The foundations of our modern judicial system were laid long ago. What is case law but a practical and binding application of historical precedent? This innovative degree covers a range of historical periods and current practice in diverse areas of the law, to develop your unique insight into how pivotal moments in our history have long-standing legal implications.
This course gives you a thorough training in the complementary disciplines of history and law. You develop critical, reflective and analytical skills that are common to both disciplines. In addition to emphasising aspects common to both subjects, you explore the differences between them, and the approaches taken within legal and historical thought. Your studies will combine a structured introduction to both subjects as well as a range of options which will allow you to pursue your own areas of interest.
We cover a diverse range of topics, including:
- the history of pandemics
- the development of human rights
- history through oral testimony
- criminal and contract law
- British history to the present
Our Department of History has developed a strong research and teaching profile, with the majority of our research rated as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014). We also have strong links with the Essex Record Office, which is one of the best county record offices in the UK. Our students love us too: 97% of our history students expressed overall satisfaction with their course (NSS 2018).
Our School of Law at Essex specialises in commercial law, public law, and human rights law. Our School of Law is Top 20 in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014), and we are ranked among the top 50 Law Schools on the planet according to the Times Higher World University Rankings 2018.
Your education extends beyond our University campus. We support you extending your education by offering you an additional year at no extra cost. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend your third year studying abroad, while otherwise remaining identical to the three-year course. Studying abroad allows you to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. We have exchange partners across Europe, in the United States, Canada and Australia.
Alternatively, on a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. Placement years give you valuable work experience and a chance to develop your legal and professional skills. You can tailor your placement to your interests and could work for a museum, a law firm, a company’s in-house legal department, the public sector, a charity or NGO, or elsewhere.
Our expert staff
The Department of History and School of Law and have internationally diverse communities of staff and students, which gives us a breadth of cross-cultural perspectives and insights into law, justice and history around the world. This community, combined with opportunities to study abroad during your time with us, ensures you graduate with a genuine worldview and a network of international contacts.
At Essex we don’t just prepare you to become an outstanding legal or history professional. We stimulate your desire to pursue justice and equip you with the skills and knowledge to become an agent for change, whatever career path you choose. From the start of your course, we challenge you to think deeply, broadly and strategically about career paths. Over the first two years, alongside law subjects, you will take a career management module designed to help you identify personal strengths and goals, understand what employers are looking for and enhance your employability profile. We also hold an annual law fair, attended by law firms and vocational qualification providers. Our graduates pursue careers in the law and in a wide range of other sectors including business and commerce, accountancy, insurance, banking, central and local government, academia, teaching, social work and the police force.
Why we’re great
- Our History team specialises in public history and we have links with numerous local archives.
- Our Law lecturers work with the UN, the UK government, and with EU and foreign governments.
- Employability is built into our degrees. The History Works: Career Portfolio module focuses your mind on finding employment after graduation, whether your path lies within the legal profession, heritage industries – or whether you’ll take your skills into an entirely different area.
We offer a flexible course structure with a mixture of core/compulsory modules, and optional modules chosen from lists.
Our research-led teaching is continually evolving to address the latest challenges and breakthroughs in the field. The course content is therefore reviewed on an annual basis to ensure our courses remain up-to-date so modules listed are subject to change.
Teaching and learning disclaimer
Following the impact of the pandemic, we made changes to our teaching and assessment to ensure our current students could continue with their studies uninterrupted and safely. These changes included courses being taught through blended delivery, normally including some face-to-face teaching, online provision, or a combination of both across the year.
The teaching and assessment methods listed show what is currently approved for 2022 entry; changes may be necessary if, by the beginning of this course, we need to adapt the way we’re delivering them due to the external environment, and to allow you to continue to receive the best education possible safely and seamlessly.
On a placement year you gain relevant work experience within an external business or organisation, giving you a competitive edge in the graduate job market and providing you with key contacts within the industry. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
On your year abroad, you have the opportunity to experience other cultures and languages, to broaden your degree socially and academically, and to demonstrate to employers that you are mature, adaptable, and organised. The rest of your course remains identical to the three-year degree.
- Your teaching mainly takes the form of lectures and classes, the latter involving about 20 students
- A typical timetable includes a one-hour lecture and a one-hour class for each of your four modules every week
- Our classes are run in small groups, so you receive a lot of individual attention
- Your assessed coursework will generally consist of essays, reports, in-class tests, book reviews, individual or group oral presentations, and small scale research projects