BA Modern History and International Relations (Including Foundation Year)

Overview

Our four-year BA Modern History and International Relations (including foundation year), will be suitable for you if your academic qualifications do not yet meet our entrance requirements for the three-year version of this course and you want a programme that increases your subject knowledge as well as improves your academic skills in order to support your academic performance.

This four-year course includes a foundation year, followed by a further three years of study. During your Year Zero, you study three academic subjects relevant to your chosen course as well as a compulsory academic skills module, with additional English language for non-English speakers.

You are an Essex student from day one, a member of our global community based at the most internationally diverse campus university in the UK.

After successful completion of your foundation year in our Essex Pathways Department, you progress to complete your course with our Department of History. When starting year one, you take introductory modules in international relations and politics alongside your history modules in year one, and continue to combine modules in modern history and international relations in your second and third years. There is a range of options to choose from in both departments and you choose to write your final-year dissertation in either politics or history.

This course should also interest you if you want to understand how the international system works, how decisions are made and how lines are drawn. You’ll gain a foundation in politics, while the study of international relations develops your research and critical analysis skills, while teaching you methods of analysis and giving you awareness of the world system.

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 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. You can also explore more international topics; our corridors are truly cosmopolitan, with an international research team and a high proportion of international students.

Our students love us too: 92% of our history students expressed overall satisfaction with their course (NSS 2020).

Our Department of Government is one of the most prestigious in Europe, with an outstanding record of teaching, research and publication. We are rated top in the UK for research (REF 2014), and have consistently been the highest-rated politics department in the country since national assessments began.

Study abroad

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.

Placement year

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 the placements team. If you complete a placement year you’ll only pay 20% of your usual tuition fee to Essex for that year.

Our expert staff

We have some of the best teachers across the University in our Essex Pathways Department, all of whom have strong subject backgrounds and are highly skilled in their areas.

Our 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.

Some of the biggest names in the field work at Essex, giving you unparalleled access to some of the best minds in politics and international relations. Our staff are advising the CIA on counter-terrorism, training politicians and civil servants in democratising countries, and commentating on political events in national and international media.

Specialist facilities

By studying within our Essex Pathways Department for your foundation year, you will have access to all of the facilities that the University of Essex has to offer, as well as those provided by our department to support you:

  • We provide computer labs for internet research; classrooms with access to PowerPoint facilities for student presentations; AV facilities for teaching and access to web-based learning materials.
  • Our Student Services Hub will support you and provide information for all your needs as a student.
  • Our social space is stocked with hot magazines and newspapers, and provides an informal setting to meet with your lecturers, tutors and friends.

Take advantage of our extensive learning resources in the Departments of History and Government to assist you in your studies:

  • 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 nineteenth and twentieth-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.
  • Student societies for politics, debating, and Model UN.
  • We organise the Essex Summer School in Social Science Data Analysis.

Your future

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

  • We equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed at Essex and beyond.
  • Guarantee a place on your chosen course upon successful completion of your foundation year.
  • Small class sizes allow you to work closely with your teachers and classmates.

Structure

Course structure

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, therefore all modules listed are subject to change. Your course structure could differ based on the modules you choose. To view the compulsory modules and full list of optional modules currently on offer, please view the programme specification via the link below.

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.

Teaching

  • 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
  • Any language classes involve language laboratory sessions
  • Our classes are run in small groups, so you receive a lot of individual attention

Assessment

  • Your assessed coursework will generally consist of essays, reports, in-class tests, book reviews, individual or group oral presentations, and small scale research projects

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