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University subject profile: history | History

What you’ll learn
History is everything human beings have done in the past, individually and collectively. Degrees examine politics, economics, culture, religion, society, and race and gender issues. Whatever periods you choose to study, whether it’s the Tudors or the 20th century, you are likely to touch on all these themes. If you want to tailor a course to your interests, however, it is worth researching the core and optional modules available at the university.

How you’ll learn
Your first year will probably be a general introduction, so as well as studying what went on in centuries gone by, you’ll be introduced to the materials historians use to source and interpret facts. Your final two years will often focus on specific periods and themes.

There will be lectures, seminars, trips to historical sites and lots of independent work. You’ll develop an ability to digest copious amounts of information, and acquire the skills to analyse it critically. You’ll evaluate primary and secondary source material, and understand the implications and limitations that come with dealing with things that happened long ago. You will be able to craft an argument, respect the opinions of others and show insight.

Many universities offer field trips and some will help arrange work placements with, for example, local museums or heritage organisations.

Entry requirements
These vary, but most courses expect history at A-level (or equivalent). Other subjects which might help your application include economics, English literature, philosophy, politics, sociology, theology or religious studies, or a modern or classical language.

What job can you get?
A history degree is an excellent foundation from which to launch a career. Your attention to detail, ability to gather and assess information, and the knowledge of how to present facts clearly and concisely will make you popular in a wide range of professions. These include law, accountancy, management, the civil service, diplomatic services, business, public relations, journalism and the media.

You would also be well placed to take a postgraduate teaching qualification if you want to inspire the next generation.

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