BA (Hons) History

History is essential to understanding ourselves and the world in which we live. It’s not about the ‘dead past’. After all, we’re not at the end of history; we’re in the middle of it. 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.

USW’s History degree covers British and European history, the Americas from the colonial period to the present, and aspects of global history from Chile to China and back again. We place emphasis on ‘doing’ history. This means developing your skills in gathering and evaluating evidence, and learning how to build arguments that are rational and well-presented. Find out more about History at USW on Facebook and Twitter.

UCAS Code Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
V100 Full-time 3 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 and show you how new approaches and new topics can illuminate the past.

Year One

  • 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 & 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 Discovery 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

  • 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.

You will also study 100 credits of optional modules. Options available 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.
  • The Problem of Poverty in England and Wales
    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
    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.
  • German Identities
    Study the key ideas that shaped the development of German identity from the Northern Renaissance and Reformation to the rise of Nazi Germany in the early twentieth century, and the reunification of East and West Germany in 1990.
  • Public History
    The module introduces students to the study of public history, which is the presentation of historical knowledge to a general public audience in forums such as museums, television, historic preservation projects, collection and recording projects, building of monuments and memorials, and the management of historical sites such as national parks, folk parks, and places of archaeological interest.
  • 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.
  • 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 second-year students are working to organise special events at local museums.

Year Three

  • 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 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.
  • Espionage and Oppression in the Cold War World, 1945-90
    What caused global tensions and conflict in the nuclear age? What was it like to live in a communist police state? Why is James Bond a symbol of British post-war decline?
  • 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.
  • 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.

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 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 degree programme.

Find out more: Foundation Year (Humanities)


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.

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.


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


In your second and third years, your options include a work-based learning module. You’ll develop a project to use historians’ skills in a professional workplace, supported and assessed by our historians. Work-based learning can be based on paid work, placement within a company, or volunteering: the module is adapted to your circumstances, interests and ambitions. For example, you could help with history teaching in a secondary school, organise special events at a museum, or sort through newly received items in an archive.

History students can choose to apply to spend half or all of their second year of study at one of our partner universities, studying abroad. This is a great way of boosting your CV.


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 higher grades of between 655-445 (this is equivalent to 112-80 UCAS tariff points)

Typical Access to HE Offer

Pass the Access to HE Diploma with 60 credits overall – the credits should equate to between 106-80 UCAS tariff points (examples below)

45 Level 3 credits equating to 15 Distinctions, 24 Merits and 6 Passes in a relevant subject (106 UCAS Tariff Points)

45 Level 3 credits equating to 12 Distinctions, 6 Merits and 27 Passes in a relevant subject (80 UCAS Tariff Points)

Additional Requirements

GCSEs: The University normally requires a minimum 5 GCSEs including Mathematics and English at Grade C 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.

All fees are per year. Once you have started your course, your fee will remain the same for each year of study.

August 2017 - July 2018 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU:  £9000 
  • Full-time International:  £11900 

August 2018 - July 2019 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: 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 £57.2
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.
Other : Textbooks £120
No compulsory textbooks required. However, students are asked to read particular books, but there are multiple copies in the library. If bought, these costs would average across the three years at £40 p.a.

UK and EU students

Apply via UCAS if you are a UK/EU residing applicant, applying for year 1 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

Apply now 

Admissions statement

During your studies, you will gain skills that are in demand by employers, such as analytical thinking, how to gather and interpret evidence, and the ability to construct and evaluate arguments. You’ll be able to offer employers evidence of skills in public presentation, group work, digital communication, and independent research. Career planning is part of the history degree from the first year. We work with every student to discuss plans and identify relevant skills, experiences and placements. History students can also participate in our ‘Future Leaders’ programme – exclusive talks and tips from Humanities and Social Science graduates who’ve become leaders in their fields, and a chance to qualify for elite training opportunities.

Career options

History graduates from the University of South Wales 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.

Our Careers and Employability Service

As a USW 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.