BA (Hons) History

Sex, scandal, death and magic. History is far from dull! History is not just about the past; it is a dynamic force that informs how we comprehend the present and how we envision and shape our future. Understanding the connections between past and present is therefore essential to understanding ourselves and the world in which we live.

Our history degree will offer you new perspectives on the past. You’ll examine history from the close of the European middle ages to the present day. This history degree covers British and European history, Atlantic histories linking Europe, Africa and America, and aspects of global history.

We place emphasis on developing your skills in gathering and evaluating evidence, and learning how to build arguments that are rational and well presented. You’ll be taught by staff who are internationally recognised researchers. This informs what you learn in the classroom, so you’ll benefit from the latest historical findings.

Staff research interests are wide ranging and include the Atlantic slave trade, the history of seaside resorts and leisure, new perspectives on the First World War, nuclear rivalry and the Cold War, witch persecutions in early modern Europe, and the history of welfare provision. Find out more about History at USW on Facebook and Twitter.

2022/23 update: Blended learning approach for USW courses.

[Update excludes online-only courses].

The wellbeing and health and safety of our students and staff is paramount to us. We are committed to delivering all of our courses and services as safely as possible. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for delivering our courses in the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to change during the course of your study if such change is necessary due to public health concerns, health and safety guidance or in response to Government Guidelines. Whether you’re on-campus full time, part-time with online study, or full-time online, USW is committed to providing you with a fantastic student experience and a wealth of support, and you can hear how students have benefitted from this approach here: Learn more about blended learning.

UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
V100 Full-time 3 Years September Treforest A
N/A Part-time 6 Years September Treforest A
UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
V100 Full-time 3 Years September Treforest A
N/A Part-time 6 Years September Treforest A

In the first year of your history degree, we introduce you to some major historical themes such as the growth of the modern nation-state or the rise of the Atlantic world. We’ll also show how new approaches can illuminate the past. Crime and vice in the 19th century, for example, looks at how Victorians dealt with drug-taking and how contemporary newspapers covered the Jack the Ripper murders. The second and third years allow you to specialise in areas that interest you most. Our lecturers draw from their own research, whether that’s on early modern magic, the treatment of World War One veterans suffering from shell shock, women in modern Britain, or the USA in the 1960s.

Year One: History Degree

  • Introduction to History
  • Crime, Vice and ‘Lowlife’ in Nineteenth-Century Britain
  • Nations and Empires: The Making of Modern Europe, c.1750 to the Present
  • The Atlantic and Making of the Modern World: Old and New Worlds
  • The Atlantic and Making of the Modern World: Transformation and Revolutions
  • Science, Magic and Medicine in Early Modern Europe

Year Two: History Degree

  • Reflection on Learning in the Workplace
  • Women in Modern Britain
  • Germany: Memory, Identity and Public History
  • Poor Lives: Poverty, Welfare and History
  • A Global History of the Nuclear Age
  • The Tudor world, 1485-1603

Year Three: History Degree

  • Dissertation
  • Frontiers: A Global History
  • The Empire Strikes Back: History, Heritage and Race in Contemporary Britain
  • Vice, Scandal and Depravity: Cities of Sin in Reformation Europe
  • Understanding Postwar Britain: Evidence and Debates

Foundation Year

The BA (Hons) History is also available as a four year course including an integrated Foundation Year, and is designed for students who do not currently meet admissions criteria for direct entry onto the history degree. You will start by completing a foundation year, which provides well structured support, allowing you to develop your skills and knowledge before continuing onto a three year history degree programme. For more information please email [email protected] 


We place an emphasis on the skills of ‘doing’ history – the use of evidence, the nature of historical argument and the interpretation of documents. Throughout the history degree, you will develop your own research skills and learn to present your findings in written or oral form. In addition to lectures, you will participate actively in document based seminar and group discussions, individual presentations, workshop sessions and practical activities. You can also incorporate work from other humanities or social science subjects in your studies.

Research active

You will be taught by a team of enthusiastic staff who are active in research and writing. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework – the government’s official measure of research capability – 64% of our History research output was rated in the top two categories: ‘world-leading’ and ’internationally excellent’, so you’ll benefit from a cutting-edge curriculum that embodies the latest in historical research. See our History Research Group website.


You will usually have to complete coursework as you progress, and normally sit exams at the end of each academic year.


You’ll have the opportunity to choose a work placement relevant to your history degree and your career plans. You could work in a school, museum or archive, or try your hand at project organisation or digital media. You can even gain international experience by studying abroad, thanks to our links with universities in the USA and Europe, and still complete your history degree within three years.


Field Trips

You will also have the chance to take part in optional field trips within the UK and overseas (additional costs apply). You’ll have access to significant resources, including online databases, academic journals, images, letters, and other primary sources.

We normally organise visits to historic locations in the UK, as well as optional study trips abroad (additional costs apply). These visits give you the opportunity to get out of the classroom and study history on the ground.


There may be additional costs associated with this course

Featured Lecturer:
Dr Christopher Hill

Dr Christopher Hill

Dr Christopher Hill has research interests in modern British and global history, with a focus on histories of media, nuclear imperialism and social movements. His first book, Peace and Power in Cold War Britain, examines the interplay between radical traditions of liberty and media technologies, particularly through the prism of post-war peace movements and television. Chris is currently undertaking an AHRC-funded project on what the Ghanaian leader, Kwame Nkrumah, called ‘the new nuclear imperialism’ – the furtherance of British and French nuclear programmes through colonial connections and resources. The project will result in two outputs. The first, a single-authored monograph, will explore how imperial norms around race, diplomacy and the environment shaped the structure and trajectory of the British nuclear programme. The second, a co-edited collection of multimedia essays, co-produced with nuclear campaigners, veterans and workers, will explore the legacies of nuclear tests and radioactive materials in regions around the world.


  • Dr Ruth Atherton is a social, religious and cultural historian of early-modern Europe.
  • Dr Andy Croll is developing research interests in the history of tourism (particularly coastal tourism) in the long nineteenth century. He is also interested in the history of poverty and welfare in the era of the New Poor Law.
  • Dr Jonathan Durrant is a historian of gender in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. His particular interests are witchcraft and gender in Germany, and masculinity and warfare in the age of the Thirty Years’ War.
  • Professor Chris Evans works on industrial history from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries and the history of Atlantic slavery in the age of abolition.
  • Dr Jane Finucane is an expert on Germany in the age of the Thirty Years’ War.
  • Dr Christopher Hill has research interests in modern British and global history, with a focus on histories of media, nuclear imperialism and social movements.
  • Dr Rachel Lock-Lewis is interested in the history of feminism and social change in postwar Britain, especially issues of sexuality, marriage, maternity, parenthood and childhood, and kinship.

We regularly revalidate courses for quality assurance and enhancement

At USW, we regularly review our courses in response to changing patterns of employment and skills demand to ensure we offer learning designed to reflect today’s student needs and tomorrow’s employer demands.

If during a review process course content is significantly changed, we’ll write to inform you and talk you through the changes for the coming year. But whatever the outcome, we aim to equip our students with the skillset and the mindset to succeed whatever tomorrow may bring. Your future, future-proofed.

The entry criteria below shows the qualification range within which the University will make offers. Most offers we make are at the top of the range, but we take all aspects of an application into consideration and applicants receive a personalised offer. Combinations of qualifications are acceptable and other qualifications not listed here may also be acceptable.

Typical A-Level Offer

BCC - CDD (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical Welsh BACC Offer

Pass the Advanced Welsh Baccalaureate Diploma with Grade C/D in the Skills Challenge Certificate and BC - CD at A Level (this is equivalent to 104-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical BTEC Offer

BTEC Extended Diploma Distinction Merit Merit - Merit Merit Pass (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points).

Typical IB Offer

Pass the International Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum score of 29 overall including 5 or above in English at standard level

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass the Access to HE Diploma and obtain a minimum of 80 UCAS tariff points.

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics/Numeracy and English at Grade C or Grade 4 or above, or their equivalent, but consideration is given to individual circumstances. 


International Entry Requirements

We also welcome international applications with equivalent qualifications. Please visit the country specific pages on our international website for exact details.

English Requirements

In general, international applicants will need to have achieved an overall IELTS grade of 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component.

However, if you have previously studied through the medium of English IELTS might not be required, but please visit the country specific page on our international website for exact details. If your country is not featured please contact us.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course


August 2021 - July 2022 Fees

  • Full-time UK:  £9000

  • Full-time International:  £13500 

  • Part-time UK:  £700 per 20 credits

August 2022 - July 2023 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

  • Part-time UK: TBC

August 2023 - July 2024 Fees

  • Full-time UK: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

  • Part-time UK: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Field Trips £0 - £250
Costs covered for domestic trips starting from campus (with exception of local transport in some cases). Any international trips vary from 0-250 depending on subsidies available.
DBS £55.42
Students may require a DBS check if they choose to undertake a work placement with young / vulnerable people. In this case, they are responsible for covering the cost. The fee covers the cost of the enhanced check, online admin fees and the post office checks.
Placement expenses: Work Placement £0 - £100
Students undertake a work placement of their choice for optional modules offered in the second and third year. In this case, they will be responsible for travel costs and may need to budget for suitable workplace attire depending on their chosen placement. These figures assume at most two hours' local travel for a six-day (30 hour placement) and purchase of one work outfit.

UK students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK residing applicant, applying for year one of a full-time undergraduate degree, Foundation Year, Foundation Degree or HND and you have not applied through UCAS before. If you are applying to study part-time, to top up your Foundation Degree or HND, or to transfer to USW from another institution, please apply directly

International and EU students

Apply directly to the University if you live outside the UK. 

Admissions statement

Studying history provides many transferable skills that are valued highly by employers. It’s the perfect training in how to research, evaluate and communicate information.History prepares you for employment in a variety of professions. Your studies at USW will extend your written and verbal communication skills, encourage self management and teamwork, and analytical thinking. We also offer career planning and skills support from year one of the history degree. History graduates enter a wide variety of careers in education, industry and commerce, heritage management, museums, public services, the voluntary sector, and the media. Many graduates continue their studies and research at postgraduate level.

Graduates from the University of South Wales history degree have established a wide variety of careers in education, industry and commerce, public services, the voluntary sector and the media. Many also progress to postgraduate study and research. Many graduate careers are directly related to history: you can use our history degree to apply for a PGCE and train as a secondary school teacher, or you can gain knowledge and experience of the heritage sector in the course of your degree. Whilst others go on to careers which aren’t directly related to the subject, but require professionals who can work independently and creatively, master a subject and communicate clearly. As a widely respected degree subject, history can lead to jobs in public and private sector management, banking, finance, politics, journalism, new media, public relations and charities. You could also consider progressing on to postgraduate research with a Masters by Research or PhD.


Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW history student, you will have access to advice from the Careers and Employability Service throughout your studies and after you graduate.

This includes: one-to-one appointments from faculty based Career Advisers, in person, over the phone or even on Skype and through email via the "Ask a Question" service. We also have extensive online resources for help with considering your career options and presenting yourself well to employers. Resources include psychometric tests, career assessments, a CV builder, interview simulator and application help. Our employer database has over 2,000 registered employers targeting USW students, you can receive weekly email alerts for jobs.

Our Careers service has dedicated teams: A central work experience team to help you find relevant placements; an employability development team which includes an employability programme called Grad Edge; and an Enterprise team focused on new business ideas and entrepreneurship.