We continually review and, where appropriate, revise the range of modules on offer to reflect changes in the subject and ensure the best student experience. We will inform applicants of any changes to the course structure before enrolment.
Making History: An Introduction to the Study and Writing of History
This module, compulsory for all History students, introduces you to the methods and skills necessary to succeed in the study of history at university level. Writing history poses certain challenges, some of a philosophical nature, others of a practical kind. A particular aim of the module, therefore, is to introduce you to - and allow you to practice - the skills utilised in the writing of history. As you will discover, there is an important relationship between the creation of historical knowledge and accurate, structured writing: historians, in short, must be first-rate communicators.
There are no core modules in Year 2
There are no core modules in Year 3
Likely optional modules
Snapshots in Time: History and Historiographical Controversy
The module is formed of three case-studies which help illustrate the nature of historiography and the way in which historiographical debate is the engine driving the development of historical understanding. Recent case case-studies have included the Norman Conquest; the Reformation; and the Atomic Bombing of Japan in 1945. Where possible, we seek to offer a medieval, an early-modern and a modern example of how historians can arrive at competing and conflicting views on the same event(s). History does not write itself. It does not leap unassisted onto the pages of books. It is put there mostly by historians. Accordingly, this module will focus on historians, their art and craft, and their arguments and debates across three big chronological periods.
Introduction to the Ancient World
This module introduces students to the cultures and civilizations of the ancient world through an examination of historical and archaeological evidence from Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Near East, and the central Mediterranean (including Greece and Rome). Explored themes will include art, religion, politics, and society, with an emphasis on the long-term influence of ancient civilizations on later societies and the contemporary world. An ideal introduction to further modules in ancient history and/or archaeology.
Europe in the Age of the Vikings
The fearsome reputation of the Vikings is underlined by nicknames such as ‘Blood Axe’ and ‘Skull-splitter’, but they were much more than violent pirates. The Vikings also formed extensive trade networks across Europe and Asia Minor, founded new countries, developed new technologies, created beautiful objects and left behind a literary tradition that influenced European culture for many centuries. In this module you will examine both the reality of Viking society and relations between the Scandinavian peoples and their European neighbours.
Kings Queens and Conquerors in Medieval Europe
This module offers an introduction to Northern Europe in the Middle Ages via a thematic exploration of medieval society and its formation in the centuries that followed the construction and collapse of the Carolingian empire. For most people, medieval society was divided into three sections: those who fought, those who prayed and those who worked. This module seeks to explore the emergence of this society through the study of a variety of archaeological and historical materials along with secondary literature.
Renaissance, Reformation and Revolution in the Early Modern World
This module provides an introduction to early modern history, the period running from 1450 to around 1700, and and will examine the major social, political, religious and economic developments and events which occurred across England at this time. Topics covered include the Reformation, Humanism and the Renaissance, the printing press, colonial expansion, poverty, witchcraft, court culture, monsters and the grotesque, print, war, women and the Enlightenment. The module also addresses the myriad developments, conflicts, and enduring themes which characterise this peculiar, and powerfully important, period in history.
The Making of Modernity: Enlightenment, Nation and Empire
This module covers aspects of European history from 1750 to the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, an era especially marked by the impact of the so-called ‘dual revolution’ – the French Revolution of 1789-99 and the Industrial Revolution. It is also the age of empire, of the abolition of slavery, of the emergence of nationalism and socialism in Europe, of social Darwinism and feminism, of new more complex relations between the great powers, of the rise of the modern city and of great rural change.
Crisis, Conflict and Collapse: An Introduction to Contemporary History
This module is an introduction of some of the big themes and events of European history since 1914 – including the First World War, the Russian Revolution, the rise and impact of fascism, the cultural ferment of the interwar years, the Second World War, the Holocaust, the challenge to European empires and later decolonization, the onset of the Cold War, culture and politics in the postwar era, and European unity since 1945. The transformations of the twentieth century took place in many different spheres of human existence, and this module introduces you to some of the varieties of history and the diverse ways in which historians approach the past.
Castles in Medieval Society
In this module, you will come to appreciate how castles are one of the most visible and imposing reminders of our medieval past. The ruins we see now are the result of dynamic changes in society, culture, politics and architecture. This module therefore investigates castles in their medieval context using archaeological evidence, the landscape and standing buildings alongside written documents. It will consider how castles were viewed in medieval society and chart the evolution of castle studies in the modern era.
The Crusades, c.1095-1229
In this module, you will study the history of the crusading movement from its origins in the 1090s to the end of the sixth crusade. Along the way, you will explore major themes and debates, including, for example, the forces and influences that gave rise to the Crusades; the motives of crusaders; the causes, course and consequences of a series of Crusades; the Islamic response to the Crusades; the development of the crusader states; and the portrayal of the Crusades in film.
Anarchy, Law, War and Tyranny: Angevin England, 1128-1216
In this module, you will study the history of England under the Angevin kings (Henry II, Richard the Lionheart and John) who governed a vast collection of cross-Channel territories. Key topics include the ‘Anarchy’ of King Stephen’s reign (by way of background), the forging of the Angevin Empire under Henry II, Henry II’s fateful quarrel with Archbishop Thomas Becket, King Richard’s role in the Third Crusade and the disasters of John’s reign.
The Age of the Tudors, 1485-1603
In this module, you will study the political history of England and its neighbouring realms from the end of the Wars of the Roses through to the Reformations of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. Tying together political history with contemporary political theories, the module considers the major political events of all the Tudor reigns and the roles of major institutions such as Parliament and the Church.
Sex, Deviance and Death in the Sixteenth Century
In this module, you will be introduced to a variety of sixteenth century primary sources and shown how to work with sixteenth century texts and artefacts which which should deepen your knowledge of sixteenth century English history and its sources. Key topics include print culture, health, witchcraft, heresy, gender, and the role of women in sixteenth century England.
'The Monstrous Regiment': Women in Tudor and Stuart England
In this module, you will study how Tudor and Stuart women played a public political role through demonstrating religious piety and through defence of family interests in an overtly patriarchal society. Key topics include the roles of the Tudor and Stuart Queens; the political influence of aristocratic and gentry women and the lives of women below these elites. The effects of the Reformation, the Renaissance and the English Civil Wars will also be examined.
Russia and the Soviet Union, 1861-2000: Revolution, Continuity and Change
In this module, you will engage with a broad survey of Russian and Soviet history. Beginning with the emancipation of the serfs and the roots of the collapse of tsarism, you will go on to look at the revolutions of 1905 and 1917, the civil war and the rise, experience and collapse of Stalinism. You will also consider how social history (including labour history, women’s history and cultural history) has transformed research of Russia and the Soviet Union.
Fascism in the Twentieth Century
In this module, you will study the experience of fascism using the methods of comparative history. As well as Italian fascism and German Nazism, the module draws examples from France, Spain, Portugal, Britain and Romania. It also considers regimes that imitated or embraced elements of fascism (such as Salazar’s Portugal, Franco’s Spain and Vichy France) before concluding by considering attempts to resurrect fascism after the Second World War.
Terror, Consent and Resistance in Nazi Germany
In this module, you will study the relationship between the Nazi regime and the German people, examining in particular the extent to which the notion of a ‘peoples’ community’ put down roots amongst women, workers and youth. The module also questions attitudes towards the persecution of the Jews and other ‘social outsiders’ and further considers ‘resistance’ and problems of measuring it.
Land of Hope and Glory? Britain since 1900
In this module, you will be reminded that at the beginning of the twentieth century, Britain was the first modern society and the first superpower - a Land of Hope and Glory. This module will go on to explore the changing nature of Britain's role in the world during a period that saw the rise and fall of empires, the two most devastating wars in history, Europe divided, and power shift steadily from the global north to the global south.
‘Isolation to Domination’: the United States of America, 1914-1945
In this module, you will study some of the most important themes and events in American history between 1914 and 1945. Topics covered include: the emergence of the US as the dominant Western power, internal political and economic reform, and related social and cultural matters. The module will ask you to reflect on how these events helped to shape both the modern USA and the world.
The Cold War
In this module, you will study the origins, course and consequences of the Cold War, the conflict which dominated international relations for nearly half a century after the Second World War. Key topics include the historiographical debate surrounding the origins of the conflict; local Cold War hot wars such as Korea and Vietnam; and the Cold War within the Cold War, the Sino-Soviet split.
The module gives you the chance to write an extended essay of 4000 words on a topic related to another level 5 module that you are studying. It is good preparation for the level 6 independent study and encourages you to study a topic at greater depth than possible in a 20-credit module, emphasising independent learning and independent research skills.
Life and Death
The module will introduce you to the archaeology and history of Europe c.900-1348. This was a period of great change across all areas of life encompassing the formation of states, economic development, the foundation of new forms of religious life, agricultural and technological change and periods of disease. You will cover a range of material including the study of artefacts, settlements, agrarian and urban landscapes, narrative histories, administrative sources, and the built environment.
Independent Study – 10,000-word research dissertation
In this module, you will undertake a formal, long-form independent dissertation project, entailing detailed analysis of primary and secondary sources, one-to-one supervision with a qualified member of staff, and significant independent study. You will submit a topic proposal in the spring of your second year, and consult with staff from then onwards about the nature and scope of your chosen research area.
Roman Frontiers: Life and Interaction at the Edges of Empire
In this module, you will examine historical and archaeological materials and perspectives related to the frontiers of the Roman Empire and cultural interactions within and beyond the edges of the Roman world, with a particular emphasis on northern Britain. Rather than focus on the Roman military and its fortifications, this module emphasises emerging themes of frontier life and communities, including across traditional Roman/native and military/civilian divides.
From Norsemen to Normans I: Pirates and Princes
Historians have long been fascinated by the Normans due to the quantity and quality of the historical writing that celebrates their achievements and their magnificent architecture. Although 1066 is a date that looms large in British history, the Normans also settled in other areas of Europe. Rollo, a Viking raider, became count of Rouen after he was granted land in northern France by the French king Charles the Simple. This module considers how Rollo, ancestor of William the Conqueror, and his immediate successors were able to establish themselves in Normandy and how they founded one of the strongest principalities in France by the eleventh century.
King Stephen, Empress Matilda and the Anarchy: The Anglo-Norman Dominions, 1120-54
In this module, you will study some of the major aspects of the civil war between King Stephen (reigned 1135-1154) and the Empress Matilda, a period often described as ‘the Anarchy’. Themes explored include the causes and consequences of the civil war; the fate of English power in Northumbria and Normandy; the role of the Church and disputes over the election to bishoprics; the activities, loyalties and ambitions of major barons; and the forces and influences that helped to restore peace.
Queens, Maidens and Dowagers: Women in Medieval England
In this module, which draws on chronicles, letters and records, you will reflect on the diverse nature of women’s experiences in medieval England. The module investigates the roles open to queens, aristocratic ladies, peasant women, townswomen, anchoresses and nuns in an era when women were widely regarded as the weaker of the two sexes. Topics covered typically include the impact of the Norman Conquest on women, queenship, royal daughters, estate and household management, religious devotion, and women at work.
From Richard II to The Wars of the Roses: Politics and Society, 1377-1509
In this module, you will study the history of England during the fifteenth century, particularly the causes, course and consequences of the civil wars known as the Wars of the Roses. It assesses the crisis of kingship occasioned by the Lancastrian revolution of 1399 and the characters of the men who sat upon the English throne in that period. Political turmoil in England is set against the context of social and cultural change throughout late medieval Europe.
Crimes, Courts and Social Protest in Early Modern England
In this module, you will study the structure and functioning - in theory and in practice - of the English criminal law and its courts in the early modern period. You will study primary sources associated with pre-trial investigation as well as prosecution in court. Popular and elite perceptions of crime are also considered as are examples drawn from popular crime literature. Riot and disorder is also addressed.
The Stuart State: Britain, 1603-1714
In this module students will study the development of the Stuart State through civil war and revolution, and consider the roles of the Monarchy, Parliament and the Church in seventeenth century politics. Key topics include the reign of Charles I, the causes and impact of the English Civil Wars, the Cromwellian Protectorate and the Restoration. The legacies of civil war will be examined in the formation of political parties and the regime change of 1688-9.
Poverty, Prostitution, Plague: The Problems of English Society, 1600-1800
In this module students will study the social and cultural history of three powerful ‘problems’ central to life in England, c. 1600-1800. The module examines the history of welfare, sexual cultures, and medicine in a bid to recover the lived experiences of a broad majority of England’s population. Key topics include: early modern mental illness, transgressive sexuality, roguery and counterculture, and the English poor laws.
The Russian Revolution, 1917-21
In this module you will study the Russian revolution of 1917, the civil war of 1918-20 and the initial years of Soviet government. The focus will be on primary sources with a key aim of developing your appreciation of the methods used by historians in evaluating and analysing historical material, and the way in which historiographical debates are conducted with reference to primary sources.
'The Troubles': War, Rebellion and Loyalty in Ireland
In this module you will study the main elements and development of the Irish Question from the nineteenth century. Topics include the home rule crisis; the impact of the Great War; the 1916 Easter Rising; the Anglo-Irish and Irish Civil Wars 1919-23; the battle between the British state and the Provisional IRA in Northern Ireland; Loyalist paramilitaries; and attempts at finding a solution to the ‘Troubles’ including the Peace Process and the negotiation of the ‘Good Friday‘ Agreement.
War and Revolution in Vietnam, 1930-1975
In this module, you will study the origins, course and consequences of one of the most violent conflicts of the twentieth century. While the US war of 1965-1973 will feature strongly, the module also seeks to understand the conflict in its wider international context, and to give the Vietnamese, both northern and southern, a prominent place in their own story.
The Global Sixties
In this module, you will discover that ‘Sixties’ - stretching from the late 1950s to the early 1970s - remain a powerful myth. In the last few years, however, historians have begun to question the nostalgic take on the era that is fed by TV shows, historical novels, and fashion revivals. This module explores from a global perspective why, where and when the Sixties ‘happened’. The Sixties offers a way of addressing key questions regarding democracy, cross-border exchange, memory, and identity.
A Superhero History: Truth, Justice and the American Way
In this module, you will be introduced to a new interdisciplinary area, comics studies. Through engagement with this area, you will be able to track and consider changes in American society from the 1930s to the present day and how superhero narratives have operated as both a means of representing change and a space through which audiences have been able to negotiate it. You will consider social, political, economic, cultural, and legal developments that informed narratives and society.
In Search of the Past: The Meanings of Heritage
In this module, you will explore the past through the idea of ‘heritage’ as it appears in history and culture. Topics covered will include antiquarianism, heritage tourism and travel writing; the development of museums and their collections; the formation of national heritage bodies in the Twentieth Century, popular culture and heritage in the age of global media; archaeology and its popular appeal. The rich heritage of Kent will supply examples, case studies and field trips.