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Why should I come to Chester for my degree?

Living and working in the historic city of Chester, bordering North Wales and situated in North West England, you’ll be surrounded by connections to the Medieval, Early Modern and Modern periods, enriching your experience and providing the opportunity for exciting field trips.  We love to see history up close, whether on organised group trips or through individual exploration, and Chester, past and present, provides a perfect setting for your degree!

What is the department like?

We are a small, friendly and supportive department, based on the main campus.  We are all active researchers and love to share our passion and enthusiasm for our subjects with our students.  We care about your whole university experience, not just the academics, and provide full pastoral support too.  It’s great to get to know our students and find out about all your other interests – besides your love of history, of course! 

Find out more about our staff here

What can I study?

At Chester the study of History ranges over nearly two thousand years!  Whether you’re interested in the fall of Rome or the fall of the Twin Towers, in the development of an English ‘identity’ or the struggles of those around the world to preserve their culture and identity, in consumerism or conflict, in migration or racial equality, in the history of free time or the history of free speech – we have something for you!

What is the structure of the degree programme?

The degree programme lasts for three years, although you do have the option to spend an additional year abroad.  You will take some core modules to ensure that you have an overview of all the history on offer and also all the essential skills to succeed as a historian, but the fundamental basis of our programme is CHOICE!  This is your degree, your way! 

You’ll pick from our wide variety of optional modules to tailor your degree to suit your own interests.  You might choose to specialise in a particular historical period, or chart a pathway that relates to your chosen career.  Whatever your choices, your degree programme will be personal to you, creating an enjoyable, exciting and practical learning experience. 

More information about the structure of the History degree can be found online.

What will I study in my first year?

The first year of your degree programme lays the foundation for future success. You will study six core modules designed to provide the skills necessary for you to become an accomplished and skilled historian.  You will be offered a taste of everything available throughout your degree programme (HI4114) and will also be given the opportunity to begin specialising in your chosen areas (HI4127, HI4128). You will work to solve a historical mystery whilst developing skills that are essential our discipline (HI4112), and think about how history is presented, studied and taught, both in the classroom and in the public domain (HI4116). You’ll also be able to explore the importance of Chester to the study of History (HI4129) and understand that, here at Chester, you have access to global history in one city! 

You can find out more on our website.

What will I study in my second year?

In your second year you will begin to focus more on specific regions and periods. You will choose from a range of optional modules as diverse as the Anglo-Saxons, the end of empire, the supernatural in Early Modern Europe, the struggle for racial equality in the United States, the Black Death, leisure and landscape in modern Britain and the Holocaust.  Although there are two core modules in your second year, these are team-taught and you can base your assessments on the period or theme that interests you the most.  These are designed to further enhance your skills in key areas, including independent research, engaging with historical debates, and charting a pathway to your future career. 

Along with every student at Chester, you will spend the final few weeks of your second year in some kind of work experience.  This may involve a placement related to your career or you might work as a historian on a range of projects.  In the past, these have included commissions from organisations such as the National Trust, the Beatles industry in Liverpool and the Civic Voice War Memorials project.  Whatever you choose, you can be sure that you’ll gain useful material for your CV!

For further information, please see our website.

What will I study in my final year?

In your final year you will immerse yourself in a Special Subject which focuses on a historical issue or region and its primary source material in great depth. As in your second year, you’ll choose from a range of options from the medieval to the modern based on the research expertise of the staff in the department.

You will also undertake a dissertation, supported by a supervisor, on a research topic of your own choice, which will demonstrate the research skills you have acquired during your career as a historian at Chester and allow you to explore the subject that you love the most in detail. The perfect way to end your degree, your way!

For further information please see our website.

Can I get practical experience of working in history?

You certainly can!  The department has close relations with the local record office, Chester and Cheshire archives, the county Military Museum, the national Waterways archives at Ellesmere Port, the St. Deninol’s research library, Chester Cathedral and the Grosvenor Museum in Chester. Students have undertaken research projects at all these places and many more.  Students have worked with the National Trust, various organisations associated with the Beatles industry in Liverpool, and the Civic Voice War Memorial project.  You can also engage with our partners in third-party sectors, giving you experience of heritage and education, and setting you up for future MA, PGCE or graduate scheme pathways. 

I'm really interested in a particular period/theme in History. Can I specialise?

Yes! At Chester, you can do your degree, your way!  Although we want you to have a taste of everything during your first year, you can still choose to do your assessments on the period or theme that interests you the most. As you progress through your degree, the choice of modules increases and picking from the various options on offer will allow you to specialise in a particular time period, theme or geographical region. Your dissertation will be the main focus of your final year, and the subject for this is entirely your choice! 

I love all kinds of History. Is Chester the place for me?

Absolutely! Our staff are experts in a wide array of topics in British, European and international history, specialising in a variety of approaches ranging from identity, race and ethnicity to politics and justice, from leisure and the landscape to war, conflict and social change. You can pick and choose from everything as you make your way through your degree programme; this is your degree, your way!

How will I be taught?

The vast majority of your teaching will be in small groups, in seminars and tutorials, but you will also get the chance to meet everyone in your year in large lectures for the core modules. When we can, we’ll take you out on field trips to historic locations or heritage sites for ‘hands-on’ learning!  You’ll also undertake some structured activities online allowing you to make the best use of your independent study time whilst developing essential digital skills. This is the Chester Blend!

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed through a wide range of coursework methods, all of which are designed not only to test your understanding of history but also to allow you to develop and demonstrate skills that are essential for success after university.  These include essays, source analyses, literature reviews and oral presentations, but also reflective exercises, digital assignments including video essays and other digital media, poster presentations and portfolios. We can make you a promise: no exams in History!

What are my career prospects?

The world really is your oyster when it comes to career opportunities related to your History degree.  Apart from careers that require vocational training, such as medicine, there is very little that you won’t be able to do.  Our graduates go on to a broad range of careers, including business, administration, management, journalism, the civil service, public relations, the arts, creative industries, heritage industries and teaching, among many, many others.  Many of our graduates also go on to further study either as part of a graduate training scheme, or a Masters and Doctorate. Hear from some of our recent graduates by clicking HERE.

This is because, as a history student, you will develop intellectual and practical skills that are valued by a huge variety of employers.  These include critical thinking, working within a team and independently under your own initiative, problem-solving, the ability to analyse material, to present reasoned arguments and to communicate to a high standard both verbally, in writing and through a range of digital media.

What about a career as a historian?

Why not, indeed?!  It’s great that you are already so keen on the study of history. The skills that you gain throughout your history degree are as applicable to post-graduate study as much as they are to other careers. We offer a variety of Master's degrees, including in History and Military History – and our staff supervise research students right the way through to PhD level. Contacts made through your degree with local history and heritage organisations also offer pathways in public history. A History degree at Chester could be the start of something beautiful for you.

If I have any problems, will you be able to help me?

We’ll always try our best. All of our students are assigned to a Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) who provides pastoral support throughout your time at Chester. Your PAT can help you with anything related to your course, but also is there if you need someone to talk to about anything. If you need help, we’re here, and if we can’t help you, we’ll always find someone who can. You can find out more about the support services offered by the university to all students on our website.

I have a disability or other special needs. Would I be supported?

Yes, you would. Our priority is inclusivity and some of our best students have been people in your situation. We recognise that every person is different and each student who needs one is issued with an individual inclusion plan. As a department, we support this wholeheartedly and can’t wait to welcome you and help you realise your full potential. Please see our website to find out more about the support offered by the University of Chester.

I left school years ago and I'm worried about going back to study. Also, I'm not sure I have the qualifications I need to start a degree course. Any advice?

We have students of all ages and from all sorts of backgrounds and we take this into account when looking at applications.  Some people might need to do what's called an Access course before they start, but this isn’t always necessary depending on your life experience.  At least one of our tutors came to history through an Access course, so we know it works!  

Once you’re here, we work hard to make sure that everyone feels comfortable. Small group work and discussion sessions will help you integrate so you don't feel lost in the crowd. In fact, we often find that mature students really blossom when they come here to study, and are a real asset to class discussions and the wider student experience.

It is now possible to study History with a Foundation Year. These four-year degree pathways are available for students who do not have the necessary academic qualifications to enter directly onto the first year of a degree (or whose qualifications may be historical documents in their own right - seriously, all ages are welcome to study History with us!)

Quite frankly, we relish working with students from non-traditional backgrounds. You are the students whose passion for History has led you to make a bold and brave decision and it is that enthusiasm that often leads to wonderful and unexpected discoveries.

Find out more about the Foundation Year in History HERE.

I really want to study History at the University of Chester, but I'm worried I'm not good enough. Should I still apply?

Yes! Of course you should! We don’t expect you to know everything about history, or how to study history, when you begin. If you did, there would be no point in coming to university. As long as you want to try, then we want to help you to do your best. We can’t wait for that opportunity! 

Can I study history part-time?

We completely understand that some students have other commitments, such as career plans, caring responsibilities or other personal circumstances, that may make it difficult for them to commit to a full-time degree programme and so, yes, of course, we welcome part-time students. When we say that it is your degree, your way, this applies to the amount of time that you spend studying with us, as well as what you study with us. As a part-time student, you do exactly the same programme as full-time students, except that your degree is spread over six years, rather than three years.

If I enrol for a full-time programme and want to change to part-time – or vice versa – is that possible?

Yes, it is! Usually this is something that you would do at the end of the year, but it may be possible to change mid-year too. In all cases, we’d work with you and give you our full support as we planned your programme of study for the remainder of your degree.