store images
  • use of internet and communication tools/devices
  • curfews
  • freedom of movement, including the ability to travel to outside of the UK or to undertake a placement/studies outside of Cardiff University
  • contact with people related to Cardiff University.

Please see our admissions policies for more information about the application process.

Tuition fees for 2023 entry

Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on your fee status. Your fee status could be home, island or overseas.

Learn how we decide your fee status

Fees for home status

We are currently awaiting confirmation on tuition fees for the 2023/24 academic year. Fees for the previous year were £9,000.

Students from the EU, EEA and Switzerland

We are currently awaiting confirmation on tuition fees for the 2023/24 academic year.

Fees for island status

Learn more about the undergraduate fees for students from the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Fees for overseas status

We are currently awaiting confirmation on tuition fees for the 2023/24 academic year.

Additional costs

Accommodation

We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.

Living costs

We're based in one of the UK's most affordable cities. Find out more about living costs in Cardiff.

Course structure

We are currently working with our students to update and improve the content of this course. The information shown below reflects the current curriculum and is likely to change. The review of the course is expected to be completed by August 2023 and this page will be updated by end of October 2023 to reflect the changes.

The BA History is a three year degree programme. You will study modules totalling 120 credits each year.

Our year-long modules are the product of rigorous design and continuous re-evaluation. Academic staff, students and outside experts work together to ensure that degree schemes meet quality standards in their disciplines. 

The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2023/2024 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2023.

Year one

In Year One you explore key historical themes and ideas that you may not have encountered at A-level through optional modules on medieval, early modern and modern History, as well as the chance to take modules in Archaeology, Ancient History or Religion which explore longer time periods. You will take 120 credits in total.

All first-year single honours History students take two compulsory modules, which introduce you to the different frameworks which underpin historical research and the many different ways of writing history, while providing you with training in the skills necessary to practice history at undergraduate level. These core modules are taught through a range of case studies from different chronological periods, and are designed to help you understand why historians disagree as well as the nature of evidence they use.

Year two

You take 120 credits including two compulsory modules, one of which includes a period of independent study - taught through individual supervisions with academic staff.

You can choose from a wide range of thematic and specialist modules which explore topics and countries in more depth from the medieval diplomacy or heresy to courses on the English civil war, US history or twentieth-century Europe. In your second year, the emphasis shifts further towards seminar work, with individual supervision for extended essays.

The core module Approaches to History comprises weekly lectures supplemented by fortnightly seminars in small groups, while the second is taught through individual supervisions with academic staff.

Year three

You study 120 credits, and continue to develop and extend your historical skills and knowledge.

In your final year, you write a dissertation related to your area of interest, supported by individual supervisions with an academic adviser. The dissertation enables you to gain genuine research experience and develop the skills needed to research an historical problem and present your findings in a critical, analytical and coherent study, skills which equip you for professional employment.

The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

The School of History, Archaeology and Religion enables you to develop in a high-quality learning environment, supported by a student-orientated approach to the acquisition of knowledge and skills.

Teaching methods include lectures, seminars, practicals, field trips, and one-to-one tutorials. You will also undertake independent study and research, with guidance from tutors.

Lectures provide an overview of the key concepts and frameworks for a topic, equipping you to carry out independent research for the seminars and to develop your own ideas.  Seminars provide an opportunity for you to explore the ideas outlined in the lecture in a small group environment.

Seminars usually consist of about 15 students and the seminar leader (a member of the teaching team). Seminars may take various formats, including plenary group discussion, small group work and student-led presentations. They offer a rewarding opportunity to engage critically with the key ideas and reading of a topic, and to explore areas of particular interest with an expert in the field.

Welsh language teaching

The department provides significant opportunities for learning and teaching through the medium of Welsh. Subject to staff availability, seminar teaching in Welsh is available on some or all of the major core courses, and at least one Welsh language option is offered in years two and three. Welsh language supervision is also available for long essays (Exploring Historical Debate) and dissertations, and students may elect to write all or some of their assessed work and examinations in Welsh.

How will I be supported?

As well as having regular feedback from your personal tutor in each course, you will have a reading week each semester for guided study and a chance to catch up on assessed work, reading and revision. 

You will have access through the Learning Central website to relevant multimedia material, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles.

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.

Feedback

You will receive feedback through formative written work, seminar discussion, written feedback on essays, essay tutorials, and Dissertation and Exploring Historical Debate supervision sessions (which include oral and written feedback on bibliographies, research plans, and draft chapters).

How will I be assessed?

Modules are assessed by various methods, including coursework essays, written reports, source criticisms, critical reviews, examinations, class tests and oral presentations.

Coursework and examinations are used not only for assessment purposes but also as a means of developing your capacities to gather, organise, evaluate and deploy relevant information and ideas from a variety of sources in reasoned arguments.  Assessment, including coursework, exams, and oral presentations, will test the different skills you have learned. 

Progression is built into assessment, in that you will do smaller guided tasks in Year One, as well as formative essays in Years Two and Three. Progression is also evident in the growing emphasis on lengthier, independent work culminating in a 10,000-word dissertation in Year Three.  Final Year modules also demand deeper engagement with independent methods of working, together with greater demands on handling critically a larger number of bibliographical tasks and items.

What skills will I practise and develop?

This degree develops a range of intellectual skills: critical thinking, evaluating evidence, constructing evidence-based arguments, and presenting opinions effectively in writing and in debate. Additionally, you will gain practical skills such as team-working, independent research, and time management. Our degrees focus strongly on the development of skills essential for many careers.

The acquisition of skills and of intellectual understanding generally is progressive. As you progress through your degree we will raise our expectations of the depth and breadth of your studies. In broad terms:

  • Year One introduces you to a variety and range of approaches used in history.
  • Year Two provides you with specific training in the critical analysis of concepts, theories and methods used by historians.
  • Final Year provides you with the opportunity to develop these skills through a systematic engagement with, and interrogation of primary sources in your modules and in the production of a Dissertation based on original research.

You are encouraged to take increasing responsibility for your own learning and for the presentation of your findings. We cannot learn for you, but it is our responsibility to help you learn through a combination of lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials, and to help you become independent learners. By the end of the degree, you will have acquired a thorough grounding in what the great historian Marc Bloch once famously described as ‘the historian’s craft’.

Other information

The degree is team-taught, overseen by the Programme Convenor. You are supported by a number of different staff, some focussing on academic performance in a particular area and some looking at learning and progress more holistically.

Teaching methods include a mixture of lectures, seminars, workshops, individual work and group tasks, one-to-one tutorials, and self-directed learning. You will also undertake independent study and research, with guidance from academic tutors. These teaching methods enable you to develop communication and analytical skills, and to develop critical thinking in a supportive environment. The teaching covers all the key competencies, and is enhanced by the inclusion of digital learning resources.

The focus of assessment is on supporting you to develop your ideas, skills, and competencies. We use a wide range of assessment methods, including coursework essays, source criticisms, critical reviews, examinations, online tests, posters, oral presentations, and group presentations. Progression is built into assessment, in that you will do smaller guided tasks in year one, as well as formative work in years two and three. As part of your skills training in year one, you will be supported in understanding how the assessments work, what is expected of you, how you will be marked, and how to make the most of your feedback. Progression is also evident in the growing emphasis on lengthier, independent work culminating in a 10,000-word dissertation in your final year.

Welsh language teaching

We provide significant opportunities for learning and teaching through the medium of Welsh. Subject to staff availability, seminar teaching in Welsh is available on some or all of the major core courses, and at least one Welsh language option is offered in years two and four. Welsh language supervision is also available for long essays and dissertations, and students may elect to write all or some of their assessed work and examinations in Welsh.

Careers and placements

Career prospects

In 2016/17, the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey showed that 97% of our graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation. History graduates find work in a wide range of related and non-related professional employment. Popular employment sectors include: finance, publishing, law, journalism, advertising and marketing, culture and heritage, education, government, and other professional sectors. Some choose to undertake postgraduate study at Cardiff or elsewhere, and some have become internationally reputed historians.

We encourage our students to think about life beyond University from day one, offering modules and support to give you a competitive advantage on graduating, while the School has a dedicated Work Placements Officer who supports you with work experience opportunities both in and out of term time.

Graduate careers

  • Broadcast journalist
  • Lawyer
  • Advertising executive
  • Teacher
  • Historian

Placements

The school has a dedicated Work Placements Officer who supports students with work experience opportunities both in and out of term time.

Studying in Welsh

Up to 28% of this course is available through the medium of Welsh. Please contact the Admissions tutor for more information.

Next steps

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How to apply

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HESA Data: Copyright Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited 2021. The Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited cannot accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from its data. Data is from the latest Graduate Outcomes Survey 2019/20, published by HESA in June 2022.