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.

2021/22 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 pandemic, the methods and activities adopted for the coming year may differ from those previously published and may be subject to further change through 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. 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

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
    How will you study history at university, and what can history do for you after graduation? This module shows how you can accumulate skills to succeed at university and beyond.
  • The Atlantic and Making of the Modern World 1 and 2
    In 1500 the richest parts of the world lay in China and India. By 1900, that had changed completely. What happened in the centuries after 1500? Find out how a new ‘Atlantic system’ caused millions to be enslaved. How it changed the way we eat. How it overturned long-accepted ideas about the power of monarchs… and much else besides.
  • Nations and Empires: The Making of Modern Europe, 1750-present
    Most nationalists claim that they represent an old nation whose roots can be traced back hundreds of years. In reality, nationalism is something new, with a history which has shaped modern Europe. Discover how an age of nationalism and nations could become an age of empires.
  • Crime, Vice and Lowlife in the Nineteenth Century
    How did Victorians think about crime? Why did late Victorians write to ask Sherlock Holmes for assistance? What do the Jack the Ripper murders tell us about the late 1880s? This module enters the world of the Victorian slum – and asks if we can trust descriptions we’ve received from the nineteenth century.
  • Science, Magic and Learning in Early Modern Europe
    In a world of alchemists and astrologers, what was science and what was magic? Learn what monsters, musical planets, the search for Atlantis and the quest for the philosopher’s stone did for modern science.

The second and third years of the history degree allow you to specialise in areas that most interest you.

Year Two: History Degree

  • Approaches to History (20 credits)
    How does a historian find and tackle sources: from medieval cartoons to yesterday’s photographs, from military documents to local newspapers? How do we form new questions about old material? This module is the essential training for your third-year dissertation.

  • Work-based Learning (20 credits)
    Develop a project in a professional workplace, supported and assessed by historians. This module can be adapted to your interests, ambitions and circumstances. For example, current second-year students are working to organise special events at local museums.

You will also study 100 credits of optional modules. Options available may include:

  • American Violence, Crime and Warfare
    Trace the origins and history of American violence: the slave trade, the near-destruction of Native American civilization, military interventions abroad, state violence against citizenry, criminal violence, vigilantism, serial killer phenomena, movie and media-inspired violence.
  • Poor Lives: Poverty, Welfare and History
    The life of the poor in history: What was the role of the dreaded workhouse? Why did many Victorian philanthropists think food aid was ‘evil’? What happened when savage cuts were made to welfare in the 1870s?
  • The Tudor Myth: 1485 to the present
    The Tudors are one of the world’s most celebrated dynasties – and worked hard for their image. How did Henry VIII and Elizabeth I shape the myth of a Tudor Golden Age? How has the myth survived, through maps and portraits, literature and film to the present day?
  • The Russian Revolutions and the Soviet Union, (1917-1953)
    Wars, revolution & revolutionaries from Lenin to Stalin! Mass movements for rights and freedoms followed by dictatorship; opportunities for human advance flawed by terror on an unprecedented scale. Study the defining events of the twentieth century.
  • Germany: Memory, Identity and Public History
    This module examines key ideas and experiences which have shaped different versions of a German cultural or national identity in the modern period (c. 1500-1989). It considers how these identities are reflected and challenged through public history: through popular narratives and political controversies, at museums, sites of memory and virtual spaces.

  • Women in Modern Britain
    Students will examine the range of identities available to women in Britain in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the institutions that governed their lives and relationships, and the various forms that resistance and revolution took in this period.
  • Must Rhodes Fall? Imperial History and the Politics of Race and Nation in Contemporary Britain (Also available in Year 3)
    This module will explore imperial history as a currency of politics that has been at the centre of controversies not only on campuses and among academics, but also in court rooms, galleries and museums and on the streets. Students will learn to negotiate and think critically about politicised histories of empire, as well as to analyse the manifestation of historiography through public interventions in history, whether on social media or television

Year Three: History Degree

  • Dissertation (40 credits)
    Put simply, a dissertation is an extended essay on a research topic of your choosing. At this stage, you become a practicing historian in your own right. It’s both the most challenging and the most rewarding piece of work you’ll do. Be ambitious: the best have been published in academic journals.

You will also study 80 credits of optional modules. Options available may include:

  • America in the Sixties
    This module gets to grips with the myths and the realities of one of America’s most turbulent and controversial decades. It explores topics such as the civil rights movement, the war in Vietnam, and the growth of a counter-culture.

  • A Global History of the Nuclear Age
    How the nuclear age connects us across space and time – and what it can mean in those changing contexts – lies at the heart of this module and shapes our understanding of ‘the global’. The structure of this module mirrors the nuclear lifecycle, beginning with uranium mining in the Congo and ending with the environmental and humanitarian impacts from nuclear tests around the world. Along the way, we will be joined on Skype by artists, campaigners, filmmakers and nuclear veterans who continue to experience and inform us about the legacies and present-day politics of the nuclear age in the twenty-first century.

  • The Ending of Atlantic Slavery
    The ending of Atlantic slavery was neither quick, nor easy, nor straightforward. As late as the 1850s slavery seemed to be an inevitable and irreplaceable part of life across swathes of the New World. Yet ‘Atlantic system’ slavery did perish. Its downfall raises fundamental questions about how historical change comes about.

  • Urban Wales, c.1860-1914: Culture, Society and Popular Politics
    Study the vibrant, exciting, boisterous world of industrial Wales – the Rhondda (greatest coal-exporting area…in the world), Cardiff (greatest coal-exporting port…in the world), Merthyr (premier iron-producing town…in the world). How did rugby became the Welsh working class sport? Was Wales really a ‘land of song’? Learn how the past ‘made’ today’s Wales.

  • Witchcraft and Deviance in Early Modern Societies
    What was considered immoral, or criminal, in the past? Discover why fifty thousand people were executed for the imaginary crime of witchcraft and how attitudes to sex, adultery, and even morris dancing have changed.

  • Fronteirs: A Global History 
    Frontiers are frequently seen as the boundary between modernity and more archaic forms of social organization. The American West provides the classic example. This module examines the distinguishing features, functions and key themes in the history of a range of frontiers throughout time and space.

  • Work-based Learning
    Develop a project in a professional workplace, supported and assessed by historians. This module can be adapted to your interests, ambitions and circumstances. For example, current third-year students are working with secondary teachers to develop course materials and gain classroom practice.

  • The Great War: Global and Local
    This module asks why nations in Europe and beyond went to war, and how the conflict engaged - or marginalised - different groups.  What did the First World War mean for the working classes? How did it affect Britain's women, to 1918 and beyond?  How did nationalists from Ireland to Poland support the war effort, or subvert it? And how have winners and losers remembered the war since 1918?
  • Words of Power: Britain's Languages, c1500-1800


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] 


Subject to revalidation from 2020
This course is subject to revalidation, this means it is under review as part of the University’s standard quality assurance and enhancement processes. Course and module content is indicative and may change through the revalidation process. As soon as the course is revalidated, the details will be confirmed and published on the University website.
In the unlikely event the course does not go ahead as planned, or is significantly amended, we will write to inform you. If this happens, we’ll help you to find a suitable alternative course either at USW or at another provider.


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.

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.

Find out how to pay your tuition fees in full or by payment plan.

This course is eligible under the Enhanced Learning Credits scheme for Ex-Armed Forces personnel.

International Scholarships are available for self-funding international students.

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

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 £53.20
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 and EU students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU 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 students

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

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.