In this degree, by combining your study of history with film, you learn how history – its documentation and study – has changed since the advent of the moving pictures. Our course allows you to explore history and film studies, and graduate with a strong competence in both disciplines.
In your history modules 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.
You also have the opportunity to explore film across a broad range of genres, time periods, and regions, from Hollywood, world and independent cinema, to documentaries and television. Simultaneously, you have the chance to develop hands-on experience in film production and production management, essential for careers in the film and television industry.
Our Department of History has developed a strong research and teaching profile, with most of our research rated as ‘world leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ (REF 2014). We provide you with opportunities to explore local history, and have strong links with the Essex Record Office, one of the best county record offices in the UK.
Our Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies offers a varied, flexible and distinctive curriculum, focused on developing your abilities in film. We are ranked top 20 for film studies in the UK (Dance, drama and cinematics, Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021).
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 are among world leaders in their field, and our enthusiasm for our subject is infectious. Our flexible course is combined with a supportive structure which helps you to pursue the modules best-suited to your interests. We take the time to get to know you as an individual, 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.
The Centre for Film and Screen Media at Essex is part of a unique literary conservatoire that offers talented students the support and confidence to respond both critically and artistically to the study of film. This distinctive environment is possible because we are a community of award-winning film-makers, scholars, and media specialists; our staff over the years have included Oscar winners and BAFTA winners.
Our academic staff specialise in a range of areas including filmmaking, film theory, Soviet cinema, US cinema, films of the Asia and Pacific regions, modernism and the avant-garde, adaptation, silent cinema, screenwriting and production.
Our Department has a distinguished history of combining critical and creative work, and we have long been home to poets, novelists, translators, dramatists and actors, alongside literary critics, drama scholars and film theorists.
- 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
- Access the UK Data Archive, a national service provider digital resources for historians, which is particularly strong in 19th and 20th century economic and social history
- 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
- View classic films at weekly film screenings in our dedicated 120-seat film theatre, equipped with digital HD projection facilities and surround sound
- Join student film societies and the Centre for Film and Screen Media which screen and discuss both recent blockbusters and less mainstream arthouse films
- Hear writers talk about their craft and learn from leading specialists at weekly research seminars
As a history graduate you’ll acquire skills which employers in all fields value. You will be able to analyse information and communicate your ideas clearly. You will have the ability to understand foreign cultures and new ideas and grasp new systems quickly. All of these skills are highly transferable to the world of work.
Many 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.
Some of our recent graduates have found employment as:
- A librarian
- An editorial assistant
- A careers officer
- A business development manager
- A digital services consultant
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
- 17th for drama, dance and cinematics (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021)
- 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.
- 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
- Hands-on experience of camerawork and film production
- Explore film theory through use of film and literature
- One-to-one tuition for your final-year project
- Assessment methods in History include essays, coursework journals, oral presentations, book and film reviews, source analysis, and the dissertation
- Film Studies coursework includes essays, exhibition reviews and virtual portfolios, coursework reports, individual and group presentations, book reviews, viva voce examinations, and an independent research project (a dissertation)