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Degree type


Course length

3 years full-time


Durham City

UCAS code


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Typical offers

Typical offers
A Level A*AA
International Baccalaureate 38

Course details

Our History degree is one of the most varied and exciting in the country. You can explore history from the end of the Roman Empire to the present day. You may study periods and places you have encountered before, but in new ways and in more detail; you may also encounter entirely new ones. You can also explore diverse themes and approaches, such as environmental and scientific history, visual cultures, and gender and sexuality. The course will equip you with critical and presentational skills that are valuable in many careers.

Year 1 offers you an induction into advanced historical study, engaging with different periods and approaches to the study of the past, and experience how history encompasses the diversity of the human experience.

In Year 2 you will engage with a range of periods and styles of historical study, with modules introducing new problems in a more specific framework and developing your understanding of historiography and how to write extended historical arguments. You can also apply to add a placement year or a year abroad to your degree, increasing the course from three years to four.

In Year 3 you will take further responsibility for your own learning. You will bring all your knowledge and skills together in your dissertation. You will be able to concentrate your studies in an area that fascinates you, and really blossom as an independent learner and researcher.

You will be encouraged to attend an extensive programme of activities, including research seminars and public lectures from high-profile guest speakers.

Course structure 

Year 1

Core modules:

Making History gives you a grounding in the key skills you will need at later stages of the course to interpret and explain historical information. You will be introduced to the practice of researching and writing history by examining how historians shape knowledge in particular areas. 

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Decline and Crisis? Europe 1300–1500 
  • Transformations in the Late Antique Mediterranean, c.300–c.700 CE
  • Connected Histories: Early Modern Europe, c.1450–1750 
  • The Atlantic Archipelago, c.1500–c.1750
  • Modern Times: A Cultural History of Europe, c.1860–1960 
  • Power in Africa
  • Imagining East Asia in the Modern World
  • Wars and Welfare: c. 1900–1945 
  • The Rise and Fall of American Slavery, 1607–1865.

Year 2

Core module:

Conversations with History encourages you to identify and define your own questions in the context of a given set of historical and historiographical issues. You will develop effective strategies for dealing with these contrasting approaches as you plan and write an in-depth, independent project, and you will discuss and explain your ideas in a small-group context. 

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • The Book of Hours in Medieval Life and Art
  • Medieval Islamic World  
  • Inventing France, 1300–1500: Kings and Communities of the Realm
  • Law and Order in the Barbarian Kingdoms c.500–800 AD
  • The Court: Art and Power in Early Modern Europe
  • A ‘Pure’ Land? Gender, Caste and Community in South Asia, c.1750–1950
  • The “Vast” Early Modern Americas
  • Early Modern Hospitality in Global Comparative Perspective
  • Hard Times: British Society, 1815–1902.  

Year 3 (Year 4 if undertaking a placement or year abroad)

Core module:

You will undertake supervised independent research leading to the writing of a Dissertation. You will choose your own Dissertation topic, through consultation with a supervisor. With some limitations, the potential range of topics is very wide – in recent years topics have varied from representation of bandits in twentieth-century Hollywood films to ceremonial in medieval France.

In recent years, optional modules have included:

  • Interpreting Conflict in Post-Colonial Africa 
  • Revolution and History 
  • Liberty, Equality, Democracy: Progressive Thought in Nineteenth-Century Britain
  • History and Its Audiences 
  • Empires and States in Early Modern Asia: Nomads, Slaves, Scholars, Rulers
  • Health, Wealth and Happiness: Investigating Standards of Living and Wellbeing in the Past
  • Beyond Feudalism. 

Additional pathways

Students on the BA in History can apply to be transferred onto either the ‘with Year Abroad’ or ‘with Placement’ pathway during the second year. Places on these pathways are in high demand and if you are chosen your studies will extend from three years to four.


You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.


You will learn through a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials. Lectures introduce broad historical questions and offer context and critical commentary; seminars provide an opportunity for you to develop your critical skills through discussion.

You will progress from more general topics to specialised studies as you gain confidence and experience and develop as an independent, self-motivated learner. You will also have support from module coordinators, and you will be allocated an academic advisor to discuss module choices in line with your interests and aims.

Our degree emphasises developing your critical and analytical skills. Your dissertation gives you the opportunity to establish your own research agenda and define your own questions.


Most modules are assessed by coursework essays or projects and by examinations in which you will write answers to essay-style questions. An oral presentation forms part of the assessment of the Conversations with History module.

In your final year, you will write a dissertation on a subject of your choice, giving you the opportunity to demonstrate your skills in independent learning and research and your ability to tie together areas of learning from across the entire course.

Entry requirements

A level offer - A*AA including History

Cambridge Pre-U - D2D3D3 including History

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – D*DD and History A level at grade A (or equivalent) is required

IB Diploma score - 38 with 666 at Higher Level including History

In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements, please note:

  • Ancient History’ is not accepted in lieu of ‘History’. 
  • We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study.
  • Applications for deferred entry may be considered in special circumstances. Please contact us using 
  • We welcome applicants who have taken Global and Independent Research Cambridge Pre-U and Extended Project Qualification. These qualifications, however, do not form part of our offer. 
  • If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take an International Foundation Year pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.

Alternative qualifications

International students who do not meet direct entry requirements for this degree might have the option to complete an International Foundation Year.

English language requirements

Country specific information

Fees and funding

Full Time Fees

Tuition fees
Home students £9,250 per year
EU students £25,500 per year
Island students £9,250 per year
International students £25,500 per year

The tuition fees shown for home students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.

The tuition fees shown for overseas and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).

Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.

Scholarships and Bursaries

We are committed to supporting the best students irrespective of financial circumstances and are delighted to offer a range of funding opportunities. 

Find out more about Scholarships and Bursaries

Career opportunities


History graduates are proficient in research, critical reasoning and analytical thinking, and a history degree from Durham will equip you with these skills and more. This rewarding subject also equips you to analyse, interpret and prioritise information which is essential to effective decision making and invaluable in a whole range of working environments.

Many of our graduates move into the arts and heritage sector including curatorial, archivist or education officer roles in museums, galleries and libraries, but there are many more career options open to you. The academic rigour and transferable skills demanded of a history degree opens career paths in teaching at schools and universities, in law, finance and accountancy, media, policy making, the Civil Service and the charity sector.

Of those students who graduated in 2019:

  • 85% are in paid employment or further study 15 months after graduation across all our programmes

Of those in employment:

  • 73% are in high skilled employment
  • With an average salary of £26,000.

(Source: HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey. The survey asks leavers from higher education what they are doing 15 months after graduation. Further information about the Graduate Outcomes survey can be found here

Department information


The Department of History at Durham is one of the most highly regarded history departments in the UK. Staff and students contribute to a vibrant learning environment where you engage in the study of history from the fall of the Roman Empire through to the making of modern Africa. And all from the inspiring setting of Durham World Heritage Site.

The curriculum aims to develop your understanding of what is meant by the term ‘history’ and to challenge your assumptions about the past. You will develop an awareness of the complex relationship between the present and the past in a rich and varied learning environment that includes field trips and guided independent projects alongside traditional lectures and seminars.

Our degrees are built on flexibility and choice, with an extensive selection of modules that cover periods from the Middle Ages to the present from many different parts of the world. Chinese, Japanese, African, South Asian and US history are taught alongside the history of the British Isles and continental Europe. You can also apply to add a further dimension to your learning by spending a year studying abroad in a partner institution or undertaking a work placement.

For more information see our department pages


  • Top 50 in the world in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2023
  • 4th in The Guardian University Guide 2024
  • 4th in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024
  • 4th in The Complete University Guide 2024


For a current list of staff, please see the History Department web pages.


The Department of History occupies a group of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century town houses in the heart of Durham World Heritage Site. Our location is within easy reach of all University colleges, lecture halls and libraries.

Our work incorporates everything from manuscripts to photography, printed sources to museum collections. From the start of your degree, you will work with staff on a rich array of primary sources, which range from medieval manuscripts in the cathedral archive, through the ceramics, prints and textiles held by the Oriental Museum, to the wealth records of the Sudan Archive, and more. The University Library, with its Archives and Special Collections, and the Durham Cathedral Library and Archives hold historical resources of international significance.


Find out more:

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