On our BA History and Sociology, you are encouraged to explore the ways in which the two disciplines influence and inform one another.
As a student of history, you discover both the early modern and modern periods, and explore challenging questions concerning the impact of political, social and cultural change on individuals, social groups, and regions.
As a sociologist, you investigate what connects people with each other, as well as what divides them. We consider every aspect of our daily lives, from how we relate to politicians, celebrities and friends, to how we define ourselves, our families, and others. You study a wide-range of topics and specialisms, including colonialism, inequality, culture, identity, citizenship, multiculturalism and human rights.
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: 92% of our history students expressed overall satisfaction with their course (NSS 2020).
Our Department of Sociology is Top 10 in the UK for research quality (REF 2014) and the majority of its research is rated as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. We are also ranked among the top 50 departments in the QS World University Rankings by Subject (2020)
Your education extends beyond the university campus. We support you in expanding your education through offering the opportunity to spend a year or a term studying abroad at one of our partner universities. The four-year version of our degree allows you to spend the third year abroad or employed on a placement 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.
When you arrive at Essex, you can decide whether you would like to combine your course with a placement year. You will be responsible for finding your placement, but with support and guidance provided by both your department and our Employability and Careers Centre.
If you complete a placement year you’ll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.
Our expert staff
Our history staff welcome you into our scholarly community, and value your views. Our teaching and research concentrates on the period from 1500 to the present and covers a wide geographical area that includes British and European history as well as Latin America, the USA, China, Russia and Africa.
Our world-leading sociology academics have their fingers on the pulse of modern society; whether it’s the battle between Apple and Spotify or the exploitation of female bodybuilders, we embed our innovative and sometimes controversial research into your course.
As well as publishing bestselling books, our academics have appeared in radio and television broadcasts such as Professor Mike Roper on the BBC World Service broadcast, London: The Psychology of War and Professor Pam Cox in the BBC TWO series Shopgirls: The True Story of Life Behind the Counter and Servants: The True Story of Life Below Stairs.
- We have several Special Collections in history, including the Essex Society for Archaeology and History Library, the Harsnett Collection, the Hervey Benham Oral History Sound Archive, the Bensusan Collection, and the Colchester Medical Society Library
- You have access to the UK Data Archive, a national service provider of digital resources for historians, which is particularly strong in 19th and 20th century economic and social history, and stores national research data like the British Crime Survey
- Our students’ Sociology Society is a forum for the exchange of ideas, arranging talks by visiting speakers, introducing you to various career pathways, and organising debates
- We have links with the Institute of Social and Economic Research, which conducts large-scale survey projects and has its own library
- Access a variety of textbooks and journals in our Albert Sloman Library which houses materials on Latin America, Russia and the US that are of national significance
As a history student, you can acquire skills which employers in all fields value. You learn to analyse information and communicate your ideas clearly, to understand foreign cultures and new ideas, and to grasp new systems quickly. All of these skills are highly transferable to the world of work.
Some of our graduates go into subject-related fields such as teaching, museum curation and archiving, while others have gone on to do very different things, including journalism, law, politics and civil service.
A history degree prepares you for a wide range of careers. Some of our recent graduates have found employment as:
- A chartered accountant
- A policy analyst
- An operations manager
- A planning officer
We also work with the university’s Student Development Team to help you find out about further work experience, internships, placements, and voluntary opportunities.
Why we’re great
- We have consistently high levels of student satisfaction and our research is renowned.
- You can choose from a unique and diverse range of topics, periods and countries.
- We offer financial assistance for voluntary work at local museums, archives and heritage sites.
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. Our Programme Specification gives more detail about modules on your year abroad.
- Taught by a weekly lecture followed by a seminar, where groups of about 15 students meet with their tutor to discuss their reading, to work together with primary sources, or to make presentations to the rest of the group
- Lab sessions to improve technical research skills
- One-to-one tuition for your final-year project
- Assessment methods include essays, coursework journals, oral presentations, book and film reviews, source analysis, and the dissertation
- Your first-year marks do not count towards your final degree class
- Complete a supervised dissertation on the topic that most inspires you