History BA

Year of entry

2024 course information

Open Days 2024

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UCAS code
V100
Start date
September 2025
Delivery type
On campus
Duration
3 years full time
Work placement
Optional
Study abroad
Optional
Typical A-level offer
AAB
Typical Access to Leeds offer
BBB and pass Access to Leeds
Full entry requirements

Course overview

two students talking in the library

History is much more than the study of the past. It’s also the study of how and why different people have understood, interpreted, or remembered the past. Studying history can help us make sense of the present and inform our ambitions for the future.

History evolves with society. The BA in History at the University of Leeds reflects the latest developments in the study of history, providing an exceptionally broad coverage of history both by time period and geography. Our modules range from the fall of the Roman Empire to the 21st century, and focus on the history of Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia, Britain and Europe.

Core modules will give you a firm foundation in historical skills and the ways in which the past is researched and interpreted. You’ll also have the flexibility to explore a wide range of new historical topics and develop your own areas of specialism and expertise.

Our tutors are experts in their field and their research will inform both what history you learn and how you learn it. You'll become an independent researcher with a range of critical thinking and analytical skills that are applicable to a broad range of careers.

Facilities

The University of Leeds has world-class facilities for historians. The University libraries are among the largest in the UK and offer a course of workshops and webinars to help you make the most of their collections, digital resources and databases. Skills@Library also offers one-to-one support to taught students on a wide range of academic and research skills, including academic writing, statistics, and data analysis.

Take a look around our three main libraries:

The Brotherton Library’s Special Collections hold a wide variety of manuscript, archive and printed material ranging from the 13th to the 20th centuries. You'll get to explore and handle primary sources throughout your degree. Highlights include:

  • manorial records that explore the lives of ordinary people from the 13th-16th centuries
  • the Leeds Russian Archive; a resource for the study of Anglo-Russian relations into the 20th century
  • the Gypsy, Traveller and Roma collection that spans the 16th century up to the modern day
  • Feminist Archive North that includes local, regional and international feminist newsletters, journals and pamphlets
  • the Liddle Collection of personal papers from thousands of people who lived through the First and Second World Wars

The Special Collections Research Centre has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment and extension, after a generous bequest from the John Victor Bedford Will Trust. This provides new working spaces for individuals or groups and new teaching spaces that feature visualisers and projectors, allowing you to engage with primary sources using the latest techniques.

The University is home to the M&S Company Archive. Their records include documents, advertising, photos, films, clothing, and merchandise from throughout Marks & Spencer’s history, offering fascinating insights into social, cultural, and business history.

The School of History also has a partnership with West Yorkshire Archive Service (WYAS), the largest archive service outside of London, which has five district archives across the metropolitan region. Their records stretch from the medieval history of the area, through to collections about the UNESCO world heritage sites at Saltaire and Fountains Abbey. It also includes records of Leeds West Indian Carnival, plus the internationally significant Stanley Royd Hospital collection relating to the social and medical history of mental health. Archivists from WYAS are involved in co-delivering a module, which grants you ‘behind the scenes’ access to their collections.

You'll also benefit from the School’s partnerships and collaborations with local and national archives, museums and galleries, including the Royal Armouries, Thackray Museum of Medicine, and the Migration Museum.

Brotherton Library Reading Room

Course details

Year 1

Year 1 is about your transition to degree-level study. The Exploring History core module provides you with a foundation as a history student, giving you the skills that you'll need, as well as developing and broadening your historical awareness. A second core module, Diverse Histories of Britain, introduces the latest and most innovative inclusive scholarship via an analysis of British history from the medieval period to the present day. You'll also choose from options in medieval to modern history from a global perspective that introduce you to a wide sweep of history and to the expertise of the staff in the School. These modules help you discover new historical interests, making extensive use of original primary source material and developing research skills that you'll use during your time at the University and beyond.

Year 2

In Year 2, you'll explore a range of historical topics in more detail. Tailoring your degree to suit your emerging interests, you'll choose from a breadth of modules across medieval, early modern, and modern eras. Continuing your development as a historian, our History in Practice core module will allow you to develop and apply new skills. Depending on which pathway you take, this might involve working closely with archival material, engaging with public history, exploring different historical approaches, or learning the latest digital techniques and platforms.

Year 3

Year 3 is about specialisation. You’ll spend the year working closely with an expert tutor on a research-based ‘Special Subject’ module, focusing on a specific topic in which you engage closely with primary sources. Partnered with the Special Subject, you'll also put your knowledge and skills into practice. Your Final Year Project on a topic of your choice can be either a history dissertation (an extended essay) or History in Practice Final Year Project, where the final output is public facing (eg podcast, exhibition or website). Alongside these, you'll take further optional modules with more advanced thematic content that further hone your skills.

Course structure

The list shown below represents typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our terms and conditions.

BA History includes options in Levels 2 and 3 allowing you to specialise in heritage and public history. You'll be introduced to this theme in your first year through the Exploring History core module and can pursue this through module choices in Year 2, with the option of culminating in a Final Year Project in public history.

Year 1
Compulsory modules

Exploring History (20 credits) – This module equips you with the fundamental skills, techniques, and knowledge to be able to flourish as an undergraduate student of history. You'll discover the range of ways that the past is researched, analysed, and presented. You'll have the opportunity to explore different approaches to researching the past as well as historical concepts, themes, and debates. This module provides you with the foundation for your historical studies throughout your entire degree. It supports your transition to university-level study through opportunities to engage in the development of the practical skills necessary to study history.

Diverse Histories of Britain (20 credits) – This module provides you with the opportunity to explore the history of Britain afresh. It is an opening into the rich and diverse history of the places, people, and cultures that make up Britain and how they have changed from the medieval to modern periods. Drawing upon the skills and awareness you developed in the first semester, you'll explore overarching 'national narratives', considering who they include and exclude, and why.

Optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Faith, Knowledge and Power, 1500-1750 (20)
The Medieval World in Ten Objects (20)
Medieval Lives: Identities, Cultures and Belief (20)
Global Empires (20)
Global Decolonization (20)
The Making of the Twentieth Century (20)

Year 2
Compulsory modules

History in Practice (20 credits) – Through this core module you’ll have the opportunity to deepen your understanding of how history is made and communicated, such as working with archival material, learning digital humanities skills, or exploring heritage and the public face of history. You’ll have the opportunity to undertake a research project that presents your work to a wider audience or to apply what you have learnt across a range of innovative assessment tasks.

Optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)


The Tudors: Princes, Politics, and Piety, 1485-1603 (20)
Most Christian Kings: France, 1515-1715 (20)
Sin in Spanish America, 1571-1700 (20)
Medieval Romans and the shape of Afro-Eurasia today (20)
Britain and the Industrial Revolution (20)
Imperial Germany 1871-1918 (20)
The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union, 1921-1993 (20)
Bass Culture in Modern Britain (20)
Lost Colonists: Failure and the Family in Southern Africa, 1880-1939 (20)
The Popular Caribbean: A History (20)
Black Politics from Emancipation to Obama (20)
Histories of Black Britain (20)
Mao Zedong and Modern China, 1949-Present (20)

Year 3

Final Year Project, one of either:

History Dissertation (40 credits) – Addressing a historical problem in-depth, you’ll write a dissertation of 12,000 words based on your own research, utilising primary and secondary sources according to a research method and programme designed in consultation with the supervisor. The dissertation can be written on a topic of your choice, provided it can be supervised by a member of staff from the School of History.

Public History Final Year Project (40 credits) – This final year project option allows you to create a historical resource intended for a public audience. You’ll explore different ways of presenting the past and choose an appropriate format – which might be a website, pop-up exhibition, film, podcast, or resources – for the research that underpins your project and the intended audience for your work. Through this module, you’ll develop highly attuned communication skills that are not only useful in the heritage sector but also in a wide range of careers.


Optional modules (selection of typical options shown below)

Dividing India: The Road to Democracy in South Asia, 1939-1952 (40)
The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 (40)
Body, Mind and Senses: The Social and Cultural History of Disability in Britain, 1833-1998 (40)
Black British Culture and Black British Cultural Studies (40)
The Soviet Sixties: Politics and Society in the USSR, 1953-1968 (40)
The Photographic Age: Photography, Society and Culture in Britain, 1839-1945 (40)
War, Regicide and Republic: England, 1642-1660 (20)
Early Modern Media: Printing and the People in Europe c.1500-c.1800 (40)
Mapping the Middle Ages: space and representation from the Pacific to the Atlantic (20)
White Africans: Intimacy, Race and Power (40)
Georgians at War (40)
The Later Elizabethan Age: Politics and Empire (40)
The Korean War (40)
Gender and Slavery in Latin America, 1580-1888 (20)
Medieval Women Mystics: Visionaries, Saints and Heretics (20)

Learning and teaching

Discussion and intellectual curiosity are at the core of BA History; we’ll connect you to the latest historical research and thinking.

Our staff are both dedicated teachers and experts in their fields, so that their teaching is informed by their own cutting-edge research. We use a range of teaching methods to help you benefit from their expertise and our vision for teaching revolves around safe learning spaces and inclusive curricula, ensuring that everyone can participate. You'll learn in lectures, seminars, one-to-one tutorials, online discussions, and by creating and sharing content (eg presentations, posters, blogs, reviews). To develop your skills and involve you in public-facing activities, many modules include field trips, archive visits or museum handling sessions. These also provide opportunities to benefit from expertise outside of the School of History.

These learning activities are underpinned by digital technologies to structure your learning and intellectual development. You'll have the opportunity to learn how to produce podcasts, digital exhibitions, network graphs, blogs, text analyses, timelines, storyboards, maps, and bibliographies using the latest digital tools and platforms. You'll also be able to utilise reading lists provided by tutors to find the resources you need in our excellent libraries and online resources. Digital platforms provide curated lists of relevant opportunities to further the skills you need to excel in your modules, like workshops on presentations delivered by academic skills experts or professional training about different writing styles provided through LinkedInLearning. Our online spaces are integrated with in-person teaching activities, allowing you to review lectures, ask questions, test ideas, continue discussions, and record and reflect upon your learning.

Independent study is an important element of the course. We have a wealth of resources from our libraries to computing facilities that you'll use as an independent learner. We support your development as an independent learner by introducing you to research in your first year, giving you opportunities within modules for project work in Year 2, which culminates in your Final Year Project, either a dissertation or practice-based project, where you undertake a substantial piece of historical research supervised by an expert in the School. Self-motivated learning allows you to develop skills in historical research and analysis, and equips you with experience in independent working, managing time, and self-awareness.

Fieldwork

Fieldwork in History involves exploring the past through archival resources, working with partners outside the University and the physical evidence of the past that's around us in museums, buildings, and the landscape. Throughout your time studying history at Leeds, you'll have the opportunity to engage in research outside the classroom, including:

  • In your first year, learning how to handle documents and historical material from 300 CE to the present day held in the University’s Special Collection as part of the Exploring History module.
  • In your second year, there’ll be opportunities to explore the amazing material in Special Collections, including some of the earliest printed books and ancient and medieval coin collections. You can also work on projects using the M&S archive or West Yorkshire archives, as well as engaging with resources in libraries and museums in Leeds.
  • In your final year, undertaking research for your dissertation within archives, supported by funding offered in the School to all students.

On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.

Assessment

Delivering well-researched, analytical, and well-communicated ideas is the basis of the assessment you'll undertake. Throughout your degree you'll be presented with choices about your assignments, whether it's selecting an essay question, choosing primary sources to analyse, or developing you own lines of historical inquiry in the Final Year Project.

You'll be using a mixture of primary sources – the raw material from the past – and secondary sources written by historians. You'll engage directly with historiographical debates, exploring not just what has been written about the past, but how we know what we do, different approaches and interpretations, and the limits of historical knowledge.

The format your assessment will take will vary depending on the modules you choose. Assessments include: essays, ‘take-home’ 48-hour exams, podcasts, group work, oral presentations, source commentaries, annotated bibliographies, book/literature/historiographical reviews, blog postings, wikis, vlogs and other methods. You'll get experience in all the different ways that history is presented and discussed, both within academic settings and public history. These are not just moments where your competency as a historian is assessed. They also provide evidence you can use in the future to demonstrate your skills in critical thinking, communication, research, and time management.

Entry requirements

A-level: AAB

Other course specific tests:

Where an applicant is taking the EPQ in a relevant subject this might be considered alongside other Level 3 qualifications and may attract an alternative offer in addition to the standard offer. If you are taking A Levels, this would be ABB at A Level and grade A in the EPQ.

We welcome applications from mature students with Access qualifications, and from students with a wide range of qualifications.

Alternative qualification

Access to HE Diploma

Pass diploma with 60 credits overall, including at least 45 credits at level 3, of which 30 credits must be at Distinction and 15 credits at Merit or higher. An interview and a piece of written work may be required.

BTEC

We will consider the level 3 QCF BTEC at Subsidiary Diploma level and above in combination with other qualifications. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

Cambridge Pre-U

D3, M1, M2

International Baccalaureate

35 points overall with 16 at Higher Level

Irish Leaving Certificate (higher Level)

H2, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AB in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers, or A in Advanced Highers and AABBB in Highers

Welsh Baccalaureate

The Welsh Baccalaureate is not typically included in the academic conditions of an offer made to you for this course. If you choose to undertake the Welsh Baccalaureate we would strongly encourage you to draw upon these experiences within your personal statement, as your qualification will then be taken into account both when your application is initially considered by the selection panel and again when reviewed by the admissions tutor at the time your A-level results are passed to us.

Other Qualifications

European Baccalaureate: 80%

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is a contextual admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and contextual admissions.

Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year

This course is designed for students whose backgrounds mean they are less likely to attend university (also known as widening participation backgrounds) and who do not currently meet admissions criteria for direct entry to a degree.

The course will give you the opportunity to be taught by academic staff and provides intensive support to enable your development of academic skills and knowledge. On successful completion of your foundation year, you will progress to your chosen degree course. Find out more about the Arts and Humanities with Foundation Year

International

We accept a range of international equivalent qualifications. Contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for more information.

International Foundation Year

International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall, with no less than 6.0 in any component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.


Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.

Fees

UK: To be confirmed

International: To be confirmed

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will be £9,250 for students starting in 2024/25.

The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only, as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.

Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2025/26
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students starting in 2025/26 have not yet been confirmed by the UK government. When the fee is available we will update individual course pages.

Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2024/25 and 2025/26
Tuition fees for international students for 2024/25 are available on individual course pages. Fees for students starting in 2025/26 will be available from September 2024.

Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more on our living costs and budgeting page.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.

Katrina Honeyman scholarships

All international students who are offered a place on our BA History or BA International History and Politics courses will automatically be considered for a Katrina Honeyman scholarship. These scholarships are awarded in recognition of outstanding academic performance.

Applying

Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

Read our guidance about applying.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

University of Leeds Admissions Policy 2025

This course is taught by

School of History

Contact us

Faculty of Arts Admissions

Email: artsadmissions@leeds.ac.uk
Telephone:

Career opportunities

A degree in History from the University of Leeds will equip you with valuable skills that prepare you for a range of different careers. You'll be able to think critically and analyse information, asking the right questions and communicating your findings both verbally and in writing. Independence, self-motivation and initiative are also among the skills you'll develop, so history graduates from the University of Leeds are highly regarded by employers.

Our recent graduates have gone into careers in law, business, the civil service, international governance, education, finance, heritage, teaching, publishing, fashion, journalism, local government, media, marketing and politics – to name just a few.

Read more about Graduate destinations.

We do everything we can to help prepare you for your career. Employability is built into your core modules, and the learning in all your modules presents opportunities for personal and professional development.

Careers support

We encourage you to prepare for your career from day one. That’s one of the reasons Leeds graduates are so sought after by employers.

Leeds for Life is our unique approach to helping you make the most of University by supporting your academic and personal development. Find out more at the Leeds for Life website.

The Careers Centre and staff in your faculty provide a range of help and advice to help you plan your career and make well-informed decisions along the way, even after you graduate. Find out more about Careers support.

Study abroad and work placements

Study abroad

On this course you have the opportunity to apply to spend time abroad, usually as an extra academic year. We have over 300 University partners worldwide and popular destinations for our students include Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa and Latin America. 

Find out more at the Study Abroad website.

Work placements

Practical work experience can help you decide on your career and improve your employability. On this course you have the option to apply to take a placement year module with organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors in the UK, or overseas.

Find out more about work experience on the Careers website.

Student profile: Emma Roberts

The course is extremely diverse and you have access to some of the country’s best academics who are renowned in their fields.
Find out more about Emma Roberts's time at Leeds