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What might my CHSS programme look like?

You can study two, three or four subjects through the CHSS degree, but what would that really look like in practice?  Here’s a few indicative pathways (not using our real students, but based on a range of past students) that show you what this degree might look like for you. 


“Joe”- Economics, Geography, Chinese

Joe was really interested in Maths at school and wanted a degree programme which allowed him to apply this to real world problems.  He chose to take Principles of Economics, Economic Methods, Human Geography, Introduction to Geographical Research and Beginners Chinese in his first year, which gave him a good basis for different directions in future years.  He had about 15 hours per week of contact time, but found it harder than he expected to keep up with the language class alongside his reading for other subjects.  He talked about this with his CHSS peer mentor and decided just to focus on Economics and Geography in his second and third year. 

He took Economic Theory and Econometrics in second year, as well as Social Research in Geography, Economic Geography, and Geographies of Development.  This started to bring together his two subjects into a really coherent whole. In his final year he took a dissertation in Geography alongside Critical Resource Geography, Geographies of Money and Finance, Development Economics, Monetary Economics and Environmental Economics and Policy. After graduating, Joe went on to study an MSc in Development Studies.


“Hana” - History, Politics, Marketing, Year Abroad

Hana knew that she was interested in exploring Asia through her different subjects, and she also wanted to study abroad for a year.  In her first year she took History modules in Imagining East Asia in the Modern World, and South Asia: Texts, Artefacts, Empires. Alongside these, she took Introduction to Comparative Politics, Introduction to International Relations, and Researching Politics and IR. With space for one more module, she decided to try a Marketing module and took The Changing World of Business.  

In her second year she focused just on History and Politics modules, taking: The Politics of Pacific Asia; Middle East and the International System; a Research Project (to prepare for her dissertation); Gender, Caste and Community in South Asia; Modern China’s Transformations; and Voices of the Past – Oral Histories. During second year, she applied to study abroad and was successfully accepted onto a place at Hong Kong university.  She spent her third year studying History and Politics modules in Hong Kong which really enriched her understanding of the region. 

In her final year back in Durham, she took a dissertation in politics, alongside China in Global Political Economy. She also took a History module entitled Empires and States in Early Modern Asia – Nomads, Slaves, Scholars, Rulers.  Returning to the Marketing department, she completed her final year programme with Asia and the Pacific Rim and a module on Leadership.

After graduating, Hana completed a Law conversion course and went on to work for a big international law firm.


“Sara” - Anthropology, Sociology, Education, Interdisciplinary dissertation

Sara had studied Sociology at school and was keen to try similar subjects within her degree programme.  In her first year, she took two modules of Anthropology (Being Human, and People and Cultures), two modules of Sociology (Classical Sociological Theory, and Social Research Methods), a module of Education (International and Comparative Education), and the CHSS first year interdisciplinary module entitled Decolonising Knowledge and Power.

She focused on Anthropological Research Methods in her second year and took a Kinship and Religion module in Anthropology, alongside Sociology of Education, and Cultural Identity, Interculturality and Education.  In her final year she really wanted some more practical experience, so she took an Anthropology fieldwork module (which involved a field trip abroad), some specialised aspects of Anthropology, an Education module (Political Sociology of Education), an Interdisciplinary dissertation and Sociology modules in Health and Place, and Gender, Health and Medicine.

After graduating, Sara undertook a career in social research, making good use of the skills she had developed in her different subject areas throughout her degree.


“Will” - International Relations, Geography, Archaeology, Spanish, Year Abroad

Will was interested in the CHSS degree because he really couldn’t decide what to specialise in at university and wanted to keep his options open for as long as possible.  He started with four subjects in his first year: IR, Geography, Archaeology and Spanish. It wasn’t possible to keep dissertation pathways open in all of these subjects, so he decided that he’d make International Relations and Spanish his main subjects, with smaller amounts of Geography and Archaeology alongside. 

In his first year he took: Introduction to IR; International Security; Spanish Language; Conflict and Violence in the Spanish Speaking World; Geographies of Crisis; and Ancient Civilisations of the Near East.  He continued this combination into second year, taking: International Organisations; Research Project; Spanish Language 2; Race and Gender in Latin American Cinema; Urban Geography; and Ancient Mediterranean Civilisations. Since he was taking Spanish as a main subject, he then undertook a year abroad in South America where he was able to continue to study some of these subjects in Spanish. He returned to Durham and focused his third year on IR, Spanish and Archaeology: Dissertation in IR; Global Politics in the Anthropocene; Spanish Language 4; Latin American Environmental Politics; Archaeology and Global Sustainable Development.

After graduating, Will joined the graduate scheme for AtkinsRealis.

These modules are indicative examples of what students on our degree programme study.  Not all modules are available every academic year.  For more information about the modules named here, please look at our Faculty Handbook. These are example pathways and don’t feature real students from the CHSS programme. However, if you visit us or get in touch, you will have the opportunity to meet current students and ask questions about their programme of study.