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History

BA (Hons)

Key Information

Course Overview

Our BA History degree offers you a huge range of history modules, stretching around the world and across thousands of years.  

Our expertise underpins our teaching. We are one of the very few history departments in the UK to include archaeologists, classicists and historians working on every period from prehistoric humans to Ancient Greece to medieval, early modern and modern societies. Our expertise encompasses much of the globe from Ancient Rome, medieval Armenia, modern China, India and Africa to Tudor London and Nazi Germany and more. In addition to pursuing interests in British, European and global history, and to exploring themes within histories of ‘race’, migration, gender and sexuality, you will have the opportunity to take modules from allied disciplines like politics and international relations, literature, philosophy and geography.

Our history degree offers temporal and geographical breadth in a carefully structured programme. It gives you the opportunity to develop analytical skills and critical approaches that will enable you to assess historical evidence, and question accepted wisdoms about the past. There are lots of things you can do with a history degree, and your career prospects will be enhanced by developing the ability to formulate and communicate your own ideas effectively.

If you opt for the Foundation Year route, this will fully prepare you for undergraduate study. It is ideal if you are returning to study after a gap, or if you have not previously studied the relevant subjects, or if you didn't achieve the grades you need for a place on your chosen undergraduate degree. 

Discover the career opportunities available by taking History (BA (Hons)).

Pathways for History BA (Hons)

From 2023-24, we are changing the way we offer our programmes. You can now select the course route that is most suited to your skill set and interests. Apply for this course or select one of our pathways below.

Find another course:

Highlights

  • Birkbeck was ranked in the top eight universities in the UK for its History research in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework.
  • Situated in historic Bloomsbury, we are at the heart of academic London with access to unparalleled research resources. Situated very close by are: the Institute of Historical Research and the Institute of Classical Studies, with their specialist libraries, training facilities and seminars; the British Museum and other world-class galleries and museums; and the British Library, the largest national library in the world.
  • The Department of History, Classics and Archaeology is home to thriving student societies and a number of affiliated research centres that actively run seminars, conferences and other events where some of the world's best scholars present their latest research.
  • Get a flavour of the department through the wide range of free online and in-person seminars, workshops and tasters; check out our Discover the Past and taster courses as well as events at the Raphael Samuel History Centre, a leading centre for public history which the department co-directs.

Course Structure

Birkbeck makes all reasonable efforts to deliver educational services, modules and programmes of study as described on our website. In the event that there are material changes to our offering (for example, due to matters beyond our control), we will update applicant and student facing information as quickly as possible and offer alternatives to applicants, offer-holders and current students.

  • Entry Requirements Entry Requirements

    Entry Requirements

    We welcome applicants without traditional entry qualifications as we base decisions on our own assessment of qualifications, knowledge and previous work experience. We may waive formal entry requirements based on judgement of academic potential. The application process may include an interview depending on which programme you choose. 

    For part-time courses, standard requirements are a minimum of two A-Levels or equivalent.

    UCAS tariff points

    3 years full-time: 96-120 points

    4 years full-time with Foundation Year: 48 points

    The UCAS tariff score is applicable to you if you have recently studied a qualification that has a UCAS tariff equivalence. UCAS provides a tariff calculator for you to work out what your qualification is worth within the UCAS tariff.

    Foundation year degrees

    Our 'with Foundation Year' route is designed to give you extra support as it provides you with an additional year (full-time) or two years (part-time) of supported study. This is an ideal route if you are returning to study after a gap, or if you have not previously studied this subject, or if you did not achieve the grades you need for a place on this degree. 

    Once you successfully complete your Foundation Year studies, you will automatically advance onto the main degree. 

    Alternative entry routes

    Successful completion of our Certificate of Higher Education in History and Archaeology allows you to progress onto this degree.

    We also accept an Access to Higher Education Diploma with a minimum of 15 credits achieved at Merit or Distinction in humanities or social science units.

    English Language Requirements

    If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests. We also accept other English language tests.

    If you don’t meet the minimum English language requirements,  or see our international study skills page for more details of how we can help.

    Visit the International section of our website to find out more about our English language entry requirements and relevant requirements by country.

    Visa requirements

    If you are not from the UK and you do not already have residency here, you may need to apply for a visa.

    The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

    • Courses of more than six months' duration: Student visa
    • Courses of less than six months' duration: Standard Visitor visa

    International students who require a Student visa should apply for our full-time courses as these qualify for Student visa sponsorship. If you are living in the UK on a Student visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck's part-time courses (with the exception of some modules).

    For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

    Please also visit the international section of our website to find out more about relevant requirements by country.

    Credits and accredited prior learning (APL)

    If you have studied at university (or have an HND or Foundation Degree), you may have accumulated credits through the modules you studied. It may be possible to transfer these credits from your previous study to Birkbeck or another institution.

  • Fees Fees

    Fees

    History BA (Hons): 4 years part-time, on campus, starting October 2023

    Starting October 2023

    Part-time home students: £ 6935 per year
    Part-time international students: £12015 per year

    History BA (Hons): 3 years full-time, on campus, starting October 2023

    Starting October 2023

    Full-time home students: £ 9250 per year
    Full-time international students: £ 16020 per year

    History with Foundation Year BA (Hons): 4 years full-time, on campus, starting October 2023

    Starting October 2023

    Full-time home students: £ 9250 per year
    Full-time international students: £ 16020 per year

    History with Foundation Year BA (Hons): 6 years part-time, on campus, starting October 2023

    Starting October 2023

    Part-time home students, Year 1&2: £4625 per year
    Part-time international students, Year 1&2: £8010 per year
    Part-time home students, Year 3+: £6935 per year
    Part-time international students, Year 3+: £12015 per year

    Students are charged a tuition fee in each year of their programme. Tuition fees for students continuing on their programme in following years may be subject to annual inflationary increases. For more information, please see the College Fees Policy.

    Tuition fee and maintenance loans

    Eligible full-time and part-time students from the UK don’t have to pay any tuition fees upfront, as government loans are available to cover them.

    Maintenance loans are also available for eligible full-time and part-time UK students, to assist with covering living costs, such as accommodation, food, travel, books and study materials. The amount you receive is means-tested and depends on where you live and study and your household income.

    Funding for EU students is changing from August 2021: find out about details of these changes.

    Find out more about tuition fee and maintenance loans for full-time and part-time students at Birkbeck.

    Discover the financial support available to you to help with your studies at Birkbeck.

    International Scholarships

    We provide a range of scholarships for eligible international students, including our Global Future Scholarship. Discover if you are eligible for a scholarship.

  • Teaching and Assessment Teaching and Assessment

    Teaching

    At Birkbeck, almost all of our courses are taught in the evening and our teaching is designed to support students who are juggling evening study with work and other daytime commitments. We actively encourage innovative and engaging ways of teaching, to ensure our students have the best learning experience. In the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), the government's system for rating university teaching, Birkbeck was allocated a Silver award.

    Teaching may include formal lectures, seminars, and practical classes and tutorials. Formal lectures are used in most degree programmes to give an overview of a particular field of study. They aim to provide the stimulus and the starting point for deeper exploration of the subject during your own personal reading. Seminars give you the chance to explore a specific aspect of your subject in depth and to discuss and exchange ideas with fellow students. They typically require preparatory study.

    In addition, you will have access to pastoral support via a named Personal Tutor.

    Methods of teaching on this course

    Most teaching focuses on group discussion of books, journal articles and other printed works, including contemporary source materials. Visual images, film and video are also used. Many modules now expect you to access online material through our online learning environment.

    The Foundation Year is composed mainly of interactive lectures for large groups and tutorial-style classes that support the development of knowledge, skills, confidence and self-awareness.

    Teaching hours

    Our evening hours are normally between 6pm and 9pm (6-7.30pm and 7.30-9pm). Some programmes also offer teaching during the day and this will be clearly signposted to you where it is available.

    On our taught courses, you will have scheduled teaching and study sessions each year. Scheduled teaching sessions may include lectures, seminars, workshops or laboratory work. Depending on the modules you take, you may also have additional scheduled academic activities, such as tutorials, dissertation supervision, practical classes, visits and field trips. On our taught courses, the actual amount of time you spend in the classroom and in contact with your lecturers will depend on your course, the option modules you select and when you undertake your final-year project (if applicable).

    Alongside your contact hours, you will also undertake assessment activities and independent learning outside of class. The amount of time you need to allocate to study both for taught sessions (this might include online sessions and/or in-person sessions) and personal study will depend on how much you are studying during the year and whether you are studying full time or part time.

    Birkbeck’s courses are made up of modules and allocated ‘credit’. One credit is equivalent to ten hours of learning time. Modules are usually in 15, 30 or 60 credit units. A 15-credit module will mean around 150 hours of learning, including taught sessions and independent study or group work. This is spread out over the whole period of that module and includes the time you spend on any assessments, including in examinations, preparing and writing assessments or engaged in practical work as well as any study support sessions to help you in your learning.

    On our distance-learning and blended-learning courses, discussion, collaboration and interaction with your lecturers and fellow students is encouraged and enabled through various learning technologies.

    Timetables

    Timetables are usually available from September onwards and you can access your personalised timetable via your My Birkbeck Profile online (if you have been invited to enrol).

    Indicative class size

    Class sizes vary, depending on your course, the module you are undertaking, and the method of teaching. For example, lectures are presented to larger groups, whereas seminars usually consist of small, interactive groups led by a tutor.

    Independent learning

    On our taught courses, much of your time outside of class will be spent on self-directed, independent learning, including preparing for classes and following up afterwards. This will usually include, but is not limited to, reading books and journal articles, undertaking research, working on coursework and assignments, and preparing for presentations and assessments.

    Independent learning is absolutely vital to your success as a student. Everyone is different, and the study time required varies topic by topic, but, as a guide, expect to schedule up to five hours of self-study for each hour of teaching.

    Study skills and additional support

    Birkbeck offers study and learning support to undergraduate and postgraduate students to help them succeed. Our Learning Development Service can help you in the following areas:

    • academic skills (including planning your workload, research, writing, exam preparation and writing a dissertation)
    • written English (including structure, punctuation and grammar)
    • numerical skills (basic mathematics and statistics).

    Our Disability and Dyslexia Service can support you if you have additional learning needs resulting from a disability or from dyslexia.

    Our Counselling Service can support you if you are struggling with emotional or psychological difficulties during your studies.

    Our Mental Health Advisory Service can support you if you are experiencing short- or long-term mental health difficulties during your studies.

    Assessment

    Assessment is an integral part of your university studies and usually consists of a combination of coursework and examinations, although this will vary from course to course - on some of our courses, assessment is entirely by coursework. The methods of assessment on this course are specified below under 'Methods of assessment on this course'. You will need to allow time to complete coursework and prepare for exams.

    Where a course has unseen written examinations, these may be held termly, but, on the majority of our courses, exams are usually taken in the Summer term, during May to June. Exams may be held at other times of the year as well. In most cases, exams are held during the day on a weekday - if you have daytime commitments, you will need to make arrangements for daytime attendance - but some exams are held in the evening. Exam timetables are published online.

    Find out more about assessment at Birkbeck, including guidance on assessment, feedback and our assessment offences policy.

    Methods of assessment on this course

    Examinations taken at the end of each academic year (May and June), coursework (submitted in autumn and spring terms), and a dissertation written in the final year (submitted in spring term).

    Every module you take includes some form of assessment and, in addition, an attendance requirement, so you will need to attend at least 60% of classes in order to pass.

  • Careers and employability Careers and employability

    Careers and employability

    Graduates can pursue career paths in education, research and journalism. Possible professions include:

    • heritage manager
    • museum/gallery curator
    • higher education lecturer
    • archivist.

    We offer a comprehensive Careers Service - Birkbeck Futures - your career partner during your time at Birkbeck and beyond. At every stage of your career journey, we empower you to take ownership of your future, helping you to make the connection between your experience, education and future ambitions.

  • How to apply How to apply

    How to apply

    You apply via UCAS for our full-time undergraduate courses or directly to Birkbeck for our part-time undergraduate courses.

    Full-time (UCAS entry)

    If you are applying for a full-time undergraduate course at Birkbeck, you have to apply through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). To apply, go to the UCAS website and click on ‘Sign in’. You will have to register, giving UCAS a few personal details, including your name, address and date of birth, and then you can start working on your application.

    15 January is the first UCAS deadline and the majority of university applications through UCAS are made by then. We welcome applications outside of the UCAS deadlines, so you can still apply through UCAS after 15 January, depending on the availability of places. We also take late applications via the UCAS Clearing system in August.

    Read more about key dates for UCAS applicants.

    Part-time

    If you are applying for a part-time undergraduate course (4 or 6 year), you apply directly to Birkbeck by using the Apply now button. You will need to prove your identity when you apply - read more about suitable forms of identification.

    You are strongly advised to apply now, to ensure that there are still places on your chosen course and to give you enough time to complete the admissions process, to arrange funding and to enrol. You don't need to complete your current programme of study before you apply.

     

    You apply directly to Birkbeck for this course, using the online application link. Please note that online application will open in September.

    When to apply

    You are strongly advised to apply now, to ensure there are still places on your chosen course and to give you enough time to complete the admissions process, to arrange funding and to enrol.

    You don't need to complete your current programme of study before you apply - Birkbeck can offer you a place that is conditional on your results.

    You will also receive information about subject-specific induction sessions over the summer.

    Help and advice with your application

    Get all the information you need about the application, admission and enrolment process at Birkbeck.

    Our online personal statement tool will guide you through every step of writing the personal statement part of your application.

    Apply for your course

    Apply for your course using the apply now button in the key information section at the top of this page.